Blaster Bates pictured in 2003
Derek Macintosh Bates
5 February 1923
|Died||1 September 2006(aged 83)|
|Known for||Speaker and demolition expert|
- For the non-alcoholic drink recipe, see Blaster Bates (drink)
Blaster Bates was the name used by Derek Macintosh Bates (5 February 1923 – 1 September 2006), an English explosives and demolition expert and raconteur, who was born in Crewe. He made a series of sound recordings from the 1960s to 1980s, recounting bizarre and funny experiences from his long career, and tales of his hobbies of motorcycling, hunting and shooting. He was much in demand as an after-dinner speaker. His tales feature coarse language and their content is equally strong stuff for the period: once, for instance, he was hired to clear out a farm's septic tank using explosives, an episode Bates described as "The Shower of Shit Over Cheshire".
Bates served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War as a Handley Page Halifax bomber pilot, and then learned his explosives skills as a bomb disposal specialist. After the war he returned to his previous employer Rolls Royce, hoping to resume his old job, but was told "We're cutting down, you know". Bates then started his own demolition business, drawing on his wartime expertise. He later noted that it was a good decision, as "over the years I've managed to do all right while they've Rolls Royce gone steadily bust".
He was known for carrying sticks of explosive in his pockets, even producing them while giving testimony in trials, to the horror of the court. Most high explosives are harmless unless used with a detonator, but this is not generally understood.
In August 2006 Bates was admitted to hospital suffering from congestive heart failure, and on 1 September 2006 he died aged 83 after a long battle with diabetes. He was buried at St Mary's church in Sandbach town centre.
Currently available CD re-releases in the UK.
- Laughter with a Bang +bonus tracks from 1001 Gelignites (CD BBCD01) (2003) Label: Topic Records
- TNT for Two +bonus tracks from Hunting and Shooting stories (CD BBSV17) (2003) Label : Big Ben / Tangent
- Watch out for the bits +bonus tracks from Gelly Babe (CD BVBSV16) (2002) Label : Big Ben
- Blastermind +bonus tracks from Lift off (CD BBSV18) (2007) Label: Big Ben / Tangent
Original LP & Cassette Releases Label - Big Ben
- Vol1 Laughter with a bang BB00.01/BBMC1 Mono 1967
- Vol2 1001 Gelignites BB00.03/BBMC3 Mono 1968
- Vol3 TNT for Two BB00.05/BBMC5 Mono 1969
- Vol4 Watch out for the bits BB00.07/BBMC7 Mono 1971
- Vol5 Lift-off BB00.09/BBMC9 Stereo 1973
- Vol6 Gelly Babe BB00.11/BBMC11 Stereo 1975
- Vol7 Blastermind BB00.13/BBMC13 Stereo 1980
- Vol8 Hunting and Shooting stories BB00.15/BBMC15 Stereo 1984
- Stand Well Back (VHS Video, PAL format, UK only) - live on stage
Other known recordings
- Dunlop footwear Promo, extracts from Lift-off on Flexi-disk, given away at stand 36, Harrogate 1978.
- Blast it, (Cassette only) compilation.
- Blaster Bates with Redditch Controls, Marston Paxman and Norgren at the Stratford Hilton.
- Recorded March 1977 and given away as Christmas gift to Imperial Metal Industries staff and customers (Label - Tangent).
- Blaster Bates at Huntingdon hall 4 October 2003.
BBC TV Appearances or Contributions
- 24 Hours 08-March-1966 LCA7927J.
- It takes all sorts 13-03-1967 19SX8562.
- Blaster talks about his career. Includes many of his amusing anecdotes. Interviewer: John Hosken.
- Now aged 43. Got into demolition by accident. In RAF during the war & learned about explosives there. Now blows up all sorts of things:
- "I've got a touch like a bloody midwife".
- Art of getting chimneys to drop in exactly the right place.
- Has blown himself up - was playing about.
- Has put rockets on the back of a motorcycle.
- Look North 14-Dec-1970 A:RNL5186T.
- Blaster talks to David Seymour about his career and about how many chimneys he's blown up.
- Nationwide 25-March-1974 A:LCA3413R.
- Blaster demolishes three chimneys.
- Old factory chimney, camera pans from l to 2 others.
- Blaster arrives, Danger Demolition signs.
- Crowd watch.
- Blaster retreats.
- Blast & 1st chimney falls.
- Crowd reaction.
- Blaster & assistant run from behind stack.
- Blast & it falls neatly behind wall.
- Look Stranger - The world of Blaster Bates 6 May 1974 LGF6321T.
- Film about Derek 'Blaster Bates' one of England's leading professional destroyers, who travels the country blasting chimneys, bridges & redundant factories, clearing trenches & canals; he is also a comedian using experience as a blaster.
- The Fivepenny Piece Show 11 May 1979 NMRD805R.
- Nationwide 17 March 1983 D:LCAC311E.
- Hugh Scully reports on how Blaster makes a living by blowing up chimneys.
- News 30 September 1983 ANBC773T.
- Blaster demolished a chimney which has been part of Sheffield skyline since 1870.
- Sheffield: ms chimney with group of people standing nearby.
- Man starts dominoes falling on model of chimney, the dominos set off some gelignite which demolished model chimney.
- Actual chimney being demolished.
- Look North 30 September 1983 RNLF739L,
- John Thirlwell reports from Sheffield where a former BSC chimney is being demolished for an extension to Whitbread's brewery.
- from chimney, Bridge Street, Sheffield to marquee.
- Inside of marquee with Michael Cairney preparing dominoes.
- Blaster explaining charges & spectator.
- Blaster saying he does not like dominoes.
- Dominoes falling in chair & igniting.
- Chimney falls.
- Pebble Mill at One 25 October 1985 E:NBMH111D.
- Josephine Buchan talks to Blaster about the 75th Anniversary of the motorbike & the present exhibition at the NEC.
- Windmill-House and home 3 November 1985 LCHE133D.
- Demolition montage and clip of a Blaster after dinner speech.
- Look North 25 November 1985 RNLH348L.
- Ken Cooper reports from Sharlston where Blaster demolished a large chimney - including interview with Blaster.
- Gosling's Ganders 15 May 1987 RNWC738D.
- Coast to Coast - Wild boars, a shooting star and a Norman knight 27 February 1998 NMYK291D.