Thursday 31 March 2011


Local, Johhny Geddes, was a magician involved in many areas of the trade.
The publicity ad at the top is from 1980, and highlights his lean towards comedy. Just as well he had a sense of humour because the advert has a whopper of a misprint with his name!
The ad for the Johnny Geddes Magic & Fun shop in Meadowside is dated 1981.
Although I can remember the place ok, I was never in it, but I do recall the masks they had in the shop window, including Laurel & Hardy, old hags and a Maggie Thatcher one too!
Johnny Geddes was actually a professional magician who toured regularly around UK as well as places further afield such as America.
Needless to say, he was in the Dundee Magic Circle, before later going on to become president of the Scottish Magic Circle.
He has also appeared on TV a few times alongside the likes of Charlie Drake and Rolf Harris.
In addition, Mr G has written many books on the subject of magic and managed to find time to run the Jay-Gee Variety Agency too.
In fact, oor man of magic had quite a few tricks up his sleeve it seems!

Wednesday 30 March 2011


The top ad is dated 1981 and is for Bordermatics. They supplied local pubs & clubs with gaming machines, juke boxes, pool tables etc, and were located at 137 Lorne Street at the time.
I also have another ad of theirs from 1984 and by then they had relocated to 109 High Street, Lochee where they shared premises with Cherry Video rentals.
Bordermatics are still on the go, only now they are based in Broughty Ferry.
I suppose Hynd Bros have done a bit of business with Bordermatics over the years, their amusement arcade in Reform Street being the other ad, dated 1986.
As you can see, in '86 they were announcing the very latest in gaming machines - the Laser Disc System!

Tuesday 29 March 2011


This gig at the Dance Factory in Fat Sams took place in March 1987.
It's Scottish band, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, who were active up to the mid 90's.
I recognise big John Duncan on guitar there. He used to be a regular sight in Edinburgh in the late 70s/early 80s when he was in The Exploited. He had green hair back then so you really couldn't miss him!
See the lassie playing keyboards on the right of the second picture, that's Shirley Manson, who a few years later would go on to achieve mega fame with her band, Garbage.
Anybody recall this gig? I missed out on it.
Photos by The Bear.

Monday 28 March 2011


Something a little bit different now from the usual kind of Retro item.
On 28th March 2007, London's Shepherds Bush Empire hosted an evening of music in tribute to Dundee's Billy Mackenzie.
Lots of acts turned out and put on a very entertaining concert that lasted around 5 or 6 hours.
Many of the artists who performed had worked with Billy at some stage, the majority being from the 80's era. Most bands did 3 or 4 tunes of their own material and also 1 song from the Mackenzie/Associates back catalogue.
First up on stage was Howard Hughes, Billy's former piano accompanist.
Next was a contemporary band called Mower, followed by an act Billy had actually named, The Subterraneans. This included an appearance by an emotional Christine Beveridge (Billy's old flat mate in Lyon Street).
Then on came Billy's old friend and collaborator, Paul Haig, this being his first live stage performance since the late 80's.
Moving onto a duet featuring ex Propaganda singer, Claudia Brucken and pianist Andrew Poppy. Claudia then reappeared a little later with an act called One Two, alongside Paul Humphreys from Orchestral Manouevers In The Dark.
Incidentally, in between all the band changes, The Associates & Billy's solo work was blasting out the PA together with promo videos and photos of him beamed onto a screen above stage.
Next was a newer band called Electric Soft Parade, followed by another electric act, B.E.F. (British Electric Foundation) - an offshoot of Heaven 17 and the Human League. They did a really cool version of Party Fears Two, turning it into a slow moody waltz!
Lastly, rounding the evening off was Apollo 440, who powered their way through to the final whistle.
I was there, and can tell you a great night was had by all.
Apart from all the music played, what I think would have appealed to Billy too was the fact that the Empire was where they used to make Crackerjack every week, hence my wee link in the previous post!
Also in the crowd, clicking away down at the front of the stage, was famous photographer, Peter Ashworth, who spent all evening documenting the event. Peter was the guy who did the iconic Sulk album cover.
I teamed up with Peter to make this video slideshow of the concert, not only to show how the night went, but because it was a charity concert, all proceeds going to Sound Seekers, a charity organisation for deaf kids and who get a mention at the end of the vid.
If any of you are in a generous mood, check out their website to find out how to donate.
A reminder too that there are a few videos on Youtube capturing not only some of the music, but also includes interviews with one or two of the acts.
To have London put on such a top notch occasion, says a lot about Billy's talent and influence.
He would have been well pleased!
Incidentally, I took the photo of the Empire above - it's not one of Peter's!


