SIX­TIES MEM­O­RIES

Evergreen - - News - KATHIE HUGHES,

MADAM: Read­ing “Juke Box” and “Hit Pa­rade” re­minds me of those heady days when Christchurch rocked. It wasn’t the rock­ing of the ground, as in re­cent years, but hun­dreds of ex­cited foot­steps mak­ing their way to the air­port, ho­tels or the­atres to catch a glimpse of the lat­est pop group in town.

My first job after leav­ing school was as a child min­der/ house­keeper for a fam­ily who owned one of the few night clubs in the city. These peo­ple were friends with a well- known pro­moter who brought most of the in­ter­na­tional acts to the city. He would re­serve a cou­ple of rows of seats, near the front, for the res­i­dent band, staff, friends and fam­ily so we were very near the ac­tion which we loved.

Some of the shows I re­call are: The Bea­tles, The Rolling Stones, Sandie

Shaw, Dusty Spring­field, Mil­lie Small, The Searchers, Peter and Gordon, Eden Kane, Gerry and the Pace­mak­ers, The Hol­lies, Billy J. Kramer and the Dave Clark Five.

I was al­ways glad I didn’t pay to see The Bea­tles be­cause it was im­pos­si­ble to hear any­thing above the hys­te­ria. When­ever Paul McCartney shook his head a woman sit­ting in the row be­hind would start wav­ing her hand­bag around, hit­ting the per­son next to me on the head. After a while he got fed up, reached back with­out turn­ing around, grabbed the bag as it was about to hit again and tossed it into the the­atre! Whether she got it back or not we will never know.

Our group ar­rived at The Rolling Stones con­cert early and found the place alive with po­lice. We took our seats in the front row and a po­lice­man stepped for­ward say­ing: “You look like sen­si­ble girls, you won’t give us any trou­ble will you?” We cer­tainly didn’t give them any trou­ble, but when Mick Jag­ger sang “Walk­ing the Dog” he turned his back to the au­di­ence, wig­gled his bot­tom and the girl sit­ting next to me grabbed my sleeve get­ting tighter and tighter as the song and the wig­gling pro­gressed! At the end of the song and with the fi­nal wig­gle she pulled so hard my sleeve ripped out! The po­lice stand­ing in front of us were smirk­ing.

A huge bonus was meet­ing some of the stars after the shows. We didn’t get to meet The Rolling Stones or The Bea­tles as they were hur­ried off by their man­agers, but we did meet The Searchers. Chris Cur­tis, the drum­mer, was particularly nice. Soon after meet­ing the group I be­gan their New Zealand fan club and to this day have the pho­to­graph they per­son­ally signed for me.

Mil­lie Small was sweet but she found the cold in Christchurch a bit hard to deal with, plus she was very home­sick. Con­ver­sa­tions with per­form­ers were of­ten brief, but what stays with me is that many of them were a lit­tle be­wil­dered by their fame. With­out doubt though, they all knew those eu­phoric

days wouldn’t last for­ever and were mak­ing the most of each op­por­tu­nity.

A highlight of meet­ing celebri­ties un­ex­pect­edly in the late ’ 60s was when a girl­friend and I were tak­ing a walk dur­ing our lunch break. Two shiny black cars came along the road and stopped out­side the Win­ter Gar­dens. Much to our sur­prise who should alight from one but the Duke of Ed­in­burgh! He turned to us and said, “Good af­ter­noon ladies, en­joy­ing your lunch break are you?” I think we stam­mered some­thing like, “Yes, Your High­ness.” Talk about go­ing weak at the knees! — PARK­LANDS, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND. * What mar­vel­lous mem­o­ries of a golden decade. You can read about Peter & Gordon on page 112 of this is­sue. — Ed.

A reader re­calls Bri­tish pop groups, in­clud­ing The Searchers, tour­ing New Zealand in the Six­ties. See this and pre­vi­ous page.

NIGELLA COWEN

Wood­hall Spa in Lin­colnshire is a place of happy mem­o­ries for one reader. See “Flicks in the Sticks!”

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