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More Cookie Look memories

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By Godfrey Mockè - 23 January 2011


Hello Allan - & All on your lekker website!

Your ‘Cookie Look’ link was picked-up on our ‘Class-of-1960 DHS Reunion’ website by me on the late Lester Kitto’s profile, as managed by his widow Joanne Kitto (neè Gray) -  Joanne being the one who thoughtfully ‘Forwarded’ this great link – thanks Jo!! (Some folks reading this might remember Lester Kitto during the late 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s as a Durban beach-boy icon who excelled in water-sports – he was a Natal Swimmer, water-polo player and a legendary Springbok Surf Lifesaver as well as a Natal U20 rugby-player?).

Lester Kitto  -  as a DHS schoolboy and young man, later -   lived in those flats on the corner of West Street and the (South) Marine Parade with his mom and dad – right next-door to the world-famous ‘Cookie-Look’, Claridges Hotel venue and Jo (his widow) talks about “I was there too…” so I daresay Lester and his missus and that ‘beach-crowd’ were very much a part of that Durban ‘bands-of-the sixties’ vibe.

In fact Lester’s beloved Durban Surf Lifesaving Club (DSLSC), scarcely 500 metres away from the Cookie-Look joll, right next-door to Beach Baths, hosted many a rock-session itself, upstairs in the club’s lounge, and was a sell-out every-time the then soon-to-be-famous band of DHS school-boys, “The Strangers” played there.

Quite right too – their band-leader was (now evangelist) Renault Saunders, drummer Don Robertson, guitarists Don Allaway/Peter Elstob/Roger Shepperd and the great chicks-drawcard lead-singer, Howard Carpendale. And another DHS boy and DSLSC member, John Bush, ‘guested’ for them now & again, singing those great teen-popular Cliff Richard hits.

John’s own band, “Stonejug”, later had a hit called “Chicken Heart” (composed by John himself) on the SA Top 20 hit-parade list, ± 1972/73, themselves – all inspired by what went down at Cookie-Look, The Bull Ring, Al Fresco Terrace, The Riviera Hotel (next door) and those marvelously exciting rockband sessions held at the Sherwood, St Thomas’ and Westville MOTH halls – not to forget those ‘Varsity Hops’ in the Howard College Hall. That’s where I first heard Dave Pollecut – another DHS boy! - play the Shadows numbers to absolute perfection on his fender –  I think it was with Dickie Loader’s “Blue Jeans“ band?

An interesting phenomenon about the popularity of the Durban Surf “Sessions” (or “Hopple-Doo’s” as club Chair Tony Dumas called them! – & he a DHS Old Boy himself) was that the then unknown Steve Fataar, with his little brother Ricky & singer ‘Blondie’ & the rest of their band – announced as “The Flames” – would set-up their  low-budget amps and sound-systems, in the car-park directly in front of “The Nest” & ”Cuban Hat” roadhouses & right outside Durban Surf’s clubhouse.

So when everybody left the session upstairs, “The Flames” were entertaining the huge crowd outside…and that’s ‘gospel’ and was in 1962/63!! And how great didn’t “The Flames” eventually become – I think the Wilson boys from “The Beach Boys” were quoted once as voting “The Flames” as their favourite rock-band. (I still have the ‘Knock on Wood’ Flames rendition on their LP here at home.)

Just one thing. I used to get dizzy-spells just listening to and watching Denny Lorèn (mentioned many times in your forum) performing at what I think was the Lonsdale Hotel’s “Bull Ring” – is that right? Jeez what a love she was…. Whatever happened to her -  I’d be interested to know?

I left Durban for the Cape in January 1964, so I might've missed out on some of the stuff you are busy unearthing here! I remember there being a hot little dinner-and-dance spot on the Esplanade (more Russel Street, I think?) at ...was it 'The Astra' Hotel?...with its 'Room-at-the-Top'?? Eduardo Jaime played there, and as matric boys at DHS some of us used to frequent the place with our chicks (who drank 'Cinzano on the rocks' while we tippled away on our Lion Lagers)..very risky stuff .

The beach Hotel had a bar down stairs called ''The beachcomber'' & the Fathers Mustache was in the Malibu hotel.Billy Forest & the Dream merchants played at the Killarney Hotel & Eddie Ekstein, Paul Ditchfield of the'' Bats '' played at the Macabre at the Butterworth Hotel


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