THE '70s DECADE:
ON THE ROAD IN ENGLAND: A DIARY
PART I: THE CLUBS
We took many hundreds of photos during our three performing tours of England.
Unfortunately they are all in slide format and until we can find
an economical way of converting them to digital files
the following journals will remain unillustrated.
Hillman '76 Tour of England
With Bill Hillman's Personal Rating of Each Club
Fort Francis, Ontario ****
Travel Day: Ontario ~ USA ~ Manitoba ~ England
Travel Day: London to Bromley, Kent
RAOB Club - Middlesbrough *** *
Priory Club - Middlesbrough *
Whitehorse Inn - Royal Hotel - Whitby *****
Portrack Conservative Club - Stockton ** *
Old Skelton Social Club - North Yorkshire *****
Old Thornaby ****
Silksworth Comrades Club - County Durham ****
New Shildon Social Club *** *
Ironopolis Club *** *
British Legion Club - Middlesbrough *****
Carlin How - W/Mens Club **** *
Click for full-screen mosaic
THE HILLMAN RECORDING GIG NOTES SECTION
Our original song, Reelin' in Soho, is an account of our first recording session in London, England. As suggested in the first verse, this was the culmination of a tour in which we - The Hillmans From Canada - had played 30 one-nighters in night clubs and discos across Northern England. Many nights found us in the ubiquitous Workingman Clubs where a house band opened at 7:00 pm, followed by opening acts which usually offered variety entertainment. We would then come on for a show set, after which there would be a long break for housie (bingo) - a national addiction. After this exciting gambling break we would return for a dance set - but by 11:00 pm the dancers would call it a night since they had to work the next day. Being so used to the long drives, long gigs and late nights back in Canada, it was hard for us to wind down so suddenly and every night found us driving around looking for some place which might still be open - we met some very colourful characters on these midnight rambles.
The audiences attended these clubs every night of the week and had seen it all, so it was especially rewarding to 'go down a bomb'...to 'bomb' has a different connotation there than it does in North America. It was tremendously exciting to study the dressing room walls which were festooned with pictures, cards and stickers left by previous entertainers - even the Beatles, early in their careers, had toured this circuit. These backstage walls were seldom refurbished since it seemed that the more 'name' acts displayed, the more prestigious the club. Perhaps the most fascinating venues though, were the Country and Western Clubs where nearly everyone showed up in full Western regalia - including boots, hats, gunbelts...and western drawls - Geordie cowboys.
Our strangest and perhaps most memorable night occurred at Scarth - a village in Yorkshire. Throughout the tour, we spent most mornings and afternoons being tourists - traipsing through castles, cathedrals, and pubs and across highlands and moors. Scarth, however, offered a special reward because it is home to James Wight, aka James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small fame. We visited his veterinary office and toured his small museum just down the street. Fittingly, the club we were to play was on the outskirts of town surrounded by a meadow or cow pasture. It was a 1920s pavilion-style hall. Our opening act for the night arrived late - surrounded by an entourage of people in formal wear. He was a singer who had been married just a few hours before in Newcastle. This set the mood for the whole evening - the place seemed to explode and although the club should have been emptied by 11:00, the management barred the doors to keep out the local constabulary and the party continued into the wee hours. When Sue-On wearied of the drums, a succession of people - our agent, the bartender and even the groom - took control of the sticks. Something right out of the fictional Darrowby.
Friday, July 2, 1976
Fort Francis, Ontario
We left Maple Grove early - still half asleep
Played in Saskatchewan last night
Took the shorter US route to Ft. Francis, Ontario.
Very busy schedule this weekend
Travelled through 3 countries to play in 3 Canadian provinces and Northern England in 4 days.
Our crude instrument list was adequate to get us through US customs.
Got in town in time for a supper pizza
Over to the hall to set up for the free dance.
Dance and sales went well
They seemed pleased enough to want to hire us again.
Saturday, July 3, 1976
Travel Day: Ontario ~ USA ~ Manitoba ~ England
Arose early to go for a pancake breakfast in the hall
Headed for home.
This time the US Customs were sticky.
We had to open equipment and take multi-screwed backs off our amps
They did a drug search
Checked us against their draft dodger and criminal record lists.
Reached Winnipeg by 4
Spent some time at Polo Park Shopping Centre
As usual we bought books - I found the Jack Benny bio I'd been looking for.
Off to the airport
Met Kevin's girlfriend Susanne Bogen who was going with us.
Alan Jones and Kevin Pahl finally showed at 10:30.
We starved and waited at the terminal for five hours.
I had an excess weight of luggage (mainly record albums we were taking with us)
Got through the weigh scales by holding the bag up off the scale as they weighed.
We made Customs declarations, bought a map of England, read and waited,
Finally boarded a 747 Jumbo.
All quite excited.
AIR CANADA #852y leave 10:10 pm ~ arrive 11:25 am
Sunday, July 4, 1976
Travel Day: London to Bromley, Kent
In-flight movie: Lucky Lady with Lisa Minelli
We slept through movie as we'd seen it.
It was pretty much daylight all night (northern great circle route)
Sky was getting really bright just after the movie.
Breakfast: sausage, eggs, potatoes, melons & orange juice & coffee
As we neared our destination Al & an Aussie were talking about aborigines.
I escorted Al to the washroom and looked out the window at Scotland - Intricate farm patterns.
We were stacked up 30 miles out of Heathrow for 15 minutes.
Banking made us sick but we had a good look at countryside & hedgerows.
After we landed we met Dorothy Ray of Newdale on the way out.
We were all separated...
Al was given assistance - they lost and found his luggage.
Finally we all picked up our luggage and headed for Customs.
The airport was full of mostly 747s from just about everywhere.
The Indian Customs inspector looked especially hard at our stuff
(It could be because we said we had wine & cocktails from the plane & duty-free cigarettes.)
He looked at my guitar but sent us on our way, assuming for some reason that we were high school students rather than musicians.
Al's brother Keith and his wife Margaret met us
I headed for the washroom while we waited for Al.
The terminal was very busy and crowded.
We headed out to load up and board a Commer mini-bus that Keith had rented for us.
Keith drove through heavy London traffic to Kew Gardens.
England was in the middle of a long drought
Vegetation in the city was uncharacteristically brown and parched.
We paid a penny admission to this Garden on the Thames,
Bought a 50 cent booklet and and took pictures as we walked around.
A very impressive park but we were all jet lagged and Kevin's feet gave out.
We made a difficult trip to Bromley, Kent
Wing Music closed so we pick up our rented instruments tomorrow.
Arrived at Bromley Court Hotel which was fairly expensive
16 pounds per room - but very nice.
Took a bath, pictures, and went down for a 7:00-8:30 dinner:
Beef and pudding, trifle and gateaux
To the garden for cocktails.
