Local man Jeff Please recalls the times of the Diamond and Flamingo clubs, Ryde.
The Diamond Club – An entrepreneurial man before his time, Simon Hornsby had a vision of the Isle of Wight’s own Cavern Club. He rented a disused cellar, which was adjacent to Joe Watkins’ Flamingo Club, called the Diamond Club. Simon’s vision was realised and we played there every Saturday night before moving next door at midnight to play in The Flamingo until the small hours. The Diamond Club – ‘The Hole’ as it was commonly known, had a short, but exciting life.
With a Watkins copycat echo chamber and a big home-made job for bass, Bob was as loud as ever. In the dark, sweaty caverns of ‘The Hole’ we were devastating. Understandably, the neighbours didn’t like us! The Hole was a safety hazard, considered thoroughly unsavoury by the local residents and Simon didn’t have a licence. Despite a protest march to Ryde Town Hall, ‘The Hole’ was returned to its damp, derelict state.
The Flamingo Club – Joe was much better positioned with the local community, since many of them probably gamble in his club. Our Flamingo days continued. The greatest treat at the end of a Saturday night was to eat egg and chips with lashings of salad cream, cooked by Bob’s mum in the Flamingo Club’s large kitchen, at three in the morning. Joe was always very selective about who he allowed into his club. Even on the Island during those sixties summers there were always a few unpleasant types wandering around during the small hours.
There were many wild nights in Joe’s establishment. Most of the patrons were reasonably well behaved until they experienced the pounding beat of The Meteors. Their inhibitions were then cast to the wind along with various items of clothing! They would form a circle and one person would strip to the music. The faster and louder we played the greater the times male and female underwear seemed to fly through the air.