OBITUARY TO A GREAT FRIEND
Just recently I've learnt that one of the best mates I've ever had has passed away. Alan Bradshaw or to the many that went to his gigs knew him as Alan King AKA The Judge. I don't know how he died & I hadn't seen too much of him in recent years. We did keep in touch via Facebook & the odd phone call & the last time we met he got a bit over excited over this blog that I'd produced & was trying to talk people into turning it into a film. Here is a short piece about my relationship with Alan.
Back around 1969 I'd been involved with the up & coming world of the disco & was always out & about trying to promote myself or get new Ideas to become the best. I first saw Alan DJaying at the Swan, in Yardley, on a Sunday night ........that was the start of a long friendship. He DJayed at quite a few venues in & around Birmingham & ''boy if you went to a show of his you'd never forget it ''. As a DJ he was complete......a showman.....a comedian....an all round nice guy. He never drove from the day I met him, so the bus or the train provided his transport to wherever.....work, the pub or a gig. Many a time I turn up at one of his shows & find that him & 4 roadies had got all the gear to the venue on the bus. If he turned up at one of my shows he'd just take it over.,......we also done many shows together.......we shared the same sort of humour & shared the same love of certain music.......mainly soul & reggae . We were also fellow Small Heathens & Blues fans.
Around the mid 70s Alan disapeared only to resurface about 8 years later. He then told me he'd got married, had a daughter, packed up DJaying & was working permanent nights. Over the next few years he ressurected his DJ career but was limited to doing weekend gigs.......he'd never lost it....still brilliantly quick witted.....still had the rappor & crack with the punters......could still DJ with one turntable with one arm tied behind his back & talk the legs of the dancefloor.
Twenty something years ago I got married & I didn't have to think twice about who was to be best man....Alan. We still have an old video of that day & the best mans speech is something that will go down in family history....so funny.......thank you for that Alan.
Sadly his marriage didn't survive his second coming....he'd always had it in his head that it was his life & he wanted to live his way. He was always heavilly involved with the trade unions at work & when he took early retirement he carried on doing union work. As he got into his mid 50s his health started to slowly deteriate, but as he said, after a second hip replacement ''life goes on ''.
His next move was Spain. He kept a home in Birmingham but he'd go off to Spain for months on end armed with a laptop full of music & a microphone, DJaying around bars & chucking in a bit of bingo as well. In later years I didn't see so much of him but now & again a phone call out of the blue would get me on a bus either to town or the Longbridge Social Club......never by car it would always be a serious catchup. Over the last few years Facebook & Emails kept us in contact. When I wrote about my growing up as a DJ I mentioned what an impact he'd made in the early days & I kept that with me all through my time as a DJ. My education started when I met Alan .......both musically & for a bit of showmanship & presence on stage. But It's his friendship I shall miss.....a truly great friend & mentor.
RIP Alan.....I'll miss you.
This is dedicated to anyone who has read my story
The most important piece of Small Heaths social history since the Peaky Blinders.
As you now know this story based over twenty odd years has a serious backdrop.....that being Northern Soul, Motown, Classic Soul , Reggae & just about everything else musically that was placed before me. The music shaped my life & has never left me.......so if you want to talk about music fire away, send me an email, let's get in to one of the most loved things in life....music.
I've loved music all my life, not just the old stuff I rant on about in this blog, I do really like music, almost anything. What I've written about just happens to be at a time when I was growing up & has left a lasting impression & love which has stayed with me from the first day I heard the stuff. Anyone is welcome to share their memories of music & clubbing days [& nights], I do believe that those days from when you leave school to when you settle down are the fun days. My fun days lasted until I was in my late 30s....I decided to retire from DJaying before it became a chore......happy days...drop us a line & share your fun days with me.
For The Curious
I must apologise to anyone hoping to see a few photographs, I've lost most pictures I've ever had between house moves. If I do come across any I will put them on the site.
Anybody hoping for a longer & raunchy story, very sorry. I could have written another 30 pages but I decided to take the two most interesting parts of my career & use a few snippets from other times as a backdrop. The amount of work I've covered over the years would have turned an interesting little story into a list of times & places & I didn't want to do that. As for the raunchy side.....well it was & it wasn't, my wife would love me to spill the beans. I mean early on [no money for a taxi, walk back to Small Heath with a box of records under each arm... ' can you carry one of these love, my arms are killing me!'.....very inviting for a young lady]. It got better when I was driving tho'.
For The Adventurers Out There
If you've got a story or an important part of your life you've kept hidden for years please do what i've done, share it with other people. I can't tell you of the satisfaction i've had researching & writing this blog. The nice side to it, as well, is everybody who's read it has loved it. My sisters & old mates have all relived their teenage years.
Anyone thinking of writing a blog, like this one, beware. These few pages [ actually edited from about 300 ] took about 14 months to research, prepare, write & edit. But for me worth every minute.
Anyway....let's talk music.
Change Of Location
Been off air for a while, well what I mean to say is that I've moved house. Gone is the big mansion out at Stratford Upon Avon better known as Lilac Cottage. I now reside on the edge of Solihull, again, in a place called Tidbury Green. A much smaller gaff but lovely (well It will be one day ).
The new man cave is close to completion ( watch this space ).
The Judge returns from Spain in November.....watch this space.
The film that's just been released. Not quite what I expected but what a great angle to look at that period in time. Very real look into a lot of young kids expectations in the early to mid 70s. Drugs, Shithole clubs, no real prospects but a lot of good music.
Unlike a lot of films based on music this film is not glossed over with bullshit.....myself....well I've worked in these sort of places they called clubs & this definately reflects the mood & the time. After watching it twice I can see where Elaine Constantine is coming from....10/10 for me.