I noticed a few days ago, that I was approaching post # 1000 on Retro Dundee, so I knocked out this cheery little graphic to mark the moment.
No big deal really but I thought I'd use the junction to put the Retro Dundee contact details up for the very last time.
Being Retro's final year, this is a reminder open to anyone, that if you have any material you reckon is suitable to display - photos, memorabilia, audios, videos - feel free to get in touch via the email address above.
Retro is averaging between 1000 & 1500 hits a day.
Last month had a total of 37,408 views.
And so because this 1000th item isn't a proper post as such, here below is a cracker of a link to the next item I'm going to put up.
A bit of a tease, but there is a wee Dundee connection!

Sunday 27 March 2011


This ad for The Audio Visual Centre in Perth Road is dated 1973.
They were a photographic specialist, although obviously, as their name implies, they must have sold recording equipment, stereos or something like that too.
In fact, it was the name of the place that reminded me of this item below, a piece of newsreel I have from 1979 introducing the Laser Disc. This was technology I didn't indulge in, but it got me wondering, who would have been the first shop in Dundee to stock Laser Discs? I thought it might be an audio/visual store like Dixons or Comet rather than a record shop such as Bruces. Laser Disc content featured bands as well as movies, similar to video releases at the time.
Also, I don't recall video rental stores renting out Laser Discs, they just seemed to go onto DVDs after videos.
Anyway, I'm sure one or two of you out there must have treated yourself to Laser Disc gear, before they ended up in the shed alongside your 8-Track!

Saturday 26 March 2011


The top article reveals the moment the opening of Dundee's Tomb Jazz Cellar was announced - the item dating from August 1961.
It sounds like a place I'd have liked to have hung out had I been around, but being only 3 years old at the time means I wasn't quite ready to wear a beret and black polo-neck like the rest of the cool beatniks back then!
Main man, Andy Lothian, had the residency spot with his East Coast Jazzmen, while the Forrie Cairns Band were the first act to kick-start the guest sessions on 6 Aug 1961.
The second item dates from October 1961, and now the Tomb Jazz Cellar is in full flow with a number of guest appearances in the line-up to fill October's programme.

Friday 25 March 2011


Here's a typical ad for Tiffany's, the kind that would crop up in the Entertainment pages of the Tele regularly back then, this one here being from 1972.
I see their Tuesday private function was on till 1 o'clock in the morning, while their normal weekend business hours stopped at midnight or earlier. Strange!
And who were Force 6 - a local band?

Thursday 24 March 2011


Following on from yesterday's post - here's a great wee book that embraces the same subject, called "Are Ye Dancin'?".
It came out at the tail end of last year, and although it covers the full historical span of Scottish dancefloor action, it's the 60's, 70's & 80's which uses up the largest chunk of the book, hence me bringing it to your attention.
Here's a descriptive paragraph from the book itself to give you a flavour of the content -
*"Are Ye Dancin'?" is the unique inside story of "the dancin'" in Scotland in the 20th Century. It's a frank, hilarious account with anecdotes from the people who lived it - the bands, cashiers, stewards, promoters, entertainers, managers and the dancers themselves.*
Needless to say, Dundee struts it's stuff and gets a good mention, which also includes material from the Retro Dundee archives.
It was written by Eddie Tobin & Martin Kielty and is great insight into our own jiggin' years, with plenty of laughs along the way.
So boogie on down to your local book shop and go grab a copy for a tenner...before it becomes an expensive collectors item!

Wednesday 23 March 2011


Many of you will be familiar with the work of Maureen Reynolds who has written lots of Dundee based books since the 90's.
What we have here is an early example of Maureen's writing, published in the Scots Magazine in February 1989.
It's entitled "Dundee's Dancing Years" and is all about the dancehalls & ballrooms that were scattered around town, covering quite a few decades.
Just about every-place gets a mention - Robbies (West End Palais) - Continentale - Palais - J.M. - Empress - Locarno - Kidd's - Chalet - Star... and she tells stories like when locals had to take their gas masks with them when they went dancing during the war years, then goes on to recall her own dancing days at the Palais where the lassies had a perfume machine!
It goes right up to the 70's & 80's with the Barracuda - Sands - Samantha's & Buddies being name-checked, an era when they changed from old style ballrooms to discos for the "strobe light generation" as she describes it. Yeah, that sound like us lot!
Plenty photos and adverts to accompany the article too.
I've scanned in all 9 pages actual size - so if you fancy a wee read, just click onto the items to view the large versions.

