Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Hippie Shake with Madalyn Morgan

As my latest book, Storm Clouds Gathering is set in 1965 I thought it would be great fun to take a peek at that amazing era. This week ,Actress, Writer, Journalist and Radio Presenter, Madalyn Morgan joins The Hippie Shake and shares some of the memories and pics that represent that wonderful era, the 1960’s.

As a teenager in the 1960s, writer Madalyn Morgan was more Rock ‘N’ Roll than Hippy Hippy Shake. I was a pub kid.  Brought up on Coca Cola, Smiths Crisps, the jukebox top 40 (6d for 1 play, or 3 for a shilling) and holidays in Majorca with my mum and her friends, most of whom were Landladies of pubs and hotels.     

For me the 1960s took off, literally, when I flew to America on my own in 1961, aged eleven.  In those days, a child travelling alone was really spoiled.  I sat in the cockpit with the pilot and helped the airhostesses serve food.  However, while I was doing this, someone stole my purse containing $300.  Luckily, a member of the crew found it hidden behind lose panelling in the toilet.     

Majorca, I was 16

Flying was fun, but it wasn’t until I arrived in America that my adventure began.  For six weeks, I lived on an ‘Indian’ Reservation in Minnesota with my aunt (my mother’s sister) and my uncle who was full-blooded Dakota Sioux.  His mother, Elder of the Dakota Sioux Council and direct descendent of the Great Sioux Chiefs, adopted me into the tribe.  I was so proud.

My time on the reservation was the best.  The Native American children taught me to swim (after I had almost drowned in the Minnesota River).  I slept in a tree house, trailed wild animals in the woods, come dangerously close to a skunk, and swapped my dresses, shoes and hats, for sneakers, pumps and bobby socks.   

The photograph above is of my Grandma, the Elder of the Dakota Council, who adopted me.

Thirty years later in 1992, she prepared a special meal in my honour, and gave me my Dakota name.  It is Waccantkiya Win, and means, Charitable Girl. 

In my dad's pub late 1960's

The M1 motorway was built from London, up to my hometown, Lutterworth.  And, because my parent’s pub was the first off the motorway, bands coming from the south regularly called in for a drink.  I remember meeting Paul Jones, Manfred Mann, and The kinks.  After the gigs the pubs were shut, so bands travelling south on the M1 used to stop at the Blue Boar Service station.  My friends and I would drive down and sit around drinking coffee, trying to look as if we too had come from somewhere interesting.  One night we met Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band, and Eric Burdon and The Animals.

My mum took my friends and me to see The Rolling Stones at Rugby Granada in 1964 (£1.10s a ticket), The Beatles at De Montfort Hall Leicester in 1965, and Cliff Richards in 1966.  Cliff was expensive at £2.10s.

My acting career might have begun in 1965, when I auditioned at ATV in Birmingham.  I was offered a role in a new series called ‘Crossroads’ but my mum wouldn’t let me leave home.

I joined the local amateur dramatics group and trained to be a hairdresser.  I earned £1.17s.6d a week and paid 2/-6d in NI.  However, my dad paid me £10 to run dances and discos in the pub at the weekends.  Eventually, after two successful businesses, I gave up hairdressing and went to Drama College in London

During thirty-six years as a professional actress and member of the Actors Union Equity, I was lucky enough to play many good roles, and work with some good actors – male and female.

Above: Me, playing the Prostitute in, Godspell (set in the 1960s), at the Young Vic Theatre, London

I gave up my acting career for love, and a mortgage, and then love gave me up.  It was while I was working in the city, starved of anything remotely artistic, that I began a correspondence course with, The Writers Bureau.  And, I loved it.  I got the same buzz finding the truth in the characters I was writing about as I did in the characters I played on stage.  For me the two processes are the same.      

A little more about Madalyn

Madalyn lives in Leicestershire.  After thirty-six years, she has swapped window boxes in South London for a garden in the market town of Lutterworth.  She has been an actress for over thirty years, performing on television, in Repertory Theatre and the West End.  She is also a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. 

  Madalyn's Book

Having successfully self-publishing her first Novel, Foxden Acres, Madalyn is currently writing her second.  Applause is the second of four books about the lives of four very different sisters during the Second World War.

Madalyn's links

Foxden Acres on Amazon, Paperback & Kindle:
Madalyn Morgan - Fiction Blog:
Madalyn Morgan - Non-Fiction Blog:
Madalyn Morgan - Actress Website:
Raiders Broadcast - Radio website:


Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a lovely post, Madalyn - I loved reading about your American adventure and I'm so pleased you got to follow your dream into acting eventually.

Rosalind Adam said...

Another local. Hi, Madeline *waves* but you're life sounds so much more exciting than mine. Adopted by a Red Indian tribe, TV offers, wow! But you came back to good old Leics. :-)