Dave Allen: Profile

The University of Portsmouth, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries is proud to publish a profile piece and documentary film on Dr Dave Allen, the retired Head of School for Media and Performing Arts, a local music historian, musician and artist, who is driven by his love and passion for music, the arts, and Portsmouth.

Dave Allen was born and raised in Portsmouth, and truly loves the city, he believes “Portsmouth is a wonderful, thrilling place” with “the most beautiful seafront in the world”.  Dave loves the City because it is full of creativity, it may not be as obvious as places like London and Brighton, but there is creativity when you look for it.

Growing up, Dave attended a single sex boys school, which he describes as a “very typical grammar school”, he played rugby and cricket, but was also interested in popular music, which sparked a passion that has continued throughout his life.

Dave and his friends used to mess around with music, setting up a series of bands, but with no money to buy equipment they usually ended before they had a chance to truly begin, but this didn’t dull Dave’s enthusiasm and he continued to jump at any chance to be involved in music.

In 1967, Dave unknowingly experienced one of the most crucial years of his life, one that would shape his entire personality and who he is today. At the start of the summer, he had just left school, had his first serious girlfriend, attended his first rock concert, and had plans to attend Highbury college in the fall to start his A-levels.

The summer of ’67 marked a gap in between one stage of his life and another, it was a free and easy summer, with no responsibilities, Dave spent it growing his hair and “just being generally groovy and loving the whole scene”, embracing the music and the general laid-back, care-free atmosphere, which he still embodies at the age of 68.

When the summer began to come to an end, Dave was approached by some friends, who asked him to join their band, and by the time September rolled around, and he was due to start college, Dave was a member in his first serious band.

Within just six months Dave’s life was completely transformed, the band became professional, and armed with a recording contract they went on the road, touring.

For Dave 1967 was an “Extraordinary summer” and shaped who he is today.  His attachment to 1967, and the passion he has for the Summer of Love is evident throughout the Spirit of ’67 exhibition, which is currently being showcased in Portsmouth Guildhall.

The Spirit of ’67 exhibition was born from Dave’s critique of people who claim the Summer of Love only happened in London and San Francisco, having lived through it, Dave is extremely passionate about proving that whilst Portsmouth may have been trailing behind, the Summer of Love did happen, and the impact can still be seen throughout the city today.

He has written a book about his experience of 1967 called Autumn of Love: How the Swinging Sixties and the Counterculture came to Portsmouth.

Dave encourages young people to get involved in the arts, not necessarily through rock music like he did, but in any way you want, whether that be through painting, music, films, writing etc.

Dave believes having a creative outlet makes you feel better about the world, and his own creative outlets can be seen throughout Portsmouth, he is a member of the band Scarlet Town, who are due to perform this Sunday at a festive gig to help the homeless, he contributes to the Star and Crescent, and runs the Pompey Pop blog, which he updates regularly discussing music, Portsmouth, and his life in general.

Dave is currently exhibiting The Spirit of ’67: Portsmouth’s Summer of Love and its Legacy, in the Freda Swain Room at Portsmouth Guildhall until the 8th of January 2018.

The documentary film above featuring Dave was produced by Kinolux, an innovative new film production company started by University of Portsmouth CCI students, you can read about it here.

Katie Clarke

Katie Clarke is a Media Studies Student, currently on her Placement Year, working as Promotions Assistant for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, at the University of Portsmouth.