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Ballerina Ballroom

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Wednesday, 14th January):

Birth

1938. Allen Toussaint born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

On Stage

1963. Charlie Watts takes the drum-stool for the first time with The Rolling Stones at the Flamingo Jazz Club in London’s Wardour Street. He had been approached by Mick Jagger to join the band the week before but hadn’t been sure. Charlie was used to working for money, which the stones didn’t have – but as he didn’t have anything else lined up, he took the job.

In Court

1981. Marianne Faithfull fails to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court in London to answer charges (in her married name of Brierley) of possessing 15 milligrammes of heroin and 900 milligrammes of cannabis at her flat in Danvers Street, Chelsea. Her solicitor told the court she had been admitted to hospital for the removal of a wisdom tooth. The case is continued until February 17th.

In Hospital

1994. Tammy Wynette performs with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Arizona despite the fact she had to leave hospital for the performance. She was struck by a life-threatening bile duct infection in the new year and was on a life support machine for four days remaining in a critical condition until recently.

On Television

1987. Late Night With David Letterman (CBS, U.S.A.) Musical guest: Joan Jett

Death

1970. Songwriter Harry Woods (“When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin’ Along”) dies after a car crash in Phoenix, Arizona aged 73.

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To say the blog’s been neglected is an understatement! Hopefully, with the start of the New Year tomorrow, that will all change.

While I may not have been posting anything, I haven’t been idle. The Almanac, the albatross round my neck for the last 23 years, finally seems to be working as a database although the task of updating it is becoming enormous. 

I’ll be posting a daily slice again from midnight and the plan is to ensure that publication time from now on. For those that can make use of the information on a commercial basis, I’ll be offering it one week in advance for a small subscription fee.

February will see the publication of The Rockmine Almanac as a hard copy book which will be available via Lulu but published by Rockmine. Needless to say, it will be completely different to the daily blog version.

Rockmine’s ballroom blogs will also be getting brought up to date and work will continue on the big ones, like the Marquee Club. I’m glad to report (and somewhat surprised) that despite my inactivity, all the blogs are still being read which must mean I’m doing something right!

To all those who get it before midnight GMT, Have A Happy New Year!

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Saturday 8th November):

Birth

1944. Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney And Bonnie) born Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell in Acton, Illinois.

On Tour

1969. The Rolling Stones set a new world record for the highest grossing one-night stand in pop history. Tonight’s two shows at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles raised $260,000 of which the band receives $ 108,000 (£ 71,000). The first of the evening’s two performances was two hours late in starting due to the over-run of an ice-hockey match. The 7 o’clock show started at 9 p.m. and the 10 o’clock show began at 1 a.m. The Stones didn’t leave the arena until 5 a.m.

In Custody

1988. Ranking Dread (real name Errol Codling) is escorted by police to Heathrow airport outside London and deported from the U.K. The expulsion is officially as a result of immigration offences but he is returning to Jamaica to face questioning over the death of a policeman. Codling was arrested earlier this year after a raid on an illegal drinking club when he was found in possession of drugs but no action was taken by the Crown Prosecution Service. The singer, who had a UK Top 10 hit in 1980 with “Fatty Bum Bum”, is reported to have been on Scotland Yard’s list of most wanted Yaries for some time. The Yardies, a Mafia-style organisation, are said to be heavily involved in drugs and prostitution in London.

In Court

1968. At the Court Of Session in Edinburgh, The Small Faces are ordered to pay £ 2,000 in damages for breach of contract. Lord Thompson, presiding, granted a decree in absence to promoter Albert Bonici of Elgin. Bonici claimed the group breached a contract to appear in Aberdeen, Nairn, Montrose and Perth during August of last year. None of the Small Faces were in court and they were not represented by counsel. No defences were lodged against the action.

On Television

1974. The Midnight Special (NBC, U.S.A.) 90. Guests: Golden Earring; Little Anthony and the Imperials; Orphan. Here are Golden Earring with “Radar Love”. The camp introduction by Little Richard is quite amusing.

