Thursday, 27 February 2014

Part 5: My Story.

Nice Maurice and all that jazz......

The year was 1973 and on the face of it things couldn’t get much better I was 24 married to my dream girl. I had by this time interests Club Elizabeth, Sachs Hotel and Club Barbarella. I was dinning in the finest restaurants and enjoying my trips to London hanging out with my partner Louis Brown famous showbiz friends. Really life doesn’t get much better than this, so I thought.
It was around this time that The Sunday World newspaper was launched, it was Ireland's first tabloid newspaper published by Hugh McLaughlin and Gerry McGuinness. It broke new ground in terms of layout, content, agenda, columnists. Gerry, who I knew quite well, decided that it might be a good idea to do a profile on me and of course I was only too happy to oblige. He sent a reporter around to Sachs hotel to interview me, but when I discovered he was only a cub reporter on his first assignment I wasn’t too happy, in fact I called Gerry and insisted that i should at least be afforded the privilege of the owner of the paper himself conduct the interview (slightly full of my own self important by then me thinks!!!) I can’t remember in the end if it was Gerry or another more senior reporter who actually did the interview but all I know is that they a called me ‘Nice Maurice’ in the article and from that day on that name stuck!!!

The Irish economic boom that we were enjoying did not last for long. Industrial relations disputes, inflation from the oil crises of 1973 overspill from the Troubles in Northern Ireland, new capital taxes and poor management of the economy by the government took their toll and yet the rich didn’t seem to be that effected Club Elizabeth and Sachs Bar where still booming and attracting the society of Dublin. My clients included some of Ireland’s biggest names in business. I allowed companies to open accounts which was at the time a good move as many of the executives who visited the club were allowed to simply sign their bills and at the end of the month an account would be sent out and paid. This encouraged much higher spending.

Casting my mind back there were many memorable nights. One of them had to be the night that we had an electricity break down
leaving Elizabeths bathed in darkness, the glow from the candles on tables was the only source of light, as romantic as it was but with no music it meant no dancing. The late Dermot O’Reilly-Hyland came up with an idea to solve this problem by backing his brand new white E Type Jaguar into the kitchens and by turning up his 8 track stereo to full volume, we had music, Problem solved!!! Another problem was angry wives or girlfriends turning up at the door demanding to come in to see if there husband was inside. Diplomacy was the order then as we instructed the condemned men to leave the club through the kitchens.
Over the 7 years I had Club Elizabeth I remember very little trouble in fact I only remember ONE row in the club when the Irish rugby hooker Ken Kennedy threw a punch at one of the French team. It was over in seconds, hands were shaken and champagne ordered.

I was a great rugby fan so you can imagine how thrilled I was when one Tuesday evening I arrived at the club to see it full with famous rugby players from UK, Wales and Scotland. Some of the biggest stars at the time where enjoying there night out including JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards, Mike Gibson etc. One thing that was odd was there was no International planned for the net coming days and no matter who I asked why they were here there answers were the same shrouded in secrecy. It was only the next day when Irish captain Willie John McBride ran out with Ulster (I think) when Eamonn Andrews host of BBC’s This Is Your Life stepped out from the tunnel with the famous red book in hand announcing those famous words; “Willie John McBride, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!” And that folks is why so many famous rugby stars were in Elizabeth’s the night before, sworn you secrecy.

Talking about Eamonn Andrews reminds me of the time my father called me and invited me to join him at the Russell hotel, then Dublin’s most elegant 5 star hotel, for dinner. It was unlike him to simply call me out of the blue to invite me for dinner. As I drove to the hotel I kept wondering why he was so insistent that I come straightaway. I was shown to the table were my father, mother and their friends were sitting. As soon as I sat down my father began to explain why the urgency. Leaning forward, almost in a whisper he explained although he was sworn to secrecy he wanted to warn me. “Warn me of what?” I asked. He then told me to slowly look behind me. I turned around and to my surprise Eamonn Andrews was sitting there chatting to a friend. Turning back I whispered, “So?” My dad leaned forward and asked; “You know what day it is?” I was confused wondering what he was getting at. “It’s Wednesday, why?” I hadn’t a clue what he was going on about and why we were whispering: “ As you know Wednesday is the day they televise This is Your Life and tonight Eamonn is going to come over to this table and surprise you!” I nearly fell off my chair. I was shocked sat still waiting for the big moment when Eamonn would say those famous words “Maurice Boland This is etc etc” After about 10 minutes I saw Eamonn leave the restaurant and my dad and his friends fell around laughing. Boy was I embarrassed. You see my dad was a great practical joker and to think I was big headed enough to fall for such a stupid wind up!!


Club Elizabeth had some great characters as clients including John ‘Wheels’ O’Byrne who would spend the night going around the club selling top end cars or Jimmy Roach, Liam Flood, Nick Murphy and a gang of high rollers who would spend the evening drinking champagne whilst playing a game called Spoof where 3 coins were used and thousands of pounds lost or won. There was one particular multi millionaire who would always fall asleep and needed his chauffeur to come in and carry him out fireman style. One of our favourites was Dr Frank Dwane. (none of these names have been changed to protect their innocence because they were ALL innocent....I think!!) There was also an array of beautiful woman, mostly married to my best customers including Maureen ‘Mo’ Austin, Jennifer Jeffers, Irene McHugh, Norma Smurfit and Susan McDougall (all still stunning I might add)


As young as I was I used to have a driver then and a dark blue XJ series Jaguar. One night after shutting up the club I walked out expecting to see my driver Liam and my car but what greeted me was a white Rolls Royce.
Confused, I asked Liam where my Jag was, he explained that John O’Byrne had told him that I had agreed to try out the Rolls and that I was interested in buying it. Well I never had agreed anything of the sort but I knew this was his way of operating, lending a potential client a flash motor hoping he would then buy it. Was I angry? Not in the slightest in fact I
sent Liam home and decided I wanted to drive this stunning car myself Did I feel important as I drove this Roller the 25 miles home, you can bet your life I did!
As I got to about 3 miles to my house the car spluttered to a halt. I realised I had run out of petrol! After effing and blinding and threatening to kill O’Byrne , I decided I’d better try to get a lift to thenearest petrol station. Please picture this I was wearing a Tom Jones styled frill shirt, a long velvet coat, the sort Beau Brummell used to wear and my shoulder length I must have looked liked a freak out of a Frankenstein movie standing on the road thumbing a lift! After a few cars passed ignoring me, eventually a kind postman on a Honda 50 stopped and agreed to bring me to the nearest garage. I purchased some petrol the kindly postman drove me back to the car. How I would have loved a photo of me on the back of that motorbike. The next morning Wendy woke me asking why a Rolls Royce was parked in our drive and were was my car, I told her I was thinking of buying it. She told me that I could do what I want but she would never set foot into the car she said she felt it was to flashy to austintatious and we would be seen to be rubbing the noses in those who were struggling through the recession including some of our friends. That was it, NO roller. But I did manage to take it to Brittas Bay for the day!! (see photo, what a poser?) Mind you this was NOT the first time that lovable rouge O’Byrne did this to me.


One early evening whilst leaving Sachs Hotel John stopped me and handed me a car key saying: “Here this is for you.” I had no idea what he was up to, but knowing O’Byrne I was sure he was up to no good. He marched me outside and there sitting in the car park was a brand new blue Maserati Bora. He said “Go on try it, it suits your image.” And with that he tossed me the keys turned around and left. It was a beautiful summers evening the bars terrace was full of Dublin’s ‘In Crowed’ so I thought I’d look pretty impressive pulling off in front of that crowed. So I jumped in started up the engine, I was sure the roar could be heard a mile away as I prepared to set off home. Only one problem I couldn’t find reveres!!! How I lost all credibility when I had to get some of my staff to push me backwards so I could turn and leave. John O’Byrne was one of Dublin’s great characters, he died a few years ago and I’m sure is greatly missed by those who knew him.


During the rest of ’73 I was as busy as ever. Wendy had now stopped modelling as she was pregnant. Backgammon was the new
craze, we were winning and losing oodles of cash. After all we were a group of young entrepreneurs enjoying ourselves. Big homes, fast cars and plenty of cash. I also made my first entry into the Who's Who of Ireland.


