Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Treasured Tape #3

A treasured tape, one which plays beautifully and holds great memories, the compilation "Porterhouse Blues" (compiled by Tim Bayes) is one such tape.
(The Porterhouse in Retford (or East Retford as it was usually listed in the music press) was a favourite venue of mine back in the late 1970's - early 1980's. Retford is a small market town on the Nottinghamshire / Lincolnshire border).

The end of last week and I was getting retro with my listening, I was finishing the book "This Is My Generation" by Tony Beesley, the third and final book in his trilogy about his pre-teen & teenage life in South Yorkshire in the late 1970's - early 1980's. It is not that good a book actually, the first was OK albeit badly composed, the second is about a couple of venues in South Yorkshire and the writing / experiences are of folk older than Tony so it taps more in to my own recollections. I wasn't going to bother with the third book as it covers Tonys life as a mod and that doesn't interest me but I was offered it cheap by the author as thanks for mentioning the first two volumes on this blog. (Phew)!
As the book traipses into the 1980's the venue Retford Porterhouse gets a few mentions. It was a classy venue known locally as "The Slaughterhouse". I dug out the first LP by Dead Fingers Talk and the second LP by The Cure and then remembered this cassette.
The compiler and maker of this tape was an arch tape bootlegger in the day.
Apart from Punishment Of Luxury and Soft Cell I have seen all the bands on the tape live and quite a few of them at The Porterhouse. TDK as Memory. The first time I went there was as part of the band Collide, I had arranged a support slot with The Fall on their "Dragnet" tour. DAF had backed out and they were using local bands as support - I got the call from Kay Carroll.
I think this was Autumn 1979. Whilst Collide were sound checking (I was their "roadie" and newly promoted "agent") I wandered around the venue. The live bands played at the top whilst there was a mezzanine level where DJ's spun chart hits of the day - on the night I was there, new radio 1 DJ Steve Wright was spinning the discs. The Porterhouse had a capacity for about 200, walls were black, small stage that measured about ten feet by four and a six foot ceiling. It was superb! Small, dark, sweaty and always (because of the "straights" disco downstairs) with an aroma of violence.
The tape begins with The Slits in 1978, I have a feeling this is from the Slits/Rich Kids tour, I saw the show in Lincoln. Ari Up complaining about the spit. The sound quality is negotiable but I can put up with badly recorded history! The Punishment Of Luxury track is the opener from their set and is the first gig with Malla Cabbala on guitar. Somewhere in Hartop Towers I have this full gig on tape. The Crispy Ambulance track is a corker and a great sing-a-long. This was my second visit to the Porterhouse. The Crispies were supporting New Order. I was never a big "fan" of New Order in the early 1980's but they always had great support like Minny Pops or Section 25 or A Certain Ratio...hence I saw them a few times. "Power, Corruption And Lies" was the end of our relationship though. The Cramps came to Retford on their "Psychedelic Jungle" tour. Lux at the Porterhouse with The Wrecking Crew brought by their support; The Meteors. I remember being shit scared, same with Fad Gadget and The Birthday Party at the Porterhouse. That is one thing I miss about gigs nowadays, the feeling of being shit scared about what was going to happen. Not the violence brought on by a few twats or skinheads (same thing) in the audience but by what the band were going to do. I have done a few gigs (as Dieter Muh) where I have handed my guitar to folk or simply launched it across the venue just to jolt the audience and remove them from their "comfort zone".
Bill Nelson was a strange gig, previewing his Red Noise material the audience was mainly mulleted rockers shouting "Wally" and "C'Mon Billy...Show Us Yer Willy". The support was the West Yorkshire Actors performing "The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari" - in the Porterhouse!!
23 Skidoo performing a mixture of "Seven Songs" and "Tearing Up The Plans" was probably the best gig I saw at the Porterhouse. Films by TG and Dave Tibet on live mix and trumpet.
By the time I start side two I was going to gigs with Tim Bayes, he had a lovely green Ford Capri. "Thirst" on the car stereo cruising shotgun down the A57, Sean and Bernie in the back seat with the pennies ready for Dunham Bridge toll...ahh the memories. One thing that is noticeable (on side two) is my voice. At the end of most tracks it has me (as I was usually stood next to Tim) clapping and shouting out my fathers name. My father is called Rae.
The tape ends with "Where Were You" by The Mekons. The 7" version (not live)...I never saw The Mekons live - saw The Three Johns loads of bloody times though! This could be the greatest single ever put to vinyl and played loud reduces me to tears (even when sober).

"Porterhouse Blues" as I amusingly christened the tape (amusing to me anyway) is a treasured tape.
Tim also compiled a cassette of live recordings from Nottingham Rock City, I'll have to dig that out now...I think Matt Fretton is on there.

1: The Retford Porterhouse in 2011.
2+3: Cassette Sleeve.


  1. Hi! i just clicked at random on someone following GX Jupitter Larsen and boy did I score! I really appreciate yr memories and exegesis of yr tape, cool. yr the first person that i've ever heard of seeing 23 Skidoo. was laura odell (alias paula p-orridge) in that band? anyway-i signed up, i'm aboard, room for one more inside sir. doctor, the serum!

  2. Hello Jim.
    I have seen 23 Skidoo many times, from early incarnation to 1986 at The Sheffield Leadmill and never was Paula P-Orridge a member. Whilst I was trying to find out why Paula is not mentioned at all on recent Psychic TV re-issues I came across the information (I think WikiPedia) that she was a member of 23 Skidoo - that was news to me, but if anyone is willing to confirm it - I'll believe.