Death

1968. Blues singer and bottleneck guitarist James “Kokomo” Arnold dies in Chicago, Illinois aged 67.

 

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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Monday 27th October):

Birth

1942. Philip Catherine (Focus, Larry Coryell) born in London, England.

In Sickness And In Health

1970. Peter Asher, 26, (Peter & Gordon) marries former Rolling Stones publicist Betsy Doster, 27, at Marylebone Register Office in London.

In Court

1997. Following toy company Mattel’s lawsuit against MCA Records and Danish pop group Aqua, alleging trademark violation in the hit single, “Barbie Girl”, MCA today file a countersuit. The label claims that it has been defamed by the toy maker which has subjected it to “hatred, contempt and ridicule”. It goes on to allege that Mattel’s suit has caused a loss of reputation as well as an unspecified sum of money.

In Hospital

1979. The Specials/Selector/Madness gig at Hatfield Polytechnic is disrupted when 30 banner carrying members of the Hatfield Anti-Fascist League gatecrash the venue. They make several random attacks on members of the audience with razors and knives and at least one of the gang is knocked unconscious after being caught by skinheads. Some members of the audience are taken to the local hospital where they are detained overnight for treatment. It seems likely that the gang, also known as the Cockney Reds, is responsible for a recent attack on an Upstarts gig at the Nashville in London.

On Television

1973. Disco (ZDF, West Germany) 34. Cherrie Vangelder-Smith; Tony Marshall; Sweet; Christian Anders; Mungo Jerry; Adamo; John Kincade; Bobbie McGee; Udo Jürgens. Here are Mungo Jerry with “Alright, Alright, Alright”.

Death

1980. Steve Peregrine-Took (real name Steve Ross Porter) dies when he chokes on a cocktail cherry at his flat in London.

Babble

There’s a new addition to the ballroom blogs. The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco is now online with 1966. It includes a number of posters for the gigs and a dozen YouTube clips with some great bands like Sopwith Camel, Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs, The Turtles and The Wildflower. There’s even Jefferson Airplane from the night of the listing!

Here’s the direct link to it.

There is one band that links the Fillmore to the Two Red Shoes and Ballerina ballrooms, they played all three venues in 1966 – The Mindbenders! It’s fascinating to compare the acts playing the different ballrooms at the same period. In the U.K., we were dancing to beat groups and chart acts but in San Francisco it was a more underground scene that seemed to develop out of the jug band and folk cultures. That said, there’s blues, psychedelia and pop all thrown in for good measure.  

One thing’s sure, the Fillmore has a treasure trove of rare rock video to plunder. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, there’s no need for standards conversion which was long the bane of collectors. I remember the days of optical copies of NTSC video tapes. A multi-standard VCR and TV would have a video camera set up in front of them and the show would be recorded to PAL that way. Digital conversions in the 1980s were expensive and often no better quality. 

 

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© Copyright 1995 – 2008 Rockmine Archives. Use of this content is prohibited unless licensed by Rockmine Archives.

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Wednesday 8th October):

Birth

1948. Johnny Ramone born John Cummings in Long Island.

On Tour

1993. David Griffith a 27 year old Levellers fan dies after falling from the balcony at the band’s sell-out show at Newcastle’s Mayfair. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Victoria Infirmary where a post mortem later shows that he died from head injuries.

In Court

1999. Debbie Rowe Jackson files divorce papers in Los Angeles County Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences with husband Michael Jackson. The petition states that the couple have been separated since July 15th this year. A confidential settlement has been agreed regarding property and money. No indication is given as to custody arrangements for the couple’s two children – Michael Joseph Jackson Jnr. (2) and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson (1).
Jackson met Rowe when she was working as a nurse in the office of his plastic surgeon. They married on November 15th 1996.

In Business

1976. The Sex Pistols sign to EMI Records at a four hour long evening meeting. The signing was rather unexpected and rushed. Polydor Records seemed to be the only label ready to sign them – so much so, they’d actually booked a recording session for tonight. The signing fee is £ 40,000, a considerable amount for an as yet unheard band.

On Television

1995. Taratata (France 4, France) Solos: Tears For Fears, Pascal Obispo. Duos: Tears For Fears and Oletta Adams, Tears For Fears and Julian Lennon – “Stand By Me”

Death

1995. Music journalist Johnny Waller dies in a road accident aged 40.

Babble

My real problem today is understanding what’s going on in Elgin. I have considered it to be a real Narnia transposed to the North Easst of Scotland and I have thought it akin to falling down the rabbit hole after its white owner. Today, I may just have got a handle on it: the reality diffusion effect.

