EN­TER­TAIN­MENT LEG­END

From a young pop star of the swing­ing 1960s to en­ter­tain­ment im­pres­sario on the east coast, Peter Jay talks about his fas­ci­nat­ing life to David Clay­ton.

Let's Talk - - CONTENT -

From ‘60s rocker to circus boss

You can trace a line from the spec­ta­cle of a Jay­walk­ers stage per­for­mance right through to the Hip­po­drome shows to­day

As a DJ back in the 1970s, if you wanted to cap­ture that moment when a wed­ding party had con­sumed just enough al­co­hol to let its col­lec­tive hair down, there was no bet­ter record than ‘Can-Can ‘62’ by Peter Jay and the Jay­walk­ers to fill the floor. The un­mis­tak­able and rau­cous tune by Of­fen­bach had ev­ery­one at­tempt­ing the high kicks of the orig­i­nal dance. Inevitably an el­derly grannie ig­nored her lum­bago, hoisted her skirt up­wards and re­vealed com­edy un­der­wear to her star­tled fam­ily. Thank you, Peter, not to men­tion your splen­did Jay­walk­ers. You’ve made a lot of peo­ple very happy – and ache!

Now he’s Great Yar­mouth’s el­der states­man of en­ter­tain­ment, Peter Jay’s show­busi­ness em­pire is a cinema com­plex, two the­atres and im­por­tantly the leg­endary Hip­po­drome, Bri­tain’s only sur­viv­ing to­tal circus build­ing.

Once the epony­mous drum­mer of a 1960s pop band, Peter’s only just stopped climb­ing aboard his drum kit and ac­com­pa­ny­ing the odd circus act. Th­ese days he rather prefers the back of­fice, while tal­ented son Jack gets on with pro­duc­ing, com­per­ing and run­ning the show.

It’s well known that Peter toured with The Bea­tles. The Jay­walk­ers were gig­ging around be­fore the Fab Four emerged.

“We sat and played cards with them. They were nice or­di­nary peo­ple but vastly tal­ented,” re­calls Peter. “They’d stand in the wings and watch our fi­nal show-stop­ping num­ber.”

Per­haps they were equally fas­ci­nated with the fact Peter used to wire up his cym­bals to the mains via some car­bon rods. As he bashed away, sparks would fly mak­ing their al­ready lively set even more spec­tac­u­lar – and dan­ger­ous!

The Jay­walk­ers were part of that side-shoot of pop mu­sic where in­stru­men­tals were in vogue. They were an an­ti­dote to the twangy

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