"The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

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Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Over the last 12 months or so, I've received several pms from folk on here asking if I'd write about, or tell a few of my stories about my life on the traveling fairground.

Chapter one. 'How it all began'.

I was born in Long Eaton in 1962. When the fair came to visit West Park in Long Eaton, my parents would take me to the fair and of course have a go on the rides too.
It became obvious to my mum and dad that the fair had a hold on me, even at an early age before I started school. When the heavy loads pulled up on West Park, I knew the fair had come to town. I made mum parked my push chair next to the rides being set up.

My parents told me how they remembered how I was allured to the bright lights and the wonderful painted colours on the rides and stalls.

As time went on, I was taken to more and more fairs. Long Eaton, Goose Fair, Ilkeston, Derby, were all visited every time they were on.

When I was at Junior school I was forever telling teachers I wanted to work on the fair when I grow up. They thought I was nuts. On one particular parents evening, my form teacher mentioned I needed encouraging away from a career on the fair. My dad thought that was hilarious. He'd already got plans for me following in his footsteps as a plumber.

I was about ten years old, when I started taking a very keen interest in the music played on the rides. The music got me even more hooked on the fun fair.
Tunes from artists such as Del Shannon and Dion too. In fact the whole package of 1950s rock 'n' roll helped get me hooked.

Back in 1972, there was a rock 'n' roll revival going on. All the old teddy boys were getting their drapes and brothel creepers back out. Loads of new generation Teds were latching on too. Most teenagers were following the Glam Rock trends and fashions, but I wanted to be a Ted. It was in 1974 when I got my first pair of brothel creepers, drainpipe trousers, fluorescent socks and a bootlace tie too. Much to my mum's horror, I greased my hair into a quiff with a D.A too.

The summer of '74 was when I was liberated. At last, I was allowed to go down to the fair on my own. I would spend hours and hours walking around, looking at the artwork, listening to the music and most of all.... watching the 'Gaff Lads' (fairground workers) pulling birds and doing death defying tricks on the rides. THIS... is what I wanted to do!!!!
 
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Redemption

Bastards on the Road
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Boss stuff.. I'm here all week.
 

alabamared

Stuart Pearce
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Do you know the guy who fixes old Ford Zodiacs in a little garage on Acton Road? I thought he was the only born again Ted in Long Eaton.

But seriousely you should write it all down your family would probably love to read it.
 

Bryn Gunn

The Foam Hand
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Love it Rocka! And you told me I should write a book, yours would be better! :cheers:
 

Master Yates

John Robertson
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Brothel creepers??


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Do you know the guy who fixes old Ford Zodiacs in a little garage on Acton Road? I thought he was the only born again Ted in Long Eaton.

But seriousely you should write it all down your family would probably love to read it.

I don't think I know him, but the ironic thing is, I used to live on Acton Road from 1963-67.
 
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Do you know the guy who fixes old Ford Zodiacs in a little garage on Acton Road? I thought he was the only born again Ted in Long Eaton.

But seriousely you should write it all down your family would probably love to read it.
I don't know him but if he's still there that makes two Ted's on that road alone as my cousin married one.
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

They are the thick sole shoes they wear. I never knew there was a term for them, that's a great name :lol:

Aye, they were made of 'crepe'. A kind of spongy rubber.
 

Bonalair

John Robertson
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

I had some cheap fake brothel creepers in about 85

I loved them but the sole fell off pretty quick and I was gutted.
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Love it Rocka! And you told me I should write a book, yours would be better! :cheers:

Cheers Bryn, I wasn't too sure about posting this thread at first. Yeah, you should certainly write a book. "Boots are made for kicking" ;)
 

Bryn Gunn

The Foam Hand
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Cheers Bryn, I wasn't too sure about posting this thread at first. Yeah, you should certainly write a book. "Boots are made for kicking" ;)

Or running, depends where you went :wink:
Although there weren’t many places you needed Nike Air to get away.

Brilliant thread mate, it’s fascinating stuff from a culture that has almost faded into history and local folklore. Looking forward to your future posts.
 

Viktor

Warp Speed Chic
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Always wanted some brothel creepers
 

Rogue

Jack Burkitt
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

My new favourite thread
 

ozthecoz

Geoff Thomas
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Great read, I look forward to the next chapter though it would seem times had changed somewhat by the time I frequented West Park fairs in the late 70s and early 80s lol
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Chapter Two. 'Hey Rock and Roll'.

The summer of '74 was when I got my first paper round. I used to deliver the Derby Evening Telegraph to the houses in and around the Chellaston area of Derby. I got paid 75p per week. I got 50p a week pocket money off my parents too. I was torn between spending my money on records or the funfair. I made a compromise. I would buy one or maybe two 'ex jukebox' records per week from the post office. They were only 10p each. The rest of my money went towards my trips to the fair.

