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Bend It!

Iggy at The Crom Several Floydian sources publish a scan of a NME (New Musical Express) article from November 1966, featuring Iggy, dancing on a party. Most of the time the date is cited as Wednesday the 16th of November, but the scan of the magazine shows a different date that of Saturday the 26th of November. As NME appeared every Friday the article probably appeared in issue 1037 (of Friday the 25th of November). Of course there is always the chance that the actual pictures were taken on Wednesday the 16th.

Here is the full text that accompanies the pictures:

(On sale Friday, week ending November 26, 1966 - NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS)
On the small, intimate dimly lit dance floor in the basement, it's all happening, PATRICK KERR, dancer from RSG, and his girls demonstrate the bend dance.
Above: Three pop personalities (l to r) ADRIANNE POSTA, FRANK ALLEN (of Searchers) and TWINKLE try the Bend, watched by Cromwellian publicist SIMON HAYES.
Left: Another Bender - model IGGY, who is half-Eskimo.
Below: CHRIS FARLOWE dancing in sheepskin jacket.

The party in question was held at The Cromwellian (3 Cromwell Rd, London SW7). The Crom, as it was generally nicknamed, opened in 1965 in Earls Court, was a three-floor cocktail bar and discotheque and one of the posher (and more expensive) places to be. It was also one of the places for a would-be star to be discovered (or at least they believed it).

The basement described itself as ‘England’s Famous Discotheque (and restaurant)’ where pirate station DJs and well-known bands as Georgie Fame and Zoot Money performed. The ground floor had ‘Harry’s International Bar (and restaurant)’, promising the ‘greatest atmosphere in town’. Upstairs was a gambling area, an ‘Elegant Casino’, where you could try your luck at dice – roulette – black jack – pontoon and poker. Successful musicians, photographers, fashion designers, artists, television personalities (and the odd East End gangster) would hang out at The Crom, where the new m’as-tu-vu elite could enjoy a glass of champagne without being disturbed by obsessive and pushy fans. Ray Davies remembers it as the ideal place to ‘observe the almost endless supply of dolly girls parading in mini-skirts’. Probably the fact that there was ‘free entrance for girls’ helped as well.

Simon Hayes, publicist for The Crom is remembered by pirate radio DJ (and ex-roommate) Phil Martin: “Simon ran a pop PR agency called Ace Public Relations and he and his business (it seemed to me then) were at the absolute epicentre of the Swinging Sixties scene in London at the time.” (Taken from Offshore Radio)

Bend It! No wonder that The Crom was chosen by Patrick Kerr, one of the choreographers of the Ready Steady Go! TV show to present the new dance of the week: the Bend. (Probably he already knew that the RSG! show would end a couple of weeks later.) The Bend was named after the risqué Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich hitsingle Bend It! that had been released in September. According to NME a new version with a different set of words had to be recorded for the US market.

Other prominent guests at the party were (according to NME):
Adrienne (with an E) Posta (or Poster). An actress (and singer) who would have a prominent role in the forthcoming movie Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967). In the next decade her sheepdog would become world-famous, posing for a Dulux paint advertisement campaign. This also led to the single ‘Dog Song’, written by her husband rockstar Graham Bonnett (The Marbles, Rainbow, Alkatrazz).
Frank Allen who joined The Searchers in 1964 and is still with them today.
Twinkle (Lynn Annette Ripley), the first British female singer / songwriter to score in the rock era. Her debut single Terry (1964) had catapulted her into the top3 and was followed by Golden Lights, Tommy, Poor Old Johnny, but with degrading success. (Update: as Simon Hayes and Twinkle were an item it is logical that she was present at the club. See also: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom.)
Chris Farlowe, one of Britain’s earliest exponents of R & B, had been struggling until his 1966 version of Think (Jagger & Richards) made it into the top 20. His following single Out Of Time (also a Rolling Stones tune) became number 1 and Farlowe was voted Best New Singer for 1966, although he had been performing since 1957.

