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The Big Os Blog from 2005

The Big Os Blog from 2005 magazine cover

The Calm Before The Storm

Posted by The Big O 16 March 2005 ·

A few days before the next NORTHERN SOUL @ THE PLINSTON! and it's the usual madness that the paying punter never sees. The house is a mass of scraps of paper with ticket reservation names scribbled on them, a record box overflowing with toons (that is going to have to be whittled down before Saturday), a mad scramble to ensure we have a spare mixer on hand due to a technical fault in the normal one, loads of phone calls to the printers for the May flyers to be ready and last minute details like ordering and designing the posters for the walls, trading cards, adverts and mail out via email to all members, all 800+ of them that AOL won't allow you to mail any more than 20 of them in one mail!!! On top of all this you still have to be a father and a husband. Who said the life of a promoter was an easy one!!!!!!!

Posted a few comments on Soul-Source and checked out eBay to see what's selling etc. Can't belivie that Bessie Banks is going for £300+ on Manships auction but, hey, if someone is willing to pay that for it (and there seems plenty of them), hats off to him. I have one that will be going that way and I sure as hell hope that I get similar for it. My only regret is the 5 copies in company sleeves I left last trip Stateside due to a lack of funds and a large choice on what to return home with (much like the Mind & Matters I left at the same shop in the lates 80's!)

Roll on saturday, at least for a short while the madness stops and I get at least one day off from planning and plotting the next night. Of course, saturday night itself will be nothing but stress and constant monitoring on all fronts to ensure that the paying Soulie has a great night, but, as I said before, no-one ever sees that side of the scene.

A Promoters Work Is Never Done!

Posted by , 17 March 2005

Woke up, sun is out, birds are singing and a whole heap of running around awaits! Got the kids off to school, return home and whilst designing a last minute Trading Card for Gary Belcher with a cross-dressing theme I listen to a few toons to get me in the mood for the day:

Mellow Madness - Save The Youth - Mega *and just how mega is this! If this isn't a Monster by year end I'll design a Trading card around me! Mega indeed!*

Lil Jimmie - Hold On - CD Only Must spin this during my 45 mins of fame upstairs in The Ghetto! What a toon*

Barkays Ft Jay Blackfoot - Long Time Coming *last of a trio of Modern/Crossover gems and perfect to follow Lil Jimmie. I love Southern Soul and this gets even my jaded pallet salavating- yummie soul*

At this point I do a few phone calls to DJ's to firm up dates etc and switch to Northern and R&B toons:

Earl King - A Man and A Book - Jobete Acetate *R&B still moves me and this is a great soulful dancer perfect for the discerning Mod. My feet are soon tapping*

Bobby Freeman - Swing Me - Unissued *can't decide if I really like this or not, one for listening to a few times I think but has potential*

Ella Washington - Bye Bye Baby - Atlantic Ah, memories of when I was a lot younger and could still flick and kick on the dancefloor without the need for a full cardiac arrest team to be on stand-by! Is this played anymore???? An old North Herts MONSTER that still hits the spot*

Trading Card done and calls made it's a mad dash to the printers where the long haired and rather cuddly Dave greets me with his usual impish charm and a handful of large format posters to adorne the walls of the Plinston on Saturday night. The May flyers are also ready and the extra MODERN BY MOONLIGHT flyers I have requested are also done. We laugh and chat and I dash off to the Plinston.

I mark up the posters so they know where they are to be hung, catch up on how the tickets sales are (going very well as usual, I breathe a sigh of relief), leave posters and flyers and manage a quick chat with the management to ensure everything is in place before, you guessed it, making another mad dash back home to sort out the accounts and have another flick through the play box and the impossible task of working out which ones to leave on the racks.

That done, picked up the kids from school, dropped back again 1hr later for footie practise, checked out my latest CD purchase, SOUL GOSPEL, and conclude it is indeed a fantastic collection and I make a mental note of letting everyone on Soul-Source know to buy it.

1 more day to go before the event and everything is looking OK...but we shall see.

