Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Pretty self-explanatory
johnfoyle
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Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby johnfoyle » Tue May 05, 2015 10:17 am

Can anyone here help with a crazy plan of mine?


From Elvis note with THIS YEAR’S MODEL -

It was the 12th of July 1977. One week after quitting my day job, I found myself at a disused R.A.F. base outside the Cornish village of Davidstowe. The only structure that was not derelict doubled as the local dancehall. We were using it as a rehearsal room. In two days I would be playing in public for the first time with my new group, The Attractions.


From a Google image search -

http://www.graham-hicks.com/hairy_magpie.html


Image
Davidstow Village Hall as it is today (27th March 2011).

Hairy Magpie performs at Barn Dance

Venue: Davidstow Village Hall

I remember Hairy Magpie, being booked to play at Davidstow Village Hall, adjacent to the cheese factory, sometime in the early 70’s.
After several attempts of locating the village hall, having driven past it several times, we finally arrived. Once inside we asked where the power points were, and were questioned, “You boys want electricity?” This should have been a warning. Inside the hall were sofa’s to sit on, and bales of hay?

We were then asked, “Which one of you boys is the caller?” We were completely confused as to what he was talking about. We then realised that the function was a barn dance.

Our agent had booked Hairy Magpie, (Heavy Rock Band) for a Barn Dance.

The evening was not a great success.



I'm going to have a day to kill in Cardiff next week & was thinking of trying to get to & from Davidstow , just to see the location. I don't drive & train/buses to there would be difficult and would mean I'd barely be there before I'd have to leave.

I throw all this out here on the slightest chance that someone here might like to get involved and make the whole thing more doable. It's all a bit last minute but there you go. I can , of course, put it off and do it when time isn't as tight.


Any thoughts?

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby sulky lad » Wed May 06, 2015 4:26 pm

I've just texted you a PM john,it might be doable next Tuesday !

johnfoyle
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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 06, 2015 6:16 pm

That would be great but I'll only be around on Friday. It's good to know though and maybe we'll do the trip later in the summer.

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby sulky lad » Thu May 07, 2015 6:57 am

It's a deal, I'm sorry I can't make Friday but I'm interviewing all day and can't be spared. I have often pondered chasing up records of who actually got married there and if they had any photos ( or a recording !!!) . One day maybe ! If you wanted to come and stay Friday night you'd be welcome, my Saturday morning is free but I've birthday parties in the afternoon and work all day on Sunday

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Thu May 07, 2015 9:22 am

I return to Dublin on the Friday evening so , once again, thanks but sorry to say Saturday isn't a option. Maybe we can focus on making this a field trip for a few of us later in the summer. We can get matching t shirts - 'Declanologists on patrol - our aim is imprecise '.

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby sulky lad » Fri May 08, 2015 3:51 am

I've spoken to a local and there really isn't much at Davidstowe apart from the nationally famous creamery ( where they make Davidstowe cheddar) and a runway ?!! Apparently there was some sort of aerodrome there during the second world war but I don't believe there's much left to see now. It's a few miles off one of the two main roads that enter Cornwall from England and it very accessible from where I now live .I can't imagine a trip around the place would take too long but it might be interesting to check local records to see who got married then - there can't be too many weddings locally around July in 1977 !

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Fri May 08, 2015 5:25 am

Richard Ball's recent book on Stiff Records has info. on that - I'll transcribe & add it here over the weekend. I also have some more info. that I'm checking out.

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby krm » Tue May 12, 2015 12:48 am

Bruce Thomas old itenary that he published some months ago could be added here as a reference too. But I am sure you have that one on top of your desk already.
http://www.brucethomas.co.uk/?p=1961
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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Tue May 12, 2015 3:58 pm

First few notes - more to be added as I find them. I've vague memories of seeing details in different accounts .

I've given Davidstow it's correct spelling in all accounts - many of them added a 'e' at the end.


From Elvis's note with a This Year's Model reissue

It was the 12th of July 1977. One week after quitting my day job, I found myself at a disused R.A.F. base outside the Cornish village of Davidstow. The only structure that was not derelict doubled as the local dancehall. We were using it as a rehearsal room. In two days I would be playing in public for the first time with my new group, The Attractions.

