The Joe Meek Society

Minutes of Annual General Meeting held at Islington North Library on Saturday 11th June 2016.

Chairman Rob Bradford welcomed 16 attendees to the meeting which started at 3:18pm

Agenda Items

  1. Apologies for absence.

Apologies had been received from Andy Knott, Rob Humphreys, Mark Newson, Clem Cattini, Alan Blackburn and Ken Ledran.

  1. Minutes of last AGM held at Phibbers Bar, Lower Holloway, London, on Sunday 7th June 2015.

The minutes as reported in The Society’s newsletter No. 191, were circulated to the members present, and were agreed as a true account of the meeting.

  1. Matters arising.

There were no matters arising.

  1. Chairman’s Report.

It has been a fairly steady and quiet year for JMS, which is no bad thing. The Society continues to thrive and there is still a great deal of interest in all things Joe Meek / RGM – related. As Chairman I rely greatly upon the support of those committee members who work so hard on our behalf.

The vital JMS Website – which is run brilliantly and efficiently by Rob Humphreys. The JMS Facebook page – again run brilliantly by our former chairman Craig Newton. The JMS Twitter Site / Feed – another splendid enterprise run by the equally splendid Denis Hoare. In this Internet Age, a strong JMS presence online is vital. Rob, Craig and Denis put in an enormous amount of work on our behalf and I thank each and every one of them.

When I became Chairman – I was delighted when our then former treasurer David Nevols offered to take up the reigns once again. He has got the accounts up to date and finally resolved the ghastly problems surrounding our banking. Being treasurer involves a tremendous amount of work – as I recall when I used to do it. Well, David is incredibly organised – and his experience in financial matters is invaluable. I am treasurer of my local schools’ F A – which is a much smaller organisation. Even keeping tabs on that and preparing annual accounts is an onerous task. With a Society as big as JMS – you can multiply that tenfold. David does an enormous amount of work on behalf of JMS, for which I am extremely grateful. There has been a lot of interest in our Back Issues dept. this year, resulting in a lot of work for Steve Nash. He has (aided by his wife Kait) responded superbly, so many thanks Steve. I would also like to thank Darren Vidler for taking on the responsibility of running the JMS DVD service. It is a huge help, so congratulations to him for stepping up to the plate. My thanks also to Ray Liffen and ex – chair Ken Ledran for their continued advice, support and general help.

Where would we be without our membership secretary Andy Knott? As well as maintaining the membership list, he has the unenviable and laborious task of packing up and posting out our publications six times per year. It is a thankless task, a monumental one and a vital one. Thanks Andy. I should have said earlier that both Rob Humphreys (in particular) and Andy in general also make the treasurer’s job a lot easier between them.

Two more committee members to thank. Firstly, Mark Newson. “Thunderbolt” is very highly regarded. Producing each issue is a genuine labour of love and Mark literally spends hundreds of hours working on it. Such dedication (all for free) is truly rare in this day and age. Mark also has contacts with so many people. His knowledge is vast. Where would we be without him?? Finally, Nicola Shilcock. Nicola is so modest, but she works tirelessly on the Society’s behalf. I do not know what I would do without her skills (layouts etc) and contributions towards the JMS Newsletter. She makes every issue better and she saves the Society lots of money. Finally, we have people like the amazing Alan Blackburn (the only person to have actually heard all of Joe’s surviving ‘Tea Chest Tapes’) to draw upon, not to mention Clem Cattini and of course, Sandra Meek – Williams. They are all unstinting in their support of JMS and I know that Sandra appreciates everything that we all do to keep Joe’s memory alive.

