A few requests

  • Sheila McFarlane wrote in to ask:

Hello Allan
As an ex Durbanite, having being entertained at the Riviera, Cookie Look and even by John Drake’s band on the Berea, I was wondering if you have anything on the syncronised swimming show I was involved in at the Beach baths. It was all about the Robert E Lee/MiMississippi and we even swam to Yellow Polka Dot bikini, with costumes to match. What fun. I would love to revisit that part of my life. So hoping you can help me out

Thank you and regards
Sheila McFarlane (nee Paton)

  • Donald Davies wrote in to ask if anyone has info on the history of the Playhouse/ Loft Theatre.
  •  Steven Wakeling wrote in with some a question or two

I have been reading up all the memorable places of entertainment in your Facts About Durban during the 60’s,and boy, did they bring back memories!
One club not mentioned was The Switch in Berea Road during the later 60’s.Does anyone remember this? I had a friend,Charmaine who worked there as a barmaid during 1969 and who lived near Addington Hospital but I lost contact when I went to the army. Can anybody help?
The Norwegian Hall opposite the Los Angeles was another popular venue during the mid 60’s where Howard Carpendale and the Strangers,and The Deans played regularly.
Thanks for all these pleasant memories,

In a later e-mail he cast some more light on the location of the Switch. He wrote:

I have been trying to remember its exact whereabouts in Berea Road. Buildings  have come down and been replaced over the years, but the fog has cleared a little, and I seem to remember it being at the Savoy Hotel, upstairs, but little else.Is this correct?

Please let’s hear more about this place from regulars that frequented the place.

Share this:

8 Responses

  1. Mike Kamionka
    | Reply

    Hi Steve,
    I have read this wonderful “FAD” site for many years and often wondered about the ” Switch” as I frequented it many times during 1969/1970 etc. The hotel was the Savoy and was owned at that time by a big Durban bookmaker Morris Vee (wonderful man).
    Do you remember the “Go Go dancer ” Jill who danced in that orange bikini. Used to dance in that cage like thing, looked like a big birdcage!. I actually worked with her at Standard Bank West End.
    The ” bouncer” was Warren who later became a judge/steward at the Durban Turf Club. I think he was the ” owner ” of the disco section at that time. He was the person who had the unenviable task of trying to clear us all out by 12pm, as the laws were very strict at that time. Last rounds were always 11.30pm and then we all waited for the ” last dance”! to start at approximately 11.55.
    Thanks for the memory.
    Good Health.
    P.S.Another place that doesn’t seem to feature much is ” Dorians” the disco at Edward hotel.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Mike
      Off subject but your surname, which is unusual, rang a bell. Is Shirley Kamionka related to you? If so, I think it was her that was bridesmaid to Pat Dignan at her wedding in the early 60s. The bouncer wasn’t Warren Eiesele (spelling may be incorrect) ? Dorians if I recall was the 70s when discos took over from the “live band” era of the 60s.

  2. Les Hansen
    | Reply

    Dorian’s was the best disco in Durban and Dorian was the best DJ ever. He used to do a mime to Summertime by Billy Stewart and it would bring the house down. My father was the drummer in the dance band upstairs from the Disco and we used to go down to Dorians and listen to Jazz music until the wee small hours. Great memories.

    • Peter J Smook

      What was the name of the club upstairs, I saw Billy Forrest and the Brothers playing there, I’m thinking the word Surf or Beach was in the name, can you remember?

  3. Les Hansen
    | Reply

    The Switch disco was at the Savoy Hotel.It was on the first floor.The resident DJ was a guy called Ruben Israel. He worked as a compositor at the Daily news by day and a DJ at night. Ken Black a good friend of mine and also a workmate at the News roped me in to help decorate the interior of the Switch when it opened. The bouncer was a well known surfer whose nickname was Doc.A big strong fellow who you didn’t argue with at closing time.Does anyone out there have more memories of the place?

  4. Ken Black
    | Reply

    I was the DJ at Switch from the day it opened. Warren and his wife ran the door. Les Hansen I remember you well.. your Dad was the drummer at the Playhouse

  5. Debra Vinik
    | Reply

    My dad owned Switch nightclub Morris Vinik. He often tells me stories about it- it sounds like it was a fabulous place to go. I wish I had some photos of those years to share with him.

  6. Doug Fairall
    | Reply

    Maybe Peter J Smook was thinking of “Wind and Sea” disco in Palmer str. (I think) at the beach end of West str.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *