In his recent letter to the Gazette, Duggie Chapman sums up precisely my own feelings about both the Palace and ABC theatres.
I was of the opinion the demolition particularly of the Palace was a crime and whoever took the decision to pull it down must live with it on their conscience.
It was a superb theatre and one whose boards I trod as a youngster with The Blackpool Juvenile Players when our original venue, the North Pier, was destroyed by fire.
I also went up on the stage as part of a comedian’s act and these are indelible memories of performing at the Palace.
Others will have happy memories of the cinema and ballroom.I shall share Duggie’s view that we must not let such as the Opera House, Grand Theatre or The Tower go the same way.
The Opera House must add to this current prestigious season of Mamma Mia! and there are two musical productions I would bring to the theatre manager’s attention.
The current London success – The Bodyguard is to tour for two years and our own Jodie Prenger appears as Calamity Jane in a Newbury production that will tour until June 2015.
Either or both of these shows would add to our local theatre scene both financially and artistically.
Lost ticket drama
I was invited by my friend to visit Blackpool this summer.
His son being a keen tram and train enthusiast wanted to go on the tram, to be fair my first such encounter, so we bought tickets and set off towards Fleetwood.
On the return,my friend searched his pocket and could not find his ticket. I said to the conductor that he had paid same time as I had, but his reply was that it was just hard luck, got to pay again. I asked him why he could not take my word as I was not a young man, but my friend said, ‘Well I lost the ticket it’s my fault.’ So he paid. It just so happened by chance we were stopping at the Coliseum on Rigby Street so I thought at the tram station I would have a word. The same wall of injustice hit me, until I said I want a complaints form,then the complaints manager arrived. A similar conversation ensued and they were unwilling to give us a refund, until I said that with all that CCTV you will get your answer. In the end he did bend and gave my friend a letter for future ticket. So a partial thank you is in order. The tram was magic. The only other thing they need is to bring back the old trams!
Western Road Derby
Riga is special
Methinks the club has landed a special man in Jose Riga.
There is steel in the man, despite all the problems in his early weeks of tenure, he did not and will not be turned from doing his job as he sees it.
Yes, he did not give interviews, yes he did not comment on any problems with upper management. What he did do is quietly get on with his work when lesser men would have upped sticks and resigned. Well, he’s done his job he now needs to get the season under way so let’s give him room to move and support him fully, you might not hear what you expect from him, but you will get honesty. Go Jose Go!
Hawkshead Terrace, Blackpool
Labour for welfare
In my recent letter regarding retired residents of Wyre being able to use the buses free, but not the trams, I criticised Tory MP Paul Maynard for supporting his Government’s cuts in grants to councils. Blackpool has lost 50 per cent of the grant it received. These cuts created the necessity for councils to cut expenditure and is the reason free tram travel was no longer offered to the retired residents who do not pay Blackpool Council Tax.
This provoked an astonishing response from Gazette reader Robert Mc Dougal who stated quite falsely that it was not government cuts to local councils that created the problem and that ‘Labour councils had a vendetta against pensioners who live in Wyre’, claiming it was ‘pure discrimination’ by Labour councils against many chronically sick and disabled people.
I am appalled that anyone should make an allegation that is so utterly naive, blatantly untrue and totally absurd.
A Labour government introduced the NHS – a move that was opposed vigorously by the Conservative party and their supporters, many of who didn’t want to lose being able to charge the sick for treatment.
The Labour Government and the Labour movement still believe in a state-provided Health Service and Social Services, which benefit all citizens regardless of where they live and provides the social care that many retired, sick and disabled people need.
One wonders who he thinks brought in the NHS and Social Care for the United Kingdom in the first place. In case he doesn’t know, it was the post war Labour government.
Chair Blackpool North Cleveleys Labour Party