A great website – Female First – asked me to talk about my new book The Girls from Greenway. The book covers the early Sixties – when people were enjoying the security of the National Health Service and other social welfare reforms put in place after WWII. Everything seemed possible. But people were also dreaming of an even brighter future – going to Australia as a ten-pound pom, or winning the pools – filling in their coupons every week and watching Grandstand to see if their life was going to change for ever.
Angie and Doreen are sisters, living on the Greenway Estate in Essex. They have hopes and dreams but unfortunately fall in love with the same man in the meantime they listen to some cool music. like Dave Brubeck playing Take 5.
And I’ve been talking about my generation to Sadie Nine on BBC Essex. We talked about The Girls from Greenway but also a bit about my later life! You can listen to it here. I come on about 2 hours 20 minutes in. It was a great morning.
A couple of years ago when Sadie Nine did the Breakfast Show I used to go and do newspaper reviews – stumbling in to the studio at 6.15 in the morning. Sometimes the papers didn’t come in till the very last minute – but hey! If you come from Essex, nothing phases you!
Bank Holiday Monday
It’s 55 years since the historic meeting of mods and rockers on Clacton beach. Where were you on Bank Holiday Monday 1964? It was August 31st – I was in Chelmsford. ‘Have I the right?’ by the Honeycombs was number 1 in the charts. ‘Doo-wah diddy diddy’ by Manfred Mann was number 2. I had just heard ‘Under the Boardwalk’ by the Drifters.
On Monday 31 August 1964, according to my 1964 diary, most of the mods I knew spent the day in Chelmsford. Why go to Clacton, when you’ve got Chelmsford?
Again according to my diary, I had a ‘fabulous day’. I went to the Orpheus cellar coffee bar in New London Road, where all the mods hung out, listened to the Ronettes on the juke box, had a discussion about a mouth organ, noticed someone wearing a very nice navy blue suede with a leather collar and then went home for my tea. In the evening my best mate Christine and I went to see Chelmsford City football team play, in their ground on the far side of the rec. My diary is strangely silent about who we were playing and what the score was – I was much more impressed with the fact that after the game we got a lift home in the mini of Pete B. A mini!
A few weeks ago I went into the BBC Essex Radio studios to talk about my memories of those early mod days, with Laura Doyle. She’s put together a BBC Essex Special, Leathers and Lambrettas, which will be on BBC Essex at 12 noon on Monday 26 August, presented by Marty Wilde, to mark the 55th anniversary of the historic clashes between mods and rockers. The programme asks the question, ‘Was it all about throwing deckchairs at each other on the beach?’ The short answer is of course, no. It was about clothes, and music and transport and just hanging out with your mates. We talked about the music I was listening to, and I described that feeling, sitting in the Orpheus, coffee in a glass cup in front of me, my suede on the seat beside me, chatting to Christine, when the first drum beats of Be My Baby rolled round the room. Heaven.
Listen in at 12 noon on 26 August 2019 to hear the memories and music of mods and rockers in Chelmsford and Essex of 50 years ago. BBC Essex Radio 95.3 and 103.5 FM, and on 729, 765.
Saturday 17 March 2018 – Essex Authors Day
12.00 noon – 12.45pm Writing from my experience
‘How can authors draw on personal experience? In the sixties Elizabeth was a Chelmsford mod and used that background as well as research to create her books.’
Chelmsford Library, Market Road, Chelmsford CM1 1QH Free BOOK NOW
And then, come and chat. 1 -2pm Meet the Authors
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