As we approach June 1974 Wendy was in her final month of her pregnancy, are home was prepared for the arrival of a little boy and a blue themed nursery was ready. A fully uniformed trained nanny had taken up residency. We were all on standby. June 13th I had friends around for a game of backgammon. I was called a side by the nanny Joan to ask Eamonn, h my driver, to get the car ready as Wendy’s waters had broken and we must leave immediately for the Hospital. Nicholas Boland was born in the early hours of the next morning. I had become a father and my mum and dad had become grandparents for the first time. The Sunday World newspaper ran an article about the birth saying that: ‘Nice Maurice Boland had a camera installed in the nursery so that he could not only hear his new born baby cry but also watch it wee!!!! (see the cutting at the bottom of this chapter)


The Photo above of Wendy and myself with our first born son Nicholas was taken by my grandfather Joe Ross who with my grandmother ran Ross Studios St Stephens Green. It was said there was hardly a home in Dublin that didn't have a Ross Studio's photograph. My grandfather's nephew Edmund Ross continues to keep the Ross Studios name alive and he himself is one of Irelands finest photographers.


Throughout ’74 and ’75 it was business as usual. My partners in Sachs Hotel informed me that they had a decent offer for the hotel and wanted to sell and as a minor share holder I had no option but go along with the deal although I was far from happy.
By 1976 Wendy was pregnant again and was expecting in June.


One afternoon I received a call from a very powerful socialite asked me she could to rent Club Elizabeth for an entire
evening to host a VIP party in honour of Senator Edward Kennedy who was coming on a private visit to Ireland. This meant that the club would be closed to the public for that particular night. I agreed readably after all what incredible publicity for Elizabeth’s. But there was proviso, NO publicity before the event as security was a very high priority. Reluctantly I agreed, although it was difficult for me to keep shtum but somehow I managed it. The big day finally arrived and that afternoon I had to open the club to let the Kennedy security team check out the premises. It turned out to be an amazing evening with the guest list reading like the who’s who of Irish politics and a very special invited VIP list.



Approaching midnight I was called urgently to the foyer which was separated from the inside of the club by a highly guarded door, to my surprise Inspector Malone of the Harcourt Street Garda Station accompanied by a team of uniform officers greeted me: “Well Mr Boland what’s all this about warning me that tonight might not be a correct time to carry out an inspection?” He
enquired with a sarcastic tone. I apologised and explained what was taking place inside etc etc. Inspector Malone thankfully agreed and ordered his disappointed posse to leave the club. You have no idea how good that felt. The evening was a great success, the entire Kennedy party left more than satisfied and I was well pleased with myself especially showing my arch enemy Inspector Malone the door!!



I slept in late the next day and more or less decided to hang around the house and take the night off. All was well until I received a call asking had I seen today’s newspapers?. I hadn’t but I felt sure some very positive stuff would make the press front pages about the VIP guest and his visit to Club Elizabeth, although I was surprised it was reported so soon. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. All the press covered the story about me ‘ordering’ the police out of the club etc. Other reports described how I belittled the highly respected police Inspector !! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I just put the phone down, I was stunned. Who could have leaked last night’s incident at the door to the press? I just sat there with my head in my hands knowing this could be curtains for me and Elizabeths. I was immediately on the phone to my manager calling a meeting with him and the staff without delay. I told him I needed to find out exactly who had spoken to the press. Within the hour I was at the club greeted by a shocked staff everyone realised what this was going to mean. We sat there trying to figure out who stupidly leaked the story. The doorman then remembered that at that time the owner of another club was at the door and although to this day I could never prove it was him it added up. The next thing I had to do was to call Inspector Malone to request a meeting. He wasn’t a happy bunny to say the least but agreed to meet me out of uniform at Stillorgan Shopping Center. It turned out to be a very uncomfortable meeting; he was furious and rightly so. I, of course, did all but get down on my knees to apologise. He would have none of it believing I made him and his men look like idiots. He angrily explained that he had already been called up in front of his Chief Superintended. As he left his parting words were “You should never have done it”
I just sat there well after the police Inspector left feeling my world was about to close in on me. I knew in my heart and soul I knew it would only be a matter of time before Malone would seek his revenge!

To be continued......

Note: Since publishing the first chapters of My Story I have received emails with information and photographs from those who would like to add their memories to My Story. So I have been going back and adding this information to already published chapters. A big Thank you. My email address is maurice@italkfm.com and I would be delighted to hear from you.. I have just found this from a book about my old prep school St Stephens where I was a weekly boarder. It was written by my English teacher Aileen Finnigan. We later became friends, in fact her daughter was our children baby sitter!!!

This is from The Sunday World 1974 on the birth of my first child...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Thank for the encouraging feedback My Story is receiving.

Still to come:
Senator Edward Kennedy’s party that eventually lost me Club Elizabeth.
The fire that destroyed Barbarella’s. Opening an award winning restaurant.
Co writing the musical Peter Pepper.
A disastrous property court case that wiped me out financially.
Upping my roots and moving my young family to Spain.
My time with James Hunt’s club Oscars.
Discovering Mandy Smith which led me to being embroiled in one of the biggest scandals during 1986.
The Rolling Stone who warned me to leave of London or else!!!.
Success at last in Ireland's high court against the national television station RTE for slander.
My life on radio and television.
How I almost lost it all again.
Finally my life today.

Please note that each one of these chapters are synopses and far from the complete story. I've had emails informing me that I have left out names. places and events etc. I apologise and if I ever get around to writing the full story be assured that your information will be of a great help. Thank you.


Part 5: My Story to follow shortly.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


My Story. Part 4.

IT ALL KICKS OFF AT CLUB ELIZABETH


Now that my father refused to put up the money to build my club I needed to look elsewhere. I’d already named the discotheque Club Elizabeth but all I had was an empty basement, then I remembered a builder who was a family friend. I called him and explained my dilemma; he suggested I call his young nephew Ronnie Noble who was also a builder. So I called Ronnie and we agreed to meet up. All I needed to do now was to persuade him to build the club on credit. We met up and I told him my ideas and the way I wanted Cub Elizabeth to look; the dance area should be made up of a series of caves each alcove should house seating and tables and the restaurant in dark red with black furniture. Ronnie seemed excited with the whole concept and began to explained the process and difficulty of building the caves, they needed to be first set out in wood and chicken wire and then moulded with hard setting plaster. The dance floor needed to be professionally sprung and lighting etc needed to be imported. The kitchen would need commercial catering equipment including ovens, griddles, bain maries, fridges washing machines etc etc. Then of course there was the disco equipment. WOW! All this sounded very expensive and for someone with no funds somewhat impossible, that is until a light came on and I suggested we pay Ronnie off monthly, that I lease the kitchen equipment and put the furniture on an account in a Dublin store. Amazingly Ronnie agreed, the leasing on the equipment and furniture turned out relatively easy and by May 1969 Club Elizabeth’s was ready to open.


Photo shows Liz on the left and Barbara Willoughby, Liz’s sister, with me as we pretend to paint a prehistoric drawing on the cave walls for the press


The opening was spectacular and very glitzy affair thanks to my partner Liz and my parent’s wealthy friends. It was by any standards a spectacular launch party which saw the who’s who of Dublin society turning out in all their refinery. The press and magazines loved it. Club Elizabeth quickly established its self as THE place to be and be seen, it became the toast of Dublin’s society where the rich and famous began to hang out.
But all was far from perfect, there was one very important downside, the wine license only allowed serving up until 11pm and with a meal 11.30pm! Crazy as it seems now, that was the licensing laws back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in Ireland, which
meant that we were to all intense and purposes to become a speakeasy somewhat like the drinking clubs during the American prohibition in the 1920’s. In fact we even had a peep hole fitted in the door so we could keep an eye out for those shiny silver buttons that were the tell tale sign that the Garda (The Irish Police) were about to make a raid. Raids would happen regularly and looking back on it now it was very Keystone Cops ! I’ll explain how the police raids took place. Let me set the scene. The club was full practically every night up unto around three or four in the morning, everybody would be drinking the finest wines and champagne which at the time I charged the earth for the privilege. The Garda (Irish police)didn’t take long to find out what was going on, in fact with the top end cars parked outside the club until the early hours of the morning you would needed to be blind not to notice that late night activities were taking place on Leeson Street. The Garda would make regular visits Elizabeths after midnight. As I said we had a peep hole installed in the doors and when you spotted the silver buttons of the Garda uniform the doorman would flash a special light in the club warning us of the pending raid. The waiting staff would then go into action joined by many of the customers and would start hiding the wine bottles in the kitchens, toilets, under the stairs etc etc . After a prolonged wait I’d innocently greet the Garda and profusely apologise about the delay claiming I never heard the bell! After accepting my feeble excuse they would make a quick inspection and leave. I was always sure they knew exactly what was going on and turned a blind eye. After all how ridicules it must have looked, a full club with people sitting around empty tables with nothing but an ashtrays and the odd cup of coffee on them???.


