NOSTALGIA: ‘I could have been Style Council’s drummer’

He'll never know what he missed... Paul Weller might have had Bob Hind as his Style Council drummer.
He'll never know what he missed... Paul Weller might have had Bob Hind as his Style Council drummer.
Contestants line-up at the Elm Grove, Hayling Island, Co-Op for The News-Co-Op trolley dash. From left, S Slade, of Portsmouth, M O'Connor, of Southsea, G Perryman, of Clanfield, V Gibson of Titchfield, E Jackson, of Portchester, and J Jones, of Hayling Island

THIS WEEK IN 1981: ‘All you can collect – and free’ in a trolley dash with The News

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Here is a poster which will strike a chord with many of you as you recall the voice of Petula Clark and the madcap antics of Benny Hill.

It’s hard to believe that Clark is now 85 so she would have been about 25 when she topped the bill at the Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, in the mid to late-1950s.

Petula Clark topping the bill at the Theatre Royal in the 1950s.

Petula Clark topping the bill at the Theatre Royal in the 1950s.

Thanks to Mick Cooper who sent me the picture, a man who knows more than most about the Portsmouth entertainment scene.

And who remembers Joe ‘Piano’ Henderson who was accompanying Clark here?

The up and coming comedian Benny Hill is the comic spot on the bill.

And what amazed me is that Wilson, Keppel & Betty were still doing their stuff.

Tom Coleman's certificate to prove he crossed the equator in 1968.

Tom Coleman's certificate to prove he crossed the equator in 1968.

No doubt you have seen them in an old film at some time or another although some of you might have seen them live.

They did a sand shuffle on stage dressed as Egyptians.

The trio first appeared in England at the London Palladium in 1932.

Betty left to take up journalism in 1941 and her daughter took her place in 1942 and played the female role until 1950.

This photo was taken in 1990, it is of course Chapman's Laundry in Kingston Crescent.  (Bob Thompson)

This photo was taken in 1990, it is of course Chapman's Laundry in Kingston Crescent. (Bob Thompson)

Who ‘Betty’ was when they appeared in this show after 1950, I don’t know.

• You may have seen the photograph of Paul Weller on the front of The News last week when it was announced he would play Victorious festival.

Weller was the frontman of the 1970s punk/mod revival band The Jam. They all came from Woking and had several hits before Weller split the band to form The Style Council in the early 1980s. Let me tell you a story.

In the last ’70s/early 1980s I was living in Send, a village north of Guildford. I was the drummer with a band called Charisma and we had been together for about six years in 1981.

One evening we were playing a charity gig for Woking Cottage Hospital and during the interval The Jam walked in.

I had a chat with Weller who said he liked my style of drumming and that perhaps we could meet some time. He gave me his phone number which I put in the top pocket of my shirt.

I arrived home after midnight took off my shirt and placed it on a chair. When I woke I looked for the shirt but my wife had washed it. When I asked her what she had done with the piece of paper she said: ‘What piece of paper?’

Yes, she had washed the shirt with the piece of paper with the phone number on it.

I tried to make contact with Weller but with no success and I still wonder if I could have been part of The Style Council.

• The ceremony of Crossing the Line is still celebrated today.

It’s for those who cross the equator for the first time. They are dunked in a makeshift pool on deck and given a signed certificate.

Tom Coleman sent me his signed copy from 1968. How many other sailors have one of these? Must be countless.

• Chapman’s Laundry was started by Elizabeth Chapman as a cottage industry in 1887 in Hambrook Street, Southsea.

It became established and moved to larger premises in Kingston Crescent, seen here in 1990.

The wash was cleaned and wrung out but never dried.

Called Daisy Dampwash it was placed in white cotton bags and delivered to the customer by horse and cart.

With the arrival of washing machines and tumble driers the need for these large laundries decreased and Chapman’s went out of business.

If anyone can tell me more I would be interested.