Well so far for the small story, but what really matters is:

What was Iggy doing at The Cromwellian when Patrick Kerr demonstrated the Bend?
Who invited her to the spectacle (knowing that the press was also invited)?
Was she somehow connected to the RSG show (as a dancer, a model or a figurant)?
Was she somehow connected to The Cromwellian?
Was she somehow connected to Simon Hayes and/or his PR company?
What about singer/actress Adrienne Posta, one hit wonder Twinkle and superstar Chris Farlowe?
Was her aim to be discovered by a RSG! talent scout (perhaps not knowing that these were the last weeks of the show)?

The Holy Church Of Iggy the Inuit will continue to investigate this.

Update April the 1st, 2010. A new gallery has been uploaded containing the complete Come with NME for a pic-visit to THE CROMWELLIAN article and pictures from New Musical Express 1037, 25 November 1966. Photographs by Napier Russel & Barry Peake. Words by Norrie Drummond. (Just another world exclusive from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 74-75.
McAleer, Dave, Beatboom!, Hamlyn, London, 1994, p. 93-94 & p. 126-127.
Platt, John: London’s Rock Routes, Fourth Estate, London, 1985, p.137-139.
Tobler, John (editor): NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years, Hamlyn, London, 1992, p.163.

This is part one of our Cromwellian Bend-It series:
1. Bend It! 
2. The Style Council 
3. Rod Harrod remembers The Crom 
4. Dr Death and other assorted figures... 
Posted by Felix Atagong at 8:32 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-10-29 8:50 PM CEST
Categories: Bend-The


The Style Council

Don't worry, this will stop... eventually... Last summer the Church wrote about Ig’s noticed visit at the Cromwellian club in November 1966, where the dance-crew of Ready Steady Go! were launching the latest dance-craze The Bend.

The club existed since 1964 or 1965 and in the autumn of that year jazz-singer, writer, critic and generally bad tempered journalist Georges Melly wrote a piece about the place, that was later re-printed in his excellent account of the pop art days in Britain Revolt Into Style. In contradiction with most flower power studies his book did not appear two decades or more after the facts happened. Melly wrote his essays when Swingin’ London was still swinging although it was slightly running out of breath. The Reverend finds it funny how many of the anecdotes that Melly has noted on the spot can now be found in other books.

The Church’s archive had a copy of this work for ages, but dark forces made it disappear into the same vortex that also swallows the Reverend’s second sock when he is in search for a clean nice pair. But this summer the book miraculously re-appeared from the vaults of Atagong mansion. As the book has been long out of print we hereby re-print Mr. George Melly’s reflections. The Church is confident he won’t mind…

The Cromwellian
I don't know the details of Roy Harrod's quarrel with the Cromwellian, but there is no doubt that it is ‘out'. I went there six months ago (early 1965, FA) and it was full of well-known faces. On my recent two visits I recognized nobody.
Bart Kimber, the general manager, says he is delighted. 'It's back to sanity and smartness' is the way he puts it. He hated the place full of paint-stained jeans and last century T-shirts. 'We get three distinct crowds,' he told me, 'downstairs the younger set. We offer them name-groups, and records introduced by disc jockeys from the pirate radio stations. In the ground floor bar, there's a higher age group, drinkers you see. While upstairs there's gambling. Would you care to look around?'
The club is in a large house in the Cromwell Road. It too is decorated in the baronial style except here there are suits of armour and old master reproductions in heavy gold frames. The basement has murals of nymphs seducing puritans, and is very noisy. The atmosphere of the whole complex is relaxed and pleasant. 'Nobody rushes' is how Mr Kimber puts it. The prices seem very reasonable. 'Here,' he says, ‘the artists are not being fleeced, but they're just too high for the kids.' Quite a lot of pop performers still come; Georgie Fame, the Zombies, the New Faces, Jonathan King were all there on one night he told me, and Dusty likes it. What about the top groups, I asked. 'We have them here occasionally,' he said, 'and we're pleased to see them, but were not desperate.' The club was full and spending so I am inclined to believe him. I asked him who his clientele was. 'A lot of continental people, film extras, hairdressers, P.R.OS, advertising people, no boxers. They cause bother, but quite a few wrestlers.' In fact the club is owned by five wrestlers so of course it's natural that they have never had any trouble.
'Look,' said Mr Kimber, 'of course we're successful. Parking's easy out here, and you can get stoned out of your eyeballs for 2£. We don't want to be in.'

