Out Of My Brain In Shepherd’s Bush Market – Part Three – By Irish Jack

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When the fashion really began to take off, it took any one of us seven or eight weeks to save up to buy something that was old hat after a month. Figure that out, cos I can’t, but that’s how much we cared about how we looked. Mods hated finding themselves out of sync with the leading Faces. We were like an organised army, we were everywhere. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were Mods in Burnley, Bolton and probably Glenda Loch but London really was the place. London had Soho, no one else did. Leading Faces appeared in fashion magazines and classy stuff like ‘Town’, wearing Levis faded to perfection and Henley boating jackets. Lambrettas, Vespas and the road to the coast for the best music you ever heard in your life. Cartons of pills, you see us Mods were the only generation that really cared about how we looked. And judging by the speed of the fashion, it soon became obvious that the only way any Mod worth his salt could keep abreast of things, was to have a job. We were the first youth culture who believed in work. Teds and beatniks didn’t, I mean, I was a bloody filing clerk with the London Electricity Board and my friend was a meat pie packer but we were just as Mod as each other. That was the thing about this big army of Mods, we could be working at anything really and still go into work dressed smart and be Mod. The bosses didn’t know what to do with us.

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The first time I heard the expression ’Up West’, I hadn’t a clue what it was ? I thought it was a dog at the White City race track but soon every Mod was using the expression. ‘Up West’ meant being up the West End, the Soho district of London. When you were ‘Up West’ with Mods from all over London and the sticks, you couldn’t help but feel theatrical. ‘Up West’ was where all the leading plays were and films before they went out on general release. There was a perceived air of exclusiveness about the places that seemed to fit the Mod ethic to a tee. Wardour Street and Gerrard Street were the main arteries where hundreds of Mods gathered to pose and score pills on Friday and Saturday nights, but mostly Saturday nights after the suburban pubs and clubs had closed.

I used to get the train from Goldhawk Road to Hammersmith, walk under the subway and change over to the Piccadilly line to Piccadilly Circus. When I’d come up the steps of Piccadilly it actually had the sensation of coming up out of the ground like a great Phoenix. Suddenly I’d dramatically appear, come up out of the ground and suddenly be surrounded by a tidal wave of people, a fucking world party. Everyone, Mods, young boys and girls pilled up to the eyeballs. News vendors with dirty magazines hidden under the counter, three-card-trick merchants, drug pushers charging sixpence each for French Blues, a shilling for a Roaring Twenty or a Black Bomber. Prostitutes, ten quid for it or a fiver for a hand job, ‘The End Is Nigh’ placard carriers, Coppers looking for a collar, Country bumpkins looking for a kinky night in Soho and tourists, thousands of tourists. No wonder I felt like an Ace Face as I strutted along Shaftesbury Avenue like a well plumed peacock with my hands buried deep in my jacket pockets, bloody cool that was.

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That was the thing about being ‘Up West’ on a Saturday night, in one sense you were a nobody, just another one of the West End’s lost souls but at the same time you’re standing there at the pedestrian crossing in the middle of a mob of camera clicking tourists and you’re ‘there’. Bloody Mod from head to toe and outside you don’t want to be photographed cos you’re too cool to really care but inside you want to be photographed. You’re so cool you could be Albert Finney or Tom Courtney, just slipped out of the Garrick Theatre during the interval.

The Ace in everyone’s book was Peter Meaden from Edmonton. A nervous wreck, he spoke at you at about a hundred miles an hour and used to sound like an American DJ. He was as Cockney as Bow Bells but Drynamil made him sound American. He was King, well he was King Mod, that was for sure. He was plugged into everything and lived his life in that tiny room in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, a word, a sentence, a style, a dance, a step ahead of everyone else. When I heard that this guy Meaden had become the manager of ‘The Who’ it sounded like a marriage made in heaven cos they were perfect for each other. A couple of weeks after he took over the band in June 1964, he changed the name to ‘The High Numbers’ and told everyone in the Goldhawk Social Club to stop calling them ‘The Who’. He also mentioned that we should spread the word….and we did because we believed in this geezer Meaden but I still reckoned that the previous name was better.

