UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN
FIRST FILMED PERFORMANCE
12 JUNE 1987
EMPRESS OF RUSSIA
This is the first ever video of the ukes in performance. We were downstairs in the Empress of Russia, in Islington, on a warm Friday evening, the day after the 1987 general election. We should have been upstairs, but there was a double booking, so the concert had to go ahead in the bar area. (A fortnight later they began playing in the upstairs room, where they continued to perform once a fortnight for a number of years.) The light wasn’t good, and the small PA had to compete with the various regulars at the bar, who were surprised to be attending a concert.
It was Ritchie’s last gig before moving to Halifax. (Later he returned of course.) Two days later we all went round to Ritchie’s house to look at the tape. I loaded the mini VHS tape into the adaptor. Ritchie put it into his VHS recorder. It played for a few minutes, and then the picture began to become horribly distorted. We ejected the cassette, and discovered the machine had eaten part of the tape. I was worried that some of my newly acquired equipment was faulty. But Ritchie said, “No, it’s my tape deck, it does that sometimes.” So part of the first recorded performance was lost within forty-eight hours.
This is what remains...
Orange Blossom Special (extract)
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