(The Monico shortly after it opened, 1938)
Beaumont eventually sold the hotel in 1946 to the Charrington brewery, after which it was converted to a pub.
(The Monico - June 2010)
The Monico certainly seemed to have had an odd paint job when I visited. It looked as though it had been decorated to resemble a huge St George's cross (remember I was taking these photos during the world cup).
Dr Feelgoods 2nd Album: Malpractice is released in October 1975. The cover photo is taken outside Phil Moss barbers shop in Maurice Road, Canvey. Great cover, particularly love the furtive look from Wilko, caught in some dodgy deal with The Big Figure!
(The Phil Moss Barber Shop was somewhere along here - July 2010)
Here's a few more photos taken from the Malpractice photoshoot. These were literally just over the road from the barbers at Discount Furnishings, 191 High Street (I took the above picture of Maurice Road standing outside 191!).
(Discount Furnishings, 191 High Street, Canvey - 1975)
(Discount Furnishings, 191 High Street, Canvey - 1975)
Discount Furnishings may be no more, but 191 High Street remains:
(191 High Street, Canvey - July 2010)
Here are some more great Canvey promo shots of the Wilko line up of the band:
(Oil City by night 1975)
(Oil City by day! July 2010)
(Canvey Amusements, underneath Cloud 9, 1975)
(Canvey Amusements, underneath what was Cloud 9, July 2010)
Here's another classic location from the seafront area... The Labworth Cafe, Canvey.This fabulous Wilko era Labworth shot was used for the Oil City Confidential film promo poster, and is also used as the cover of the DVD:
The Feelgoods will return here a few years later to promote their album 'Be Seeing You'.
The Labworth is a stunning art-deco building, sitting directly on the sea wall, looking out to the Thames estuary. It was designed and built in 1933 by Ove Arup, the same man who designed and built the Penguin Pool at London Zoo and Sydney Opera House. Arup designed the Labworth to look like the bridge of the RMS Queen Mary ocean liner.
(The Labworth June 2010 - Tide in!)
Between the 70's and the 90's, the Labworth managed to dodge the demolition ball on more than one occasion, as it slowly went to wrack and ruin. It's fortunes finally turned around in the late 90's when it was taken over and restored by a local lottery winner (it's now a listed building). By day it's a seaside cafe, but by night this is one of the most exclusive restaurants around, and there is always a six month waiting list for a sea-view table! (honest!).
The now almost legendary 'Canvey Is Englands Lourdes' graffiti on the sea wall (the Labworth is just visible in the far background) which is featured in the Oil City Confidential film:
In 1976, Feelgood manager Chris Fenwick vacates Feelgood House for a much grander property in Canvey, complete with full bar in the living room (called The Cluedo Club)! The boys are in heaven, and the place is immediately dubbed Feelgood House 2! This now becomes the hub of the Dr Feelgood machine.
(Feelgood House 2 July 2010)
By this time there has been some considerable tension growing between (tea-total) Wilko and the rest of the (hard drinking) band. With little new material to work with, the band decide that the next album should be a live recording. Some recordings are already in the can so......
Dr Feelgoods 3rd Album: Stupidity is released in October 1976, and goes to number one in the album charts. Side one captures the band live at the Kursaal in Southend (November 75), with side 2 coming from Sheffield City Hall (May 75). The cover shot, arguably the most iconic Feelgood photo ever, is also taken from the gig at Southend.
(The Kursaal, Southend - 1910)
(The Kursaal 100 years later! - June 2010)
In 1894 a brand new area opened along Southend seafront, combining amusements, a marine park and gardens. A grand entrance to the area, complete with a huge silver dome overhead, was built by the Margate and Southend Kursaals Company, and opened in 1901. The Kursaal (Kursaal is German for "cure hall" or "spa" by the way) soon became one of the biggest attractions in the country, with its circus, zoo, scenic railway ballroom and regularly changing amusements.... The list of features held in the 'amusements' area over the years is truly mind boggling! the world's first female lion tamer, the world's first female 'wall of death' rider, the first venue in England to display Al Capone's car, even Eric the sixty ton stuffed whale was on display at one point! The ballroom was supposedly the finest in the country, and many star performed here over the years - Vera Lynn started her career at the Kursaal.
The Kursaal remained popular after the war, but went into decline during the 70's (although don't forget that the Pistols 'Anarchy in the UK' tour almost played here in December 1976!) and eventually closed in 1986. 12 years later in 1998 it was re-opened after a multi-million pound face lift with the tower finally being restored to its former glory (it's now a listed building too). However it's little more than a glorified chav-fest these days, and it's main attraction is fast food and a 30 lane bowling ally... nice!
During the making of the fourth album, Wilko and the rest of the band have a major falling out about tracks to be included. The album is recorded, but it's the end of the line for Wilko. A search is soon underway to find a replacement, and a name is soon recommended to the band.... Another Essex lad, John Mayo (incredibly, keeping up the 3 John's and a Lee line up!) from Harlow. Mayo soon has the obligatory Feelgood nickname, and is re-christened 'Gypie'. It's back to a venue already mentioned for Gypie's inaugural performance - a warm up at Cloud 9 on Canvey seafront, which by now was called Bardot's.
Within a few months of Gypies arrival, Dr Feelgood are releasing their next album.
Dr Feelgoods 4th Album: Sneakin' Suspicion is released in May 1977, but of course it features Wilko on guitar rather than new recruit Gypie. Originally, the cover of this album was going to be a shot of the band outside the Labworth (almost certainly the same picture seen earlier in this post), but now Wilko was gone, a new cover had to be designed. This shot was taken outside The Canvey Club, which for some reason (even the band can't remember why!) they re-named the Alibi Club for the purpose of the photo.
(The Alibi Club - 1977)
(The Alibi\Canvey Club - July 2010)
Amazingly, the delightfully ramshackle Canvey Club is still there today, looking just as it did back in the 1970s.
(The Canvey Club July 2010)
Piley bumps into Wilko Johnson whilst on the Feelgood trail... where? Oil City of course!
(Piley and Wilko - July 2010)
That's it for part two. Part 3 is here
Here's the explosive trailor for Oil City Confidential:
Going Back Home Live at The Kursaal in Southend (recorded for the Stupidity album):
All Through The City Live at The Kursaal in Southend (recorded for the Stupidity album):