One night, Meaden told me that ‘The High Numbers’ were going to release their first ever record, a song called ‘I’m The Face’. It sounded like a great title and I asked Meaden if Pete Townshend had written it. He said no and refused to say anymore on the subject. The following week, I went down the Goldhawk, Meaden had a little sales table under the stage selling copies of the single. I didn’t buy one because I knew I’d get a free copy from my mate Townshend. Later on that night, Meaden approached me in the bar and said if I took copies of the record down Shepherd’s Bush Market the next day (Saturday), I could earn myself a nice little commission. I was so excited about it I forgot to ask him how much the commission was.

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Saturday afternoon, I walked down Goldhawk Road to the Market, confident I would shift all twelve copies within the hour. Meaden had explained that it didn’t take many sales for a record to climb at least into the lower reaches of the charts. What a fool I was, the Market was jammed like every other Saturday, a hot afternoon in July, Mod girls buying sling backs, West Indians haggling over crockery and Indian husbands and wives haggling over the price of a carpet. Everywhere was the smell of bird seed and I spent the next three hours baking in the hot sun, standing in the middle of the walk-thru holding out copies of ‘I’m The Face’ but nobody wanted to know ! In the entire three hours, with sweat running down my neck, I sold just three copies. In the end, I got so fed up of people ignoring me and this great bloody band, I just said, “Sod this, I’m off home”. When I got indoors, I stepped into a lukewarm bath and it felt like heaven.

I bumped into Peter Meaden in the Goldhawk later that night and he told me that he had been all over the place trying to get shops to stock the record. Even though Fontana were the label they were fucking useless and only pressed about a thousand copies, that’s how much they believed in the band. I knew I felt bloody exhausted, but Meaden I had to admit, looked positively wrecked. I told him I had only managed to sell three copies of the record and he looked very disappointed. Then his face completely dropped when I told him I’d left the nine unsold copies at home. Then, Meaden very begrudgingly, handed me my commission for three hours work. I took the little brown envelope from him, it was the standard pay envelope they used at the L.E.B. and when I opened it up, I discovered that Meaden was paying out his commission in pills!

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‘I’m The Face’ never got anywhere, someone said that Meaden gave away a stack of records to club and radio DJ’s who never kept their word. John Entwistle’s mother and aunt bought about a dozen copies and completely dried out the stock of a record shop in Acton High Street. I never did give Meaden back those nine unsold copies and we were never quite the same after that. See, what actually happened is that my Aunt Carol was always nagging me about keeping my bedroom tidy so whenever I heard her approach my room with her dreaded feather duster, I used to scoop everything off the bed and keep it out of sight. My Uncle John kept this old piano in my room and that was usually the favourite dumping place for the ‘High Numbers’ fliers and the unsold records. Usually, when the coast was clear, I’d scoop the lot out of the back of the piano and place them somewhere else. Sometimes I’d forget (and sometimes it depended on how many pills I’d had), so I dumped the lot one weekend into the favourite hiding place and went off to work on Monday. When I got home that evening and walked into my bedroom, there was a space in the corner of the room where the piano used to be. I couldn’t believe it, I walked straight into the kitchen to find my Aunt Carol humming away to herself and very relieved to inform me that Uncle John would be thrilled when he got home to discover that at long last, a rag and bone man had called out of the blue and taken away the piano ! I was almost in tears, Jesus, nine copies of ‘I’m The Face’ stuck down the back of the piano as well as (nowadays) priceless fliers for the ‘High Numbers’ and the Goldhawk Social Club. One copy of the record is now probably worth twice the value of that piano.