Our live debut was second on the bill to Wayne County and the Electric Chairs in Penzance. This was about as far from "where it's at" as you could get. Any sense of the punk or "new wave" excitement that was filling weekly music papers was pretty hard to detect in the West Country. The next evening in Plymouth we saw a few girls sporting scary eye makeup, but everyone else looked like they might have been waiting for The Sweet to take the stage. On Saturday night we returned to Davidstow to play a dance in the village hall in payment for our week of rehearsal room hire. Now we were ready for the big city.

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Riviera again called Sue Barber , as he had done for Brinsley Schwarz, and the group were dispatched to Camelford, Cornwall, for a week to rehearse. Rehearsals took place four miles up the road in Davidstow Village Hall, a former Nissan hut which was part of an RAF base during World War Two
- pp 90-91 , Be Stiff - The Stiff Records Story by Richard Balls ( 2014)

From No Sleep Till Canvey Island - The Great Pub Rock Revolution by Will Birch (2003)

He ( Jake Riviera ) also ( in 1972) drove a van for Time Out , where his girlfriend , Sue Barber , worked...(p.166), Jake's girlfriend, Sue Barber, had a property in Camelford in Cornwall , and Jake suggested we ( Chilli Willi) all went down there to rehearse (p. 169)
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Now a free man ( after quitting his job) , Costello could take his new band down to a cottage in Davidstow in Cornwall , to knock off any rough edges. As money was in short supply , the band paid no rent , but agreed to play at the cottage owner's wedding the following June (?) - p.84 , Let Them All Talk , Brian Hinton, (1999).

They also fulfilled ( in January 1978) a long-standing commitment to play at a wedding in Davidstow, Cornwall , a thank you for the rehearsal space they had used back in July of the previous year. - p.89 Complicated Shadows - Graeme Thomson ( 2004)

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:34 pm

Richard Balls has been to Davidstow -

https://ianduryauthor.wordpress.com/201 ... idal-wave/

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby sulky lad » Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:23 am

http://www.artcornwall.org/interviews/Bob_Butler.htm

One of a rare number of people who have apparently seen Elvis in the very early days in Cornwall.

"There was also a very active ‘arts’ scene – obviously music was important with the legacy of the early 1960’s folk boom and the network of folk clubs like Mitchell and Lostwithiel hanging on - but there were also a number of music venues springing up in odd places like Davidstow that were much more liberal in their choice of music with everything from African music to punk likely to turn up (Davidstow put on some amazing nights and I saw Stiff Little Fingers and Elvis Costello there)."

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:03 am

From NME Jan 28th 1978

Image

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/New_Musical_Express,_January_28,_1978

Time to start planning for this again!

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Re: Trying to get to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail

Postby johnfoyle » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:33 pm

Sulky & myself had an action packed trip to rainy Cornwall yesterday, getting to see the location of the rehearsals in 1977.

A full report will appear in due course , these photos will have to do for the moment.

Image

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby johnfoyle » Tue May 01, 2018 4:51 am

The trip to Cornwall finally happened. On Friday April 27 th Sulky and I spent a rainy day in Cornwall, checking out where Elvis first rehearsed with The Attractions. We went back and forth between two locations, found what we were looking for and then, unexpectedly, spent time having an online discussion about it with Bruce Thomas.

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With Sulky at the wheel we arrived at 10.30 or so at the Davidstow Moor RAF memorial museum. After buying tickets we wandered around the various buildings, full of the all kinds of memorabilia from World War Two.
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Precisely which building was the hall where Elvis and co. rehearsed wasn’t clear. None of the courteous staff knew. The rain and cold wind eventually decided us to just make do with having been in the vicinity and move on to Camelford , three miles away, where the musicians had been accommodated.


The accommodation had been provided by a Sue Barber, a friend of Elvis’s manager Jake Riviera. I had posted on Facebook pages related to Camelford , asking if anyone knew anything about her. Elvis & The Attractions had played at her wedding reception in the town the following January as thanks for the accommodation. I found out the venue for the reception , via a F/book response , but no contact details for Ms Barber or any details of her whereabouts.

