The death of Sir Bruce Forsyth, who topped the bill at the London Palladium and the Cloverleaf at Bucksburn, has prompted tales of his week-long Aberdeen stay.
It was in the early 70s that Brucie and other big names like comedian Ken Dodd played the Cloverleaf, although I seem to recall neither was impressed with the reception – a bit on the cool side – they received from hard-to-please Aberdonians.
Perhaps the audience preferred the cabaret venue’s previous host, local singer Ally Dawson.
Press photographer Andy Ingram incurred the wrath of Bruce when, sent to photograph him at work and lacking confidence that he could “grab” some shots during the entertainer’s act – no digital cameras in those days – invited him to stop mid-joke and pose for some pictures.
It was a bit like asking Joe Harper to take a pass then halt for a few moments for photographs to be taken before shooting for goal.
It was a time when Aberdeen was learning how to be a big city, an oil city; a time when pioneering Americans pitched-up and wondered how to convert the thinking of their future workforce from a 9-5 mindset to one that would see them available at any time.
I remember a leading travel agent securing the business of a US oil company and expressing surprise when asked for his home number.
“You need to be on call 24/7,” the oilman announced.
Local restaurants made attempts – some successfully – at greater sophistication, while places like the Imperial Hotel, now the Carmelite, also introduced cabaret entertainment with a rather eccentric turn called Alexander Butterfield as their resident singer.
Exciting and exotic-ish times, which we hope have not entirely disappeared with Brucie’s demise.