Visits To Greenwich and Brighton With Mum and Dad, 29 to 31 August 1977

I actually set out this morning (I am writing on 31 August 2017) to Ogblog 31 August 1997, in the form of a “what were you doing the day that Princess Diana died?” That I shall do once this piece is writ…now done – click here!

But once I realised that Janie and I went to a Greenwich tavern to meet John Random and Jenny Mill on 31 August 1997…

…and then realised that my previous visit to Greenwich for such purposes must have been about 20 years earlier…

…and then looked up that my previous visit had been EXACTLY twenty years earlier…

Time Traveller. Dad at the Greenwich prime meridian line, 31 August 1977

…I thought I’d better Ogblog both anniversaries and start with the earlier of them.

Here is a link to the Flickr album with the photos we took on those three days.

The diary page helped me a lot with this one:

Technicolor-style diary solves temporal mystery

I had wondered, when looking at the photo batch, whether I had got some negatives mixed up, as it looked to me as though some pictures of my dad in Brighton had got mixed up with a day trip to Greenwich.

But the diary reminds me that we went to Greenwich twice, going to Brighton on the day in-between.

That summer was the first time in my childhood that we had no family holiday.

Dad must have been very short of money at that time – the business had been doing badly for a few years by then. Dad probably couldn’t justify the expense of getting someone else to run the photographic shop for any amount of time during those commercially better end of summer weeks, even if he could have afforded the holiday itself…which he probably couldn’t.

So he/we simply took a long bank holiday weekend – I suspect he just kept the shop closed until the Thursday.

I have done this as a photo piece using the picture captions to tell the tale; I think the pictures themselves tell most of the story.

Dad in the Trafalgar Tavern, 29 August 1977

The diary suggests that we very much enjoyed our lunch at the Trafalgar Tavern.

Me in the Trafalgar Tavern, 29 August 1977

Probably we enjoyed the lunch so much so that we didn’t get to see all the things we’d intended to see in Greenwich that day.

Cutty Sark, 29 August 1977
Old Royal Naval College – 29 August 1977 – seemingly taken from a boat – how many times did I see that glorious panorama from the deck of a boat in later years?
29 August 1977 was a beautiful sunny day by the looks of it
29 August 1977 – Old Royal Naval College in the sunshine

On 30 August, we went to Brighton. Only three photos from there that day – all of my dad being blown or blowing in the wind:

Dad being blown around in Brighton, 30 August 1977
Dad blowing in the wind, Brighton, 30 August 1977 – I like this picture a lot.

We clearly decided to return to Greenwich to finish our sightseeing on 31 August. We took lunch in the Cutty Sark this time, which I don’t think we liked as much as the Trafalgar Tavern back then, if I am reading between the lines of my diary correctly.

The weather looks miserable in the 31 August pictures, as does my mum:

Dad and Mum, the latter looking wet and cold, in Greenwich, 31 August 1977
Dad and Mum, the latter looking wet and cold, in Greenwich, 31 August 1977
Major General James Wolfe looks hardier than my folks, 31 August 1977
The top of Greenwich Park had a truly grimy, industrial view back then
Time Traveller. Me at the Greenwich meridian line 31 August 1977

My First Ever Day At A Test Match, With Graham Majin, England v Australia Day 3, Oval, 27 August 1977

The diary entry is pretty blasé about this momentous day:

Went to test match. Mostly rained off etc. V good what we saw (Graham and I).

I’m pretty sure this was my first ever day at the test. But it seems that I was so laid back in those days, perhaps my first one entirely passed me by.

Graham Majin and I had spent a great deal of that summer together making our second animated film, Speare Trek. More on Speare Trek will appear on Ogblog in the fullness of time. (Including a link to the film once I work out a way of digitally patching it back together again). We’d finished filming earlier in August and I think (reading between the lines of the diary) the last of the rushes had returned to us from the processing lab earlier in the week of this test. Younger readers will need a glossary and a book on the history of film to understand what on earth I’m on about.

