Sunday 6th May 2018

Into Manchester to visit the Lowry.

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Julian Otto Trevelyan

He moved to Paris to become an artist, enrolling at Atelier Dix-Sept, Stanley William Hayter’s engraving school, where he learned etching. He worked alongside artists including Max Ernst, Oskar Kokoschka, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.

In 1935, Trevelyan bought Durham Wharf, beside the River Thames in Hammersmith, London. This became his home and studio for the rest of his life and was a source of artistic inspiration to him. He became a confirmed Surrealist and exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibition, held at the New Burlington Galleries in London.

From 1950 to 1955, Trevelyan taught history of art and etching at the Chelsea School of Art. During 1955–63, he was Tutor of Engraving at the Royal College of Art, rising to Head of the Etching Department where he was influential to many younger printmakers, including David Hockney and Norman Ackroyd.

In 1969, he produced the Thames Suite, a collection of 12 views of the Thames from its upper reaches in Oxford and Henley-on-Thames down to the tidal stretches of London and the Estuary.

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Essoldo Stretford

The Longford Cinema is located in the Greater Manchester suburb of Stretford. The Longford Cinema was opened on 12th October 1936. This fabulous building lies on the junction of Edge Lane and Chester Road, opposite the new Stretford Arndale shopping mall. There are two entrances to the building, the main one on Chester Road which was set back from the road in a courtyard (now gone in a road-widening scheme which has brought the entrance to the edge of the pavement) and a secondary entrance on Edge Lane.

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It was taken over by the Newcastle based Essoldo Chain in August 1950, and renamed Essoldo. It was closed in September 1965 and was converted into an Essoldo Bingo Club, later becoming a Top Rank Bingo Club. This closed in the 1990’s.

Designed by the architect Henry Elder, it was the height of Art Deco fashion when it was opened by the Mayor of Stretford in 1936. The unusual “cash register” shaped frontage was intended to symbolise the business aspect of show business. The Longford’s debut feature was Tudor Rose starring Nova Pilbeam.

The building incorporated many modern features, such as sound-proofing and under-seat heating, and it was also the first cinema in Britain to make use of concealed neon lighting. It had a seating capacity of 1,400 in the stalls and 600 in the circle, with a further 146 seats in the café area. The foyer featured large murals by Frederick Harry Baines depicting contemporary cinema scenes. When built, the cinema had a short pedestrian approach to the facade, but this was removed when the A56 was widened.

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During the Second World War the building was used for concerts, including one given by a young Julie Andrews. It also played host to the Hallé Orchestra after the orchestra’s own home, the Free Trade Hall, was bombed and severely damaged during the Manchester Blitz of 1940. The orchestra performed twelve concerts at the cinema in the 1942-3 season and more under Barbirolli the following season.

After a change of ownership in 1950, the cinema was renamed the Stretford Essoldo. It continued to operate as a cinema until 1965, when it was converted into a bingo hall, which it remained until its closure in 1995. The building has been unused since then. It was designated a Grade II listed building in 1994.

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It was in the late 1930’s that Manchester businessmen Jackson and Newport, set their sights on building a new Super Cinema in Stretford. The pair already owned Stretford’s Picturedrome Cinema on the corner of King Street and Chester Road (next to where the Post Office now stands) as well as cinemas in Stockport and Reddish. They purchased the site on Chester Road and demolished a terrace of Georgian shops.
They employed architect Henry Elder to design the new building.

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Alder’s architecture was the at the height of art deco fashion; the main entrance on Chester Road was designed in the shape of a cash register flanked by two phallic symbols and the side entrance on Edge Lane was surmounted by a third phallic symbol, these represented Alder’s view that the modern film industry was dominated by money and sex. The commission for the work was given to local firm Normantons of Plymouth Grove, Mr Jackson was Clerk of Works and Jack Siddy was night watchman. The internal decoration was done by Holdings of Brooks Bar and included two huge murals to either side of the main stage by famous artist Frederick H. Baines, they depicted ‘Music and Dance’ on one side and ‘Comedy and Drama’ on the other.
The Longford was a revolution in Cinema Design. The building featured; sound-proofing, under-seat heating and air-conditioning. The foyer was floored in Venetian Marble. The Auditorium was decorated in tangerine and silver-blue art-deco designs. The room also contained a stage, which could be used for theatrical performances by various groups including the Streford Amateur Operatic Society.