Tuesday 22 March 2011


18th January 1986 was the date of the very first issue of the Extra.
It was free and was shoved through 60,000 letterboxes each week.
Not much news in the first edition to be honest, mostly adverts for car showrooms and furniture shops. It did have David Phillips "Meh Dundee" mind you, continuing on from the defunct Journal.
Click on image to view large version.

Monday 21 March 2011


11th January 1986 was the date of the very last issue of the Journal.
It was, however, only the Dundee edition that disappeared from the news stands, all the other editions around various parts of Scotland remained.
The Journal was replaced the following week by the Dundee Extra.
A reminder that you can catch up with a selection of articles from the Journals past history in the "Dundee Bygone News" link down the left side of the Retro layout.
I put the photo up large sized, so if you want to read the cover the best way would be to click onto the image to get the enlarged version, then right click to "Save picture as..", download it onto your own pc, and zoom in.

Sunday 20 March 2011


Top ad - A.R. Sherrit, School Road - 1981.
Mid ad - Kennerty, Mains Road - 1974.
Low ad - George Bathie, Shepherds Loan - 1968.
I had a wee stint on the milk in the early 70's when I was at secondary. It didn't last any longer than a fortnight though because I was just standing in for my mate. It was slightly different to the usual kind of milk round because I delivered milk only to schools & nurseries. Nae trekkin' up closies for me, just dropping the crates off outside the gates was all that was involved. The best bit was standing on the back of the lorry, whizzing along the streets with the wind in the hair!
An earlier primary school milky memory I have is when we used elastic bands as catapults - looped around the thumb and index finger. Folded bits of paper were the main pellets we'd fire at each other, however, the most painful ones were folded tinfoil milk bottle tops. OW..!!...they really stung yer bare legs! Made boys cry they did!!
Finally, don't forget there is also a book out called "On The Milk" by Willie Robertson, telling the tale of life as a milk boy in Dundee in the early 60's.
That's all the moo items I have at the moment - time to put the empties on the doorstep.

Saturday 19 March 2011


2 ads for Thomas D Guild of Stannergate Dairy.
Blue one 1979.
Orange one 1981.
We Dundee fowk called them Guildies of course... and talking about dairy mate, Tam Hughes, left Dundee for London in 1980, and after a few years started up his own dairy business in the capital. Now, probably 99 out of 100 would do what Thomas Guild did and call their business after their proper name, but Tam, amusingly, opted to keep his Dundee moniker and called his "Tams Dairies". Doing great biz too.
Incidentally, one of his delivery customers is original Madness nutty boy, Lee Thompson.
So milking the theme a for a bit of fun, I think a Madness remix is due - howsabout "Milk Float To Cairo" - "Sour House" - "Door Step Beyond"...!!

Friday 18 March 2011


Dundee Pasteurised Milk Co, or as it was more commonly known - the DPM - had premises all over town in the 60's and early 70's. I remember we used to go to their Dairy corner shop at the Craigiebank shops quite regularly back then. In fact, it was very similar to the one in the above photo which was located on the corner of Lochee High St & Bank St.
The picture was taken around 1970ish when DPM had their HQ in Mains Road.
They also had a garage in Strathmartine Road and shops in Reform St, Dura St, 2 in Perth Road, Dundonald St, Princes St, Fintry Road, Union St, Blackness Road, Arbroath Rd & Lochee High St - with the one in Reform St being a cafe.
By 1974, the DPM had completely disappeared off the map!
The advert with the crappy drawing is dated 1968.

Thursday 17 March 2011


In the early 60's, the Milk Marketing Board had a very catchy advertising slogan on the go that went - DRINKA PINTA MILKA DAY. It was used on TV, bill boards, magazines etc and in fact, the actual word pinta has since gone on to become part of everyday language.
The photo of the city centre above dates from the early 60's too, the entire square being used as an outdoor cafe, complete with wooden chalet and serving area, and on top of the stripy canopy it has the very same slogan.
As the 60's progressed, so did the advertising concept, developing variations on the pinta theme such as introducing Pinta People (Pinta Girls, Pinta Men), the idea being that if your were one of the Pinta People you'd be healthy, cool & trendy, in keeping with 60's swinging London!
They later came up with a similar slogan to the original which can be viewed in the TV ad below, which dates from around the mid/late 60's. This time they have it as - A PINTA PER PERSON PER DAY.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Wednesday 16 March 2011


This was a DC Thomson shindig that took place at Woodlands Hotel in 1967.
Bit of a twist to the Bring Your Own Bottle idea, but their "Feed The Baby" game seems to have been popular regardless.
I have all the names of the contestants participating, but no idea who's providing the entertainment in the background.
Acker Milk?

