FOR many years, Glasgow’s Central Hotel, adjoining Central Station, was the place for visiting entertainers to stay for a night or two while in the city. And, sometimes, they were happy to chat to the press.

One such was Count Basie (right, top), the great American jazz pianist and bandleader. He arrived at the hotel early on October 30, 1957, yawning after an all-night coach journey from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. He was accompanied by his 16-strong band for concerts at St Andrew’s Halls that night,

Dressed in a navy blue trenchcoat and fire-engine-red jumper, he checked in, ordered coffee then went straight to bed. “I won’t be bothering with lunch”, he said. “I’ll get up in time to go to work.”

Despite his fatigue, however, he took time to discuss various topics with reporters, and touched on his weight loss, saying that he had cut out sweets and starchy foods,”and quite a bit of drinking too - I am sort of on the wagon.”

Basie was known to have a fondness for comic books, which prompted a question or two from reporters who spotted the reading material under his arm as he prepared to enter a lift to go to his room. Was he carrying comics? “A man’s got to have some private life”, he smiled. A sharp-eyed Evening Times reporter observed that Basie didn’t hide the books sufficiently to hide the titles: a picture version of Robinson Crusoe, a brightly-coloured magazine called Young Love, and a novel, A Tiger in the Night.

Read more: Herald Diary

The singer Dusty Springfield (main image, far right) stayed at the Central on the night of March 26-27, 1964, after playing the Odeon in nearby Renfield Street, with The Searchers and the American singer, Bobby Vee. She had a long lie-in, including breakfast in bed (during which the other two acts, also at the hotel, had to fight their way through crowds of screaming fans), and emerged to talk to the press only at 1pm.

Dusty left the hotel by a ‘secret’ exit, disappointing a group of waiting fans, though a page-boy at the Central was at least able to get her autograph. Earlier, speaking to reporters from her bedside telephone, she said: “It has been great appearing in Glasgow. I wish every audience on the tour was as wonderful as they have been in this city.”

In late April 1938 Ivor Novello, Marie Lohr and Dorothy Dickson (right, bottom) enjoyed cocktails at a press reception in the Central Hotel to mark the fact that Novello’s Drury Lane show, The Crest of the Wave, was that night beginning a three-week season at Glasgow’s Alhambra Theatre.

Reviewing the opening night, this newspaper’s theatre critic decided that ‘colossal’, the name of a fictional film studio in the production, was an appropriate description for the musical. “Indeed”, he went on, “it is so colossal - what with its Gothic castle, spectacular film sets, ballets, cruising liner, Rio de Janeiro cafe, Californian beach house, thundering train wreck, and so on - that without being facetious it is difficult to say what has been omitted.”