A French Waitress – Assaulted by a Box of Doughnuts – and a Hot Summer Night

It`s a long way to Brighton, especially on a hot summer`s day.

As I walked from the station I decided to have a coffee at the first place that appealed.

Saw an empty table  – went in and sat down – and voice said “bonjor” – and I was smitten.

What a beautiful girl – and she was making conversation with me!!!

She brought my coffee, and continued the small-talk – and we got around to the subject of clubs.

“Do not go to the clubs West Street. They are not good,” she explained. “They are only for Stag and Hen parties. I go to Concorde 2, Volks and Green Door. My boyfriend also likes Audio – but I am not keen.”

Ten minutes later I was walking down West Street to the sound of the “clink” on high heals – just behind me. Suddenly there was a scraping sound, accompanied by a shriek and a thud in my back. I turned to find yet another Brighton beauty, this one hanging onto a street sign.

“I`m so sorry, it`s these heals,” she explained, but all I could see were longest legs imaginable in Bambi pose. “I often get sent out for doughnuts. Are you all right?”

I couldn`t find any aches and pains anywhere – so compensation claims were out the window.

So guess what?

We talked about nightclubs.

She liked Concorde 2, Volks and Green Door – Coalition.


Later that night I visited West Street.

And the girls were correct –

Although they had forgotten to mention the door staff play fighting, and the piles of leaflets, fliers and fast food detritus in the street.

WOW – A French Waitress – Assaulted by a Box of Doughnuts – and a Hot Summer Night.

What more could a man want?

A Meeting with Jackie Hilkene

During May I was lucky enough to have a meeting with Jackie Hilkene during one of her visits to the UK – from her new life in Canada.

In many ways “same old Jackie” apart from a mix of Canadian and Gloucester dialect. Still a caring bubbly person, and a joy to be with.

We talked about her first foray on stage at Cheltenham when she was 14 years old, and a vocalist with her father`s big band. When she had all the attributes of an attractive young lady, except ………

“Don`t worry”, said mum – as she stuffed tissues into the vital area of Jackie`s halter neck evening gown. “No-one with know”.

Later that night Jackie appeared on stage, not only looking the part – but also feeling the part. Infact so into the part that her new role completely engulfed her – especially with her ample new bosom. So for her first number she appeared with her back to the audience, arms raised Shirley Bassey style, ready to belt into the new number.

And I worked – but only until a cavalcade of tissues rained down onto the stage.

Character building or what! – she powered out her song and just got on with things.

Because that`s just how Jackie is!


Later she joined a group called “Travelling Band”, and entered the world of old vans, humping equipment, and an eclectic mix of gigs. She also spent time at the National Youth Theatre, and then worked with various bands – such as Zucchi, Elite and China Dolls.

Mecca and Top Rank work came along at Bristol Tiffanys, Gloucester Tiffanys, Coventry Tiffanys, Top Rank Birmingham, and Top Rank Southampton.

One of her fondest memories was of the the night they were snowed in at Bath Tiffanys – when manager Andy Younger brought in wheelbarrows of snow – for a snowball fight.

Whilst working at the Top Rank Suite she met deputy manager Mike Hilkene (her maiden name was Malpass). She married Mike around the time she sang “The Lady is a Tramp” to Margaret Thatcher.


Both Jackie and Mike became well known within the industry, but when they moved to Isabella`s Leicester – the relationship began to falter – and Mike banned her from the club.

But the living accommodation was above – with its only exit being through  the club – so she was well and truly grounded.

Isabella`s was a great success. Gary Lineker`s held his stag night  there – and his wife`s her hen night

It was also the time that began Jackie her foray into healthclub and nightclub management.


She was so successful in management, that her story is well known. Her final club was Shanghai Sam`s Peterborough, where she took the business through the roof, met an ice-hockey player who made her into Mrs Jacqui Kaese -and now has two grown up sons.

The end of Jackie`s story?

Not likely!

She went on to form the Spotlight stage school. To work with Nicole Kidman, Jason Statham, Robert De Nero, Colin Ford and Justin Chatwin, and to make her way onto the big screen herself.

Her debut is in the forthcoming JK Rowling biopic – when Jacqui plays the book store owner where JK Rowling does her first “Harry Potter” reading.

And the rest of her story……….

We must wait and see …. but one thing is for sure……. in will certainly be interesting!

Great to meet you Jackie after all these years.





