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CHANGING GEAR...

More new recording equipment arrived today. I now have about two thirds of the kit I need to refurbish my system. I have the Mackie Universal Control Surface, (as reported in a previous journal entry,) but also have received the Behringer Ultragain Pro, The Zoom TAC-8, the Samsung 32" High Definition monitor screen, the Cubase Pro 10 software pack and two rack cases to mount the audio convertors in. All that remains now is to order the new Mac computer and its assorted peripherals. Oh, and the cables to connect all of this stuff together.


The Steinberg Cubase Pro 10 package was a bit of a surprise in that I imagined it would contain a disc from which I would be able to load the software into the computer. When the delivery man handed me the package I almost thought nothing was inside it as it weighed so little. On opening the package I found a small black box, empty except for a small sheet of paper with a code number printed on it and a tiny USB 'dongle.' Apparently, I have to go to Steinberg's website, create an account and password then enter the code number, insert the USB dongle into the computer and start a download of the software. I suspect it will take a while to install as it's a very complicated piece of software. I'm not exactly a Luddite when it comes to technology but, on paper at least, all of this seems rather complicated.


Anyway, I won't be doing that for several weeks as I haven't bought the computer yet and still have lots of work to complete on my current system. I realised, the other day while checking my lists of albums awaiting release, that there are two or three albums for which I have to decide on a track running order. I also will need to do the same for the two current albums on the drawing board. So quite a bit of work needed ising my old system before it can finally be put to rest.


Have been spending a little time posting on the 'I Went To Ings Road School' Facebook page. As the title suggests, it's for ex-pupils of Ings Road Secondary Modern School which I attended in the late 1950s/early '60s. There are quite a few people from my class sharing their memories of their time at the school though, sadly, quite a few have passed away in recent years.


One of those no longer with us is Ian Parkin who became a friend when we were at Ings Road together. As fans of Be Bop Deluxe know, Ian and I were at a similar stage of learning the guitar when we became school chums. We both were fans of the early '60s instrumental group scene and owned records by Duane Eddy, The Shadows, The Ventures, The Spotnicks, The Fireballs, The Surfaris, The String-A-Longs, Peter Jay And The Jaywalkers, Lonnie Mack, Link Wray and many others. We'd take it in turns to hold rehearsals at our parent's houses on opposite sides of the big playing field on Eastmoor Estate. We also would go to the Mecca Locarno Ballroom to listen to records being played loudly through the ballroom's big Altec Lansing speakers, records by Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and then 'The Twist' by Chubby Checker and on into the soul music era. We shared a lot of interests.


Ian, like my father, was an amateur electrical hobbyist, building radios and other gadgets. Ian's nickname at school was 'Sparky' and whenever he was round at our house my dad would engage him in discussions about various circuits and gizmos. We stayed in contact throughout those early years and it was Ian who I bumped into one day whilst walking down Wood Street in Wakefield on my lunch break from my job at the West Riding County Supplies Department where I worked as a local government officer. Ian had been in a band called 'The Memphis Blues' with bass guitarist Rob Bryan but that seemed to have come to an end.


We chatted and discussed the possibility of us getting together for a jam. We arranged to do this one afternoon at Primrose Hill Working Men's Club which Rob Bryan's father was the Steward of. I can't recall exactly how drummer Nick Dew came to be involved, (maybe he'd been in 'The Memphis Blues’,) but Nick was at the jam session and it all sounded pretty good. We decided to make a band from these basic beginnings and I wrote songs for it. Then we needed a name. I had lots of names and song titles jotted down in one of my notebooks and we soon had a short list, 'Will's Spirits,' 'Rudy And The Zips' and 'Be Bop Deluxe' were favourites. I managed to persuade the other guys that the latter was the better choice and so we became Be Bop Deluxe.


I immediately set to designing a flyer and publicity booklet to hand out to promote the band and enlisted a photographer friend, Malcom Taylor to take the first photo's of us. And here is where a connection with Ings Road School comes in: When Ian Parkin and myself had been pupils at the school, we, like many other kids, used to visit a corner shop across the road from the school to but sweets and crisps at lunchtime. This little shop had a fizzy drinks dispenser on the counter that was connected to a gas cylinder of some kind that put the bubbles into the liquid in the glass dispenser. A paper cup full of the resultant fizzy drink cost only one penny and was very popular with the Ings Road kids. Licorice sticks and frozen 'Jubblies' were also popular, as were sweet cigarettes which contained picture cards in each pack. Collecting and swapping picture cards was a big thing back then. Anyway, when we were looking for locations for the first ever Be Bop Deluxe photo' shoot, I thought it would be nice to pose outside that same 'tuck' shop on Ings Road as both Ian and myself had a nostalgic connection with the shop. I was trying to write some songs that had a romantic connection to Wakefield and Yorkshire, ('Mill Street Junction,' 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape’,) so it all seemed to fit. (Not that anyone looking at the photograph would understand the connection to Ings Road School and Ian and I having been pupils there and using the shop each lunchtime in our years at the school.)


The shop, and the old school, have long been demolished. Where the shop once stood is now just a busy road junction and the site where the school stood is now the location for an industrial shopping park. But the photo' of Be Bop Deluxe posing in front of the shop in our ludicrous home-made 'glam' gear still exists and I'm going to attach it as one of the images accompanying this journal entry. And once I've done that, I'll leave you to chuckle at how silly we looked back then whilst I get back to mixing a new track....😉

Another flyer for the album 'Magnetic Travels,' a future Sonoluxe release.



One of the early publicity photo's of first line up Be Bop Deluxe posing outside the Ings Road 'tuck' shop where Ian Parkin and myself had bought snacks and sweets when we were schoolboys at Ings Road Secondary Modern School which was just across the road from the shop.



© Bill Nelson 2020

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