12th May 1976 : LSE Diaries
Up at 08:40 and eager to take my new toy for a spin. Played Caravan tapes through my Yamaha amp and Wharfedale speakers – my first Hi-Fi system – purchased in Stoke Newington only two days earlier. Caravan had never sounded so good!
Had to leave the flat in Clapton at 11am on the number 6 bus to Baker Street; keen to get to a lunch date with Jackie at Bedford College; she didn’t show so I had lunch anyway. Left Regent’s Park at 1:30pm and headed for LSE, where the new Monty Python Live at Drury Lane LP was doing a turn; bloody good it was too.
Saw Andy briefly about making a tape for the Friday night gig and dashed straight back to Clapton to pick out some tracks; only had time to get The Tubes, Lone Star and Roy Harper segued on tape before a quick dinner and a mad rush into Passfield to meet up with Andy then off to Carr-Saunders briefly before getting down to The Marquee.
It was dark crowded and sweaty; more people than usual I’m sure. Were we here for the headliner – Back Street Crawler – or the support act – AC/DC. It has to be said all the buzz was around the latter. Who were these Australians nobody knew much about and who dressed as primary school kids? Were they punks? Were they metal? We really didn’t know, or at least I didn’t know.
Paul Kossoff had died back in March so the April tour of big venues was cancelled, and Back Street Crawler had not quite yet morphed into just Crawler. They were good though. It has to be said that AC/DC had a great stage act and presence. Anyway, it was well worth the £1 ticket to get in.
Not long after 11pm we were out of there and round the corner to Ronnie Scott’s for another band – good old 60’s R&B in the shape of the Count Bishops. A great end to a pretty frantic day.
A bit of background
At the time I had no idea that AC/DC would become so big or last so long. I have to say that whilst I don’t dislike them they have never really been my cup of tea. I certainly enjoyed that Marquee gig though.
For those of you who have never heard of Caravan… This was one of my favourite bands in the early 70’s. I saw them live umpteen times and had every album, nearly all with amusing titles like For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, Cunning Stunts and If I Did It Again I’d Do It All Over You. I think I got those right! They were part of the Canterbury scene, along with Soft Machine, National Health and other luminaries such as Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen.
Back Street Crawler were essentially a blues-rock band formed in the mid-70’s by Paul Kossoff, who had not long before left Free (All Right Now – you must have heard of that!) The band lasted for only about two years and I was glad I saw them when I did. A bit of rock history.
For those of you unfamiliar with some of the places, Passfield and Carr-Saunders were both LSE halls of residence. Carr-Saunders was at the base of the BT Tower in Fitzrovia, to this day one of my favourite parts of London, and my residence for much of the first year at LSE.
Bedford College was located in Regent’s Park at the time and was famous as the first higher educational establishment for women. It was part of the University of London and is commonly known today as the Royal Holloway.