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How the Discos started:


In the early days of the Fawley & District Community Centre building at Blackfield I met up with Alfie Hyland, otherwise known widely as ‘Popeye’. He was a much loved local entertainer and charity worker. Fawley & District Community Association had been formed many years earlier but it was not until about 1961 or 62 when they took over the newly, purpose-built building in Blackfield. Alfie (Popeye) often provided entertainment in various forms at many of the functions from dances to film shows but more importantly he had the kit. I remember seeing his microphones, amplifiers and speakers and was in awe. This was one thing I wanted to do too.

Alfie was very happy to have me come along and learn from him, how to set up amplifiers and microphones for use. How to work with others and how to put on a show. We worked together on many occasions.

During the mid-later 1960s my father was a regular member of the executive committee that ran the association and maintained the building and I was involved in that too. There were drama groups of which I was a member, not as an actor but in the role of Sound and Lighting. My own personal audio equipment had now grown and included several amplifiers, speakers and tape recorders.

In March of 1968, as part of a fund-raising drive for the Community Association I negotiated with my fellow Executive Committee members to be allowed to run a Discotheque. For those of you who knew the Community Centre at Blackfield the one noticeable thing about the building was the vast amount of glass, virtually all of the main hall’s walls were glass from floor to ceiling. This aspect worried the Committee, the thought of having 150+ of the local ‘yoof’ in a room with glass walls. It had not been done before and it took a lot of persuading. In the end they agreed on the condition that I guaranteed to have at least six ‘bouncers’, men of intimidating stature who would ensure the peace!

15th March 1968 - The first discotheque! One amplifier borrowed from Alfie Hyland and one of mine, some speakers, a couple of record decks, microphone and all the singles we could muster from all our mates (and a few purchased to get the chart toppers), sound checks made. Bouncers in place, good to go. The Community Centre kitchen staff were geared up with crates of canned drinks and crisps etc.

The crowd arrived, everyone looking fro a good time and it all started OK but we were soon getting complaints ‘it ain’t loud enough’, ‘turn it up mate, we can’t hear it’. Trouble is we were on full volume. Quick chat amongst mates and and a phone call then my father went off to pick up a 100W Fender PA. A few minutes later it was on stage via the back door, plugged in and up and running. You should have heard the cheer. The whole evening was a phenomenal success. The Community Association made more money that a year’s worth of Jumble Sales, the ‘yoof’ were all asking when the next one was to be and there was no damage to the building so the committee were happy too.

We went on and did tow more discotheques along these lines and one dance from a local (Southampton based) band ‘Brownhill Stamp Duty’ for whom we were the ‘support act’. The requirement for the ‘bouncers’ was relaxed as the crowds behaved themselves and all was good.

Then I went off to sea and left the management of the disco equipment for a friend.

Woodgreen Christmas Trees 2015  

You can download a copy of all of the Christmas Carols used in the quiz. There are 36 Christmas Carols/Christmas Songs in a Zip File.

They are all downloaded from other sources on the Internet and I have not corrected any spellings.

Christmas Trees quiz sheet 2015   Christmas Trees Answers 2015  

The blank sheet for you to write your answers

The questions along with the answers

Entertainment:


I have been involved in entertainment is various was for many years. Here are some memories of this aspect of my life.

Theatricals, Sound and Lighting:


I was the first pupil allowed to look at and operate the new lighting board at Hardley School when the new stage and hall were finished in about 1965(?). None of the teachers seemed to now how to work it so having done some stage lighting at the Community Centre I took over the stage lighting box. It was my special place.

We did all sorts of wonderful little school plays and occasionally had visiting players or ballet groups come and put on shows. Often some sound effect or amplification was needed and this all fell within my capabilities.

The dimmers were all of the rheostat kind so generated plenty of warmth on cold winters evenings. The spotlights were all new Strand Electrics Pattern 23’s and 123’s along with some of the old stock taken from the old stage in what was the old hall. We did Sheridan’s ‘Rivals’, a bit of Shakespare and a few others, at least I never had to learn a line…

At the Community Centre we raised money and bought a new Strand Electric Micro-8 (SCR controlled) dimmer board, a couple of Pattern 23’s and a couple of 123’s. When the dimmer board arrived it was found to be ‘damaged in transit’, its case was split by having been dropped/not adequately packaged. A new one was sent as a replacement and I kept/repaired the damaged one and I still have it in use today. Theatricals, sound and lighting continued at Hardley School and the Community Centre until I went to sea, then it all stopped for three years.

After being away at sea:


I came home on leave from sea in June 1973, intending to return when my leave was over but took a job locally and was enjoying shore-side life. All the previous hobbies were taken up again. I took over running the disco’s again and went back to the sound and lighting scene. I had bought myself a little MGB rather like this one on the right. This caused a problem because I needed a van to carry all the disco/sound/lighting junk in. I have concurrently owned two vehicles in this vein for most of my life.

