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Author Topic: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s  (Read 4785 times)

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ozianna

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2013, 20:49:04 »
Hi. I'm seeing Dad tomorrow so I'll definitely mention your name and the Colosseum track. I listened to it earlier. What an awesome piece of music! I will play it for him too - see if it jogs any memories.... That's great that your son met him. I also went to the same music shop with him years ago when he lived in Herne Bay. He has always loved his music and still does! We take him to see live bands whenever we can and my sister plays music for him non-stop when he is round at hers. His favourite is Nat King Cole (who he once sounded exactly like when he sang). He also plays the piano and still has dreams about making it to the Albert Hall! Once again, it's lovely to hear such interesting stories about my old Dad on here. Thanks again.

Best wishes,
Anna Barratt.

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 23:28:03 »
Hi oxianna

Lovely to hear from you and pleased that Kenny is still around.  I wonder if if still remembers getting me to play the whole of the Valentine Suite by Colosseum each time I DJ'd for him down in the woods, which I mentioned in my opening post.  He loved that piece of music and I managed to get a copy more recently on CD.  If you haven't heard it - here's a link on You Tube.  Imagine this being played on a powerful system in the woods with some freely flowing alcohol and good company late on a sultry summer evening.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99uxziDmSM4

I first met Kenny at Wraik Hill when I went to repair his washing machine.  He showed me all round his 'empire' and he told me of his plans for the future.  When it came up in conversation that I was also a DJ and had my own Disco and lighting System, I was booked immediately.  They were great times, never any trouble and a tremendous atmosphere late into the early hours.  It was one of those special summers where it never really chilled at night.  The disco usually started the evening off which was followed by a local rock band.  I think my disco also played later into the small hours.  Mainly 'underground' music.

I lost touch with Kenny after those heady times.  However I had told my son, Nathan Walker, about Kenny and the times at Wraik Hill etc.  Nathan told me one day that Kenny had come into the piano shop in Herne Bay where Nathan worked.  He said that Kenny had taken up a religious following but still loved music.  The piano shop was owned by Dave Sinclair of Caravan - small world.  Dave taught my son to strip a piano down and completely refurbish it.

That was the last I heard about Kenny until your post on here.

Give Kenny my regards.  I don't know if he will remember me but if you mention the DJ who played Valentine Suite over and over again it might ring a bell.  My disco was called Zzounds Illuminated - a bit corny now but it seemed good all those years ago  :)

Best wishes
JohnWalker


ozianna

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 22:24:38 »
Hi there. Kenny Barratt is my Dad and is still alive and kicking (albeit at 83 yrs old!). He still lives in Whitstable and is looked after by myself and my sister. I heard about the parties in the woods from him and many other sources over the years but to hear accounts of people who were actually there is fascinating! My Dad has six children, two from his first marriage with Maureen (the gypsy princess you mention) and then four more from my mother. When my Mum met him she lived with him at Wraik Hill in a log cabin he built behind Windy Ridge. Unfortunately it burnt to the ground when she was pregnant with me. After that my Mum moved into a council house in Sydney Road and my Dad disappeared for years. He did indeed turn up in Herne Bay years later and was already a born again Christian. He spent the subsequent years in Herne Bay and Whitstable in various flats and bedsits. In 2009 he had a stroke and we moved him to sheltered accomodation in Swalecliffe to be near me and my sister. He now has dementia but can remember 40 years ago better than he remembers what he had for breakfast. Thanks so much for posting these lovely memories. It would be so lovely to hear some more stories about my old Dad before he goes.

brisuth

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 16:11:34 »
Hi again John.... I just had a look at the website you mentioned, and it did make me smile quietly to myself.... Kenny was NOT related in any way to Syd! I got to know a lot about Mr Barret and his story, and Syd was not part of it. He did have the most beautiful estranged wife though, he told me she was a gypsy princess, and it would be hard to prove otherwise. She had such a presence, and was absolutely beautiful. He also had a son... he'd be about 60 now I guess.

