Category: Student life

Diana Rigg opens the 1978 Rag Fete

 

In the 1970’s it seemed to be the ‘in thing’ to get celebrities to open the Union Rag Fete each year. In 1978 it was Diana Rigg (1938-2020) (Dame Diana) who was asked to perform the duty of opening the event. As usual it was held in Princess Gardens and the day was Saturday 6 May. Sadly in the FELIX archive there are no editions recorded (assumed lost) for the years 1977 and 1978. This makes it a little difficult to get any further background details about the fete and how much was raised on the day.

Luckily though, STOIC were there to record the event and were able to get an interview with Diana Rigg. Judging by the ‘shuttered concrete’ background, this was clearly shot somewhere in Southside. Once again this video was rescued during the digitisation of the STOIC video archive and was originally shot on the Sony “Rover” recorder and mastered on the old Ampex One Inch videotape format. And, because the editions of FELIX for that period, now appear lost, this is the only record of that day.

UPDATE: Thanks to Martin Watson for the Felix centre page spread scan, seen at the top. Martin has some of the missing copies in his personal ‘bound’ collection of issues. Click the image to make full screen.

Obituary: Dame Diana Rigg

Colin Grimshaw December 2019 (updated May 2021)

Chris Fox – ICU President: 1979

To celebrate the 10th anniversary year of my Video Archive Blog, I am bringing you a recent 40 year old videotape re-discovery.

1979 was interesting for both STOIC and the TV Studio. It was when we started our move into colour and also the move from Ampex open spool tape, to Sony U-Matic cassette. Because of that move, a large number of early Ampex tapes were never copied onto cassette (some actual tapes we still have).  I can still playback these Sony cassettes, use and transfer them into digital. However, it was sheer luck that during recent transfers I found today’s video on what was called a ‘dump’ tape.

Back on 15th March 1979 STOIC were broadcasting their evening version of Lunchbreak, the news programme usually made for showing at 1pm and then repeated at 6pm. This particular programme was not recorded but was live. That’s because it was the day of the UGM (Union General Meeting) where the new sabbatical officers and president for the student union were elected. The evening ‘election special’ programme was therefore a round-up of what happened and who was elected. The newly elected president for 1979-1980 was Chris Fox.

This particular interview was deemed to be important enough, that sometime around 1980 it was copied onto a Sony U-Matic cassette. Important it has now turned out to be, because:  former 3rd year chemistry student, former president of the Royal College of Science Union (RCS) and President of ICU, Chris Fox, is now Baron Fox of Leominster. Chris joined the House of Lords in 2014. He is currently (2019) the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). You can read about Lord Fox on the UK Parliament web page.

It’s great to have a former student move to such heights and also the fact that we have him recorded while he was still a student at Imperial College. All of this goes to show the importance of videotape archives, the maintaining of them and allowing people to be able to see them. I’ve enjoyed doing all of this for the first ten years…

Happy Birthday 2009-2019.

Colin Grimshaw 8th December 2019 (10th Anniversary Day)

Op Soc 1 – Operetta Marathon: 1982

Back on 1st May 1982 there was a Gilbert and Sullivan marathon taking place in the Union Concert Hall. Starting at 12 noon a constant stream of over 50 people battled through 28 hours of singing all 13 Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. In the process they collected over £2000 for the Save the Children Fund. Tracy Poole was there at 4pm to report for STOIC’s Newsbreak programme.

Colin Grimshaw November 2019

 

City & Guilds Rag Stunt: 1982

There were, and still are I’m sure, lots of rag stunts and collections happening around Imperial College. However, STOIC were prolific in following these and similar happenings, and recording them for their weekly news programme Newsbreak. Way back in November 1982, and still in the days of black and white, it was time for a City and Guilds Rag Stunt at Portobello Road Market. Coming soon will also be the 1978 ‘Pram Race’ with comedian Willie Rushton taking part.

But back in 1982 Lawrence Windley ventured out and reported for Newsbreak. He also attempted to miss a flan in his face…

 

Colin Grimshaw November 2019

STOIC at the Lord Mayor’s Show: 1980

Once again, an ace reporter from STOIC left the warmth of the college TV studio to investigate events in London. November isn’t the best month for things to happen outside and the Lord Mayor’s Show is an example of that. Back in November 1980 Newsbreak reporter Grant Richmond ventured outside into central London to see what was happening. City and Guilds were there, and some of the shots were clearly taken from on top of their float.

And yes, these were still the days some 39 years ago,  of black and white.

Colin Grimshaw November 2019

Freshers’ Fair: 1980

October is the time of the year when clubs and societies have stalls and events to entice new students to join them. All around the country universities are seeing the same thing happen during freshers week and Imperial is no different.

Luckily, we have a brief record of some of what was happening, because STOIC reported on the fair for the their news programme NEWSBREAK. It looked like a fine sunny day, which for October is a blessing. Grant Richmond, ace reporter, ventured to both the Union Quad and Queens Tower Lawn to speak to some of the freshers. Mike Prosser is heard on the introduction, which shows things like abseiling down the union building! Incidentally, Grant now lives in far north Queensland, Australia. And, were YOU one of those interviewed in this video?

This video is from the digitisation of the STOIC videotape archives, which I’m currently undertaking.

An update, that you will also see below in the comments, is from Bill Durodie. He tells me that the person being interviewed, at the one minute mark, is Phil Greenstreet who was in RCS, he now lives in the USA. I hope he might be able to see this video from when he was a student at Imperial! Thanks Bill.

Colin Grimshaw October 2018

Boat Club: 1980

On the 8 October 1980 edition of STOIC’s Newsbreak programme, they featured the Imperial College Boat Club. Still in the days of black and white, reporter Jim Donaldson ventured down the road to the Putney Boathouse. From the top of the building Jim reported on what he was seeing and we get to watch the then novices going out onto the water. Maybe you were one of them?

This is yet another video rescued during the ongoing project to digitise the archive of STOIC and has not been seen since first broadcast 39 years ago.

Colin Grimshaw September 2019

Iranian Embassy Siege: 1980

For a thankfully brief period, 39 years ago, in May 1980, life in and around Imperial College changed. This was due to the now famous Iranian Embassy siege that took place in Princes Gate. The main concern for Imperial College was the fact that in Northside of Princes Gardens the buildings of: Weeks Hall, Garden Hall, Sports Centre and more, all backed onto the embassy building. I recall students from Weeks Hall telling me that they had to keep all windows closed and covered and to stay away from the windows at all times.

That week’s copy of Felix the student newspaper seemed to be somewhat concerned that the Rag Fete would have to be relocated to the Queens Lawn rather than Princes Gardens as planned. They also included a photo of a police marksman somewhere behind the embassy, probably in the rear gardens of college property and that there was also one of the roof of Weeks Hall. There was also mention of at least one Imperial student being arrested.

Clearly this was news for both Felix and in particular for STOIC. With the aide of their trusty portable camera and recorder they ventured off to report of what was happening. Thanks to the current digitisation of the STOIC videotape archive I found all three location reports and saved them. These reports were such hot news that they had to be fitted in prior to and after, the showing of the weekly news programme NewsBreak at lunch time and in the evening. Mike Prosser was continuity voice-over that day and introduced the clips.

Colin Grimshaw September 2019

Stan’s Bar in Southside: 1980

A popular venue in college was Stan’s Bar located in Southside. In 1980, alterations were taking place and in the 8 OCtober 1980 edition of STOIC’s news programme Newsbreak there was a location report. The bar remained in place until the time of demolition of the entire Southside building. If you take a look at the video I shot on 30 June 2005 (during the last week of Southside) you will see the bar towards the end being cleared out and closed up.

I notice that there was also a campaign run to “save the bar”. In the end, the bar was (sort of) relocated in the new Eastside building. And very modern it looked too. Certainly it’s not as dark as Stan’s Bar could be. There’s the odd reference to dark corners in this video report. Being below street level probably didn’t help with lighting, but maybe that’s what students wanted? Perhaps you were standing at the bar when this video was shot in 1980?

Colin Grimshaw August 2019

40 years ago STOIC into Colour: 1979

40 years ago, during the summer of 1979, the TV Studio slipped into colour with the purchase of a single colour camera, portable recorder and edit suite. Before that time everything we made was obviously in black and white and that included the output of the student television service STOIC. They had, at times, been ahead of the college TV studio with some technology. They were first to get a Sony portable videorecorder and associated camera. This allowed them to record items outside of the confines of the studio. When we wanted to do the same we had to move a large videorecorder and take a camera with us on a trolley.

Clearly we had to make a move to upgrade to colour and in the process replace the Ampex One Inch videotape format we’d been using for many years. We needed both colour and also the ability to electronically edit. The U-matic system from Sony was what we selected and the equipment arrived before summer 1979. During the college vacation period we made our first colour production for the Life Science Library. By the start of the autumn term in 1979 we had re-equipped the studio to work only on the U-matic system, but because we still had only the one colour camera, the main studio stayed in black and white (for some while).

A short while after we had received the colour camera, STOIC was clearly interested in also moving away from black and white. But until we moved the entire studio into colour STOIC’s type of programmes were not possible on a single colour camera. However, it was possible to include the occasional ‘single camera’ colour item within a programme. So, just before term ended for the summer of 1979 I consented to the inclusion of a colour item within one of their news programmes. James Miller, a regular on STOIC, had expressed a keen interest to be the first to be seen in colour and I agreed. We thought to do this with a fanfare. So, James linked from an item he’d pre-recorded in black and white on their own portable videorecorder, to him sitting in the studio, also in black and white. At an agreed moment I turn the system switch on the recorder to colour and James’s wish came true. I re-discovered this 40 year old item during the current digitising of STOIC tapes.

Colin Grimshaw August 2019