Sunday, 31 October 2010


Leaping forward a couple of decades from the old Rep in Nicoll Street to their purpose built theatre in Tay Square, here's a couple of plays featuring Joanna Lumley.
The first one is from March 1985 and is the Ibsen penned play - "Hedda Gabler".
The photo was taken at the Rep and has Joanna with actor, Richard Clews.
The second play is by Chekhov - "The Cherry Orchard" - and was running at the Rep in March 1989.
The review was written by our local cultural guide, Jock Ferguson, who seems to have found the pace of the play - Absolutely Ponderous!
Click on review to enlarge.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


1st pic - This was the main entrance to the original Rep Theatre in Nicoll Street. It had been here since 1939 until a fire in May 1963 completely destroyed the interior, forcing the Theatre Company to move into new temporary premises in St Columbus church in Lochee Road, a picture of which can be seen in the January 2009 Retro archives.

2nd pic - This is part of a mural commissioned by the Rep and painted by the guy in the photo, Richard Demarco. It's called "The Spirit Of Culture Descending Upon Dundee" and features a selection of local landmarks compressed into a kind of semi abstract skyline of the city.
This was actually thought "lost" in the 63 blaze, but apparently it was rescued and stored away until as recently as 2004, when it was rediscovered!
Whether it is still in storage or out on display somewhere, I've no idea.
Perhaps one of you could clarify that.
Photos by DC Thomson.
Thanks to Neale Elder.

Friday, 29 October 2010


Not only was the original Rep programme for "Photo Finish" kept, but here are the original reviews too.
Top one is a photo taken at the Rep of the play in full flow which appeared in the Tele on 26th April 1963.
Under it is a caricature of 4 of the actors in the play, published in the Peoples Journal the same weekend.
Then 5 reviews for you to dip into, from the Courier, Scotsman, Tele, Glasgow Herald and Journal.
All the reviews have the exact same opinion of the play, giving it a big thumbs up, while sharing one wee criticism that they thought the play went on just a touch too long - running for 3 hours!
Click on reviews to read large version.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I have a few original 60's Rep Theatre programmes in my collection.
So plucking an example out for Retro, this one here is for a play written by Peter Ustinov called "Photo Finish", which ran for a couple of weeks in April 1963.
You may recognise a couple of the actors in the play who later went on to be well known faces on TV - namely Hannah Gordon and Glyn Worsnip.
Also, if you look closely, you'll see a young Brian Cox listed as being assistant stage manager.
The Rep Theatre back then was in Nicoll Street.
Talented all-rounder Peter Ustinov became Dundee University Rector a few years later in 1968, a position he held till 1974.
Then lo & behold, our very own Brian Cox was inducted into the same role just earlier this year!
Quite a versatile wee troupe!
You may need to click onto the images to read the large versions.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Back to 204 Perth Road where we were a few days ago when it was the Underworld Cafe, only this time, a decade later, it has become the Universal Garden Chinese restaurant.
Plenty music to munch along to it seems, and a 3 course meal for 40p must have surely been the cheapest in town!
The ad is dated 1974.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


An ad from 1984 for the Hot Potato House in the Overgate.
Yeah I remember staggering into this place a couple of times at 2 o'clock in the morning!
I seem to recall it was located approximately opposite the Marketgait/Overgate steps.

Monday, 25 October 2010


This ad from 1988 is for French restaurant, The Boulevard, who were based at 10-12 Crichton Street.
I don't know anything about this place but I guess it must have been a rather upmarket joint judging by it's 7 course meals on offer!

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Whether you just fancied a cup of tea & a scone or you needed a full meal, The Rusty Kettle at 304 Perth Road would serve it up for you.
This ad is from 1988, but a wee slogan they had going in the mid 80's was - "The Best In The West"!