    Welcome aboard.

  3. Wow, the memories come flooding back. That looks like some mix tape.

    I lived in Doncaster and my first gig at the Porterhouse was late 78, Ultravox with Foxx, a magical introduction to a great little club. I was a regular after particularly as it was a Friday night slot on the whole, with a rock night on the Saturday (not for me). Highlights include, Damned as Doomed, Adverts, Penetration, Adam and the Ants (twice), Undertones, UK Subs (when they knew only 3 songs and they played them over and over and over again) The Fall, Gang of Four, B52’s, OMD, Teardrop Explodes, Punilux or Punishment of Luxury, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, DAF, Birthday Party ( I wore Nick Cave’s boot print proudly on the chest of my t-shirt for weeks afterwards), Test Department and many, many more.

    I agree that 23 Skidoo was probably one of the best nights. I remember an incredibly long version of Gregouka with numerous instrument changes throughout. It was a guy called Richard Heslop who did the multiple projections, I believe he was a student at St. Martins at the time. The trumpet you refer to David Tibet playing was actually a Tibetan virgin’s thighbone (that’s what he says and I’m sure he bought it with that understanding). I saw them twice more on the same tour, Sheffield and the Venue in London after which David was kind enough to put me and my girlfriend up for the night. After that gig 23 Skidoo ceased to be a five piece and became a three piece with just the Turnbull brothers and Fritz but I’m sure you know that.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog, you’ve got some great posts, really brings it all back.

    And I’m positive Paula P-Orridge was never a member of 23 Skidoo.

    Another Steve.

  4. Thank You Steve. Comment is much appreciated, and the Retford Porterhouse Blogspot is amazing. That '78 gig by Ultravox! was a great one, they played Lincoln a few days before. Do you remember the guy being dragged around by the hair by Nick Cave, he was Gainsborough Dave - he lived on that story for years - and the guy that used to pretend he had polio and only danced to "Sex & Drugs & Rock n' Roll". Porterhouse was a beautiful venue. I did here wind of someone writing a book on the place, some old local who is now in Scotland.
    I read an interview by Paula where she claimed to hang and jam with Skidoo boys. (The link is in a comment on my blog "Thee Psychick Month Ov March").
    Cheers again for writing and your kind words.

  5. I don’t remember Nick Cave dragging someone around by the hair but it doesn’t surprise me as he did spend most of that gig on the dance floor rather than the stage. During the encore they sang Funhouse and a friend of mine, Nick Lindsey, stole the microphone and continued to sing most of it. He ended up in a massive fight with the band in the dressing room upstairs afterwards. He was always getting into trouble at the club and Sammy (the manager) used to make him pay a £25 deposit to get in and if he didn’t cause any trouble he’d get it back at the end of the night.

    I can’t take any credit for the Porterhouse blog, I stumbled across it the other day and posted a comment as I had a few more dates I could add. It’s great to see all those dates written down and I can count about 50 that I attended.

    I’ve just stumbled across a newspaper clipping, from the Sounds, of me laid on my back on the stage at the Porterhouse looking up a B52’s skirt. I’ll have to scan and blog it.

    And it sounds like Paula did play with 23 Skidoo from the interview you linked to. Must say I’m very surprised but I certainly don’t want to doubt what she says as she’s had credit taken away on too many occasions.

    1. Just stumbled on this thread! Believe it or not Nick Lindsay is my dad and has told me that story a few times. He's told me his mate had taped it all and mentioned a few times he'd love to hear some of them. Not you by any chance is it?! Email me - on rta.joe(at)

  6. Sammy Jackson, what a gangster! He ran Doncaster Rotters too. Only went there the once to see Psychedelic Furs. Alex Jackson ran the nightclub/punk venue AJ's in Lincoln. Also a 70's style gangster! They could be related??

    1. My dad wasn't a gangster. LOL. He owned the Porterhouse, was a visiting promoter for Rotters briefly and the founder of Rock City in Nottingham. No Alex's in the family.

  7. That Psychedlic Furs gig was probably Wednesday 13th May 1981. I can't imagine they came back to Donny more than the once. Seems like we went to a lot of the same gigs. From that same year did you see ClockDVA at Sheffield Limit Thursday 16th April. Or Throbbing Gristle, Zev, ClockDVA, Non, Cabaret Voltaire at London Lyceum on Sunday 8th February.

    I never knew Sammy Jackson and have no memories of him from the time despite how freqently I attended his clubs. Probably for the best from what you've said.

  8. Hi Steve,
    I like the look of this tape, but now it has left me wondering if all of these gigs have been bootlegged?

    The Slits 31-03-1978
    Crispy Ambulance 02-01-1981
    Fad Gadget 12-11-1981
    Section 25 22-05-1982
    23 Skidoo 04-06-1982
    Soft Cell 27.03-1981

    Looks like I will have to keep hunting.

  9. The cassette is compiled of tracks taken from full recordings of the gigs, so yes - recordings of those gigs mentioned do exist...and a bit of detective work on your can maybe deduce the source!

  10. Hi Steve,
    You can have a copy of Soft Cell 27.03-1981? in any format.
    I can exchange with various live bootleg of Soft Cell.
    let me know

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Any pictures of Sammy Jackson, my mum worked for him at the Porterhouse late 70's early 80's. Would like to put a face to the name

    1. I only saw Sammy once, at the New Order / Crispy Ambulance gig. One of our group was visibly underage so we had to barter and guarantee the lad would not drink alcohol. No pictures were taken.