Sunday, 19 October 2008

Uber-mulletts


Mike's wedding again, with wind-blown super-mulletts. Left to right Jon Cox, Jon Handley, Catherine Parker, Anthony, Phil G and Steve Cox. Red ties were obviously very fashionable too.

Posted by Anthony

Mullets and fags


Mike's wedding again. Lot of hair in those days, and none of us were ever seen without a fag in our hands. Left to right: Bill Palastre (now a respected senior nurse up Bath way), Steve Cox, Catherine Parker, Mike Parker, Steve Booth, Jon Cox
Posted by Anthony

Jon Smith


Jon at Mike's wedding.
Posted by Anthony

Hello John, got a new motor!


A little bit outside the timeframe, but still the same folk. Mike Applebee was the first of us to get married, though I can't remember what year it was, I think about 1982. I bought my first tie for this gig. Here I am at Mike's wedding trying to sell something to Steve Cox - Jon Smith and Phil G in the background.
Posted by Anthony

Long hair



A fine head of hair, if I do say so myself. Definitely in my hippy phase, about 1978. Weird thing was I was far more into punk music than hippy music (though I did like prog rock too).

Posted by Anthony

Euphoria


My first band was called Euphoria, originally me and 'Big' Chris Gibbs, later joined by two other guys whose name I can't remember. We never gigged under that name, though later Chris and I played together in PSI, who did at least perform in public and even released an EP. This is us at my folks house, shortly before the police turned up (again) to tell us to turn the noise down. 1979.
Posted by Anthony

Nancemellin


Jon was a farmer's son, and occasionally there were parties in one of their barns.

These were legendary in their drunkeness, though the more extreme pics have yet to be unearthed and scanned in. I have fond memeories of Caroline, the girlfriend of Jon's older brother Brenton who let us all snog her repeatedly. That's the Cornish for you. Here are Steve and Jon, roughly 1978.

Posted by Anthony

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Flight 77 Rock Carlyon Bay

More photos taken by Robin Burns around 1981/82 at a guess. This was a local band night at Carlyon Bay and the biggest stage we ever played on. All that room to run around in and yet we were tethered to our effects pedals by puny 10ft guitar leads. At this gig we met our future sound man Colin Hannah who had just come back from touring with the likes of Shirley Bassey and U2. I think there might be some crude video footage of this gig somewhere.


We had a pretty good time on this stage and loved having a huge sound blasting through a 4.5K rig. I remember hearing my bass sound bounce off the back wall and shake the stage during the sound check...what a great feeling that was.


Shame about the Macsalvors white jump suits...I can't remember who's idea that was but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Posted by Steve

Flexitoys Smashing Night!

Not much to add to that really (click on press cutting for full sized view you can actually read).
Posted by Steve

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Hair cut at last!


Partly as a result of getting in so much trouble, I cut my hair shortly after the last pic. Big improvement I think we can all agree. Here I am in 1980 on the Pyramid Stage, which I used to put up and take down and generally roadie on around the free festivals.
Posted by Anthony

PSI

Straying away from Cornwall a tiny bit, but just to show Steve wasn't the only rocker. Anthony played in various bands, mostly crap ones, but the one I was most proud of was PSI, sort of acid-rock. This pic was taken by Jon Smith at a very stressful gig in London, as Kings Cross skinheads had threatened to 'do' us if we played. What actually happened instead was the drugs squad, though subsequently we did have trouble with the skinheads, bless 'em. Seemed to get in trouble a lot in those days, probably because my dress sense still left a lot to be desired. Check that headband!
Posted by Anthony

St. Agnes fashion


Anthony outside his step-mums about 1979 just after coming back from Berlin. Frankly, its a miracle I ever got a girlfriend with that fashion sense, never mind one who would go round Europe with me.
Posted by Anthony

Rock 'n' Roll Part II

Love Among The Ruins press shot taken near Marazion circa 83/84 apparently. Dave, Paul and Steve. Another great pic.
Posted by Anthony

