One woman's love for Cliff Richard - and why it's time to part with some of her extraordinary memorabilia collection (From Bournemouth Echo)
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One woman's love for Cliff Richard - and why it's time to part with some of her extraordinary memorabilia collection
One woman's love for Cliff Richard - and why it's time to part with some of her extraordinary memorabilia
What is it about Cliff Richard? As the perennial singer prepares to go on tour again, Faith Eckersall talks to one of his biggest Dorset aficionados
The date was September 30, 1958. The place: Jan Mouland’s mum’s sitting room. The occasion? A certain young singer was making his first appearance on the hit TV show Oh Boy.
“He looked so young then,” says Jan, fondly, remembering the occasion she first clapped eyes on the man whose music has been the soundtrack to her life and whose face beams down from commemorative plates, mugs, wall-hangings, calendars– ‘I’ve got Cliff calendars in every room’ – and on T-shirts and scarves in her Bournemouth home.
What attracted her to the artist formerly known as Harry Roger Webb? Was it his looks? The songs? The way he dressed?
“Everything!” says Jan.
Did she buy his records? “Absolutely, I had them on order before they even came on sale.” (Mind you, this is a woman who bought Buddy Holly’s ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ even before she had a record player, because she just knew she had to have it.)
Her Cliff-loving ways got a tremendous boost when, at the age of 16, she passed the exams to become a civil servant and was posted to Bristol where she lived, as was the custom for young civil servant ladies, in the YWCA Hostel, and spent her days listening to Cliff and Elvis Presley and spending all her cash visiting the Colston Hall concert venue.
“Those were the days, seven and sixpence in the front row at the Colston Hall,” she remembers.
“You could get in the Gods at the Hippodrome for 12-and-a-half pence and see all the top stars.”
Stars she saw include Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield and Connie Francis.
Jan’s big moment came at her beloved Colston Hall, when, at the age of 19 with a friend: “We crept in, looking out for any management because we shouldn’t have been there.”
They were looking for The Shadows, Cliff’s legendary backing band, and they weren’t disappointed, they found them sitting around playing cards before their afternoon rehearsal.
“One of the managers came along and looked at us and The Shadows said it’s OK, they’re fine, and then Cliff arrived.”
To their absolute joy, Jan and her friend were allowed to remain in the wings and got a personal concert, just for them.
“It was crazy then, you just wouldn’t be allowed to do it now,” she says.
What she does do, like many a die-hard fan, is join the famous queue that springs up whenever Cliff fans get a whiff of his tour tickets going on sale.
“Of course I camped out at the BIC when he came here a few years back,” says Jan.
“My friend came with me and my daughter took me down a quilt and chairs.”
Jan managed to nab a place in the coveted undercover section and: “Thanks to a bottle of brandy we were well away!’ At this point it seems vital that I ask the $64,000 dollar question again. What IS it about Cliff Richard that makes so many people adore him? What’s his secret?
“He’s just so nice,” says Jan.
“When he leaves concerts he can’t come to the stage door like many of them because there are so many there. He puts all his energy into his shows but he always winds down his windows and waves us off.”
Concerts are much better these days, she says, because: “You can hear them. When he was young you could never hear anything because of the screaming although there are still a few screams when he wears his leathers.”
Jan’s favourite tracks are Miss You Nights and Please Don’t Tease. She took a long time to enjoy Devil Woman, Cliff’s favourite, but now she loves them all. The best place for getting all this stuff, she says, is Leo’s Den in Sturminster Newton, purveyor of all things Cliff and The Shadows.
When she’s not chatting on Cliff forums and listening to her beloved Sixties music, Jan gads about on the internet, visits friends she’s made on the web, runs a dominoes league, and is secretary of BreatheEasy, the Bournemouth group for people with the respiratory condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder.
She is a marvellous advert for getting on with it, despite the condition, and is now making plans to – shock! – sell off some of her Cliff stuff because: “I have got rather a lot.”
Programmes, a full-set of commemorative china and a wall-hanging are all up for grabs. So are T-shirts; “I don’t wear them but seem to keep buying them,” but not the Cliff red wine, the last bottle of which she gave to her daughter.
How did her family cope with the eternal presence of Cliff when they were growing up?
Her husband, Norman, sadly died a few years ago but cheerily accompanied her to concerts and would salute her Cliff calendar every morning.
Smiles Jan: “He knew when he was beaten!”
- If you are interested in buying any of Jan’s Cliff Richard memorabilia please write to Faith Eckersall at the Daily Echo and your letters will be passed on.
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