Phooie to the Editor CONTRAST NEWSPAPER 1970 to 1975
West Indian Bandstand... Pat McNeilly
My God, it’s the second day of January already and I have not done my column yet.
At first I thought that the editor was going to kill me, but he didn’t seem at all surprised.
On the other hand, and much to my astonishment, he said that he was surprised at my writing so regularly in the last year.
Can you imagine that? The man’s got absolutely no confidence in me at all.
My first reaction was ‘to blank’ him this issue, but I’ve found out that he was going to insert: “Pat McNeilly-will-not –be feature-in-this-issue, he had a taste at Christmas.”
Can you see what that would have done to my image? I’ve got to write this column if it is the last thing I do.
But the reason I’m late is casue I didn’t know what to talk about this time.
My main subject in all fairness should reflect on ‘suffer the Little Children.’ (Contrast Dec. 20, 1971).
For those of you who are with me for the first time I feel I should let you know how angry I was because I had not been aware of any parties for our little ones, until press-time, that is.
But there was. On Xmas eve I got a call from a mother who told me of very interesting kids party at the UNIA Hall in College Street.
Some two hundred children attended. Great! But get a load of this.
A local businessman who caters mostly to West-Indians called me and offered one-hundred dollars towards “suffer the Little Children” party.
He went further to advertise the party, organized it and run it all by himself at his “813 Club.” And he made a whole lotta kids happy.
It made me happy too. But I didn’t make him happy, in fact he was mad that I did not attend the party.
I told him that I was into the sauce on Xmas day and that was the truth.
But Peter Goudas carried on with the children on Boxing Day.
I spoke to 14-year-old Rosemary Clark of Scarborough who attended the party at the ‘813 Club.’ And she told me she had a fabulous time there.
She said there were (sweet-drink) pop and ice cream and patties and apples and sugar cane and bananas and potatoes chips and the Caribbean number one dancer– Lord Righy, did the limbo and Willie Williams who is the assistant manager at the ‘813’ came dressed as Santa Claus and even Gloria the cook sang. So the Children were looked after.
The following is the text from film footage of Past and Present 1991 interview with Kenn Shah
The interview started with Lascelle Kingstitch talking about the "813 Club" Mr. Who was the guy called Peter (Peter Spyros Goudas).
Peter he was the music freak and he would be tired when everybody else was dancing because he was sweating , but I tell you no one gets off the floor (dance floor) when he was playing the music.
Ken Shah: I couldn't believe he was the same man in the factory and the in the office as the same man in the club; you never know this guy (Peter Goudas) had a weight upon his shoulder.
Lascelle Kingstitch: plus we (813 Club) have parties too to encourage the kids to come out and they not only share with other kids but also with their families.
Ken Shah: kids go to parties and they receive toys all the time - everybody gives a kid toys - here was Peter giving kids something different...
Niki Stamatakos: Like what?
Ken Shah: Drinks, pop, things to take home that they can share with their families when they sit down on Christmas day - they could share something they have received from Peter (Peter Goudas). For instance, a tin of peas, a can of corned beef or something that we (813 Club) are going to share like, sweet drinks, snappy pop, we are going to drink and share with family and friends where we get this. So he didn't give a Christmas party only for children he gave a Christmas party for the family - that they all benefited from it. (You could here the drumming of Ken Shah's fingers on the table as he emphasises the following) Every single parent left there with a bag as big as his or her child's.
Niki Stamatakos: It was really something different.
Ken Shah: Certainly, certainly different, and these were all the people that used to come to the club - they also came with their children, I must have carried almost at about 15 to 20 kids.
The kids themselves were so fascinated by the idea that they went there (813 Club), they had lots to eat and drink, they had cake and ice cream and they played games - we had games organized for them and they played to their hearts content and then we had Big Willy dressed up as Santa Claus.
I remember I gave Big Willy the Santa Claus outfit.
We had to slit the back because he couldn't get in. (laughter) So he couldn't spin (turn) around because the entire back of the Santa Claus outfit was open and it was so much fun.
We had children of all nationalities there (813 Club) and they found great pleasure in just receiving a different type of gift.
I guess that is something that would probably remain in their minds for a long while - something really different.
I could have seen the light in Peter's face; Peter had become a child again he was enjoying himself like those children - to see people happy.
And there is always this little childishness in Peter.
Like for instance, the night when I walked in here I saw the tension, the tiredness on his face and he said, "Tell me a joke" and before I could tell him a joke, he told me a joke.
Click here for additional comment's from Willie Williams about Peter Spyros Goudas and the childrens parties at the 813 club recorded at the 30 years in Canada Celebration 1997.