I had amazing staff back then and I’m sure many of you who are reading this remember Paddy Warren as my manager, Pat Clark as manageress, The wonderful Patrick Kelly as head chef (Patrick was killed tragically in a motor car accident) Mrs Peckingham in prep, Inez headed up the bar staff and the extraordinary Ephraim as DJ. There weren’t many blacks working in Dublin at the time but Ephraim was one of the few and a brilliant and popular personality and DJ he was.


Unbelievably, this photograph is the only photo I have of Club Elizabeth. It was taken at the bar and shows myself with manager Paddy Warren and Pat Clark who are behind the bar and I think one of the Stylistics who were visiting Dublin as part of their world tour. I'm hoping someone who is reading this might have some more and would let me have copies?



Visiting celebrates to Dublin started to use Club Elizabeth regularly, they names such as Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris, Peter Sellers, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. Many Irish politicians also stared to use the club regularly including Charley Haughey, who was to go one to become Irelands prime minister, Desmond O’Malley, George Collie and Michael O’Leary who were regulars, In fact UK’s Private Eye magazine reported that, ‘Charlie Haughey was spotted horizontal Jogging with Irish journalist Terry Kean in Maurice Bolands private office whilst enjoying a night out at the highly expensive nightclub Elizabeth’s!
As I said before my name was now regularly appearing in the gossip columns. A book about Ireland during this period called On Our Knees came out (Photo. Front Cover) by Rosita Sweetman. Each chapter was dedicated to famous Irish people of the time including, Desmond Guinness ( the Guinness family) Sean Mac Stíofáin , the then leader of the Provisional IRA, Charles Haughey and many more high profile Irish people. The entire first chapter was dedicating to Maurice Boland, yes me!




Wendy was continuing a very successful career in the modelling world with many front covers under her belt and was making regularly visited London and Paris to appear on the catwalk shows. (photo. Wendy at a modeling session)

After the first 12 months I had bought out Liz and now owned 100% of the Club. Wendy and I were christened Irelands golden couple by the press. Life couldn’t have been better. Then disaster struck, the Irish banks went on strike! At first I didn’t see the warnings; in fact the club seemed to get busier during the strike. A builder called Tom Hynes asked me if I could cash his cheques so he could pay his staff and seeing 80% of my business was cash then and Tom was one of my best customers I naively agreed. Unbelievable to think about it now but the strike last 6 months!!! Another business man and a friend of Hynes asked me also to cash his cheques so he too could pay his staff and again he was a good client and I readably agreed. Ss the strike deepened I was receiving less and less cash and more and more cheques. I’m sure a lot of you reading this story can see what I couldn’t see; the writing was on the wall!!! The strike which started in May 1970 finally ended November and I was delighted to proudly walk into my bank, The Ulster Bank, Lower Baggot Street, with a sack full of money, thousands of pounds, mostly in cheques to make a large deposit. Norman Murray, my dear long suffering bank manager, looked pleased but also concerned, “What’s up Norman?” I enquired, thinking he should be delighted with all this money. “Are you sure these cheques will cash?” he asked. “Of course they will, they are from some of my best and trusted customers”. I’m sure you all know what happened next??? Within a week Norman called to deliver the disastrous news, ALL but a few of the cheques bounced!!!! At first, although shocked, I felt confident that it was a mistake and Hynes would immediately reimburse me. This never happened, he and his friend both went bankrupt as did many Irish businesses at the time and left me as good as broke. I was eventually forced to sell 50% of the club to one of Dublin’s biggest cattle dealers, Frank Conway who saved the day or I would have gone under!

LETS BUY A HOTEL

Club Elizabeth continued to be Dublin’s favourite club for the rich and famous and at the time I was the undisputed king of clubs. I had many influential customers, one of them was Stanley Harris from London who became a regular at the club. One day he approached me with the idea of us both going into business together. He wasn’t sure of the type of business only that he would like to be a partner with me. He explained that his brother Fred a highly successful business man, could easily arrange considerable finance if the project was appealing to him. I took on board all he told me and pushed to the back of my mind until something suitable came along. I had in fact almost forgotten about the idea until one evening I was driving down Morhampton Road on my way into the club, when a green neon light of the Tamo Shanti Hotel and bar caught my eye. It was three 4 story terraced houses joined together, it reminded me of a boutique hotel called The Mountcalm that I stayed in, in London and always thought this style of hotel would work well in Dublin. The next day I took myself off to see if I could find out more about the Tamo Shanti. I pulled up outside and asked a workman up a ladder if he knew who the owner was. “It’s me” He replied. He introduced himself as Paddy Cosgrave from a well known family of Dundrum butchers. I got straight to the point and asked him if he would sell? “If the moneys right I’d sell me granny!” he replied “So How much would you take?” I asked and without hesitation he replied “ 100,000 would it” ( in today’s money it’s around one and half million) He obviously just bought it, the bar and hotel were in a very run down state and it look like he was doing the repairs and painting himself. I loved and felt this was to be my NEXT BIG THING!
I immediately got in touch with Stanley Harris, remembering how enthusiastic he was to go into business with me and brought him to have a look at the hotel, he also loved it and had his brother Fred fly over from UK to see if he liked the idea and could he put the money together. Thankfully, like Stan and myself, he loved it on first sight.
The price and purchase of the hotel was agreed and we took possession relatively quickly. The Harris’s employed top architects to firstly redesign the bar area and foyer so we could get it opened relatively quickly. I had come up originally with the name Sax Hotel which was approved by all. The designs were outstanding which included the bar area modelled on the old Irish pubs theme built using the finest mahogany, brass and mirrors and snugs place at intervals along the horseshoe shaped bar, it truly looked incredible. It was shortly before the opening that I in my wisdom had a change of heart and wanted to change the spelling of the name from Sax to Sachs, don’t ask me why but I did, I felt Sachs sounded classier and I remember as a kid my parents telling me about a German millionaire playboy called Günter Sachs who hung out in San Tropez after he married Bridget Bardot. Adding his name sounded very rich and glamorise exactly how I wanted the hotel to be viewed. Annoyingly all the signage, including printed headed paper, invoices, ashtrays, book matches, business cards etc had to be changed. Fred Harris wasn’t too happy but again thankfully he went along with the change.

By 1972 Sachs hotel (See Photo above) was opened and again the who’s who of Dublin society turned up for the opening party. The hotel was only about 10 minutes away from Club Elizabeth so by the closing time at Sachs the crowds would head off to spent the rest of the night at the club. It was a perfect set up.

BARBARELLA

By this time Lesson street had its second club, it was opened by Louis Murray, called the Pheasantry and although I wasn’t happy to have competition it really didn’t do any harm to the continued success of Elizabeth’s. Over time Louis and myself became friends and recognising the success of the much larger and younger cliental discotheques now opening in Dublin, especially Zhivago’s in Baggot lane ,we decided it was time to join forces and also open a large cub to attract Dublin’s younger set.
Unbelievably we found the perfect vacant premises, also in Baggot lane almost opposite Zhivagos, and immediately signed a long term lease. Louis had a friend in London called Louis Brown who owned some of London’s top Discotheques, in fact Louis Brown is the man who pioneered the clubs scene in London when he introduced the Scotch of St James where the Beatles, the Stones and many other well know celebrates hung out during the swinging 60’s. I had, of course, heard of Louis Brown he was a extreamly famous then and an Icon in our business, so you can imagine how surprised I was to receive a call from him one evening, Louis Brown calling little old me! I thought. At first I thought it was someone winding me up but quickly I realised it was in fact THE Louis Brown, he told me he was unhappy that his good friend and my new partner Louis Murray had been seen suspiciously hanging around is phenomenally successful London club La Valbonne asking questions of his manager, enquiring where furniture came from, where the skimpy uniforms of his staff were made etc etc . I explained that we were building a club in Dublin, which I now called Barbarellas after Liz Willoughbys sister Barbara, and that Louis suggested that we should model the design of his London club. Louis Brown wasn’t happy and said he wanted to buy into the project. In the end Louis Murray and I agreed having Louis Brown and the extra capital would be a great asset to the club. Bararellas opened 6 months later as an exact replica of La Valbonne including a swimming pool in the middle of the club where scantily dressed go go dancers would perform. Again this was a first for Ireland.