During that summer, I found out the Derby Telegraph were giving away free ride vouchers the week before the fair came to town. That worked out great for me. Every time I stuffed a rolled up Telegraph through a letterbox, at the same time would knock on the door and ask for lasts night's paper so I could collect the vouchers. Bingo! I was rich in vouchers I must have had over a hundred vouchers I'd collected over that particular week.

It was mid July and it was the first night of the fair. I put my Ted gear on, combed my hair and caught the bus into Derby. The fair was held on Bass' recreation ground, opposite the Derby bus station.

As I approached the fair there were groups of teenage lasses hanging around. I looked at them hoping one of them would take a fancy to me. Not a chance! I don't even think they noticed me. The one thing about me during these time was, I was very shy. Although I had the guts to dress in my Ted gear, when it came to girls, I was terrified of chatting them up.
When I arrived at the fair I could smell the diesel from the generators mixed with the sweet smell of candy floss. I looked towards the Speedway ride. The ride was packed, not is single spare bike was to be had. The perimeter handrails/fencing had lots of teenagers eagerly watching the ride and watching the Gaff Lads too.

The lights were flashing and the music was loud... "Hey Rock and Roll,(thump thump, thump, thump)...bring it to town let's stroll (thump, thump, thump, thump) Hey Rock and Roll, let's go, let's go, lets go!" Every person on the ride and those too, that were sitting on the handrail around the ride were fist pumping together in time to the Showaddywaddy tune.

"Lets' hear you girls scream!" bellowed the showman down his mic. I walked up the Speedway steps and stood with the crowd watching with excitement. The atmosphere was electric. "Shang A Lang", "Sugar Baby Love", "Kissing in The Backrow of the Movies" all those tunes added to the wonderful atmosphere.

I got my vouchers out and had my first ride of the night. "Hey Rock and Roll" was on the turntables again... as the ride gained speed I too was fist pumping to that fantastic Showaddywaddy tune. As it got dark the and the ride was at full speed, the lights were turned off for a few seconds and we were riding in the dark. Well it wasn't pitch black as there were a couple of 'Ultra violet' lamps attached to the roof.

Those ultra violet lights were fantastic. They would make every lasses bra and knickers glow in the dark. "When the red light flickers, hang on to your knickers, open your knees and feel the breeze" more banter from the showman in the paybox.

This was the best night of my life so far! The Gaff Lads on the Speedway were up to all their usual tricks. Posing on the ride in front of the lasses. Jumping on and off when the ride was going full pelt. These show offs had lasses drooling over them. They were like pop stars... only pop stars could not do what these lads were doing! They were both brave and stupid. One false move or misjudged leap off the ride would have resulted in serious injury.

I spent the rest of that week going to the fair and spending all my vouchers. I also did happen to buy a copy of "Hey rock and Roll" from Felix's record stall from the indoor market in Derby.

I'm sure that was the night I hit puberty, and my balls had dropped too.
 
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Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

I always assumed that you were proper old (1950s at least, maybe 40s) and now I find you're not much older than me :lol:

Another dream shattered ...
 

Rogue

Jack Burkitt
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

The first concert i went to was Showaddywaddy at the Oxford Apollo is was 9.

My mum took me and I wore dungarees, I know that because she had to hold on to me via those straps to stop me falling over the balcony, under the moon of love was my tune back then.
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

The first concert i went to was Showaddywaddy at the Oxford Apollo is was 9.

My mum took me and I wore dungarees, I know that because she had to hold on to me via those straps to stop me falling over the balcony, under the moon of love was my tune back then.

They were pretty good live to be fair. I still wear dungarees to this very day... with massive turn ups. ;)
 

Rogue

Jack Burkitt
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

Born in Nottingham but moving south in early childhood, Paice got his first drum kit at 15. He began his professional career in the late 1960s playing drums in his father's dance band. The first band he was in was called Georgie & the Rave-Ons, which after being renamed the Shindigs released their first single featuring the 17-year-old Paice and George Adams.

george was my uncle, I still have loads of stories about having to step over bodies at my dads pub to go to school, i wish i was old enough at the time, the list of people who were there is insane.

Lemmy once told me to be myself, Ian Gillan the list is endless.

fish from Marillion played at my dads pub in Bicester, their first live performance, The Red Lion.

I was born at the wrong time.
 

Rockabilly

Gaff Lad
Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

george was my uncle, I still have loads of stories about having to step over bodies at my dads pub to go to school, i wish i was old enough at the time, the list of people who were there is insane.

Lemmy once told me to be myself, Ian Gillan the list is endless.

fish from Marillion played at my dads pub in Bicester, their first live performance, The Red Lion.

I was born at the wrong time.

:tophat: Some proper music legends there Rogue.
 
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