Rod Harrod  

George Melly’s description starts with the observation that a certain Roy Harrod has had some troubles with the Cromwellian. Rod (not Roy) Harrod had been attached to The Cromwellian but offered his services to The Scotch of St James club after a quarrel with the owners. Rod Harrod, who made some fame in the city as a music journalist, knew several bands personally and had enough influence to invite them to the club that he favoured. When he left The Crom that club was out and, in a matter of weeks, The Scotch of St. James was in. Harrod’s guests weren’t second grade. The Beatles, The Stones and The Animals eagerly accepted his invitations (consumptions were always on the house for these bands). Although the club obviously benefited from these famous visitors Roy Harrod tried to respect their privacy, George Melly tells the story how a visitor, who had the audacity to ask George Harrison for an autograph, was immediately removed from the club. His account ends with the fact that Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon would arrive in five minutes, reason enough for George Melly to go home.

Rod Harrod had a nose for bands and singers and on the 24th of September 1966 he invited a young American guitarist to have a blues jam on stage. The contract, hastily written on a napkin, was signed by an unknown artist called Jimi Hendrix. (back to George Melly's Cromwellian essay)

Update: Rod Harrod has shared some of his memories with the Reverend. Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Ready Steady Go!

Regular visitors of the Church will know that the Reverend strongly beliefs in a connection between Ig and Ready Steady Go! The evidence is rather flimsy to say the least, but George Melly’s account adds another piece of the puzzle that may prove this theory.

When George Melly interviewed Bart Kimber that last one claimed that Dusty (Springfield) liked the Cromwellian (autumn of 1965). The next year Ig was spotted by NME on a Cromwellian RSG!-party and the person who (probably) introduced Ig to Syd Barrett maintains that Ig invited her ‘once to a party with Dusty Springfield and crew’ (see When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)).

So far for this weeks sermon from the Reverend, go in peace my friends and don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Melly, George: Revolt Into Style – The Pop Arts In Britain, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 98-101.

This is part two of our Cromwellian Bend-It series:
1. Bend It! 
2. The Style Council 
3. Rod Harrod remembers The Crom 
4. Dr Death and other assorted figures... 
Posted by Felix Atagong at 6:52 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-10-29 8:50 PM CEST
Categories: Bend-The, X-Tra


Rod Harrod remembers The Crom

The Bend (The Potatoes) Years before she entered the Underground and met Syd Barrett, Ig’s first venture for glory and fame came when the cameras of NME magazine spotted her in November 1966. Issue 1037 had an article Come with NME for a Pic-Visit to the Cromwellian, written by Norrie Drummond (who passed away in April 2005) with photos by Napier Russell and Barry Peake.

Some relevant info can be found in two previous articles at the Church but it need to be stressed that, already then, Iggy claimed she was a model and used to throw around her alleged Eskimo roots. (The complete NME Cromwellian Pic-Visit article can be consulted on this blog. Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)


It is not unthinkable that Ig may have worked, at one time or another, for Quorum. Quorum was a boutique led by the eccentric fashion designer Ossie Clark, whose ‘stuff was fluid and drapey and revealing all at once, in key places it fit so exactly that you couldn’t wear a bra or panties’. To Marianne Faithfull he once told that the dress he presented to her was so designed she could have sex anywhere.

One of the people bragging he was a Quorum model was a lad called David Gilmour but in reality he just drove Quorum’s delivery truck around. "Dave Gilmour never really said very much. He just used to stand around. It was a bit unnerving.", recalls Celia Birtwell in Pigs Might Fly.

Syd Barrett used the Quorum boutique not only to pick some clothes. Quorum models Gilly Staples and Kari-Ann Moller (of Roxy Music album cover fame) have been ‘associated’ with Syd at one time or another.

