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This week we’re excited to share a few #MondayMemories with the one they call Chinners whose Rock Regeneration website has the full skinny on the area’s vibrant and colourful music scene. He has been watching gigs in our Concert Hall for nearly 40 years and, like us, his hunger for more is undiminished. 

"When I was young an announcement of a gig at Poole Arts Centre was always a very exciting occasion as it was the start of weeks/months of anticipation until the day of the gig when the band’s name appeared big and bold on the orange lightbox on the side of venue.  

My first gig there was Madness in 1981 and my parents bought me and my sister tickets for Christmas. As we were only 12 and nine at the time it was arranged for us to go with an embarrassing chaperone – our Uncle Richard – and disappointingly we had tickets for the balcony as it was felt it was safer at our age.  

The gig of course was amazing and it gave me the appetite for more. My mother worked as an usherette at Poole Arts Centre and I was lucky enough to get to hear about lots of the gigs before the general public. This led to me attending loads of eclectic concerts over the years including The Cult, Iron Maiden, Five Star, Human League, Megadeth, Level  42, Percy Sledge, The Hollies, Magnum, The Wonder Stuff, Squeeze, Bad News, T’Pau, BeE King, Hothouse Flowers, All About Eve, The Mission, All About Eve, W.A.S.P. , Big Country, Neds Atomic Dustbin, Simple Minds, Levellers, Transvision Vamp, Joe Strummer, Bad Manners, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Fall, Fish and many more.  

I got to experience the famous bouncy floor, which was a massive part of the overall experience, and it was always funny watching the reaction from mostly elderly volunteers who were usually shocked by the ‘loud’ music and the way ‘us’ youngsters used to dress. I loved the place so much that when I turned 18 I got myself a job behind the bar working with Keith and his team serving drinks to all manner of people including a number of stars.  

It’s still a great place and I still make an effort to attend events and long may it continue...” 

Published 10 August 2020