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June 2019



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‘Ah, did you once see Shelley plain,’

When not nipping out for a paper and gossiping with neighbours, I’m listening to Sounds of the Sixties. Tim Rice is standing in again for Brian Matthew, who is ill. There’s no better stand-in than Sir Tim because no one knows more about pop history than he does but I’m worried about Brian because he’s eighty eight. If another legend of my youth leaves us this year I shall be distraught.

I was thinking about how, in my early teens, I would listen regularly to Brian Matthew on Saturday Club. Those were the days when The Beatles might appear on the show, larking about and playing live. In these days of stadium rock and tickets for big name concerts at £80.00 a pop, it’s hard to believe how accessible the big names were in those days. The Beatles and other bands famously appeared on variety bills in small theatres even after they’d become well known. When I was a student, the band booked for the weekly Union dance might be Cream. Seems incredible, doesn’t it? Ah, some of you were born too late.:-)


My dad saw the Beatles at a Christmas show when he was still at school :) I have never been able to get over just how many of the big names he saw playing live while he was a teenager.

Brian Matthew would be a sad loss. I haven't always listened, but it is comforting to know that he is there, and occasionally turning up something wonderful that I had missed.
My dad saw the Beatles at a Christmas show
So did my husband and I have the programme to prove it. He also saw Paul Simon playing at a local folk club and, later, Jimi Hendrix and any number of legends in small London clubs.

it is comforting to know that he is there
Dad didn't, to my knowledge, ever see Jimi Hendrix! He did see (and even got to know) Gene Vincent, however, and Paul Simon, as he was at school in Brentwood and both of them spent time there.
Wowie zowie!

Martyn would never buy a Hendrix album because the studio recording was so disappointing compared with his electric live performances.
I am always amazed at the big stars who played at the tiny social club in my home town in the 60s.
Pity you missed them!
My dad couldn't be bothered to travel the 14 miles to Peterborough to see a new band called the Beatles.
Ha ha! Must be kicking himself now.
It was a good one today - I liked 'England Swings' and the one about the Palisades, both of which were new to me.
Always some new gem. And a lot of dross to remind you it wasn't all good music back then. Never heard England Swings? I can't think how you've missed it.


The good old days! I remember seeing the Beach Boys at the Coventry Theatre in the 70s, that wouldn't happen now. I also listen to Sounds of the 60s, and enjoy Pick of the Pops at 1pm.
Oh, wow! I've never seen The Beach Boys.

I heard the start of Pick of the Pops today: a good year!
I love the Sounds of the Sixties, it brings back so many memories, being a 60s teenager and all that. It was great to hear Gene Pitney as it prompted memories of going to see him in concert in Derby. Great show. You are right that it seemed easier (and cheaper) to get to see the big names back in our teenage years. It's the same with sport. It was pennies to go and see Derby county play, now it costs and arm and leg.
Spot on. Look at the shocking price of Test Match tickets! Or trying to get tickets for Wimbledon. My uncle used to take my cousins to watch Crystal Palace, which would cost a fortune now. Greed.
When I watched Derby County (1st division back then, no premier league) footballers were paid about £50 a week which is probably less than £1000 a week these days but good money back then. Now the top players get anything from £50k to £250,000k a week. Madness perpetuated by lucrative TV rights contracts which cause clubs to pay stupid amounts of money to draw the best players. It's ruined regular sport outings for many families.

Did you once see Shelley plain?

I saw Joan Baez at a small theatre in a small town and near the end of her show she asked the audience if we would listen to a couple of songs by a young friend of hers: the audience politely but tepidly applauded and she welcomed her buddy, Bob Dylan, to sing. Nobody had ever heard of him and he did not really have a voice to speak of, but nobody could mistake the energy he gave Joan Baez at the end of the show. Of course I remembered him well when he became famous just a few months later.

Re: Did you once see Shelley plain?

Yes, indeed. Days of optimism. But to be fair, some things are better.