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Your web master in 1976

Why can't we get decent flares these days?

The California Ballroom made a huge impact on me when I first walked through the doors to the Ballroom in 1972. Having spent most of my evenings at Luton Boys Club, this place was vast and it had proper club lighting and a bar that sold more than Coke.

Over the months and years that followed I spent many hours backstage with the bands and the DJs helping out with equipment, food, drinks and eventually operating the decks for one of the jocks. At the time I really didn't appreciate what I had my hands on. How many people would have given their all to be able to sit and chat to the likes of Edwin Starr, The Four Tops, Johnny Nash and of course Jimmy Ruffin.

Talking to the DJs today, we are all amazed at how blasť we became about the big names we met on a weekly basis, to the point that when they arrived on stage, we cleared off to the bar. The number of incredible gigs we almost saw is nobody's business.

Do we regret it? Well yes and no. We always caught the start and end of the shows as we were still on stage but the biggest thing, certainly for me, was being able to talk to these people and find out about the person behind the stage facade. I had my favourites but the only one I will name here is Edwin Starr. The man was a legend, onstage and off.

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