We had heard a great deal about club Hedonism – so off we went – Saturday the 25th of October 1997 – a night out in Barnsley.
What could go wrong – especially with a dictionary definition reading – Hedonism (noun)- High Living – The Seeking of Pleasure – Philosophy of Pleasure.
It was the day that Barnsley had been beaten 7 – 0 by Manchester United, but that had not dented spirits with the Barnsley pub/club crowd.
They were out to enjoy themselves – it was Saturday night!
Throughout our visit we did not see any anti-social behaviour in the Wellington Street area, but we did see thousands of people filling the streets, bars and clubs. And we saw the Hedonism venues!
The Tommy Wallocks pub was very busy. Everyone seemed to know each other. Chennells opposite was full, but The Ticket Office (with a mock Dickensian theme) was busy to the point of dangerous overcrowding. Mustang Sally`s was also extremely busy, with huge queues outside. And the street was packed!
We had also looked into the Tut and Shive, Corner Pin, The Shakespeare and Bar No 1. With the latter having the youngest clientele. Then at 9.30pm we entered Heddon Rock Cafe.
Two unfriendly no-nonsense door supervisors stood at the door talking to girls, amid an abundance of empty beer bottles and glasses. Once inside the venue we found it to be lacking in atmosphere, and only half full of people, many of which looked to be underage. The DJ was overpowering, the sound system “muffled”, and the atmosphere best described as “yobbish”.
Originally the building must have looked beautiful, with copper clad pillars and a warm “jewelled” warm earth effect, and flickering mock candle lighting. But tonight we found dirty floors, bottles and glasses everywhere, and the filthiest of toilets imaginable. However by 11pm the room was very busy.
And it was time for Spin the Wheel!
Tonight`s winner (male) had to race to the bar – then purchase a ridiculous amount of pints and spirits for 10 or 20p (all to be downed in one), then kiss a male member of bar staff “full on t` lips) – and once this was done a discount drinks price for everyone came in.
Of course all health and safety precautions were taken –
The crowd was moved back in case he “chucked up”!
We entered Club Hedonism shortly after 11pm. The clientele was young, many with jumpers tied around their waists, wearing jeans and T shirts. Admission was £4.00, and the cloakroom 70p.
The place was absolutely filthy. Toilets reeked, and the ventilation in the kitchen fed out into the main room, mixing with the over enthusiastic burst from the smoke machine, and leaving everyone smelling of greasy beefburgers. A door supervisor was stationed in one of the gents toilets, where he ignored the blocked urinals, bottles and glasses, doors half hanging off cubicles, but he was very popular with the huge number of males who queued to speak to him!!!
And there were drug awareness posters everywhere!!!
Young scruffy customers roamed the room carrying bottles of water, or dancing euphorically in a trance like state. Hundreds of empty “Wild Brew” bottles littered the room. Other customers huddled in corners, some appearing to be sleeping, and there was no sign of any door supervisors anywhere in the main room.
Nevertheless the building was jammed full by 1.30am, and we decided to leave.
Probably best. The air was much fresher outside.
And that`s where we found all the door supervisors!
After all – who wants to go home smelling of stale beefburgers?
Image from polaraudio.co.uk