Back to the room to see the American 200th Year celebrations on the tele and then to bed.
Monday, July 5, 1976
Hot 85 degrees - muggy
RAOB Club - Southfield Road - Middlesbrough 8-8:30/10:15-1040
*** 1/2 Large upstairs
Keith knocked & hotel phoned at 7:30 am
I dressed, shaved and took luggage down.
SO & I went to dining room for a buffet English breakfast free with room:
Juice, corn flakes, prunes, (I ordered kippers but they didn't bring them as
they were sure I wouldn't like the fish), coffee, bacon (mushy and salty) & fried eggs.
SO had sausage and scrambled eggs which were lightly done mush.
Went back upstairs to wait for Al, Kevin and Susan to finish packing
Over to Wing Music at 9:05 but the store didn't open till later.
A very small and dirty place with equipment piled to ceiling.
They were expecting us as the Traynor company in Toronto had set up sponsorship:
Yamaha Twin for bass - 2 Traynor Twins - HH PA head, small transistorized with huge Traynor speaker columns and horns - electrostatic mikes and Rogers drums (SO forgot snare stand).
There was no Fender piano so we rented a Clavinet.
All seven of us and instruments and baggage squashed into the Commer somehow
We were soon on our way through dense London traffic.
Keith did a marvelous navigation job and we made it to the Motorway about noon.
We stopped for lunch and to phone Hunter (booking agent) at 12:30.
I had hamburger, chips, peas, milk, and ice cream in a very modern US-style oasis.
Everything was OK with Hunter and we said we could set up at 6 .
It was a long, hot, crowded drive north on the Motorway.
We stopped again for pop 16p.
Drinks were all warm but we eventually found a petrol station that had some cold in a machine.
We followed Motorway M-7 most of way through beautiful country.
We found Middlesbrough and asked for Southfield at the first turnoff.
We were on it!
The club was just down the street
Large, second storey room that seated 500.
We struggled up the stairs with the instruments - no air conditioning.
Set up on a nice stage that already had an organ and drums.
The power outlets were all 220 and took large flat plugs.
Panic time! No batteries for mike!
As it was Sunday evening, everything was closed
But Keith found a supply somewhere and he and Alan took off to Spennymoor.
We were introduced for a set after the house band opened the show.
Just getting into it when the MC announced that we had to stop for Housie (bingo).
This was a regular nightly feature of all the workingman clubs.
Comedian Brian Lewis did his act and then we returned to do a dance set.
Sue-On was on the Rogers drums,
Kevin on the Hohner keyboard bass that we had brought (it worked on batteries) as well as the rented Hohner Clavinet.
I played my Fender Telecaster Thinline guitar.
We struggled with a strange sound all night as we weren't used to the drums, PA, amps and the sound of the Clavinet.
After a dance set everything closed down around 10:30
Patrons left for home and bed as most of them had to work in factories the next day.
We tried the warm beer, chatted, and had suitable praise from the audience and management.
There was a tremendous number of people crammed into the room
All seated around very small circular tables that were just large enough to hold the drinkers' pint glasses.
A very unusual experience as everything was so different from what we were used to.
We got permission to leave the equipment to pick up the next day
Keith took us over to spend the night at his Aunt Nellie's.
We didn't see her as she was already in bed.
Tuesday, July 6, 1976
Priory Club - Marton Road - Middlesbrough - large - main floor
We awoke at 10:30.
Aunt Nellie and girl friend Rhoda had already left much earlier as the work on a factory floor.
We went down for breakfast: scrambled eggs, tea and cookies.
Had a chance now to look around at where we where in daylight:
A new and cozy council house with tall grass front.
Margaret Jones came in around at 11:20.
Kev and Susan were still in bed back at Keith and Margaret's.
We went over to Al's mom and dad's.
Mrs. Elsie Jones was in a wheel chair - she's not too well.
Al was just getting up. We had a visit while Al ate breakfast.
Keith brought the Cromer from work as he had gotten a half day off.
We went over to Keith's to wake up Kevin and Susan.
The town of Spennymoor is quaint and Keith lives in nice new house which he is adding on to.
We piled into the vehicles to pick up Al with 4 guys in the bus and 3 gals in Keith's car.
Enjoyed the great scenery on the trip over to Sunderland to Cowies bus rental to change to a Ford Transit van.
I paid 5 pounds to add my name as an extra driver.
Sue-On paid them 70 pounds.
On our trip back Middlesbrough I drove for first time on an A highway and Motorway
But I Let Keith take it into town.
We found our way back to RAOB Club at 3 pm where we loaded the equipment.
Then went in Keith's car to find agents Borrow-Hunter on Borough Rd.
I talked business with Joe Hunter.
He covered for lack of permits and said there was real problem in getting them.
We were to work a 7 day week but there would be no other agents coming in because of the permit situation.
We then made a rush trip to Cleveland Centre to find snare drum stand for SO.
At 4:45 pm we found a music store but no good stands - just a cheap second hand one in a bag that we bent to use.
We learned that the salesman was a guitar player at the club we were play tonight.
Hurried back to RAOB as Jones' must leave for a PTA meeting at 6:30.
I took over the bus and drove to Marton Rd and down and into Priory Club
Club was very much like a new CFB Mess.
We set up and noticed there was a house organ.
We had supper at the Highland Hotel: mixed grill (assorted meat)
Then to the club.
I wore my "tangerine" denim.
We opened to a lukewarm audience -
Two singing comedians stole the show -
And then finished with a dance set after the bingo -
Packed and left the stuff and drove to the Crest Hotel: 11.50 pounds,
Beer at the desk, coffee in the room.
Talked over the day, showered and hit the sack.
Wednesday, July 7, 1976
Whitehorse Inn - Royal Hotel - Whitby -large C/W club
PHOTOS: coastline and miniature model of coast and model ships - from steps going down on beach - breakwater and sea cliff - SO and bikini and caves/cliffs - Abby and church in background - from steps on hill - Bill in tombstones - in ruins arch - of whole ruins - band in front of Hillmans posters - of Whitehorse Club
We got up with the alarm at 8:15, woke rest and went down to breakfast
Breakfast not included as they had promised over the phone.
The three guys went down the street to the club to pack up.
Back at the hotel I phoned four rooming places listed in the back of my journal
Settled on Viponds, a boarding house on Oxford.
SO and I got a room upstairs, Susan & Kev another room downstairs,
Alan got one bed in a 5-bed big room.
The place was nice, friendly and clean - 3 pounds per day or 18 pounds per week.
We all piled into the van and drove down to Morton,
Then out to Guisborough and across the hills and moors to Whitby.
Parked by a row of houses, walked toward sea and took many steps down to the beach.
Al walked into the breakers among dogs and bikini gals.
Warm day so we bought ices (cone and oyster - cone in shape of oyster full of ice cream and hard marshmallow and covered with coconut)
Then we climbed to the top of the cliff to get fish and chips.
