Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Fade Away

Lord Patten reminisces on his student days in an Oxford University podcast this week.

He was at Balliol, studying medieval history alongside the French Revolution. It was the "Swinging Sixties", but the good Lord says he didn't realise he was being swung. He was fly-half for the college rugby team, an opening bowler at cricket, found time to play for a Sunday side, as well as acting and writing.

Perhaps the biggest injection of contemporary music into his life was attending the Magdalene Commemoration Ball in 1964, which featured three half hour sets from The Rolling Stones, the last at 3.20am, following John Lee Hooker in the Cabaret Marquee. In the same tent, you got local rockers The Falling Leaves (who had to lend Bill Wyman an amp), and Freddie and The Dreamers. Johnny Dankworth's Band and Tubby Hayes filled the Jazz Marquee until nearly 6am. In the Ballroom, you had the unlikely combination of Ian Stewart and His Orchestra (of Music While You Work fame) and John Mayall's Blues Breakers.

Lord Patten attended with his girlfriend from St Hilda's, Mary Lavender St Leger Thornton, later his wife. Double tickets were 8 guineas.The Rolling Stones were paid £100 in 1964, honouring a booking made a year earlier, before they'd released a single.

Entertainingly, as we move from Coalition to Full On Tory Government, Magdalene couldn't afford to run a Commem Ball this year.

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