To this day, though now living in Cork, as I frequently find myself for one reason or another, walking down the Goldhawk Road, I sometimes make a point of walking through the old Shepherd’s Bush Market. I get to a point halfways down and I remember standing there on a baking hot July afternoon in 1964 trying to sell a dozen records for ‘The High Numbers’. There was the old tea stall run by John at the Goldhawk end and another one at the Uxbridge Road end as well which were usually populated by members of the Irish community. Usually as I walk through the Market, I take a right down Uxbridge Road, past the library towards Shepherd’s Bush Green and I go and sit on my favourite bench. I look around at where the old Gaumont cinema and the Odeon were and the BBC television studios. The public gents toilet on the Green where a famous tv actor was once arrested for importuning (those were the days). From the bench, where if I had my way the world would begin on 1st January 1960, I stare across at the shops along Uxbridge Road and look for the old London Electricity Board building that was numbered 154.

 

 

*The images shown above are as follows – Another view of my beloved Kelmscott Gardens taken from Askew Road. Our 3rd floor flat can be seen through the tree branches on the right of the picture. The Sulgrave Boys Club where nearly every lad from Kelmscott was a member AND also included Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. The early picture of the band was given to me by Roger’s late mum Irene, when she lived in her little semi in Turnham Green. She used to write letters to me even though she suffered badly from polio in her hands. She was a dear lady and always made me very welcome. The photo shows Roger (left), our old drummer Doug Sandom and Pete Townshend. It would’ve been taken at the old White Hart in Acton High Street on a Sunday night where I used to go. Finally, the large photo was taken outside the Goldhawk Club on 26th July 1978. Roger arrived by helicopter from his house in Sussex and then caught a cab to the Club. After five minutes, the others turned up and we went inside. The photo shows from the left, Ian Moody, ex-Mod and now deceased. Tom Shelley, ex-Mod from Riverside Gardens in Hammersmith. Behind him on the left is an unknown who decided to turn up. Standing at the door with typical arm in a sling is ex-Rocker and Kelmscott terror Chris Covill, now deceased. The geezer holding the glass is yours truly, Irish Jack, ex-Mod from Kelmscott Gardens, Flora Gardens and Dalling Road. Martin Gaish, ex-Mod from Riverside Gardens in Hammersmith. Leaning on the pillar is Roger Daltrey, ex-Mod (maybe?) from Little Percy Road, Askew Road and Fielding Road. Roger put £25 on the counter (a fortune in 1978) and asked the barmaid to keep pouring the drinks !
‘Irish Jack’ Lyons



28 Responses to Out Of My Brain In Shepherd’s Bush Market – Part Three – By Irish Jack

  1. luke peppard says:

    another top read and interview from the master reporter, mr russell.

  2. TONY SMITH says:

    HI STEVE, NICE TO SEE LOTS OF FAMILIAR PLACES ON THE PHOTOS, GOT YOUR SQUEEZE TICKETS, SPEAK TO YOU SOON.

  3. Steve Russell says:

    Good to see you on here Tony….thanks for sorting the Squeeze tickets…I will send you the conkers mate

  4. pete-ranger says:

    Cheers Steve, great read.
    Black bombers for a shilling.
    Jesus, I used to give ‘em away for nothing.

  5. Another great read Jack.

    Thanks also for posting those pictures of Kelmscott Gdns and Sulgrave Boys Club…Do you recall during that savage winter of 1963 when us younger members of the “Kelmscott gang” built a massive Snowman on that Askew Rd entrance which Froze overnight and Blocked vehicle Access?..Of course by 1963 you were far too mature and sophisticated for that sort of thing! lol

    Yep as I recall every person from the Kelmscott area was a member of Sulgrave…Eric Pead(R I P) did a fantastic Job running the Club.We owe him a debt that can never be repaid.

    I note from your latest photo that “Sivori” has slightly longer hair! lol

    All the very best to you.

    Bernard Lambert

  6. steve zico says:

    Great memories Jack.
    Another really good read.
    Well done for posting them up Steve.

    Pete.
    If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times.
    Stay away from those drugs…….It’s a young man’s game son.

