Ref NoSBA/158/11
TitleOral history project file, Diane Clinkscale [Scottish Borders Memory Bank]
DescriptionInterviewed by Andrew Dixon.

Release (Waiver) Form held by Scottish Borders Archives.

[Mackinnon; Duncan (1916-1969); dance promoter]

Transcript of interview with Diane Clinkscale, with photograph and 9 No. audio recordings [MP3].

... basically I think. Adam's job was as a doorman more than anything else. Making sure that people that shouldn't be there were removed and those that were behaving themselves came in. Making sure. Sometimes, he was M.C. That was really all he did I think for Dunc. [Mackinnon; Duncan (1916-1969); dance promoter] apart from enjoy his friendship. They were good pals.

When do you reckon they would have met first?

I would have thought probably as fairly young, because they would all probably play sport together, so it would be, you know, pre-war. I would have thought. I ca, I obviously can't remember that far back.

Then were they in the same regiment at the K.O.S.B.?

I honestly don't know. They might have been because I think most of the lads from round here were in the same battalions. My dad wasn't one for talking to me about what he did during the war so ... he never said where he, where he actually met Dunc. I'm just assuming it would be locally.
And where did ... your father ... actually work as a doorman for him?
Galashiels, Selkirk. I think they went down over to the Wooler way over Kelso's, he travelled quite a bit because I know they were often away, you know, very early and back very late. But again, I was quite young. I would be in bed when he came home. I'm trying to think if he went, if he went down the Hexham way. I'm sure, I'm sure they went down that far. Can't remember many others.
Would they have gone up ... further north as well?
I honestly don't know. Can't remember if they went up, up northwards and I've got nobody I can ask to check up on. I'm sorry. ... So, when, when would your father have worked for him? Would he have worked up, right until Duncan's death?
Well, if Duncan was involved in anything to do with the Waverley Castle Hotel dances, yes. Because he worked, my dad worked on the door with Dunc.Oh, donkey's years. And I'm not sure if Dunc. was involved with the Waverley Castle or if it was, he was moved, he went there after Dunc. died. Because Dunc. died quite young. yeahh. (short pause as they wait for dog to bark)
Can you remember when Dunc. died? yeahh. '69.
Well I don't think Dunc. was maybe involved with the Waverley Castle in that case. So dad would have worked with him right up until then.
And then he would have moved on to somewhere else.
And your father also worked for . at the Gala Palais as well?
That's right.
Scotts ... Scott Forsyth ...
Mmm huh. But then Dunc. was involved in that.
Because ... Dunc's wife used to take the cash at the door.
Mmm huh.
So, I mean, Dunc was still involved. Somewhere in amongst the, the background there.
Even though it wasn't Border dances, he ...
No. He was still involved.
Yes, I mean, it was one of the silly things, you know, if, if Mrs McKinnon was on the, on the cash box, you know, everybody sort of got in there and quick as you like. Don't know what it was about her. Just, you know, depending on the age you were. Some of us were terrified of her! There was nothing wrong with the woman. She was a nice soul. It's just at a certain age, you were always sort of, "Oh, it's Mrs McKinnon on the door tonight!" So I mean, I, Dunc's just always been the, the Border dances no matter what. Never been anything else.
How has the inside of Melrose Corn Exchange changed since the dances?

All the balcony was taken down ... it was all re-lined and made totally modernised. But it, it was just the stage, an old-fashioned hall, with a balcony at the back, and for various safety reasons the balcony was removed. I think the acoustics are maybe better now. I'm not a hundred per cent sure. They might be.
And were you often in there at the dances?
Not that often in Melrose, no. Went to some. But I used it for sport and everything else. I mean I was in and out the hall frequently.
Mmm huh.
Somehow or other you didn't enjoy the dances in Melrose the same as you did going out of town. But that was an age, an age thing. Sometimes preferred not being where father was on the door!
And how can you (noise of traffic passing)so, did you, did you prefer going to Galashiels or ...
Yes. yeahh.
Even though he was on the door there, you could hide easier. But that was a, you know, a silliness. Just a, if parents are working and where you want to go and enjoy yourself, you do want more people.
Who can you remember all seeing in Galashiels?

Well I was ... trying to think who all was about at that time. Was the Bobby Gentrys and Dusty Springfield, the Animals. I never actually saw the Beatles. Stones. Can't remember if they were Gala. actually. I didn't see some of the other ones that were, were on the go. A lot of the bands were not always well known bands because they were going through the sixties where you had a, a major ... changes.
Now, who did you all see in Melrose?
Oh I can't remember any that I saw in Melrose. There was none that springs to mind that I can actually sort of totally say I remember specifically. No. No, sorry. Can't help you with that one.
And ... did your father help Duncan write the adverts for the local papers or do you know if Duncan just did it on his own?

I don't think my dad would have helped him particularly with that, I think Dunc. probably did it on his own. You know, I would think, whoever he was going to the printers for ... he would use the printing firm as his layout person or ... but I would think he would do that on his own Or as a sort of family thing.
But ... Jimmy Rutherford was saying ... the three of them used to sit on a Sunday night and arrange where they could fit all the bands in.
They may well have done. I mean, you've got to remember, I'm not quite their age. I honestly couldn't remember. I mean, if my dad went out to, to meet up then I would sometimes never even ask where he would be because he was possibly away doing a dance, so they may well have sat somewhere while at work.
When did your father set up his shop then?