By this time Wendy and I were married and our first child was on his way. We had bought a stunning home on two acres in the Dublin Mountains. All on the face of it looked perfect. Then disaster struck for a second time.


To be continued ......

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Please note that each one of these chapters are synopses and far from the complete story. I've had emails informing me that I have left out names. places and events etc. I apologise and if I ever get around to writing the full story be assured that your information will be of a great help. Thank you. ........

MY STORY Part 3

Wine, Women and Song

So now I was back living in Ireland with my mum and dad again, no band and no idea what I wanted to do except of course to be rich
and famous. The year was 1967 and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was Number 1 in the charts. It was an excitable time musically. My ever generous father bought me my first car, a Triumph TR3 (told you I was spoilt!) it was 10 years old (see photo), although it looked great, to be truthful it was in fact a bit of a banger and spent more time and money in Adrian Elkinson’s Garage being repaired than it did on the road , eventually my lovely car simply died and I had to return to borrowing my mother’s for Ford Capri.

I had read a book about the high flying life of Manhattans advertising executives , private jets, fast cars and even faster women and decided that’s what I wanted to do next. My father had a good friend, Desmond O’Kennedy who was the owner of O’Kennedy Brindley one of Irelands leading advertising companies and persuaded Desmond to give his ‘talented’ son his first job. I was excited with the news about the job, I was on my way, only a matter of time before I would be a high flying executive with the use of private jets and dinning and wining glamorise models in New York, Paris and Rome’s finest restaurants . As you can see by the photograph my 1st job wasn’t quite as I thought it would be! I started off as a tea boy then progressing to the tedious job of laying Letterset! I stuck it out for about 6 months.

Girls. I was a bit different to many of my friends who boasted about their one night stands etc, I was only interested in steady girlfriends , although I had a few one night stands until I met Jennifer, she was to be my first love and we were crazy about each other although I had a feeling her dad and older brother weren’t too happy with her dating me, I felt and I might be wrong but it was because I was Jewish though nothing was ever said. Up to that point I don’t remember having much sex, possibly few gropes outside the cinema and of course the German incident, my affair with Jennifer was far from that, we were both young and spent a lot of time enjoying the sexual adventure that young teenagers did, that was until her dad found out and threatened to kill me!

I had to borrow my mum’s car when possible to get around, having to get a 64A bus into work and to walk from Collage Green to Gardner Street where OKB had their offices took about 20 minutes in the rain, which we have a lot of in Ireland, wasn’t very
pleasant and certainly not what an ex rock star would be expected to do!!!1 I needed a car, so again in steps my generous father and after a bit of genital persuading he bought me a very flashy bright red Triumph Spitfire with ‘go faster stripes’ down the side (see photo)





It was 1968 and time for change of Job and girlfriend! I can’t remember where I got the idea but I introduced the first mobile discotheque to Ireland. I got together with one of Ireland trendiest disc jockeys B.P Fallon and persuaded my dad do give me the money to get the mobile unite specially built. At 15 pounds a time or extra for psychedelic lighting (about 500 Euro in today's money) it didn’t take long before bookings started to come in for private parties. I then hit on the idea that we should introduce recorded music to fashion shows. Up to that time ALL fashion shows were accompanied with some ould geezer on keyboards. The first fashion show job almost put an end to my new enterprise. It was held at the then fashionable 5 star Gresham Hotel; on arrival we were met with strike placards demanding that the mobile disco would not replace a musician’s income. The strike was called by the Irish Federation of Musicians!!! But the show went on and we continued to replace musicians throughout the country bringing the very latest music to the world of fashion shows. I had set a precedent that saw the end of live music at fashion shows in Ireland forever.
(Photo: BP Fallon and myself looking after the music at a fashion show held in a store in Grafton Street, the model was Louise Mansfield and on the mic was Kay Toal. Notice the crowed at the windows, both myself and BP were well known so there was always interested wherever we went, especially after the press carried the story about my run in with the Federation of Musicians made the headline)





It was around this time that I decided to break up with Jennifer and started to date a young model called Mia, it wasn’t very serious, more a friend than a girlfriend. I was enjoying the success of the mobile discotheques. I Was also excited about a new phenomenon taking place in London ‘Discotheques’ I was sure I could bring this to Ireland and make it my next BIG thing.
A friend of mine called me, knowing I liked models, tipped me off about a stunning model appearing at a fashion show in Dublin’s mansion house, so without further ado myself and my friend Ronnie Chandler took ourselves off to see this model. Wendy walked on stage wearing a one peace swim suit, I almost collapsed!! I swear I had NEVER seen a girl like her she was without doubt the most beautiful girl I had ever laid my eyes on , I fell head over heels there and then! This was my dream girl. Wendy Gilbertson was a year younger than me, she was born in Scotland but moved with her family to South Africa when she was six months old. Her Father was posted to Dublin as MD of Yardley Cosmetics. Wendy was then in a relationship with the then Lord Mayor of Dublin’s son, but that didn’t deter me, I was starry eyed about her and nothing was going to get in my way.
I hatched a plan to try and get Wendy alone, so I called her agency and asked if they could supply a couple of models for a photo shoot to publicise the Mobile Disco business. I said I had seen a girl called Wendy and if possible I would like her. They sent Wendy and her sister for the photographic session that next day which took place in the back garden of an apartment I was then sharing with Ronnie, I should say bedsit! The photo appeared in the Irish Press. (Wendy is on the left, with her sister Linda). There was just one major problem, my flat mate, business partner and best friend Ronnie was also crazy about her, I suspect most guys who laid eyes on Wendy felt the same as us. I was still dating Mia so Ronnie decided to make a play for Wendy but for some reason Wendy fancied me so it was goodbye Mia and hello Wendy!



As I said, I was now taking a serious interest in London’s discotheque scene, I had visited a few of the clubs and loved Tramp and Annabel’s two of London’s top clubs where the rich and famous hung out. So I decided it was time that Dublin should have one of these Discotheques. There were two small Dublin clubs that superseded me to the prize of claiming being Irelands first Discotheque but my plans were to be more in line with the top London clubs to include a strict membership and a top class restaurant etc. It was 1969 I was still only 19 and engaged to Wendy. I set about finding a premises’ for the club, I had decided it needed to be a basement as were Tramp and Annabel’s and would have to have an upmarket address. I was driving into town one day through the Dublin’s fashionable Leeson Street when I spotted a basement To Let. I took down the telephone number and arranged to visit the premises. It was the basement made up of two large rooms with a garage attached making up part of a four story Georgian House number 62 Lower Leeson Street.(photo: Elizabeths was in the basement behind the lamp post)


It was perfect this was to be my ‘next big thing’.
At the time my company Mobile Discotheques was still very busy in the fashion show world and it was there that I came up with my next idea. Liz Willoughby was then Irelands top model there wasn’t a magazine or newspaper without Liz on the front cover she was after all an Irish icon. One evening after a fashion show I was having a backstage chat with Liz when I explained an Idea I had of her becoming my partner as I felt her name would be a great asset to the club and short track to it’s success, she would also be a great draw in getting a jet set clientele. I was amazed and excited when she agreed on the spot.



