schlitz beer label


4 Dec 2004

Almost Christmas! Where did the year go? Well, my shopping is half done so it's not too bad but, as usual, I'm way behind on the Christmas card front. In previous years I've had to compete with assorted 'Rellies' in the first-past-the-post card dash, and I've lost every year except one. This year we were all beaten hands down by a card from Russ Sainty and his lovely wife Ann, closely followed by another from The Hollies. Christmas wishes and thanks to you all, they'll be in the post forthwith. Honest.

Don't forget the two events taking place on the 11th and 12th to get you in the party mood. Norman King Dunstable on the 11th for a 60s Disco with Carl Edwardes and Paul Gray. Champagne Prizes with proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Liquid in Luton on the 12th for Funk Band Light of the World with Louie Martin and Rob James.

This month we have three revelations for you. The first is for the Wrestling fans. I've got a load of dates for various bouts and they're now on the Wrestling page. Go take a look. Can anyone tell me if the 'Big Bill Verna' listed is the same one who now appears in the Strongest Man contest on the TV or is it his son?

Second, we have tracked down the earliest ever mention of something happening on the site of the Ballroom. We have the report of the development of a swimming pool in Dunstable from the Borough Gazette in 1935. Having found this we are on the trail of plans and photos. Stick with us, we'll get them. You can see the report on the Pools page.

Third, this site is now the proud owner of the California Ballroom trade mark. The last owner was Mr. Bill Seymour. Bill now lives in the USA and owns a number of BIG trucks. When I say BIG, I mean HUGE! Despite a recent illness, I am told he has recovered well and those who knew him at the California would like to pass on their best wishes for continuing good health.

Finally, I intend to do a re-vamp of the site over the Christmas period. I have for some time been aware that it doesn't comply fully with the Disability Discrimination Act and certain areas are unusable by anyone with a screen reader. I had made a start with the gigs pages but now it's time to bite the bullet and do the rest. There are approximately 550 pages to wade through but it has to be done. We now get over 5000 visitors a month and given that most of us are fast heading for our pensions, things don't work like they used to. I'll attempt to get the lot done and upload the site in one go. If you log on over Christmas and find odd things happening, hang in there, It'll be alright...... eventually.

So I'll end by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. See you all in 2005 if not at the gigs on the 11th and 12th. Ho Ho Ho!

1 Nov 2004

Well here we are, another month has gone by and I seem to have missed it somewhere along the way. The only thing I remember about it is the night of the 14th when I was privileged to get backstage at the Solid Gold Rock n Roll show. It gave me a chance to meet up with a few of the great names who graced the stage at the California, and guess what, they all remember the place without any problem.

I chatted to John Leyton, Craig Douglas, Showaddywaddy and the guys in Rockin' Horse but this wasn't the only great thing about that night. I was delighted to have as my guest Edwina Hillier (nee Green) and her partner Tony.

Edwina with Craig Douglas

Edwina Green with Craig Douglas
Good Lord, has it really been 42 years, 5 months and 2 days?
Long time, no see!

The last lot of gigs are now on the site, final year, 1979 and that's your lot. After that there's nothing. But...... that doesn't mean there will be no more updates to the site. Ohh no. Just wait till you see what we've got for you next month. Fascinating or what!

Finally, take a look at the Events page. There's a lot going on in the run up to Christmas. On the 11th December at the Norman King there's a 60s night for all those of you who have complained about the lack of them. Entry is for the huge sum of - Nothing. Yes, it's absolutely free. Carl Edwardes and Paul Gray will be on the decks and they'll have with them a huge collection of old 60s sounds so if you miss Cupid's Inspiration and their ilk, get along there. There'll be prizes and some big news as well.

Last month I told you there would be a gig for all the funksters on Dec 5th. This has now been moved to the 12th. The venue manager moved up north, the new one didn't see the paperwork and double booked it. This one will be big so if you're going to spend your Christmas pennies on anything, make this it. Light of the World will be making a rare appearance at Liquid Night Club in Luton. Accompanied by Funk Mafia DJ Louie Martin (Brother Louie) and Rob James from Sunday Soul. The gig starts at 8.30 and goes on till 1am and they're hoping to have a few celebs putting in appearances. I have 3 pairs of tickets to give away for this night. To have a chance to win them, go to the Guess the song page.