I had written to the town’s museum – it didn’t seem to have an email address -so we went there.

http://www.bodminmoor.co.uk/ncmg/index.html

Keith there remembered my letter and suggested we go talk to Bonnie in the nearby hardware store, as she had memories of Elvis in the town. On the way back there, we stopped into the venue of the wedding reception.

http://www.camelford.org/public/darpage.php

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It has changed hands a few times of the years, had been damaged by a fire and is now under new management. Arriving in there just after noon, we were the only patrons. Alice behind the bar served us drinks. After a lot of chit chat about local matters - horse riding, proposed pedestrianisation of the traffic clogged streets etc. - Sulky told her about our reason for visiting. The 1970s were clearly way before her time but she did know that the dining area in the bar was where there used to be a bar area where bands played. So that was most likely where Elvis and co. played in January 1978.


By the time we got to the hardware Bonnie had gone on lunch. Stephanie had heard about the Elvis Costello fans coming to town – clearly Keith’s enquiries had been memorable. She had some information about the hall in Davidstow , saying it was just after the museum. Someone had bought it recently and was converting it into units. We went off to have a fish ‘n chip lunch from the excellent chipper and drove back to the airfield, intending to check back, if necessary, later with Bonnie.

Back at the airfield, there was still very little evidence of a hall or even any kind of buildings that might make up a town, village or whatever. Driving on through the rain we found ourselves crisis crossing the landing strips. Reckoning there was little more we could find I got out and posed for silly photos of me ‘looking’ for the bloody place.

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Circling back to the museum area, we noticed a turn to the right after it, leading to a building with cars in front of it. We turned there, intending to ask permission to park and have a last look. A man getting into a car asked if we needed help. Sulky explained and, incredibly, he said he remembered it well. As a teenager he remembered the band rehearsing – ‘making a fucking racket’ were his exact words. He pointed back to where we had turned and said that was the hall on the corner, side by side with museum buildings. He remembered seeing a van and cars , transport for the band. We were allowed park and, as the man drove away, we walked back to the hall.

There was new looking fencing around it but a gate was open. A tow truck was loading a car. The driver said the building wasn’t his but he would be there for about five minutes and we could look around while he was there. There was no way in, lots of new locks and panelling. I took photos and we left, the truck driver chaining and locking up. Such luck – five, ten minutes later we would have missed both men.

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We drove back to Camelford to see Bonnie in the hardware. She remembered being a teenager at the wedding reception. Looking at my photos of the present-day bar, she pointed out where the band had played, the area now being a filled in chimney area and fitted with tables.

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Sulky chatted with her about mutual friends and so on. Having a local with me proved invaluable , making people more willing to talk. She then brought up the elusive Sue Barber. Without going into specifics, she said she has been reliable informed that Ms Barber is now in Canada.


Leaving Camelford we went on then to see the location of the studio where Elvis and co. most likely recorded for a day after the week of rehearsals.

https://ianduryauthor.wordpress.com/201 ... ecordings/

We found it and knocked on the door, wanting to ask permission to photograph and see around a barn that was most likely the studio area. The lady who answered politely denied permission. Sulky again used his local charm to get her chatting. It turned out that she is involved in what sounds like a tricky situation as regards possible sale of the premises. She had bad memories of the studio operators. Her father had always found it difficult to get payment of rent and the place had been in left in awful condition. The barn, where recording happened, is now used for chickens and fowl. She reckoned there was nothing worth seeing in there as regards any studio fittings etc. .

Just before arriving at that location I had posted two photos on Instagram, of me in the middle of a runway ‘looking’ for the hall and of me outside the hall, with a caption saying I was ‘looking for and finding the aircraft hangar where Elvis etc. had rehearsed in 1977. That had also appeared on my Facebook page. Driving away from studio location I noticed there were notifications. Among them were ones from Bruce Thomas, who follows me on f/book. He corrected my description of the rehearsal location, saying it wasn’t an aircraft hangar, but a hall. He attached a page, which I already had, of his log of band activities in July 1977. I accepted the correction and commented on the location of the wedding reception in Comerford. As we drove on, he, and others, commented on aspects of our findings.


Bruce posted the sleeve of (I Don't Want To Go To ) Chelsea , saying the group shot on the cover had been taken by Chris Gabrin in a room upstairs from the venue for wedding reception.

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He posted a photo, also by Gabrin, of Elvis and the Attractions in what he called a quarry near Camelford, asking if we had found it. I responded that we hadn’t .