I had the partner I wanted, I had the premises I wanted, all I needed now was the small matter of finding the finance to build the club and guess where I went? Correct; my dad yet again. His reaction was what great stories are made of. “A what-o-theque???” he exclaimed. I explained about the success of discotheques in London and how I was sure Dublin’s jet set would love one here.
“So tell me about how you intend to serve alcohol?” The only way you could get a licence to sell alcohol in Ireland in those days was to buy an exciting licence premises that, even then, could have cost upwards of a million plus ( I was eventually responsible for instigating a change in these archaic licensing laws for restaurants by setting up in 1970 the Restaurants Association of Ireland, which to this day is still strong body) I explained to my perplexed father that, because I planned a restaurant in the club I could get a wine license and would sell it by the bottle or glass.
“Wine!!!!” My father laughed, “Are you going to tell me that people will go into your club and order wine??” You should understand why my father was so amused. In those days the only wine that was drunk was possibly a bottle of Mateus Rose and then only on Saturdays. The next question my father asked was about music, so I explained it was records only, this again amused him, “You can play records at home why would people pay to hear them with you and do you plan to have bands??” Again I explained that discotheques don’t have live musicians. By this time my father was laughing out loud. “You must be off your head” he replied. “NO ONE will go and pay good money to listen to records, are you trying to tell me someone puts a record on and then a load of strangers get up and dance, who chooses the record???” I explained about the job of a disc jockey. “ You mean someone dresses as a jockey and plays records, people can only drink wine and you think the Irish will go for this? The answer is no, forget it, it won/t work and I’m not giving any money towards this crazy, ridicules idea!!!”

(photo: My father Dr Stanley Boland on his beloved horse Christobel, setting off with The South County Dublin Hunt)

To be continued........

NEXT CHAPTER: BARBARELLA'S, SACHS HOTEL, BIG HOUSES AND BROKE!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Interesting point of view.


Here's an interesting viewpoint, coming from Spain .... What really died at Auschwitz ? The following is a copy of an article written by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez and published in a Spanish newspaper on January 15, 2011. It doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe - and possibly to the rest of the world.

"I walked down the street in Barcelona and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz .... We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs. What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe .

A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves. Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving in to it.

It is now more than sixty years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, twenty million Russians, ten million Christians, and nineteen-hundred Catholic priests who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated.' Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people. Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center 'NEVER HAPPENED' because it offends some Muslim in the United States ? If our Judeo-Christian heritage is offensive to Muslims, they should pack up and move to Iran , Iraq or some other Muslim country.


Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez

THINK?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

MY STORY: PART 2: Drummer Boy.

The first time I came across a kit of drums was at my uncle Izzy Walton’s house in Glasgow. I was about 10 years old and the drums belonged to his son, my cousin, David who was about 16. I was mesmerised by the drums and would sit behind them imaging me playing them just like my cousin. I vaguely remember a record I used to hear in my home, I think it was something like ‘African Beat’ and loved the sound of the pounding drums. If I wasn’t miming in front of a mirror to Cliff Richard I was fantasising that I was playing the drums like Toney Meehan, drummer with the Shadows.

By the age of 13 I had my Bar Mitzvah, and Bar Mitzvahs meant lots of presents, the one I remember that meant most to me were the three LP’s, they were Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Joe Dee and the Starliters recorded live at the Peppermint Lounge New York and Teen Beat by a young American called Sandy Nelson
. I would stand for hours in front of the mirror miming to Joey Dee and imagine myself live in the Peppermint Lounge in New York with all those people applauding me. But it was Sandy Nelson, that really got to me and I began playing that LP Drum Beat over and over again. It was from then on all I wanted to be was a drummer and my parent’s hopes of me following in their footsteps as doctors went out the window.



One Sunday afternoon I arrived up at Maccabi, the Jewish sports and youth club in Terenure, Dublin, when I heard a band practising on stage, they were the first live band I had ever seen, I can’t remember all the band members names but the one I did remember was the drummer, Randy White, and his beautiful sparkling drum kit. I was so excited by what I was seeing I made up my mind there and then I MUST start a group. So I set about asking the kids around the club did they know anyone who played an instrument. It wasn’t long before I was introduced to Jeff Key and Howard Spears, both who had electric guitars. This was it I thought my dreams were becoming a realty there on that Sunday afternoon I was only a beat away from stardom. Just one problem, I had no idea how to play the drums. My ever generous father, after a little persuasion, bought me a single snare drum which I battered the life out of it day in and day out much to our neighbours dissatisfaction!

I remember the day our first rehearsal, it was held in Jeff Key’s house, Jeff had brought his school friend Arnie Pool to make up the front line of 3 rhythm guitarists, no one was good enough to play either lead or bass guitar, and of course me and my single drum which I hadn’t a clue how to play. I was beside myself with excitement, this was it!. Before we started rehearsal we did as all teenagers throughout the UK and Ireland did on a Friday evening, we watched Ready Steady Go hosted by the lovely Cathy McGowan and the not so lovely Keith Fordyce. The number one song at the time was I Remember You by the Australian yodeller Frank Ifield, also on that show were the Zombies, Gerry and The Pacemakers and Cliff Richard. We decided that the first song we should learn was I Remember You, simply because the chords were the easiest. How I would have loved a recording of our first attempts. I think if any of us really knew anything about music we probably would have given up there and then, but perhaps that was true of all groups of the 60’s. We were all so enthusiastic and continued our feeble attempts of the yodellers song until it sounded somewhat like the original. After the rehearsal and well satisfied with ourselves we set about naming the new group, after all we were going to be the next Beatles and needed a strong name. We decided that the name should be The Keynotes, named after our guitarist and future star Jeff Key (now a doctor!!). Job Done! After a few more ‘rehearsals’ it was time to try and get our first ‘gig’ After a lot of persuasion we were allowed 10 minutes at a Jewish youth dance, me with my one drum and the boys with three rhythm guitars and about 3 songs, it was a disaster! Reality check time. We decided we needed a new strategy, we needed to learn how to really play our instruments and needed a repertoire lasting more than 6 minutes! Arnie decided to pack it in then and we were joined by Jim Hudson a bass guitarist

( The Photo is the first and only photograph of the Keynotes left to right, Jim Hudson, Jeff Key and Howard Spears and me with my ONE drum)
It was shortly after this photo that Jeff left to continue his schooling (The Key in The Keynotes was gone!) Jim had a friend Jay Malone an experienced lead guitarist and we were joined by Mick Rafferty on rhythm guitar who brought along Ditch Cassidy to complete the line up as lead singer. What we needed now was a new name. It was no good having the name Keynotes anymore. I had met Brian Jones in The Royal Avenue Hotel in Belfast were the Rolling Stones had played the Ulster Hall the night before (the hotel eventually turned into an army barracks during Northern Ireland’s troubles) Somehow I got talking to him and I told him I was starting a new band and was looking for a name, he suggest The Kingbees as ‘I’m A Kingbee’ by Muddy Waters was the first track on the Stones new album. So the new group from now on would be known as The Kingbees thanks to the late Brian Jones.
.

I was now 15 and a very spoilt by my parents, I had gone to one of Irelands best boarding schools, I lived in a very comfortable home and more or less had everything I wanted handed to me on a plate. Jim, Jay and Ditch came from a very different background they were from the other side of the city. Dublin is divided into two sides, the South side and the North side, it was considered then by us Southsiders that the Northside was the wrong side of the tracks where high rise apartment building were part of the skyline and unemployment etc was rampant, us Southsiders we thought were posh, a load of rubbish really, but I also remember I thought it very cool being part of a group with ‘Northsiders’ as fellow band members, in fact it turned out they really looked after me like their younger brother. We were originally managed by Alan Weinribe, who probably remembers more of that period than me. But it was our lead singer, Ditch Cassidy’s good friend, Pat Fay who took over the management who really got the ball rolling.


During the 50’s and early 60’s the Irish music scene was dominated by showbands, these were normally made up of 3 guitarists, 3 members on a brass section , a keyboard player and a drummer. Names like The Royal Showband, Brendan Boyer the Royal’s lead singer had a massive hit in UK with a song called ‘The Hucklebuck’ and received music’s highest award of a Carl Allen Award, this made Boyer and the Royal Showband superstars in Ireland. Many of these bands also travelled to UK and America playing to large crowds in the Irish clubs earning more money at the time than the Beatles or Rolling Stones. Other big names on the showband scene were Dickey Rock and The Miami, The Capitol featuring Butch Moor and of course The Clipper Carlton Irelands first showband to name but a few. Beat groups were something very new and as far as I can remember there was only the Kingbees and a fantastic group called the Creatures and that was about it. The only gigs we could get at the time was as an ‘Interval bands’ to the big showband names. We normally got to play about 4 or 5 songs and were mostly ignored by the hundreds that would fill the ballrooms to see what ever feature showband was playing. I remember one lad shouting up at us , “get off you long haired fucking gits! ”



This photo of the Kingbees, left to right, Mick Rafferty, Jay Malone, Ditch Cassidy, Me, and Jim Hudson.









