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
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
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.
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.
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.
“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!