The fifteenth #MuralMemories recording with #UntoldHull and @shipsinthesky63 comes from Janet Gill who was a regular at the Skyline Ballroom in the late 1960s, and later frequented Bailey’s and then Romeo’s & Juliet’s. The first time Janet went to the Skyline was in 1967 when she was 17, and she remembered being shocked at having to wait in such a long queue. As a shy teenager, it had taken Janet and her friends 2 weeks to pluck up the courage to go to the club in the first place. Janet remembers the club interior as being, “pretty basic with a few lights strung up and a stage” but that, “it was the music we went for.” Janet remembers the touring groups from America who performed in the club, including Jimi Hendrix, The Supremes, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band; in additional to local groups such as The Rats. On seeing Jimi Hendrix Janet said, “he was different…I think he was very unique, I don’t even think you could put him into a category. He was a bit of a shock to us and I can remember thinking we were a bit cheated ’cos we didn’t have our usual music but we actually enjoyed it because he was very charismatic.” When the club became Bailey’s Janet thought it was more sophisticated. The club then had cabaret style evenings and Janet went on her ‘spinster night out’ to the club when she was 21. Bob Monkhouse was performing the same evening and pulled Janet up on stage. Other clubs in Hull such as the Locarno seemed ‘stuffy’ to Janet and her friends, however they did like another Hull club called The Gondola, where they first heard the music of Tamla Motown, and also The Gardener’s Arms pub on Cottingham Road where they found out about gigs at the Hull University Student Union such as The Kinks and Manfred Mann. Janet and her friends were purely interested in the music and atmosphere, and never went to clubs for the alcohol. Her group of friends also went for “copping off with boys”, and Janet remembers the crush she had on one particular boy who, “then went off and broke my heart.” Janet remembers how she wasn’t impressed by acts being famous but rather the music and the new dance moves that came with the music, “we loved to dance…just being teenagers really, learning to grow up.” At the time Janet went to the club she observed how she was part of a generation who had limited access to American soul music. In the 1960s you could hear soul music on pirate radio stations but it was rarely featured on the few music-dedicated TV shows such as ‘Top of the Pops’. Despite having a strict father, Janet remembered how she wore little shorts, mini dresses and short skirts to go clubbing, “you wouldn’t be seen dead in anything longer than 2 or 3 inches above your knee.” Many of the clothes Janet and her friends wore were bought from C&A who, “brought modern clothes at a price that that generation of working-class people could afford.” Janet went on to say, “I remember my father giving me some money and telling me to go and buy myself a dress, and, I think I was 16, and I came back with x2 pairs of bell-bottom flares and he went bananas, he went mad…we fell out over that for quite a while.” When she was 19, Janet bought a fur coat in the Co-op, “I loved the store, I always bought stuff from there…and it was slightly cheaper than BHS.” On nights at the club, “They were glorious evenings, we just used to live for them all week, really, just used to live to go there.”
|Year of Birth||–|
|Location:||Hull Central Library, Albion Street, Hull|
|Date of Interview:||27/11/2018|
The transcription for this recording will be available soon.