Anyway, one of Graham’s uncles was a journalist who tended to be given test match tickets for the Oval. A pair of hot test tickets for the Saturday filtered down to us.

The only problem that day was the rain. Lots of it. I suspect we got about an hour of cricket the whole day – here’s the scorecard.

I have a few good memories of the day. I remember the Australian players wandering around and chatting to the few hardy souls (which included me and Graham) who stuck around in the hope of cricket.

The Aussies had been beaten up in the test series (they were an insurmountable 3-0 down before this test started). They were also, unbeknown to us, riven by the Kerry Packer business, news of which was soon to break. Yet still they did their bit for the attendees. Respect.

I especially remember Kim Hughes as part of that wandering, sociable pack; I also remember some young women, near us, drooling over Hughes. Graham and I wondered what he had that we lacked.

Graham late summer the year before
Me late summer the year before: trophy but no cigar

Despite our extreme youth, the crowd-deprived bar folk of the Oval seemed only too happy to serve us beer. Thems was different times. I do not recommend that 14/15 year old readers try to emulate our behaviour.

But the central character of the day was Bob Willis. Renowned as a terrible batsman (he famously once went out to bat without a bat), he scored 24 not out in this innings, almost his personal best. After the innings break, he then took a wicket before stumps were drawn.

Graham and I still had beers in our hands when stumps were drawn and certainly weren’t inclined to drink quickly or rush away from the ground, so we stuck around a while before wandering down to the Oval tube station.

When we got down to that southbound platform, there, with his cricket coffin, was Bob Willis. We asked him where he was going. Bob explained that he had friends in Streatham and was going to stay with them for the Sunday – a rest day back then.

I don’t remember where the conversation went after that, nor indeed exactly how we all went our separate ways, each to subtly different parts of Streatham.

Graham might remember, but I doubt it. Bob’s even less likely to remember.

Meanwhile, that sighting of Bob Willis on the underground has gone down in King Cricket/Cricket Badger folk lore as the very pinnacle of “cricketer spotted” activity – click here for recent (at the time of writing) validation – an accolade indeed.

Boring Talk On Tractors Again, BBYO, 23 August 1977

While I was researching a piece about visiting Billingsgate with Andrew and Fiona Levinson in August 1977 – click here for below for the Billingsgate piece…

A Visit To Billingsgate Fish Market With Andrew & Fiona Levinson Plus Pen Friend Valerie, 20 August 1977

…I turned the page to uncover the following diary entries:

1977 was a relatively uneventful late summer for me; my first without a family vacation since I was a toddler. Graham Majin and I made our second animated film that summer, but it was in the can by late August. Graham and I went to the Ashes test match that Saturday (27th August) – my first taste of live international cricket – written up here.

But then my eye landed on my entry for Tuesday 23 August:

BBYO in evening. Boring talk on tractors again.

This got me thinking.

I recall some boring talks at our club (Streatham BBYO), but I don’t recall any on the subject of tractors. Further, I cannot imagine that the organising committee would have made the mistake of arranging, more than once, the same boring talk about tractors.

Who was on the committee at that time? I’m struggling to remember and might need a little help from my friends.

Dave Young was our President at that time, leading us to the granting of our charter to be a fully-blown club in the BBYO sphere. Dave was famous throughout the Nation for announcing himself at regional and national gatherings thus:

Dave Young…(raises arm to nose; visibly wipes nose with sleeve while audibly sniffing)…Stea’ham.

Other committee members back then? I can only recall a handful:

  • Karen Harris (no relation),
  • Sue Leyons (not 100% sure of the spelling),
  • the late lamented Lisa Benjamin – probably the person who did the most to persuade me to start going to club in the first place,
  • I’m sure there were others…help!

I think I joined the committee at the end of that year or possibly early the following – I had only been going to club a few months by then, I think. A more comprehensive go through my diaries will no doubt reveal more.

Anyway, my point is, that was not a bunch of people who, to my mind, would have been disposed to arrange talks about tractors. Nor would they have been daft enough to repeat the dose after, perhaps by chance, making the mistake of booking a speaker who turned out to be, obiter dicta, tractor-obsessed.


