A Day With The Deacons, Music Exchange & Lord’s, 8 August 2017

Paul Deacon got in touch to say that he and his family would be over from Canada about this time and that he quite fancied a visit to Record & Tape Exchange for old time’s sake – click here for insight into those days of yore – as one element of a meet up. Some cricket at Lord’s wouldn’t go amiss either.

We concluded that 8 August would be the best day for this – my timings were completely flexible (apart from a hot date with the Mrs in the evening) and it was Day 3 of the county match between Middlesex & Warwickshire; that seemed a good bet.

With the Deacons scheduled to arrive at the flat at 12:00, I had time to write up the events of 25 years ago – the day Janie and I met – click here – and also get to the gym for a decent work out.

I hadn’t met Christine or Anya before, but it almost felt as though we all knew each other from the outset. We had some tea and a chat at the flat, while Paul studied my singles collection – there are indeed a few dozen singles yet to digitise from those old Slipped Disc visits and my dad’s serendipitous purchases – another autumn/winter task.

The girls fancied a bite of lunch, so we dropped them off at Paul Rhodes while Paul and I strolled down a few doors further and down memory lane at Music Exchange.

Paul, game face on, studies singles, while I browse albums – just like the old days

We had a look upstairs and in the bargain basement, but Paul only bought a handful from the ground level selection:

Unlike the old days, only Paul purchases anything and only a few discs

There are some more Music Exchange photos on Flickr – click here.

After a quick reviving snack in Paul Rhodes with the girls, we then hot-footed it to Lord’s.

I hadn’t kept up with cricket events at all during the day, but knew from my visit to Lord’s and the Meet The Players Party the previous day, that the pitch had flattened out quite a lot. So my fears from Day One, when 20 wickets fell, that there might not be much/any play on Tuesday afternoon were surely unfounded…

…or were they?…

…I tapped in to Cricinfo on the way to the ground and exclaimed, “oh no! Middlesex have collapsed. We’re nine down. We probably won’t see any cricket at all.”

But we were only 10 minutes from the ground and we managed to navigate the formalities to get The Deacons in the Allen Stand gap to see some cricket. Between overs, we even got into the pavilion for the last few overs before the inevitable ending came. So the Deacons were actually in the Long Room to witness the end of the match and the traditional end of match civilities. In many ways, that made it an extra special treat for the Deacons. It would have been more special for me had it been a Middlesex win.

Still, that meant we had plenty of time and less distraction for an informal tour of Lord’s, starting with the grand tour of the pavilion itself.

I didn’t realise when we arranged the day, but Anya plays cricket at school in Canada – I imagined that she’s be largely unfamiliar with the game – so the Lord’s visit was quite special for her.

Paul and Anya on the Pavilion terrace, “borrowed” with thanks from Paul’s Facebook photo stack

Janie arrived just a few minutes after the match had finished – she seems to make a bit of a habit of doing that for county championship matches – we finally tracked her down after some comedy business where Janie must have sort of been following us around the pavilion without us actually meeting up.

Me, Christine and Anya just before Janie tracked us down, pushing the “no photos in the pavilion” rule to its limits, “borrowed” with thanks from Paul’s Facebook photo stack

With Janie, we went and looked at the Lord’s Shop and the Cricket Academy, walked back round the ground making a full circuit, had a quick look at the real tennis court and then retired to the Bowler’s Bar in the pavilion for a well-deserved drink.

Paul’s words and more pictures can be found on Paul’s Facebook posting – here.

The afternoon had gone so quickly. We all had evening events to get to; Anya had arranged to see some old pals south of the river, Paul and Christine were meeting some friends for an evening at Ronnie Scott’s, while Janie and I had our hot anniversary date to get to.

A multi-serlfie by Paul, back at the flat, using shelf and timer, “borrowed” with thanks from Paul’s Facebook photo stack

It was a really enjoyable day; one of those special gatherings that will live long in the memory and which brought back plenty of other memories too.

A Most Unusual, Multi-Media, Transatlantic, Partially On-Air, Pop-Up Gathering by Part of the Old School Clan, 7 May 2016

I had been corresponding with my old school friend Paul Deacon on Facebook for the previous couple of days, sparked by:

As an aside, Paul asked me if Janie and I had listened to his weekly broadcast on The Grand At 101 lately. I had to admit we hadn’t. The show is on Saturday afternoons in Ontario, therefore Saturday evening here. Janie and I are almost always out on a Saturday evening – Ogblog postings passim attest to this fact. It must be more than a year; perhaps even a couple of years since we last tuned in.

