What A Night We Had !

Fans travelled from all over the south of England to “Guildford Rock ‘N’ Roll Book Club’ at The Keep in Castle Street on 15th May to listen to Mike Philpott discuss his book ‘Times Gonna Make Me A Man: Trailing The Vapors’ with broadcaster, lecturer and filmaker John Warburton and unforgettable video highlights. Deputy Mayor of Guildford and the original Vapors drummer Howard Smith recalled the early days of the band from playing in front of twenty people at Godalming College to Top of The Pops and the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. It was also the first time the four members of the original Vapors had got together since 1981 and they were joined by the guys that make up the current line up for  pics and signings as Ben from Bens Records cranked up the sounds from the 80’s

‘Don’t really have the words to explain how happy I was last night! What a VERY SPECIAL night. Thanks  Mike for writing the book that brought this about. Thanks to everyone who organised and took part. Great to see so many of The Vapors family and experience a night I will not forget.” Elaine Bevan – Andover 

Genuinely overwhelmed that so many people made it over to Guildford last night to listen to me rabbiting on about the book again. Mike Philpot

Harum Scarum Right To The Top

Gary Brooker MBE. Founder Procul Harum (29 May 1945 – 19 February 2022)

“Procol Harum, formed only three months ago, leaped to the top of the MM Pop 30 this week with A Whiter Shade of Pale.(Melody Maker 10 May 1967)

One of the greatest songs in pop history, selling over 10 million singles and the most played record by British broadcasting over the past 75years or so. Gary Brooker was so talented bringing soul and classic to the dark lyrics of Keith Reid, pure genius. Gary and his previous band The Paramount’s had split in December 1966 somewhat discouraged and disillusioned as they hadn’t achieved any great success since a minor hit with their first single “Poison Ivy in 1963. The Procul Harum line up that recorded “A ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ didn’t last long and Gary soon brought in ex-Paramount’s Robin Trower and Barrie Wilson, Robin Trower of course went on to achieve enormous popularity later (especially in the USA) with his own band, and a series of best selling albums. The Paramount’s were one of the first rock bands to play the new Guildford Civic Hall in the early 60’s. Gary Brooker and Robin Trower both moved to the Guildford area, Gary also had a share in The Parrott Inn at Forest Green and Robin lived for a while in Shalford. Sadly Gary died last year, for me our greatest, most creative R & B vocalist and drifting from Bach to the blues on the keyboard. 

The Magazine That Changed It All !

Click here to order new album


In amongst a busy period for Vapors news we thought we’d share details of the inugural “Guildford rock ‘n’ roll book club” event on May 15th. We wish this new venture well, and needless to say we’re chuffed that their first evening will feature heavy vapors content. We know many of you have Mike Philpott‘s book (and if not, why not?!) and Mike will be there to chat about it with John Warburton; Howard Smith will be along too and if you’re Guildford based yourself and you’re on this page then you probably already know all about Ben Darnton’s wonderful record shop Ben’s Collector’s Records. Ben will also be along and a full evening of chat/tunes/laughs/drinks is planned.

We may even pop along ourselves.
Please do support this wonderful local initiative if you can.

The Vapors Fan Group

The Vapors and the 2024 Paris Olympics: There's a Connection

In December 1981, The Vapors released Magnets the follow up to their successful debut album New Clear Days which featured “Turning Japanese”. The album has particular significance for its inspired cover artwork, a complex portrait that mirrored the album’s dark undertones. Martin Handford who sold insurance to pay bills, was hardly an emerging artist at the time when he was asked to design the cover for Magnets. Drawing upon the theme of the title song, Handford depicted a chaotic crowd scene of an assasination, although you couldn’t tell unless you looked closely. This became an inspiration for an idea that eventually became a cultural phenomenon. Handford created a recurring character he would put in all his drawings: a bespectacled man with brown wavy hair who always wore a red and white striped shirt and stocking cap. His name was Wally. The trick was to find Wally in the crowd. Unremembered

As Paris gears up to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in a few months’ time, the International Olympic Committee has revealed the two officail posters illustrated by artist Ugo Gattoni. According to Creative Review the posters are packed with detail in the style of ‘Where’s Wally Puzzle Books’.  Creative Review

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Wednesday 15th May 7.30.pm
THE KEEP Castle Street

Author and self-publisher Mike Philpott will be chatting about his incredible book ‘Times Gonna Make Me A Man Someday: Trailing The Vapors’ and how the band became his lifelong passion and shaped his life .With John Warburton, writer broadcaster, composer, record producer and senior lecturer in music and film at the University of Surrey. Howard Smith who was the original Vapors drummer, when the band got back together in 2016, Howard decided not to rejoin, his priorities being his young family and politics.  Howard was adopted as the parliamentary Labour candidate for Guildford in the 2017 general election, now a Guildford Councillor and mayor elect. Also Ben Darnton from Ben’s Records 

I Was At That VAPORS Gig – tell us about it, grrbookclub@gmail.c

Tickets £4.00 www.wegottickets.com/event/614370/


Surrey New Writers Festival 18 May 2024
University of Surrey

Surrey New Writers Festival is the annual celebration of contemporary writing targeted at Guildford’s vibrant community of readers and writers, as well as the undergraduate and post graduate students from the university’s creative writing programmes.

The Surrey New Writing Prize is an annual short story prize awarded to the best piece of short fiction written in response to a given, topical theme. Prize winners will be announced at the festival



Art & Grind 165 High Street
Bens Records, Tunsgate

Save Our Studio

Ochre Print Studio, part of the Lockwood Centre on Slyfield Industrial Estate is the largest open access fine art studio in the South East of England but faces eviction and closure as Guildford Borough Council have plans to demolish the building and turn it into a car park.Thousands of people of all abilities have enjoyed learning new print making skills at the Ochre Studio.  It’s tragic when at last we are beginning to understand the importance of art to our well being as well as our economy. According to Arts Council research the arts contrbibute more than £11 billion annually to the economy, more than the agriculture sector, the biggest challenge facing arts organisations are local authority cuts.