I had Plaice (1 pound) and chips, tea and bread and SO had scampi (little shrimp) - all were big portions.
Took a promenade along the resort street and bought: cards, map, tennis hat.
Found our way across the bridge and along more shops to the foot of Abbey Hill,
Leading Al all the way, up 199 steps to the Whitby church cemetery (site of Dracula first landing in England).
Moved on past the church to Whitby Abbey ruins - 15p -
Roamed about the ruins marvelling at its one-time grandieur and great age.
Went down to explore the very old St. Mary's Parish church:
Stalls all fenced off, 3-tier pulpit with hearing aid horns for rector's deaf wife,
Read about the bell pulling team that appeared every week.
Kev bought an Indian shirt at the bottom of the steps and we made our way back to bus.
We found the Hotel which had our posters all over - a big western place.
We all went down for fish and chips in a newspaper after setting up.
Played 3 1/2 shows to good response and record sales.
Alternated sets with Paul Wheater - a Jim Reeves style singer.
Kevin wouldn't let groupie have his shirt: "But I only bought it today."
Curry chicken for an after-show lunch.
Got back to Viponds at 12 and were glad to find the house door still open.
SO and the black band had lunch.
Thursday, July 8, 1876
Portrack Conservative Club - Maritime Rd - Stockton - A large room with stairs
Breakfast: bacon, eggs, milk, toast, tea.
Al tried to phone home as he had no clothes or money.
I drove the bus downtown and tried to park up in Cleveland Centre
But it was reserved just for service vehicles, so we returned to the vacant lot where we had been with Keith earlier.
Al went with Kev and Susan to the Mall while SO and I made business call to Borrow Hunter.
We were now booked 7 days a week.
Found there was no way we could get a month of insurance on instruments -- living dangerously.
Out and down along street where I bought Tarzan and Marvel comics, maps of Spennymoore, Teeside, London, Mbro,
Through a record store, towels and cheap "adidas" 3+ pounds -
Mailed post cards - and couldn't find a pub.
We learned later that pubs would have been closed that time of the afternoon anyway.
Eventually we met Al at the Mall music store playing a Fender Rhodes - 1030 pounds!
SO got a receipt for the drum stand that the guitar player had charged 5 pounds for.
Others all went for coffee while I looked for a Vox pignose and phaser.
The Vox had just been sold and the phaser cost 50.
I joined the others for coffee and stayed with Al as all left to shop - SO got shirts.
We all met at the bus and returned for supper at 5:00 pm: fish, potatoes, peas, carrots.
Joe Vipond gave directions to club and as we left we met the black band -
ERUPTION - coming in from rehearsing all afternoon.
On the steps on the way out I upset 20 empty milk bottles with my guitar.
My driving went well until the last roundabout when I got on the Motorway and had to come around.
I made the right turn this time but turned back when we thought we had gone too far and hit the other Motorway.
Eventually we broke down and read the map and found the place.
Only to find a garbage truck blocking the entrance
Carried gear up two flights of stairs so we were hot and tired by the time we had set up.
We met pick-pocket comic Bob Nelson and a pilot from Manchester, now Newcastle, who crashed while in USAF.
He invited us to an old Aircraft Museum and wild animal park.
Off to a bad start with a slow crowd and I broke a string in the first show.
Then comedy/bingo/comedy in which SO came on stage to help.
Keith and his father, Norman Jones, arrived.
The dance set was sluggish but we had many compliments and talked with fans outside
Couldn't get away till after midnight.
Al went to Jones's and we went downtown to a Curry and Kabob restaurant: I had ravioli - SO curry chicken and all had banana splits.
Background noise was provided by a nonstop burglar alarm and disco music in the background.
We drove back in high spirits and I read M*A*S*H till bedtime.
Friday, July 9, 1976
Hot sunny with bit of cloud - rain at supper time
Old Skelton Social Club - Skelton - North Yorkshire - small
Breakfast at 10:30 - same - wrote last 3 days of diary - rest till 12:30
Downtown via new short route as on way to Conservative Club - parking lot by Corporation St.
Gang shopped while I went to Borrow-Hunter - haggled price - no way
Cheque 275 minus 65 (pickup) in my name
Met gang at Hamiltons - Kevin trying keyboards
Bought strings and picks Fender thin 12p
Split up - To Cleveland Centre - coffee and carbonated lemonade from bottles - Sunday
SO bought clothes - I bought comics, etc.
Records: Elvis Sun Sessions 1.99 - Cliff Richard 1.25
SO bikini - I can't find clothes (still wearing only denim outfit)
Met at restaurant - I spilled tea - walk to bus - bought pastries
4:30 - heavy traffic but missed mainstream
Supper: corn beef hash, chips, salad, carrots, peach melba (with pineapple and jap orange)
SO & I had shower - read Gallery and Linda Lovelace
Off to Skelton - rain - Susan had headache and stayed home
Found club - small old 200 pop
Private organ with no fuse so Al not allowed to use it
Power all over on wall so man rigged up poor extension - power buzz blew fuse
Keith, Margaret & Al came - Keith made new cord & Club MC brought better cord
Poor crowd at start - starting 8:30 many came - good applause
Satisfying funny show - place packed - we were the only act
Mike stand dropped: funny bit 'pants split' - wore all white
Gave picture to parents of mongoloid brother of MC
Ticket taken with most horrible strawberry nosed man we had ever seen
Scot fans invited us for a drink to their house - no go - packed - talked outside
To Enterprise for lunch - SO and I had Mousaka - others had meat etc.
Back to Viponds and to bed.
Saturday, July 10, 1976
**** Sunny hot
Old Thornaby - average sized club
Arise 10:45 - good sleep - first good morning
Some breakfast but with tomatoes instead of beans
Upstairs to diary and postcards
To Al's room to hear black soul disco band's 6 demos - good stuff
Eruption paid American producer 9000 pounds to produce two sides
On top of this he is scheming to get 1/2 writer's royalties
Talked to Welsh singer Terry Jordan - got agents' names
Talked to singer from Connecticut
SO and Susan to laundry to do clothes - writing journal with no pants on Read all day -
Al talking to Eruption leader about recording studios
Supper: mince stew
Used map to get to Old Thornaby
Main floor - a little smaller than some - no other act
Did 3 shows as I made up this afternoon and as in front of the journal
Organ useable - SO drumstand broken but able to use house stand
Walked on stage alone played
Then introduced Susanne who walked on with drum case as equipment manager
Then Kevin and set rhythm,
Then Al - then SO and we did On My Mind
Crazy hot show - good response -
Keith and friend Billy Turner there
Kevin complimented in washroom
Enthusiastic urinator turned hose on our lad - peepee all down pant leg of new European black trousers
People dancing everywhere in aisles, etc. - fire scare - smoke actually came from incinerator in women's washroom
Wild chase to Fiesta Club in Stockton & caught last number of soul band "Leibi....?" - thin disco
Had lager and fish & chips
Danced to house band - not too enthusiastic: keyboards, drums, bass, & singer all reading
Searchers next week
Into bus and home to bed.