Tuesday 15 March 2011


Alf Robertson was Conservation Officer at Camperdown Park from the late 60's to mid 80's.
Many of you around my age group will remember Alf from your school visits up to Camperdown Wildlife Centre. He used to do a guided tour around the various sections with one of the highlights being Alf with the golden eagle.
He wasn't only a wildlife expert, he was also an artist and timber contractor, so when combining all 3 talents he ended up personally designing and building, what went on to become, the Camperdown Wildlife Centre and zoo.
When he retired in 1985, he famously sculpted a highland cow out of wood which was presented to Dundee's twin town, Wurzburg.
Alf was born in Lochee, went to Harris, then Duncan Of Jordanstone, and died quite recently in 2009.
The above photo is from around the late 60's / early 70's period.

Monday 14 March 2011


Bruce, was the Parks Departments cart horse during the 80's.
He wasn't just a novelty showpiece, he did actually do everyday work, although being the fine Clydesdale that he was, always attracted attention wherever he went.
The top photo is Bruce and co up at Camperdown stables in 1984.
The picture under it was taken in 1986 when the City Chambers kitchen was undergoing refurbishment and Bruce was called upon to cart the old kitchen equipment away. Before carrying on with his job though, Helen Smith, who was in charge of the kitchen, seized the opportunity to have her picture taken with him.
As a sideline, Camperdown also sold bags of dung as garden compost, and printed on the bags it had - "I Found It At Bruce's"!!

Sunday 13 March 2011


The advert on top cropped up in the Tele in January 1972.
Two Sunday games taking place up at Kingsway Ice Rink, one featuring a cup match - Dundee Rockets v Paisley Mohawks - and the other a league game - Dundee Meteors v Murrayfield Raiders.
It wasn't only local ice hockey teams Kingsway Ice Rink hosted, from time to time International games took place too. The photo above is one such encounter, a match in the early/mid 80's involving Great Britain v Canada.
It'll be interesting to find out if anyone has the results for any of the matches mentioned.
Incidentally, former 80's Dundee Rockets player, Rob (Bob) Breskal, has dropped some comments recently on some of the older Rockets/Ice Rink posts on Retro and says if anyone wants to get in touch with him, you can contact him at -

Saturday 12 March 2011


The top image is a wee reminder of how the entrance area to Kingsway Ice Rink looked - complete with curling stone and skater inlays.
The other image is a wee reminder of how the skaters at Kingsway Ice Rink looked - complete with mid 70's fashions.
You can tell it's 1974/75 by the high-waister jerseys that were all the rage at the time.
I've even spotted someone in the centre of the crowd wearing a "6 bander" - the cuffs went right up to your elbows and the waistband reached your chest. Classic!!

Friday 11 March 2011

2 ICE RINK ADS - 1972 / 81

Some of you may have spotted the old Kingsway Ice Rink in yesterday's aerial shot from the 60's...well here's 2 ads from the other retro decades.
The top ad will be very familiar to a lot of you because the same one cropped up on a weekly basis in the Tele throughout the 70's - the one here being from 1972.
The ad below it was a one-off and is dated 1981.

Thursday 10 March 2011


As I bring the recent railway theme to a halt, I'm going to end it with the same topic I started it off with - the Lochee line.
The map section I scanned in shows Lochee West Station & Lochee Station, with the line then continuing up towards Downfield.
Before it reaches the Kingsway, another line branches off East to Fair Muir and Maryfield goods stations.
The aerial photo is from around the mid 60's and it too has the Lochee line visible on it.
The easiest way to spot it is - you see that small dark square clump of trees near the bottom right of the picture, well the thin grey track brushing passed it is the Lochee line, and in fact that is where Lochee West Station was located.
You can follow the line on the photo all the way along it's swooping curve through Lochee and up beside the Kingsway Ice Rink.
You'd probably be best to save the large versions onto your own computer and go back & forward between the 2 to match them up.
And just in case the obvious escapes you - the left side of the map corresponds to the bottom of the photo, so you'll need to twist the images around in your mind!

