27th April

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Your sister sees the future
Like your mama and yourself
You’ve never learned to read or write
There’s no books upon your shelf
And your pleasure knows no limits
Your voice is like a meadowlark
But your heart is like an ocean
Mysterious and dark

I’m wearing the Beatles t-shirt that my mother-in-law bought me in Australia a few years ago. As I was putting it on this morning I got to thinking about three stories that my Dad told me, which sadly I will now never know if they’re true or not.

The first concerned the Beatles and how he had been in the Police Station in Sunderland the night they played at the Empire. The Police Station in those days was just behind the theatre and the story was that after they’d finished they ran through the Police Station to escape the screaming fans outside the stage door.

The second story was about Gene Vincent – my Dad claimed that he was on duty when Mr Vincent appeared at the Rink in Sunderland. Gene was just about to go on stage when he realised he’d left his trademark black leather gloves behind. My Dad ended up lending him his Police gloves which he never saw again!

The final story involved Jimi Hendrix. My Dad claimed that the Police had been given a load of tickets for the show at the Empire and he had gone along but left after 10 minutes because it was so loud! I’m more suspicious of this one because he did tell me it while I was watching a program about Hendrix on TV and when i was really into him. However he did add that they had turned up with a removal van full of equipment which he said was unusual for the time so it may well be true as well!

Finally it is with great sadness that I am following the news of the demolition of the Mayfair in Sunderland where I spent many happy nights during my youth. I wasn’t old enough to have seen Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who or even Free (who recorded a live album) there but it was an important part of my youth. I did see ian Gillan, Wishbone Ash and the Tom Robinson band, along with a host of local groups though. My friend send me a picture of the demolition in progress.

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This made me chuckle earlier – two consecutive posts on Facebook

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