THE JOE MEEK SOCIETY
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Held at The George Hotel, Newent, Gloucester, GL18 1PU
At 11:30 am on Saturday 2nd April 2022
Society Chairman: Welcome and opening remarks.
Pete Rochford opened the meeting at 11:30am and welcomed the 15 members (including 4 committee members).
Apologies for absence.
Apologies were recorded from Andy Knott and Sandra Meek-Williams, both of whom were suffering from COVID. Rob Humphreys who resides in Spain also sent his apologies.
Approval of minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 6th April 2019 at The George Hotel, Newent, Gloucestershire
(A copy of the minutes may be obtained from the Society website –www.joemeeksociety.org– or on request from the Secretary.
These were the minutes from the last attended AGM and had been available to view on the website. The Secretary offered to read a transcript if requested although mentioned that they ran into eight pages and might take some time. The secretary mentioned that there were no contentious issues raised and it was agreed to accept them as a formal record.
Proposed by Dave Harfield and seconded by Shy Rochford.
Discussion on matters arising from the above minutes.
One item that has remained outstanding is our ability to publish videos, sound archives and photographs for which copyright is either not known or unavailable. We had previously discussed the need to gain legal advice so as to assess any potential claim against us for copyright, but as this would incur considerable cost, has not been done yet but will be undertaken if and when an opportunity arises.
Report by the Chairman.
Pete Rochford gave a summary of what had happened in the Society over the past twelve months. The Tea Chest Tapes project is still ongoing, having started early in 2021. (A talk form Alan Wilson and Cherry Red Records is due to be given later in the days events and will bring us up to date with progress).
During the past year, Shy Rochford came up with an idea to broadcast a music night on Joe’s birthday on their Rock n Roll Facebook site, and comprising solely of Joe’s music. This proved to be very successful and prompted further events throughout the year. Pete said that they are currently up to number 12. (For those unfamiliar with these music nights, they can be found, free to view/hear, on the Joe Meek Society Facebook page. The events are well publicized in advance on that site, and other related pages). These events are proving to be a good source of new enthusiasts of Joe Meek Music.
It is sad to have to report the loss of recording artist Iain Gregory in April last year. Also of Barry Morley, a very supportive member of the Joe Meek Society and Joe’s favourite charities.
In September 21, Pete managed to contact Petula Clark who did not have a lot to do with Joe, but whist not giving a detailed response did mention that she recalled Joe as being “a sweet funny man with a lot of talent”.
In October 21 we sadly lost the talents of two of our long-standing committee members. Rob Humphreys who had bought about the development of our website over the past 20 years or so, has decided to step down as he approaches octogenarian status. The committee and members thanked him for his outstanding contribution and wished him a very happy and long retirement.
Also, Craig Newton decided to stand down for personal reasons although we dearly hope we will see him back with us in the near future.
Advertisements were posted on the website and Facebook pages for people to fill these roles and we believe a candidate has been found for a new webmaster, but more of that later.
We are always delighted to receive mentions and support from radio broadcasters and in December our long-time supporter Frank McMahon on Thameside Radio who did a great feature on Joe, and who always promotes the Society during his broadcasts. Thank you to Frank.
Also in December 2021, Pete contacted Craig Douglas who always speaks highly of Joe and recorded three tracks with Joe at Lansdowne Road, and Phil Fernando, a lesser-known artist who nonetheless made about 7 or 8 records with Joe under the Pye Nixa label. Pete hopes to visit him in South Wales with a view to get his thoughts on the old Lansdowne Road days.
In January 22, Pete, along with Rob Bradford and Mike Berry, took part in an interview for The Independent newspaper who produced a very good review of Joe.
Pete mentioned Michael Cox, who he learns through an agent, is still in good health and lives in New Zealand. Although not now singing, he is apparently enjoying a quiet life and doing well. We have asked for our best wishes to be passed on.
A message has been received for Russell C Brennan who now manages Glenda Collins. One new track has recently been released although only available as a digital download, but he hopes to release a whole new album this summer.
Pete gave advanced news of the unveiling of the bust of Joe later that afternoon, in the Market House, where the Mayor will be officiating.