John Leyton promo photo

John Leyton

1 Oct 2004

One of the things I love about this site is that old pals get in touch without realising who I am, presumably getting a nasty shock when they find out. One of the latest is John Michalik who left an entry on the guestbook reminding people of the days when walks home from Dunstable to Stopsley were not uncommon. He also mentions another haunt of mine which was de rigeur when you weren't old enough to hit the Cali. That venue was Luton Boy's Club. (Also now demolished!) John asks if anyone recalls his brother Peter being a DJ there. Silly boy.... all the girls in the same year as you at Challney have no problem whatsoever remembering Peter. Now what I really want to know is, did he end up marrying that really pretty girl with the auburn hair he was dating. I hope he did, the amount of effort we all put into hating her, she should have got something out of it.

In my idle moments, I toy with the idea of setting up a site for Luton Boy's Club as well. Then I get real. This one takes far too much of my time as it is. I would however love to know what happened to the jocks up there. Apart from John's brother I remember Dave Hole and Phil Hammond. Anyone recall the others?

New on the site this month are gigs for 1978. This was a really tough one as we have the details from Mick Ilka's diary to try and tie in with newspaper ads. It seems that anything happening in Didoz was plastered all over the papers during the preceding week but things in the Ballroom must have been advertised elsewhere. We know they happened as we have the flyers...... but no ads. Does anyone recall there being radio coverage?

Finally, good news for all you dancers, check out the events page for details of an up coming gig with a difference. This one is featuring a band who played the Cali back in 79 but are not easy to get to see. The Sunday Soul crew a have booked Light of the World; the 80's Brit-Funk group who shaped the UK black music scene; for December 5th at a venue to be announced. Don't miss it, you may not get another chance to see them.

1 Sept 2004

Well the summer holidays are now over and for those of you with youngsters it's back to the daily round of school, homework and commuting. Wherever you went for a break, I hope you had a good one. Many of you must have stayed at home or taken a laptop computer with you. We had over 4000 visitors last month!!!!!!

1977 is now complete. It was a bit of an odd year as the Greens were looking to sell the place and were winding down the ballroom although Didoz was still going strong. At the end of the year Bill Seymour bought the place and Didoz kicked it all off again. There are a couple of dates on there we're not sure about as they seem to have taken place during the closure and handover. They may have been one-off bookings that had to be honoured but there is nothing in the papers. If anyone has anything for Wayne County or the Ritchie Family in 77 please let us know.

The Sunday Soul gigs which started out in the Devil's Den and are proving incredibly popular. July's event was packed out and the Bank Holiday special last weekend was also very busy despite the noticeable absence of a certain Mr. Martin who was unavoidably detained....... IN FLORIDA!!!!!

5 July 2004

Heavens has it really been a whole month since I last updated the site. It's been a really busy time. Well what do I have for you?

All the dates for 1973 are now on and there's only one blank and a query but otherwise all there. We've got the dates for 1978 now as well and I'll be putting those on the site as soon as I've worked out how. Up until now it's been fairly straight forward, Discos were in Devil's/Didoz and Bands in the Ballroom but from '77 onwards things were turning up all over the place. We have one instance of a dance group on stage in the ballroom and then dashing downstairs to do the same thing in Didoz.

There's a new "guess the song" for July. It's sixties but you 70s people should know it as well. Use the link above to go to the quiz page and then hit the Audio button. Your player should open automatically. If not, you may need to download one. There are links to free players below the button.

The new Forum has gone live. That's what's been taking up all my time recently. The previous forum was hosted by a specialist company and we had a number of problems with it either being unavailable or really slow. The new version is hosted by me along with this site. It should be a big improvement. It looks a little different but you should find it easy to use. Any problems, mail me and I'll sort you out.