  7. richardles says:

    another great read well done irish jack and steve

  8. mystic fred says:

    wonder what “I’m The Face” is selling on ebay for now – worth more than 100 pianos!

  9. mickyfitz says:

    Another intersting read

  10. This and the other 2 parts truely make for a historical archive. Fun to read and learn. note – no dirt on anyone, just information. If only the magazines or tabloids could do this sort of thing today??

  11. big dave says:

    Top read Jack ,My wife just come up with a funny one in the late sixtys she hopped of school with a few friends to go to a TV studio to watch Steve mariot and the small faces had a great time danceing away but did not realise it was going out live when she got home all the mums and dad see the girls on TV that was bad enough but in school the next day the teachers had the TV on so in deep do do I remember a big Mods and Rockers fight as Hanwell community Must have 50 bikes and same in vespas and lam ,s fighting all over the fields But not one bike was touched good respect that day ,and when you speak about Black and whites and blues Everyone came away gigglling i think a few was taken that day ?? Does anyone remember Tabby,s club in Ealing Brdy down the steps opposite the station Many big groups played there on there way to Fame .

  12. Steve Russell says:

    Dave,that sounds like the venue for the famous ‘Ealing Club’ mate. It was in the basement of 42a Ealing Broadway.Alexis Korner’s legendary Blues Incorporated played there in the early 60′s who featured at various times:Cyril Davies,Jack Bruce,Long John Baldry,Graham Bond,Charlie Watts and Paul Jones etc
    The Detours played there as did(ahem)my brother’s Jazz band !!! Brian Jones used to trek down to West London to sit in and was introduced to Mick Jagger so maybe the Club is responsible for the formation of the Rolling Stones.

    .

  13. big dave says:

    steve sounds right heard stones ,who( as now)etc played it very famous club in it day shut down in the seventie for drugs etc re opened as a night club now i dont no will have a look soon

  14. Andy cat says:

    Nice one dear boy!
    Jack you still owe me plenty of ale for being your London reseacher for your book all these years ago!

    Andy

  15. mystic fred says:

    I attended The Who gig in Wembley last night and what a fantastic show! Seeing them at Glasto Sunday night on the TV was an interesting primer to the Wembley show, the amazing projection screens were all there, showing close-ups of the band and scenes from the old days – fighting with rockers, roaring around on scooters, and a variety of shots including Keith and John. The band played some great songs from the early days of The Who, “Can’t Explain”, “Anyway Anyhow..”, “My Generation”, “The Kids are All Alright” some brilliant new songs from the new record “Endless Wire” and many of their best hits including “Who Are You” (great train journey graphics), a nice tribute to Elvis, who Roger said inspired him at the age of eleven, an acoustic set I enjoyed immensely, some songs from “Quadraphenia”, “Who’s Next” (particularly “Won’t Get Fooled Again”) and a rousing encore featuring “Pinball Wizard” and “Tommy”.
    The warm welcome given by the London crowd was well appreciated by a chuffed Pete, and all the musicians played out of their skin, especially young Zac Starkey who played an excellent set of drums, a real credit to his Dad – many there were Dads with their lads keen to sample the very high standard of music The Who have to offer, and judging by the scooters whizzing past my bus stop (and a Steve Marriott tribute gig I attended two or three years ago) the Mod culture is alive and well! Every date tour has been comitted to cd/dvd and can be ordered from -
    http://www.themusic.com/encore/thewho2007/

    I’ve ordered my copy! ;-)

  16. Irish Jack says:

    Dear All, thank you very sincerely for all your very kind compliments and acknowledgements of pleasure in reading Out Of My Brain In Shepherd’s Bush Market & Especially Alan Tolhurst, Alan you wrote on May 22 that your dad Jack (Reg) Tolhurst worked at the London Electricity Board for 30 years and that another gentleman called Jim Preedy also worked there. Did they work in the offices 154 Uxbridge Road? There was also a maintenance department in the same courtyard next to the main building. I worked in the post room with my superior Vera D. Pratt for a year before being ‘elevated’ to the rank of filing clerk in the Commercial office until August 1963. I’d be delighted to hear more about your dad and I have enjoyed all the posts from those of you who got pleasure from reading my little bit of history. Lads and ladies, don’t ever forget… Special Bush is a Shepherd’s place ! Try saying it fast with a mouthful of crisps and a good bloody pint of wallop down yer!! Best wishes from Irish Jack

