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

      

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  1. #1
    Gaff Lad
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    Default "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    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!!!!

    Last edited by rockabilly; 12-02-21 at 01:12.

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  3. #2
    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Boss stuff.. I'm here all week.

    EXACT SAME BENEFITS

  4. #3
    Viv Anderson
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    Default 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 fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women,. Suddenly, uncritically giving no thought to the pain it could bring. - Nick Hornby

  5. #4
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabamared View Post
    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.


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    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly View Post
    I don't think I know him, but the ironic thing is, I used to live on Acton Road from 1963-67.
    I worked for Pressac in Long Eaton from '91 ended up as a Director and it was they that sent me to run the US facility in 2000.


  7. #6
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabamared View Post
    I worked for Pressac in Long Eaton from '91 ended up as a Director and it was they that sent me to run the US facility in 2000.
    I left Acton Road just before my 6th birthday. I remember 'Toni Bell' ice cream vans parked at the end of the road. It was a Cul de sac back in those days. There was a mushroom farm opposite and a slaughter house too. There were two 'new build' houses halfway along Acton rd, one those was my house. I remember once when a cow escaped from the slaughter house and trampled over my dads roses on the front garden. Also near where the ice cream vans were parked there used to be a very small 'National' petrol station. My dad would always buy his petrol from there.


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    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly View Post
    I left Acton Road just before my 6th birthday. I remember 'Toni Bell' ice cream vans parked at the end of the road. It was a Cul de sac back in those days. There was a mushroom farm opposite and a slaughter house too. There were two 'new build' houses halfway along Acton rd, one those was my house. I remember once when a cow escaped from the slaughter house and trampled over my dads roses on the front garden. Also near where the ice cream vans were parked there used to be a very small 'National' petrol station. My dad would always buy his petrol from there.
    The older guys at Pressac used to tell the story about the escaped bull, must have been quite bizarre. I know the new build house you refer to, there actually some quite nice houses on Acton Road. I have an aerial photo of the area from the 1940s and what you remember as the mushroom farm was a Pig Farm back in those days and the bulk of what now is the industrial estate was allotments.


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    13th Duke of Wybourne
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabamared View Post
    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.

    "Ive only met Andy....last week actually and can confirm he is in 2nd place in sexiest fucker on here stakes." -Barry

  10. #9
    The Foam Hand
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    Default 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!


  11. #10
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryn Gunn View Post
    Love it Rocka! And you told me I should write a book, yours would be better!
    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"


  12. #11
    The Foam Hand
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly View Post
    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
    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.


  13. #12
    Nigel Clough
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Brothel creepers??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  14. #13
    Super Koopa
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRed85 View Post
    Brothel creepers??
    They are the thick sole shoes they wear. I never knew there was a term for them, that's a great name


  15. #14
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by adam09 View Post
    They are the thick sole shoes they wear. I never knew there was a term for them, that's a great name
    Aye, they were made of 'crepe'. A kind of spongy rubber.


  16. #15
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRed85 View Post
    Brothel creepers??


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aka 'Beatle Crushers'.

    Last edited by rockabilly; 12-02-21 at 03:36.

  17. #16
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    Default 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.

    Oh FFS.

  18. #17
    Warp Speed Chic
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Always wanted some brothel creepers


  19. #18
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freddie View Post
    Always wanted some brothel creepers
    London Boots, 18, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 1FL.


  20. #19
    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freddie View Post
    Always wanted some brothel creepers
    You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers


  21. #20
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabamared View Post
    You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers
    It’s still rock and roll to me.

    „I believe in socialism because it seems more humanitarian, rather than every man for himself and 'I'm alright jack' and all those arsehole businessmen with all the loot. I made up my mind from viewing society from that angle. That's where I'm from and there's where I've made my decisions from. That's why I believe in socialism“

    „Don't forget you're alive. 'Cause sometimes when you walk around the city and you're in a bad mood, you can think, hey, wait a minute, we're alive! We don't know what the next second will bring and what a fantastic thing this is. This can get easily forgotten in the routine of life, and that's something I'm trying to bring to my attention at all times. Don't forget you're alive. We're not dead, you know. This is the greatest thing.”

    — Joe Strummer

  22. #21
    Gaff Lad
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strummer View Post
    It’s still rock and roll to me.
    Beat me to it!


  23. #22
    Viv Anderson
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strummer View Post
    It’s still rock and roll to me.
    I'll set 'em up you knock 'em down!


  24. #23
    Nigel Clough
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    Default Re: "The Tunnel of Love" My life on the Traveling Fairgrounds, by rockabilly.

    My new favourite thread


  25. #24
    Wally Ardron
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    Default 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


  26. #25
    Gaff Lad
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    Default 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.

    Last edited by rockabilly; 12-02-21 at 01:49.

 

 

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