Saturday, 23 October 2010


The Underworld Cafe, on the go in the 60's, was to be found at 204 Perth Road.
Owner was Alf Paladini, the guy in the picture.
Not sure if the interior designer had a split personality, but there seems to be a bit of a bizarre clash going on between a Swiss chalet look and a tropical island hut!
I like the tree trunk seats mind you.
By 1970, the place had changed to the Gold Lucky Chinese restaurant.
Photo by DC Thomson.
Thanks to Neale Elder

Friday, 22 October 2010


The original Dundee Corporation Public Baths had 3 main salt water pools and a load of other bathing areas such as Turkish baths, plunge baths, foam baths, aeratone baths, as well as the other essential, a cafe.
The top photo was taken in March 1962 and features pupils from Harris Academy have a good splash about at their Gala day. It also shows the spectators balcony.
The picture under it is a couple of lads sharing a cubicle just before the baths closed its doors for good around 1974/75 because of the opening of the new Leisure Centre.
The baths were also known locally as the "Shorers" and I have a couple of hazy memories of being there in the 60's.
I'm sure this was the place where on one visit, our allotted time in the pool was up and the attendant blew his whistle to let everyone know it was time to get out. However, there were a small group who tried to stay in just that little bit longer, so the attendant went over to one of the cubicles, grabbed a handful of clothes, held them above the water and shouted "If you're not out of there in under a minute, the clothes get chucked in!". The mad dash to get out cleared the pool in no time!

Thursday, 21 October 2010


This is Douglas Primary School's concert party entertaining the old folks up at Maryfield Hospital around the 1970/71 period.
The picture would be difficult to do a proper "from left to right" identity name check, so I opted for a second image with numbers to make the ID easy.
I can name 3 for starters...
#2 is Grant Roberts with the guitar, who kept his musical side going, playing in local clubby bands in later years.
#26 is Ralph Milne, yep the same one as yesterday. Dundee United superstar and gambler!
#27 is Craig Methven, who ten years later would be fronting the Scrotum Poles.
And what cheery tune do you think the Douglas troupe chose to play for the pensioners to sing along to?
Well it was one of the chart hits from back then - McGuinness Flint's "When I'm Dead And Gone"...!!
Big thanks to Craig

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Here's the Sunday Boys League team, Broughty Ferry Under 14's, pictured in 1982.
I suppose because I have none of the lads names, the main interest in the photo would have to be their coach, Ralph Milne (far left), who some of you may have heard of!
Their manager in the quilted jacket on the right is Charlie Mitchell.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Here's a typical school team photo dating from 1972. It's Stobswell Under 15's football squad.
The image is taken from a newspaper so it's not too sharp, but the line-up is, L to R back - McGill - McKenzie - Burke - Stuart - Holden - Stewart - Aitken.
front - McDonald - Grieve - Dyer - McGregor - Strachan.
Despite some of them being Douglas guys, I only recognise Dave McGill (top left) who I've had a few knockabout games of futba with around my area in the early 70's.
Not exactly sure who the headmaster would have been in 72, but 2 who were on the go in the early 70's were Mr Crowe and Mr McLeary.
There were also 2 different jannies during the same period, Mr Rothwell and Mr Stratton. Take your pick!
Thanks to Ali Strachan.

Monday, 18 October 2010


Dryburgh Primary School in Lochee, was visited by local journalist David Phillips in 1972.
He was informing the youngsters what kids from his childhood got up to for fun, including demonstrating the Gird & Cleek, a metal hoop toy that never made a comeback with later generations!
The school headmaster at the time would either be Mr Soutar or Mr Harvey, not sure of the exact year in the early 70's the change took place.
Same goes for the jannie, so it would either be Mr Kidd or Mr Simpson.
I have no names for the pupils, but I'm sure someone out there will recognise one or two!