Later that afternoon there will be a talk by Alan Wilson on the Tea Chest Tapes and his progress on the digitizing of the tapes.
In the evening we have the live entertainment with Shy performing a set of Joe’s Girls tracks, followed by Joe’s recording artist Bobby Rio. There will also be an acoustic set by George Buddy and our main band for the evening, Cliff and The Stereos.
Pete had just received a call that another of Joe’s recording artists will also be with us tonight, former Saxons and Tornados guitarist Peter Holder.
Presentation by the Treasurer of the Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2022, with discussion on ongoing subscription rates, and a proposal for their adoption.
Copies of the Audited Accounts have been distributed for the meeting and will be posted on our website in due course.
We have all encountered major difficulties with the pandemic over the past two years and it is great that, at last, we can meet up again.
During that period, we have managed to maintain our objectives of delivering three Thunderbolts per year and operating a comprehensive website. In addition, following the cessation of the newsletter in 2019, we have introduced a secure video library feature, where a vast range of Joe Meek related clips and programmes are available for members to view. This service is hosted by the Vimeo video provider at an annual cost to us of £82.80. For loading all these videos onto the system, we have to give great thanks to Craig Newton who must have spent countless hours on the task.
From a financial point of view, the Society is in a healthy position and continues to fund our costs as and when they fall due. In my report for the last attended AGM in 2019, I did mention that the retained bank balance had been steadily reducing over previous years, but that I expected it to recover with the ending of the newsletter. This has indeed been the case and we are now rebuilding a surplus. This again was calculated and was intended to finance entertainment events for the members. Such an event is our entertainment tonight which I am sure you are all looking forward to.
Our total membership has remains almost constant at 246, although this includes 28 new members meaning that, for whatever reason, we have lost about the same number.
Therefore, a test for your dissection of my Revenue statement! You might well ask how our year end balance has risen from £1832.85 to £2968.63 when membership has remained the same. Answer is largely due to the timing of subscription receipts to Andy Knott. For several years now we have been saving postage costs by sending out renewal notices with a Thunderbolt issue. Subscription renewals occur every month of the year but Thunderbolts are only posted every 4 months. Therefore, we send out renewals two months in arrears and two months in advance. Depending on the timing of the posting of the Thunderbolt, receipts dates vary. This was the case at the end of 2020-2021 financial year when about £700 was paid in in April 2021 (2021-22 financial year) when some may well have related to 2020-21. This occurred again in March this year (2021-22 financial year) when £720 was paid in, some of which may strictly relate to 2022-23. This is the way a Revenue account works and is based on entries received into and paid out of the bank and had been seen to be perfectly adequate for the Society’s administration.
Further income is received for the sale of our DVD’s and Thunderbolt back issues. For these I thank Darren Vidler and Steve Nash respectively for maintaining these services.
I must give enormous thanks to Andy Knott who does a sterling job in collection the subscriptions and similarly to Rob Humphreys in Spain who handles the majority of the on-line income through PayPal.
One unwelcome expense has been forced upon us this year, which is a real bone of contention with me, being an ex-banker, is that HSBC had started to impose bank charges from January this year. This is the way of the world I am afraid and it is a surprise that we had not been charged long ago. There are other banks that may, at the moment, offer free banking but the hassle of switching and the probable likelihood of them also charging in the future, leaves me to recommend we stay as we are. It roughly equates to 50p per subscription per annum which we can, for the time being, absorb.
Another cost that continues to rise, and which is beyond our control, is postage. The highest rises are with overseas mail, but the volume here is quite small and again, can be absorbed. Even with these cost increases, an increase in subscription rates is not required at this time and could possibly deter members from renewing in these difficult economic times.
On that point of Digital membership income, Rob H wished to stress the significant drop off in renewals following the high uptake last year following the announcement of the Tea Chest Tapes. He has suggested a reduction in the subscription in years two and subsequent, bearing in mind the fact that it costs us nothing to send digital copies of The Thunderbolt. A figure of £5.00 has been suggested. My personal view is that I do not think that would make a significant difference, but the proposal was discussed by the members present. Craig Newton also thought that any amount received would better than nothing, but that the issue might lie with the publication of the digital service and in sending out reminders when renewals are due. Craig suggested that as we have e-mail addresses for the majority of our members, and indeed all of the digital subscribers, that we organise sending reminders, perhaps with a payment link, and detailing all the information we provide, especially the video library.