Ex California DJ Louie Martin has got together with Rob James who used to be at The Pink Elephant. They are hosting monthly Soul Funk gigs at the Cork & Bull in Cumberland Street, Luton. I got the chance to pop along to this month's and had a great time. It's becoming a highly popular event and the music is superb. All the stuff you used to hear at the Funk nights in the Devil's Den and latterly, Didoz. Word is spreading and last night included a very special guest. Mr. Caister himself, Chris Brown. Chris worked at the Cali on a number of occasions, most notably at the All Dayers with Chris Hill and the rest of the Funk Mafia.

Finally, for those who prefer 60s style there are a number of events planned for the latter part of this year. The Solid Gold Sixties Show kicks off in October and will be appearing at venues all around the UK. Gene Pitney is coming in for a month long tour about the same time. I will be posting full schedules for both of these on the events page within the near future. You will have heard of the death of Les Grey, lead singer with Mud. Well my pal Mal Cook from the Hal Carter Organisation is busy organising a charity concert to take place at the Hammersmith Apollo on 25th August. The line-up is Slade, Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, The Tremeloes, The Rubettes and Racey.

11 June 2004

Some while back, (January! the wheels are slow) I applied for the Trademark of California Ballroom to protect this web site. The name has now been placed on file at The Patent Office. If anyone wishes to object, they have 3 months in which to do so. Details of the process can be found at

6 June 2004

Well summer is pretty much here and this site has now been going for over a year and guess what... last month we topped the 20,000 visitor mark! I'm stunned. Thanks so much to all of you for making this such a success. It's been hard work and a lot of hours but worth every minute.

Well what do I have for you this time. It's been pretty busy here with all sorts going on which hasn't left a lot of time for researching gigs so I'm afraid there's no more movement on that front. You will find that the Cali Today page has changed and carries links to gig reviews that relate to the California and there's a new one on there for the Anniversary do at the weekend.

Your webmaster is about to become famous! Well that's what Dave Parker reckons anyway. He is taking his life or rather his livelihood in his hands and printing my scribblings in his monthly magazine - The Beat. Brave man.

Noel Lawrence, he of Johnny Mike & The Shades fame has been scribbling too. There is a new piece of biography on the band's page.

And finally, this site has surprised me in more ways than one. I now have a career change and have set up shop as a web designer. Flushed with success and requests coming for web work I decided 'why not'. So now I'm self employed and flat out. Ain't life strange?

14 May 2004

Lots has gone on in the last week. We have completed the gig lists for 1976 and the first half of 1973. Interestingly we have some conflicts. Does anybody remember James Brown playing the Cali twice? We'll sort it out eventually I suppose.

On the band quotes page we have a new entry from Mike Berry, of Mike Berry and The Cruisers and "Are you being served?" fame. Thanks for the contribution Mike.

We also have a new page for Johnny Mike & The Shades. Noel Lawrence has sent me a photo of the band and their first ever fan club newsletter. It makes fascinating reading and for any of the younger visitors, shows just what touring was like back then. None of these flash chauffeur driven limos. Those were the days when men were men and Pop Stars were......... well...... shattered I suppose.


a new page for Mal Ryder and the Spirits. Mal has very kindly contributed comments and photographs to the site and is hoping to write a book about his life. If anyone remembers being at one of his gigs, whether at the California or not, please get in touch, Mal would love to hear from you.

5 May 2004

Today was the official unveiling of the California memorial sign. The Mayor cut the ribbon and announced it officially open in front of a small group of people who went to the California in the sixties. Several members of the Green and Ilka families were there along with Clem Curtis from the Foundations and DJs Paul Gray, Louie Martin, Carl Edwardes and Mr H. Sid Hudson organised the event and had done sterling work, setting up a display tent, full PA system and massive security.

The event was covered by 3 Counties Radio and went out live on Martyn Coote's show. I spoke to as many people as I was able and was told some fascinating things about the Ballroom and happenings during the 60s and shown a number of treasured photographs and newspaper cuttings. As a result I'm putting out a call for Rosemary who ran Russ Sainty's Fan Club. Your friends from way back are looking for you. Please contact me.

Also, for fans of the Foundations, Clem has a number of gigs going on around the area over the next couple of months. Keep your eyes on your local press for details. He would love to see anyone from the California of which he has many happy memories.