JenS, one of Syd’s Cantabrigian girlfriends, who lived in Anthony Stern’s flat for a while and who suggested The Pink Floyd to Peter Whitehead when he was looking for a soundtrack of Tonight Let’s All Make Love In London, first met Ig in 1966. Iggy invited JenS to a Dusty Springfield and crew party and this may have taken place at The Cromwellian as well, one of the clubs Dusty liked to frequent if we may believe George Melly.

Revolt Into Style

Musician, critic, journalist and raconteur George Melly reviewed the place in Revolt Into Style. That ‘brilliant guidebook’ about the pop arts in Britain is a collection of essays, written between 1965 and 1972 and it has the advantage that the situations and anecdotes described were noted down when they were actually happening and are not (blurry) memories from three decades later. The Church would not like to feed the authors that have taken bits and pieces from Melly's essays to add some extra candy to rock biographies or Swinging London books.

George Melly’s Cromwellian piece dates from 1965 and tells how the club was already old news by then. When Disc and Music Echo journalist Rod Harrod, who used to be the Crom’s PR-moonlighting-agent, offered his services to The Scotch of St. James, the Crom suddenly relegated from premier to second league. In only a couple of weeks time the, still rather exclusive and expensive, Crom club would only host and entertain some of the minor gods from the rock pantheon.

In the only interview we have got from Iggy she says “I met so many people in the 60s – the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart." She may have met them in one of the many artist clubs that were around: The Scotch of St. James, The Cromwellian, The Speakeasy (where she met Anthony Stern during a Jimi Hendrix gig). The London Live music club anthology has an intriguing picture, to say the least, depicting Speakeasy managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey with two ladies. One of them could be Iggy, although not all Church members agree with that.

Rod Harrod Rod Harrod

In 2009 the Church contacted the man whom George Melly had interviewed 45 years ago but just when the Church wanted to publish the article Iggy, now known as Evelyn, was featured in a couple of articles in Mojo. Quite some buzz happened after that, but as the spring storms have settled down a bit, the Church finds it is about time to get on with its business.

Rod Harrod describes himself as a doyen of music business and is remembered by some as the person who offered Jimi Hendrix his first gig on British soil and made him sign a record contract on a napkin from the St. James club. Harrod more or less tones this down a bit:

I did not make Jimi Hendrix sign a record contract on a napkin. The Heads of Agreement were drafted on a napkin between Jimi's co-manager Chas Chandler and the owners of soon-to-form Track Records - Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp (brother of actor Terence Stamp).

I do not want people thinking I forced Jimi to sign anything... I didn't.

Kathy Etchingham, who lived in a flat in Zoot and Ronnie Money's house in Fulham, was DJ for me at the Scotch of Saint James at the time Jimi made his first appearance.
(Rod Harrod, 30 July 2010, e-mail)

The first night Hendrix arrived in London, he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted until February 1969. (Taken from: Wikipedia.)

After a life in music business Rod went to South Africa where he was founder of PROmpt (Professional Music Performance and Technology) trying to bring music closer to the life of the disadvantaged youth in Cape Town.

Living in Great Britain, Harrod seriously thinks of moving back to South Africa to revitalise his music-training centre and to finally start writing his memoirs. Some facts that have appeared in rock biographies over the past decades didn’t really happen as such and Harrod would like to put the record straight once and for all…

Obviously the Church's first question was if Harrod remembered the girl called Iggy whose snapshot had been taken at The Cromwellian:

...sorry to disappoint but although I have vague recollections from the photo I can not add more...

Twinkle Twinkle

One of the people pictured on the NME article is Lynn Annette Ripley aka Twinkle who had several hits in the mid Sixties.

I immediately spoke to Twinkle (Ripley) who lives quite close to me. She used to go out with Simon (Hayes)... but she does not even remember him being the PR there...

She remembers him as working in a PR Agency in Berkley Square or somewhere - not owning it. Trouble is when you run down memory lane these days you sometimes hit cul de sacs and others take you in totally the wrong direction...

But Harrod’s trip down memory lane isn’t exactly a dead end street, quite the contrary… The Church is proud to publish some of his Cromwellian memories in avant-première…

The Cromwellian

So many things changed quickly in those days...

