Monday, April 8, 2013

Silk Disco and Promotions and Lightshow

Silk Disco and Promotions was one of the biggest of its kind in Coventry from 1968 to at least the early 80's.
This young, well organised team sustained their activities for well over a decade and much of the provision of discos and band venues came from this team.

As far as I know, Silk began about 1968 and consisted DJ's Jim Twyneham (AKA Jim Silk) - later an engineer at Horizon Studios and DJ on Radio Mercia, Graham Wood (later a co-founder of Sunshine Agency) with technical support from John Coles ( later celebrated Two Tone photographer responsible for some of their iconic images), Paul Taylor, Paul Riley and Steve Whittle.

NEW Information July 2016 - Thanks to Dennis Cotter and help from John Coles and Jim Twynham, I've been informed an earlier Silk DJ not previously included here. His name was Steve Miles who also worked at J J Cash Ltd. Steve was with Silk disco 1968 to 69.

In 1973, in the Coventry Evening Telegraph's On the Scene (colour supplement), Nichola Gorringe reported - " So what i admire about Silk, the mobile disco that operates in and around Coventry, was the hint of subtlety.

Jim Twyneham
For a start the lighting was really effective. A modern specious area at the Trocadero, Weston Hall Hotel, Bulkington, was transformed into something cosy and personal.

Silk are no amateur outfit. they are a bunch of level-headed semi professionals who are setting out to perfect their own form of entertainment.

They have been operating for three years. The name Silk is associated with the Plough Club (London Road), Circles (West End Working Men's Club - where they promoted such bands as Caravan)., the Locarno promotions, Arthurs at the Humber Hotel, Humber Road and more recently Chums at the Bear Inn, high Street and the Trocadero.

Two of the original entertainers - Jim Twyneham, who is 23 and Graham Wood 21, are still there. Twenty four year old Paul Taylor joined in January 1971 at about the same time as Paul Riley (21) was brought in to improve the lighting effects, which until that time had been slightly unsophisticated due to lack of equipment. Jim and Paul Taylor and Graham Wood are the outfit's DJ's. Their roadies / technicians are John Coles and Steve Whittle. All live and work in Coventry.

Jim, who is a local government officer, told me: "The reason we set up in the first place was because we were dissatisfied with entertainment in general in the area. We wanted to introduce some creativity into Coventry."

Since then Silk have done over 200 mobile bookings and their impact on the area can be judged by engagements over the next two months. They have only five days free of bookings this month and 10 in February.

Silk at the Trocadero Bulkington 1973
Running a disco is an expensive business. But by pooling their resources and ploughing everything back into their show they have been able to buy over £10,000 worth of equipment, including records, during the last three years.

What type of music do they play? "Anything and everything from Caravan to Glenn Miller. Everything we think people would like to hear. We have no musical prejudices" Jim said.

Silk present shows at the Trocadero on Monday and Tuesday evenings each week and run a heavy underground session at Chums on Thursday evening. On Friday and Saturday they have mobile bookings such as 21st birthdays, weddings, and so on, with Sundays and Wednesdays reserved for occasional bookings.

A note of warning to potential disco operators from Jim.."Don't start unless you are sure you want to make a go of it. Be conscientious and willing to please and, above all, be kind to the public because they are your income - they keep you going."

Pictures by David Trinder.
From the Plough club in the early 70's Jim Silk (Twyneham) had a distinctive red car with Silk as part of the registration.
Advert in Hobo magazine 1974

Small ad in the same copy of  Hobo
"SILK MOBILE DISCO 7, Central Avenue, Stoke park, Coventry 453832"

Chums advert from Coventry Evening Telegraph 1974

Along with some of the pictures, this was the text for the Cov Telegraph On the Scene Supplement.

For ad in Hobo magazine. Thank you Mr Silk!

Via Pete Chambers

Advert in Hobo Magazine 1974

Bill Jackson - Photographer, friend of Martin Barter - both regulars at the Plough Club 1971

From Cov Telegraph

John Coles more recently with John Bradbury of The Specials

Graham Wood

Photograph thanks to Sue Long (then Graham Wood's girlfriend)

Photograph thanks to Sue Long

Photograph thanks to Sue Long

Gentle were a Derby heavy rock band. I had put them on at the Umbrella Club in 1970 and after they played the Plough Club with Silk Disco and a few other Cov gigs of the time.
Some of the other bands i remember at the Plough Club (Near the Chaterhouse - London Road) were Music Box (Rob Armstrong and Colin Armstrong and Pip) / Dando Shaft and many more.

Sad News - A Tribute to Jim Twyneham who passed away in 2017

John Sillett leads tributes to Coventry City's 'Voice of Highfield Road' Jim Twyneham.

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