Full details of the event will be published in the Dunstable Gazette.

Royce Close sign

Commemorative sign at Royce Close

29 Apr 2004

My roving reporter has been busy again. This time we have all the dates for 1975 completed. On the pictures of you page there's an advert for Rent-a-crowd. Anyone remember or part of them?

22 Apr 2004

Well it's been a busy week. I've moved the site to a new host and so far, load times are better. Odd that, the old one was in London the new one in Dallas Texas. Just goes to show, distance doesn't matter on the web. I'm also in the process of modifying the site to cater for the new accessibility laws.

This will take some considerable time due to the number of pages I'm dealing with but when it's done it should be fully accessible by those using browsers with Javascript turned off and those using screen readers. Please bear with me on this one.

An added bonus to this is that the page sizes are considerably smaller and therefore download much faster. If you want to test it out, go look at the gigs page for 1960 and then go to 1974. You should see the 74 page a lot faster. Oh, nearly forgot, 1974 is now complete.

RAY J DAY has finally sent us a photo!!!! It's on his new page which can be reached from Disk Jockeys via a link. I'm so pleased. He looks exactly as I remember him. Well he would wouldn't he. Hi Ray!!! and thanks.

The all-dayer is moving on apace. We have confirmation of the appearance of Roy G Hemmings from the Drifters and there are some big names that we are waiting on. If their diaries are clear they all want to be there so watch this space.

04 Apr 2004

We have some new photos to show you, thumbnails are on the left. These are of a very young Carl Edwardes (he of the All-Dayer fame - see top of page) The photos are on his page under Jocks. The flyer is for the Trojan Promotion in November 1970. A larger version can be seen by hitting the link next to the gig.

A new sound bite is on for this month. Last months winner was Dave Finney. See Pop Quiz page.

Paul, Carl and Duncan

Paul Gray

Paul Gray's comeback gig after 26 years was nothing short of a triumph. The boy done good! Vinyl that had not seen the light of day since 1978 finally got a spin again and the music was as great as ever. Whilst digging through all the old cases he came across all sorts of bits and pieces. Amongst these, promo slips for Bruce Benson's Strawberry Productions Company, a letter from Tamla Motown about the new promo single they were sending him (Thelma Houston - Don't leave me this way") and a Tamla feedback card. One wonders what else is lurking in that attic.

I've had an email from Noel Lawrence who was bass guitarist with Johnny Mike and the Shades. He's going to ship me through a few bits to put on a Shades page so that you fans out there have something to peruse. He's also looking for members of the band. Now some of you managed to track down a Nu-Note or two so who's got the gen on the Shades?

24 Mar 2004

This site never ceases to amaze me. I get the nicest emails. I had one this week from a couple who met at the California but had no idea of the date. They knew it was at a Moody Blues gig and by going through the gig list have now found the precise timing when they first set eyes on each other. Everybody go Ahhhhhhhhhh.

I've also had a mail from Ron Forrest who is the eldest son of the late William (Sonny) Forrest, lead singer with the Fantastics. He's looking for info on the band who pretty much operated in this country after leaving their native USA. There is very little around although some info that has just come in points to them being "The Fabulous Temptations" who played the Cali in September and November 1967. If anyone has any info or scans of flyers etc. can you please get in touch so that I can pass it on to his son.

We're still chasing gig details for 1979. There is very little in the Dunstable Gazette but it's now looking as though the gigs listed in Mick Ilka's diaries for the end of 79 were actually booked into the Queensway Hall. News of another momentous occasion has gone into the Gazette though. Paul Gray will be doing his first gig in over 20 years at the Norman King on Saturday 27th March (this weekend). Be there or be square.... as he always used to say.

Prince Paul

Finally, there are two new sections on the Message Board. "For sale and Wanted" and "Friends/Bands looking for Friends/Bands" go check it out

07 Mar 2004

Right, I've had a bit of a shift round. (OH NO... she's moved things again!) Well the gigs pages were getting so large that they were taking ages to download and any poor so and so with a 28.8 modem would have been there half the night. I've split the pages out into single years. This of course meant the the jukebox no longer coped, so it's been changed to handle gigs, other pages and bands. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.