However, our Saturday evening plans – feeding friends Kim, Michel and David – had, for practical reasons, been switched to Sunday lunch instead. As it turns out, Sunday 8 May is scheduled to be “sunny, hot, sit in the garden” weather, so the switch was fortuitous in many ways.

In short, we would be around, so I told Paul we’d tune in at least to some of the show. In the course of this correspondence, Paul Hamer (another old school friend) said that he would also tune in “while cooking his risotto”. At the start of the show, Paul Hamer evidenced the fact that he was listening and cooking risotto with this picture:

Paul Hamer Risotto Evidence
Photo courtesy of Paul Hamer

Indeed, Paul Deacon’s posting about his show and all the ensuing Facebook correspondence can be found here.

Once we were listening in, I mischievously sent Paul the following private message, which relates closely to the rag, tag and bobtail records we procured at the Slipped Disc all those years ago:

Ian and Janie messaging in from warm and sunny London. Would you be able to spin a 45 for us today? Ideally a Melodisc classic, such as Jolie La Ville Curepipe by the Alain Permal Mauritius Police Band, Agbogun G’Boro by Tunde Nightingale and his HighLife Boys, Bulgarian Betrothal by the Bulgarian Variety Orchestra or the classic Stop For The Music by The Nutrons. We and your listeners deserve nothing less.

Melodisc was a most unusual label – probably the first truly “Indie” label around – read more about it here.

Of course, I should have known better than to challenge Paul to play an unbelievably obscure 1960s record.

Soon after 20:00 our time, Paul Deacon broadcast a shout-out to Paul Hamer and played some rather unappetising sound effects in honour of Paul Hamer’s jumbo prawn risotto. Paul Hamer’s retort; a photo of said risotto in all its glory – makes better Facebook/Ogblog than it does radio…but it does look very appetising:

Paul Hamer Risotto Full Glory
Photo courtesy of Paul Hamer

I showed Janie the jumbo prawn risotto picture; she suggested I take a picture of the remains of our dinner and upload it. I made an executive decision not to do that. Even if people could imagine that fine meal from the messy carnage of (what had only recently been) a most impressive-looking roast duck…I wouldn’t have wanted to upstage Paul Hamer.

Then a few minutes later Paul Deacon broadcast a shout-out to me and Janie. Much to my embarrassment, he actually played Stop For The Music by The Nutrons as a request for us. “Truly terrible”, was Janie’s verdict on that obscure musical masterpiece.

When Paul (wisely) interrupted the track before the full 125 seconds of noise had completed, he played The Grand at 101 jingle. “Oh, so Paul also has a Room 101 for crappy records then?”, asked Janie. “No”, I replied, “101 is the FM broadcasting frequency of Paul’s radio station”.

To explain, if I put something on a music playlist that Janie really doesn’t like, it doesn’t simply get deleted from that playlist, it gets moved to a playlist named “Janie’s Room 101 Playlist”. The latter playlist would, in extremis, be played continuously on a loop if Janie ever were so badly behaved as to require sending to Room 101 for re-education.

Readers will, I’m sure, be unsurprised to learn that Janie’s Room 101 is more a theoretical construct or “empty threat” than anything approaching reality. She’s stronger than me for a start. Paul Deacon would be a little disappointed by some of the tracks that have ended up in Janie’s Room 101, but there’s no accounting for taste.

Meanwhile, Paul’s radio show. While simultaneously joking with several of us on Facebook, digging out obscure 1960’s Melodisc records…oh, and of course actually broadcasting a show an hour longer than his usual slot to cover for someone…

…Paul Deacon also told us that John Eltham (another old school friend of ours) would be joining him at the studio “any minute”, along with Rich Davies – yet another old school friend, who lives in Ontario near the Deacons.

I was aware that John Eltham was due to visit Paul and Rich this month, as John had mentioned the visit in correspondence with me a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t twigged that the visit was so imminent. Indeed, while the broadcast was still going on, Paul wrote:

He’s here now! Just telling us about Rohan…

…the Rohan reference is to Rohan Candappa. I suppose in particular the “telling” was about a gathering we had a few months ago to see Rohan’s wonderful one-man show, which we now learn will be going to Edinburgh this summer – click here to read about it.

