Every Friday and Saturday night my friends Margaret and Sheila would accompany me to the "Cali" the California Ballroom. I would assume that most kids in the surrounding county would also go, but we were regulars. I met my first real boyfriend there. Actually I first laid eyes on him at the movies, he was leaving with his girl friend. He looked at me and me at him, we connected. The next Friday he saw me at the Cali and came over to talk to me. We started dating after that. Those were the days of Mods and Rockers. He was a Mod. I was not either but got used to Mod culture, the clothes and the "scooters" (Rockers rode motor bikes)
Of course I had to be a MOD look at the clothes. In England the two cultures clashed, so that on weekends kids would end up in places like Brighton for big fights on the beaches. It would dominate the news, ah more innocent times when that was the worst thing in the news. Kids had "punch ups" and annoyed the police. Those were the days.
The best music was to come out of that time. I saw just about every group possible those weekends, they all played the Cali. Twice I saw the Stones there and got autographs.
We loved to dance and it seemed every month a new dance. My favourite band was The Symbols, I was in love with Johnny Milton. We went all over to see them.
Back then Cinema's became concert halls on a weekend. We saw some American bands too, like the Crickets who had lost Buddy Holly and had Bobbie Vee fronting them. We were there when P J Proby split his pants and got shut down. The Walker Brothers and many others. It was our life during those days.
Then I look at pictures of these people now..............we are all old. I am 71 and some of those guys are older still. It's sad. Now we see them dying. Glen Campbell was not one from my days but I loved his songs, gone now. It was hard seeing Elvis grow old and die it will be worse when Jagger goes.
I see my childhood friends going through illness's and loosing spouses or with spouses with their last illness's and some have already gone. When I think of them all I see the young people I once knew. Inside I am sure they are about the same.
Margaret and me at the Cali
We loved going to other towns to see our favourite groups. One time we went to see Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, we had got there early and were just waiting outside, no one else was even around yet. I said we were early. Joe Brown just walked right on by, we were in awe. We were also quiet ones so didn't approach him or ask for autographs. I was braver at the Cali when I caught Mick Jagger crossing the dance floor to go talk to someone on stage. I did step out and ask him, he stopped and wrote it for me. They were promoting their first record/hit "Come On".
My boyfriend Mick and I stayed together for six months or so before his friends pretty much broke us up. They said we were too young and too serious so he broke up with me. I never fell in love like that again. A couple of weeks later he wanted us to get back together but I said no, I was really into following the band. This too was all innocent it was later that the term "groupie" came to mean girls who followed and slept with the band. This was not like that. I think he probably had a girl friend back home but when he saw us he would always dance with me and took me home one night. Unfortunately for me my Mum had stayed up and Margaret had got back from the Cali. I had stayed with the band as they packed up their gear and went home in their van........they dropped us off at my house and went to take someone else home and came back for him later. Oh if only we had been alone.............what would have happened? We will never know. I was soon to move to London where I had got a job in the hope maybe of seeing the band in the London clubs. That too was never to be. I did move to London but..............
Things moved on, we went away on holiday, Margaret, Sheila and I, we met Graham who became Laura's father and those days were gone forever.