Tag Archives: Fair Oak

October 14th 1975

“Went up Nigs in evening. Mart P, Martin P & Mal came up. We all went down Fox & Hounds”

Ah, the good ol’ Fox & Hounds pub…

Actually, given the number of pubs that were within easy walking distance of all of us in Fair Oak, the Fox must have really had something special going for it? It was a good 1 to 2 mile walk up the Winchester Road to reach it … and then the same distance back under the afluence of inkahol!

The pub is – I believe – no longer in existence, the land being turned over to developers a couple of years back. This was after a remodelling job and a change of name to (just) “The Fox” in the late 90’s.

My last visit  was perhaps the saddest time I have spent inside its walls, my late Mum’s funeral reception being held there in early 2006.

My photo album is packed with pics of me at the Fox in my teenage years… it really was -along with the Clock Inn – my ‘local’ of choice. No, I’m not sharing them, sorry.


Leave a comment

Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

July 21st 1975

“Did window cleaning with Nig – £1-25. Started a painting”

Yes really, I did indeed do window cleaning around Fair Oak.

It was doubtless based on a bad idea I had one afternoon which Nig thought was a good idea. Damn him. My first entrepreneurial enterprise therefore involved a bucket, a sponge, some Fairy Liquid and several gallons of water. We went door-to-door offering our services and it looks like we earned £2.50 between us which we split equally. Not too shabby I suppose and I’ll guess we didn’t do it too long, just enough until boredom – or soaking wet clothes – kicked in.

I wonder if our decision to try our hand at this manual labour was based upon this smutty x-rated movie that was kicking about in the cinemas at the time?…

The only difference being that we never owned a ladder.

We only did ground floor windows.

Worst window cleaners ever.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

July 14th 1975

“Started to re-read Spy Story” / ” Went down the Clock with Nig”

It appears the complicated tale in Len Deighton’s book had confused me to the point of starting it all over again. Or, was it perhaps so good I decided to immediately read it for a second time? Unlikely.

The Clock Inn – or “the Clock” as it was more colloquially known – was my local pub of choice at…erm… 17 years old.

It sat – and still sits – at the corner of Sandy Lane & Bishopstoke Road in Fair Oak. In its 70’s ‘heyday’ it sported a public bar (for the committed drunks to sidle up to the counter in), a ‘lounge bar’ and (quite a rarity in those days) an outside patio/garden area.

More often than not we gravitated towards the lounge, the quieter option, a room fronting Sandy Lane and decorated in ghastly ‘pub carpet’, vanilla walls, scant ‘frippery’ and a nicotine-stained ceiling. There was maybe little more than a cigarette machine to provide the sole distraction from sitting at melamine-topped tables supping booze and talking rubbish. (TV’s in pubs were unheard of back then)

Later in its life it became a pub troubled by hooliganism and a certain ‘football culture’ clientele, but when we used to go there it was quite a gentle little boozer run by a little old lady with a heavily-wrinkled face and brusque manner. I seem to remember her name was Rose? Not once was I refused a drink, the notion of underage drinking far more prevalent in those days. It was illegal to serve minors but didn’t come with the heavy fines (if caught) that accompany such behaviour in the 21st Century.

Last year, when I was back in England visiting my Dad and helping him celebrate his 80th birthday, we decided to venture down to the “Clock” to see what it was like after being bought out by the Hungry Horse pub/restaurant chain.

To my surprise – and nostalgic delight – it was actually quite enjoyable. The interior is now (almost) one big wide open space, set on several levels and resplendent in comfortable seating and a friendly vibe. We ordered some food which turned out to be terrific value for money (in the old days you were lucky to be able to get a bag of crisps!) and imbibed several of their drink specials. I’m not sure I would have recommended it as a ‘venue’ in 1975, but now I most definitely would!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

February 17th 1975

“Asked out Viv. Went to see Juggernaut. Crap Film

Vivienne – or Viv – was a girl who lived a few streets away from me in Fair Oak. She also attended Barton Peveril and caught the same bus home as me from college every day… which was how I first got chatting to her, eventually building up enough courage to ask her out on a date. 

Our first date was an inauspicious affair, the choice of film a dodgy ‘disaster’ movie, somewhat portending the future of our relationship.

“Juggernaut” is one of director Richard (“A Hard Day’s Night”) Lester’s least-know films. Least known for a reason I reckon? Irish firebrand actor Richard Harris hams things up as an explosives expert given the responsibility to diffuse a series of terrorist bombs planted on a transatlantic cruise liner. Omar Sharif plays the suave ship’s captain, Anthony Hopkins plays a Scotland Yard detective trying to locate the perpetrator, whilst light relief is provided by Roy Kinnear. As thrillers go, it was all very silly stuff indeed, my review succinct.

However, I doubt my mind was completely on the movie? First date and everything. Should I put my arm around Viv in the dark? Hold her hand during the scary bits? Will I get to snog her later? Cop a feel maybe? Too soon?

One thing that occurred to me after all these years is that dates back then were rarely – if ever – of a (nowadays more commonplace) “dinner and a movie” variety…mainly because in 1975 there were next to no places to go and eat. Not even fast food joints – they didn’t hit the UK until many years later. Eastleigh did sport a couple of dodgy cafés but I never took girls to either, and I doubt I would have (yet) had the confidence to take Viv into a pub for a drink, still being theoretically underage. (Pubs didn’t do food back then either). So the date was purely the trip to the cinema – maybe an ice lolly during intermission? – and then back on the bus to Fair Oak. Classy eh?

Remember too that were no such things as multiplexes back then either. The choice of viewing at the Eastleigh Regal would have been “Juggernaut” or… erm… “Juggernaut”. There may a new film next week, but this week it was 100% “Juggernaut”. What a depressing thought.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

January 2nd 1975

“Nig came round in the afternoon”

What? You were maybe expecting more?