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Dodgy Vinyl Sniffer

Posted:Jul 29 2007 02:00 PM

Glad to see Earl King getting the Big O's thumbs up....also available on the Soul Satisfaction 4 or 5 CD on Motown. Shame on me for the blatant plug but it's all in the line of passing on vital soul info Jo

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Getting spins again

Posted:Jul 29 2007 05:29 PM

Too true Jo and is worthy of the plug. We share a love of Motown I know (and taking the p*** out of friends etc) and this is certainly a goodie. lol

Time To Reflect

Posted by The Big O, 21 March 2005 ·

Is it safe to come out now? 2 days on from the last plinston event and it's all kicked off on SS. VicG makes a mistake that I once made, namely having a rant straight after returning from an event before looking at his response in the cold light of day, and all of a sudden it's open season on promoters and venues alike.

Our event on Saturday was well down, for us, on numbers and it was hard work in the Main Hall trying to get people up. Upstairs in The Ghetto! it was the normal good humoured p**s taking night but overall it was a disappointing night in terms of numbers, and from a promoters point of view, interms of bank balance. I was lucky enough to have DJ's that were willing to do their bit to help with costs and I have to say a huge thanks to them for the gesture, it will not be forgotten. The annoying thing about the thread on SS is that none of the positives about Saturday's event came over, the friendly atmosphere, the new friendships made etc etc. Cest La Vie

Never one to be down for long, and following an email of support from a first timer I recieved Sunday morning, it's straight back to the work of a promoter, in this case fighting your corner on SS and giving Mr Roberts a verbal bitch slap for trying to hijack a thread about us I think this will be an ongoing thing for the next few days but hoping that people will vote with their feet at the May 6th event and come and at least check us out to make up their own minds if we are DimWits (to quote) or not.

Raging toothache kicks in Sunday night and I put a brave face on for the kids and read the emails I've got from members and DJs alike following the continued debate. Decide that it's time for bed and toddle off, slip under the covers and cry like a baby now that the kids aren't around to see Daddy in pain

Monday morning and there is much to do. Send an email to Plinston management thanking them for the new security measures and staff, start the next trading card and artwork for the flyers, prepare the email mail lout to all web sites with the next event details on, check over the disco gear and store, touch base with Taffy and get feedback and action points to address from saturday night...it goes on.

If anyone thinks that running a club is an easy thing and that somehow, as if by magic, the event just comes together will be, by now I hope, getting an insight into all the work and effort that all promoters, both big and small, have to put into running a club.

This Thing Of Ours - It's A Soulgate Thing!

Posted by TheBigO, 29 July 2007

Well we arrived at the Fishmongers Arms for 7.30pm, having had to put back our entrance by several hours due to the babysitting situation falling through last minute, and were greeted by the soulful toons flowing out into the street and the beer garden at the front of the pub overflowing with 'the old firm' and faces old and new. The fantastic weather ensured the place was buzzing and the sounds were just as hot!

Terry and Paul have taken on the 'This Thing Of Ours' mantle with ease and it's a credit to their late father, our friend Randy, that so many still support the event he started all those years ago. Looking around the venue my conclusion was that nothing had changed, expect our waistlines and hairlines, over those 25+ years and that a good night was in store. I wasn't to be proved wrong!

It's hard to quantify what makes SOULGATE such a unique soulful experience. It's a combination of many little things that all fuse to form, to me at least, a truly great event. The people there are gathered for just one thing, to enjoy great music from across the eras and straddling all genres (Deep, Northern, 6ts, R&B, Modern, R&R and so on) and it's a collective determination to have a great time no matter what. Given some of the puerile pointless debates that have been launched on various forums on this site over the years (soul patches; Cds; Modern V Northern etc) it is refreshing to attend somewhere where all that matters is the Soul and having a great time, forging new friendships and enjoying life. Take note!

Onto my thoughts on the evening then. I was greeted by the grinning winning smile of that bastion of all things soulful Steve G, who was eager to thrust a copy of Natural Impulse into my sweaty palms prior to placing it on the decks. I of course said it wasn't all that whilst inwardly screaming 'BASTARD BASTARD BASTARD' as another of my long time wants fall into Steve's hands (the other being his recent purchasing from the Saphead of Soul (Soul Sam) King Moses) I am beginning to notice a somewhat evil demonic glint in his eye when I walk in a room now. That said his set was excellent and I for one would like to see Steve get lots more bookings and bring his love and joy for the music to a wider audience. I am sure he will be posting his set list elsewhere. Top sounds from a top bloke. Roger Stewart was double decking with Steve and again quality toons despite his love of air force jackets!!!