Sunday, July 11, 1976
Silksworth Comrades Club - Silksworth - County Durham
PICTURES: double deckers & tri car & SO - coast tankers, boats on dock and me by Mbro - resort ball room - SO and boats at Redcar - Folk group on beach: Crooked Oak
Breakfast the same but terrible mushy sausage & runny eggs
Eruption in at 4 last night and erupted at 8 am to leave for London.
Read paper and Linda Lovelace book while waiting for Susanne
To Redcar resort for Folk Festival - drove along beach - long - nice
Parked by Coatham Bowl where festival held - free acts in coffee lounge
Bought another antler crown piece necklace, straw fertility penis, horse brass good luck charm
Lager and good old English folk songs - nothing on main stage
Walked on beach - left Al on seawall-
Bought winkles, mussels & cockles for 10 & 20p a package
Split from Susan & Kev to meet in one hour
Downtown where I bought three Shadows records, one 1.50 others 1.99
Pictures of double decker, beach, etc.
To van at 4 - to home - turkey supper with all trimmings - rest and read
Followed map out of town north to Sunderland - sign to Silksworth
Made good time on A HW - club closed.
While waiting Kevin had serious philosophical discussion with mongoloid youngster:
"You're a fart!" "Pardon?" "You're a fart!" "You think so... really?" Great guffaws.
Carried equipment up winding inside stairs to second storey - very small
Kevin deftly repaired SO's drum stand
Presented Star of the Show, Susanne doing the dance of the two platters.
I walked on - no applause - walked off - said band scared off by thunderous applause
Brought all on - very noisy crowd
MC tried to quieten - no other act, but bingo
Sat with Keith who came in for second show ~ Wild wingy show
Pack up - I was tied up with drunk ex-guitar player agent - address in back of book
Van back home - meat pies in room - bed.
Monday, July 12, 1976
Overcast - Rain at supper
New Shildon Social Club - 17 Redworth Rd. Shildon
Same old breakfast
New roomers: two guys from country rock band SAND, once STATE EXPRESS
Plus 6+ kids from young show band
Read - Al stayed - dropped Susanne and Kev off at laundry on corner
SO and I downtown - cheque and list of this week's venues
No luck getting bus - Joe phoned and got van at Thornsby for 40 pounds per week total
To printer down the street for sign: The Hillmans ~ Featuring Bill and Sue-On Hillman
with Kevin Pahl and Al Jones ~ Maple Grove Records - Borrow-Hunter ....
Left watch, broken strap pin - across street to Pop In & bought Union Jack & soccer stickers
Down street to electrical and bought thick guitar cord for 2.50
To theatre to check schedules - to Cleveland Centre and bought pastries
To Great American Pants GAP and bought cheesecloth denim shirt and two for Al
Trouble using Master Charge - to sale at C&A Modes department store: jeans, denim shirt jacket
SO bought leather vest and velvet jacket and two jeans
To Wimpy's for a drink - to bus - home to cream cod pots, vegs, fresh fruit
On to Shildon by south route to Darlington - heavy rain
Thru Darlington - too far west, eventually back after winding little country roads
Upstairs - rough climb - sunken dance floor - beautiful club - few pop
Singer comic Marcus Bailey opened - OK - gave us a photo
We did a half hour at 9 - again at 10:20 - string broke - bass drum pedal broke - to house drums
Keith there - rough - manager happy - will book again if around
Followed Keith partway home - coin op gas pumps saved empty
To Enterprise for mousaka de Greque - strippers there 40 - home.
Tuesday, July 13, 1976
Ironapolis Club - Bright St. - Middlesbrough
PICTURES: Wear River, Durham - river bank going up along castle wall - approaching Durham Cathedral - knocker - inside looking left - stained glass - Tomb of Cuthbert - through courtyard of group - Monk's room - behind robes in Monks - tombstones - altar ....
BF before 11 - different sausages & ham
On to Durham via Stockton, Coxhoe and Bauburn - thru city to parkade
Walked along tourist shops up river bank along castle wall
Posed at gargoyle knocker - bought tourist guides - saw organ - Cuthbert tomb
Up to Monk's room full of books and old relics - seals, robes, coffins, jewelry
Kevin found ancestor's diary - down to bookstore - SO showing Al so far
Bought many many books and maps - back to Cathedral to main altar
20p to climb to top of tower - very long hard winding climb - out of film
Good view of river, castle, mill, etc. - down easier but dizzy
To castle but no tour for another 20 minutes - bought literature but had to get back thru shops - good stuff
Had lollis and rest and into parkade - everyone leaving and discourteous tie up - traffic jam
Out and home PDQ - supper - rest - close job tonight - to club before 7
Still locked - poster advertised C&W group from Australia - I changed it and put up photo
Drive up close to stage - sunken dance floor - 2 40-minute shows
Good organist (liked Canada) and drummer - organ & drums in almost every club we've done
SO still borrowing stands - new heavy strings gave me some trouble
Drum pedal still falling apart and mike stand drops at weird times
Good applause - OK night - back to room to get Susanne who didn't come
To Club Marimba to see Johnny Duncan and the Bluegrass Boys but closed Mon & Tues
To Fiesta Club in Stockton to see Searchers but too late to bother
Mixed grill and Mousaka at "Elsie's"
Home - musicians still up - talked to SAND frontman - knew of Dick Damron tour.
Wednesday, July 14, 1976
Sunny and windy
British Legion Club - Park Rd North - Mbro
Breakfast at 11 pork - SO to laundry - I read for awhile and then followed her
Lollis, mags, chinese noodles take-out - ate in our kitchen
Upstairs - showered - Downtown with Kev and Susanne shopping
I saw Thunderbolt and Lightfoot at ABC theatre for 90p (double bill with Midnight Cowboy but had to leave at 4:15)
Nice to see a touch of America - to Hamilton Music Centre
Bought SO drumsticks - all totally broken - she had to borrow last night -
Back - missed rush hour traffic by going by Marton Rd.
SO stayed all PM to bath
Got carpet for drums from Colin from Bette (Colin at our show last night)
Supper: meat pie, chips, beans, trifle - Musicians all friendly - lie down after supper
Left around 7 sans Susanne
2 minutes later we arrived at little rundown old shabby, grubby, smelly, gloomy British Legion
Club where Joe Hunter drinks - upstairs - no organ - grand piano yes, drums yes - 2 shows
No other acts - rapport form the start - great applause - used "Foreign Legion" reference - great success
Keith and Margaret arrived - we introduced
At break Kevin went with drummer Alan McLachlan and bass player to dive (55 Falmouth St. Mbro 43883) to hear the young band staying with us - OK
Rock last set - Joe H. there briefly and gave thumbs up
Other club chairman there auditioning us - OK talk with MC after about this scene
Sold 1 album - everyone wants my necklace, Indian choker
Dropped off Kevin and went downtown for Mousaka.
