‘Bucket & Brush’ by Irish Jack (How I got Barred from the Goldhawk Club)

Midway through ’66 with ‘Substitute’ peaking at No.5 in the charts, I was ever the peacock strutted Mod telling the world about ‘The Who’ and how they were my friends.

I wasn’t earning a lot of money in any of the legal offices I worked in. Filing clerks were two-a-penny back then and any idiot with a reasonable knowledge of the 26 letters in the English alphabet could be a filing clerk.

A friend told me he’d left his job and went to work for an agency called Alfred Marks. I told him I’d seen Ads on the Tube train for this company but surely it was only for women typists? No, he said, they cover all sorts. You’d be what they call a ‘Temp’. Oh, right. A ‘Temp’.

So what Alfred Marks did was you signed on their books and they sent you to work in some office or store filling in for someone for a week or fortnight. The beauty of it was that you got paid a higher rate than normal ‘cos you got moved around.

The first place they sent me to was an old building in Blackfriars and I spent a week operating a Victorian-style caged lift. It only went to the 5th floor and I spent most of the time checking out my Mod hair-style in the mirror and writing badly worded “Pop songs” on the back of an envelope for my buddy Pete.

After that it was a filler somewhere else but nothing really exciting. Why hadn’t they sent me to assist David Bailey the photographer or give me a month’s stint as a wardrobe manager to the great Peter O’Toole? After all, I was a hip Mod dressed up better than anyone within a mile!

Then I got a call to fill-in for some geezer in the storeroom at the National Coal Board (N.C.B.). I reported for duty at 9am and the first job I was shown was how to make ‘N.C.B. tea’. “We’re kind of strict here about how to make the tea,” I was told.

“And whatever you do don’t come back from the caff with cold sausage rolls for the staffthat’s a hanging offence here, mate.”

I did very well. Towards the end of the week some big noise upstairs wanted to take advantage of my euphemism for clean living under difficult circumstances (as they say)‚ “How do you feel about giving the offices a wash down, Jack?”

I had no option. They gave me a bucket and brush. It was a nightmare job as I had to keep interrupting people and move desks and filing cabinets out of the way.

The brush was too bristled and the spatters were shooting back all over my three-button Piccolo and ruining my Raoul shoes. Hadn’t the National Coal Board ever heard of overalls?

I walked into the last office late on Friday afternoon and apologised for the inconvenience: “That’s all right,” this bloke said, “as long as I can come into a tidy office next week.”


I looked up at him from where I was crouched over my bucket and he said, “Blimey, I don’t believe it. You’re young Jack from the Goldhawk Club!”

I looked at him and it was Ted Woolgar the Goldhawk Club secretary – readers can see his signature on my Goldhawk Club membership card displayed in part 2 of my ZANI interview.

He packed a few files together and went home. Then my store room guvnor said leave everything as it is and finish it off on Monday.

When I got back home to my large room in Holland Road, West Kensington, there was a letter on the mat addressed to me with ‘Urgent’ across the envelope. It was from the agency Alfred Marks.

“Dear Mr Lyons, please report to Whiteleys in Bayswater on Monday morning at 9am sharp. You will be replaced at the National Coal Board.”

It wasn’t unusual to be dragged out of somewhere and put elsewhere without warning, sometimes it even worked to your advantage.

That Friday night I went to the Goldhawk and club secretary Ted Woolgar was all smiles as he told the barmaid Wyn Sleeman about the coincidence. “Just imagine it Wyn, after all my years at the N.C.B. who comes along with a bucket and brush to clean my office only Jack Lyons.”

On Monday morning I reported for duty at 9am in Whiteleys in Bayswater. It was a posh place where sweat was the main ingredient in the kitchen area. I was a pearl diver which readers will realise means dish water. The work was non-stop and people kept disappearing for hours.


The following Friday I bounced into the Goldhawk Club happy to be finished with Whiteleys salt mine, and looking forward to a score of leapers for the weekend. I stood at the counter and gazed with a grin down at my new-found friend Ted Woolgar.

Wyn Sleeman had a funny kind of look on her face and I saw her nudge Ted’s elbow. I got the feeling something was wrong.