Love Among The Ruins

And after Flight 77 came....Love Among the Ruins, though I think that may have been a name change rather than anything else. Great photo, apparently taken at Roche (near the Eden Project) out in the wilds, somewhere circa 83/84. Bit outside the Droof Boys time period, but interesting to see the progression. Left to right, Steve Cox, Paul Eustice, Dave Sweet. Great expressions, lads! And the amiable Dave looking particularly mean!
Posted by Anthony

Yes, these promo photos were taken by a student from Filton College we got to know. We spent a couple of days in Cornwall roaming about finding locations to take them. That's Roche Rock with it's little hermit's chapel on top in the background. We also went to Tintagel and Carn Brea if I remember. Zero points for spotting the similarity to the U2 Joshua Tree period photos. Very eighties.
Posted by Steve

Flight 77

And after Flexi Toys came....Flight 77! This very professional looking picture was apparently taken in front of Dave's garage by the West Briton Newspaper, Redruth's version of the NME (not really), perhaps in 82/83. At the back is the drummer whose name I can't remember and Steve Cox, who I am fairly certain was on bass then, and at the front Paul Eustice (guitar) on the left and an unusually moody looking Dave Sweet (vocals) on the right. Must have been the look in those days, as Dave normally looks very...sweet. They all had very nice hair...
Posted by Anthony

The drummer was called Mike Tremethick and he was a very good drummer. His Stuart Copeland style Rototom fills were pretty awesome. After a quick Google I found out he's still playing in a band called 'Area 51'. You can read about him here. Flexitoys and Flight 77 even get a mention.

I can't remember why the West Briton took our photo but we did get another entry in The Falmouth Packet after our first gig at the Penventon. See the post: 'Smashing Night'.

Posted by Steve

FlexiToys


After The Imports, was...FlexiToys. Here they are at the Penventon Hotel, Apollo Nightclub sometime in 1981 (according to Paul Eustice) doing a sound check before the Art School Dance. Paul Eustice left, Steve Cox middle, both playing guitar, and I'm not sure who's playing bass on the right, though it looks a lot like Dave Sweet. My memory of those days is a bit rusty. No drummer?
Posted by Anthony

Yes indeed. This was a sound check before the first of several Art School Dances we performed at. I can tell you that we were actually playing a cover of 'Sultans of Swing' by Dire Straits as I was playing rhythm guitar to Paul E's lead. I can also confirm that it is Dave Sweet on bass and the drummer (out of shot) was Mike Tremethick as seen in the West Briton aand Falmouth Packet photos above. Little did we know that one of us was going to end up in hospital later on that night...

The photo was taken by a guy called Robin Burns who's mother used to live next door to Mike
Applebee's mum in Tregajorran. Robin was also at the Art College with us and this was developed in the Art School photo labs. I also bought Robin's Honda CB 175 off him whilst at college and that served me well for several years.

Sadly Robin died in an accident several years later after he emigrated to the USA and joined the US Lifeguard.
Posted by Steve

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Imports

It was late 1977 and I'd just turned 16 when I was first approached by the laddish pair of Martin Laity and Gary Taberer in the school library. They were in the Upper 6th form (the year above me) and they had started up a punk band called 'The Imports'. They had heard that I played electric guitar and wondered if I fancied coming along to a practice at the drummer's house one night.

So, off I went to Mike Rolling's house at the top of Lanner with my Jedson Les Paul copy (which to me looked pretty close to Mick Ronson's guitar from the Ziggy days) and WEM 20watt practice amp. After running through a dozen or more songs of their own and a few Pistols and Clash covers I was pronounced 'in'.

Their only other guitarist at that point was Chris 'Telephone' Booth and I only recall that one initial rehearsal with both of us present. The next time we rehearsed I found myself the only guitarist in the band. No questions asked...

The only 'musician' amongst us was Mike the drummer who could play the drums well, sing and play guitar. The rest of us managed to make a fairly decent sound on top and the Imports were born.

