Welcome!

January 29, 2010

To navigate through the site, please use the tabs above. I’ve changed the layout and the navigation, hopefully you’ll find it easier. The years which were previously blog postings are now fixed pages. Due to some misuse, I’ve disabled comments. Any images or information relating to the Ballroom, the bands that played there or Albert Bonici would be much appreciated. If you still want to add stories, info, photos or anecdotes, please mail them to info@rockmine.com. Anything relevant to the blog will get added.

Since this blog was created, it’s been viewed more than 40,000 times. I thought you’d like to see where people have been visiting from. Everything in pink on this map is a country that someone’s visited from. It makes the old British Empire globes that I grew up with pale into insignificance!

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I know you’ll probably think I’ve been neglecting this blog but it’s been a time issue. That and the ease with which I seem to have spent far too long trying to stage this memorabilia exhibition at the Ballerina’s sister venue in Elgin. The Two Red Shoes was Albert Bonici’s first venue and played host to The Beatles on the first night of their first tour in Scotland. I do wonder what would have happened if the weather had not caused the cancellation of the scheduled gig the night before at the Longmore Hall in Keith!

I imagine I would have put up a blog for the Longmore Hall but instead I chose to add the Two Red Shoes blog to this one. Maybe it’s a crazy idea but Albert’s Elgin venue seems so totally different from the Ballerina. After The Beatles played there, the Two Red Shoes had three years of attracting some of the best bands on the circuit and then it slumped. By late 1966, when the Ballerina was really starting to take off, the Elgin venue was failing. In 1967, only two big name bands played there. Okay, one was Pink Floyd but Nairn attracted 10 major acts that year. By 1968, things were even worse with Albert presenting “exotic dancers” instead of name acts. Exotic dancers, in case you wondered, were strippers. Albert, ever the svengali, failed to tell the dancers that they couldn’t strip until they actually got to the venue and, needless to say, never even considered telling the press who he was really having onstage.

Still, it’s a legendary venue. Whether it deserves that status is anyone’s guess. My many weeks trying to set up the memorabilia exhibition did at least mean I could research all the bands that played Elgin but it doesn’t really make up for the wasted time. I think I’ve consigned the exhibition to history and have started to list some of the stuff on my main site. As I get more stuff up, I’ll add it to a page here so anyone that’s interested can look without fear that I’m using the main part of the blog to sell stuff.

Talking of blogs, I’ve decided to add a few more. Having been a compulsive list maker for more years than I care to mention, I have dates for most of the appearances at London’s Marquee Club, The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Fillmore East in New York and Glasgow Apollo. The only one with anything on it as yet, is marqueeclub.wordpress.com.

Back to this blog, just in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve added 1970 to the listings and have another three years that I just need to type in.

One last thing. Does anyone know where the bands that played the Ballerina stayed? Did Albert use an hotel or like Elgin, did he have a favourite boarding house? I was recently told that the Elgin landlady was shocked and totally disgusted at how dirty The Beatles were when they stayed with her but I didn’t manage to get her name, so couldn’t follow it up.

My apologies to anyone who looked in last night or earlier today expecting to see 1969 online. A long day and maybe a tad too much white wine took its toll. Anyway, it’s up now and can be seen by clicking on December 1969 in the Archives box to the right.

As before, I’ll be adding the video clips along with more photos either later today or early tomorrow.

Shannies has added a few more thoughts about his time with the Rebel Sounds. You’ll find it in the comments for About This Blog. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him. His comment about playing two gigs a night is something I think we forget. Everyone did it. The Beatles would sometimes play 3 different gigs a night and one at lunchtime in their days of playing The Cavern and even headlining bands would do it. I once had a poster for a Rolling Stones performance at the Flamingo Ballroom, Ballymena which they travelled to after playing the Ulster Hall in Belfast. Crazy days!

Take a look at the “Regular Bands” page for a great posting from James Shand or “Shannies”. I love his story about supporting David and Jonathan. It’s always amazes me the things that support bands saw and had to put up with. Shannies’ posting just goes to illustrate this.

I’m heading for the library in Nairn again and I’ll get my listings extended up to 1972 at least. The listing for 1969 will be online some time tonight.

The Rebel Sounds

August 21, 2008

I got a rather touching comment this evening from Drew Green, son of the late Benton who was a member of The Rebel Sounds. He asked if I could email him any photos or cuttings I have on the band but unfortunately all I have is on this blog.

I’m sure that some of the readers of this blog must have more than I do and possibly more important, memories of the band they might share with us and Drew. The blog was intended as a forum for memories and from my point of view it would be great to hear what people thought of The Rebel Sounds as they were obviously crowd pleasers or they would never have played the Ballerina so often.

Needless to say, my comment applies to anyone who played there. If you remember a group and enjoyed them, please share it with us.

I walked into the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin today, fully expecting to discuss what press we’d get and was stunned. The cafe area where I was intending holding the exhibition was running with water. One of the walls was visibly wet and there were buckets EVERYWHERE!

The recent rain seems to have played havoc with the theatre’s roof, a situation that appears to have been going on for some time. Maybe that’s the reason we’ve been unable to get insurance. Who knows?
I’m not even going to think of mentioning a possible alternative in case a major flood overtakes that building!