We came in here full time when he had to retire from building trade. So that would be ... oh, twenty odd years ago. But he rented on a Sunday only, about thirty five years ago. Just to do the Sunday papers and that was just the one day that he came in here. It must be twenty five years that his, that he was in here ( ... ).
And he'd have stopped being the doorman by then?
Yes. But that would be, what, 70s. Mmm huh. Aye, I mean, it must have been, aye fairly into his seventies I think when he actually stopped. He enjoyed it. He enjoyed the company. And I think that's one of the things, you know, when you look back to all the lads that did the dances with Dunc., they all enjoyed the social side as much as the actual work, because they all got on well. Was a, a good pals thing, system at work. And most of them stayed pals. Maybe didn't see each other for many years but they always stayed pals.
Right. Do you get many people coming in still ... reminiscing about Duncan and your father and all the dances?

Not as many now. I mean, when dad was still alive, yes, I mean, his buddies would still come in. But of course, since he passed away, don't get the same contact. Yes, I mean, speaking to somebody like this is Mrs Prior and mention it then you immediately start reminiscing but you've got to have that, a voice somewhere, and there's not as many left now that remember the, the dances that ... as they were. Most of the chaps that were working the doors are no longer around. Same as probably a lot of the folk that worked in the cloakrooms. I remember, I mean, Galashiels's Palais, when they had folk worked in the, the cloakrooms to make sure everything was safe and what have you and ... I don't know what they do now. Changed days.
Right. Can you remember some of Duncan's other employees?
Well I know Jimmy Rutherford. There was, Jim Davidson used to go out with them ... See Len Prior, there's the chap Walker who passed away quite a few years ago. ( ... ) the, oh, come on ... chap Cameron, he was Gala. There's a lot of them and I can't always remember their names. I'm actually not very good at names. No. No. I can't remember any more off hand. I mean, faces, I could, I could picture their faces but I can't, I can't put names to them for you.

It's okay. It's okay. Do you think your father would have kept a, a lot of the stuff he would have, like, posters and photos of bands or ...

We haven't managed to find any. I've looked through certain bits where I know there would be and I haven't found anything relevant and I know as a very young child, he used to bring home bits and pieces, but what happened to them, I haven't a clue. They just seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. So, whether somebody's mother had a clear out and sort of went.. ... "Oh, that's a load of rubbish now", and I think that's probably what's happened. That there's been a major clear out at some point. I'm still looking for photographs.
Mmm huh.
Now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will eventually come across something and obviously, as soon as I do, you'll get it. I don't know what happened. I mean, I, I don't know if my dad would have collected an awful lot of, sort of memorabilia. I don't know if it bothered him that much to collect those sort of things. As I say, I've, I have had a hunt to see if there was anything relevant lying about and I haven't found any. None at all so far.
Who else do you think could help with the research apart, from Len Prior?
Well I think you've probably covered the majority. Folk like Jimmy Rutherford and ... I think you've spoken to Jim Davidson. Have you not spoken to Jim Davidson?
Jim Davidson's ... local still. I can give you his ...
And I think Jimmy Rutherford said there was another Rutherford ... in Gala. possibly.
Yes. He was actually, he actually played in a band but I think that Rutherford has passed away as well. Oh, that's got me flummoxed ...

Jack Rutherford, or ...

I've, I've an awful funny feeling that that, that man has passed away. Because there were two or three that actually played, like in bands locally, that would be possibly involved. I mean, they would be young lads in those days. Dunc. was on the starting off.. ... but I don't know who to, I don't know who you could contact to find out if, you know ... one of those daft things. Somewhere like the Liberal Club or the British Legions would maybe know of these folk but that means that you've got to go and really hunt.
Mmm huh.
But there again, Len Prior might know.

There's not that, I can't think how many there'll be about. The other place that might be able to help, would be something like the, the Border Big Band.
Because some of them'll have connections with, dad's who'd played when they were younger and no doubt if they were playing big band music, they would be involved in something that no doubt Dunc. was involved in.
Mmm huh.
So the brain cells are trying to work! There's the other lad that might have helped out, he's passed away as well, (voice drowned out by sound of traffic) because there was a chap, Graham that, that played in quite a lot of the musical stuff. I mean I don't know, even Jimmy Clinkscale would have any sort of relevant information.
Mmm. Well, he, he'd have some information, whether ...
But I mean, you're, there must be, he must know some of the people that would maybe been involved. Well, at least it would maybe give you more leads as to who was working around the time. Because I mean, I know what, you know, Dunc. would have folk like Jimmy Shand and all these folk coming and playing. They were the kind of, the era that they were talking about.
(traffic noise)
What local bands can you remember?
Can't really remember many local ones. I mean there was a crowd that used to play at the youth club that came from round Heriot and ... they were all just young lads, you know, didn't pay an awful lot of attention to the, I wasn't that, that keen I suppose.
(lady interrupts with question about sunbathing)
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