Martin Laity became 'Rat Poison' on lead vocals, Gary Taberer thumped along on bass as 'Charles Darwin', I became Captain Biffo on lead guitar and Mike 'Raphone' Rollings held it all tightly nailed down on drums. It was great fun...and dangerous! There will be blood as I was later to find out...

The Imports had many of their own songs but the only two titles I remember were "Dial-a-Dole Queue" and "Not To Be Taken Away". The latter was inspired by thieving a roll of stickers from the library which were meant to be applied to reference books that weren't allowed to be removed. Oh, the irony of it all. For the next few weeks, those with keen eyes could spot these stickers applied to any surface that came within reach...including the headmaster's car and a chimney stack outside the Redruth brewery. Genius.

Our first gig at the Tuckingmill Pavillions outside Camborne featured a small riot and Rat Poison was bottled on stage. I will never forget looking across at him to see a small trickle of blood rolling down his forehead as he shouted back at the audience..."WHOEVER THREW THAT I DON"T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!" before we hurtled into a cover version of 'God Save The Queen'. We made the papers that week and had a visit from the Police as some bright sparks had thought it a good idea to drag an iron park bench across the bowling green outside after the gig. Several hundred pounds worth of damage apparently. Nothing to do with us.

The following week The West Briton carried the front page headline: "PUNK ROCK GETS THE BOOT FROM REDRUTH'. Ours was not an isolated incident it seemed and the town council had seen fit to ban any punk band from playing there. "Why would they want to anyway?", I asked myself.

Our next gig at the Penzance Winter Gardens "Demelza's", did not go off without incident either. The Sex Pistols had played there the previous year and I remember Sid's graffiti in the dressing room which we got ready in. We supported another band I forget the name of and all I can remember is having to turn my back at one point on stage as I was being heavily 'gobbed' on. Yuk.

The Sex Pistols at Penzance Winter Gardens, September 1st 1977 - Photo by Anthony

Having finished our set I got a drink and sat at a table to watch the next band. The next thing I knew was Anthony leading me to the dressing room as my nose pumped out blood after getting twatted from behind by a skinhead. Whilst we were in there he decided to come back with his skinhead mates and kick open the door, stand there frothing at the mouth whilst looking as HARD as he could before marching off. What a twat.

Another visit from the Police after that one as some other geniuses had stolen the night club's generator after the gig. Nothing to do with us.

We also found out that very night that The Sex Pistol's had split up. History in the making.


The final gig of The Imports took place at Carharrack Village Hall in late 1978 and must surely go down in history as being one of the finest battles ever fought on Cornish soil.

The evening began well. We had three or four bands lined up. We were headlining with a band called "The Diseased". We had just done our first set and I was enjoying The Diseased give a sterling performance of one of their own top songs "Big Cream Doughnuts" when I became aware of the sound of car and motorcycle engines rumbling outside in the car park. Moments later the doors burst open and in streamed hordes of greasy bikers and local yobbos. After a split second thought of "oh, the place is starting to fill up nicely" I immediately realised that they were not here to listen to "Big Cream Doughnuts" but they were here to beat the living crap out of us.


"Oh shit!" I thought as I battled my way to the exit, receiving a well aimed kick up my arse on the way out (bastard). Out of the corner of my eye as I exited I caught a glimpse of our very own Rat Poison back on stage, whirling a weighted microphone stand around his head shouting "COME ON YOU FUCKERS!"...

Caharrack yobs on the Rampage

It was total carnage. Those lucky enough to fight their way out spent the next two hours playing hide and seek with the greasers in and around the gardens and back alleyways of Carharrack. All the while a couple of Policemen sat in a car up the road waiting for it to all die down before they came to investigate. The small group I was with were taken in by an elderly couple who gave us cups of tea and digestive biscuits whilst we listened to motorcycles circling around the village looking for us. It must have been a bizarre sight having half a dozen punks sat in this old couple's sitting room waiting for the coast to clear.


