Well, in between running a shop in a lively market (now closed by the council) and my regular wholesale business it got a bit busy, but I have had time to carry on one of my fave ‘hobbies’ – discovering derelict buildings.

I am not sure why this is, maybe it is something about the thought that people used to thrive in these environments and the speed these places can decay once given up ?

Anyway,I have loved them ever since I used to wander around a whole deserted army barracks is Bulford in Wiltshire when I was a kid,terrified that someone would be one of the rooms around the corner or up the stairways.

So here is a recent one – below the old Zambian Embassy in Berlin, Pankow.

It still belongs to Zambia,but they don’t know what to do with it because they are using a more modern building in the the middle of Berlin.

In 2002 the Zambian government spent over a Million Deutschmark refurbishing the place and then they just stopped. It was vandalized inside for a while and has been empty ever since,however burglar proofing the windows and doors means you cannot get inside anymore…..



We had a bloke come in today who I didn’t recognize, but it turned out that he was a bit of a face as a Children’s TV presenter and owning one of the largest Star Wars Arcade games collections in the world…




So there we were,in the queue for a youngish Scottish band I first heard on a BBC Radio 6 session playing a cracking song called “Christ into Govan”. Psychedelic Folk Rock would probably best describe them and they were only the support band which surprised me.

I didn’t expect it to be a sellout but it nearly was – happily there were a few tickets left and we just managed to get in.

The main act had their peak in the late 60’s and so did most of the audience –  always a bit depressing,where were all the youngsters ??

Decent venue though,small,150 capacity with a good sized bar,but like so may of these venues why is there always a faint pong of dog poo ?

I got a good pitch next to the bar and because I am usually the tallest person at a gig I was happy that I would not be blocking some poor sods view…..

Instead of course, it turned out I was only the second tallest when Hulk Hogan walked in and stood in front of me.

Anyway, the “support” band came on and were terrific, great musicians all,especially the drummer who had an effortless style and the main guitarist who looked like he had been beamed in from 1972.It is the singer who is most definitely the star though,great stage presence and range of voice, hard to believe they are only on a small Coventry based label.

It turned out that the “support” band were actually the backing band for the main act with a few additions plus original vocalist Mike Heron, who seemed to observe the helping vocal talent of Lavinia Blackwall with awe throughout the gig.

To be honest it wasn’t my cup of tea though, a bit too hippyish for me and reminded me of the  gruesome Wally Whyton radio show which traumatized me in the 70’s and most certainly drove me to the welcoming arms of Punk when it came along.

Saying that, I think I will try and dig up a copy of their Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter album to see if I can understand why it was such a big seller back in 1968.


Geordie Stories

I always enjoy it when people from the North East pop by.

They like a chat and they always seem to have a good yarn to share.

This weekend we had a bloke who was lucky enough to see a concert back in 1966ish at the Newcastle Mayfair featuring The Animals, John Mayall and a solo Jimi Hendrix as the warm up act….

After the gig Animals bassist Chas Chandler supposedly quit because he could see it was better for him to manage the future legend.

He admits his story is slightly different to the official Chandler/Hendrix history book version where Hendrix was discovered by Chandler in Greenwich Village ..but who knows ?

We also had the singer from Durham band “Reverend Green” pop in recently reflecting on the day he bumped into a young Brian Johnson (AC/DC,Geordie) at a gig also in 1966/67 when Johnston was singing with a band called USA.

Like all up and coming musicians he was a bit skint, so the guy lent him a fiver (a lot of money back then) which was promised to be paid back at the next gig.

Their paths never crossed again…so the fiver is still outstanding….here we see Brian showing he always liked his hats…..



I cannot help being fascinated by empty or derelict buildings.

What makes people/families/companies exit a perfectly good building and let it fall into disrepair ?

This is what happened to the Honiton Inn pub which closed in 2008 when the landlady died and nobody has taken it on since. It survived the Blitz as the only unscathed building on the high street.The latest news is that a property developer wants to knock it down and build luxury flats for students….British Pubs are usually beautiful,such a waste.honiton