Thursday, July 15, 1976
Carlin How - W/Mens Club - Carlin How - Past Skelton
Ham, tomatoes & egg then downtown to pick up broken watch - 1 pound
From a very old photo archive
To Stockton and back to Thornaby to confirm bus pickup tomorrow
Parking lot - walk over to High St. - window shop - bought many magazines & 5 pound satin shirt
To little pub for Guinness - cross street to shopping centre - no market in town today
Bought 2 Shadows in record store 2.99 - to music store at end of street (Al & I)
Kevin back to bus with sore feet again - music store bad so we walked back
Explored abandoned house on street (one of many there)
Met at bus at 4:30 - home - Hunter phoning all day but office now closed
Tough stew meat, gravy & potatoes - short rest and left for Carlin How
Arrived 6:45 - raining - small club with 3 flights of stairs -
had a lift but idiot manager wouldn't let us use it
Another group had broken lift and it had cost 40 pounds - I offered to pay 40 if we could use it
Tough climb - house band laid off - organ - start at 8:25 with two 45-minute shows
Not packed but very responsive
Father and obese mongoloid son David there - David danced obscenely all night
Father danced with him on intimate numbers -
Great response but few dancers though because "Buddha" had the floor
No other act - two girls from Skelton were big fans - thunderous applause
Welsh couple bought two albums for all the money in their pockets 4.50
Drunks ganged up on us and wanted us to give David a free album
Revolting scene - picture scroungers - MC very happy
A slot-machine-playing WWII air ace (Spitfires) invited himself into our crowded bus and we dropped him off at Skelton
Al headache so dropped off - we went to Europa for spaghetti - home - new boarders.
Hillman '76 Tour of England
With Bill Hillman's Personal Rating of Each Club
Dorman's Athletic Club - Middlesbrough ** *
High Spen Excelsior Club - Durham *****
Ferry Hill Village W/Mens Club *** *
Malleable Club - Stockton *** *
Brambles Farm British Legion *****
Whitby Football Club *****
Western Social Club - Middlesbrough ** *
Thirsk & Sowerby Club *****
(James Herriot's Darrowby)
Travaux Sport & Social Club - Catterick Army Garrison *
Free Day 1: Trip to Scotland
Free Day 2: Trip to Scotland
British Legion - Grangetown **
Middleton in Teesdale *****
Acklam Steel Works - Middlesbrough ***
Northallerton British Legion *****
New Marske Club *****
Marine Hotel - Saltburn *
Longlands Club - Whitehorse Hotel *****
Friday, July 16, 1976
Dorman's Athletic - Oxford Rd - Mbro - (across road)
Up at 8:30 - wake Kevin - unload bus of all equip onto front lawn and in for breakfast
Kev, Al & I plus Bette's friend's little boy from Scotland (David) pile into bus - gas 2 pounds at Shell
On to Silksworth club to meet Keith - into town - deposit bus
Keith got 25 pounds back (we had paid 70 - later pay Keith 56)
Back to Stockton & Thornaby in Keith's car (1/2 day off work) to Rent-A-Van to see if we can pick up van
No van till 4 pm so to Viponds.
Girls went with singer Colin Norvic to meet our agent Findley and then to shop
I go with Al and Keith - ate in Upton's Cafeteria: Plaise and chips poor - paid their's
Walked to Hunters for pay cheque - closed - band sign ready on Monday
Back home to lounge - sat - carried in groceries for Bette - over to rent van at 3:30
Keith went home - waited till 5 to get bus - 16 days 91 pounds - brakes weak but good power
Back at 5:30 for late supper
Yvonne Pollack had phoned from London, out of money and going home - can't come to see us
SO bought white show linen pants on sale 1@
Kevin can't get insurance to drive as he is under 21
New guy at supper (pork & egg pie): Scottish guitar spent 3 years in Ft. Churchill: Brian Gibson
Load gear into bus - cross street to huge barn-like club - set up
Relaxed before show with beer and lager & lime and Britvic orange juice as usual
So-so polite response
Fans told us that Bay City Rollers had played to similar so-so reaction last year
Dancing to end - compliments - pack up
Hurried to Fiesta Club in Stockton and saw Needles & Pins by Searchers
Scampi and chips - beer - danced to house band
Out to find gas at first place Keith took us to the first night, all night
Home - read - bed.
Saturday, July 17, 1976
PICTURES: quarry east of Spennymoor - miners' banner with drunk miners and mountie - miners' band and banner - miners going into church - view of Main Street crowd from hill - at bottom view of band - carnival shot - square where bands form up and entertain before march through street - many in field just out of High Spen
High Spen - Excelsior Club - High Spen - Near Rolands Gill - Durham
Away to Spennymoor - missed turn off and took many pictures in country - stood on van
Into Spennymoor to drop Al off - Off to Durham Miners' Gala
Street closed out but found good spot by roadblock - walked in to Cathedral Square
Drunk young miners saluting the banner - three bands came up
We followed one of the bands into the Cathedral taking photos
Beautiful funeral type march - great sound in Cathedral - packed - didn't have time to stay
Left and got raspberry lollies - Castle closed today so downtown
More bands - many pop - soft ice cream - past jail to carnival grounds - many drunks
Walked through midway - interesting - much very similar to fairs at home
Fair food mainly chips, mince meat burgers, hot dog sausages - boxing sideshow -
Back to downtown - upstairs to Chinese restaurant
Ate our meal surrounded by loud drunk & partying Geordie men and women
Onlookers Amazed by chopsticks - brought a temporary hush - OK meal
Walk along river on way to bridge - very scenic - roofs of tile (slate) - continued along the river on the other side
Short cut to van - Off to High Spen via Consett - found club after 6
Killed time and film out in field nearby
Down a paved path across pasture thru thickets down dam to little stream - remains of a swing there
Crossed stream, explored and back - Kevin attacked by "huge mad" dog
To club - beautiful new but long trip upstairs - many Findlay posters - "4 boys and a girl"
Great Show - fine crowd - good dancing - Keith and Marg there (brought Al at 8 as he had spent the day at home)
Talked to guy from Louisiana who had married Geordie girl
Followed Keith on way home but generator light on - dash shorted - a Bobby helped us
On to home but had lost Keith - stayed up till after 4 talking with guitar player Brian about the Shadows.