After an hour or so we felt brave enough to return to the village hall where I discovered Mike Raphone clinging to his most expensive Zildjian cymbal. "Next time I'm going to throw this and take their fucking heads off!" he mumbled through a rather red and swollen fat lip.

The main casualty of the night had been The Diseased's guitarist on stage at the time. He carried on playing until the last moment apparently, the fool, and was pulled off the stage, had his guitar stamped in half and his arm broken as he was still playing it. He was carted off by ambulance to Truro (don't know what happened to his guitar). The remaining casualty list was just cuts and bruises (and my sore arse) fortunately.

I think we may have done a couple of 'Jam nights' at The William IV in Truro after that (I met Be Bop Deluxe's drummer at one of those - he said we were the best band of the night. We played a song I had written so I was well-chuffed).

The Imports became no more and the rest as they say is history, which became myth and in turn became legend before being totally forgotten about by everyone except me which is why I'm writing this. The end.

Posted by Steve

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Young People


Top pic: Marc Simmons, Steve Cox, Jon Cox, Mike Applebee, 80sish?
Bottom pic: Jon Handley, Jon Smith, Mike Applebee, Marc Simmons, 80ish for a guess. Mike looking virtually unconscious, obviously overcome by Jon's rock n'roll charisma.

Confused identities


Jon Cox and Angie Clay, probably around '79/80. Jon looking like a proper punk, Angie looking like the troubled Leonard Cohen fan that she was in those days. Jon now lives in Thailand, Angie is now a deputy head teacher in Bristol, two kids grown up and another young one with her puppeteer husband. I went out with Angie for a couple of lively years, part of which we were living in Clapham, with Jon Smith camping in the front room, Catherine Parker upstairs, and a load of Cornish squatters next door.
Posted by Anthony

More Perran Sands 1979


A fairly typical night out in one of the many bars at Perran Sands, can't remember any of their names. Left to right are Denise, Ron, ?, Mick May, Yvonne, ?, Me (Anthony) - as stylishly dressed as I usually was, and various others, with Mike Parker and Jon Smith on the right, where Jon has been ever since!
Posted by Anthony

Old Skool



Some photos that Phil took of the old Grammar School as it now is, having seen better days. To me there's something about corridors and stairwells that I associate with school, probably as we had more fun in them than in the actual classroooms.
Anthony

Thursday, 3 July 2008

First Legal Drink

Following on from Anthony's Perran Sands posts...here's one taken at one of the nightclubs on the camp. My 18th birthday, August 19th 1979. From left to right: Mike Parker, Mike Applebee, Jonathan Handley & Myself. I'm not sure what we were all looking so pensive about...probably just trying to look serious and grown-up...and failing. Posted by Steve

Flexitoys

As previously mentioned by Anthony, females did feature on the scene when we weren't just doing the 'blokey' stuff. Here's a photo of myself and Kathryn Middleton taken at the very first gig I did with a band called The Flexitoys at the Tyringham Arms, Lelant in Cornwall. About 1980 I would imagine.
Posted by Steve

Oh what fun we had...


As already discussed, we had a lot of fun at Perran Sands. The staff were treated like shit, but we didn't care. Free/cheap food from the catering staff, very cheap drinks from the bar staff. No wonder management hated us. Most nights we would end up in one of the pub/clubs partying away (at least I did anyway). There are a number of pics of these occasions (1979) taken by the official photographers, of various groups of pissed staff. This one is predominantly catering staff. Back row from right to left, the chef from St. Agnes (?), Jon Smith, Denise, Mike Parker, and Yvonne. On the left hand side in the white top is Chrissie, who I really fancied, but that's a long story...Second row from right; Ron the Welsh kitchen porter alcoholic who used to play House of the Rising Sun on guitar when pissed, Jon Handley, Debbie Strutt. Mick May in the middle of the front row with the Catering Manager on his lap. I had a very brief thing with the girl front right, Liz.
Posted by Anthony