I was around at the Cromwellian as PR around 1964 – 1965 before I moved on to the Scotch of Saint James that became even more famous as THE Club... The late George Melly's account is reasonable except he got my name wrong (it is not Roy, but Rod).

George Melly's account of the Crom can be found at the Church article: The Style Council. Rod Harrod continues:

George Melly missed mentioning the very camp 'Harry the Heart' of Harry's International Bar on the ground floor of the Cromwellian (the 'Heart' bit came from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of a packed bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with you now."

According to Melly, Harrod left the Crom club after a quarrel with its owner. Rod disagrees:

I do not remember having a row with the owner - wrestler and promoter Paul Lincoln - who wrestled incognito wearing a mask, just that the Crom decided they did not want to pay my bar bill anymore. I had a better offer anyway from Louis Brown who, with Lenny Bloom, owned the Scotch of Saint James.

Ready, Steady, Kerr!

Dusty (Springfield) was closely associated with Ready Steady Go! and the show's booker Vicki Wickham. It was her idea for a RSG Motown Special that broke Motown in the UK after a flop theatre tour.

The importance of Ready, Steady, Go! as an instant pop style catalyst can not be emphasized enough. The program literally uphove the island of Britain from a dark and gloomy past. George Melly in Revolt into Style:

In the McLuhanesque sense RSG was an important breakthrough. It plugged in direct to the centre of the scene and only a week later transmitted information as to clothes, dances, gestures, even slang to the whole British teenage Isles.
When I was touring in the 50s fashions took an almost incredible time to spread. Even the large provincial centres like Liverpool and Manchester were at least six months behind, while in small Yorkshire mining communities as late as 1960 it was still possible to find Teddy Boy suits, and not only that. They were tailored in ruby red or billiard-table green cloth. As for the borders of Scotland the girls' dresses had hardly altered since the middle 30s.
RSG changed all that. It made pop work on a truly national scale. (…)
The whole chemistry of RSG was right. So was its timing. Friday night just after work. ('Your weekend begins here' was its slogan.)

Already in 1964 George Melly had described the program as an example of telly-brutalism, never seen before on British television.

New trends in dancing, clothes, even erotic habits (a tendency to tug gently at the legs of the singers has recently become common) appear on this programme at the same time - or even in advance of - what's going on in the teenage clubs.
It all happens, and the rest of the pop shows - ABC's Thank You Lucky Stars and the BBC's Top of the Pops limp painfully after it.

Patrick Kerr was a national celebrity thanks to his involvement in Ready Steady Go! Nearly every week the choreographer (and his Go Go Girls) presented a brand new hot dance that would be copied and mimicked in dance halls all over the country.

In the early sixties Kerr turned to full-time dancing with his dance partner (and future wife) Theresa Confrey. After a contract on a cruise ship in the Americas he returned to Britain in 1963 where he was immediately spotted by RSG! to promote the most popular (American) dances. Later on he picked them up at the hip London clubs, often the Sabre where he would also recruit the weekly bunch of volunteers to appear at the show, but if no hip dance could be found he designed the new moves by himself. The RSG! dance of the week would be published in newspapers and youth magazines so that the kids were able to learn it for their week-end dance hall debauchery.

(In the mid-sixties Kathy McGowan used to present the show in Biba clothes and on Saturday morning Carnaby Street was invariably overrun by fans looking for gear they'd seen on Ready, Steady, Go! the night before. Patrick Kerr (and Theresa Confrey) cashed in on that trend as well by opening the Hem and Fringe boutique on Moreton street.)

In 1964 Patrick Kerr debuted as a pop singer. Although he was in the capable hands of Adam Faith and Sandie Shaw's manager, Eve Taylor, his career would be limited to one single only: Magic Potion / It’s no trouble to love you. After a UK package tour with Adam Faith, Sandie Shaw, The Barron Knights and the proto-Procol-Harum-gang The Paramounts he returned back to Ready, Steady, Go! as its main choreographer.

