Linda’s Ready Steady Go! pilgrimage was a once in a lifetime experience
It’s testament to the longevity of one of the sixties’ most enduring pop shows.
Over fifty years since it first hit the screens and its title is still a byword for modernist cool and cutting edge artists.
Most local pop fans had to make do with watching Ready, Steady Go! (or RSG) on the TV. But one Chesterfield resident, Linda Biggs, went one better and was lucky enough to travel to London to see the show being recorded.
Her story appears in our best-seller, the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1960s Chesterfield’ by Pete Dodd.
Linda Biggs: “I had no idea that my impending trip to London to visit my friend and her parents would result in me being lucky enough to visit my favourite pop show. I’ll explain. It was after leaving school in June 1965, and before I started my junior clerk job in early July, my parents allowed me to travel alone to London to stay with my friend Barbara and her parents in Manor Park, East London. I regarded it as a bit of an adventure. In fact, everything about it was a huge thrill, from choosing what clothes and shoes to take, my hair rollers, lacquer and precious tail-comb, together with little gifts for my friend and her parents. My mum was paranoid that I’d lose my money so she made me stash ten bob notes into various pockets in my luggage, so it wasn’t all kept in my purse. It was a great idea of hers and I still do it today!
“In those days, we didn’t have a house phone, and neither did my friend, so everything had to be arranged by letter. Barbara’s mum wrote to my mum to confirm everything with a promise to be at Victoria Coach Station to meet me. My mum waved me off and several hours later I was met with smiles and big hugs. Barbara’s mum was a proper Cockney with a fabulous outlook on life and a hilarious way of pronouncing things. She knew we called everyone ‘duck’ up North and her version of that was to ask me ‘You OK then, mah dack?’ Or ‘Ja wanna cappa tea, dack?’.
“I was so excited at the prospect of RSG. I have no idea where or how she got the passes, but I do recall she had friends in stage school who may have auditioned so it could have been via them. We queued outside for quite a long time and the girls seemed to outnumber the boys. They were all London kids with accents so different to mine.
“We were told to gather around and dance near the platform of the artist performing at the time, look happy and applaud. The cameras were all over the place and moved around the room, so if you were not paying attention you were likely to get run over or walloped at the side of the head by a rotating camera! I’m not sure I actually realised I was taking part in something quite so iconic, though I was in awe of the celebrities. Especially Cathy McGowan.
I remember seeing The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and The Kinks. It was summer 1965.”Some of the girls went out of their way to be noticed by dressing and dancing flamboyantly. I noticed lots of very long hair, backcombed hair, short skirts, modest skirts, bright colours in clothing. The dance moves were very jerky at the time, and lots of balancing on one foot while waving the other foot in front.
“We queued for what seemed like hours after the show so everyone was chatting while the time passed. Barbara and I were at the back of the crowd and we only knew someone notable had emerged when the screaming started. Being so much taller than her and with a lot of jumping up and down I could see it was Ray Davies. Barbara and I had no chance and we were hugely disappointed as both of us had a ‘thing’ for Ray Davies. We noticed that the seasoned autograph hunters were very pushy and ruthless and as a result we missed several opportunities, particularly The Rolling Stones. After a lull in anyone else famous coming out, some of the hunters began to drift away. This worked in our favour as we found ourselves in just a small but hopeful crowd. As a result, I was fortunate to get Jeff Beck’s autograph.”
*Taken from the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1960s Chesterfield’ which is available from www.dirtystopouts.com for just £13.95