As part of this revamp, the old 'How it was' page was superfluous so it's gone. Clicking on the button now takes you straight to the jukebox. If there is anyone out there who was overly fond of the little guys dancing around on the old page, sorry, but if you miss them terribly, mail me and I'll send them to you.

Geoff and Sheila Hale are one of those odd but wonderful couples who hang on to all sorts of old rubbish. They've sent in a flyer for the bus service that started in 1969. There's a small thumbnail up and to the left of here and you can see the whole thing (not full size as it was huge) on the Related page.

What else? Oh yes, there's a new wrestling page which will be expanded over the coming months as I now have someone who is happily wading through years of adverts. The events page has moved and now makes a bit more sense under the Cali Now link.

Gig dates for 1970 are on but they're only the ones from the Dunstable Gazette. It seems the promoters stopped regular advertising in there around 1968 and moved over to the Luton News and the Post/Herald. We still have to check the Gazette as editorials tend to go in there. We have also managed to confirm a few more dates for 1979 in the same way.

And finally, for those of us who still like to show ourselves up leaping around on the dancefloor, there are two events coming up. The first is the Cali-r event at the Leisure centre in March, they've brought Gwen Dickey back again so you can all wash your car. 

The second is a one off anniversary event being put on by ex Cali DJ Carl Edwardes at what used to be Tiffany's in Dunstable. It's his 40th year in the business and it just happens to be the 25th anniversary of the closing of the California this year. This event takes place on May Bank Holiday Monday 31st. It's an all dayer and stars Angelo Starr and the Team. Angelo is Edwin's brother and is amazing. The Team are of course Edwin's own backing band. There will be other performers taking to the stage and several DJs including ex California names. This will be a great gig and tickets are selling fast. 

23 Feb 2004

Things are afoot.... lots of things. Lots of changes happening on this site soon. For this month I've concentrated on getting the whole of 1968 on which means we are now complete for the sixties with the exception of a few gaps. It's truly amazing looking at the range of bands that the Cali brought in over this period. The reputation gained for being the Soul City is truly deserved when you see the amazing names who came in from the USA very early on.

Most of the bands we were trying to track down dates for have been found now so the page looked a bit lost. I've moved it and a few other bits onto a new HELP! page.

Some of you may have noticed that the Guest Book went down for a while earlier in the month. This was due to what I can only describe as a pillock who thought it would be great to put HTML redirect code in the message area. This meant you got redirected to what the idiot thought was a really funny page. That guest book was hosted on the ANTIBS server. It isn't any longer.

Not only was the guest book obviously not secure, all calls for assistance in retrieving your messages went unanswered. I finally managed to get them out by myself and load them into a new secure guest book which is hosted on this site.

Unfortunately it seems to have been a month for idiots. It always seems to happen that when anything is successful there's always someone who wants to wreck it. Some of our DJs have been receiving funny phone calls from a lady, if you can call her that, who then launches into libelous statements and descriptions of various people associated with the California, past and present. The language is I'm told, ripe. Sadly for the lady concerned, her targets are all talking to each other and the information pooled is pointing in one particular direction. I will issue fair warning via this page that if this doesn't stop, the police will be informed.

2 Feb 2004

Well Christmas is now well and truly over. Santa brought us a present..... a load more visitors. January topped the 3000 mark. This is partly down to Paul Gray who has rediscovered a liking for appearing on the radio but I can't say too much as a request of mine got on Sounds of the Sixties, resulting in a number of people sending emails in for Russ Sainty.

Talking of Russ, the Nu-Notes are appearing out of the woodwork. Roger Dean got in touch and he has contacts with Mel Miller and Bernie Martin. As a result of the SOTS request I've also had an email with details of Nigel Menday's whereabouts. Thanks to Richard Black for that one.

Keith Guster, drummer with Fleur De Lys has given me some interesting information on a gig they were billed to do but didn't, that's on the Band Quotes page along with comments from Roger Dean.