So, I woke up this morning to see these wonderful postings on Paul’s Facebook Area:

Johnny & Pauly On The Grand
Johnny & Pauly On The Grand – Photo courtesy of Christine Deacon (I think) via Paul Deacon
A Grand Quartet
A Grand Quartet – Photo courtesy of the waiter via Paul Deacon

I reflect that this connected world of ours is truly marvellous. We can banter with old friends and listen to radio broadcasts across continents. Face-to-face visits across such distances are now affordable, practical realities also. But by gosh it helps if you can multi-task like Paul Deacon!


The Day I Didn’t Go To Cricket With Paul Deacon, I Watched TV For Several Hours Instead, 6 August 2015

It’s strange how we sometimes don’t connect two things that have happened. Or in this case, connect one thing that didn’t happen with another thing that did happen.

Stumbling across my diary entry for Thursday 6 August 2015, I see a line through the day (which means that I had booked a day’s leave) and then the following notes:

E v A @ Trent 1, Notts @ Lord’s, Paul Deacon.

Ah yes. Paul Deacon, who relocated to Canada with his family a few years ago now, was over for a few weeks. We had hatched a plan to meet at Lord’s that day. Paul enjoys a bit of cricket and “the girls” (Christine & Anya) liked the idea of some shopping in Central London during those hours.

Then we learnt that the threatened tube strikes for that day were indeed going ahead. We exchanged some notes the day before about trains and buses, but in the end the Deacons very sensibly decided to steer clear of Central London on a strike day.

In truth, I am not wild about 50 over cricket. Great as a day out with a friend, but I certainly didn’t feel motivated to trek to Lord’s on my tod to see that game. No.

And there was an Ashes Test match due to start the same day. So I decided instead that I’d stay home, get a bit ahead of myself with work and stuff. Oh, and of course keep at least half an eye on the test match.

So I plonked myself in front of the TV to watch the first ball of this match – click here.

This now famous utter routing of Australia became compelling viewing within 5 minutes and I basically didn’t move from the TV for a couple of hours until the lunch interval. That is not normal cricket viewing behaviour for me.

King Cricket had preambled the day’s play with a moan fest about Jimmy Anderson’s absence, which generated some rather interesting comments as the morning unfolded – click here.

King Cricket then attempted a reverse ferret on the day, rapidly reporting the event thus – click here.

Bert, one of King Cricket’s regular readers, correspondents and occasional reporter, provided an epic match report in the KC style, i.e. somehow managing to avoid mentioning the cricket – click here.

So, I had all that fun, instead of traipsing to Lord’s to see this match. If you can be bothered, I mean really don’t feel obliged, but you may, if you really want to see the scorecard, click here.

Thing is, though, from then until today (in December 2016) I had not once made the connection between my availability to see that extraordinary session of Ashes Test match history unfold and the earlier disappointment of having to abandon the proposed trip to Lord’s with Paul.

Therefore not once had I even thought to thank Paul for making his sensible decision to avoid Central London, thus allowing the day to unfold for me as it did.

Until now.

Thanks, Paul.

England v Bangladesh Day 2, Lord’s, 28 May 2010

A day at Lord’s with Charles “Charley The Bent Malloy” Bartlett, Mark “Uncail Marcas” Yeandle and a final hurrah with Paul Deacon before he abandoned us all for the Great White North.

You’ll have to take my word for it that Mark Yeandle is there between me and Paul.

Photos lifted from Facebook with implicit permission from Paul Deacon.  Paul took lots of photos that day, which Facebookers can see by clicking here.

Looks as though I am polishing off one of my smoked salmon bagels when that photo was taken, presumably by an amiable neighbour.

Mark Yeandle, despite hiding between me and Paul in the photo, made a momentous contribution to the day (and to the picture, if you look closely at Chas’s right hand) in the form of a monster ration of his local, outstandingly good Frittenden strawberries, picked specially for the occasion. By my reckoning, that particular day was “peak strawberry” day – the very best ones ever…or I should say to date (writing in late 2017).

England were doing rather well

Very much a batting day, was Day 2, although we got to see some (mainly tail-end) wickets too.

By the end of the day England were working hard in the field to little avail.

We had superb weather for a May test match and I recall a very pleasant day in every respect. We were lucky – the next day the weather was less than special and there was very little cricket.

