Tuesday, 22 April 2014

At The Fawcett Inn

Philippa Fawcett College

    This small College of Education was technically part of London University. It was in Leigham Court Road, London SW16. Near to Streatham High Road on the A23. I attended it between 1968-1971. For such a small college, it had a series of hard working Social Secretaries who worked hard to bring some remarkable acts in for Rag Balls, Formal Balls, Dances and Concerts. Sometimes we staged events in conjunction with other colleges such as Marjohn's or Chesterton Annexe. The Leigham Court Road building had a newly-designed “In the Round” Main Hall, with a superbly equipped stage. A stage I came to know well and work upon regularly over the three years I attended,as I was studying Drama. The Main building is all still in place though the college and Halls closed years ago.

     Although I missed a few S.U. Events, amongst bands or artists appearing at Philippa's during that period were: Perishers, Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera, Raw Material, Atomic Rooster, Episode Six,The Groundhogs, John Lee Hooker, Eclection, Champion Jack Dupree, Jon Hiseman's Coliseum, Marmalade, Ginhouse, Christine Perfect, Brian Augur and Status Quo. Gordon Giltrap, Stephan Grossman and Andy Fernbach. We also had Cliff Richard there, but he had been invited to address one of the Fringe Societies, and some of us boycotted his appearance. I

College Bands

It was a very musical college. Every student had to study music at some level. Every student also had to learn how to build their own wooden xylophone, the point of which still eludes me, forty-six years on. There were two College Bands whilst I was there. One was originally called Desolation of Smaug. This caused some concerns about copyright, so they changed it to a simpler and less challenging, “Desolation.” I used to have a brilliant poster featuring them, with some original artwork on it. The other band was called Milestones. Desolation featured Tony Jones (Drums), Fraser Britton (guitars) John Oakshott (keyboards). Can't remember what they did about bass. Ian Walker? There was also some kind of connection between the College and “super group” Brinsley Schwartz. Mart Belmont, who later became part of Graham Parker and The Rumour, (who also had roots in the Schwartz), occasionally guested with Desolation. Perhaps that was it?

Milestones” evolved I believe, from a third college band “Glorious Revolution.” Milestones featured our own Black Parrot Seaside axeman Arnold Chave on lead guitar, Brothers Nick and Dick Barrington-King on drums and bass guitar respectively. Bob Maynard also played saxophone. All three bands played at College Functions, but also at pubs clubs and social functions elsewhere.

Further Afield

My favourite memory is seeing the magnificent Free at The Borough Polytechnic. The band were at the height of their raw power then. Paul Kossof was mesmeric that night: such a talent-he died so young. I caught local boys The Edgar Broughton Band at Richmond,and also, supporting Pink Floyd in Hyde Park. I used to go to see Jazz at The Bulls Head in Barnes,where I saw Harold McNair. . And I once saw Jo-An Kelly and Paul Simon doing floor spots at The Bridgehouse somewhere near Kennington.