Dublin, I think, was the first to recognise the growing popularity of the beat clubs in the UK and saw a need to open such venues similar to the Cavern in Liverpool , Tiles in London to facilitate the growing Irish beat group scene etc. A few beat clubs started to open across the city, like The 5 in Harcourt Street, which was a basement club very like the Cavern in Liverpool and became home to the Creatures,( photo of the Creatures on stage at the 5)
Club A GoGo and Sound City in Burgh Key which became the home to the Kingbees. There was a few more which I just can’t remember their names, There was no such thing as a discotheque , which I eventually helped pioneer, but that’s a whole different story which I’ll cover as a follow up to this.





The Kingbees started to get a following and by this stage I had persuaded my dad to buy me a full kit of drums but not just your normal kit but the Rolls Royce of drums, Ludwig, in the same mottled gray as the Beatles Ringo Stars kit!! Told you I was spoilt. I remember a few of our early shows, one that stands out was our first gig outside Dublin in a town called a gig in the Tipperary, all of us cramped in a mini bus making are way to some far off ballroom in the depths of the country and only to play as a support band to one of Ireland’s leading showbands, the Miami. Prior to this trip I had been watching the Rolling Stones on telly and noticed Brian Jones had the coolest tab collared shirt on , he had it closed and was not wearing a tie, I loved it and insisted we all should get tab collared shirts to wear on stage. What a site we must have looked following the smartly groomed and suited Miami Showband on stage with our long scruffy hair, tab collared shirts , Cuban heeled shoes. The country folk had never seen anything like us! No sooner had we started the show than a priest, who were ever present at dances, rushed on stage, unplugged our equipment and threw us out saying we were to sexually suggestive both in our dress and music!!! That was the last ballroom we played from then on it was beat clubs.

By this time the Kingbees were getting better known and even had a fan club and screaming girls at every appearance. We had already made our first appearance on the national television station RTE’s (Radio Telefís Éireann) Showband Show alongside Brendan Boyer doing his Hucklebuck and a beautiful young singer called Kelly and her showband the Nevada. We also released our first record which of course was a cover of the Muddy Waters song ‘I’m a Kingbee’ How exciting was this, Brian Epstein was sure to call any day now I kept telling the boys??? We felt like stars as we arrived on the sound stage of Irelands film studios Ardmore in Bray, Co Wicklow. Tony Boland (no relation) signed us to his Tempo label and the producer he had flown in from UK was none other than John Paul Jones, who went onto fame and fortune as bass player for Led Zeppelin.
My memory of that day is JPJ replaced me on the B side, My Little Red Book from the movie What’s New Pussycat and penned by Burt Bacharach, with one of Irelands, and still is, premier drummers Mr Johnny Wadham saying the B side was too difficult for me. Bloody cheek! Still angry with him Led Zeppelin or no Led Zeppelin!!! At least I played on the A sides I’m a Kingbee. Coincidently It was also the first time I’d seen a joint rolled. I remember telling my dad that JPJ was so poor he had to roll his own cigarettes. How naive was I?

The Kingbees were becoming recognised wherever we went and one funny incident I remember took place whilst I was walking down Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street , when a young shop assistant came rushing out of her shop yelling at me “Ya dirty feckin bastard!” I was shocked and asked what I had done? Still yelling she replied “Ya dirty feckin bastard, leaving Lulu like that!”
“No” I replied, "that was Maurice Gibb, I’m Maurice Boland and the band is the Kingbees, not the BeeGees” still yelling she yelled “ Kingbees, BeeGees your all the same you rock stars!!!” ‘Rock Star’ I thought, now that’s not so bad. Fame at last!


I can’t remember if we were actually making money but at a guess I’d say about 10 shillings each a night! It was around this time that the Kingbees were booked to play Germany, we couldn’t believe it we were heading for the very country that helped launch the Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Fourmost , the Swinging Blue Jeans etc etc. I was 16 at the time and I can’t really remember if I ran away or bullied my parents into letting me go, possibly the later. Anyway, we boarded a boat with all are equipment at the Dublin port from there we sailed to Germany and then by train to our first venue in a town called Brunswick to play a week long stint at The Party Club. Most of the Germany period was lost in my memory (Me playing in Hanover)
. One night I remember playing was the night Germany lost the World Cup to England and the German audiences weren’t very pleasant to us that night thinking we were English not Irish. They started abusing, first of all by shouting insults at us but things got a whole lot worse when a massive fight broke out after one of the band members announced “ You lost the first world war, you lost the second world war and now you’ve lost the world cup!!!” Time to pack up and get the hell out before we were killed literally.. Next stop was Hannover where I lost my virginity to a hooker, not knowing she was a hooker until I was leaving her apartment and her ‘Uncle’ asked me for money! I think I ended in tears and was driven back to our digs only for the rest of the band making a collection to pay this gorilla before he killed me!!



After the second week, and all stony broke we made our way back by train and boat and I’m not sure why but ended up in London. We literally had no money, I think the German promoter refused to pay, but we ended up sitting around Eros in Piccadilly Circus broke, hungry, cold, tired and all I wanted to do was go home to my mummy , I had enough of this rosk star life style!!! I remember I was always told my god mother, Nan Gluckstien, owned the Dorchester Hotel and not knowing where it was in London I drifted away fro the rest of the band members looking for what I thought was a B&B called the Dorchester! Eventually and after asking a few people for direction, I found myself on Park Lane Park outside the Dorchester Hotel. I remember thinking WOW! This is some B&B! I must of looked like a tramp as I walked into the 5 star luxury hotel, with my long hair not washed for ages looking filthy, my clothes being slept in for days, what a sight among all the super rich making their way around the entrance. As bold as brass I walked up to the reception desk and announced I was Nan Gluckstiens godson and I wanted a room. I was immediately ushered back to an office behind the reception desk and explained my dilemma to the desk clerk who listened sympathetically. He waited until I finished before he delivered the shocking news that my godmother Nan Gluckstien had died about 10 years prior and that she never owned the Dorchester but in fact owned the Cumberland and Regents Palace hotels. He then asked for my mother’s number in Dublin which he rang and explained the situation. This kind man then drove me to the Cumberland, booked me a room, ordered dinner in what then was their grill room The Time Bar and informed me he had booked an airline ticket the next day to Dublin, I presume that my Mother did this transaction with my father American Express Card, and that folks was the end of my German adventure and my days with the Kingbees. I was never to drum again.


P.S I never did hear from Brian Epstein!


NEXT UP: PIONEERING DISCOTHEQUES IN IRELAND

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

This is My Story each chapter is a shortened symptoms of the full story which I will tell If it ever makes into book form. Enjoy Maurice

Chapter 1. Being a Jew versus being a Catholic. A light hearted point of view.

Chapter 2. Drummer Boy.

Chapter 3: Wine, Women and Song

Chapter 4. It all kicks of at Club Elizabeth.

Chapter 5: Nice Maurice and all that jazz......

Chapter 6: It’s all over now.....Or is it?

Chapter 7: The Next big thing and death in my family.....

Chapter 8: What the hell is Innocent Misrepresentation?

Chapter 9: A new life, new home, criminals and drugs.

Chapter 10: Back in Dublin’s High Court AGAIN!

Chapter 11: First stop Cuba and then Mandy Smith .(part 1 and part 2)

Chapter 12: It's all over now with Mandy Smith and Dame Shirley Bassey goes wild!



MY STORY: PART 1:

Being a Jew versus being a Catholic. A light hearted point of view.

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, as where my parents and my grandparents, that is except my grandfather on my father’s side, he was born in Riga, Latvia. So I suppose that makes me a true blue blood Irish Jew with a drop on Latvian blood. Being brought up in Ireland during the 50’s I remember that the country was very Catholic dominated. The Catholic Church had a huge influence on everyday life, although as a youngster all I knew is many of my Catholic friends went to church on a Sunday where I was meant to go to synagogue every Saturday, a rule I must add that was not always strictly carried out in my home. Between the age of 0 and 13 religion never meant a lot to me except we Jews seemed to enjoy many different holidays which meant I could miss school.




