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!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Maurice, Tim Staunton here, you probably won't remember me but your stories bring back such great memories. You dad was our family doctor and my mum loved him, not a bad word could be said about her doctor. I used to see you and your friends when you hung out in Brittas Bay, you always had a flashy sports car and some dazzling blond girl or two on your arm. Didn't like you much then, thought you were a flash bastard. I suppose I was jealous.. Met you a few years later in your nightclub Elizabeths and thought you were an okay bloke. Looking forward to the next bit of your story

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  2. I used to hunt with your dad. Love your blog.

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