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- which is probably the same location as the photo on the back 'Chelsea sleeve -

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It was the perfect, all the more for it being so unexpected, end to our day of investigations.


Those are the basic details of the trip. I will add more when I get time and I daresay Sulky will chip in at some point.

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby verbal gymnastics » Tue May 01, 2018 5:17 am

Wow - this is amazing stuff. I was kind of hoping you’d report that somebody recorded the wedding reception gig, had it in their attic and wondered if you would like it as it was only gathering dust and they had no need for it anymore :lol:

I look forward to the next additions to this.
Look at me now
My how things have changed

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby krm » Tue May 01, 2018 5:58 am

Great work Sulky and John. The word is out in Cornwall, and it will take maximum 6 months and photos will appear from that wedding gig (I hope)

As for the photo in the quarry, it looks from the same session as the photo of the back of the Chelsea sleeve. The UK version of the 7" at least. What´s on the back of the Argentinian version displayed here, i don´t know.

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby sulky lad » Tue May 01, 2018 9:40 am

VG wrote :
Wow - this is amazing stuff. I was kind of hoping you’d report that somebody recorded the wedding reception gig, had it in their attic and wondered if you would like it as it was only gathering dust and they had no need for it anymore

As if we'd tell you lot, if this was the case :roll: !

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 02, 2018 3:50 am

As for the photo in the quarry, it looks from the same session as the photo of the back of the Chelsea sleeve. The UK version of the 7" at least. What´s on the back of the Argentinian version displayed here, i don´t know.


Thanks - I just edited in images of the U.K. sleeve.

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 02, 2018 4:26 am

Just before arriving at that location I had posted two photos on Instagram, of me in the middle of a runway ‘looking’ for the hall and of me outside the hall, with a caption saying I was ‘looking for and finding the aircraft hangar where Elvis etc. had rehearsed in 1977. That had also appeared on my Facebook page. Driving away from studio location I noticed there were notifications. Among them were ones from Bruce Thomas, who follows me on f/book.


Bruce Thomas - I'm sorry to disappoint you my friend, but we never ever rehearsed in an aircraft hangar - and if you've been so informed then you've been wrongly informed. And I know, because I wasn't there! We actually rehearsed all week in Davidstow Village Hall. We did our first two gigs in Penzance and Plymouth and then returned to play there on July 16. As you can see, I still have the original hand-written schedule.

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We actually played in the January as a favour / "wedding present" to one of Jake Riviera's friends, at the reception at the Darlington, after she got married. we rented local accommodation in Camelford when we were rehearsing The venue in question is also where I proposed marriage to my future ex-wife. It's also where the pic for the "Chelsea" cover was taken.

...remember - if you're having a Cream Tea, in Cornwall they put the jam on the scone before the cream, and in Devon, it's cream first, then jam. And I'm not kidding.


Susan - Bruce, I love the blue arrows flying off your bass.

Bruce Thank you -- but if you examine the image more carefully you'll see that it's actually a nylon strung classical guitar. Sorry to keep being so pedantic.

Susan I’m looking via my phone in a car. :D
I do appreciate the correction; nonetheless, it looks like the arrows are sounds you are making. So it’s cute.

Bruce Oh yes, the arrows were real.

Benjamin - Love when bass players are the statisticians of the band. RELIABLE like an OX!!! :D :D
You see Entwistle was The WHO stats guy !!!

Peter Hey Bruce Thomas wanna go for a bike ride this weekend?I

Bruce Not until the weather has taken a distinctly more Californian turn :D

Peter life's too short

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby johnfoyle » Wed May 02, 2018 4:59 am

I linked this account on a Facebook page devoted to Camelford . A poster there says -


I remember Elvis and his band spending several weeks in Camelford. They were staying at Outground Mill (next to the sewage works!) and practicing every day. We lived at the top of the hill in High Street and my parents were not amused by the loud music filling the valley every day.

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby krm » Wed May 02, 2018 6:48 am

Several weeks????

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Re: Getting to Davidstow, Cornwall on the EC Heritage Trail. April 2018

Postby sulky lad » Wed May 02, 2018 8:31 am

so the next trip is Penzance and Plymouth for gig sites and a sewage works - no change there then ? :wink:


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