Shy Rochford added a query as to whether we could set up a direct debit payment on an annual frequency, but unfortunately, we are far to small an organisation for the bank to consider that. There are also additional service costs involved. A member authorised standing order would be feasible and could be suggested when setting up the membership.
It was concluded that we would improve on our publicising of the digital service and send renewal reminders by e-mail, along the lines of the current paper version. This needs to be discussed within the committee and a system put in place.
I concluded by asking for any other questions from the floor on the financial matters, but none were forthcoming.
Finally, I must thank Pete Rochford for auditing these accounts for me. With our financial year ending 31st March, and with the AGM on the 2nd April, it did not leave much time to get them done.
A motion for the financial report to be accepted was proposed by Craig Newton and seconded by Dave Harfield.
David Nevols. Treasurer.
David Nevols. Treasurer.
6. Reports by (or on behalf of) committee members: –
Secretary – David Nevols
Welcome to Newent once again for our long-awaited AGM. A special thank you to Dan here at the George Hotel for hosting our event today and although it was out of our control, our apologies to him for messing him about by cancelling bookings for the past two years.
I cannot begin to tell you of the amount of work that has been put in to get today’s events in place. For this we have Pete and Shy to thank. It is really third time lucky due to the previous two dates having to be called off due to COVID. The fact remains that all the work had been put in to get those other events organised as well, only for them to be cancelled, almost at the last minute. Pete and Shy, you have done a spectacular job and I don’t know how you manage to fit in a day job.
We must also thank the artists, Cliff and The Stereos, George Buddy and our own Bobby Rio, who had previously agreed to take part in 2020 and 21 and who have stuck with us and will be here tonight.
As secretary. I am grateful for the support of the rest of the committee all of whom play an important part in delivering the package that the Society provides, whether it be the Thunderbolt, DVD’s, back issues, video and radio libraries, social media, or indeed, putting on the entertainment tonight. I hope you agree that it is well worth while.
Please do keep in mind that The Society is managed by a team of volunteers who do so out of their enthusiasm for Joe Meek and his music. Hopefully we get most of it right. If so, please tell us. Should you think we have made mistakes, there are ways to say so in a positive manner.
An AGM is really about two things. Firstly, for the Committee to inform you of the Society’s activities over the past year, both practically and financially, and secondly, to give the members an opportunity to discuss future activities and to elect an ongoing committee, so it is your opportunity to ask questions and direct future events.
We are facing a very exciting future. Recent updates from Alan Wilson regarding the Tea Chest Tapes tell us that the transfer to digital is virtually complete and soon re-mastering will start, leading to the release of some material for sale. Me thinks it is time to start saving up!!!
A massive thank you to all our members for continuing to support Joe and the Society. You make it all worthwhile and I hope you really enjoy your day with us in Newent and look forward to seeing you at tonight’s event.
David Nevols. Secretary
Thunderbolt Editor – Rob Bradford
It is almost three years since I last spoke at our AGM and about the same length of time since I took over the role of Thunderbolt editor from Mark Newson, who had been compiling the magazine for over 20 years and had decided to stand down. I admit that it was quite a scary task to take it on but I have now completed 10 issues and really enjoy the role, uncovering new information on Joe’s artists, not only from my own comprehensive research, but from material submitted by members.
I gave huge thanks to Nicola Shilcock, another of our volunteer committee members, who compiles the magazine into a format ready for printing and by doing so saves the Society a great deal of money, as in Marks’ day, that work was undertaken by our printers, Catford Print, at some cost. I have also achieved considerable cost savings on the old methods, by being able to produce the Thunderbolt in computer digital file formats rather than type written as previously.