In anthropology, diffusion accepts that races and cultures will spread and intermingle. Racial purity and ethnic traits are lost but to a large degree appearances remain the same. So, let’s consider it here. Reality starts with a premise that everyone can believe in and then through intermingling with other ideas becomes something totally different. For example, a date is agreed and then allowed to diffuse. The most recent occurence of this was on September 26. Two people take away the same date and yet even in the space of a week it duffuses into two dates separated by a month.

What the Hell are you talking about? I hear you say. Well, it’s the imaginary memorabilia exhibition on the walls of the wardrobe in Narnia. You really would be surprised at just how capacious it is. However, it doesn’t help that I’m the one holding on to reality.

Today, while I should have been organising something (although I’m not sure what), I’ve ended up dealing with mails from two different owners of the wardrobe both of whom seem to have the outstanding ability to totally contradict themselves. They’ll quite happily say “I didn’t say that” only to be confronted with a previous mail from them which clearly says exactly that. The amazing bit is they can then turn round and say, “No, I may have said that but that wasn’t what I meant.”

Reality diffusion at its finest!

I’ve asked the wardrobe owners to put together a press release with me explaining that after six months we’ve given up on the idea of staging a memorabilia exhibition. It may seem an odd thing to publicize but I feel it’s essential to stop me looking like a total moron. That said, maybe the fact that I’ve spent six months trying to do this just proves that I am one!

One good thing about this is having got my head round the fact that very little of what I see here is real, it’s easy to get totally into the idea of virtual reality. So, although I’m going to tie this up tomorrow, I’m going to forget a real exhibition for now and stage a virtual one. In other words, I’ll just put all the exhibition pieces online and share them with the whole world.

 

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© Copyright 1995 – 2008 Rockmine Archives. Use of this content is prohibited unless licensed by Rockmine Archives.

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday, 7th October):

Birth

1943. Dino Valenti (Quicksilver Messenger Service) born in New York.

On Tour

1969. 2,000 East German Rolling Stones fans clash with police near the Berlin Wall. The fans gathered expecting to see The Stones play a concert on top of a building at the western-most section of the Wall but there was no performance. 200 police chase the fans into the centre of the city where they clash with some of the 250,000 members of the Free German Youth organisation who had gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the communist state. More than 50 of the fans are detained in custody by police.

In Court

1975. The U.S. Court Of Appeals overturns the Immigration Departments deportation order on John Lennon. This opens the way for him to apply for resident status.

In Hospital

1995. Simon Gilbert (Suede) is knocked unconscious when he and a friend are attacked by 12 queer-bashers after leaving a pub in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Both men are taken to Warwick Hospital where they are treated before being discharged. The un-named friend has six stiches for a head wound and later returns to the hospital suffering from concussion.

On Television

1970. The Johnny Cash Show (ABC, U.S.A.) Johnny with George Lindsey & June Carter, The Statler Brothers, The Carter Family. Here are Johnny and Joni Mitchell dueting on “Girl From The North County”.

Death

1966. Overton Amos Lemons, better known as R+B singer Smiley Lewis, dies of cancer in New Orleans.

Babble

Well, here I am once again in the north. I was told yesterday that the memorabilia exhibition couldn’t go ahead and yet everyone seems to want it to be staged. Just how and when are the two big questions. I’m going to give it until tomorrow and then I’ll have to make the decision to consign it to the fantasy world within the wardrobe and just imagine I’ve staged the show or get it sorted once and for all.

I was offered a date in November but that’s meant to tie in with a book launch that should have been held on June 21st. The book, on growing up in Liverpool in the sixties, was seemingly available back in May so I’m not sure why a launch is being held six months on. My biggest worry is that the launch is meant to be run by Waterstone’s local branch but the company’s web site has no information regarding ANY events in Elgin or Inverness in either October or November. I have found one book that fits the description but it was launched at the Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre back in April. Its author, Nicholas Murray is giving a poetry reading on October 13th in Venice. Maybe it’s just me but I can’t then see what he’d be doing in Elgin. Obviously it may not be him and as there’s nothing on the Elgin venue’s website mentioning anything that fits the bill.

