A teenage adventure



In 1962, armed with a professional camera, a £12 guitar and £100 ($280!),  Mike Bell,  owner of Portobello Gold (since 1985), at the tender age of 19,  hitched a ride in the owner cabin of a 14,000 ton iron-ore carrier to the promised land, where he knew no one - In fact he did the same thing again in 1965 – before and after the coming of the Beatles. 




On the second trip, once again he ended up in Nashville, to further study one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Chet Atkins, this time with a green card.  After a spell attempting to sell “foreign” cars (Alfa Romeos, Rolls and Porsche), Mike ended up as a DJ on WKDA .



This came abruptly to an end when he received call-up papers (to Vietnam).  Nashville’s assistant head of the Air National Guard who happened to own a military ferry airline  (whose daughter Mike was seeing at the time), had said on a previous occasion “They won’t draft you. If they do, I will personally fly you back to the UK” – perhaps he (or her) was glad to see the back of him.


These hitherto unpublished pictures take you into the recording studios of Music Row, rural activity at both ends of the social spectrum and catch the touring bands of the day.



The exhibition runs from July 15th

At :  Portobello Gold, 95/97 Portobello Rd London, W11 2QB.

.   020 7460 4910