I was getting known in the area as a sound and lights man and provided the services for many local amateur dramatics groups including Waterside Amateur Operatic Society, Esso Music & Drama, Dibden Purlieu Players to name a few. Often doing 6-8 shows a year.

For the Disco’s I soon had the help of Chris & later Cath Williams. We had a regular monthly spot in Exbury Club. The Community Cantre had decided that it was too much bother to organise (in my absence) the ‘Bouncers’ for the ‘yoof’ disco so they changed the brand to ‘Junior Discos’ for the 7-11 year olds. This was amazingly popular and went on up until March 1985 on a regular basis.

We also provided entertainment for the some of the groups within Community Association - the Wine Circle Parties were legendary. We did some ‘themed’ entertainments too - the ‘Spanish Evening’, the ‘Italian’ and the ‘French’ evenings spring to mind. They were widely supported by all, the catering, the supply of free alcohol (Wine Circle) and the food! I ‘lit’ the hall, anything was better than the fluorescent lighting, so that we had ‘mood lighting’. We provided all sorts of music to cater for all ages and tastes. We developed a number of music-related elimination games, we would hold quizzes, it was a very full-on entertainment package.

This went on from 1973 until early 1985. Chris and I got married, lived for a while in Totton, moved to the shop in Hale and eventually divorced, I gave-up doing discos in March 1985 - 17 years. The number of stage shows reduced during my period at the shop simply because of the pressure of work running and maintaining the business.

There can be few Village Halls in the Waterside area in which I have not either done discos or stage work.

Sound Effects:


I liked doing Sound Effects for plays. It was always great fun to find the right sound, get it recorded, edited and set up ready for the show. I owned more than one quarter-inch tape recorder, all Ferrographs. My latest was the transistorised Ferrograph 7 (shown here on the right) which I modified to allow me to switch on/off the spooling motor power. This was a great asset when editing as you didn’t have tape spools whizzing round whilst you were cutting tape or searching for the start/stop point of the desired sound.

The BBC sold records LPs and Singles on a wide range of Sound Effects from their Sound Effects Library. These were an invaluable source of sound effects and came with permission to use for Amateur Dramatics performances.

Working from the script of the play and discussions from anyone who had any input (which was rare) I would gather the sound source material and, connected to the record player, copy the sounds from vinyl to tape leaving gaps between effects.

My usual tape splicing block was the EMITAPE block as on the left, I still have it today.

Once the sound effects were recorded on the tape (as above) it was time to edit them into a usable tape. Turn off the power for the take-up spool, put the reel on the left and lace the tape through the heads letting the spare tape run into a bin on the right. Play the tape until the required sound effect can just be heard to start and hit the ‘pause’ button. Fidget the tape back and for the to establish exactly where the sound start with respect to the centre-point of the Replay Head

 mark and cut the tape. The unwanted tape ahead of the sound effect falls into the bin and the desired effect is placed into the splicing block on the 90 degree cut line. As this is the first sound effect it needs about 3’ of white leader to be spliced on ahead so the completed tape can be threaded on to the replay machine. Now ‘Play’ the sound effect and establish where the sound effect ends and cut the tape. Put the end of the sound effect into splicing block and add about 1’ of white leader. Step and repeat for all sound effects required for the play. Even if the required effect is needed more than once, it makes life much easier during the heat of the moment during a live show.

When show-time comes along the tape is threaded, the start point of the first effect is aligned with the Replay Head and everything can be held on ‘Play+Pause’ releasing Pause exactly for the effect. As soon as one effect has been used, the next can be lined up ready. The use of white leader tape makes it very easy to see exactly where each sound effect is cued from.

After the shop:


A new marriage, a job back at Racal Recorders it wasn’t too long before I got involved in plays again. The Pepperbox Players in Whiteparish were re-forming and I did a number of plays/pantomimes with them. Did a couple of musical entertainment evenings at Hale Village Hall but they were never quite the same as the Community Centre ones. Everyone at the Community Centre knew what to do. When I announced ‘OK it’s time for ‘Penny in the Pot’’ everyone grabbed a chair, reached for a coin and made a massive circle of chairs and Abba would start singing ‘Money, Money, Money!’ With odd little pauses for elimination until somebody won. We had some wall competitions and the likes and I think everyone enjoyed it but after the event few asked for a repeat…

Whilst David was at Bath University he was party to resurrecting the Bath Juggling Society and with it ‘Bath Upchuck’. FACEBOOK

David provided the music from his laptop/iPod and I provided PA, radio microphones etc. After the daytime event we would all go to one of the University’s Theatres for a Juggling Show.

More recently we provided the music for one of David’s friends wedding.

Videography:


In 1998 I bought my first video camera then a year or so later I upgraded to a Canon XL-1 which was a pretty good Semi-pro camera in its day. I joined the Institute of Videography and later qualified becoming a Master Member and later Area Representative holding monthly meetings locally to promote videography and the IOV.

Now I am down to doing an annual quiz in our local church for a pre-Christmas event.