I remembered why Kenny built the platform, it wasn't to put bands on, it was meant to be the floor of a wooden cabin he wanted to build there. The story was that the owner of the land had gone to Australia or somewhere, and Kenny had plans to build a permanent cabin, install someone in it for 12 years and then all that land would become his by some kind of squatters rights.... but he ran out of enthusiasm and it became a stage instead.

Incidentally, the 'hippies in the woods' opened a 'head shop' called Trees in northgate in the early 70's. We ended up alternating between the woods and the shop. I remember the local paper carried a feature on us and it caused a bit of a stir because some controversial things were said about Canterbury.
I made leather stuff for it. It sold the usual hippy satin and tat, incense etc... I often wonder what happened to it.....Google maps shows me that the building is still there.....If walls could talk....

Eventually we all split for different dreams. I was between bands at that time, and I met a French musician who was visiting Dave Sinclair, and he came and lived in the woods with us for the summer. We wrote dozens of songs together in those woods, and we ended up taking off for France to get a new band together to play them.....but that's a whole different story......

I used to have some photo's that were taken there, but sadly they got lost along the way....

Anyway, thanks for reminding me of something that I was beginning to forget about.... magical times.

Offline JohnWalker

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 17:05:45 »
Hi brisuth

So glad someone else remembers those rather special times.  We had one of the long hot summers so being round the fire into the late evening/night was perfect.  Never to be repeated unfortunately.  Like you say - there was always music.

I remember what Kenny did to the house - it was quite amazing. There was a room which had real stone for one wall and I seem to remember a large circular bed/mattress on the floor in front of it.  Had a great feel to it.

Does anyone know where Kenny is these days?  The last I heard was that he was in Herne Bay and had discovered Jesus - not sure how true that is.

brisuth

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Re: All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 14:27:17 »
Yes I remember him well................. in fact I was one of the hippies living in the woods in a collection of old caravans. He ran a hosepipe from his garden down into the woods so we could have water, but in payment we had to work for him occasionally. I helped him build the platform you are talking about and helped him to transform his house into the weird castle it became. God knows how he got away with it with the planning people. What he did was to build a shell round the existing house, complete with windows and curtains, then demolish the house within! He ran a demolition firm so he had lots of old beams and stuff he'd collected which found it's way into his 'new', house.

Dave Sinclair, the organist for Caravan lodged there for a while, and Caravan wrote a song about him called "Ben Karratt Rides Again". It's on the album 'Cunning Stunts'

When I was there it was an amazing place to be, we had chickens running around, and a communal fire/gathering place which we sat around every night, cooking, talking and making music. There was always musicians around, and I think back to that period of my life with great affection.

Kenny was a larger than life character, claiming his large muscular build was a result of his mother making him drink cabbage water as a child.

I could go on......and on, the memories of that time are crystal clear, despite the somewhat hazy nature of the experience!

Offline JohnWalker

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All night parties at Wraik Hill in the 70s
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 14:59:52 »
Does anyone else remember Kenny Barrett who had a house with large grounds called Windy Ridge at Wraik Hill, Whitstable?

In the 70s he built a high level stage/dance area in the trees in the hill overlooking the view to Sheppey.  At summer weekends I would DJ (mainly underground music) and then a local rock band would play.

The area amongst the trees was covered in fresh straw and everyone would sit or lie in it listening to the music.  Plent of bevvies and fat ciggies.

One of the conditions of me being the DJ was that I had to play the whole of The Valentine Suite by Colosseum at every gig - and at full volume.  Kenny loved this number.

Amazing atmosphere and real good company.

I believe Kenny was related to Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd.

Windy Ridge is now a guest house and there is a brief mention of the above on their website.   http://www.aboutbritain.com/bed-and-breakfasts/bed-and-breakfast3509.asp

 

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