CategoryLeeds

What a gorgeous dancer – but much safer at Digbys!

Some years ago I was asked to visit The Warehouse in Leeds.

On the way I called into Digbys, and was captivated by the warmth of welcome, friendly atmosphere and club-like intimacy of the place.

It was a club I could understand, enjoy, and be comfortable in.

I stayed a while, then thanked the manager and left.

But the Warehouse was something else!

As I approached a spectacular character in a pink and purple dress  unfurled out of a huge white limo. The dress was so long that it required three attendants in similar but smaller dresses to look after the train. Each had a large headdress and the whole ensemble was applauded by onlookers as the procession moved along the red carpet to the entrance to the club.

It was Speed Queen Night.

Just inside the entrance was an open bedroom area with double beds, bedside tables with lamps, and various flowing drapes – plus an array of characters who appeared to be completely at home there

This was all new to me, but as I moved along into the main room I felt a lot more comfortable.

Dancing alone in the centre of the dance floor was the most beautiful girl; wearing only a tailed coat, tights and high heeled shoes.

As she danced her coat front twisted and teased in a provocative and captivating way.

I stood in amazement.

Then I felt a hand on my arm.

“I wouldn`t go there mate if I were you,” warned a young man. “You could get the shock of your life.”

I thanked him; attempted to look cool, and wandered straight back to Digbys.

It was more of a club I could understand, enjoy, and be comfortable in.

 

 

image from BBC.co.uk

The Nude and the Nightwatchman

Tracey Slade`s story about someone breaking out of the Black Orchid Nottingham brings back memories of an incident many years earlier at The Cats Whiskers Leeds.

The building was empty, other than for the night-watchman, the security staff, and me – or so we thought.

The security staff included wrestling star Big Daddy (Shirley Crabtree), Hawaiian Jim (said to be a Jimmy Savile protégé), and three more really big guys; the night-watchman was an extremely religious man who was easily offended.

The final security job was to search the public areas for sleeping customers, and to make sure the building was secure.

When all five security staff went in to check the ladies toilets, and immediately rushed straight back out, I knew there was something amiss.

“All secure boss,” someone announced as they rushed towards the front door.

“Let`s make sure,” I replied.

There the poor lady was, lying on the toilet floor, completely naked except for shoes, and spread over three cubicles.

Clearly a nightclub manager`s nightmare.

We had no female staff to call, but at least she was alive, and to prove it, snored like an outboard motor.

Before we could fetch a table cloth to preserve her dignity, she turned her head towards us, growled, then began scrambling out from underneath the cubicles, at the same time hurtling torrents of abuse at us.

We must have set a world record for six men leaving a ladies toilet.

The poor night-watchman watched us, completely bemused, and opened a fire exit for some reason. He then stood by it, as though to attention.

Amid an outburst of the foulest language, spitting, and fist flaying, the young lady burst out of the toilet, grabbed hold of the night-watchman and tried to punch him – but before we could act, two police officers raced into the building to rescue him, which only partly worked.

Upon seeing the police our rejuvenated sleeper raced out of the building wearing nothing but her shoes,  closely followed by the two officers, rather like the end of a Benny Hill show.

As for the night-watchman; we couldn`t stop him shaking. He was simply overloaded with new experiences, some of which he would have difficulty explaining when he got home.

And the young lady; she lived close by and it transpired that she was well known to the police.

Any suggestion of assault by an undressed lady, or any derivation of, was dismissed by the night-watchman. He just wanted to forget the whole thing, and was pleased the police officers had turned up early for their late night cup  of tea.

Did the young lady ever return to the club? Who can tell?

Would you have recognised her?

Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961

We thought you would like to see a list of the Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961.

Clearly there are many town and cities not mentioned – such as Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, and many many others, but perhaps there is a clue in the number of planned openings highlighted in the list below.