Sunday, 17 October 2010


This latest work by Gary Robertson should appeal to many of you - called "Skeem Life", the book is an account of his own personal experience of being a youngster in Dundee in the 70's, with the emphasis on getting up to mischief...!!
If you want to recall your old school days when you were a wee rascal, or the times you were up to no good around the housing schemes, this book will take you there.
Those of you who are familiar with Gary's writing will know to expect lots of laughs, plenty oary lingo and an abundance of cheery memories.
Available now at your local book emporium.
Do yourself a favour - go nick a copy!!

Friday, 15 October 2010


Time to bring the retro pub crawl to an end now, so I thought I'd finish the sequence with an amusing quote by Tayside Bar manager, Brian Sinclair. When the pub's Xmas party was in full swing in 1981, he came out with this little ditty - "I want to see The John Cooper Clarke's here."
A slip-up that I'm sure JCC himself would find amusing!
I like to have fun with words, so does John Cooper Clarke, a poet who cropped up on the scene the same time as punk and so found himself dubbed "The Punk Poet". Some of you may recall him performing at the Caird Hall as support to Elvis Costello in 79.
Talking about having fun with words, this is a good time to put up this excellent illustration of JCC done by graphic genius, Ian Wright, who's art career also began around the same time punk started. He first became known with the stuff he did in the NME in the late 70's. This example is actually one of his early ones from his NME days. Not only a great likeness to JCC, but the image, made from a rubber stamp of his name, also reminds you that the man is a bit of a wordsmith.
The perfect portrait of him!

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Bar Chevrolet (AKA Chevy's), and Yogi's, were both linked to Fat Sams.
Chevy's and Fat Sams were next door to each other, with both places putting on gigs under the Dance Factory banner.
The top ad dates from June '88 and gives some general information about the food, drink, music & games they had on offer at Chevy's.
The middle ad is from November '88 and lists a few of the bands who were playing at Chevy's that month, including a reminder that the pub also had Sunday jazz sessions - with the late, great, Jimmy Deuchar performing on this occasion.
The Yogi's ad is dated March '88. This was a new club night that started up that year and was to be found at Wee Sams ( Fat Sams diner).
They specialised in dance music - hip hop & house with a touch of retro 70's funk in the mix.
There was free admission for those in Yogi Bears (flares)!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


When the Sands changed to Buddies in the mid 80's, my regular Sunday funk sessions stopped not long after it opened. Just wasn't the same as the Sands at it's peak - circa late 70's/early 80's.
I did try Buddies on a few occasions though before eventually waving goodbye to it all, with my last visit being in 1985, the same year these 2 photos were taken.
The exterior shot is dated October 85 and the cocktail bar is June 85.
I remember one Sunday evening, me and a couple of mates were walking along the Esplanade and we stopped to chat to a lassie who had her horse with her on the beach. After a wee blether, I jokingly asked if there was any chance of a lift along to Buddies - but she actually said OK! I was about to mount the horse when I had a sudden flashback of a scary incident I had on a horse a few years earlier, so I backed off. I wish now I had got on, because there can't be that many people who can say they have gone along to a disco on horseback!
Sometimes you've just got to seize the moment!
A reminder that there is a photo of Buddies dancefloor in the April 2009 archives.
Images by DC Thomson

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


The Halt was the Art College club night, putting on live bands and running their own disco.
These 2 ads are from February 1988.
The top one is for a gig by local outfit, The Sandflowers, who were pollinating the populace with their performance on 5th Feb that year.
"Doctorin' The House" was the title of a hit dance track by Coldcut released in early 88 - the Halt just hijacking the phrase to highlight their trendy dancefloor leanings!
The ad underneath it could either be for an appearance by rave DJ, Tim Simenon, who's act Bomb The Bass were riding high in the charts with "Beat Dis" at the time - or again, it could just be a similar ploy as the other ad where they have seized the name and turned it into a slogan to catch the attention of Dundee's clubbers!
Anybody remember?
I was doing all my clubbing down South when all this was going on! 