Here is a link to the scorecard for the match. England prevailed in the end; but the end wasn’t until the Monday.

Paul’s next visit to Lord’s, I think, was more than seven years later with family in tow – click here.

Alleyn’s Alum Gathering, The Fine Line & The Rajasthan, 4 March 2010

With thanks to Paul Deacon for this and the following photos.

In truth, until this event, I had been pretty rubbish at keeping in touch with people from school.

I’d certainly avoided formal gatherings over the years, relenting just once for a Saddlers’ Hall do a few moons/years before this event, which I shall write up for  Ogblog in the fullness of time.

But this one grabbed my attention, not least because one of the ringleaders was John Eltham (with whom I had already re-established contact through quasi-business stuff).

Also because it was billed as an informal gathering of the “Class of 1980”; a rehearsal for some formal thing that was coming up that summer (which I resolved not to attend).

Also because Paul Deacon (one of the few people with whom I had kept in touch over the years) pipped me an e-mail letting me know that he’d be there and hoping that I’d be there too.

I have “borrowed” the photos from Paul’s Facebook postings – which can be seen in their original splendour by clicking here if you are a Facebooker – ahead of asking Paul’s permission to replicate them.

Please my I borrow your photos Paul?

So, if all the photos have disappeared from this Ogblog piece before you read it, that means that Paul has said no to my request and I have zapped his photos. But if the photos are still here, thanks Paul, for the photos.

Now where was I?

The Fine Line in Monument Street, that’s where. At the time of writing (and linking) I believe it has been renamed The Hydrant.

I remember taking along a couple of pieces of memorabilia which caused some mirth; namely my slide rule and a pair of sports socks into which my mum had sewn little patches with my name on them. The slide rule is no longer much use to man or beast (apart from explaining to youngsters how lucky they are to have computers doing all that stuff for them). The socks might come in handy as I approach the other end of my life – e.g. if I start to forget my own name.

I remember meeting Susie Schofield, who was then the new alumni person, chatting with her for some time. I’m not sure I let on that I wasn’t really the most alumni-amiable person at the event…in fact I think I got away with it.

Milk, Peanut, the nicknames all came flooding back…

It was a very convivial gathering and I got to chat with lots of people. Lots of people got to chat with lots of people. Convivial gatherings tend to be a bit like that.

Why I cultivated the most pompous face on earth for this photo is anyone’s guess…perhaps because I appear to be balancing a speaker precariously on my head, to the amusement of Paul Deacon, David Wellbrook and Facebook commentators at the time

I know this next bit sounds almost unbelievable to the uninitiated, but after the drinks, many of us ended up a few doors away in The Rajasthan for a curry. Yes, really.

You want evidence?

The Rajasthan…evidently.

I tried to settle my account with a fifty-billion dollar financial instrument. Yes, really.

You want evidence?

50 Billion here and 50 Billion there soon adds up to real money.

I look a bit tired and emotional in that last photo; parting company with money sometimes has that effect on me. But in truth I had very much enjoyed that evening, which in many ways kicked off my rejoining of the fold and joining in many subsequent convivial evenings with the old school clan.

(I Married A) Monster From Outer Space – And What That Did For One Of My Earthly Romances, 15 October 1982

I retrieved this memory vividly at a pilot of Rohan Candappa’s new performance piece on 31 October 2017:

What Listening To 10,000 Love Songs Has taught Me About Love. It’s an exploration of love, and music, and how the two intertwine. it’s also about how our lives have a soundtrack.”

Here is a link to my write up of Rohan’s performance piece.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Rohan used (I Married A) Monster From Outer Space by John Cooper Clarke as one of his examples. If you have never heard a recording of it, here is a vid with an unexpurgated version:

It was Paul Deacon who introduced me to the recording (the expurgated version as it happens), in April 1982. I know these exact details because I still have the track listing from the relevant cassette, beautifully typed by Paul as part of the gift:

In October 1982, that cassette would have still been in the recent section of my cassette cases and was still getting plenty of play.

Now turn your mind to Freshers’ Week on the 1982/83 year; my third. Thus spake my diary:

That’s not a bad few days.