Here are just some of the things to have happened in 2015 – 2016 (as a result of direct action or very strong support / input from JMS members), The restored bench (and attached plaque) outside 304 – which has now been replaced with a modern bench – but the plaque will be retained (DH). The plaque was re- affixed by Denis. I should point out that the initiative was entirely Denis’s and he made all of the necessary arrangements as well as financing the project himself. Supporting Joe Meek PhD studies (RB) – notably Esmee Hoek. JMS has subsequently helped out several other students with various Joe Meek projects. Joe Meek Talk for Newent Historical Society (RB). Joe Meek was mentioned in a recent Internet feature ‘The Top 10 Most Influential Record Producers’. Joe has been mentioned / featured in several ‘retro’ music programmes, notably on BBC 4. A huge section on Joe Meek / RGM, 304 in Howard Massey’s definitive tome ‘The Great British Recording Studios’. The Triumphs appeared on Radio Caroline to promote their brand new CD ‘Meek & Wild’…giving Joe Meek / JMS lots of plugs along the way. Martin Murray has been doing a lot of media work promoting the Honeycombs’ brand new CD ‘304 Holloway Road Revisited. Mike Berry will be touring nationally with Marty Wilde in the Autumn. Both Clem Cattini and John Leyton have announced that they have now retired from performing. Dave Watts has formed his own version of The Tornados, two of the other members also did session work for Joe Meek at Holloway Road in 1966. A 4 CD Joe Meek retrospective (featuring tracks from 1965 – 1967, many of which have never been on CD) is currently at the planning stage…..Hopefully it will appear early next year to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Joe’s death

Rob Bradford (Chairman JMS)

  1. Treasurer’s Report.

2016 AGM. Financial report.

I am pleased to report that the finances remain in good order with a retained balance of £2140.49. However, you will see from my Revenue account that this represents a reduction of just over £500 on last year.

We do need to maintain a balance at this kind of value to enable us to meet our printing and postage bills as they fall due. The income from subscriptions is not time certain, being more at some times of the year than others. Nevertheless, it is of some concern that our reserves are falling and clearly this cannot go on indefinitely.

The reasons are quite straightforward. Membership numbers have reduced and printing/postage costs have increased. Membership numbers are probably due to the lack of current high profile events promoting Joe’s work. Our largest membership surges occurred after the Wyllyotts Theatre 40th Anniversary gig and of course the Telstar film release. Expenditure is contained as much as possible although postage is out of our control, and our printers, who continue to do a magnificent job, do have inflationary costs of their own to cover.

The simple answer would be to increase subscription rates. The UK members subs of £17.00 just about covers the costs of 3 Thunderbolts and 6 Newsletters, but changes to exchange rates over the year where Stirling has strengthened significantly, mean that European and Worldwide members are now not covering the costs. Heaven only knows what might happen to exchange rates after the EU referendum later this month, and in thinking about it, Heaven might not have a clue either. Our last subscription rates change was in 2011. Not a bad record and I do wonder if any other organisation has achieved five years of stability.

A further, major, cause of the deficit relates to the volumes of copies ordered for each edition. Historically we have always over ordered so that we can maintain a stock to sell off as back orders. I would suggest that this should change so that only minimal stocks are retained for future use. With digital copies now being held, the supply of back issues would be a simple procedure.

These are issues to be discussed at the AGM when I would be happy, if required, to detail all the costs involved.

May I convey my thanks to all the Committee for another good year for the Society and especially to Rob Bradford, Andy Knott, Rob Humphreys and Steve Nash for continuing to assist me in making the Treasurers job so easy. Finally, extra extra special thanks to Mark Newson for his enormous contribution to The Society over many years, as he retires from his Thunderbolt editorship role. Will be a difficult act to follow, probably even an impossible one, but I hope The Society will reveal a hidden talent in one of our members that will go some way to fill the gap.

David Nevols


Revenue Account. 

The Joe Meek Society       2015-2016 Revenue Account   

    Income  Expenditure  2014-15
01/06/2015 Balance Bought forward 2,673.14   2,808.84
  Subscriptions Printed    4,051.02   4,110.36
  Subscriptions Digital 162.42   201.61
  CD & DVD Shop, Photo Shop, Back issues etc 38.35   301.12
  Thunderbolt Printing     -2,569.86 -2,364.03
  Thunderbolt Compilation & Postages   -1,435.99 -1,413.97
  Newsletter Printing   -355.01  -357.37
  Newsletter Compilation & Postages   -302.06 -448.07
  Other 0.00 -121.52 -165.35
  Events   0.00 0.00
  SUB -TOTAL 6,924.93 -4,784.44  
31/05/2016  Balance Carried Forward    2,140.49  2,673.14
      6,924.93  -6,924.93
  Represented by: –  Bank Balance as at 31/05/2016   2,390.49  
  Unpresented items: –      
  AGM room hire expenses   -100.00  
  May N/L postage estimate    -150.00  
      2,140.49  2,673.14

I certify this to be a true record of the transactions carried out between the dates of 01/6/2015 and 31/05/2016

David Nevols Treasurer


Membership Secretary’s Report.