Shirley


In case you think it was all about the boys (and it mostly was), there were a number of girls as well. Mike Applebee went out with Catherine Parker, Steve went out with Kathryn Middleton, Mike Parker with Annie Harding amongst others, Jon Smith with Cathie Archer and Anthony Hewitt with Shirley Northey. Shirley was my first proper girlfriend, but being a callow and ignorant youth it was some years before I appreciated quite how lovely she was, and what a mug I was for dumping such a fine girl and going out with a succession of psychos instead. Luckily for Shirley, she now has a good bloke, sons, etc and has moved back to the Old Country.
Posted by Anthony

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fashionistas


I would like to say that we led the way in fashion in Cornwall - if that isn't an oxymoron - but it wouldn't be true. We were certainly different though, as Mike Applebee demonstrates somewhere around 1980.
Posted by Anthony

Beam me up, Scotty!


As Steve rightly said, Jon Smith was endlessly entertaining in those days, and still is. Here he is amusing himself in one of those photo booth things.
Posted by Anthony

Mmmm....what do I do now?


A few of us at a party in Anthony's house in St.Agnes in 1979/80. This picture was taken in the kitchen. The whole house would probably be condemned nowadays. Left to right are Perry Watson, Marc Simmons (who moved to Australia soon after and has been there ever since), Jonathan Handley, Anthony Hewitt and the lovely Nikki Jones. As you can see she is very impressed by my "Drug Users Against Nazis" badge and my fine fashion sense. Chuffed as I patently am at having her head on my shoulder nothing did ever come of it, more's the pity.
Posted by Anthony

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Video Snippet from 1980

Terrible quality but can you recognise this? My bedroom with it's resplendent orange wallpaper and tacky posters everywhere. That was my drawing board area...oh and my bass and guitar there in the corner by the tv. Was it really that dark and dingy...I think it probably was! The times we had there listening to music, philosophising into the night. Most weekends the floor was covered with sleeping bags...where did it all go wrong?

video
Music: Quiet Life by Japan
Posted by Steve

Monday, 16 June 2008

Smokes

Smoking kind of arrived on the scene in the mid 70's and it wasn't too long before most of us were puffing away like troopers on our favourite bit of 'shag' in the form of roll-ups. Smoking 'loose' tobacco was relatively cheap, had built in ritualistic rolling communal kudos and was also useful when rolling 'other things'. Most of us started off on 'Old Holborn', a rich blend of moist licquorice threads soaked in old men's sweat and diced with tramp's shoelaces. It wasn't long before most of us realised that we weren't going to see the age of twenty let alone old age if we didn't pack this in pronto. Most made a bee-line for the much more sophisticated and milder Golden Virginia. Others plumped for Drum, Dumas or the disgusting 'straw that has been wee'd on' flavoured Three Caftles which they couldn't even spell right on the packet.

The cigarette paper also provided room for customisation, Rizla courteously supplied papers in various thicknesses, lengths and also the licquorish flavoured ones (not illustrated) favoured by Jon Smith for a quarter of a century. 'Wheatstraws' were the vegetarian version if I remember correctly. My papers of choice were the 'Job' or 'Jobe'...or was it just J.B with a big fat diamond in the middle looking at the packet again? Job's were the biz, silky smooth, classy and came in twin packs so you'd never run out...well, not as often anyway. I felt like a god when I smoked them.

We must have puffed our way through tons of the stuff over the years but fortunately it's a thing of the past. I'm glad it's gone. I don't miss pockets full of tobacco crumbs, running out of fag papers when the shops are shut, not being able to smoke in some people's houses and other places, having orange fingers and coughing like a bastard in the mornings. However if I catch the occasional whiff of a roll-up it transports me back in time, I quite like that. Never, ever offer me one though...too damn dangerous.
Posted by Steve

Carn Brea

© Steve Cox 1978

Carn Brea was probably the epicentre of our escapades around Redruth and mid-Cornwall in the mid to late 70's. Almost a central island overlooking Redruth and Pool, with Camborne to the West, St. Agnes to the North and Lanner to the South. Often a rugged route home to Mike Applebee's in Tregajorran after a night out at the London Inn, Redruth to watch a band or just drink some beer.