I saw The Beat at the Freshers’ Ball on the Wednesday. I’m pretty sure I liked them a lot before I saw them live. But once I’d seen them live I liked them even more. They were a terrific live act. I especially remember the Keele audience going wild for Ranking Full Stop and of course Stand Down Margaret, but pretty much all of the gig was superb as I remember it:

Writing in October 2017, I only wish that someone would write something with similar sentiments about our current prime minister. I mean, where’s Simon Jacobs when you need him?…

…ah, there he is. Thank you, Simon. But I digress.

Two nights later, with just one evening between gigs for me to recover (by “getting quite intoxicated”, apparently) it was Culture Club. That gig was eagerly awaited. They had been unknowns when booked, but were Number Two in the charts come Freshers’ Week, with the clever money suggesting that they would be Number One by the time the next chart came out – which they were.

Lisa was at that gig with Ashley Fletcher and a few others of that Hawthornes Hall crowd. Lisa wasn’t a Keele student; she had just enrolled on an art school type course at North Staffs Poly as it then was. Lisa lived in The Sneyd Arms; she was landlord Geoff O’Connor’s daughter.

35 years later…Ashley in The Sneyd Arms – with thanks to Ashley & Sal for the picture

I remember being underwhelmed by the Culture Club gig. To be fair, their rise (and therefore the increase in expectations) had been stratospheric – in truth they were still a fairly inexperienced band who would have seemed “better than most” if people hadn’t been expecting overnight superstars. I remember them playing “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” at least twice. I think it was just twice. Fairly short set, though.

Weird vid, but if you want to see/hear the song:

Anyway, Lisa and I went on to the Postgraduate Bar – KRA afterwards – I have a feeling that Ashley and the rest went on somewhere else. Then one thing led to another with Lisa.

I was over the moon, I took her back to my place…and we ended up going out for the rest of that academic year, basically.

I vaguely associate the start of my relationship with Lisa with Culture Club. Very vaguely. Until I looked at the diary to prepare this piece, I had completely forgotten that Lisa and I got started the night of that gig.

But when Rohan spoke about (I Married A) Monster From Outer Space I had a strong memory flash about it. For a start, I realised that I always associate that record with starting out with Lisa.

I cannot swear that the following interaction took place that very first evening/night…I’d rather like to think it was…but I clearly remember Lisa rummaging through my cassettes, finding the above one and yelping with joy that I had “I Married A Monster”, which she loved.

It was one of those joyous things; the shared pleasure in a rather obscure, let’s face it, weird, recording. It helped to cement Lisa’s and my relationship in those early days. We knew that we must have plenty in common, because we both really liked that John Cooper Clarke record. What additional evidence could you possibly need?

In Rohan’s show, he didn’t really explore the business of how we use the discovery of shared taste in songs to help cement our relationships. But I think that happens often and is quite a central part of why music is so important to us, whether we are seeking, starting, in or ending relationships.

But thanks, Rohan, for helping me to recover this memory through “Monster”. And thanks Paul Deacon, for all you did to help me and Lisa, without ever knowing it, until now.

By the way, Rohan’s favourite line from “Monster” is:

…and it’s bad enough with another race, but f*ck me, a monster from outer space.

That might be my favourite line too. But Lisa’s favourite line was:

…she lives in 1999, with her new boyfriend, a blob of slime.

Perhaps that was Lisa’s way of trying to keep me on my toes; “you’re not the only pebble on the beach…if you keep on like that I might prefer to date a blob of slime…”.

I’m done, but you might enjoy this ranting poetry version of I Married A Monster:

My Keele Interview With Patrick Moore, Conducted In My Little Study Bedroom (Lindsay F4), circa 28 May 1981

My memory of this event was triggered at lunch the other day (October 2017) when Patrick Moore came up in the conversation.

“Oh yes, I interviewed him when I was at Keele”, I said, “I didn’t find him all that impressive”.

Janie ticked me off afterwards for being (or at least seeming) churlish about the matter, especially as Alan and Sue (who had brought Patrick Moore into the conversation) were obviously keen on him.

On reflection, I couldn’t recall why I had been unimpressed by him. But I could recall that I had recorded the interview and had digitised the tape a few years ago, without really listening to it again at that time.

I promptly listened to it carefully – you can hear it too if you wish:

Listening to the interview brought back a flood of memories and also made me feel very badly about my teenage impression of Patrick Moore. Because I realise, on listening to the recording, that the unimpressive contributor is me, not him.

I was under-prepared for that interview and Patrick Moore to some extent interviewed himself.