This leaves two possibilities:

  1. that the phrase “boring talk about tractors” was, at that time generally or in our circles specifically, a euphemism for a tedious speech on any subject. I do recall years later, when involved in Regional and National programming, that Richard Marks used to refer to a “talk about Bejam” ( a frozen food retailer located near Richard’s home club of Pinner) as his archetype for poor club programming. But I always assumed that Richard’s archetype was based on a genuine experience;
  2. the phrase written in the diary does not read “tractors” but is in fact an attempt to write some other word. It has been said that my handwriting is less than perfect and some (lesser beings) find it hard to read. Perhaps someone out there can translate my hieroglyphics or can spot the error and work out the intended word.

This is not the most interesting or pressing puzzle in my life at the moment – nor in yours (if there is anyone out there still reading at this juncture).

But I would like to capture some more memories of that early Streatham club committee and would be fascinated to hear any other recollections (from within the Streatham gang or from those from other BBYO clubs who who came across us) of that early era of our club.

On the road to Rayagada, in Odisha (formerly Orissa) State, India. I could tell you a story or two about our travels there…click the photo of you are curious

A Visit To Billingsgate Fish Market With Andrew & Fiona Levinson Plus Pen Friend Valerie, 20 August 1977

Flying Fish In Old Billingsgate

I was reminded of this 1977 impromptu summer holidays outing at a recent (November 2017) gathering of the old school clan – click here or the link below:

Rock ‘N’ Rajasthan Evening, Mostly Alleyn’s Alumni, 14 November 2017

Not only did both Andrew and Fiona Levinson come up in the conversation that evening, but I realised, when the 1977 Billingsgate visit popped into my head, that the venue, The Rajasthan Restaurant, is just across the road from the old Billingsgate Fish Market.  Weirdorama.

Here is the relevant page of my diary. Not much going on at that stage of the summer…

..apart from England winning the Ashes! Happy days.

This was the first year I didn’t go away with my parents during the summer school holidays since I was a toddler. I don’t think dad had the money for a holiday that year – business was not good.

Still, it seems that, on the Sunday before, I:

won 1p at kalooky [sic] all OK

Why Jewish grandmothers liked to play Kalooki – Jamaican Rummy is a mystery to me.  I think it explained to some extent in Howard Jacobson’s book Kalooki Nights, which I commend to you.

That 1p will have contributed handsomely towards my bus fares and stuff.

On the Friday, the diary notes that I:

went out with Andrew, Fiona and Valerie (pen friend from France). No 23 in evening.

No 23 was my grandmother (of kalooki fame)’s flat. There was a three line whip for the family to gather and no kalooki on a Friday night. Don’t be ridiculous. On the sabbath? No, no, no. Kalooki was a Sunday thing.

What Andrew, Fiona, Valerie and I did on that Friday is lost in the bowels of my mind, so unless one of the others reads this and knows (please chime in if you do) the nature of the Friday activity will be lost for ever in the mists of time.

The Saturday diary entry is more explicit:

went to Billingsgate first thing with Andrew, Fiona and Valerie.

I do recall making a very early start of it and venturing out to Billingsgate with my camera in hand.

Old Billingsgate, dapper head gear
Left to right: two fishmongers, Andrew, Fiona, Valerie
Andrew pondering the price of fish as we leave Billingsgate

Who would have thought back then that I would end up writing a book on commerce, The Price Of Fish, using a multitude of fishy examples, some of which were spawned all the way back then at Billingsgate – click here or below:

But I digress…

…let us return to the 20 August outing. We clearly did a little more sightseeing before we went home – click the link below for the whole photo roll, which is available for all to see on Flickr – click here or below:


As a footnote, I’d like to make it clear that our behaviour with Fiona’s pen friend from France was exemplary, showing her the sights, sounds and smells of Old London Town and generally being hospitable.

