• Northern Soul the film

    October 28, 2014

    northern soul

    In a previous post, we promised we were going to go and see Northern Soul the film as soon as it came out, and as luck would have it, it was showing at Glasgow Film Theatre on 23rd October, the same date we had arranged to attend an equally 70s John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett gig at the Ferry (more about that later!)

    The theatre was full to capacity and there were reports of queues around the block for cinemas across the country. Quite an achievement for a wee indie film, and the Glasgow audience was certainly not disappointed. We were transported straight back to 70s northern England by Elaine Constantine, who grew up in Bury, Lancashire, and like our own Johnny Frocker, frequented the all nighters at Wigan Casino as a teenager.

    Elaine's film, which has been described as "an exuberant love letter to a bygone time" and "a northern Saturday Night Fever" is a must watch. The clothes are authentically bad, but in a good way, and the music and dancing are awesome. The film is a triumph.

    For those interested in the scene, this BBC2 documentary Northern Soul: Keeping The Faith, shown on the Culture Show in September 2013, is an excellent introduction to the 70s phenomenon.

    Elaine Constantine on Northern Soul
    Northern Soul the film on Facebook
    Northern Soul the film on Twitter

  • Mat's magnum opus: Sex, Drugs and HIV

    October 18, 2014

    mat's mission impossible?

    Mat's Mission Impossible?
    Autographed poster from Sex Drugs & HIV recording sessions

    The chief frocker first met Mat Sargent, the driving force behind the Sex, Drugs and HIV project, about 10 years ago when she was in France and dressed as a nurse. It’s a long story that involves John Otway, his Big Band and Max Splodge (as themselves), Deadly the Roadie (random nun), Andy the Roadie (dodgy priest) and a whole line up of nurses (Patsy, Gina, Jane, Janie, Ruth, Pam and this guy in drag), as well as a few extras who had raided the dressing up box for the annual Otfest across the Channel.

    otway im cured

    The Eight Otettes perform I'm Cured with John Otway and his Big Band

    nurses and priest nun meets nurse

    Suffice to say, the aforesaid Mat made a big impression, not only as Splodge’s bass guitarist but also as a seriously nice bloke. Who’d have guessed what lay behind that winning smile, wit and repartee?

    mat sargent

    Mat was diagnosed HIV positive in 1989 (the year the Berlin Wall came down and Danny Frocker came into the world) and was given a gloomy life expectancy of between two and five years. How frightening must that have been for a young man of 18 with everything to live for? But the prospect of ‘rolling over' could never match the power of rock’n’rolling and he’s still here banging out the bass lines and doing as much good for the rest of humanity as he possibly can. 

    Sex, Drugs and HIV is Mat’s magnum opus that has finally come to fruition as a result of his indefatigable spirit (something we have blogged about before) and we frockers are right behind his efforts to raise awareness and money for good causes. The project supports the Terrence Higgins Trust, Release, Rape Crisis and Cancer Research.

    If you are old enough to remember that Duracell battery advert, you’ll get Mat. In his own words:

    “Twenty-six years ago I was given between 2 and  5 years to live. After refusing treatment for 10 years I finally succumbed to new medication after developing full blown AIDS. I never gave up the fight to live a normal life and when I thought all was lost the new medication gave me the freedom of life. Instead of only seeing a couple of years ahead I now see a future. The Sex Drugs & HIV album has been an amazing project to work on and over the 19 years it took for it to come to fruition there was always the thought in the back of my mind that I might not be around to see it finished. I am happy to be able to share the moment and the album which is due for release on the 2nd November 2014 (available on Amazon).”

    Here’s a taster song from the album: Why, by Jimmy Pursey, Mat’s former bandmate from Sham 69 (They're coming to Glasgow in November, frockers!)

    Sex, Drugs and HIV
     comprises 40 tracks and features over 200 musicians spanning five decades of music. The project band, Rock'n'Roll Gypsies, play songs from the album and Mat is currently editing 'Rockumentary' films of the various musicians meeting up in the studio to record their parts and share their stories. The films will be available in a limited edition box set.

    We should forewarn our readers that there is some strong language in the video below, but we promise to wash the offending mouths out with soap if you buy the album! The highlights from our point of view are Max Splodge’s creative trombone playing (4.50 mins) and Mat’s matter-of-fact upbeat discussion of his diagnosis (19.30 mins).

     For more information, visit the project's website and Facebook group, or follow Mat on Twitter.



  • All Nighters and Northern Soul

    September 19, 2014

    The Scottish referendum turned into a bit of an all-nighter for much of the population. There were some bleary eyed folk making their way to work this morning, many of whom looked in need of matchsticks to keep their eyes open, but we confess to having fallen asleep much earlier than most and are still fully functioning frockers this Friday afternoon.

    Talking of staying up all night, a different sort of all-nighter enjoyed by a youthful Johnny Frocker at Wigan Casino in the 1970s (about which we have previously blogged) was undoubtedly a lot more riveting than waiting for referendum results and we are very much looking forward to the release of Northern Soul the film on 17 October.

    "This is a story of a youth culture that changed a generation and influenced songwriters, producers, DJs and designers for decades to come. This is the story of Northern Soul."

    "Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with British youths in the 1970s, taking the North of the country by storm. Northern Soul the film intends to appeal to those generations of fans while attracting a modern audience who can relate to youth culture from another era. If you were there, you’ll know. If you weren’t there, you’ll wish you had been."

    Specialist dance clubs were set up four years ago in Bolton and London to prepare 500 young people for participation in the film's energetic dance scenes and the Bolton club will remain open for business, continuing to offer the Northern Soul experience as a legacy to future generations.

