Time at The Pits

Pits Studio 2015 View
Pits Studio 2015 View

The time at the Pits started with Jeff and me (Doomage & Strangely) living above it, accessed through the black door on the left in the picture which is number three.  (We were forced out of the top flat in Front Street just down the road by the landlord who wanted his property back in sensible hands…  <g> ).  The Pits is on the right.
The flat was freezing since we couldn’t afford to heat it. It had a combi-gas water heater thus I’d spend many an hour in the bath warming up.

The Towers, Killingworth
The Towers, Killingworth

The Pits was a serious pun, since it really was the pits… both up high and down below in Baldy’s flat.  True, it was a time of intense creativity, this creativity extending into the time when Jeff and me had to find another place – this was in the prison-like dwellings in Killingworth, Gazza (gary Clennel now adding to us making us a trio).  We were in C-wing…. Callaly Tower.  This had blown air heating with the front door up some stairs on another level which meant all the heat shot outside when the door was opened.  It was truly shite.

Killingworth Towers
This image from the website shows a view which is about what we’d see, day after day, coming home.

The kids used to climb up and down the pillars supporting the pathways such was the level of angst.  The pathways were extremely slippy in winter and rain.  More pictures of the shitehole can be found here.


Maxine and the Lurchers Baldy Fester Chester Bester Tester, Maxine, Doomage
Maxine and the Lurchers: Baldy Fester Bester Tester Chester, Maxine, Doomage

During this time Jeff, Gazza, Baldy, me and a young lady called Maxine formed a short-lived troupe playing covers stuff like Moonage Daydream, Heroes and Scary Monsters by Bowie (say) called Maxine & The Lurchers.  AFAIK, this is the only photie of it all.   German Filmstar comes to mind too…

Don’t it drone on…

For about a year or so, our lives were full of creativity, yet still, the pits.  Despite the creativity, there was always the brake, which naturally led to the break.

For a descriptive level of pits-ness, apart from the creativity, a highlight (for me) was one night when Gazza and myself were cycling back to C-Wing pissed up.  On passing the Earsdon roundabout I looked left and saw Gazza fall asleep and with the biggest grin on his face tip off left right across the path into the ditch/verge just past the roundabout. – (SP)

Now that was funny, oh how we larft, but it was still the pits.

See Gazza obituary.

Gob on the Tyne

Crawling Chaos Druridge Bay cnd festival`
Jeff (Doomage) at Druridge Bay anti-nuclear power station CND gig in the sand dunes. [Martin Blank]
Martin Blank from Gob on the Tyne has been in touch.  He and some others are putting together a book chronicling North-East music during the closing years of the seventies decade.

He mentioned that he had a photo from a festival at which we played, of Jeff – that’s it on the right.

The government had big plans for an expansion in nuclear power, Druridge Bay being one of the proposed sites.  Naturally, we were appalled!  The festival was one of many efforts to publicise the anti-nuclear feeling.

On a personal level, this part of Northumberland has been terraformed so much that I thought enough was enough.

In the Google Streetview below, spin the camera around – you see everything, I mean everything, that you can see, has been changed by man – from deep mining, drift mining and open cast mining, everything except the actual sand dunes,,, is man made!  Even the beach is laced with tank traps and pill boxes from WW2.

Druridge Bay on Wikipedia
Druridge Bay on Wikipedia

The lake, the lack of hedges, the copses of trees all the same height – these are the give-aways to a land totally churned up for profit and returned to something like it was – minus the odd farmhouse of course.

In the end, the station opened up at Sizewell and the program collapsed in political disarray.

This is Druridge Bay as it is now – and how it was then, more or less!  So we won, in a fashion….  except….

  • Thatcher still made Britain the greedy thieving place it is now and Britain is still in energy debt.
  • Nuclear power is on the up despite the Japanese tsunami and the hypocritical stance of Germany.
  • The evil ‘right’ is on the rise again, just as it was in 79-80.

Skaill 2012

Just finished reworking Skaill.  Heaps more reverb, compression and dynamics, plus the addition of a hospital emergency helicopter.  I’m thinking we would’ve done it like this originally instead of fiddling with tape.

As in the original, it’s Doomage on guitar and Strangely on keyboards.

I’ve made a video to match, which is, unsurprisingly, of the Bay of Skaill and surrounding areas in homage to my part-Orkadian (or is it Shetland…) ancestry.  Enjoy, or not, as the case may be.


Code: Foet101

Spookhouse Cover
Spookhouse – the final issue

Available directly from EE Tapes.

Personnel were Davenport, Doomage, Rob Pybus, Dave Pipkin.
Guests were Jacqui Clairmont, Yeti, Strangely Perfect & Unspecified Spook. (DC)

These are recordings made 1985-87 using ideas from that time and developments on even earlier ideas from as far back as at The Pits studio, Tynemouth! (SP)

Big Nail


Scotland Gate


Yes Boss




The Box

Veggie Squad


Yeti Cometh


Dave Judgement

Memory Loss

The Game


Creosote Dreams


Little Prick


Camera Action