I feel the need to make this “good behaviour” point explicit, because some of our fellow Alleyn’s alumni took a somewhat different attitude to French pen pals. Messrs Wellbrook and Grant, for example, hang your heads in shame as I link any Facebook-enabled readers to David Wellbrook’s confession piece on the matter of Chris Grant’s French pen friend in the summer of 1976 – click here for Facebook or below for the Ogblog imprint: 

Guest Piece by David Wellbrook: The Long Hot Summer Of ’76 – Recollections Of A 14-Year-Old With Special Appearance By A Lunatic Frenchman, c1 July 1976

Tish tish.

Visiting The Slipped Disc in Clapham Junction With Paul Deacon, 10 August 1977

I have happy memories of visiting The Slipped Disc in Clapham Junction with Paul Deacon. I was reminded of those record hunts the other day, when circumstances took me to 28 Pembridge Road, which was Record and Tape Exchange in years gone by. I wrote up those 1978 record hunts here.

The Slipped Disc days were earlier. My trawl of my diary yields two diary references to visiting the Slipped Disc with Paul Deacon:

Wednesday 10 August 1977 – went to Slipped Disc with Paul. Bought 72 records for 72p

Then a couple of months later:

Saturday 8 October 1977 – went down to Slipped Disc with Paul. Bridge in evening

I probably need to provide some context to the mention of 72p. Back in 1977, my parents would give me 10p a week pocket money. Grandma Anne would give me 50p in a week when I saw her, but that was expected to be “saving money” for big things. (I’m still not sure what such big things are, which probably explains why I remain reluctant to buy things. Just in case they aren’t big enough.)

I could supplement my 10p a week “frittering money” by:

  • saving a bit from my school fare by walking some of the way;
  • winning at Kalooki against mum and Grandma Anne on a Sunday. On average, I tended to be up a few pence when we played, but of course I’d lose sometimes too;
  • in the summer I could occasionally earn a penny per weed to relieve dad of that particular arduous task.

In short, 72p back then was real money to me. But 72 discs was a real haul too.

Singles wasn’t really my thing, to be honest (more albums, me), but my goodness singles was Paul Deacon’s thing. I’m not sure how formative these Slipped Disc trips were in his astonishing career as a collector, archivist and DJ – Paul might choose to explain that for himself.

I mentioned in my discussion with Paul on the Record and Tape Exchange business, that I planned to write about The Slipped Disc this weekend and Paul said:

I look forward to revisiting the ‘Disc. Here’s a comment online that resonates. He mentions Melodisc. We picked loads between us didn’t we?

Click here for that Disc Deletion/Slipped Disc comment Paul mentions.

Sadly, not all of my Slipped Disc purchases seem to have made it to my log and/or collection. Only 34 Slipped Disc ones are catalogued and that must cover several visits.

I might just have a box of uncatalogued singles somewhere or they might not have made it from the house. I’ll have a look in the flat, but I don’t hold much hope. For example, what became of my copy of Bulgarian Betrothal by…whoever on earth did Bulgarian Betrothal? Most of those that didn’t make it were probably truly awful. Some of those that did make it are a bit embarrassing to be honest, although Hard Work by John Handy had me grooving and syncopating in my chair just now.

The extract linked here as an aside shows the first 40 singles in my collection, numbers 7 to 40 being my Slipped Disc purchases.

The first six deserve a mention, though, not least because the first five will also be Slipped Disc purchases, but those made by my dad some years earlier, when in search of music to use as backing tracks for films. The Wailers record is quite rare, I think. They probably all are. Goodness knows what dad would have paid for those in old money. Probably 1d each. Maybe a ha’penny each.

Record 6 in the collection was the very first record I owned. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear by the Alan Price Set. Bless.

I’m really hoping that Paul will chime in with some more memories of these visits. I’m also going to send a link to the Clapham Junction nostalgics who hang out together on Facebook to see if we can generate some additional chat about the amazing record shop that was The Slipped Disc.


The First 40 Singles in My Collection, An Aside To Slipped Disc Posting, 10 August 1977

Set out neatly in a pdf from my iTunes here…First Forty Singles Landscape

…or quoted as a simple listing from my old Access database below.