But perhaps Kerr's recording contract was not based upon his singing qualities alone. When Sandie Shaw was due on stage for Top Of the Pops the floor buzzed with the rumour that she and Kerr had been found inside a broom cupboard and that the thing they were looking for wasn't exactly a broom...

Sadly Patrick Kerr passed away on the 15th of August 2009 so the Church can’t ask for his comments anymore, regarding Iggy obviously…

Patrick Kerr & Go Go Girl To bend or not to bend

To contradict the controversy of the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend It single its writers Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley attempted to start a Bend-craze all over Britain's dance halls.

Alan Blaikley:

When 'Bend It' came out, the programme controller of the pirate station Radio London, Alan Keane, was very reluctant to play it as he suspected it was obscene. So we came up with the ruse that 'The Bend' was intended as a new dance, hopefully dance craze. (Taken from davedeedozybeakymickandtich.nl)

Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley hastily wrote (and recorded) a few other Bend songs and approached Patrick Kerr from Ready, Steady, Go! fame to devise a brand new dance. Kerr accepted, the dance was promoted on RSG! as this week's brand new thing and its steps appeared in the press.

The Bend made it on the Pathé news with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich miming the song, in front of Patrick Kerr and his Go Go Girls, at the London Playboy club near Hyde Park (Park Lane 45). More a casino than a club the Hutch On The Park, as the place was nicknamed, was an immediate success and the place where one could occasionally meet The Beatles, George Best, Warren Beatty, Michael Caine, Judy Garland, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski or Sharon Tate. (Taken from Wikipedia.)

The Playboy Club had only recently opened, described by some as a 1.6 million pounds celebration of female pulchritude, it contained several restaurants, a nightclub, a casino and flats and suites that could be rented by the day, week or month. This was not the place the average Londoner would, nor could, enter. Woody Allen, who had done the opening night as a favour to Hugh Hefner, called it the London clubhouse for visiting Yanks and he was spotted joining Telly Savalas, John Casavetes, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin during all-night poker games (this was in 1967 during the shooting of The Dirty Dozen). There was lots of money, lots of drugs and, not unsurprisingly for a Playboy subsidiary, one might add, lots of women.

The Bend party at The Cromwellian may have been, according to this source, the finals of the British national 'Bend' competition, so actually Iggy may have been one of its contestants, if - of course - there has ever been a contest to begin with, because it had all been a publicity stunt just to sell the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich single.

Alan Blaikley:

The ruse worked, and thankfully 'Bend It' got onto the Radio London playlist, vitally important in those days. I don't think the 'dance craze' ever quite happened!

As a follow up tune for Bend It Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley wrote a carbon copy, that even didn't pretend to have been ripped from Mikis Theodorakis' Zorbas anymore. Simply called The Bend it was recorded by a non-existent five-strong London group, The Potatoes, actually Steve Rowland, Alan Caddy and Alan Blaikley in disguise. Its flip-side was called Bend Ahead and that was about the end of this Bend dance craze that never was.

GPCB In Germany a third Bend single was released, apparently recorded by the Gaylord Parry's Carnival Band. Actually the A-side Let's Bend was sung by composer Ken Howard, with the help from the same studio musicians that had recorded the Potatoes single, while the B-side Bending Kremlin' Gremlin' was mainly instrumental, apart from some fake Russian grunting. Its sleeve shows Patrick Kerr and his Go Go Girls in full action, although the British public never was aware that it ever existed.

Thanks for reading (an updated, rewritten and enhanced) part three of our Cromwellian Bend-It series. Part four, that will reveal everything about Doctor Death, will come out when you see it appearing on this website! In the meantime, brethren and sistren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!

Sources (other than internet links mentioned above)
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 103.
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 72, p. 108.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 191, p 207-211.
Melly, George: Revolt Into Style – The Pop Arts In Britain, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 170-171.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 209.

Many thanks go to:
Rod Harrod, Lynn Annette Ripley, the Dutch Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan community.

PROfessional Music Performance and Technology  

Rod Harrod let the Church know on July 30, 2010:

Things have progressed on the PROmpt training re-opening in Cape Town front. I got back from meetings with Government Ministers and others there last week. We have been offered by the Provincial Government a huge building on three floors that needs a massive amount of renovation but could work. But first I have to raise a lot of funds for that and to run the programme.