I am always eager to receive feedback and articles or photographs from members and would encourage all the members to contribute. This year is the 60th anniversary of the issue of Telstar and I am sure members will have some interesting anecdotes to share on their remembrances of the record or indeed of their recollections of this AGM and the bust unveiling and evening entertainment. Please do send in your thoughts and/or pictures.
Special thanks are given to Paul Moy who contributed greatly to the last edition as I had had some serious health issues to contend with. Efforts are being made to find a successor to my role as Thunderbolt editor, not that I have any kind of death wish, but I want to be assured that the Thunderbolt will continue should I not be able to devote sufficient time to it. However, I do intend to continue for may years to come, although Pete mentioned to me that a successor may have been found.
I also wished to pass on my grateful thanks to Andy Knott who has been the membership secretary for at least 25 years, if not more, and has had the thankless job of having to pack up and post out the Thunderbolt magazines for all that time.
Not all of my articles meet with universal approval as I have recently had some negative feedback on my “Wrestling” article in the last issue, suggesting it was not really Joe Meek related, although conversely, I also had received positive feedback form Sandra Meek who said she loved it. Just goes to show you can’t please everybody.
Membership Secretary – Andy Knott
Firstly, please accept my apologies for not being present in person due to work commitments and having to book our holiday time so far in advance that once the AGM date is announced, that week is already taken. Plus, it would be nice to see everyone again face to face after the past two years of the pandemic.
However, at the time of writing this (26th March) I have tested positive for COVID.
It is pleasing to report 23 new members since last year’s AGM, and I would attribute this to the news regarding the sale of Joe’s T-Chest tapes to Cherry Red Records and the eventual release of the music on them. We warmly welcome them to the society and hope they gain further pleasure and understanding of the person Joe was and the extraordinary music that he created.
Membership currently stands at over 220 (both paper & digital) which I feel is a fantastic achievement after all these years and we hope to increase this number when the T-Chest material eventually emerges as there is still a large amount of interest in Joe and his music, but this doesn’t automatically turn into new members.
It did not happen when the ‘Telstar’ film was released, (a small number did join as a direct result of seeing the film), so we should remain realistic as to the number of new members we gain following Cherry Red’s releases.
But as this is the ONE thing that we, as a society, have campaigned for over the past 32 years or so, I have every confidence and remain optimistic that interest will increase once the music is out there.
Please can I ask/urge members to renew their subscription as soon as possible after receiving the renewal form as there are very few spare copies between each issue and these are usually sent out to new members so any (very) late payers will probably NOT be able to receive the latest issue, so I thank you for your attention on this matter.
I would like, as always, to thank the many members who kindly add a ‘little extra’ to their subscriptions and in these current turbulent financial times, your kind gesture is very much appreciated by the JMS Committee. You know who you are, and I know who you are so again, thank-you.
Rob Bradford has documented his ongoing health battles in the Thunderbolt, and I pay tribute to him for his strength and fortitude in the face of adversity in not only facing his demons, but still managing to edit the Thunderbolt for our enjoyment.
This too applies to others in the society, and I thank them also for their hard work so that the society can continue to function and move forward.
Thanks to Pete for steering the ship, and the rest of the committee for the roles they all play in keeping the name of Joe Meek alive.
Last, but not least, to the members who make the whole thing worthwhile.
Back issues – Steve Nash
No report submitted
Website Admin. – Rob Humphreys.
Yet another quiet year, quite a lot of digital subscribers did not renew – more than usual this year. As this year I will reach my 80th birthday (hopefully) I have decided to stand down while I can and pass orderly instructions on to my successor. I think I started managing the website around the turn of the century and that’s a long time…
All the committee present, and the members at the meeting wished to pass on their thanks to Rob for all his very efficient work over the past 20 odd years and wish him a very happy 80th birthday (this year) and for a very happy and healthy retirement.
The Joe Meek Society Hall of Fame nominations.
Pete had three nominations put forward for this year’s nominations, Michael Cox, Robb Huxley and Dave Watts. A further nomination of Iain Gregory was suggested from the floor.
A vote was taken and Michael Cox and Robb Huxley were duly nominated.
Election of members of the Management Committee.