Yes, this 1975 diary is getting off to a lacklustre start isn’t it?

Maybe I should use this lull in the proceedings to do a brief “cast of characters” primer for the years ahead?…

Nig could probably be described as my best mate at this time. He lived just around the corner, and we spent loads of time in and out of each other’s houses.

Via Nig I also got to know other Fair Oak lads like Malc (later my best man) and the four Martins (P,P, T, & R)

Tim was someone I worked with at Lancaster & Crook supermarket. He was the other main member of my (now,sadly defunct) “band”

Nobby was my very good mate from Nursling. He will be mentioned  a lot through 1975 and beyond. He attended many of the same classes and courses as I did at Barton Peveril.

Other people from Nursling and Rownhams who I palled around with included Norm, RickieDASmutters, and Judy Gina (the Butler sisters)

In my Art classes at college I was good friends with Nobby, Niles, Derek, Sarah & Paul D. Our Art tutors were Tessa D’arcy Orders – an adorable “hippie” lady – and Roy Godfrey – a somewhat haphazard and eccentric tweed-wearer who was always pulling his socks up. (In a weird twist of fate in the early 80’s, I would not only end up employing Mr Godfrey’s son for a company I was running at the time, but I would also date his rather delightful daughter for a few months)

During my Technical Drawing classes I mucked about with (again) Nobby plus Tony, Bob, Mick & Nigel (not to be confused with Nig). Our tutors were Mr Brown (who always smelled of cigarettes) and a firm, but fair, belligerent Scotsman by the name of Bill Pollock. Many of us also did a “Technical Studies” class – the basis of which I can’t remember (metalwork? woodwork?) – where we were taught by Mr Whitfield.

It’s hardly worth mentioning my English Lit classes. Except to say I was tutored by a stiff-collared very strange man called Archie Benham whose face went BRIGHT red and who would visibly shudder with barely contained rage anytime a student pissed him off.  I was one one of those students.

In order to remember one of those tutor names I had to refer to my old school reports which reminded me – and you may find this as funny as me – that I also took typewriting classes! Something else I wasted my time with at college obviously?

All these people and more will appear from time to time as this diary unveils its dirty little secrets.


Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

June 15th 1974 (Part 1)

“Went up Tims in evening for a music session – did a take of Jelly Baby”

OK, confession time. 

When I advised people to Google the hit single “Biffo the Bear” a few days ago, I did so tongue very much planted in the side of my cheek. 

I’d actually forgotten – as much of this diary project appears to prove – about ‘my band’ 

It was a trio actually. Consisting of me, Tim B and his younger brother, whose name I can’t recall. 

We composed and rehearsed “potential number ones” in the dining room of his parent’s country house in Fair Oak. 

Most songs turned out to actually be “number twos” 

The only way our album would’ve shifted off the shelves at Asda’s is if the store was hit by a massive tornado. 

I ‘played’ piano. I use the word ‘play’ in the loosest possible sense. As Eric Morecambe once said “I hit all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order”. I had NO idea how to play a piano, just as Tim had NO idea how to play an acoustic guitar or his brother a tiny drum kit or their Dad’s bongo. Yes, our trio sported a bongo. 

I like to think of us as ‘avant garde’ musicians, long before it became trendy to be utterly inept at playing instruments. (Think Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth) 

My handcrafted Matinée Idol logo, saved from 1976. Hardly Barney Bubbles is it?

Did our band have a name? No it didn’t. See, now that’s what is weird… give me a few years beyond 1974 and the superficial necessity for exactly the right name would have been my absolute primary concern. Glam and Punk rock taught me a lot about ‘style over substance’ 

(I did have a name for a band I pretended to be in – and based an art project around – a few years later. A name which I thought was GREAT and quite Roxy Music-esque… Matinée Idol… which, sadly, now sounds like a Simon Cowell TV show about discovering a new soap opera performer!) 

Do thought-lost recordings (a la Dylan’s “Basement Tapes”) of our power-poop trio exist? Sadly, no. Although I did take my little tape recorder along to our ‘sessions’ and small elements were recorded, it was actually used to create noise effects from the piano. I call it my Brian Eno phase. 

However, in the process of full EFA70sTRO disclosure I’ll embarrassingly admit that I have held onto a couple of the band’s erm…. ‘unique’… lyrics composed back in 1974. One is handwritten and one has been diligently typed. I don’t suppose anyone would want to see them, would they? 

Really? OK, they’re in the next post.

1 Comment

Filed under 1974 Diary Entries

June 21st 1973

“Longest Day – No exams – borin all day – went into eastleigh + bt sunglasses + swimming trunks – Night of the hard kid up Fairoak”

Like most every village, FairOak had its share of ‘toughnuts’.

Toughnuts that would seem to often single me out for attention – something not helped by the fact that I cycled that horrible delivery bike round the neighbourhood for Lancaster & Crook, making me a target for verbal abuse. (Hell, I would have shouted something at me if I’d seen me on it!)

I don’t what was different about tonight’s little incident, but the fact that I had reason to comment on it means I must have felt more intimidated than usual.

As I have said before, nothing pleases me more than seeing many of these previous ‘toughnuts’ in their later life, looking down & out, bald, wrinkled, haggard, bloated and thoroughly pissed off .. and still walking the streets of Fair Oak. If here’s any karma in the world, one or two of ’em might have the piss taken out of them these days – or better, given a little kicking – by FairOak’s 2009 breed of ignorant chavvy ‘hardnuts’

In other news… ‘sunglasses and swimming trunks‘ eh? Stylin’!!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries