JCB Man is closing the doors on the ‘mini Galtymore’ he opened in 2009
Seamus Moore, the JCB Man, and the driving force behind Burnt Oak’s Conways 3 is to close his doors this on 19 February after seven years.
He opened as a music venue in 2009 to make the most of a gap in the live music market created by the closure of the old Galtymore dance hall on Cricklewood Broadway in 2008.
The news is a mixed blessing for Seamus: it’s closing because it could no longer pay its way BUT, on the plus side, it does free him to continue with his first love, performing on stage himself, usually as The JCB Man.
His stage persona owes a little to his first job when he came to the UK in 1961 from Callan in Kilkenny, and worked for Murphy’s during the day and playing in a band at nights.
In 1976 he took over his first pub, the Castle in Child’s Hill in Cricklewood when he was 29 and continued in the pub and entertainment business pretty much ever since, always based in or around north London.
Between then and Conways he managed the Blarney Stone club in Acton, the Gondolier in Paddington, the Bell in Hendon and the Kilkenny Castle.
He even worked at the Gresham Ballroom ‘for about twelve years’.
“Back in those days the pubs used to have music seven nights a week and you’d have people queuing to get into them. ‘There were, in the 1960s and 1970s, 22 dance halls across London and I must have been in everyone of them at one time or another.
“But that’s all changed, people are not going out to the pubs like they used to. There’s all sorts of different reasons, the smoking ban, tougher drink driving restrictions and even cheap supermarket beer.
“Younger people coming over are going to places at the week-end but they’re certainly not coming to old fashioned pubs playing country and Irish music. But surely live Country and Western music is supposed to be undergoing a revival or renaissance among the young? ‘With the likes of Nathan Carter, maybe, but you wouldn’t have someone like him every week and they are doing concerts.
“I was trying to do something like a mini Galtymore for local and visiting Irish music acts and, truth be told, it’s probably the same few thousand people who keep this scene going in this part of London, They go to everything, the Mazenood in Quex Road, St. Joseph’s in Brent, it’s the same faces who want that music.
“But it’s not enough. I’ve only music the one or two nights a week when it used to be going pretty well Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Now it’s usually Saturday and Mondays. I don’t even open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays any more.’ So what will he do?
“I’m going to concentrate on doing my own music. I’m looking forward to the Ploughing Championships and going to the US but I’ve no plans to take over another pub, as such.
“I do want to thank everybody for their support and loyalty.”