He walked to my end of the counter and said, “Here, mate. You left me in a right fucking state last week. You left a bucket of piss water and a fucking step-ladder all over my office. You’re barred!”

Irish Jack

(The above pics were kindly supplied by Irish Jack and are used with permission – Steve)

6 thoughts on “‘Bucket & Brush’ by Irish Jack (How I got Barred from the Goldhawk Club)

  1. Irish Jack, now thats a name from the past, everyone who enjoyed going to the Goldhawk Club in the mid 60’s either knew him or knew about him, Some of the best nights of my life were spent at either the Goldhawk, Klooks Kleek or up west at the Marquee or Flamingo. Great days, with great music within the Mod culture. myself and group of friends all lived around the Ladbroke Grove, Portobello Road area. Ah the memories, the nostalgia.

    • Very many thanks for your welcome post Mick. We may have known each other at the old Goldhawk Club or even the Flamingo or the Marquee. I don’t think I missed a night of the Who’s Tuesday night residency at the Marquee from November 24th 1964 through to April 65. I remember reading the weekly ads for Klooks Kleek in the Melody Maker but never went there. Isn’t it fantastic to know that of all the many sixties venues the Shepherd’s Bush Club (Goldhawk) is still standing. I pop in there for a drink any time I’m in London. And Bernard “Kerrins” Lambert (no relation to Kit !) and Steve Russell have been in there with me…

  2. Great stuff as always Irish.
    Shoes were so ‘important’ then and I can recall getting a size smaller Ravel shoes because I desperately needed them! Crippled me for life after unsuccessful attempts to stretch them!
    You always started by getting the tea for everybody in Ye Olden Days as I did in my first Insurance office in the City in 1963. Did any of the pop songs make it?

  3. Great Stuff Jack.

    My parents were never keen on me attending such venues in my youth. So I missed out on the Goldhawk Social, Marquee and Flamingo in those heady days of the 1960’s…Sulgrave Boys Club that was it!

    Yep when I started in my first job in Insurance (1965) it was lick the stamps and seal the envelopes for the outgoing post. So Jack real character building tasks for us both eh?..and you know it never did us any harm did it?

    Bernard Lambert

  4. You’re right “Kerrins” ; lickin the envelopes and stamps in the post room of the Shepherd’s Bush Green London Electricity Board at 154 Uxbridge Road..did me the world of good. WE walked to work when the bus was late…passing us between stops…and back then a tablet was something you took for either a headache or an energy rush !

  5. Hi Colin, your question: ‘Did any of the pop songs (I wrote) make it?’
    Well, strange but true, I wrote one for Screaming Lord Sutch and handed it to him in the dressing room in the Goldhawk. One of the band had dislodged the bulb from its fitting rendering the room in darkness so’s that Sutch could “carry on” with a girl in a mini skirt in the corner. He actually had his arms around the girl and slipped the “song” into a back pocket. He had to reach down pretty low cos his belt was undone and his leather skin tight trousers were unnaturally sagging. I wrote another song for Jess Roden of the Alan Bown Set who used play at the Marquee. God only knows how I managed to find out where he lived but I remember getting a Green Line to his house. He was absolutely gob-smacked that a Mod with a see-saw Irish/Cockney accent would track him down. I handed him the sheet of typed lyrics at his door and he brought me in and fed me tea and biscuits. The third song was for Rod Stewart when he did a regular three-song stint for Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men usually at the Flamingo. I found out that he used to pick up gear (cabinets, in case anyone is reading this !) from the hall in the Marquee so I waited the opportunity and ambushed him in the hallway. He was friendly and gracious and took the sheet of typed lyrics from me and promised to get back in touch with me at either 22 Kelmscott Gardens or 194 Flora Gardens…he never did. The fourth song I wrote was for Pete Townshend and that is a whole other story for maybe another time. Of course, something that was never pointed out to me and which I didn’t realise until a few years later, was that there was no musical notes accompanying these “songs” they were just lyrics with the melody in my head..so to all intents and purposes I was unwittingly handing out sheets of Poetry !!!!

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