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Ferry Hill Village - W/Mens Club - Ferryhill Village (Danny O'Connor)
Up early to get to Lumley Castle by noon - Chester-Le-Street just off M-1
Had rum and coke in lounge - Keith late arrived 12:20
Norman & Elsie Jones (in wheelchair) - daughters Beverley oldest and Angela - Keith & Margaret & her mother
Roast beef & pudding, coffee (3) - nice but not in main dining room which is reserved for special Medieval meals
3 pounds each - many waiters - SO got 2 pictures - left after 1 1/2 hours
SO bought print and 2 goblets from desk - rooms not bad 9-14 pounds
I explored old towers and rooms, etc. got photos from turrents
Into car and on to Beamish open air museum - ran out of time
SO and I had changed to denim hoping to get album cover photos
Talked to old miner in museum who explained all
To Spennymoor for Tea at Margaret's: shrimp tarts, chicken sandwiches, cake, trifle, milk, tea - got photos
On to Ferry Hill - upstairs - dump stuff on street and then up - carried up Al's mother
Danny O'Connor on bill - looked and sounded Mexican - good singer/ guitarist with Gibson copy and real Gibson pickups
OK show - but we refused encore - they overpaid us - no room to dance
We at last met Aunt Nellie, a real fine person ~ Introduced Al as local boy
Phoned Chinese food order - SO excited because they had the same dialect
Ate at Keith's and saw Olympics from Montreal - girls up - Aunt Nellie and her friend Rhoda there - Norman & Elsie Jones
Home after SO and Marg did dishes - Kevin sick
Had planned trip to moors with Marg and girls but turn signal broken so must repair tomorrow
Gave Ian and Betty's Mandy a record for birthday.
Monday, July 19, 1976
Malleable Club - Morton Rd - Stockton
Quick breakfast - to Rent-A-Van - tightened battery cables and put in new fuse OK
Back to digs - gang talking to US Connecticut performer who lives here
Downtown - got agenda from Hunter & picked up our new linen sign
Got adapter for my razor - Jerry Lee, Everly and Vincent albums 6 at Hamilton's Music
Home to read and rest - read Emmanuelle - saw ad in today's paper for tonight's show "From Canada"
Al listened to radio he got from home - Sue-On did laundry
Ian Hughes DJ and brother Kevin celebrating Ian's birthday
He brought big bottle of wine - we supplied cake at supper
Ian and Kevin with us to club near Fiesta in Stockton - main floor easy pack
Saw most ugly man we have ever seen in window - revolting -
Vicious dog tied at back - put up new sign in front of Kevin's keyboards
Jackie ??? from Scotland shared the bill - good belter
Brian Findlay came running in as management had phoned to complain
Told him that we were displaying a Burrow-Hunter sign - they were blacklisted there.
Show was a disaster: broke string on first number and SO 2 sticks
SO played housie - Jackie had nice show but ran 15 minutes into our act
We packed whole last act into 15 minutes - no dancing but crowd excited Management sold two albums but kept the money - one was stolen -
Picture scrounger couple from Scotland bought one - Old girl with rhythm kissed me - ech
Packed up and to Indian restaurant: curry lamb and chicken, Indian bread, two soups
Ian and Kevin there - we were mistaken for Americans - home to Olympics and bed
Susanne phoned home collect - said she's staying another three weeks.
Tuesday, July 20, 1976
Brambles Farm British Legion - Turford Ave. - Brambles Farm - MBro
Downtown by 12:40 - dropped off Susanne to shop and change flight reservations to ours: Fly out to Canada August 17
Kevin had gone swimming to public bath with Ian Hughes and will meet later
We go to ABC Theatre to see Freebie and the Bean with James Caan and Alan Arkin plus Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee and John Saxon
Good entertainment for 90p - bought 90p of chocolate - out at 4:20 into rain
Coffee in Greek coffee shop - back to car to meet K&S - picked up tailored jeans at cleaning shop on way back supper
Joe and Bette Vipond just leaving for holiday in Tunisia - Colin Norvic filling in for them
Rest and over to Legion - on Redcar road - huge pool of water in front of door
Met Kevin, the guy who had approved our act at the last Legion
Another act on the bill: Dave Venture - once 1/2 of adagio team with wife
Venture now a vocal and comedy act (drummer also) - out in drag and sang "Me Cock's Me Own"
Great night, great response - sold Free Spirit - hall in semi circle around stage
Picked up Susanne and went to Enterprise with Venture for mousaka -
We talked over show biz and recording
Drunk ex-con won't pay bill - waitress won't let him out - he punches her - runs out - Bobbies arrive
Back home - Olympics on TV - read a bit.
Wednesday, July 21, 1976
Whitby Football Club - Upgang Lane - Whitby
Leave after usual wait for Kevin and Susan -
Sue-On has promised to pay Susan's room and board for a week
Drive down through Moors - many photos of sheep - moor fires - sheep shelters - BM - valleys
Stop at Rosedale - quaint old village - bought maps, etc. - tea and scones at snack bar (pub closed) - gas
Drove thru narrow paved roads - great beauty - followed bus - into Scarborough
Photos of resort area - much like Redcar - 4 photos - bought denim hat - SO bought charms
Plaice and Chips at restaurant - 1/2 as good as Whitby - down boardwalk for ice cream - left Al on beach
Back to car at 6 - on to Whitby on hilly winding road - 20 miles - thru middle of Whitby
Past Whitehorse to Upgang Lane - little army hut building - smallest yet - small stage - no organ
Not room for everyone on stage so I stood on floor
Sue-On borrowed stand from nearby drummer - great response - right with us
Elvis: The Way It Was on TV - 3 shows - last show ended after 11
Keith and Billy there - sold 2 albums - Al sat out the night - pack up and back to Mbro
Followed Keith and then took over and lost them - drove around town for an hour after but gave up
They had gone to Billingham for gas - we returned to bed
Keith, Billy, Sue-On and Susan in car.
Thursday, July 22, 1976
Western Social Club - Union St. - Mbro
Breakfast of egg, beans and SAUSAGES ech - shower & listened to Alan's radio while doing diary
Into bus and downtown to waterfront photos of ships, tugs, channel, bridge - in and around whole front
Returned early to drop off Kevin and Susan at park - SO did hair & wrote postcards for Alan
Supper at 4:30: mince stew, pears
Over to club - new round building - beautiful - Roadie Susanne read book in back all night
Two 45 minute shows - worked hard on them and got crowd - young blase crowd
Good house band of organ and drums - SO forced Kevin into buying first round
Many dancers in last set - no enthusiasm - wall grafitti summed it up "Thanks to Madame Tussaud's for half the audience."
Lazy MC - SO broke drum pedal - off - we refused encore -
After the show, the steward had big boxer going around eating plate remains
Cliff Ledyard local country act - coming next
Dropped off Al who had pulled muscle in neck
Over to 21 Club in Stockton where Ian Hughes working as disco DJ.