Monday, 11 October 2010


This view along Dock Street was taken in the mid 60's when the area across the road was being modernised during the construction of the Tay Road Bridge.
The City Centre Bar was on the corner of Shore Terrace.
This was one of 3 similar sounding pub names in town - City Centre Bar - Centre Bar - Central Bar.
Does your head in trying to separate them in your mind 40 years later!
Further along Dock Street you can see a sign for a tobacconist called John Crabb. This shop floor was always covered in nippers!
Image by DC Thomson

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Foreigners in Meadowside, was one of those pubs where you'd pop in for a pint, then end up staying there for the rest of the night!
I put up a photo of the outside of Foreigners in July 2008, but here is a wee glimpse of the pub from inside.
The picture has Jo Doll, Jo Jo, Steevo & Trotsky downing a pint (or ten) of Stella no doubt!
In the background you can catch sight of one of Roger Kettle's many cartoons they had covering the walls.
The photo is from around the 1983 period.
Foreigners is responsible for me knowing a large chunk of AC/DC tunes, a band I'm not too keen on and have no records of, but they blasted out AC/DC with such frequency that the rowdy rockers managed to drill their way into my head! AAAAAARRGH!! Actually, such was the good vibe in the pub their choice of records was accepted like part of the decor!
I can remember them playing Jeff Wayne's "War Of The Worlds" album over the sound system one time, which was a bit weird because Richard Burton did narration on it in-between tracks, but it sounded as if he was behind the bar doing a pub quiz!
Thanks to Joe Ogilvie

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Many of you who socialised around town in the 80's will recognise this colourful lass - it's Hilary.
I remember her from pubs & clubs like Chequers, Slickers, Tayside Bar, Fat Sams...actually, come to think of it, she was a right wee boozer!
As well as being a regular in the drinking dens of the city, she was also a familiar face on the local music scene. In fact, Hilary was involved in Deadbeat fanzine, contributing lots of articles and artwork.
The photo above is of Hilary at the Bowling Alley, circa '84, there to see local band Circus Of Hell.
Below it is her feature on the band in Deadbeat mag, including her skilful sketch of the guys.
She managed to get an amusing quote from Steevo in her piece - he says of COH "We're going to put the plooks back on the face of music" - charming!!
By the way, the 2 lads with Hilary on the photo are unknown, so if anyone knows who they are, feel free to reveal all in the comments.
You may need to click on the COH item to enlarge it if you can't read it as it is.
Thanks to Joe Ogilvie

Friday, 8 October 2010


No 10 was in South Tay Street from around the late 70's and all throughout the 80's.
It was a pub I never had a drink in. Passed it hundreds of times too, but only once did my mob stop off and have a nosey at it from the doorway - we looked inside, and we all went "Naaaah!", wasn't lively enough for us. It seemed like a cosy wee place for middle aged couples to spend the evening, or perhaps we just caught it on a quiet night, but off to the noisy, more youthful pubs we went!.
I recall being told back then that the folk who had No 10 also had it's politically related partner around the corner, Chequers. Not sure if it was a fact or someone just linked the 2 names, as No 10 was the actual street number of the pub, but I'm certain they had wee framed political caricatures on the walls.
Maggie Thatcher was in the real No 10 at the time which may have also influenced us in choosing to avoid it!

Thursday, 7 October 2010


A couple of local pub ads from April 1989.
Top one is for a drinks promotion going on at Angels in Ward Road. Their Crazy Casino game giving out drinks every 20 minutes!
Meanwhile, the Royal Oak in Brook Street was running an art exhibition by local based artists as well as reminding us about The Crush Club.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


This cosy little scene was taken in Da Vinci's in Westport around about 1980.
The babe in black is Audrey Lundie who was well known in town for her individual dress sense.
This look originated in London around 79/80 at places like The Blitz Club and Le Beat Route, the fashion becoming more popular as the 80's progressed.
The guy in shot is Iain Cairnie.
I think I see some tinsel in the background so I assume this night out was sometime during the festive season.
Thanks to Joe Ogilvie.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


This was taken somewhere in the Tay Hotel sometime in the 80's.
A bit vague, I know, but I can't figure out which part of the hotel it could be.
I thought at first it might be upstairs in the Junction 9/Club Feet area, but I don't remember the bar being decked out as a frilly stage set, so I guess it must be some other function room in the hotel.
Someone may recognise the bar staff in the picture, looking a bit like Punch & Judy behind there, so with a bit of assistance we may be able to piece it together.
To zoom into the faces, click on the image to enlarge.
Image by DC Thomson.