Top Rank Brighton – Jackie Hilkene – Tina Turner and Mrs Thatcher

Met with Jacqui on Monday and we talked for hours.

So many stories to tell.

Others we promised never to tell.

As we talked, and the years rolled by Jacqui became Jackie – and out came the story of Top Rank Brighton – Jackie Hilkene – Tina Turner and Mrs Thatcher.

Tony Buck was managing the Top Rank Suite, Mike Hilkene was his Deputy, Phil Leopard was DJ, Jackie was resident female vocalist in the band.

The perfect team.

When Tina Turner began a comeback tour she shared a dressing room at the suite with Jackie and fell in love with one of her dresses.

That was certainly one to save for those special occasions!

She could not remember all the acts that appeared, but clearly remembers Tears for Fears, The Eurythmics and China Crisis. All using the famous back stage spiral staircase.

One of her scariest moments at Brighton was singing “The Lady is a Tramp” to Mrs Thatcher.

As Jackie commented “it`s not easy to be pitch perfect and belt out a song when you are waiting to be whipped off to the Tower of London”, but the song was soon to pale into insignificance.

Mrs Thatcher was to appear on stage to address the Conservative Party, and to presumably to tell them to let their hair down and relax. Unfortunately she had a long stage-side wait.

Someone had collapsed on the dance floor and paramedics tried resuscitation then raced the patient to hospital.

The remainder of the entertainment went well, but Jackie need not have worried about being taken to the Tower.

Events later that night made horrific world-wide headlines.

Then she shrugged and smiled.

“Then we went to Leicester Isabella`s where we held Gary Linekar`s stag-night.”

But that is another story!



Romeo and Juliets Derby just got busier and busier – all in readiness for The Pink Coconut

The job in hand at Romeos and Juliet`s Derby was to pack the place out, with good customers, plenty of publicity, and to offer the best entertainment possible. Once that was done the club could have an upgrade/refurbishment.

The year was 1983, and the team set about the doing just that and …….

Romeo and Juliets Derby just got busier and busier – all in readiness for The Pink Coconut – but of course at that time no one knew what the new name would be.

Derby had a good club scene. Mecca had changed the Locarno into Tiffany`s, and were soon to reopen after further investment. They had featured the occasional heavy metal night on Tuesdays, and PA by Haysi Fantasi – and on other nights they played disco-funk and chart music.

The jewel in the crown for the “posers and people who like to go out to be seen in smart fashionable clothes”, was The Blue Note. They too were making an investment into their club by way of a new lighting system and 10ft video screen, scheduled for the 18th of November 1983.

Acts such as New Order, Blancmange, Marie Wilson, Culture Club and Bo Diddley had played there.

Ma Bakers in Friargate traded without a dress code, and had a different type of music each night.

Gossips was packing them in at Mill Street, with acts such as The Tremeloes, Mud and Gerry and  the Pacemakers. Thursday night was fancy dress night.

Clouds next door to Romeo and Juliet`s was still trading, but the management did not seem motivated – and of course the Slick Chick was to open in that building the following year.

And the rest as they say is history, and will be told on another occasion – but we leave you with a snippet –

The Pink Coconut refurbishment monies were limited, and ran out before a logo and stationary was printed.

So they simply copied The Pink Coconut Brighton..

Where the “Pink” was much more appreciated!

When The Twickenham streaker Erica Roe appeared at The Pink Coconut Brighton

It was early 1982 when the Twickenham streaker Erica Rowe appeared at The Pink Coconut Brighton.

I`m sure you can imagine that this raised the male interest across the country, and also sent a whiff of curiosity towards the females.

After all this was the girl who created the seminal streaker image. She did it braver. She did it as it should be done. And she did it bigger!

It happened on the 2nd of January during the England v Australia rugby match, and to say that the police found her to be something of a handful is most appropriate.

She was led from the pitch by two police officers with her 40 inch bosoms discreetly tucked away in their helmets.

So you can imagine the excitement when it was announced that she would be appearing at the Pink Coconut Brighton.

Of course no one knew what to expect, nevertheless the club was packed – and waiting for Erica.

Then she appeared….

Go Erica…. Go Erica….

Wearing a high necked grey jumper.

Not what the guys had expected at all – but she certainly won over the girls with her witty and honest responses to questions.

As far as we know Erica never streaked again She went to work in a book shop and is now an organic sweet potato farmer in Portugal, where she lives with her husband and children.

But she certainly left an impression!


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