In my defence, the reason I was under-prepared was because I hadn’t expected to conduct the interview until later that day. I certainly hadn’t expected to conduct it in my own little study/bedroom.

This is what happened.

I was the Concourse (Student Union newspaper) journalist assigned to interview Patrick Moore and was due to interview him early evening before he delivered a talk to students. This was arranged through Dr Ron Maddison, who was a good pal of Patrick Moore’s and was the Astronomy lead on Keele’s rather impressive observatory.

Being me, I went to Ron Maddison’s office early afternoon on the day of the interview/talk just to confirm all the arrangements. It turned out that Patrick Moore was already there with some time on his hands. They both suggested that I could conduct the interview there and then. I explained that I would need my tape recorder and notepad, at which point Patrick Moore volunteered to come with me and be interviewed in my room.

I told him that my student room was less than salubrious, especially when I was not expecting guests, but my protests seemed to make him all the more eager to take this opportunity to observe how students really live.

Patrick Moore, the man who usually wielded the telescope towards the stars, was choosing to observe student life under the metaphorical microscope.

So we marched from the Astronomy Department to Lindsay and my very humble little room, F4.

I remember telling him, along the way, that I had planned to prepare the questions that afternoon so was under-prepared. He told me not to worry and that between us he was sure we’d cover plenty for my article.

I remember making us both a coffee when we got to my room. I possibly even had some biscuits to offer.

If you listen to the interview, it sounds a bit like a John Shuttleworth interview, but without the music. You can hear the sound of the coffee mugs being moved around. It is very folksy sounding, which indeed it was.

Some of my questions and interjections are positively cringe worthy, but on the whole I sense that I had roughly worked out a skeleton for the interview in my head and we worked through it – perhaps not as methodically as I would have planned, but the interview does cover a lot of ground. He was clearly a seasoned interviewee who could have conducted his own interview without me.

The recording runs uninterrupted for over 15 minutes, until c17:20, at which point I began stopping the tape periodically to try to make sure we were covering everything I wanted/needed for my article.

At 21:25 I ask a particularly ill-phrased question about black holes, followed by, during the embarrassing seconds that followed, the clear sound of someone knocking and entering the room. I remember this clearly. It was my neighbour, Simon Ascough (Sim), who was quite taken aback to see Patrick Moore in the room.

Sim had presumably popped in on a matter of extremely urgent student importance. Perhaps to recommend that we listen to In A Gadda Da Vida (yet again), possibly to suggest a mid afternoon spliff or quite possibly both. But I think (mercifully) that Sim’s request went unspoken; in any case I turned the recorder off at the moment of the knock.

At 23:55 comes the laugh out loud moment on the tape, when you can clearly hear the sound of a female (or females) being chased around the corridor of F Block. Again I turned off the recorder. I remember Patrick Moore asking me if my friend, having found me otherwise engaged, had decided to chase girls instead?

What I should have said was, “no, that’ll almost certainly be Richard Van Baaren and Benedict Coldstream chasing girls around the corridor”. But I didn’t say that. In fact, I think both Patrick Moore and I had a fit of the giggles for quite a few moments before I switched the recorder back on.

My only other profound memory of this interview was playing the recording to Paul Deacon during the summer holidays soon after the event. Paul is a DJ, voice recording artiste and a superb mimic; Patrick Moore is certainly one of Paul’s voices.

I remember Paul playing over and over again the bit at the beginning of the interview when Patrick Moore says, “and then along came Mr Hitler”, mimicking it better and better each time, until I begged Paul to stop. Perhaps it was the Paul comedy aspect that dampened my enthusiasm for Patrick Moore.

One of the strangest things about this very memorable event was that I didn’t register it at all in my diary, so I cannot be 100% sure of the date on which his lecture (and therefore my interview) took place.

It looks to me as though my diary got quite a long way behind at that stage of that term. To be fair on my 18-year-old self, it was a busy time. Uncle Manny (dad’s older brother) died suddenly a couple of week’s earlier, so I needed to go home unexpectedly to help with family duties and attend the funeral & shiva.

It was also essay and exam time – not ridiculously onerous in Foundation Year (FY) but I had been behind anyway (show me the FY student who wasn’t) and the Uncle Manny business had set me behind further.

I do recall, indeed my diary shows that, I was doing my own fair share of girl chasing at that time – not the screaming and corridor running type of chasing I hasten to add – with a kindly third year named Sandra. But that is another story and I digress.

