LAST week, Bernadette Oxberry recalled the two York discos where it was cool to be seen if you were a groovy chick in the early Seventies - The Bop in New Earswick and the York City Rowing Club.

Bernadette preferred the thrashing, arm-scissoring disco that was the rowing club, where the music was stuff like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Genesis. The Bop was a bit too dance-around-your-purse for her.

Yes, it was a dance-around-your-purse disco, admits Roy Hughes - but it was none the worse for that.

Roy should know because in the Sixties he was the club's resident DJ.

He began DJ-ing there in 1964, when he was still at Nunthorpe Grammar School. And before long he was given a free rein to play more or less whatever kind of music he liked.

He had pretty eclectic tastes, he says, from the Rolling Stones to Motown. "I liked everything". And after a while, the Tuesday night club even started putting on live bands.

Mandrake - featuring the young Robert Palmer - appeared there, as did York band Gideon's Few, and Ian And The Shifters, who were tragically killed in a plane crash in Ljubliana in 1966, Roy recalls.

The Bop was held in the New Earswick Folk Hall - and the hall was essentially no different then than today, Roy says. There was no licensed bar, no disco lighting - the hall's main lights weren't even switched off. But there was still a great atmosphere, he says - which came from the crowd. "There were often more than 500 people coming on a Tuesday night," he says. "There was no trouble. People were just happy. That was The Bop."

When the Tin Chicken Club started up on a Saturday night in 1966, also at the New Earswick Folk Hall, Roy was resident DJ there, too. Among the up-and-coming bands that played there were Procol Harum - it was just when A Whiter Shade Of Pale had become a massive, surprise hit, appearing in the charts from nowhere, Roy says - and Pink Floyd.

When the Floyd appeared, they were still in their early, Syd Barrett days. Barrett, Roy remembers, as being intense and "very intelligent", but otherwise ordinary seeming. The band, who were still way pre-Dark Side Of The Moon, had big hair and psychedelic clothing, and were already honing the kind of stage show that was later to make them so huge.

They had, Roy recalls, oil projectors which they used to project a kaleidoscope of colours on the Folk Hall ceiling. "The hall was completely bathed in colour," he recalls.

By the early Seventies, Roy was DJ at Hypnotique in Lady Peckitts Yard in central York. It was, he recalls, a small, smoky venue with a capacity of only about 200 people - though sometimes double that number would squeeze in.

It was hot and smelly and basic, he says, with a small dance floor, a disco in the corner and a small raised stage for the live bands. There was mildew under the carpet - but when Hypnotique was packed and heaving, the atmosphere was awesome.

Live bands appeared on Thursdays - including, one memorable Thursday, Robert Knight. Knight had a couple of records in the charts at the time, Roy recalls, and had been at the Top Of The Pops studio the night before to record.

He was playing Hypnotique the following night, when TOTP was screened. The whole audience, Knight included, watched him perform on TOTP - and then he mounted the Hypnotique stage and started playing live.

Awesome indeed.

Life in the Sixties

From The Yorkshire Evening Press, September 23 1964 (the year Roy Hughes began DJ-ing at The Bop).


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