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The building was the first in Britain to be illuminated by neon tube lighting. The arrangement of the business was that the Longford would be used as a Cinema for three weeks of the month and as a theatre for the fourth week. Cinema attendants were forbidden from accepting gratuities. The stalls sat 1400, the balcony sat 600 and the café sat 146.
There was a car park to the rear of the building for free use of patrons, access to this car park was down Trafford Grove. Trafford Grove, which runs in three double blocks along the Bridgewater Canal from St Ann’s Church to the Cinema was built in the 1860’s by Sir Humphrey de Trafford. The Grove was built for Pedestrian access only, the houses having wide front gardens with a narrow walkway between.
Jackson and Newport approached the de Trafford estates for permission to remove the front gardens and put a road between the houses, but due to the tenant’s contracts, this could not be done without the permission of the residents.

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The company therefore approached the tenants of the end block and told them that if they agreed to the proposal then they would modernise all their houses and true to their word when the road was completed the Longford Cinema Company installed Bathrooms and hot running water in all the houses which had sacrificed their front gardens
The new Longford Super Cinema & Café was finally opened on 12th October 1936 by the Mayor of Stretford, Alderman Albert Smith. The debut film screened was ‘Tudor Rose’ starring Nova Pilbeam. Entrance tickets ranged from 1s 6d for a seat in the stalls to 3s for a seat in the circle. The Longford Bar & Café occupied part of the first floor, with windows looking out across Chester Road, with comfortable sofas and furniture.
During the Second World War the building was used for Sunday Concerts featuring various stars of screen and stage including a young Julie Andrews and when the Halle was bombed out of The Free Trade Hall in 1940, the Longford played host to the dislodged orchestra under Sir John Barborelli.

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In August 1950, the Cinema was purchased by the Essoldo Circuit, who renamed the building ‘The Stretford Essoldo’ and who continued to run the cinema for about fifteen years, however the television revolution of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s knocked the bottom from the cinema industry and the decision was taken to close the Essoldo in 1965.
The building was put on the Market and purchased by The Ladbrokes Company who reopened it as a bingo hall.

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In 1979, Trafford Council were widening Chester Road into a duel carriageway and Compulsory Purchase Orders were put on all the buildings nearby. St Ann’s Church and The Bingo Hall were exempt, but were forced to give up their frontal land. The council bulldozers moved in and demolished the front of the old Cinema, leaving the remaining architecture unbalanced and incomplete.
On the 23rd June 1986 the site was acquired by ‘The Rank Group’, who reopened the old cinema as ‘The Top Rank Club’. They were responsible for the painting of the exterior tiled façade in its distasteful primary colours. The building was listed in the mid 1990’s by The English Heritage but due to falling profits The Rank Group closed the Club in 1995 and it was eventually sold in January 1997 to a business man from Sale. Since that date various plans have been put forward for its future including a gym and health club however nothing has come to pass as yet.

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The Pyramid Theatre

Located in Sale, Cheshire, now part of Greater Manchester. Designed by the famous British cinema architectural firm, Drury & Gomersall, the Pyramid Theatre is a classic example of an Egyptian-style cinema in Britain and had a 1,940 seating capacity.

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The frontage although not particularly Egyptian in overall design does have various Egyptian style mouldings and fluted pillars. Internally, the Egyptian theme was again largely mouldings and finishes like Graumans Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The theme was included in the specially designed Christie Organ, which is currently installed in the Blue Coat School in Oldham.

The Pyramid Theatre changed hands a couple of times between its opening on 24th February 1934 and 21st December 1942 when it was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain. It was re-named Odeon on 18th June 1945.