Forensics on the scrap of paper emblazoned with the legend “Patrick Moore Interview” inside the cassette box reveals the following on the adverse side:

I’m guessing that the interview would have been a couple of days before the Jazz Night, as the following week there were lots of exams, so I am guessing that the interview was one of those quieter days between the essay deadlines and the exams; 27th or 28th May.

Here is a picture of the tape, box and legend itself:


If anyone reading this has any more information (or recollection) of that Patrick Moore visit, not least the date, please do chime in.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have kept the article that emerged from the interview, although it might yet emerge from some further archaeology through my old note pads and scrap files. If anyone has a copy of the Concourse article that resulted from the recorded interview, I’d love to see it again.

So, having dredged back the memories, I take back unreservedly my sense that Patrick Moore was unimpressive. Patrick Moore was the commensurate professional and incredibly natural/unassuming in the peculiar circumstances of this interview. My teenage self possibly mistook unassuming for unimpressive; that was poor judgement on my part.

The recorded interview is also an interesting thirty minutes in itself. Here’s the recording again.

Visiting Record & Tape Exchange With Paul Deacon, 29 April 1978

My urge to write this posting emerged unexpectedly today (5 May 2016) after an emergency trip to the Retro Shop to try to find an appropriate pair of trousers for a 1960’s party.

Result: success, before you ask. Bright red, before you follow-up with the obvious next question.

The Retro Shop is at 28 Pembridge Road and the likely source of the party trousers was the basement of that shop. Despite its change of purpose within the “Exchange Empire”, I recognised the space immediately as the old bargain basement of Record and Tape Exchange. I inhabited that basement a great deal in my youth. Initially and several times subsequently, those visits were with Paul Deacon.

It was probably the pull of Record and Tape Exchange and my resulting familiarity with Notting Hill Gate that drew me to the neighbourhood in the late 1980s when ready to find my own place. With the benefit of hindsight, a most fortuitous draw.

But when did those visits start? I remember visits to The Slipped Disc in Clapham Junction with Paul perhaps as early as 1976 and certainly 1977. I’ll write that up separately once I have researched it.

But it isn’t until 1978 that I mention Record and Tape Exchange in my diary. 29 April 1978 to be precise.

Saturday 29 April – went to Jumbly’s, Record Exchange & Portobello with Paul.

Paul might remember what Jumbly’s is/was – I certainly don’t.

But I think our first attempt to go to Notting Hill Gate was a couple of weeks earlier during the school holidays. This entry from 12 April has got my brain ticking.

Wednesday 12 April – went out with Paul – bit of a disaster.

I have a vague memory of a day out with Paul when we were attempting to see Portobello and these second hand record shops we’d heard about, but somehow we got hopelessly lost and ended up wandering aimlessly around West Kensington and Olympia, until we returned home exhausted and unsatisfied. Paul might be able to fill in the details.

At the time I probably thought that any blame for such a “disaster” must rest with Paul. But nearly forty years subsequent experience of my personal geographical challenges suggests that the fault must have been at least as much, if not more, mine. The sat nav might have been invented just for me.

One more intriguing diary entry a few months later, but not (I believe) to do with Paul:

Saturday 29 July 1978 – Lazy day. Went to Record and Tape Exchange,

Very pithy. Doesn’t reveal much at all. I am pretty sure this must have been the day that I went up to Notting Hill Gate with a young lady known as Fuzz, with whom I’d had a gentle squeeze at Anil & Anita Biltoo’s party a couple of weeks before. This visit was especially memorable because it was a hot summer day and Fuzz became overwhelmed by the mustiness and dustiness of that basement, fainted, banged her head and needed to be revived by worried staff in the shop.

But apart from that, Mr Harris, how was your hot date?

I’m going to guess that I hadn’t been entirely straightforward with my parents (in particular my mum) with all the details of where I was going/had been and with whom, hence the pithy entry in the diary.

I am delighted to report that health and safety has improved a little at the 28 Pembridge Road basement in the past 38 years. Today it still had a musty, dusty atmosphere, but it was much mitigated by the back door being open to let in some fresh air.

Meanwhile, to support the comment below (triggered by a delightful Facebook message exchange with Paul) – here is the first page of my Record and Tape Exchange Transaction notes – there are pages and pages of them gathering dust in a file under the bed:

R&TE First Page 1978

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