Bill Hart  

The Shyms were my first band. We did our first paid gig in 1964 - a wedding upstairs the Pack Horse pub in Wigan's Newtown area on Pemberton Road. There's an Aldi just opposite now and the pub's been demolished.

We had a good night and then we told the audience: "That we had to finish playing after this song as we have catch the last bus home". That we put our modest gear, drums, amps aboard a Wigan Corporation bus to do the gig is unthinkable nowadays - but for the love of rock 'n roll and 5 quid - we did.

The 'Shyms' 5 piece rock 'n roll band playing all the local haunts including the Empress Hall - the 'Emp' as it was known then - soon became the world famous Wigan Casino.

We played at places like Croston Village Hall. We were on with The Rocking Vicars once. Blackpool Tower's Ocean Room was a favourite. They even got a double-decker bus up for our fans to travel from Wigan.

All was well until after we played. We were loading the old Transit van in the gloom at the back around 1: 00am when we were suddenly attacked by a small gang of around 3-4 lads. We chased them off only to discover that they'd run away and got aboard our fans bus and went casually skulking upstairs. Yes, we found out, they had come on the bus too - the Shyms fans bus!

But they didn't plan their attack too well - my biggest fan was on that bus too - my mother!

I told her what they had done and in a vexed rage and rather fittingly, she threw them off the bus and told the driver to drive on. They were just gobsmacked.

They were stranded on Blackpool prom in the middle of Saturday night, 40 miles from home. However, the bus stopped after a few yards. They soon caught up and me mam started-on at them and gave um what-the-hell-for, for the next 10 minutes.

Finally humiliated, she allowed them back on the bus and slapped each one of them around the ears as they again skulked past her and back up the stairs. They never heard a peep from them all the way home.

Non the worse for wear we happily called at the local chippy on Stanley Road where I had steak-pudding, chips and peas with gravy. Heaven.

We got £15 and paid 10% commission to our Agent William Leyland (LE Agency).

Oh! - and the following morning I discovered I'd got a black eye.


Bill Hart

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