Despite it being nearly 50 years since Joe’s death, and the fact that there has been practically nothing in the way of new CD releases (apart from the usual re-hashed compilations of material already available for several years) in which to give promotion to the society, in the 12 months since the last AGM we have gained 40 new members.

Whilst we can celebrate in the knowledge that interest in Joe and his music remains strong, the majority of those 40 are digital subscribers and it remains to be seen whether or not they stay with us after the first year as it is evident that the majority of the initial intake of digital members formerly have not renewed. However, I understand we currently have 30 members subscribing to this format – which is the highest number ever. This is largely due to Paul Moy’s excellent Digital Publications, which are available free to all JMS Digital Subscribers. It is disappointing that few of these have opted for the paper subscription therefore resulting in a slight drop in our total membership from the high point at the time of the ‘Telstar’ film release, which has to be expected.

I don’t believe that any society can maintain a constant level of members – they will all have higher numbers at some point before slightly declining over the following years. With a rolling renewals programme and waiting for renewals etc…our membership currently stands around the 250 – 260 mark, but we can be proud of our numbers, over 25 years on from the society’s formation. This is entirely attributable to everyone who is involved in making the society tick, notably Mark for his continuing sterling work on the Thunderbolt magazine which garners rave reviews after each issue and to Rob who edits the Newsletter 6 times a year in addition to his Chairmanship role. My personal thanks to you both.

Despite the film having several showings on television since then, I have not noticed any mad rush of enquiries or applications for membership although I am equally sure that some of those who have joined us after the screenings are a direct result of viewing the film.

In conclusion, as always, I would like to extend my gratitude to those members who very kindly send donations along with their subs which are most gratefully received – you know who you are so many thanks – they are very much appreciated.

Andy Knott.

  1. Webmasters Report.

Apologies for absence but I do live in Spain and rarely visit the UK. The last year has been fairly quiet – like the previous year. There was a slight hiccup when I was hospitalised for six weeks but I soon picked up the reins again. We get plenty of visitors to the web site but fewer queries now as there are not many Meek related happenings going on.

Once again thanks to Rob Bradford and other members like Ken Ledran, David Peters and Craig Newton for helping answer some of the queries we do get.

Our digital membership is now 30 which is probably the highest it has been. Paul Moy has greatly enhanced the attraction of going digital with the addition of his ‘Joe Meek and Beyond’ digital publications available to all members.

Rob Humphreys

  1. JMS Hall of Fame.

Following a general discussion between the members present, it was agreed to enrol two further legendary Joe Meek artists, Mike Berry and Danny Rivers, to the Hall of Fame.

  1. Election of Committee Members.

No nominations had been received for new members to appointed to The Committee. As all of the current Committee were willing to continue, they were re-elected en-bloc.

David Nevols proposed the addition of a new committee position as Society Secretary to handle much of the general administration including organisation of future Annual General Meetings and therefore reducing the workload of the Chairman. The proposal was seconded by Ray Liffen and was carried unopposed. David volunteered himself for this role and was duly appointed.

  1. Any Other Business.

Ray Liffen proposed that The Society consider an event to mark the 50th anniversary of Joe’s death which will be the 3rd February 2017, to be along similar lines to the 40th anniversary gig held at the Willyotts Theatre, Potters Bar, in 2007. There was universal enthusiasm for such an event and Society member and former RGM artist, Peter Knight (The Moontrekkers) offered assistance in contacting other artists who might be willing to perform.

Following notification from Mark Newson earlier in the year of his decision to retire as Thunderbolt editor, Chairman, Rob Bradford, had been seeking a volunteer(s) to take on the role. Rob was pleased to report that Paul Moy had expressed an interest in taking over the reins and will produce Thunderbolt jointly with Rob from 2017.

Peter Knight raised the matter of membership numbers and in particular the non-renewal of memberships. Although our Membership Secretary does send reminder letters as a matter of course, Peter recommended that these be supplemented by telephone calls to try and retain members and offered to assist with these. This was welcomed and will be discussed with Andy Knott.

There being no other matters put forward for discussion, the meeting was closed at 4:40pm.

The date for our next Annual General Meeting was provisionally set for Saturday 10th June 2017, at a venue to be decided but hopefully in an area easily accessible by the majority of our members. This will probably not be central London.