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In 1981, the Rank Organisation closed 29 of its Odeon cinemas and the lease for the Odeon Sale was bought by the Tatton Cinemas group and it was re-named Tatton Cinema. Stage shows returned to the theatre, however the runing costs caused the lease to revert to Rank in 1984 and the building was closed.

The cinema was purchased by Trafford Borough council for £200,000, but by 1987 the costs to the council were estimated at £1.5 million. A campaign was started to save it from demolition.

In 1988, it was advertised for sale by tender and by 1990 the cinema was converted into an American themed nightclub, known as JFK’s.

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The nightclub closed around 2001 and the auditorium was transformed into a franchised L.A. Fitness Centre, using a former front stalls exit as its entrance. The main entrance and foyers are currently unused. In 2013 it became a Sports Direct Fitness Club.

Undoubtedly the most splendid cinema in Sale was the Pyramid on Washway Road; this was designed by Drury and Gomersall in an “Egyptian” style, hence the name. The Pyramid was built 1933-4 to seat 2,000 at a cost of £70,000. The building included a first-floor cafe advertised as the “rendezvous for discerning folk” and, flanking the cinema, two rows of shops were built in a style which harmonised with the nearby Post Office.

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“Once built, the Pyramid then needed a license to open; the magistrates refused this after opposition from, among others, the Palace and Savoy cinemas and the Regal, Altrincham. A protest meeting was organised by a local committee, which included the vicar of St. Paul’s. The meeting was a success, as the Pyramid’s 2,000 seating capacity was filled and another 2,000 gathered outside; a petition had attracted 18,000 signatures.

“The result was that a license was then granted and the Pyramid was opened for its first public performance on Monday, February 26, 1934 with a film and stage show. It is a cinema typical of prosperous suburbia of the 1930s and was built with a spacious car park. The Pyramid was bought by Rank in 1941 and, later, became an Odeon cinema. The Odeon showed its last film in October 1981; the cinema was sold and later re-opened as the Tatton, finally closing in 1984.”

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The frontage, although not particularly Egyptian in overall design, does have various Egyptian style mouldings and fluted pillars. Internally, the Egyptian theme was again largely mouldings and finishes unlike Graumans Egyptian. The theme was included in the specially designed Christie Organ. This organ was purchased by The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust in the early 1980’s and installed in the Blue Coat School in Oldham, where it was used for regular concerts until 2008. The organ is now in storage awaiting a new venue for installation.

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In 1981, the Rank organisation closed 29 of its Odeon cinemas and the Tatton Cinemas group bought the lease for the Odeon Sale and it was re-named Tatton Cinema. Stage shows returned to the theatre, however the running costs caused the lease to revert to Rank in 1984 and the building was closed.

Trafford Borough council purchased the cinema for £200,000, but by 1987 the costs to the council were estimated at £1.5 million. A campaign was started to save it from demolition.

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In 1988, the theatre was advertised for sale; by tender and by 1990 the cinema was converted into an American themed nightclub, known as JFK’s (quite how the Egyptian theme lent itself to this is anyone’s guess!).

The nightclub closed around 2001 and the auditorium has since been transformed into a franchised L.A. Fitness Centre, using a former front stalls exit as its entrance. The main entrance and foyers are currently unused.

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Royal Northern Collage of Music for 50th Anniversary concert with Q+A from Barclay James Harvest. A very special evening full of sadness and wonderful music. Yes it did feel like a family event even though I always stay on the edges of such gatherings. It was great to see the lyric sheets. The movie that played on the intro was also lovely. The jacket that John Lees wore on the cover of  Everyone Is Everybody Else was in the foyer and was so tiny.

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Suicide?

The question mark in the title is often forgotten, missing the point of the song, which is simply “did he jump or was he pushed”. The ghoulish sound effects at the end were created using a twin microphone binaural system on the head of a dummy, which was then thrown out of an upstairs window! Apparently Woolly refused the starring rôle for some reason, although his clogs created the footsteps. I’m reliably informed that the spoken line “are you a member, sir?” is the censored version – the original was “may I see your member, sir?”!!