In 1978 Bill Seymour bought the California from the Greens/Ilkas. Bill's son has found the site and left us a message on the boards. The entire Seymour family have decamped to Florida which accounts for some of the hits from the USA. Welcome aboard Seymour family! Don't suppose you kept the front door? We still haven't found it.

Carl Edwardes, DJ from 68 - 71 and the man responsible for setting up the sound system has contacted us. He has loads of info and he has his own page now. For those of you still within travelling distance of Dunstable he has some exciting news. I'll post the details on here as soon as they're confirmed. His son works on QVC by the way. Wave at him next time you're shopping.

Anyone who is into the sounds of Blues/Rock, take a look at the Killing Floor page. Their first album in years has been released. Fans of the genre tell me it's up with the best. You can order it from Mick Clarke's site and if you ask nicely, he'll sign it for you. 

If you look left you'll see new pictures of YOU and up top there's a new Sound of the month to guess. Winner of last months sound wants his name up in lights so here it is......

Roger Bown Name graphic flashing

7 Jan 2004

I've been doing quite a few changes to the site over the Christmas period, anything to get away from that Turkey! I've revamped some of the pages and optimised a lot of the graphics so that pages download as fast as possible.

The gigs for '64, '65, '66 and most of 67 are on. There are some unexplained gaps in the papers that we are looking in to.

Two visitors to the site have come up trumps. Roger B has sent in some photographs and we're expecting more to arrive soon. These are people who went to the Cali and appear on the Pictures of You page, and some shots of Kool and the Gang on stage. There is also a picture of Paul Gray and Louie Martin on stage in Didoz shortly before the California closed. Thanks Roger.

Now, the piece de resistance....... Merv Bright from Colchester is a bit of an anorak (his words... not mine). He records radio programmes and has done for some years. He has just supplied me with Louie Martin's tribute to Mick Ilka when he died, Louie Jingles, and some of Louie's shows on Chiltern accompanied by Kev Steed and Robbie Burns. I can't put the whole thing on the site as the bandwidth would vanish in a second so, I've put samples on Mick Ilkas page and Louies page (oops sorry forgot). Merv, I think we can now officially upgrade you to a Parka!

24 Dec 2003

Apologies for the lack of things going on the site over the last week or so. It's become so popular - with over 1200 visitors in the first half of the month - I've been concentrating on keeping it available for you rather than adding to it. We now have a new hosting package so it should be fine for the foreseeable future.

Over the Christmas period I will be completing the dates for 1964, 1965 and the first half of 1966, adding some more adverts we've got hold of and hopefully a few more pics as well.

Check out the Russ Sainty page. There is a message from him on there plus a couple more disks I've tracked down.

7 Dec 2003

I've got all the remaining dates for 1964 and 1965 and these will go on the site within the week. I've found the Bo Diddley gig that took place in 1967.

I've also got adverts for the Teens Club The Candlelight Club and The Casino in the sixties. 

There's a review from our intrepid reporter on the Cali-R Stylistics gig plus a link to the replies that have come in.

AND..... welcome to Shossie. You were a hard man to find, even if you were doing gigs just up the road!

22 Nov 2003

Most of 1964 is now on. There's a new link to a digital radio station called The Groove which plays end-to-end Motown, Soul and Disco music with no interruptions from DJs. Now you can listen to music while you surf. Check out the Links page or click here

30 Oct 2003

All of 1963 is now on as well as the first few months of 1964. Guess what. The Beatles never played there but Pete Best did.

Look out for the new Joe Brown page from 1964. I've also got pics of the Stones and Dusty on stage. They'll be on soon.

25 Oct 2003

1971 is now complete apart from a couple of dates we need to check out.

18 Oct 2003

All the dates for 1961 are now on so that wraps up 1960-1962.

There's a new Press page which details anything about this site in the media so you can tell where we've been and who we've been talking to.

There are some new comments from visitors added to band pages, in particular one for the Stones. I've also update the not a clue page reached by the icon at the top of this page.

And finally, I've archived off some of the things on this page as it was getting so long.

12 Oct 2003

More dates have gone on for 1969 which wraps it up for gigs. A few more dates for other years are coming in and we've found some new adverts.

Bruce Benson's early years are starting to come to light and there are some pieces about his club "Tunnel of Love" as well as a new piece about the marathon on his page.

