I’m In A Book In Waterstones! Part 1

Following my involvement with Bringing the Beat Back to Bradford Exhibition at the Impressions Gallery, Bradford sponsored by Bradford Live and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. I was delighted to find out a book about the New Victoria/Gaumont/Odeon had been published. Appropriately titled The Peoples Palace – The Story of Bradford’s New Vic. Written by Mark Nicholson.

I had met Mark during my involvement as a project participant as mentioned in the previous blog. I interviewed him regarding his involvement with the icon. He first discovered the Odeon as a teenager in the eighties after seeing Star Wars. He was at the first screening and the star attraction was a mirror ball in the auditorium which when illuminated gave a being in space effect. Truly magical!

Mark like many of us were sad to the demise of the icon in the late 90s so much so he was involved with a project named Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG). This group and Bradford Live were the main protagonists’ in saving the icon from demolition. Bradford owes a great deal to the tenacity of these groups and helpers. I sincerely hope the officials are suitably awarded with the Freedom of Bradford and many more accolades. They richly deserve them.

So, I started reading The People’s Palace. In chronological order from its foundations in the late twenties to its fanfare opening in 1930 to its forced closure in July 2000. The stories of the thirties and forties and during World War II are fascinating. It is illustrated by the staff accounts and stories from the local newspaper Telegraph and Argus. The building is multi-functional with a large cinema/theatre, ballroom and restaurant and café . The book has multiple photographs.

I then reached my era. I remember first going to the Bradford Gaumont in 1953 aged 10. I was at Buttershaw Juniors School, Fairfield Road, Buttershaw. The whole school went on the bus to see the film of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I was packed in with another 3,000 plus other scholars in this large auditorium. The excitement was palpable. Ice-cream tubs was served to everyone during the screening. What a fabulous unforgettable day I had enjoyed.

I’m In A Book In Waterstones! Part 2

As a teenager I used to attend quite regular with my best mate Bob Bryer the touring rock and roll shows at the Gaumont. Being such a large venue, all the top stars of the USA and UK artists would play there. Just for a night with two performances an evening usually 6.15 and 8.30. All the various artists performing are mentioned in the book.

I am now into reading Chapter Nine about the 1960s. I reached the bottom of the page and astonishingly read my name. WOW! I shouted out aloud to my wonderful wife Christine. I am in the book. She was incredulous as I was to see my name in print. As was all my Facebook friends over the coming days.

During my teenage years I was a prolific letter writer to Readers Letters feature in the Telegraph and Argus. It was the Facebook of the time. I would write on many subjects from late buses, weather, Bradford events to name a few. At the bottom of Chapter Nine was a story about the Gene Vincent / Eddie Cochran concert on Saturday January 30th 1960. During his act Gene Vincent had acted strangely. It caused controversy and many letters were sent to the T&A. One of those letters was from Adrian P. Hartshorn Aged 16 ¾ of 110, Elmfield Drive, Odsal…….This letter’s content was mentioned in the book. I was gobsmacked. But so joyful. I got in touch with Mark the author who was excited as much as I was.

The rest of the book is just as joyful. Living my teenage years again.

Mark later came across another letter of mine to the T&A about a Cliff Richard concert at the Gaumont.

The book is available at Waterstones, and Impressions Gallery Bradford priced £20 and worth every penny. Please buy a copy. You will not regret it.

My involvement with Bringing the Beat Back to Bradford Exhibition has been one of the most amazing chapters of my life. I feel reborn at eighty years old and knowing there is even more excitement to come with the opening of Bradford Live.

My thanks to the Impressions Gallery, BORG, Bradford Live especially Mark, Anne McNeill and Kirsten Branston.

After about a week after the publication of the letter in the T&A I received a letter from a lady in Eccleshill, Bradford.  She had been impressed with the kind words I had said about Vince Eager, also appearing on the Gene Vincent/Eddie Cochran show. Vince was her nephew. Would I like to meet Vince? I said, of course, and Bob and myself duly met Vince. We had an amazing day. We also become great friends of the Eccleshill family and were invited to their get-togethers and family parties. I have kept in touch and have a Facebook friend in Anne, one of the family members.