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Bournemouth A Go! Go!

Bournemouth A Go! Go!

Jon Kremer

£19.95 Natula Publications

Thanks to the democratic wonders of the blogosphere writing a memoir, once the preserve of the great and the good (well, mostly), is now within the reach of anyone with something to say… and many without.

All of which makes Bournemouth A Go! Go! a splendidly old-fashioned prospect – a highly stylised, unashamedly personal account of a journey from boyhood to manhood set in and around Bournemouth from about 1955 until 15 May 1973, from hearing Bill Haley to meeting Paul McCartney.

And although the author throws a few lines forward from that date, along the way we join Jon in the audience for Cliff and the Shads; hang out with him in a basement club as resident bandleader Manfred Mann transforms his jazz band into a hot, tight R&B outfit; we’re there at the birth of Jon’s lifelong friendship with future multi million AoR unit shifter Al Stewart (remember Year of the Cat?) and as the pair of them blag their way backstage masquerading as Rickenbacker representatives after the first show of The Beatles’ 1963 summer season.

There, in a corridor, John Lennon came to the dressing room door and offered the boys his soon-to-be iconic black and white 325 Capri to try. But wait, there’s more… the next day they went to the hotel next door where The Beatles were staying, were welcomed into the lounge and chatted with John, George and Ringo. There’s even an autograph started in pencil and finished in pen as proof.

It took Jon the best part of a decade to complete his Fab encounters, backstage at the Winter Gardens on Wings’ first theatre tour, which is where he leaves us to return to the second hand record shop he had opened in 1969.

The Beatles provide an effective skeleton for the memoir, but the meat of the matter revolves largely around Al Stewart – from Jon recording the nascent talent on a Telefunken, through Al’s move to London where he heard the pre-fame Paul Simon complete his song Homeward Bound and rushed back to Bournemouth to share it with his friend, to feline groovy riding out the first wave of Year of the Cat in LA, Jon’s memoir is really a story of friendship and will yield its richest rewards if approached as such.

Harsher critics will make more of the light dusting of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and factual slips, others might take issue with the sometimes fussy style in which it is written, but to do so misses the point – this is a very personal love letter to the author’s youth and therein lies its charm.

Nick Churchill

Photos courtesy of Jon Kremer

Above, left: Al Stewart and Jon Kremer act up in Branksome Park, c1963

Above: Al brandishes the first Incredible String Band album as Jon strikes a pose in Kodacolor 1967

Left: Jon and some bloke backstage at Bournemouth Winter Gardens in 1973

Copies of Bournemouth A Go! Go! A Sixties Memoir can be ordered from

:: For more reading on the many and varied connection between The Beatles and Bournemouth, you'll find more than 200 rare and previously unpublished photos as well as a wealth of stories in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth. Copies are available at