  17. big dave says:

    Jack i am afraid you cant stop now there must be more because we are only kids at heart Best wishes dave

  18. Alan Tolhurst says:

    Jack(Reg)Tolhurst worked with Jim Preedy and Bob Crowel.
    They were all Rangers fans and maintained the street lighting.He transfered to Victoria sometime in the 60′s/70′s

  19. Irish Jack says:

    To Alan Tolhurst:
    I am sorry to hear that your dad passed away, Alan. If he, Jim Preedy and Bob Crowe were part of the street lighting dept. they may have been based at 154 Uxbridge Road. You are right about the LEB transferring to Victoria some years ago. I had a strange experience at the Victoria headquarters many years ago when upon a whim, which is my wont, I called in to the Victoria branch in search of any spare copies of old LEB staff magazines (I can’t remember the name of it now -can anyone out there?) but I was talking to this middle aged lady who to be honest gave me the distinct impression that she was trying very hard not to remember me. Perhaps she thought that being Irish I might have a bomb under my arm. As I looked at her she began to come back to me more and more and something told me she remembered me for a very embarrassing reason.. She was quite off-hand with me and was eager to cut our quickey meeting short. I was very disappointed cos like a lot of the great people who contribute to this web site either by post or article, I love a gossip about the old days. Where would we be without a laugh about the old days? (hey ! Fuck me, I’ve managed completely by accident to get four similar words directly below each other (2 lines up) Anyway as I walked out of the Victoria headquarters a bit embarrassed I suddenly remembered that she had a dimple (true) under her chin, and Alan, dimples grow old as we do unless you go to bleeding Harley Street or a back street in the Bush to have it removed. The curious little dimple was still there and God between us and all harm I wanted to go back in there and say..’Come on, you know you bloody remember me and I bloody remember you. You used have that bloody dimple !’ I never did. I just kept walking down the street. She was quite a good looker in the old days of 61/62/63 at 154 Uxbridge Road if a little bit on the stuck-up side. Anyhow, one of my mates who worked with me in the post room (who really ought to have had more bloody sense) asked her if she would go to a play with him ‘up west’. She said, yes. It went all over the LEB mid-week that dashing Ken Harper had managed a date with the stuck-up cow down in the showroom. Poor old Ken had his suit dry cleaned and his white Colombo-type mac’ and his dark green Robin Hood hat with feather (to be honest he looked like the genius from Railway Cuttings, Tony Hancock ); he bought expensive theatre seats and a bunch of flowers and waited at Hammersmith Broadway, Piccadilly Line..and waited..and waited..and is still fucking waiting. On the Monday when we all went into work it was all over the offices that poor old Ken had got stood-up, None of the tea ladies (one of which was Mrs. Silke who actually had a flat in the LEB courtyard) would talk to her after that and she got sent to Coventry by a lot of the staff. Sorry to make this so long, I know that the great historian Bernard Lambert (for it is he!) will get a kick out of this AND Steve Russell…but isn’t it amazing how a dimple can telescope you back in time!!!

  20. Jack another interesting chapter from All our yesterdays!

    Poor old Ken…You should have tried to fix him up with Carol Bridges. Paul Gosden was often looking for a way out of that relationship lol

    The past is another country so they say….but I still like to go there.

    All the very best to you

    Bernard Lambert

  21. jj says:

    Once again a truly brilliant read. Some great lines….’Bloody mod from head to toe and outside you don’t want to be photographed cos your too cool to really care but inside you want to be photographed’ Great to hear about Lambretta’s, vespa’s and ‘up west’ What a proud era.