Wednesday 9 March 2011


On the 28th December 1979, the Courier brought out this special 4 page supplement to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the Rail Bridge disaster.
The top photo tells you a bit about the technical details of the bridge design, the enquiry verdict and the evidence the court missed.
The remaining 3 pages consisted of facsimiles of the Courier's original coverage dated 29/30/31 December 1879.
It also tells of other damage in town caused by the hurricane - chimneys crashing down, roof tiles flying off, trees being uprooted etc.
Also published in 1979 to mark the occasion, these 2 cartoons cropped up in current affairs magazines.
The first one depicts the train driver as a bit of an Evel Knievel type character!
The second one shows a stereotypical mean Scottish reaction over the sad loss of return tickets!
You may also recall, in Anniversary year (1979) another train disaster occurred just along the road in Invergowrie, resulting in a few deaths and carriages falling into the Tay.

Tuesday 8 March 2011


Not exactly a brilliant picture this one but to be fair my brother was on board a train when he snapped it.
It was taken in the early 70's around the area between the rail bridge and the station.
To get technical for a moment - the WHISTLE sign was to warn of an approaching train shunting in the wrong direction over the up line.
The 2 signal arms on the tall post are shunting signals controlling one of the entrances to the goods yard.
What amuses me about the photo though is the reminder that back in the 70's my brother used to show his photos using a slide projector & screen at home, and every time this photo popped up on view, everyone in the room started to whistle!
Now this is a much better picture - this time one of Neale Elders.
You should recognise the view taken from the end of the platform.
The image was shot in December 1983, a year before these semaphore signals were replaced with a new coloured lighting system.
The signal boxes in the background are West Box & Central Box.
Another Neale Elder image here - the view along the rail bridge tracks taken in March 1986.
The "Push-Pull" train in the picture is another piece of history, and I'm pretty certain it has ScotRail on the side too!
If you need to delve deeper into the images, click onto them for the large versions.

Monday 7 March 2011

2 BRITISH RAIL ADS - 1979/84

The top ad from 1979 has quite a lot of well known, but now long gone, BR services on display - Railfreight, Motorail, Red Star, Sealink etc - all of which have either been sold off, re-branded or closed down!
The 2nd one is a Dundee based ad for ScotRail dating from 1984.
The ScotRail name is still on the go - but minus the BR logo.

Sunday 6 March 2011


Here's a nice wee collection of old BR tickets that were on the go in the mid 80's.
The large red & white ticket was probably the most common one in use back then for everyday city to city travel. Not only is the ticket a Dundee one, the machines that dispensed them were local too - the equipment being manufactured by NCR.
The white Excess/Travel slips were dished out by on-train staff in the days before they were given portable ticket machines for the job.
The wee pink ones were called Edmondson tickets and were issued at Broughty Ferry up until the station became unmanned in March 1985.
Big thanks to Neale Elder.

Saturday 5 March 2011


There doesn't appear to be much of a difference with the view along Douglas Terrace nowadays and when the above photo was taken - the mid 70's.
This is one of my brothers snaps and you should be able to notice he managed to catch the moment a train went whizzing past Royal Tay Yacht Club.
So just for a bit of fun, I thought I'd accompany the image with this piece of film below - the same scene, but from the train drivers viewpoint.
The footage is from inside the drivers cab, and is the full, uninterrupted trip from Dundee Station to Broughty Ferry Station, passing places such as the Docks, Stannergate, Grassy Beach and of course this stretch here in the snap.
Duration? - 4 minutes.

Friday 4 March 2011


Well I've passed it often enough, but I've never actually had any reason to use Broughty Ferry Station - so for those of you who were Ferry passengers, this batch of photos from the mid 80's will take you back.
Top one is of the level crossing & signal box at Gray Street and was taken in July 1985.
The signal box and footbridge were later dismantled and is currently in storage, perhaps to be reassembled sometime in the future.
Middle shot is a view from the other side of the structure as seen from the platform. Picture is dated February 1984.
The last image is a look inside at the station's ticket office. If you zoom into the large version you'll find plenty of BR paraphernalia to read. This was snapped in September 1984, and then a year later it became unstaffed.
The station is now operated by mission control in Dundee.
Photos by Neale Elder.