With the exception of Rob Humphreys, mentioned above, all current committee members have agreed to continue.
The role of Website Administrator was advertised and Shy Rochford has asked to be considered. Her application was supported by Pete Rochford and seconded by David Nevols. No other names were forthcoming so Shy was formally accepted onto the committee. Rob Humphreys will be asked to provide some training for the role and all necessary admin requirements will be put in place.
Craig Newton had resigned his position of Video Library Admin earlier in the year, so that position is also currently vacant.
Rob Bradford has previously informed us of his serious health issues and David Nevols also advised the meeting of his similar serious health problems. So, the committee is very keen to try and get more people involved in the running of the Society so there is a backup to step into any position should the need arise.
Following these changes, the committee now consists of: –
Pete Rochford – Chairman
Alan Blackburn – Vice Chairman
Rob Bradford – Thunderbolt Editor
Paul Moy – Editor of Joe Meek and Beyond Digital Publications
Pete Rochford – Facebook Admin/Radio Library & Joe Meek Channel
David Nevols – Treasurer / Secretary
Post Vacant – Tech Advisor
Shyirra Rochford – Website Admin
Nicola Shilcock – Events / Thunderbolt design
Andy Knott – Membership Secretary
Steve Nash – Back Issues
Post Vacant– Video Library
Darren Vidler – DVD shop
Amendments to the Society’s constitution. (Copies of The Constitution are available on the Society website. Some additional copies will be available at the meeting.)
No suggestions submitted. The current constitution works well and it was agreed to leave it unchanged.
Discussion on the future of The Society. Proposed by David Nevols
Sounds a bit morbid, but looking to the future, should no one be found to take over a committee positions, especially the in the production of the Thunderbolt. In that event the Society have nothing to distribute to its members, what should we do? We do not consider this an urgent matter at this time but is raised as a topic requiring further thought.
Shy Rochford mentioned that many fan clubs are now concentrating on social media sites and she feels this is an area we could expand on as the Facebook page now has over 3000 members who we could potentially be tapping into. There clearly remains a strong interest in Joe and his work so The Society must continue although maybe in an alternative format. This will require much more thought, especially on how we can continue to receive a subscription income stream to fund any future events/products. The website could be enhanced to be the main source of information and retain some “Members Only” areas through which a subscription could be levied.
Date and venue for next year’s Annual General Meeting.
Newent remains the preferred location for our AGM for historic reasons. The George Hotel has always been very good to us in providing the venue free of charge but as the large hall is no longer available for safety reasons, the smaller restaurant area is the limiting factor as to the numbers attending. Should we envisage a larger turnout then the Memorial Hall in Newent may be an option for the evenings entertainment with the AGM still taking place at The George. Much will depend on the success of this evenings event to see how many the restaurant area can comfortably handle.
It is hoped that any entertainment will be self-funding from ticket sales but some contribution from Society funds would probably be available.
Notwithstanding the venue issue, the date suggested was Saturday 1st April 2023 and provisional bookings will be made with both The George and The Memorial Hall, Newent.
Any other business and comments or questions from the floor. (The Chairman will decide whether any specific issues raised are appropriate for discussion at this meeting).
My sincere apologies for missing out this item during the meeting and denying any opportunity for members to put forward items for discussion. It was not until after the meeting had closed that this omission was pointed out to me. I am aware of Craig Newtons disappointment at not being able to voice his opinions and I talked at length with him afterwards.
Society Chairman: Closing remarks and farewell.
Pete again thanked all members of the committee for their hard work during the year and included Craig Newton who, although not currently a committee member, has contributed enormously during the year. The door is always open for him to return.
Thanks also for all the viewers to the on-line DJ sets which also promotes Joe. Further thanks to The George Hotel for their ongoing support for accommodating us each year. Special thanks to David Wilson-Copp for his work on the bust, and finally to Shy (ahhhhh!) for all her support and all the live artists, Bobby Rio, George Buddy and Cliff and The Stereos.
We appreciate everyone for coming today. Thank you for your ongoing support and hope you enjoy the rest of the days’ activities.
The meeting was closed at 12:53pm.