Albertos at Torquay

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Diary | Tuesday, 1st June 1976

I was back in Devon on the 20th May after a string of horrendous first-year university exams that made me think twice about staying on. By the 27th May I was clocking-on at Devon Laundry in Torquay to pay off student debts. The day after the spring bank holiday I found myself on the usual shift at work then down to the 400 Club in Torquay for Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias. Bloody good it was too.

The following extracts are taken straight out of my diary:

Overslept this morning – for the first time in a long time. Not up until 07:25 but had a quick breakfast and managed to persuade dad to give me a lift to work. I managed to clock on just before 08:00! Was subracking for most of the morning, sorting a bit later then on the spreader all afternoon.

Clocked-off at 17:00 on the dot and got a lift home from George. Had dinner and got changed then on the bus down to Torquay harbour. Very pleased to see Maurice Donovan again; had to wait quite a while for the Albertos to get going but it was well worth it – they were very good indeed and the audience, to my surprise, were loving it!

I was devastated I had to leave early to catch the 23:05 back to Newton Abbot, but I had to be in work at 8 in the morning…

That day cost me 42p in bus fares, 6p on coffee, 75p for the gig and £1.12 on beer. I must have only had three pints, which was a bit low for me in those days!

I cannot remember who George was, other than he must have worked at the laundry, and I can just about remember Maurice Donovan – what a great name! He had been a fellow student at South Devon Technical College. At the time I was surprised that the Devon audience enjoyed the Albertos as they were so out there – on the edge. But I realised later that I sometimes underestimated Devonians at the time.

Some of the ‘laundry’ terms may bemuse – subracking, sorting and spreading! I might get around to explaining them one day but it struck me recently that working in the laundry in the seventies – and delivering to hotels all over south Devon – might make a good sitcom. I shall have to start writing down a few ideas…

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