If you fancy a trip in the "Tunnel of Love" there's no need to go to Battersea. A discotheque of that name, open to the over 18s, is now running at the Rifle Volunteer in West Street. When it first opened three weeks ago, Thursday night was the only time it was held but because of its popularity, disc sessions are also held on Friday and Sunday nights. The Rifleman's licensee, Mr. Colin Cameron, loaned his backroom to local ex-pirate DJ Bruce Benson and allowed him to make the discotheque into a club, with membership fees to cover Bruce's expenses. Decorating hasn't been finished yet, but the walls are painted in such a way that it gives the appearance of being in a tunnel. So for those of you with time on your hands - unless you wear your watch on your ankle - the Tunnel of Love awaits you.
After only 12 weeks the Tunnel of Love discotheque at the Rifle Volunteer, Dunstable is being forced to close down.
I say forced because this isn't a case of a discotheque closing down through lack of capital or support. In five months time The Rifleman will be demolished and work on the new hotel to take its place will begin. The chain which supplies The Rifleman has said that the back room, where the Tunnel of Love was held, is needed as the site office for the construction work, when it begins. On Thursday of last week, the room was taken over and the Tunnel is now officially closed.
So once again, another facility for the town's youngsters closes down and things will be just as bad on a Friday night as they were before it opened. But the Beachcomber is re-opening and you should know by now that application forms for membership to both the xxxxxx and xxxxx (unreadable) clubs are available at the Bowling Centre.
Dunstable's own ex Radio Caroline DJ Bruce Benson, has been pretty busy during the past few months. He is resident DJ at the Key Club and has been compering a discotheque in Edlesborough.
He was also spinning discs at the Tunnel of Love until its closure. At the moment he is doing stints at USAF bases around the area and there is a deal in the Isle of Man in the offing.
This would mean that Bruce would go back to being a "pirate" DJ on Britain's only legal off-shore station, Radio Manx.
Luton's former Radio Caroline disc jockey Bruce Benson is planning to work as he has never worked before - spinning discs non-stop for five days. Bruce, 22, of School Lane, Eaton Bray, starts his music marathon a week on Monday at the California, Dunstable.
"The first three days should not be too difficult but I may start to struggle after that," he said, "I will keep awake by doing exercises and drinking coffee. I'll have a keep-fit rowing machine nearby and I'll be doing plenty of running on the spot.
The food will mostly be sandwiches although there will be a small camping stove for the occasional hot meal." Bruce will have three engineers taking turns to sit with him to keep him awake. "Radio One DJs will be phoning me throughout the five day period to see how I am getting on," Bruce continued.
He added: "I must admit it seems a human impossibility to stay awake all that time but I am going to try. I have been dee-jaying for five years and it seems a natural development to try for some kind of endurance record. "It's like people who are addicted to sailing - they want to go around the world."
The endurance record for solo DJ according to the Guinness Book or Records is 506 hours set by 20 year-old Robert Albright from Edinburgh. Bruce added: "If I get through those five days I shall have a crack at the world record later."
Bruce Benson looked cool and well scrubbed as he started his disk jockey marathon last night.
"I expect I shall be feeling a bit battered by Saturday." the 22 year-old former Radio Caroline disc jockey from Eaton Bray said. Bruce plans to keep going on sandwiches, coffee and an occasional hot meal throughout the long days.
"I don't know if I'll have time for any sleep or a wash." he said. He is expecting calls from his former Radio Caroline colleague Johnnie Walker of Radio One fame.
Eaton Bray disc Jockey Bruce Benson non-stop disc-spinning marathon. And as he left the stage that has been his home for the past week at the California Dunstable, Bruce of School Lane, Eaton Bray, vowed:"Now I'm going for the world record".
He said "I stuck it a lot-better than I thought I would, I have kept awake by washing, changing clothes, eating and exercising".
Bruce has received nearly 100 letters of congratulations and over 30 telegrams. He was interviewed on Friday on Radio Two's Late Night Extra.Luton News June 29, 1972
Former Radio Caroline DJ Bruce Benson was back on the air again for a short time recently when he made a guest appearance on Night Ride. Keith Scuse (sic) invited Bruce on to his Radio One show after meeting him at the opening of Dunstable's new discotheque; Aquarius.Luton News 6th April 1972
....... Regular disco nights will be launched by BBC's Radio One DJ David Gregory who will make a special appearance as guest DJ on Friday the 25th. With Bruce Benson, the Gateway's resident DJ, he will keep the tables turning until closing time. Hungry disco fans will have a special treat on the 26th when juicy pizzas will be on the house.
Novelty nights will begin on the 27th with a variety of competitions organised by Bruce and for which a large number of prizes can be won. Bruce Benson says: On the novelty nights I've got some really hilarious competitions lined up; just to name a few - the knobbly knees contest, the hairy chest competition and the sexiest girl in town game. See you in the Gateway!
Every Monday, Margaret and Elaine, Luton's lovliest go-go dancers, will vie with each other to see who can produce the most energetic contortions to Bruce Benson's swinging music. Just watch the tassels fly.Luton News Aug 17, 1972
Web masters comments:
Sorry Bruce but I'm afraid I will have to set the record straight here. Energetic; you were. Superman; you weren't.
If all the newspaper reports and adverts are to be believed, Bruce was capable of running Discos in several different places all on the same night. Don't believe me?..... just have a look through this site.
Bruce actually ran a stable of jocks who went out and did gigs in his name. For example, the Truman Gateway night above, with David Gregory, was actually done by Paul Gray. How do I know? I was with him. Many of the early California adverts also list Bruce Benson Discos. He may well have put in an appearance but he certainly didn't do the entire night.
Throughout the early 70s Bruce wrote a series of columns for the Dunstable Gazette. We're collecting them for the site as they give a unique insight into the lunacy that did and didn't happen in and around Dunstable. All content to be taken with a pinch of salt.