The name of this week’s turn…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s old black and white snapshot is the one of me, arm in arm, with a drunken Humphrey Bogart being thrown out of a Hollywood hotel bar.
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Years ago there were lots of ‘working men’s clubs’ here in Dulltown – clubs where the beer was cheaper than it was in the pubs, and where they had lots of tables and chairs, thick carpeting, a small dance floor, darts boards, snooker tables, and of course, regular bingo sessions. They always had a stage at one end of the room with compulsory metallic ‘slash’ curtains of bright flickering red or blue, or gold or silver. (slash) A few nights a week there would be live entertainment, known as the ‘turn’ or the ‘artiste’ (pronounced ‘artist’) – perhaps a full live band, a duo, (duos were very popular, and they were cheaper than a full band) or even cheaper, a solo singer, who would be accompanied by the resident Ted, on the club’s Hammond organ, and possibly by Alf, the resident drummer. Yes, they were all called Ted and Alf…
I never actually went to these clubs, I was too young at the time, and I wouldn’t have liked it much anyway. (Later on though, I was somehow drawn into playing guitar in a ‘club band’ and did a few gigs with them – it was awful. I thought that I had blotted out the memories of it, but writing this piece has stirred them up again…)
Anyway, I remember seeing the handwritten posters, usually on pastel coloured card with roughly drawn five-pointed stars in the corners, stuck up outside the clubs advertising that week’s list of ‘turns’.
The local clubland entertainers didn’t often use their real names, but had well thought up ‘attractive’ ‘stage names’ instead – Ralph Higginbotham or Madge Babcock just didn’t really ‘have it’, they didn’t sound cool, or ‘groovy’, as it was back then. There was a definite trend for the artistes to come up with surnames that were ordinary, common, easy to remember, first names. Maybe they didn’t have much imagination, or maybe they were deliberately trying to come across as ‘likeable’ and as ‘everyday normal people’, and not being pretentious and ‘stuck up’ – sort of ‘on first name terms’ with their audience? They had names like: Rob Steven, Steven Mark, Mark Daniel, Daniel James, James Gordon…etc…
Even at that young age these insipid names always sounded a bit cheap and unimaginative to me; perhaps that’s why later on I never thought much of Cliff Richard and Elton John… oh, and perhaps John Wayne, James Dean, Dean Martin, Billy Graham, Paul Simon, George Michael and Daniel Craig… But then again I do like Duane Eddy, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Gene Vincent, Steve Martin and Max Ernst…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in advertising, cool, Dulltown, existentialism, fashion, guitars, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, music, observations, style and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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