His girlfriend Janet was there and brother Kevin - bought round 1.7
Ate American double decker (single small hamburger) - danced - small place with good atmosphere
Lights on dancers - Ian did good job - bought him a drink and all rounds again
Home at 1:30 - Kevin and Susan home later.
Friday, July 23, 1976
Thirsk & Sowerby Club - The Flats Off High St. - Thirsk
See our full James Herriot Photo Coverage
Sunny - Cloud cover that ended in rain
PHOTO: Cleveland Hills potatoes and grain - sheep and tree stump - valley - pbu - antique place - Helmsley Castle shots - inside Thirsk club
Same bean breakfast
Letter from Grandma Hillman - told where her father had lived and was born:
Family farm at Westmorland County, Kendal - Kirby Lonsdale P.O. - Farm is Akrigg Green
Brian Findlay called asking if we got extra 15 pounds at Ferry Hill
Drove down west side of moors - Cleveland Hills - beautiful country
Stopped at pub - slot machine - Juke box: Combine Harvester by the Wurzels
Also: One Piece at a Time by Johnny Cash - Fifth of Beethoven - I Recall a Gypsy Woman by Don Williams
Urinated in cement room with gutter all around then drove southward
Antique sign - quaint shop in old blacksmith shop with forge, bellows, etc.
Kevin bought walking stick - Susanne two crystal glasses - SO 4 Chinese markers
Beautiful yard with much Chinese stuff
South to Helmsley - bought Alan denim in market - fish & chips - bought antique maps upstairs
Walked to castle - booklet, cards, photos - much ruins but still good rooms left
51 Bentley parked outside castle
Kevin talked to owners - SO showed Al around - rain on way back to van - to Thirsk
Deep drop down from "plateau" - drove around Thirsk to find James Herriot's vet office
Disappointed that Doc Whyte not in
Went across the street to see the Herriot museum of antique vet instruments
Found club in the rain - into club from back through cow pasture
Building a nice 30s style country club - scared new MC in tux
Other act showed up: Steve Ross with bride and wedding party - confetti in hair
Small but great crowd - started late and went to 12
Brian Findlay the agent was there - he bought round
Thunderous crowd - crowd forced Alan up - we went to sing Auld Lan Syne - crowd cheering - photos - sold 2 albums
Steve wanted one - said we would send - gave Findlay 3 - Brian tipsy and ended up on drums
Club management locked the door to keep constable out and we played way overtime into the wee hours
Ate rest of Vipond picnic lunch on way home: corn beef and cheese
Kevin lost in back of van reading map - great day.
Saturday, July 24, 1976
Travaux Sport and Social Club - Dane Rd - Catterick Garrison
Rain start - Sun finish
To Darlington and Barnard Castle area (Raby Castle)
Kevin made navigation mistakes and spent day by self moping : ) - Many photos
Toured castle 50p and book & souvenirs - good stuff
Ended up in garden picking and eating raspberries
Walked through cricket match - tea, ginger cake scones (on way we ate lunch packed by house: cheese & corn beef)
Over to Richmond to see Easby Abbey ruins - got book - followed map - photos - over to town for gas
Walked around castle - to Catterick - tiny club - no organ or drums - dumpy - set up
Keith, Margaret, civil engineer friend Gordon and Margaret Vester, Billy and Judith Turner
Three likely lads went out for fish and chips - man stormed into shop looking for owner of red van (ours)
Man claimed careless passengers had scratched his car with door of van - Wanted 15 pounds - I said no - see insurance - first accident of tour and it was caused by backseat drivers
Back to club - no MC - no dressing room - no people - no nothing - drums broke - ugly people
I dismissed crowd and played for dance instead - very undesirable management
Many fans want to know where we play next though
We gave Gord and Billy album (Billy the black #4 - Gord the original #5)
Packed up - drove through fog - followed Gord to Hellinique Greek Restaurant
Enterprise still the best
Keith and Billy lost and late - good mousaka night - fun - home in hilarity.
Sunday, July 25, 1976
Trip to Scotland
Away at noon - Alan stayed because Keith is picking him up to take to parents
To Darlington - M-1 South and across to West Coast - bought Esso set of maps
Up to Gretna Green - gas - filled front right tire and ate picnic by the church
Kevin forgot walking stick so we drove back to pick it up then north to Glasgow
Scotland is much like home in architecture and much of country - sparsely populated
Much of Glasgow very slummy and old but we finally found downtown - nice
Theatres closed so we went to Marigold for Chinese meal - good but unfriendly
North we go to Loch Lomond - sail boats - swarming tourists - twisting road along Loch
Gas at Strath Lomond - jockey has two sisters working at University in Winnipeg - Spence St.
Nice tourist hotel - Kevin came to the rescue, translating for French couple at the desk.
North along road to Crian...??? - 5 pounds per person per night -
Charged 2.50 for tea that they offered!
Fine old hotel - Kevin and Susan slept in lot in van but used our facilities
Bath - wash hair - read - day of hard driving on Loch road that was so narrow and winding.
Monday, July 26, 1976
Knocked up at 7:30 - wash up - woke Kev and Susan
Breakfast: porridge, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, coffee pot - pay up
Drove into open country: rolling highlands - pictures - mountains - highlander, etc.
Stopped at town at bottom of Loch Ness: coffee, pee, pastry, postcards photos
On road again - narrow and winding - to north of Loch Ness headland
Photos of Kevin posing as Nessie monster in the Loch - down to water - waded
Back up into Inverness - slow travel - stopped just to north for gas and lollie
On to Blair Castle - booklet and slides - souvenirs - good castle - good treasures
Down to Edinburgh - drove around - walked streets - pictures - bought souvenirs by bridge - sweater, tea muff
Listened to band in park down below and tried Spanish restaurant but full
To Angus Steak House chain - cheap steak - I had Angus - OK - Lager & lime
Drove around city looking for way south and hotel - gas - south - tried places but no one would open
Finally found The Eagle in Lauder - owners, a young London couple, were partying with guests
They had a farty Great Dane dog - horses out back - offered riding tours for 4 pounds each
Kev and Susan slept in bus
Talked over free coffee and then up to bed - tired - SO getting bad cold.
SO NOTE: On way to Edinburg Susan realized that her Aunt was in Glasgow and not Edinburg.
We rushed trip to get to see her aunt. Should have checked before we left.
