Oldham Cat’s Whiskers Big Barry and the Ghost

From Teresa Stevenson

Cats Whiskers Oldham and R&Js World Disco Dancing Championships

I remember Heather Reece she was a good dancer, she had a sister
called Carol who won Miss Cats Whiskers
I know this because I came second. The DJ was called Skraggs and there
was also one called Dave? think he went to Australia
I can’t recall the Cats Whiskers ever being called Tiffanys.
I worked as a barmaid for several years at the Cats Whiskers upstairs near the
Bird Cage and Hansom Cabs. T
The head bouncer at the time was called Big Barry.
I actually saw the Bay City Rollers there – good old days
I saw a ghost. A woman with a white gown, just as I was about to ask her to go down stairs she walked passed me and disappeared
I do believe big Barry also saw the same one.
The manager was called Vicki, she was very tall and looked like a model.
The music was fantastic ranging from Motown / northern soul to funk and pop. All good.
After the Cats Whiskers the club was called Bo Bos


The Hilarious Cannon and Ball Charity night at Romeo and Juliet`s Oldham

It was one of those phone calls where you find it difficult to speak!

Maybe the phone would ring for long enough for me to replace the hand set – but no……

A friendly voice said “Hello”, and I had to reply.

“Is that Mr Derbyshire from Cannon and Ball?”

“Yes. What can I do for you?”

“We are holding a charity night, and we wondered if you would be able to come along.”

He said “Yes” and The Hilarious Cannon and Ball Charity night at Romeo and Juliet`s Oldham was underway.

It was the early 1980s, and Cannon and Ball were hugely popular, not only on television, but also with their live shows, guest appearances and pantomimes. I had been given Tommy Derbyshire`s number by the Oldham Chronicle.

We had sold out long before the ink on the tickets was dry – and could have sold out again and again.

On the night of the show Bobby Ball`s car – an enormous colourful and chromed vehicle, attracted almost as much attention as its owner; almost, but not quite.

Bobby`s red braces were even more attention seeking, as almost every female in the building stood half behind him, stretching them and mimicking his catch phrase – “Thank You – I Thank You”.

Tommy and Bobby may have been a huge property in the entertainment world, but they had not forgotten their Oldham roots, as they continually shook hands and greeted swarms of proud well wishers.

Then it was time for their show, and I was the man working the spotlight – which was more complicated than you would think. They were huge stars, and used to professional lighting operators – and even the spotlight operator had a running order – no filter – red filter – full beam – small face only – etc. If you got it wrong you could spoil the whole show.

It didn`t help when Bobby tried to hide from the spotlight. It wasn`t in the script. Neither was the thing jamming, then zooming into the ceiling.

Bobby began jumping into air shouting “I`m not a bloody moth” – then he was going “ave” me, as he punched towards me from the stage – with Tommy Cannon holding him back.

The audience roared with laughter, as I fought the infernal contraption to where I thought we ought to be on the running order. But when I thought I was just about up to speed Bobby decided to “hide” again because “I wasn`t going to get round him just like that” – and so he continued with pure and hilarious comedy. Tommy Cannon made the whole show even funnier by his perfectly timed “help” for Bobby – all of which made his partner even funnier.

It truly was a wonderful night – one that showed the respect Cannon and Ball had for the people of Oldham – and how those people adored two local guys who were now loved throughout the UK.

And they did wonders for the sale of red braces!




Who remembers Romeo and Juliets Oldham?

This photo came into our office this week, and we can only assume that it is of the EMI Leisure nightclub, Romeo and Juliet`s Oldham, because of an Oldham Chronical stamp on the back – so to set the record straight –

Who remembers Romeo and Juliets Oldham?

Apologies for the line caused by a crease in the original, but at least we have an idea of the layout of the room.

We think the girls, with a white grand piano behind them, are on the original raised area that formed the stage when the building was a Bailey`s cabaret club. The way to the dressing rooms was to the right of the picture.

It would seem that the main Romeo`s Stage was to the left of the girls, in front of the lower dance floor, where Heather Reece was the local heat winner of the EMI World Disco Dancing Championship. Heather worked at Peter Haq`s boutique in Oldham.

Assuming we are correct with the town, Mick Maginley was the DJ, who we understand now runs his own club in Wakefield. Ben Murphy was the support DJ. The main opposition was the Mecca club, which was originally The Cat`s Whiskers, then we think it became a Tiffany`s.

Can you help put the record straight?








How I made the earth move for my boss.

I write to seek the readers forgiveness for my actions many years ago at the Romeos and Juliet`s club in Oldham, where I worked as a trainee manager/dogsbody.

It was all to do with how I made the earth move for my boss.

He was a friendly, short and rotund chap, who had a friendly, short and rotund girlfriend. All of which would have been fine, had they each not been married to someone else; neither of which were short, rotund, nor would have been in agreement with the furtive activities of their partners. Had they known about them.

All of which left me in a quandary, because I was friends with everyone in the loop, so there seemed to be nothing I could do. Even though I considered the liaison to be very wrong. I should also add that the relationship was an open secret amongst the management and permanent staff.

And so the assignation carried on through the summer.

I went about my work as normal. At the end of each night I helped cash up the tills, put the money in the safe and secure the building whilst they were in  his office, huffing and puffing and going about their business. All presumably in line with his alleged preference of the desk top as an alternative to a more comfortable matrimonial bed.

He then announced that he was taking his wife on holiday to Spain, but before doing so issued endless instructions as to how the club was to be managed in his absence. We all confirmed our understanding, and off he went, leaving me specific instructions as to when to collect them at Manchester Airport at the end of the holiday.

As requested I was there on time; and before he was settled into the car he began quizzing me about what had been happening at the club while he was away. Very quickly the quizzing turned into interrogation when he realised that business had been poor, and there had been a fight on the second Friday he was away.

By now I was beyond being flustered, but became even more so when he realised that we were on the M6 going south; the opposite way to Oldham. However I eventually got them home, and he turned up for work that night in a terrible mood. And I had had enough.

Shortly before setting off to cash up the tills I took a screwdriver and loosened the main screws on his desk. I kept an eye out for them sneaking off to his office, and managed to cash everything up and be in the cash office next to his, to listen to proceedings.

First I heard voices, then laughter. Then a silence followed by the pair of them shouting “Ohh Ohhh Ohh”, followed by an almighty crash accompanied by female screams. Staff came running from all directions, and a well meaning soul banged office door to see if everything was ok.

As for me, I almost choked from suppressed laughter; then I heard sobbing!

So we come to the outcome! The poor lady had not only dislocated her thumb, but had rolled like a bowling ball over the office floor, collecting carpet burns an a hefty whack from a filing cabinet at the other side of room. As for the manager, he claimed to be ok, but developed a strange walk for the next few days.

Everyone denied tampering with the desk, and the lady took time off work after “falling down stairs”.

I seek forgiveness for my actions, which I now accept were irresponsible and immature. I also seek forgiveness for the hilarious images I have of this incident, and the accompanying laughter. The desk had not collapsed immediately. Apparently it had swayed and rocked like a bucking bronco before sending them rolling over the floor.

Am I forgiven?


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