I hope from this you’ll get some sense of my frustration. I know I’m dealing with a theatre but it surely doesn’t need to involve suspending all disbelief. I found a fascinating description of the concept here. The world of Narnia really has been moved to Moray. I just hope that I can find my way back out of the wardrobe. Despite the frustration, I’m going to give it one last shot. If I can’t get an agreement to use the venue we’d agreed on (which I’ve decided not to name because it will just give them free publicity) from Thursday to Saturday or another space to stage it, then I give up. 

Strangely, the link to my Two Red Shoes Ballroom blog from the Northern Scot is proving nowhere near as successful as flyers were in Nairn back in August. 1,400 flyers and a dozen A4 posters pulled in 180 people a day and all this one’s getting is 55! Before I leave here, I think I’ll get flyers into the local library and other places. Then I’ll just forget these eerily unreal place.

 

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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday, 2nd October):

Birth

1949. Richard Hell (Voidoids/Dim Stars) born Richard Myers in Lexington, Kentucky.

On Stage

1998. Michael Stipe, Patti Smith and composer Philip Glass stage a one-off performance in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. The event, seen by a crowd of 4,000, honoured the memory of poet Allen Ginsberg and raised funds for Jewel Heart, the Tibetan Buddhist organization.

In Custody

1967. Narcotics agents raid the Grateful Dead‘s communal house in San Francisco, arresting eleven people including Bob Weir and Pigpen. They then had to let everyone go as no-one had thought to get a warrant before smashing the front door in!

In Court

2000. The inspiration for Paul Anka‘s 1970’s hit, “Having My Baby” filed for separation from the singer. Anne Anka’s petition cited irreconcilable differences for the decision to leave the man she married in 1963.

Paul Bloch, a spokesman for Paul Anka said the couple are slitting on amicable terms and remain the best of friends. He said the couple would be together for Thanksgiving with their five daughters.

On Television

1978. Disco (ZDF, West Germany) Boomtown Rats; Andrea Jurgens; Clout; Klaus Zufall; Melanie; Suzi Quatro; Peter Orloff and Smokie, seen here with “Mexican Girl”

Death

1990. Blues saxophonist Evelyn Young dies in Memphis’ Methodist Hospital from heart failure.

Babble

It’s been an odd couple of weeks. The blog, as you’ll has seen, hasn’t been up. This is mainly due to problems that I’m not going to go into. Suffice it to say that I think these are now over. 

I’ve used some of that time to concentrate on another blog, this time for the Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin. I’m in Elgin as I type this although I’m starting to feel that it’s rather like Narnia (as someone else described it). I’m hoping to complete my research on the bands that played there today but I’m almost wondering why.

Although I’ve never finished my Ballerina Ballroom blog, it had (and still seems to have) a buzz about it that is sadly missing with Elgin’s venue. The local Nairn blog, the “Gurn From Nurn” described my Ballerina blog as an “exciting project” but there seems to be none of that here. There seems to be a real apathy about the concept. Maybe as an archivist and compulsive list maker, I assumed that others would share my interest but by and large that doesn’t seem to have happened.

It was pointed out to me that with my Nairn blog I had undertaken a fairly impressive but very cheap publicity campaign that saw flyers distributed around the town and posters put in most of the shops. While that was done at the time of the “Ballerina ballroom Cinema Of Dreams Festival” and the Highland Games, it still brought people flocking to the site. 

Maybe with Elgin, the struggle is that there are no other things happening, that the audience is much larger and more sophisticated and the financial woes of the country have given people something more important to think about that the history of one of Scotland’s old ballrooms.

I suppose only time will tell how wrong I got this.

One other thing, I am in part here to decide on whether or not to stage my memorabilia exhibition. The last agreed date for it was next week but there seems to be no response to my press releases and my desire to do it seems to fade with the last warmth of summer. Part of me refuses to give up on an idea that was great but what is the point of flogging a dead horse?

Who knows, things may improve before the end of the day.

 

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