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A Bit of History

Some words nicked from Vivian Gregson (with a little editing)... read on dear friends ......
"AlleyCats started in 1996, as a jam session at Al's house in North End, Portsmouth. Al and Viv decided to look for a venue to host an open mic evening. They managed to get a Thursday evening at the old Top Cats night club in North End, which Viv used to manage. (Top Cats later became the Post Office Social Club). Access to Top Cats was via an alley, hence the name AlleyCats. AlleyCats then moved to the Air Balloon on a Thursday evening, and later expanded to a second weekly evening at The Priory Inn (in Victoria Road North, Southsea) on a Sunday. AlleyCats continued to go from strength to strength thanks to the efforts put in by Al, soundman John The Hat and fashion guru Trev. AlleyCats then moved to the The Tap, in North End, every Sunday Evening, until Summer 2007, when it was time to move to another venue. " The photos are also Viv's - many thanks for their use.

After 11 years, Allan decided to pass on the Alleycats 'baton' to John the Hat. (The 'baton' being the familiar backdrop, which was painted by Laura, a friend of AlleyCats, and has been with us for many years). John and Trev decided that Alleycats is such a special music and social event that it should carry on.
The next stop was Moocher's Bar, in Somerstown, ironically, not far from the old Priory. Things were going well, until the venue had music licence problems. So, again, time to look for a new venue. Deciding not to rely on a single venue again, a new approach was decided. Different venues throughout the month, spread around Portsea as much as possible (which also kept people happy by having an Alleycats within staggering, er, walking distance of home).
The criteria was decided - the venue should be well run, have the right 'vibe' (ie. no idiots), and serve good ales.
The Barley Mow, in Southsea, was an obvious choice (1st Sunday).
The Winchester Arms, in Buckland, followed (3rd Sunday). And, finally, the Golden Eagle, at the other end of Southsea (last Sunday). It was decided to keep the second Sunday free for essential reasons. That's Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival weekend!
So there you have it. A brief history of Alleycats. Countless players have graced us with their playing, people have met, formed bands, become friends, and it's been (and still is) a wonderful journey.