There's a short review on the new Ben E King page.

The advert for the Philly review in 73 is on.

04 Oct 2003

A large number of dates are now on for 1969. The first 3 months are being rechecked as there is a distinct lack of anything in the paper but it may just be that I've missed them. There were no large ads and from the middle of '69 all mentions were in Entertainment News text. 

Found some very early info on Bruce Benson and that is now on his pages.

Also got more details about the Howlin' Wolf gig that never happened.

30 Sep 2003

Fairly quiet this week. I'm in the process of writing a review of the Edwin Starr Tribute Concert, when complete I'll put it on the site.

PG has completed all the gig dates for 1972 and dug out some articles which have allowed the creation of a page for Mary Wells and some extra info on the Devil's Den.

There is a new page on for Zoot Money's Big Roll Band with a quote from Zoot.  

We've also got a short press release in the Autumn edition of Bedfordshire County Life Magazine. On sale in all good branches of Tesco in the Bedfordshire area. I'm also told we may be getting a mention on Sounds of the Sixties. BBC Radio 2. Saturdays 8am - 10pm or, if you have a decent speed connection, you can listen to the show here: Sounds of the Sixties.

13 Sep 2003

Heaps of new dates are now on covering 1963-1966 and 1972. For the early dates we have Alan to thank. He emailed me to say that he had copied some dates from the papers to take to a friend. What a friend! He provided 160 acts!!!! He's also in touch with Zoot Money who remembers the Cali very well. We're hoping for some insights into band life soon.

The 72 dates are thanks to our roving reporter PG.

Mal Cook has provided the shots of some of the sixties stars and there are more to be put on. Mal organises the hugely popular Solid Gold Sixties tours that run once a year. As soon as I get details for these I'll put them on here.

Thanks to Sharon for her contacts and for getting us the slot on Three Counties Radio.

A new book will be out in November written by Stuart Goodyear who used to be the lead for the Ray Miller Orchestra, regulars at the California in the sixties. Details are on the Ray Miller page which can be reached from Gigs 1960.

I'm afraid I may have put the cat amongst the pigeons. PG found an advert for the Rolling Stones appearance in September 1964. Whilst checking through Gig dates I noticed something wasn't right. The ad says 14th September but I already had it for the 13th. The original date came from the Stone's fan sites all over the web. Now either they all have it wrong or the advert was misprinted. Given that it lists the Caravelles for the 13th, I tend to believe the ad. Now who wants to tell all the Stone's sites the bad news?

02 Sep 2003

Right all the dates for 1960 and 1962 are on and we've got the lot..... none missing! Dates for the second quarter 1965 are also on. Don't miss the incredible review of PJ Proby's gig.

30 Aug 2003

A load of info has just been added for 1960. There are over 100 gig dates all dug out of adverts in the Dunstable Gazette by our intrepid reporter PG. (No, not me I'm doing 1962)

There are also several articles involving the Council's efforts to kill off go-karting, their complaints about the name and the look of the building.

There is a new page dedicated to the Go-Karts as well.

I have approximately 200 dates for 1962. These will be put on in the next week if my poor typing fingers don't drop off. The bad news is that the microfilm for 1961 is so poor that it is unreadable. If anyone knows the location of another copy, other than Dunstable Library, please let us know. Based on the information found for 1960 and 1962, there are important events in 1961.


Our other reporter, GB, is pulling off Bruce Benson columns. Have you finished yet?

16 Aug 2003

Well, what a week! The Dunstable Gazette have done a piece on the site, Bedfordshire County Life have asked for a release to go in their Autumn issue and best of all, Edwina Green, daughter of Eddie who built the Ballroom has emailed. A message from Edwina and her mail address can be found in the Guest book for those who remember her and might like to get in touch.

I've been contacted by the keeper of the California Ballroom sign (watch out for a pic on here soon)

Mal Cook who used to manage Eden Kane has been in touch with some interesting possibilities. 

Heather G has provided info about a band called Jenson's Trolls which has led me to contact ex-Lutonian Mick Abrahams (Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig). I'm conducting an email interview with him and updating the band quotes page as things come in.