    Judging by the original footage of scenes from Wigan Casino all-nighters, faithfully recreated by the film, Northern Soul will hopefully not only engage and invigorate the interest of today's young people in the 'scene', but will also bring back many happy memories for those of us who danced the night away in the 70s when our waist sizes were significantly smaller and our fashion sense distinctly dodgy!

  • Rockers of ages: Quo at the Mo

    May 24, 2014

    STATUS QUO ROCK THE MOstatus quo mofest van werninck studio

    Image credit: Van Werninck Studio, Montrose

    Listening to Status Quo's newly released Piledriver album back in 1972 in her best friend's bedroom, the future chief frocker (who was then, inexplicably, planning a career in the law) and her chum were already confirmed teenage rockers. The 'denimic' duo, whose days were reluctantly spent in school uniforms translating Latin texts (very badly in one case) and struggling with the intricacies of differential calculus, worshipped the Quo above all others. Never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that, 42 years later, Messrs Rossi and Parfitt would be belting out Paper Plane live in an outdoor arena within earshot and in full view of that same Montrose bedroom window!

    status quo mofest tickets

    As soon as Status Quo was confirmed as this years' headline act for the Montrose Music Festival, the lifelong friends just knew they had to be there, along with a selection of their middle aged contemporaries (and even some embarrassed offspring), to watch their heroes perform  a storming 90 minute set on the East Links. Fortunately, it was a pretty mild Mo night with none of the usual gale force winds and not a drop of rain, so  the crowd relished every chord, note and beat (including an awesome drum solo) delivered by the vintage rock legends. Head banging may have been de rigueur, but pogo-ing had to be strongly resisted by some of the older rockers amongst us due to bad knees and previous experiences (plural) of requiring assistance from emergency services. *

    mofest shop window

    status quo newspaperstatuse quo window

    Local shops get in on the act with music themed window displays

    It was a real coup for the organisers to attract such a big name to such a small seaside town festival, which in just six years has grown to become a family-friendly favourite.  Save for the opening headline acts, which in previous years have included the Average White Band, the Proclaimers, Dr Feelgood and Eddi Reader, there is free entry to all the pubs hosting live music of all genres on the festival circuit, making it the biggest and best free music festival in Scotland.

    So now the Quo have finally made it to Mo, the band who opened LiveAid back in 1985 really can boast that they've been Rockin' all over the world!

    * UPDATE: While one of our concert party claims she feels 30 years younger thanks to Status Quo (probably because she didn't end up in A&E for a third time with torn ligaments after an over-energetic dance performance) , another has texted to say that her body feels "broken", and the chief frocker has partially lost the use of her legs. It was, however, well worth it!


  • When Olivia met her Waterloo

    April 6, 2014

    abba for the record

    It was 40 years ago today and we were watching it, were you? The Eurovision Song Contest, broadcast from Brighton on 6th April 1974, launched Sweden's Abba into international pop superstardom after winning a decisive victory with their now iconic performance of Waterloo.

    We well remember the awe inspiringly fabulous outfits and Agnetha's silver platform boots were positively to die for as the chief frocker prepared for her final school exams the same month.

    Meanwhile the young and fresh faced Olivia Newton-John represented the UK with Long Live Love looking like an extra from Abigail's Party in a sky blue, full length, high neck hostess number with frills and trailing angel sleeves, supported by five backing songstresses in matching blue maxi frocks. She came fourth.

    Although Olivia may have met her Waterloo in 1974, she was of course to go on to far greater things - sporting skin tight lycra - a few years later, co-starring with John Travolta as Sandy in the blockbuster film Grease which was the biggest box office hit of 1978.

    Listening to Abba and Olivia still take us straight back to those heady days of teenage expresssion, outrageous fashion and Saturday Night Fever. Those were the Days, as another 70s Eurovision runner-up used to sing, although Abba admitted in a recent interview with the Daily Mail that they only wore such "ridiculous" clothes to exploit a Swedish tax loophole. Having been impoverished students, we can't use the same retrospective excuse for our fashion sense, or lack of it, and still have the (locked away) pictures to prove it!

    To mark the 40 year anniversary of their Eurovision win, why not save your Money Money Money, become a Dancing Queen,  and recreate the Abba look with some of our glam rock pieces at truly retro prices?

    Silver and black metallic shift dress

    silver and black metallic shift dress

    Vintage glam rock metallic silver and black jacket

    glam rock metallic jacket

    Gold lurex disco dress

    gold lurex disco dress

    Black and gold metallic lace dress

    black and gold metallic lace dress

    Braver souls may want to sport some lurex hotpants

    silver hotpants6683

    with a feather boa or two


    or the ultimate in 70s silver lame tastelessness?

    silver lame maxi dress

    To Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benni and Bjorn: Thank You For The Music, the fashion and most of all the fun!


  • The mighty Quo to headline Mofest

    March 2, 2014


     Being big fans of live music, we have previously blogged about our love of festivals, in particular the smaller festivals which do not involve battling through the massive crowds of Glastonbury, T in the Park and other major events.

    As die-hard 70s music fans, it was hard to contain our excitement and sheer delight when we heard that Mofest  - the wee music festival held annually in the chief frocker's home town of Montrose (population approx 12000) - had scored Status Quo as this year's headline act. And no it isn't a tribute band, it's the real Rossi & Co who are coming to little old Mo to rock the East Links on Friday 23rd May!

    We have already scored our tickets and planning what to wear from the boho festival frockery department!