I woke up to a feeling, it was cold by my side
You had gone with the sunrise, leaving tears in my eyes
I got up with a feeling of an emptiness inside
To the noise of the sidewalk and the silence of my mind
Well I walked out this morning, down a street with no name
To a club called “The Loser”, like a dog that’s gone lame
Took the club elevator to the floor with a view
I took out life subscription – it’s the only one they do

I stepped out on the guard rail, saw the crowds slowly part
Heard a voice shouting “Don’t jump, please for God’s sake let me move my car!”
Felt a hand on my shoulder, heard a voice cry “Just in time!”
Felt the quick push, felt the air rush
Felt the sidewalk, fell in line

The creation of the special effects used at the end of the song are described in Keith and Monica Domone’s official biography. One of the band walked to a service elevator wearing clogs; we hear it ascending, and the rush of air and impact of the victim’s body after he leaps. This latter was recorded by throwing a dummy off the top of the Holiday Inn, Manchester, equipped with binaural microphones in a specially designed set of headphones.

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For No One

A classic anti-war song brings us neatly back to the opening theme of the album. The live version, as captured on Barclay James Harvest Live from later that same year, was even more powerful, with a big build up to the exquisite ending which is, unfortunately, missing from the studio version. Still, a great way to end a fine album, which has a very special place in many fans’ affections.

Please lay down your pistols and your rifles
Please lay down your colours and your creeds
Please lay down your thoughts of being no-one
Concentrate on what you ought to be
Then lay down your bullshit and your protests
Then lay down your governments of greed
Take a look at what lies all around you
Then pray God we can live in peace

Everyone’s a loner ’till he needs a helping hand
Everyone is everybody else
Everyone’s a no-one ’till he wants to make a stand
God alone knows how we will survive

So please lay down your pistols and your rifles
Please lay down your colours and your creeds
Please lay down your thoughts of being no-one
Concentrate on what you ought to be

Everyone’s a loner ’till he needs a helping hand
Everyone is everybody else
Everyone’s a no-one ’till he wants to make a stand

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Titles

The long and winding road that leads to your door
Here comes the sun it’s alright people shout for more
But were you trying to deceive telling me
All you need is love to succeed
Across the universe one after nine ‘o’ nine
I got a feeling for you blue and I feel fine
I tried so hard to make believe that I’d see
All you need is love to succeed

Lady Madonna let it be
Something in the way you moved me yesterday
All you need is love so they say

The third track from the 1975 Time Honoured Ghosts album is credited Traditional, arranged Lees. According to the official Barclay James Harvest website: “The original concept and arrangement were devised by John and Woolly.”
Lyrically, “Titles” is comprised of the names of various Beatles’ songs, including “The Long and Winding Road,” “Across The Universe” and “Lady Madonna.”

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The Great 1974 Mining Disaster

In some ways, this song was a forerunner of “Poor Man’s Moody Blues”, in that it was written by deconstructing a well-known song by another band, then rebuilding it with new lyrics. In this case, the original song was the Bee Gees’ “New York Mining Disaster 1941”; which John adapted to comment on the 1974 UK miners’ strike that finally brought down the Conservative government. Subtle alterations to the original lyrics such as changing “don’t go talking too loud, you’ll cause a landslide” to “all you have to do is smile to cause a landslide” were combined with contemporary political and musical references to people such as “a sailor oh so gay” (Prime Minister Ted Heath), “Mister Groan” (miners’ leader Joe Gormley) and songs by David Bowie (“The Man Who Sold The World” and “Space Oddity” about “a major out in space”).