001,Genie With The Light Brown,Shadows

001,Little Princess,Shadows


002,It’s Been a Blue Day,Shadows

003,Zero-G,Barry Gray

003,Fireball,Barry Gray


004,Your Love,Wailers

005,Funny,Ken Lazrus

005,Walk Like a Dragon,Byron Lee Orchestra

006,Simon Smith And The Amazing,Alan Price Set

006,Tickle Me,Alan Price Set

007,Our Love,Scrounger

007,So Here I Stay,Scrounger

008,Legalise It,Peter Tosh

008,Brand New, Second Hand,Peter Tosh

009,Stop It I Like It,Patti Boulaye

009,Kiss and Make Up Time,Patti Boulaye

010,Hard Work,John Handy

010,Young Enough To Dream,John Handy

011,Red Alert,Patti Boulaye

011,Without My Man Inside,Patti Boulaye

012,Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) Pt I,Isaac Hayes

012,Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) Pt I,Isaac Hayes

013,I Want More,Can


014,All I Wanna Do In Life,Marianne Faithful

014,Wrong Road Again,Marianne Faithful

015,Do My Thing Myself,Glass Menagerie

015,Watching The World Pass By,Glass Menagerie

016,Jolie La Ville Curepipe,Alain Permal Mauritius Police Band

016,Danse Dans Mo Les Bras,Alain Permal Mauritius Police Band

017,Wonderful Dream,Anne-Marie David

017,Tu Te Reconnaitras,Anne-Marie David

018,C’est Ma Fete,Richard Anthony

018,Les Beaux Jours,Richard Anthony

018,Le Ciel Est Si Beau Ce Soir,Richard Anthony

018,Son Meilleur Copain,Richard Anthony

019,Le Roi D’Angleterre,Nino Ferrer

019,Il Me Faudra – Natacha,Nino Ferrer

019,Les Petites Jeunes Filles De Bonne Famille,Nino Ferrer

019,Monsieur Machin,Nino Ferrer

020,Slip And Slide,Medicine Head

020,Cajun Kick,Medicine Head

021,Desperate Dan,Lieutenant Pigeon

021,Opus 300,Lieutenant Pigeon

022,Casatschok,Dimitri Dourakine

022,Toi Toi Toi,Dimitri Dourakine

023,The Trouble,Silvers

023,Almost In Love,Silvers

024,What Do You Say About That,Phase 4

024,I’m Gonna Sit Down And Cry,Phase 4

025,Beautiful Sunday,Daniel Boone

025,Truly Julie,Daniel Boone


026,Let Me In,Teach-In

027,Any Dream Will Do,Max Bygraves

027,Close Every Door To Me,Max Bygraves

028,Back Home,England World Cup Squad 1970

028,Cinnamon Stick,England World Cup Squad 1970

029,I Fall To Pieces,Pat Dusky and the Marines

029,This Can Be The Night,Pat Dusky and the Marines

030,Turn On the Sun,Sandra Christy

030,How Can We Doubt,Sandra Christy

031,Agbogun G’Boro,Tunde Nightingale and his HighLife Boys

031,Kole Si Se,Tunde Nightingale and his HighLife Boys

032,Stop For The Music,Nutrons

032,The Very Best Things,Nutrons

033,Spinning Wheel,King Koss

033,Louisiana,King Koss

034,Blacksmith Blues,Birds of a Feather

034,Sing My Song And Pray,Birds of a Feather

035,It’s All Happening,Leapy Lee

035,It’s Great,Leapy Lee

036,Gonna Give Up Smoking And Take,Pipkins

036,Hole In The Middle,Pipkins

037,Wang Dang Doodle,Dr John

037,Big Chief,Dr John

038,Sacramento,Middle of the Road

038,Love Sweet Love,Middle of the Road

039,Goodnight Sweet Prince,Mister Acker Bilk

039,East Coast Trot,Mister Acker Bilk

040,Lucky Five,Russ Conway

040,The Birthday Cakewalk,Russ Conway