Sadly I missed the lovely Jo Wallace's set and therefore we were unable to revive our badly synched dancing behind the decks as in previous years but heard great things about her set, an those of all the DJ's I missed including my old mucker and all round top man; The Honey Monster! John Farrell did a blinding set which included many a tip top 6Ts toon, if memory serves WANG DANG DOODLE was one of his which saw Ady C and I collide a few times on the dance floor whilst trying to be that Ace Face from years gone by. Sad!

Ady C seemed as he was really loving his stint behind the wheels of steel and the huge crowd showed their appreciation by keeping the dance floor rammed right up to Taff's last set of the evening which was a Soulgate anthems set. In a word SUPERB! Spooners Crowd; Willie T; Luther; Bobby Kline; Maxine Brown (of course) the list goes on and on and the sweat quota reached new levels as people rushed for any spot they could find to dance on; including tables at one stage. Sadly due to babysitters we had to leave by midnight but I have heard, as I expected, that it went on like this right to the end.

The atmosphere was fantastic, lots of friendly up for it people chatting, dancing, piss taking and forging new friendships over the most soulful soundtrack in the land. It was great to see and meet again many of the old firm I haven't seen for years, Letchworth was, as always, well represented and there were people from the length and breadth of the country.

So many great laffs, so many stories to tell. It is impossible for anyone who has not been to fully appreciate why SOULGATE is so special. On paper it doesn't read great - a soul all-dayer held in a pub in North London open to all with makeshift dance-floors of wavy lino (that caused a few to go arse over tit!) and the carpet in front of the decks with aging old Mods and Soulies - BUT work it does and in spectacular style! Is a soulful social event on a huge scale where dancing, chatting, mickey taking and a general feeling of 'family' all combine as one. There are many who could do with visiting the next one to see how the scene was and is, if you look hard enough. In a time when, to be honest, my feelings for the scene are waning under the mountain of crap pointless arguments and petty squabbling SOULGATE is my Lourdes, restoring my faith and reminding me why, at the age of 14, I fell in love with every aspect of the scene.

We were all there to celebrate the life and musical influence of one man, Randy Cozens, and I know that if that friend of ours was looking down he'd be so proud - not only of everyone there and of the event but in particular because his boys, Terry and Paul, had done him and the SOULGATE legacy proud. Long may this unique soulful gathering continue.

Steve G

Posted:Jul 29 2007 05:27 PM

What a superb write up...well done BigO

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Posted:Jul 29 2007 08:53 PM

Thanks Steve, despite Terry's text to me it was writen by me and not the lovely Mrs O!!! You swines, lol. We will continue our discussion on the clubs I am opening at years end and what I have planned etc. Obviously you, Taffy Soul Sam, Dave Halsall, Dave Flemming, Nathan and Fingers will all be involved. You played a great set double decking with 'Biggles' Stewart and I shall lookforward to which of my Wants you have picked up when I return from the States!!! Enjoy the Irish Club event in Letchworth in August.

* Quick mention to Little Reg's book about his memories of the scene that he is hoping a pubisher will be bringing to a bookshelf near you soon. Reg has let me read extracts over the years and I have to say its a credit to him that he brings ur passion and love and fun for the scene to life through each and every page. I know Mike Ritson is considering being that publisher and, as I expect he will, he does release it get a copy and enjoy every word. Despite the fact Reg now looks like a chubby version of Dave Hill from Slade!!! God love the little bundle of joy xx

tony honey monster wildman and family

Posted:Aug 05 2007 01:50 PM

big o never ceases to amaze us he always writes the truth despite being the oldest swinger in town, soulgate was and always will be randys baby, a great man missed by so many but never far from our thoughts , his boys have done so much to keep the memory of their dad alive and after soulgate boy wat a good job they did, all the endless phone calls sleepless nights were well worth it, even randys grandsons were there to show support. like neil said good friends old and new meet laugh get pissed and swop stories, all good times that will never be forgotten pasted down to our kids. how proud was i to see my two daughters watching me dj, dancing and singing what a buzz and all down to randy who introduced me to the scene al those many moons ago. i love it cant get enough i drive my neighbours mad spinning sounds everyday and night each record has its own memory. long live soulgate long live northern soul and long live randys memory.

until next year keep the faith.

tony (honey monster-jackie-ashley and amyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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