Our coffee bar courtship…
My husband and I also have many fond memories of the coffee bar culture in Southend in the Sixties.
We met in August 1964, when Roger was 16 and I was 14, outside the Zanzi-bar.
We married in 1967 and are now great grandparents.
Our courting days were spent in the Zanzi, the 77, the Rajah arcade on Pier Hill and on Saturday nights, at Victor Sylvester’s Beat Night, above the Odeon in the High Street.
We were proud to be rockers, although we had many friends who were the mods who frequented rival coffee bars such as the Jacobean, the Capri and the Shades.
Usually, wherever there was a mod bar, there was a rocker bar nearby and a friendly rivalry existed between the two groups – each taking a pride in their bikes or scooters, style of dress and the music we listened to on the jukeboxes.
It all seemed such harmless fun and we always had somewhere to go to meet our mates, unlike today’s youngsters, who only seem to have street corners to hang around on.
Perhaps coffee bars should be re-introduced to give the youth of today somewhere to go with their friends rather than being street kids.
After all, if there was any trouble, the police always knew where to find us – though I rarely heard of involvement with drugs or drink in our day, or of vandalism.
Life was too much fun strutting our stuff down at the coffee bar!
Now we are grandparents, our grandchildren like to think we are old fogies who never had teenaged years.
But our hearts still beat a little faster when we hear the roar of a bike engine, or see an older bike on the road.
We often reminisce about the old days.
ROGER & BRENDA ABREY
Knott and the ghost of El Capri!
I am Maureen, Denny Knott’s ex-wife. I used to run the Capri with the help of Tina, a Greek girl.
The Capri used to have a ghost down there at night. When everybody had gone, we had to switch the lights off and it was so sc0ary! [sic]
After the Capri was shut down, the ghost moved upstairs into the office above and they had to get someone in to exorcise it.
The other coffee bar Denny owned was the Jacobean, in Southchurch Road. This was run by Barbara.
Denny also used to run the dances at the London Hotel and the Cricketers. I used to work on the door at the London and Barbara did the Cricketers.
It is nice to read about the coffee bars, as we did have some good times there.
Unfortunately, Denny is not too well and is now in a nursing home, but he is still in good spirits and has been enjoying reading all your letters.
Golden Cross Road
Shades at the Shades – Kellogs and friends outside the bar
The response to the Shades/Capri etc reunion we are organising at the Ekco Social Club on December 2 has been amazing!
Gary Brooker phoned me last Saturday to say he would love to attend, but is away on business.
He did, however promise to attend the next one, which is looking very likely to be on the cards, as nearly all the 120 tickets for the original event have now gone!
Gary is going to send us all a special message and the list of people who are coming is growing. He did have one other comment – concerning the picture you published on September 16 with your Robin Trower interview, headlined A Whiter Shade of Nostalgia.
Your caption on the picture (reprinted above) stated that it was Robin Trower in the sunglasses.
It was in fact “Kellogs” (John Kalinowski), who was part of the Procol Harum and Madness group’s management.
John is one of the many coming to our reunion.
It seems the 60-year-olds from the Sixties era are really looking forward to a night re-living their youth (especially the women!)
Many thanks once again to the Southend Standard for supporting this very special evening, by generating local interest and publishing the many letters you have received.
Thanks, John; and Jill, for the typing
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