What A Hoot!

Viv Ellis enjoyed Hanwell's big music festival

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How many sound engineers does it take to change a light bulb? One two!, one two!

They say the sun always shines on the righteous and it seemed to yesterday for the first Hanwell Hootie - fourteen acts playing live gigs at three pubs - with lots more music and "open mics " at a fringe event in other pubs.

Ealing’s Mayor -councillor Mohammad Aslam and Julian bell attended the official opening - the unveiling of plaque to commemorate Jim Marshall's shop by the Hanwell clock.

The unveiling honour was given, in theory, to Brian Poole of sixties group the Tremeloes who were famously signed to Decca records instead of The Beatles who were auditioned at the same time. As a client and friend to Jim Marshall for decades Brian gave a touching speech but never got to unveil anything as - to the amusement of the 100 or so people there - the cover actually fell off before he had the chance to pull the cord.

I don't think I have ever seen Hanwell so busy on a Saturday night and there was a terrific atmosphere (though it was a little disconcerting to be in pubs and listening to music so early - it kicked off at 5. Some of the bands I’d seen before: Diffuse, Et Tu Bruce, Sub Delux, Luge others I hadn’t heard before; The Chairs - who pulled in a lot of people, The Graphite Set - and one band - Jingo only got together in January and it was only their second gig.

Tommy Hare - who was booked to play 2 gigs - told me " it's such an honour to be asked, it's great format you can see loads of bands.

If I were to pick fault it would be that there was a lot of confusion about tickets. Originally they were available to download, then it was announced that these only got you priority access till 6pm then you didn’t need one. But I witnessed ticketless people being turned away from the Prince of Wales while others were let in. So if it does become a regular event, that needs sorting.

I did get the chance to talk to lots of Marshall family members. His brother Al explained the Hanwell connection. The family had a chippy in Southall so they knew the area well. Jim Marshall was a drummer and his first shop (now a barbers) sold drums. “Can you imagine? Drums being played in that tiny shop?” he laughed. Then, as we all now know, Jim had his cunning plan - to develop his amplifier which took quite a few years. He then took his second shop - now a computer shop.
And did Al follow his brother and have a rock’n’roll lifestyle? Not exactly, now retired he was a maths teacher.


Viv Ellis


8th April 2013


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