Tuesday, July 27, 1976
British Legion - Grangetown - Derwant Water Rd. - Mbro
(originally to be Port Transport Club - Southfield Rd. - Mbro
Up at 8:30 for breakfast in upstairs dining room: (dummy waiter) coffee, sausages, eggs, juice
Woke Kev and Susan in the van - they washed in public lavatory & buy fruit for breakfast
Take more photos - on road down to Newcastle - near miss with passing car
Park van - fair going on - blimp on grounds - look for van we can take to London - phone calls but no one-way rentals
Shop - SO sleeping in bus with bad cold - leave at 2:30
Onto freeway and home PDQQ - have to rest
Waiting for us are 2 letters from home - Mom and Pollacks
Supper and load equipment at quarter to seven
Arrive at Transport Club after 7 - we're not on the bill - phone Joe - slipup
We're actually in British Legion Grangetown
Rush set up - other performer was Lurch Martini - pain in ass at start -
We are warm up and dance set - even tho top of bill
Open to average audience - Dracula on with tons of copycat echo - funny and audience loved it
Management cool to us but fawn over him
Legionaire comes up to Kevin to tell him to cut his hair
We finish to so-so audience - Keith there to help pack
To Enterprise: lamb cutlets OK - all male staff this time
Kevin had gone home to join Susan and didn't come.
Wednesday, July 28, 1976
Middleton in Teesdale (want to book us privately)
Go to Hunters - talked to Borrow - let Sue-On sleep for a while
Left for Darlington and Barnard Castle - to Bowes Museum - 20p -
Susan and Kev downtown to market and got wine and cheese
Beautiful museum - showed Al around then on to Middleton - all closed but had fish and chips at Bridge Inn
To club at 7:00 OK - easy in / easy out - MC had disco setup - played to fantastic audience
Al's parents, Marg and Keith, Bill and Mona Johnson (butcher from Spennymoor) and their daughter-in-law Vivian, Aunt Dorothy
Much applause and appreciation - sold albums but many give-aways too Club bought album - bonus one - gave bonus 2.50 as they were tickled
SO's mike broke but we still did well - pack and on to Bill and Mona's for lunch
Johnson's had just visited Yugoslavia (son in army in N. Ireland)
Home we go (police stopped to question - break ins)
Our supper was in oven (liver) but we don't want it now
Borrow phoned - said he found someone with van to drive us down to London: Mick Sandbrook
Phoned Mick in Stockton - from band Innervisions - will get van - pick us up at Rent-a-Van - drive down will cost about 30.
Thursday, July 29, 1976
Acklam Steel Works - Park Rd. - Mbro
Kev and I went early to Borrow-Hunter
Got extra Saturday booking in Saltburn - no docked pay for Scotland
To ABC Theatre to see Confessions of a Pop Performer - sex comedy - and Shampoo
Sue-On doing laundry at home
Home at 5:00 - stew - fire in vicinity so much smoke - fixed mike with Colin's soldering gun
Had a hard time finding the club - set up - Mr. Guitar Man on the bill: Leil Edwards - mediocre rhythm guitarist
(SO NOTE: Willie showed him up completely)
Mick, John and Brian of Innervisions visited us to talk over London trip -
(SO NOTE: Three crazy guys - John much like Kerry Morris.)
Susan's not feeling well. We had a good night.
Entertainment Chairman, however, was a grouchy old man - he wanted us to pack up in 10 minutes
Willie went with Leil to his van to see his H&H amp
Leil's set was cut by 10 minutes - nice fella
All boys helped pack up - load - and 3 cars headed for Enterprize for "coffee" as usual.
For the first time we had seating upstairs and it was very private.
Boxer-waitress's sister was there. Said boxer on holidays.
Crazy time: All tap-danced... not queers!! 3 guys in little mini truck - Got Mance??? As souvenir
Friday, July 30, 1976
Northallerton British Legion
To Borrow with Al to do final business
Left right after tea for North Allerton - Tried to find Harlsey Castle -
One-lane roads through farmers' yards
Took a dirt road through a field chasing families of prairie chickens - Kevin out to lift them off the trail
We got stuck trying to turn around - stuck between wet grass and fence - and had to push our way out.
On our way - scenic country - into Legion - warned me that we must not be loud - but turned out to be a real great night
We were the only ones on bill - everyone happy and beaming
Sue-On and Susan bought a box of cucumbers, cabbage, etc. and I played my first and last game of bingo
Sold many records - gave out all pictures - good shows
House band had an old jazz drummer Ron and local municipal (archives) clerk Ernie on organ - great enthusiasm after
Packed up and drove to greasy spoon next to Enterprise but closed, so... to Enterprise: lamb chops - home to bed.
Saturday, July 31, 1976
DOUBLE HEADER: New Marske Club - Gurney St. - New Marske
Marine Hotel - Saltburn 12-1 *Continued in Part 2
Sunny and warm
Starting to pack - drove roomer Ted Epworth to Port Transport Club to get Gable-Clark gear
Brian working on Gable & Clark broken car
After 1:30 Keith, Marg, girls and Alan show up to spend the day at Redcar
We promise to take Ted and their gear to Hartlepool and meet Keith later trouble finding Coop??? Club
Found large Corporation Club instead (but the Searchers were playing there)
Finally got to Redcar 10 minutes late and met others at Coatham Bowl
Walked to indoor amusements and all rode dodgem cars - girls rode tilt-a-whirl - gambled - played soccer machine - gamble shoot - ghost ride
Al, Marg and I went back to the car while the rest rode boats in the pond
Keith and Sue-On's boat stopped on them - took pictures - Kicked around soccer ball
Then off to Saltburn to find club - tiny hole - no drums or organ - manager counting heads -
Not a good feel here
On to New Marske club - big with balcony - seats over 400 - repairman working on organ
We went out for Chinese takeaway paid for by the band - back to club - set up then ate
Started at 8:30 - rave-up place with great crowd - many albums - standing ovation encore
Did a rush pack up and hurried over to disco at Saltburn - set up - weirdo crowd - some applause then return to dancing
Tipsy girl from Chatham, Ann Boges (later, back home, saw her on CTV network game show)
DJ introed us - some good fans there but generally depressing - pack up -
Keith took Al home while 4 of us went to Viponds' for tea and toast.
Sunday, August 1, 1976
Longlands Club - Longlands Roundabout - Mbro (Whitehorse Hotel)
Sue-On and I drove back to New Marske club to return the stand their drummer had lent us last night for the disco job
1:30 Kevin, John Grace (lead guitar from Clockwork Toys) and I go downtown to Odeon to see ERB's At the Earth's Core
No showing till 4:30 so we go for a drink in the Highland? Hotel
Chat and learn that John has been playing pro for 10 years
Back home - pack up many mags - sold two records to Gable and Clark @1.50
Ready to roll - study London map and head for the club - a good-sized average style
Susan stayed home to pack - Keith and Marg came dressed up
Crowd great and we sold all the albums we had left -
MC Frank was a lot of fun and we used him to get response - great wind-up
Pack up and over to Enterprise to celebrate upstairs - lager & lime
4 drunks singing at next table gave great atmosphere - mousaka - happy singing night - a great windup
Back to house for tea and goodbyes.
BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN: A 50-YEAR MUSICAL ODYSSEY