Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Name that DJ!

How about this for memories of Radio 1! All the DJ's back in the 1960s and 70s!
Let me try to name them:
Back Row: I can see Tommy Vance and Paul Gamboginni,
Middle Row: Tony Blackburn, Annie Nightingale, Andy Peebles, Steve Wright, Noel Edmunds, Jimmy Saville.
Front Row: Paul Burnett, David Jenson, Mike Reid, Dave Lee Travis, Simon Bates , John Peel.
(but where is Alan Freeman?)
These days a lot of the DJ's on Radio 1 are from around here, Mark Radcliffe, Sarah Cox, Vernon Kay. My mate Steve Kay (brother of Vernon) works with me at school and appears on Vernon's show on Saturday morning with the Maths Problem. I have spoken with John Peel at B.I.T. back in the 70's and also DLT at Rivington Barn at a great do!
Trouble is that Radio 1 is not what it was and some of the original DJ's are now on Radio 2 and other commercial stations. John Peel, Tommy Vance and Alan Freeman are no more, but Johnny Walker and Bob Harris are still around on Radio 2 along with Steve Wright and Paul Gambougini.

This year I launched a project to produce our own school Radio Station with some professional input. Steve Kay (Vernon's brother) has taken up this project and it looks good! We already have a Radio Station (not quite Radio 1) but some thing unheard of back in the 70's!
Have a look at this:
We have come such a long way with digital technology, it is now possible for anyone to have their own on-line Radio Station and be a DJ as well!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The end of an era! Woolworths closing forever!
So many memories, right back to when I was four years old when I got my head stuck in a revolving door in Woolworths at Blackpool. I loved 'going in town' with my Mam where we would go to Woolies to look at the toys and get some 'pick n mix' to take home. It was best when the counters were long with different stalls, make-up, cheap toys, stationary, pick n mix with the girls in the middle and you paid at each counter. I remember a girl called Carol that worked on the make-up counter. When the checkouts arrived so did the queues and Woolworths changed as we know it. My daughter Jacquie worked Saturday and Sunday at Woolies, her first job. I collected repairs from Woolworths when I worked at TAM and usually had to wait ages while they found them!
When they opened up the new 'Super Woolworths' in place of Burnden Park I was a bit confused, how could they sustain a huge store with stuff that could be bought at ASDA? Even the selection of toys was dubious. I must admit that I did get some bargains at the new store, like the first video mobile phones which they sold at a giveaway price of £45. I bought a telescope from Woolworths at less than half price and this launched me into the world of Astro-imaging.

I seem to remember that Woolworths were bought by Comet at one stage. Woolies never did get it right in the modern world ...such a pity that the store is closing ...so many memories!

Woolworths were everywhere, in Radcliffe (now Homemakers), in Farnworth and in Walkden. When I worked at Thornley's Butchers in Walkden with my Uncle Tom, when I was about 16, we were quite pally with the manager at Woolworths so when the shops shut on Saturdays Tom would sort him some meat and in return we got as much 'pick n mix' and we wanted! One of the girls I worked with at Thornley's, Gill, came from Woolworths, such a small world!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I can't finish this year without a mention of 'BEANO' my favourite comic that celebrates 70 years this year! I still buy Beano, especially when i'm on holiday.

Back in the 60's I eagerly awaited the paper boy or girl pushing it through the letter box at 7.00 on Thursday morning. Before going to school I would sit next to the fire in the kitchen and read part of the comic, but save the best till I got home from school. The best bits were always 'Bash Street Kids' and 'Q bikes.'

Q Bikes always had a soft spot for me, they had bikes with Radio Transmitters fitted and an aerial on the back. They wore a helmet with a microphone so that they could communicate with each other. Q Bikes originally had five members and later six. I even tried to form my own Q Bikes club and put a stick for an aerial on the back of my bike along with a tin for a transmitter!

How things have changed...

Now we use digital mobile phones to communicate, cyclists can use hands-free kits to talk to anyone in the world.

I can still picture the Q Bikes badge that my Uncle Bill designed one Sunday afternoon and we talked about transmitters. I think this was the beginning of something that captured my interest in analogue technology back in 1967.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do they know its Christmas?

I love the weeks before Christmas at school!
Last week we recorded a CD of songs sung by the children. A recording studio was set up in the hall, recorded, mixed and digitally edited and enhanced.
The results are fantastic!
We grown-ups got together and sang 'Do they know its Christmas' no practice at all!
Here it is:

Don't you just love digital technology!
So how do you wish everyone a Happy Christmas in this digital world?

Try this!

Please accept with no obligation, implicit or explicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with total respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, and their choice not to practise religious or secular traditions at all... and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Britain great (not to imply the Britain is necessarily greater than any other country nor is it the only "BRITAIN" in the northern hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, sexual orientation and choice of computer platform of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wishee actually to implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Snow joke!

I can't remember the last time we had heavy snow before Christmas!

On Tuesday morning the snow caused havoc, roads were gridlocked, schools closed (including mine) cars abandoned, motorways like car parks!

In this digital society we simply cannot cope with something as simple as SNOW. Even the most advanced digital technology cannot cope with it. Mobile phones used to 'text' parents to tell them that the school is shut. Weather forecasting is so accurate that it will give advance warning of snow, the MET Office has the most powerful computer in the world!

Trouble is...we rely on the technology, but not ourselves without it.

What did we do in the 1960's when snow was something that we accepted and simply adjusted to it. I can't remember my school ever shutting because of snow, people just got on with their life and got to school or work the best way they could.
Tonight on the news I saw the latest digitally controlled snow plough fitted to the front of a gritter! Fine...but will it solve the problem with snow?

Back in the 60's we would wake up and scrape the ice from the window so that we could see the snow. My Mum would put the oven on to heat up the kitchen and wrap us all up ready for the walk to school. When we stepped outside icicles hung from the gutters and window sills and we loved to pick them and suck them on the way to school. Snow drifts sometimes came to my waist and we made 'slides' in the playgrounds.

In those days Winter meant just that, these days it is rare that it snows, especially before Christmas. (Global Warming?)
We need to cope with it!