One of the most atmospheric places you will find in the area day or night. The picture above is an image I created by drawing over a black & white un-fixed photo with waterproof ink and then washing the photo away. I did this during my foundation year at the art college in Pool which is right at the foot of Carn Brea.

The two photos below were taken by Phil G and show myself, Mike Applebee and Marc Simmons larking about on Midsummer's Eve 1980. The weather was cold and windy for a Summer's evening.


Photos by Phil Gilbert

I found this old pastel sketch in an old sketchbook dated November 15th 1978 which I think commemorates the fateful 'Gollum' night (see previous entry). We had just come back from The London Inn after watching the Braniac Five featuring Bert Biscoe. I think we took several hours getting home, taking a 'short' cut through the St. Euny churchyard, over Carn Brea and then down to Tregajorran. We were in our own world up on Carn Brea that night.

Posted by Steve

Middle Earth

A very popular read amongst us in the mid seventies was you-know-what...yes, Lord of The Rings. Either Anthony or Mike introduced me to this and let's face it...for a short while it laid down a background fantasy contrasting with the dullness of living in the post industrial landscape of mid-Cornwall in the 1970's. In fact, although I'm no psychologist I think we pretty much superimposed part of Middle Earth over the area we used to roam in. Carn Brea became our Minas Tirith or Weathertop, Treslothan Woods was magically transformed into Lothlorien, The Brea Inn became the Prancing Pony at Bree. Redruth, Camborne and St.Agnes were obviously Mordor and after ascending Weathertop we used to survey it's demonic fires burning in the night below before descending in the dark back down the hill to Bag End (Tregajorran) and take refuge for the night, all the while keeping an ear out for Black Riders who might be lurking in the vicinity.

Overlooking Redruth and Camborne from Carn Brea in the 1970's. St.Agnes Beacon belches forth fire and smoke in the distance.

Some of us mysteriously began to take on Middle-Earthian personas. I was obviously Strider, only because I was the tallest and could lay claim to the title 'Longshanks'. Mike became a Hobbit and if you look carefully in some of the photos he is wearing a small leather boot...this had some significance but I can't remember what. Phil G became an Elven Prince and still likes to be called 'Prince Philbert' if you please. I'm not sure about the others but I remember one night when we scaled Weathertop...I mean Carn Brea, and one of our party, Simon Hart decided that he was in fact Gollum and disappeared into the gloom to periodically attack us as we made our way across the rocky summit towards Bag End, I mean Mike's place at Tregajorran.

Simon 'Gollum' Hart

Mike Applebee and myself were presented with a real chance to pass through a mystical portal (a window in a derelict mine building beneath Carn Brea) into Middle Earth once, from which we would not be able to return. Amazingly we chose to stay in Redruth and take the consequences. I'm still not sure if we made the right decision.

The Jimmy Cauty poster at the top of this post used to grace my bedroom wall for a couple of years. Amazing to think he drew that when only seventeen years of age apparently. It certainly inspired me in my future and current career as an illustrator.
Posted by Steve

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Pratts...

The casual observer will have noticed the dominance of army surplus clothing in many photos. Was this a fashion statement of choice or was it purely because we were pretty hard up and it was only Cornwall so who gave a toss what we looked like anyway? Or was it something completely different altogether, slightly sinister perhaps? We're not going to tell you because we can't remember. Combat jackets were brilliant for having zillions of pockets and secret compartments to stash your stuff and the RAF greatcoats were fantastically warm for stonking up Carn Brea in the middle of the night. All these garments were purchased from Pratt's of Hayle. I think there still might be a small army surplus store trading from the market there.
Posted by Steve