Monday, 4 October 2010


The Whip Inn in Liff Road is still on the go, but it doesn't look like the image in the photo anymore.
The main part of the building is the same, but gone are those small porthole windows on the side, making way for an extension to the pub.
It being an old coach inn, it used to be decorated with old horse collars, horse brasses, old rustic accessories, that kind of thing.
The photo, however, dates from the groovy late 60's and I reckon they missed a good opportunity to keep up with the times. Here's what I think they should have done back then.
Making use of the porthole windows design, they ought to have painted the outside bright yellow, renamed it the Yellow Pubmarine, and had a Beatles theme inside.
Here's what could have been on the Fab 4 jukebox...
Eleanor Whisky - Get Becks - Lady MaVodka - Fool On The Pils - Bass In The USSR - Ale You Need Is Love - Let It Beer - Magical Pissedery Tour - Hey Booze - O-V-D, Ob-La-Da - Here Comes The Rum - Penny Wine - While My Guinness Gently Weeps - All Hungover Now - Beer Prudence - I Am The Watney's - With A Little Help From My Pints...!!!!
Then once you've had a touch of Dutch courage, you could nip over and chat up Stella McCartney!
Below is my own psychedelic impression of the concept they missed out on!

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Oblomov's in the Nethergate, opened in 1987, which means I just missed out on frequenting this place, having departed Dundee the year before.
On a return visit however, I remember popping into the pub for a wee nosey, because I used to go to it's previous incarnation, Chequers, quite a lot. Chequers was typically done up in 80's bright green, but I think Oblomov opted for a black, white & red colour scheme. I was only in for around an hour or so, so can't claim to be an expert on the place. I do remember there being a few trendy types when I was in though.
These 2 ads are both from 1988.
The top one is just basic stuff about it's hours of biz.
The one below it is advertising a gig by local outfit, Big Blue 72.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Here's a nice piece of artwork depicting the interior details of Cafe Americain, the pub that opened in the early 80's in Union Street.
It's a kind of half architectural design & half artists impression - modern chic with a touch of art nouveau.
Once you delve into the collage, you can see a few of the pubs main features - the spiral staircase, the wooden panels, the potted plants and it also includes 2 birds-eye views of downstairs and upstairs, where you can make out the layout of the tables, the bar areas and even the toilets.
There is the reminder on the downstairs plan that the bar was on a raised part of the floor which had a couple of steps connecting it. It was quite a common sight to watch people stumble on these as the night wore on, leaving them with the sensation that they were not quite as cool as they thought they were!
Never happened to me though!!!!!!
To refresh your memory, there are a few photos of Cafe Americain already up on Retro. Just type it in the search box to find them.
Image by Nicholl Russell Studios.

Friday, 1 October 2010


Fancy a pub crawl?
This one's gonna go on for over a week, so should be a topper!
I'll just set the time machine for the 1960's - (whirr...spin...dizziness...nausea... spew into bucket kept handy for such trips....) - ah here we are, landed in Hilltown.
Starting off at St Andrew's Tavern in Rose Street.
This was said to be Dundee's smallest pub. Locals gave it the nickname of "the Mad Doag" after the manager was bitten by a mangy mutt!
The pub closed around the mid/late 60's and Rose Street itself has since completely disappeared.
I have a street map of Dundee from the 60's so thought I'd display the section where Rose Street used to be. As you can see it was slap bang in the middle of the Hulltoon and the Conshie.