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The connection is the Queens Hotel in Nethergate Dundee in the heart of what those of us who hail from the ‘People’s Republic’ now call the Cultural Quarter. I’m not sure about that title since there’s plenty of culture elsewhere in the city and sometimes a shortage of it in the Cultural Quarter if you ask me but then nobody has!

Churchill first. He was MP for Dundee and a Cabinet Minister before during and after the First World War until he was unceremoniously ejected by a combination of former suffragettes the Dundee Irish and Liberals who didn’t trust former Tories. (My how things have changed!). But when he came first to what he mistakenly thought was a “seat for life” he was put up in the Queen’s and famously recorded in a diary that he found a maggot in his kipper! I know hindsight is an exact science but wonder if that was a portent of things to come

Ole Blue Eyes played a concert in the Caird Hall in the early fifties when his career was at something of a low ebb and asked the small audience in the sparsely populated hall to “come down to the front.” That much is a matter of record. But beyond that there is a story part fact part urban myth that after the concert Francis Albert goes along the road for a drink (gee that’s a surprise!) and that he goes to the Queen’s Hotel. Although another Dundee institution the Phoenix Bar across the road has also been mentioned. The smart money is on the Queens though – I mean we’re talking Sinatra here low ebb or not!

In the later fifties the Lone Ranger came to do a gig at Green’s Playhouse Dundee which is roughly half way between the Caird Hall and the Queen’s Hotel on a straight road. Green’s was the second biggest cinema in Europe
at the time beaten only by a handful of bums on seats by Green’s in Glasgow. As a small boy I was part of the huge crowd that went to see him. He disappeared afterwards. Now there is no suggestion that he hopped on Silver headed west and parked his horse outside the Queens but these days it’s called the Best Western Queens Hotel. Obvious where the Lone Ranger would go if he was here now isn’t it?

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