I wasn’t a big fan of the Passover, it’s fair to say, although my parents were far from strictly observant , they did stick stringently to the rules of the festival . Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year. At this time Jewish people remember how the children of Israel left slavery behind them when they were led out of Egypt by Moses over 3000 years ago. The celebrations last for seven or eight days, depending on where you live.
I remember that every Passover all are dishes, cups, glasses and cutlery were replace by the set used solely for the Passover and all food was brought in that had the stamp ‘strictly for Pesach’ on them. Bread was replaced by matzos (unleavened bread), looks somewhat like a water biscuit.
On the evening before the Passover begins, a special dinner was held called a Seder ('Order') with family and friends in the home. It was a great fun time for us kids but the one big drawback was that the Passover normally fell at the same time as Easter and I was always devastated as my Catholic friends got stuck into their giant Easter eggs, which I didn’t receive as there was no such thing as a ‘strictly for Pesach’ Easter egg and hot cross buns were strictly OUT!!!!


My late father was a doctor and on the weekends I would go with him as he made his house calls. He worked a very large working class practice and I would imagine that 90% of his patience were Catholic, I loved the smell of frying bacon wafting out of some of his patience kitchens , but was never allowed to taste it (strict Jewish dietary law) In fact the first time I tasted bacon I was in my early 20’s!


The Jewish Sabbath came in every Friday and again I adored Friday evenings as we celebrated the Sabbath meal at my darling grandparents. My grandma was the most wonderful human being I had ever known and I adored her. One of the blessings for Jews were to invite visitors to join the family to partake in the Friday evening meal, my over generous adorable grandma almost always invited out of town visitors to join the family meal many of them non Jews, although the visitors were delighted to be invited they must have been rather confused by the Hebrew prays and all the male member wearing skull caps (yarmulkes ).



As a Jewish kid it always seemed so much easier being a Catholic than being Jewish i.e by the age of 13 when traditionally a Jewish Male enters adulthood by the celebration of the Bar Mitzvah. Something I must admit I didn’t look forward to. I had to study a piece from the Torah which I read on my Bar Mitzvah day in Hebrew in front of a packed synagogue followed by a dinner dance at night , in fact in many cases the Bar Mitzvah is as big as a wedding and the Bar Mitzvah boy, me, has to make a speech thanking his parents, grandparents, chief Rabbi etc for all the good things they have done for him, the speech is meant to be heartfelt and at times funny, a bit like the grooms speech at a wedding, then the most embarrassing you had to lead off the dancing by dancing with your mum and worst your sister, I think I refused that one!!! The Catholic communion seemed far less fussy, you get to wear a cool suit say a few prayers and Bobs your uncle your done. You can see the picture unfolding here. It’s a lot easier being a Catholic kid than a Jewish Kid.





One of the biggest drawbacks for Jewish kids and were Catholics definitely have one over on us is CHRISTMAS! Yes, we have Hanukah, which we are told as children is the Jewish equivalent to Christmas, but it’s NOT!! Yes, we get presents. But we don-t enjoy the same atmosphere as Christmas, the songs, the lights, the Christmas Trees, Santa Claus and the traditional Christmas Turkey, Christmas pudding etc etc. Luckily, as I said, my parents were very liberal and ALWAYS put up a Christmas tree and a visiting Santa Claus at our home. I always felt sorry for my Jewish friends whose parents were traditionally orthodox and wouldn’t hear of any form or recognition of Christmas in their homes.





The Jewish mother: It always seemed to me that my Catholic friends had it a lot easier than me, they didn’t have to spend Sunday morning at Hebrew school (Cheder) They were allowed to stay out later and even play in the woods at the end of our street. You see Jewish mums more or less rap their kids in cotton wool and fuss over them a lot more than non Jewish mums, well that’s the way I saw it anyway. A day playing outside with my friends would always end with “But muuuum, Frankie is allowed to stay out until it’s dark why can’t I, It’s soooo unfair!!”





Another Jewish festival is Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. I wasn’t a big fan of this particular festival; as I don’t think most Jews are. Traditionally Jews don’t start taking part in the fasting side until they Bar Mitzvahed (13) but us kids used to pretend we were adults from as early as 10 and started fasting. So what was it all about having no food or water for 25 hours? Repentance , asking the Almighty to forgive you for the since that you made during the year. Now again Catholics had it a whole lot easier, they would pop into confession tell the priest that they had sinned he’d give them a few Hail Mary’s and Bobs your uncle (again) and you were forgiven.



I was brought up in quite a liberal Jewish home my parents had a very mixed lot of friends and It was instilled into me that integration was important. I went to a Protestant boarding school and to be honest in all my years in Ireland I never came across Anti Semitism except as a kid my then best friend Frankie Benet accused me of killing Jesus!!! I ended up crying and swearing I didn’t even know him so how could I have killed him?




I am a practising Jew and belong to the Jewish community of Marbella where we have the first purpose built Synagogue (see photo) since the Spanish Inquisition and delighted to learn that Spain has introduced new laws that would allow the descendants of Jews expelled from the country during the Spanish Inquisition to obtain citizenship. Until now the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain during the 15th century – known as Sephardic Jews – could claim Spanish citizenship only after living in the country for two years, and then only if they renounced their previous nationality. Like Ireland I have NEVER in all the years I’ve lived in Spain come across any real form of Anti Semitisms except possibly from a few uneducated buffoons.

So there you have it is being a Jew Better than being a Catholic. I don’t know I’ve never been a Catholic.

Monday, 17 February 2014

SEAN CONNERY GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY THAT IS THE QUESTION?

The Goldfinger case has now hit the British Press, a case that is named after the James Bond movie and it’s star who is now a star witness in this high profile case in Spain is actor Sean Connery a onetime long term resident in Marbella. I didn’t know Connery on a personal level although I had met him on a couple of occasions and had been in his home Casa Malibu to see his wife’s Michelin’s paintings, she is an exceptional artist.
Sean Connery sold Casa Malibu for a reported for an undisclosed amount, I would guess in the lower to mid millions. Shortly after the house was demolished and More than 70 flats, later sold for an estimated £45million, were built in its place despite planning regulations stipulating only five flats could be built there. Connery has been alleged to have failed to pay tax on the deal.
More than 20 people, including corrupt former town hall officials and Connery’s lawyers, were called to give evidence in private court hearings designed to determine if charges should be laid.(photo of Connery by his pool in Marbella)
Sir Sean and his wife, implicated in the probe in May 2010 following a police raid on the offices of his Spanish-based lawyers, cited health reasons for failing to attend an October 2010 summons for questioning.

Connery is denying all implications in the case and has so far not returned from his home in the Bahamas to face any charges. The affidavit - in which Sir Sean denied all the claims made against him - is now in the hands of an investigating magistrate in Marbella who is probing the 1999 sale of Sir Sean’s home in the resort and its subsequent demolition to make way for a luxury apartment block built in breach of planning regulations.
The investigating magistrate in charge of the pre-trial probe is set to decide Sir Sean’s fate after studying the 56-page affidavit, ordered more than three years ago.

Connery seemingly react furiously to its leaking in Costa del Sol-based Spanish-language daily ‘SUR’.
The respected paper printed the front page of his affidavit which included his address in the Bahamas.
SUR reported Sir Sean was asked in documents if he had any relationship with corrupt former Marbella mayors Jesus Gil and Julian Munoz and jailed former town hall planning chief Juan Antonio Roca.
He is said to have denied any relationship with the trio and said of Gil, a populist right-winger whose corruption turned Marbella into a haven for gangsters: ’I believe I saw him in a public engagement and don’t consider that can be defined as me knowing him.’ He also denied involvement in two firms linked to an alleged multi-million pound fraud relating to the property deal involving Sir Sean’s former home around the time it was completed, SUR reported.

Sir Sean has already threatened reprisals over leaks linking him to the criminal investigation.

The only link I have with this case, in a very roundabout way, is the lawyers that acted for Sir Sean also acted for James Hunt when I took over his club Oscars in Marbella.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

WHAT I READ IN TODAY'S THE SUNDAY'S NEWSPAPERS.....








A SICK AND BRUTAL PART OF OUR SOCIETY

Since posting my article on the horror of FGM earlier in the week, I spotted this headline in today's Mail on Sunday. I'm delighted that this crime continues to be highlighted. I've posted the full article tagged onto my original story. Please scroll down to read.

Police target secret network of travel agents, doctors and taxi drivers who help female genital mutilation continue in Britain
Officers believe the network is allowing the brutal practice to continue. The crime ring uses doctors willing to prescribe pain relief to victims. Despite being banned 28 years ago, no FGM case has come to court. However, Britain's first FGM trial is due to being within weeks



SLAVE TRADE, THE CONTINUING STORY.