A long chat with Danny McGarry resulted in some interesting memories about Paul Gray trying to fly. He remembered many other things, some of which are unpublishable but a large donation to the webmaster might persuade me to reveal them!

Robbie St James has found a David 'Kid' Jensen appearance.


10 Aug 2003

We've found an advert for the opening night of the California - the night it all began.

29 July 2003

Spent the day at Luton library wading through microfiche of the Luton News 1972 & 1973 and boy was it worth it. Loads of adverts for gigs, some of which I was looking for. A whole wadge of news reports on the doings of Bruce Benson and more.

24 July 2003

I was just beginning to think we'd come to a full stop on the new info front and was contenting myself with setting up the new message board when out of the blue a whole pile of gig dates arrived.

Ray Webster, a friend made on the Friends Reunited message boards has gone through all his back copies of Blues & Soul magazine and supplied all the gigs from October 1973 to June 1978. It has allowed me to remove quite a few missing dates from the "not a clue" page, including the Philly Review. Thanks Ray you're a star.

He has also supplied an advert for something we were not sure about. An All-Dayer hosted by Chris Hills, he of the Lacy Lady fame. Go to the "How it was" page and select the new Adverts page.

07 July 2003

Well, I'd just promised myself that I was only going to do an update once a month to save the bandwidth for you visitors and the following came in. Well how could I resist!

New page on Agent '00' Soul - Edwin Starr

Info on the Howlin' Wolf gig that never was.

Info from Mick Clarke of Killing Floor, almost 'resident band' in 68-69 they played the Cali 10 times. Like this site, they've just got back together after 32 years!

More dates for 1968 and 1969

A photo of Robbie St James!!!!!

Memories of Mick Ilka and the summer of '76

Update to the Paul Gray page

Many of the bands pages have additional text to go with the pics. From here on, Seymours will only appear for band pages that have specific references to the California attached to them.


29 June 2003

Well it's happened again. What seemed like a good structure for the site last time I looked proved to be a problem when all the stuff on the pools etc came in. The gigs pages were getting huge as well so I've changed it all round again. The 'Not a clue' page can be reached from the icon above. Most of the rest that is now missing from the menu bar is under 'How it was' and reached via the animated icons. The reasons for the Cali closure have moved to the 80's page under gigs.

There's a load of new dates for 74-75.

Some new snippets, including one for Jimi Hendrix


11 June 2003

Newspaper content typed out next to article so that it can be read.

New Thieves page!

New Credits page!

New Other Stuff page!

Loads of new dates

Extracts from Mick Ilka's diaries

Pictures of the pool with a bit more info

Update to content on Cali then page, in relation to the planning process that brought about the demise of the California.

New link to Richard Walden who is writing a book on the Queensway Hall.

30 May 2003

Complete revamp of the site. So much new information has come in courtesy of Pauline Harden and Mick Rutter that the old structure couldn't cope. There are heaps of new gig dates, photos, press, promos etc. Please have a good look round, a lot has changed.

21 May 2003

Finally found Graham Bonney and Ray J Day. Hiya guys!

Changed all gigs pages. Split into 5 year slots

Removed Acts page and put photos on Gigs pages

Added 'Not a clue' gigs page

New dates for gigs including Stranglers, Radio 1 Club, Kathy Kirby, Brenda Lee etc.

Alteration to photo on Louie page

Changed all pic links to hypers for speed up

Added security to photos

New snippets and new photos


15 May 2003

Added page for quotes from bands

New snippets item on the skateboard park

Paul Weller quote

Real Thing quote

New gig date - Tami Lynn

'Italian Job' on Paul Gray page

Cali Now page - Review of California Reunion featuring Real Thing

10 May 2003

New photos! ( see right and jocks pages)

New bio page for Paul Gray

New bio page for Louie Martin

Correction to date for Dr Feelgood 

Addition of Zeal of Approval to main page 

Replaced can you help page with this one

Update to menu bar to cater for this page

Jocks page revamped, Seymour added.

Added Help link to main page

Added help page for screen resolution problems

New gig dates from Robbie St James