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I've only recently come across this site, and of course it brought back lots of memories. I was at the Lanch (officially from 1965-70, but heavily involved in the music scene there for some time after that). I can claim to have changed the type of music being played, as when I first arrived all the then Social Sec was interested in was mainstream pop groups. I managed to persuade him to book Cream, and will never forget the look of amazement on his face at the queue round the block to get in. I knew Ted Little well - I stood against him (and lost) for Social Sec. It was during his year in the office that he did indeed found the Arts festival, and he asked me to look after all the press side of things, as well as the staging. I well remember this formidable female, who turned out to be David Bowie's wife, arriving one day asking for me to discuss his appearance at one of the multi-media events (this was before his fame). I had to gently persuade her that Bowie had not actually been booked, and her response was unprintable. I believe this led to his changing agent, just before his career took off. I also persuaded the Students Union Council that it would be a worthwhile investment to buy a sound system, decks etc rather than paying someone else - I ended up running the discos myself using largely my own record collection. The once-weekly discos, held in the main hall, when the "townies" were let in proved to be a huge money-spinner (costing effectively nothing to put on), the cash being used to underwrite all the band bookings. During the Arts Festival, Ted somehow managed to persuade Chuck Berry to fly over for a gig, held in the Locarno. I have fond memories of shaking the great man's hand as I introduced his show. What we didn't know was that he was having it recorded, and out of those recordings came a live album (called "The London Sessions" paradoxically) and single - My Ding-a-ling, which of course went to No.1. The festival never received a penny in royalties, which would have gone a long way to repaying the Council the £18k they had to spend underwriting the losses. Incidentally, once the Chuck Berry gig was finished, we had (with great difficulty) to clear the hall so Pink Floyd could set up for Act 2 of the evening's entertainment (which finished at some time about 4 in the morning as I remember - the Locarno management had to be bribed not to pull the plug. Nice to see the comments from my old mate Keith. Happy Days.
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Feb 4, 2012