Another subject I also covered earlier in the week was my horror after researching the slave trade (please scroll down to read my posting) after watching the very moving film 12 Years A Slave. In today's Sunday Telegraph they also cover this subject with this headline:

Jamaicans lead Caribbean calls for Britain to pay slavery reparations
Caribbean slave descendants, some of whose ancestors worked for David Cameron's distant family, are calling for an apology and billions of pounds in reparations.
A coalition of 14 Caribbean states, including Jamaicais ready to sue in the courts and has hired Leigh Day, the London law firm that last year won £20 million for Kenyans tortured by the British during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s.
This month it will unveil a list of 10 demands for Britain, France and Holland, including funds likely to total billions, an apology, and assurances slavery will never be repeated,




FRIGHTENING


Today’s Sunday Times headline reads, 250 Jihadis spark UK terror alert.

THE full scale of the terrorist threat to Britain can be revealed today with the disclosure that about 250 British-based jihadis who went to train and fight in Syria have returned home.
Senior security officials say the high number of “returnees” — five times the figure that has been previously reported — underlines the growing danger posed by “extremist tourists” going to the war-torn region.
MI5 and police have already thwarted one serious plot last autumn by a cell of “returnee” jihadis who were allegedly preparing a Mumbai-style gun attack on civilians, probably in a crowded public place in London.
The security services are closely monitoring the 250 returnees, who include several veteran hardliners who have fought in Afghanistan or Pakistan.




NEIL SEDAKA ON BBC 4

I’m delight to see that the BBC paid a tribute to Neil Sedaka. Neil was a guest on my show live from Caesars Palace Las Vegas. After the show I spent a very enjoyable lunch with the legend at Spago’s famous restaurant located in the Forum.

The Sunday Telegraphs Gerard O’Donovan concluded his review of the documentary with the following.
As a documentary, this was more tribute than assessment, with Sedaka doing much of the talking. That said, it had its fascinating moments too, not least relating to Sedaka’s humble Brooklyn origins, his time at New York’s famed Julliard school of music, and most of all his extraordinary magpie-like song writing method which seemed simply to absorb other musical influences and regurgitate them in wholly original form. “I worked hard on the longevity,” he said, and few would say he hadn’t succeeded.




WARNING.. JOHN LENNON IN HIS SONG WROTE ‘ABOVE US ONLY SKY’.. MAYBE WE ARE IN FOR A SURPRISE VISIT FROM ABOVE TODAY!!!

The Independent on Sunday warns us that a Russian satellite Kosmos-1220 to crash to Earth today with ‘very real danger’ to populated areas.

A Russian satellite that could weigh as much as three tonnes is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere today, reportedly representing a “very real danger” to densely populated areas.
The final movements of Kosmos-1220, a decommissioned Soviet military device, are being monitored by Russian space officials, and Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told the news agency RIA Novosti that it would begin an uncontrolled descent today.
Though the satellite will largely burn up as it passes through the atmosphere, experts said it was highly likely some fragments will survive to impact the planet’s surface.





THE CONTINUING CONTROVERSY OF EUTHANASIA ...


Again the Independent on Sunday publishes the following report. Child euthanasia: Too hard to live, too young to die. The decision in Belgium to allow euthanasia for sick children raises questions about the fitness of young people to make life-and-death decisions, and about medical ethics

A dilemma is, by definition, a choice between two unpalatable alternatives. The Belgian parliament by making it legal for any child, at any age, to ask to be killed – if they are "close to death", experiencing "unbearable suffering" and can show they truly "discern" the consequences of what they are asking. The politicians rejected amendments to extend euthanasia to mentally-ill children. But the main proposal was passed with a two-thirds majority. Yet there were those in Belgium with equally compelling arguments against the decision. Some 160 Belgian paediatricians signed an open letter arguing that there was no urgent need for the law.



THE WORLD JUST MIGHT BE A SAFER PLACE....


The Guardian reports: Israel says it is close to developing 'Star Wars' laser missile shield named Iron Beam that will cover entire region Laser shield can intercept drones, rockets, missiles and mortars
High Energy Laser rapidly heats an object until it explodes, makers claim. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said its lasers destroyed 90% of targets. System is designed to intercept objects current Iron Dome system cannot. Current defense system has destroyed hundreds of Hamas rockets.

An Israeli arms company has revealed details of a laser defense system with 'Star Wars' style technology which can shoot missiles from the sky with a pulse of energy.
State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said the futuristic military hardware called Iron Beam was almost ready for deployment.
It works by firing a focused laser at targets which are heated so rapidly they disintegrate in an instant.

The arms maker publicised specifications of its High Energy Laser (HEL) at this week's Singapore Airshow, which is Asia's largest aerospace and defense exhibition.
'It's exactly like what you see in Star Wars,' said company spokesman Amit Zimmer. 'You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished.'

The radical system is the culmination of five years to work involving solid-state lasers by 15 engineers, the company said.
Iron Beam is designed to intercept close-range drones, rockets and mortars which might not remain in the air long enough for Israel's current Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept.




AND FINALLY THE RED TOPS...



For those of you who are interested most of the Red Tops headlines are covering the birth of Simon Cowell-s baby who he named Eric Phillip Cowell. Eric after his late father and Phillip after his close friend, billionaire, Top Shop owner Sir Phillip Green.

The Sun on Sunday reported, EMOTIONAL Simon Cowell’s tearful first words to his newborn son were: “I’ve waited all my life for you.”

The 54-year-old TV mogul was overcome with pride as he held baby Eric for the first time following his birth on Friday night.
He was with girlfriend Lauren Silverman, 36, after a frantic jet dash to the New York hospital.
Newborn Eric is set for a life of total luxury as heir to the music mogul’s £250million fortune and vast entertainment empire.

The other BIG story is the 5 year contract that footballer Wayne Rooney has just signed with Manchester United for the reported astronomical amount of somewhere between 60 and 70 million ponds!!!!! That works out at around 300,000 per week take or add a few pence!!!! Is he worth it? Well his boss’s seem to think so. Personally if I was offered that amount I’d be ecstatic and I guess so would you????




FILMS AND TV I WATCHED THIS WEEKS.

Three excellent films I watched this week. Starting off with the Bafta nominated 12 Years A Slave. A brilliant film that I found hugely informative and yet very upsetting. In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. It is felt that this film will go away with a handful of awards at this evenings Baftas.





The Butler a top class movie . I’m very surprised not to see it on the Bafata nominations list especially the notable performances of Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. The film follows As Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.


On a lighter note I enjoyed the romantic comedy The Hangover which follows the paths of three buddies who wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.


On TV: the highlight of this weeks viewing was ITV’s Peirce Morgan’s Life Stories.

Peirce’s guest this week was cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham who opened up to admit he was a “bloody idiot” for cheating on his wife Kath and declared it “nearly cost me everything”.
The superstar who lit up world cricket for a generation told on Friday of his deep gratitude that his marriage is as strong as ever after 37 years.
Beefy ( as he said he likes to be addressed rather that Sir Botham) confessed his bitter regret over an affair in the late 90s with Australian waitress Kylie Verrells, who is 14 years his junior.
He also talked about taking drugs as a young man and his friendship with cricket fan rocker Sir Mick Jagger.
On the affair Sir Ian Sir Ian, who has raised more than £12million and was knighted for services to charity in 2007.
He said: “I don’t know why it started. I know I found it very difficult to get out of it. I pushed myself into a very awkward corner. The children were hurt more than I realised".

As most of know I'm a big fan of the soap Eastenders so of course I was well stuck into that on BBC Monday through Friday's



MY BOOK CHOICE OF THE WEEK


No Time for Goodbye
by Linwood Barclay

Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke one morning to discover that her entire family, mother, father, brother had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever. Now, twenty-five years later, she'll learn the devastating truth

Sometimes better not to know. . . .

Cynthia is happily married with a young daughter, a new family. But the story of her old family isn't over. A strange car in the neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous gifts, someone has returned to her hometown to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And no one's innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time Cynthia discovers her killer's shocking identity, it will again be too late . . . even for goodbye

I'm loving this book, a real page turner, hard to put down. It's the first book I've read of Barclay's but it certainly wont be the last.