Please visit Rod Harrod's South-African PROmpt website that says most that anyone might need to know. Any contacts or potential donors or anyone interested can contact Rod Harrod through that site: PROfessional Music Performance and Technology.

This is part three of our Cromwellian Bend-It series:
1. Bend It! 
2. The Style Council 
3. Rod Harrod remembers The Crom 
4. Dr Death and other assorted figures... 
Posted by Felix Atagong at 3:55 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-10-29 8:51 PM CEST
Categories: Bend-The


Dr Death and other assorted figures...

Paul Lincoln When George Melly visited The Cromwellian club in 1965 he found quite a few wrestlers at the bar, what was no coincidence as the club was owned by four of them.

Paul Lincoln

Paul Lincoln, arrived in the mid-fifties from Sydney and single-handedly build a British wrestling emporium and that without the aid of television. As Dr Death he was the most famous masked heavyweight wrestler of the early sixties and numerous (masked but untalented) copycats wrestled under the same name trying to cash in on his success.

Here was a man who could use blindside skulduggery and torment his opponents with punishing nerve holds to bring the fans to a frenzy. (Source: Wrestling Heritage.)

Paul Lincoln Advert In 1962 Paul Lincoln, as wrestling promoter, arranged a legendary fight 'to the finish' between the villainous Dr Death (in other words: himself) and another masked 'identity unknown' wrestler nicknamed The White Angel. Three thousand fans witnessed how the Doctor beat the Angel and the losing party was obliged to shamefully reveal his identity.

At the end of the contest, a no rounds fight to the finish which had ended by a knock-out, the defeated wrestler shook hands with the victor and dramatically removed his mask. The White Angel was Judo Al Hayes, a successful heavyweight who had recently left the Joint Promotions camp to work for Paul Lincoln and other independent promoters. (Source: Wrestling Heritage, password protected members area.)

Two eyes

But Paul Lincoln not only staged wrestling matches, his name is also linked to the British rock scene. In April of 1956 he and fellow-wrestler Ray Hunter (who apparently had a fling with Sophia Loren) took over premises at 59 Old Compton Street, London and baptised it the 2I's coffee bar.

The bar started the career of many young rockers. Skiffle band The Vipers more or less debuted at the club (on the 14th of July 1956) and would gradually grow into The Shadows (via The Drifters).

Wally Whyton Wally Whyton of The Vipers:

We went inside for a coffee and asked Paul Lincoln (…) if we could do a bit of busking. (…) We started playing, and suddenly the place had come to life. it seemed to work well and Paul asked us to make it a regular stopover. Within a short time the place was jumping; in a few months they were queuing around the block.

The club is known in rock history as the place where Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Cliff Richard and many others were discovered. Even Ritchie Blackmore's (from Deep Purple and Rainbow fame) musical training started at 2I's.

Paul Lincoln's entrepreneurial skills were not limited to the 2'I's coffee bar alone, he also opened an Italian restaurant in Soho and together with Ray Hunter, Bob Anthony (for his looks baptised the wrestling Beatle) and Al 'The White Angel' Hayes he purchased The Cromwellian. A fifth partner - who was sold out by the wrestlers a couple of years later - was Tony Mitchell, rumoured to have underworld connections, and the owner of The Blue Shark club at Bridgend.

Burning tables

The Cromwellian was not only a bar and restaurant but also a casino. Initially the tables had been at ground-floor but in the autumn of 1965 the craps table was badly damaged by a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window, probably by racketeers or by slightly covetous competitors. The owners quickly decided to move the casino to a higher floor and to barricade the building with iron security grades.

Randy Steed, who was a croupier at The Crom, has written down some of his memories in The Private Gambling Clubs of 1960s London. It is an enjoyable piece to read, filled with funny anecdotes, but in this article we will off course only cite Crom related parts.

