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June 16, 2006


People from 1960's Eel Pie

We loved the Island in the 1960's. We moved to Canada in 1975 and made this website a few years back. But our memories are always drawn back to Richmond ,Twickenham and Richmond.
Don't return to England very often but when we do we always went back to The Island and to us it is just like yesterday all over again. If only...

John Perrior (aka Scott)

I worked bar at the club in about 1964, pint bottles of light or brown ale or Newcastle Brown and draught cider were the only drinks available and in mug glasses with handles. Why handled glasses? Because there was a team of glass collectors out on the dance floor and grounds and an experienced collector could hook 10 or twelve glasses on fingers and thumb of one hand (a torch in the other hand to see in the corners, etc.) Straight glasses could be stacked but too dangerous as a big stack could crack and break glasses. Collecting in the grounds was interesting, very educational around the bushes. The upstairs bar in the hotel however was renowned for the number of bottled beers and beer heads, hundreds of different ones, I think it held a record for the number of different beers. Apart from the better known bands mentioned I remember seeing Cyril Davis All Stars, later the Hoochie Coochie Men after Cyril died and Long John Baldry took over (he the one who discovered a drunk Rod Stewart singing on Twickenham station one foggy night). Graham Bond Organisation, Graham being the first to bring a Melotron over from America, his band included Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker and Dick Heckstall-Smith on Sax. The Tridents with Jeff Beck on guitar, he didn't sing then and every week the singer guitarist announced "Come back next week, Jeff's going to sing". He never did. Also there were some American blues men. Tommy Tucker (High Heel Sneakers) did a fantastic set, he had a guitar lead about 100 feet long and pranced about all over the hall. Friend of mine from college lived in the boatyard next door to the hotel with his family, very handy to stay over after a heavy night. Several times saw the hall in daylight, not a pleasant experience, no atmosphere and full of cobwebs, no wonder it needed so much to resurrect it. Also the dance floor was heavily sprung, one of the best in the country I heard, and this was what made it such a great dance venue. When the hall was packed when the Stones played you couldn't move to dance but gently bounced up and down in a crowd with the floor, you could only move your head and shoulders and this created the Island's unique "dance" The Island Shake. Best memory, the people and the atmosphere. Worst memory, going back some years later expecting happy memories only to find the demolition crew hard at work. Brought me to tears. There's much more but that'll do for the moment. Maybe add some more later. Great, great memories of good times, marvellous friends and fantastic Rhythm'n'Blues music that I love to this day. How the heck were today's youngsters allowed to nick and desecrate the genre's name!

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