I wonder if anyone can help with this. I’ve an article from The Sun dated October 23, 2000 in which it clearly states “Seven years later Johnny quit the band and they hired unknown musician Elton John.” Checking all the biographies I’ve got on Elton, I can’t find any mention of it.

In 1969/70, I think The Copycats would have been known as My Dear Watson and still playing the Ballerina. Does anyone remember this?

Find A Year

August 18, 2008

It seemed really confusing to have to scroll through every post to get to 1966 for example, so I’ve changed the blog layout. The box to the right of the postings will give the archives. If you want to see 1966, just click on December 1966 and you’ll get the complete year. Hope that makes life easier. If not, please tell me!

Ballerina Flyer Day

August 16, 2008

Maybe it’s me being here but the rain has stayed away and is giving Nairn its first dry Highland Games in three years. It’s a quick visit to get flyers passed out in various places in town and what I’d like to call “posters” for the blog but they’re nothing more than A4 sheets that I’m hoping will get input from anyone that sees them.

It’s also a great opportunity for you to stop me in the street and tell me some of your stories or give me advice on how to get a better blog experience up. Okay, I know the answer to that one – TIME! I really will get round to adding some of the gig adverts, pop columns from The Northern Scot and pictures of the North East bands that played here.

Seriously, if you want to, just stop and say hello. You probably can’t miss me. One of the women in landbrokes (honest, I wasn’t betting but asking about their old shop) said she thought John Lennon had walked in. If that isn’t enough of a give away I’ll also be carrying a silver carrier bag full of flyers. Of course, I may not be carrying it if I get rid of them all but I digress.

Failing that, you’ll find me in the library for some time before they shut staring at the microfiche reader and getting the dates for 1967 that are missing from yesterday’s listing. Please don’t call me John, my name’s Roy!

Talking of the pop columns, there’s one fantastic piece around the time that Cream played the Ballerina. Eric Clapton had given an interview to one of the music papers in which he decried the fans in Scotland. On reading it, or more likely hearing of it, Albert Bonici, the promoter defiantly stated that he’d make sure Clapton never played here again! Little did he realize the status Eric would achieve.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll see you in town or you can catch up with the missing dates later.

1970

December 31, 1970

January 01 – The Lucky Charms

January 02 – My Dear Watson plus The Grey Wooly Affair

January 09 – The Royal Teens

January 16 – The Happy Ever After

January 28 – It’s A Phantasmagoria

January 30 – The T-Set

February 06 – Archemedes Principle

February 13 – Whisky Martin’s Poker Orchestra

February 20 – Writing On The Wall plus The Stack

February 27 – Marjorine plus The T-Set

March 06 – The Variations plus Argus Butterfly

March 13 – Power Vane

March 20 – Spiggy Topes plus The T-Set

March 27 – My Dear Watson plus The Grey Wooly Affair

April 03 – Skipping Rope ‘n’ Bangles

April 10 – Wild Oats

April 17 – Picketty Witch plus The Grey Wooly Affair

April 24 – Spiggy Topes

May 01 – Gollum The Underdog plus The Grey Wooly Affair

May 08 – Sunshine plus Sockitombe Disco Light Show

May 15 – Magic Roundabout plus My Dear Watson

May 22 – Dance moves to Forres Victoria Hotel for one night only. Toe Fat plus Spiggy Topes

May 29 – Gollum The Underdog plus The T-Set

June 05 – No Dance

June 12 – Twilight Zone

June 16 – Juicy Lucy

June 19 – Hot Cottage plus The T-Set

June 26 – Mr. Blues Band

June 28 – Fanny’s Scene plus The T-Set

July 03 – The Toy Shop

July 05 – Fanny’s Sunday Scene with My Dear Watson

July 10 – Slade plus The T-Set

July 12 – The Foundations

July 17 – The Foundations plus Cody High

July 20 – My Dear Watson plus Grass

July 24 – My Dear Watson plus Grass

July 31 – Freedom Train

August 02 – Fanny’s Saturday Scene with Shallow Justice

August 07 – Status Quo plus Bones

August 09 – Fanny’s Saturday Scene with My Dear Watson

August 14 – Agatha’s Moment plus Hot Cottage

August 16 – Fanny’s Saturday Scene with Spiggy Topes

August 21 – Beggar’s Opera plus Mr. Fantasy

August 23 – Fanny’s Saturday Scene with Bones

August 28 – My Dear Watson plus Bones

September 04 – Ceremony plus Grass

September 11 – Gollum The Underdog plus Sunshine

September 18 – String Driven Thing plus Julian’s Garden

September 25 – Agatha’s Moment

October 02 – The Royal Teens plus Rock Machine

Ovtober 09 – Spiggy Topes plus Badge

October 16 – Hot Chocolate plus My Dear Watson

October 23 – Chuckles plus Wide Horse

October 30 – Beggar’s Opera

November 06 – Lucas And The Ragged Edge plus Cyril Plugg

November 13 – Geno Washington

November 20 – My Dear Watson plus Shallow Justice

November 27 – Agatha’s Moment plus Spiggy Topes

December 04 – Billy Steele Combo plus Woodstock

December 11 – Royal Teens plus Jynx

December 18 – Writing On The Wall plus My Dear Watson

December 25 – Gully Foyle