The Cromwellian had only five tables, but possessed a faded, hip elegance which attracted the show business and rock star elite of those times; on any given night you’d be dealing across the tables to the likes’ of Brian Epstein; the Beatles first manager, and numerous other luminaries of the exploding sixties, music scene.
Stars such as Tom Jones, Lulu, and Eric Burden of the Animals, and Jonathan King were regulars and could be found hanging out downstairs most nights, in the restaurant-disco where the Long John Baldry Band, featuring Reginald Dwight aka Elton John on keyboards held sway.

NME, in its Cromwellian pic-visit, wrote that 'there was a night that Omar Sharif lost £400 on the tables and the other occasion when Lee Marvin after being down £400 left the club by £2000'. Randy Steed, as a young croupier, also happened to be there:

One memorable night the American film actor, Lee Marvin wandered, more like staggered into the club (…) and started playing Pontoon. (…) Mr. Marvin kept writing checks on his Beverly Hills Bank till he finally wised-up and unsteadily navigated his way to the poker game. (…)
This particular game attracted many of London’s better behaved villains who were quite happy to have this inebriated American actor sit down at their table. As fate would have it Marvin nailed a full house on this first and only hand to out-draw the rest of the table. He gave it a brief moment’s thought and gathered his winning chips into his arms (yes his arms, these were French style 'jettons’ which were rather slippery and unwieldy) and calmly but wobbly made his way to the cashier’s cage. There was dead silence in the room as the faces’ at the poker table stared in amazed disbelief at their easy-money walking away…not a word was said, just stunned silence.

Carmen from Fame

Carmen Jimenez and her priest Another memorable night at The Crom was held on the 8th of January 1967 when Carmen Jimenez turned 21. Now who was Carmen Jimenez and why did most of The Beatles and Brian Epstein (dressed as a clown) turned up at her party?

Not a lot can be said about Carmen Jimenez. The only interview she gave (to James Dawn) appeared in NME 1054 of 8 April 1967. Titled: Glamour? I’m the Target for All the Lies and Digs Carmen Jimenez disclosed (reluctantly) what it was like to be Georgie Fame’s fiancée, but unfortunately the interview can't be located on the web.

We do know for sure that her fiancé Georgie Fame threw her a fancy dress birthday party in January 1967. Several pictures were taken on that night and these can be found dispersed all over the net, but a good place to start is the Georgie Fame (unofficial) website and Getty Images. These show Georgie Fame, John Lennon (a priest), Paul McCartney (an American soldier) and Ringo Starr (an Arab).

Familiar? One image however has taken the immediate interest of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. It depicts John Lennon, but standing behind him could be a vaguely familiar figure (see left side image). In the only interview she has ever given Ig (Evelyn) has told that she met The Beatles and the Fame-Jimenez party could have been an excellent opportunity.

Rod the Mod

Another famous person Ig has met was Rod Stewart. Interestingly it was at the same Cromwellian club in February 1967 that Jeff Beck, who had just been kicked out of The Yardbirds, recruited Rod Stewart for his new band the Jeff Beck Group (featuring Ron Wood). Douglas J. Noble asked Jeff Beck in 1993:

DJN: Is it true that you met Rod Stewart when he was watching Peter Green in a pub?
JB: Yeah - no, it was in the Cromwellian club which is now gone, I think, opposite the Exhibition Road. That was our hangout - our watering hole. And this particular day or evening, rather, he was somewhat worse for wear through drink and I just thought there's the guy - the one guy - I would like to play with. Have him sing in my band. And I was pretty down as well - totally out of the Yardbirds, nothing going, no money. I hadn't got anything to lose so I asked him if he would be interested and he said, 'Yup!' Amazing! Next day we met up and the rest is, uhh, on record [laughs].

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 8.
Platt, John: London’s Rock Routes, Fourth Estate, London, 1985, p.10-12.
Many thanks to the Wrestling Heritage website.

This is part four of our Cromwellian Bend-It series:
1. Bend It! 
2. The Style Council 
3. Rod Harrod remembers The Crom 
4. Dr Death and other assorted figures... 
Posted by Felix Atagong at 7:11 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-10-30 12:42 AM CEST
Categories: Bend-The, X-Tra