    Big thanks to Irish Jack and to Steve for his work.

  22. Colin Woodley says:

    I am indebted to Bernard Lambert aka Kerrins for bringing the articles to my attention. As one of the Kelmscott gang and a Sulgrave boys Club regular great memories flooded back. Great to see the pictures and to think we mixed with The Who and did not realise it! Irish I know you have replied to Bernard but you may also remember me as the regular, but rather short, goalkeeper for the Ravencourt Park and Turnham Green football matches.Those were the days when life totally revolved around watching the Rs and playing ‘coats for goalpost’ football with a Frido plastic ball!
    Thank you.

  23. ray wannell says:

    thanks also to bernie for opening the door to all those memories and for jack for writing so evocatively of those distant but vivid times.and for the list of the kelmscott gang ,that many all roughly the same age and gender ,with a few exceptions.thanks for being so small colin;could always manage to sneak it in the corner.
    Great pictures great story great memories.
    thanks ray wannell 65 kelmscott
    where does bernie get his memory from……..carol bridges/paul gosden………what about chris hatton qpr announcer/shirley ellis lived orchard tavern?

  24. Irish Jack says:

    Christ Almighty ! I don’t adam and eve it ! TWO blasts from the past..Colin Woodley AND Ray Wannell ! Two great Ravenscourt Park footballers and Kelmscott Gardens stalwarts. If the connecting genius Steve Russell had never contacted me and the help of Bernard Lambert we would never have made contact. Photos you two, on the double ! I think the last time I spoke to Ray Wannell was 1966 in, not the Blue Anchor, but another riverside pub next to it. I was dressed as a Mod and Ray couldn’t believe the change in me. ‘Don’t you play any more football then, Jack?’ he asked, ‘Football?,’ I replied, as if I had just discovered it, ”Course not. It’s all pills and music now, mate. You ain’t got a score on yer by any chance?’ Colin Woodley is right when he say’s he wasn’t tall but he was a bit like Hodgkinson, England’s shortest goalkeeper, but bloody good. We used to watch a tv show in his parent’s flat with Dave and John Minor, and Ray Wannell, Bernard Lambert and Paul Gosden and the rest of the gang. Great memories. It’s absolutely fantastic to make contact again after so very long. Which is it of you two owes me two shillings and sixpence?
    Jack (Jackie Lyons 22 Kelmscott Gardens – 3rd floor corner flat) First cousin of the long haired stunner big into Elvis Janice Sears.

  25. Jack… Colin…Ray…The Three Amigos. Great Stuff!

    Hey Ray. Consider yourself lucky. The censors dont usually allow Fulham supporters on here lol..I think the only time you went near Loftus Rd Stadium was when you played ON IT in May 1960 for Victoria when we beat Old Oak 3-0 in the Hammersmith schools under 12′s Cup Final…Mr Rogerson dropped me for that Final. I have never forgiven him! LOL

    Yes Colin. Jumpers for Goalposts..Hmm marvellous wasn’t it?(as the Paul Whitehouse impersonation of Alec Stock goes)

    Bernard Lambert

  26. Colin Woodley says:

    Ray you managed to sneak into the corner of the goal only up to the point I took advantage of you looking the other way and then one of the ‘goal posts’ shifted inwards!!!

  27. clarkmalone says:

    Irish jack…..what can i say?
    After reading all this it feels as if this was only yesterday and West London was definately the place to be.Unfortunately being born in ’72′ I missed out on all this although Greenford in the 70′s & 80′s wasn’t a bad spot to grow up in.(did they really play the oldfield tavern back then?)
    Coming over from France to see the R’s in November let us know if youre in the manor.
    rgds clarky

  28. what a laugh, strutting up shaftesbury ave on a friday
    night,full of blues and dex,green leather flowing and a pair of wing tips clicking on the pavement feeling like i owned the place . Thanks for reminding me


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