Heard a song the other day
About a major out in space
And though the song was kind of grey
It took me far away
Heard the news the other day
About a sailor oh so gay
And though his policies were grey
They took me far away
‘Cause I couldn’t stand the thought
Of being taken in again

Have you seen my life, Mr. Groan?
Do you know what it’s like to be outside?
All you have to do is smile to cause a landslide
And you do, and you do, Mr. Groan

Heard a song just yesterday
About a man who sold the world away
And though the song was still quite grey
It took me far away
‘Cause I couldn’t stand the thought
Of being taken in again

Have you seen my life, Mr. Groan?
Do you know what it’s like to be outside?
All you have to do is smile to cause a landslide
And you do, and you do, Mr. Groan

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Hymn

The song which has come to be regarded by many as the BJH classic, rivalled only by “Mocking Bird”, had an inauspicious start to its career when, back in the summer of 1971  it was presented, in much the same form, for possible inclusion on Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories – and rejected! Fortunately, John persisted with the song, and it was finally accepted for this album. Originally titled “Hymn For A White Lady”, the song is primarily about the dangers of drug abuse, contrasting their illicit thrill with the spiritual “high” of Christianity, although many DJs and listeners have taken it for a straightforward Christmas song. The now traditional shouts of “yeah!” from the fans at the finale of the band’s live shows date back to early performances of the song, where John dedicated it to rock stars who had fallen victim to drugs, saying “let’s hear it for Jimi Hendrix… Paul Kossoff… Janis Joplin…” etc., and fans responded with a roar of approval.

Valley’s deep and the mountain’s so high
If you want to see God you’ve got to move on the other side
You stand up there with your head in the clouds
Don’t try to fly you know you might not come down
Don’t try to fly, dear God, you might not come down
Jesus came down from Heaven to earth
The people said it was a virgin birth
Jesus came down from Heaven to earth
The people said it was a virgin birth
He told great stories of the Lord
And said he was the saviour of us all
He told great stories of the Lord
And said he was the saviour of us all
For this they/we killed him, nailed him up high
He rose again as if to ask us why
Then he ascended into the sky
As if to say in God alone you soar
As if to say in God alone we fly.

Valley’s deep and the mountain’s so high
If you want to see God you’ve got to move on the other side
You stand up there with your head in the clouds
Don’t try to fly you know you might not come down
Don’t try to fly, dear God, you might not come down

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One lyric sheet had The Word a poem by Graeme Edge from The Moody Blues. I was very excited when I found this among the lyric sheets. I would love to have asked John Lees about it. Seeing all these wonderful lyrics was one of the highlights of the day.

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The Grosvenor Picture Palace

Former cinema and current pub at the corner of Grosvenor Street and Oxford Road in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, United Kingdom. Built in 1913–15, it was the largest cinema outside London in its day. It is now a Stonegate pub.

The Grosvenor Picture Palace was designed in 1913 by Percy Hothersall (who later designed Manchester’s first supercinema, The Piccadilly, off Piccadilly Gardens in 1922). It is located at the corner of Grosvenor Street and Oxford Road in Chorlton-on-Medlock.

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The cinema opened on 19 May 1915, featuring Blanche Forsythe in Jane Shore; it was described at the time as “Roman-Corinthian of the later Renaissance influence”.

It dates from the period when the first permanent cinemas were being built, with the distinctive design acting as “ostentatious advertising”. The cinema had a capacity of just under 1000 people, making it the largest cinema outside London in its day. A billiard hall was installed in the basement in the 1930s.

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It was operated by the H.D. Moorehouse chain, before being acquired by Star Cinema Group in the early 1960s, who used the building both for cinema and bingo. It showed features such as Steve Reeves in Hercules Unchained. It was never a commercial success due to its distance from Manchester’s city centre.

The last films shown were The Passionate Demons and Attack of the Crab Monsters on 18 May 1968, after which the building was used exclusively for bingo. It was later used as a Riley’s Snooker Club for several years; it was then boarded up for several years.

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The two-storey building is rectangular, and is on a corner site with a 3-bay chamfered entrance corner with a pavilion on top. Its facade features green and cream faience and terracotta tiles, and it has 4 bays facing Gosvenor street and 6 bays facing Oxford road. The centre of the Oxford road facade is marked with a raised torch in white terracotta. It has a small attic and a slate roof. It originally had a canopy, which was later removed.

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Much of the original interior, including plasterwork, the balcony and the vaulted ceiling, is still present in the building. The inside balcony originally had multi-coloured inlaid panels.

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