Basildon Locarno – Town Centre – Manager     M Green

Belfast Plaza – Chichester Street – Manager    D R Clark  – Phone Belfast 25294

Blackburn Locarno – St Peter Street – Manager B Gee – Phone Blakewater 85538

Bolton Palais – Bridge Street – Manager W. McLeish – Phone Bolton 1451

Bradford Locarno – Manningham Lane – Manager Alan Boyce     (Opening 9th September 1961)

Burnley Locarno  – Manchester Road – Manager  C Isherwood   (Formerly the Mechanic`s Institute)

Bury   Prince`s Ballroom – Bolton Street – Manager L Byron – Phone Bury 1705

Coventry Locarno – Smithford Way – Manager R Bloxham – Phone Coventry 24570

Derby Locarno – Babington Lane – Manager A Ferris – Phone Derby 41441

Edinburgh Palais – Fountainbridge – Manager G Knowles – Phone Fountainbridge 7427

Hull Locarno – Ferensway – Manager J Munro       ( Opening 16th September 1961)

Ilford Palais – High Road – Manager B Foster – Phone Ilford 3128

Leeds Locarno – County Arcade – Manager J Savile – Phone Leeds 31046/7

Leicester Palais – Humberstone Gate – Manager G Pickavant – Phone 69967

Liverpool Grafton Rooms – West Derby Road – Manager T Reid – Phone Anfield 3928

London Lyceum – Wellington Street, The Strand – Manager D Preedy – Phone Temple Bar 3715

London Carlton Rooms – 140 Maida Vale, W 9 – Manager J H Richardson – Phone Maida Vale 5289

London Empire Rooms – Tottenham Court Road – Manager C Self – Phone Euston 4173

Manchester Plaza – Oxford Road – Manager P Wild – Phone Central 7441

Newcastle upon Tyne  The Mayfair – (Planned for opening during October 1961)

Norwich  Sampson and Hercules Ballroom – Tombland – Manager R V Shackell – Phone Norwich 21541

Norwich Norwood Rooms – Aylsham Road – Manager G Barbour – Phone Norwich 46751

Nottingham Sherwood Rooms – Greyfriar Gate – Manager N F Kemp – Phone Nottingham 50555

Nottingham Locarno – St Anns Well Road – Manager G Lloyd – Phone Nottingham 44354

Rochdale Carlton – Great George Street –  – Manager E Mills – Phone Rochdale 3347

Sale Locarno – Washway Road – Manager J Goodings – Phone Sale 1508

Sale Embassy Rooms – Washway Road – Manager H Burnett – Phone Sale 7522

Sheffield Locarno – London Road – Manager M S Proctor – Phone Sheffield 22586

Stevenage Locarno – Manager B A Elmer-Smith   (Opening September/October 1961)

Wakefield Locarno – Southgate – Manager R Keith – Phone Wakefield 6515/6

Chris Evans – Richard Whiteley – and the day Neil Maguire bought me a beer

I should have titled this the day Chris Evans, No 1 radio DJM , visited No 1 nightclub- Leeds Majestyk.

But the one thing that I really remember from that day was ‘Neil Maguire’ buying me a beer!

My day had started with a phone call on my home land line.

I was the Deputy Manager at Majestyk and home phone calls were unusual, unless it was a bollocking from Area Manager Steven Lister, from the Slough head office.

Chris Evans side kick, Jamie (the student), had been in the club on the Wednesday 70s night and loved it.

Chris was in the Leeds Harvey Nicks the following day for a charity auction. He also presented his morning show from Leeds, and had been going on about the club, and how he would love to visit!

So the ‘Rank’ PR machine went into over drive, and my phone call was to tell me that Chris was going to visit that night to see the 70’s show.

But the 70s show was on Wednesdays.

First problem – it was a Thursday and we had Galaxy Radio DJs booked!

Second problem – my General Manager at the time, Andy Billingham was on holiday, but as the nice lady explained that the company executives were confident I could pull it off!

Third problem – Neil Maguire, our main DJ/promoter of the 70s night, was the ideal person to sound ideas off. So I rang him for advice.

“Simple”, he said.”Tell Chris he should have been here yesterday”.

In reality that was the answer, we couldn`t have two 70s nights in a row, and Galaxy were booked.

So we did the normal exercise – Fax outs, door to door/business to business awareness – swiftly arranged flyers – contacted all local media – guest passes etc. All with the same message-

Chris Evans will be at the Majestyk tonight.

Then we had to go and see Chris at Harvey Nicks.

Got to admit, I was expecting a jumped up ego, but Chris was fine. We explained about the night, but he still wanted to come along to the venue, with several friends, including people from the Emmerdale and Coronation Street cast – who were no strangers to the Majestyk.

So we then distributed the marketing passes/leaflets, and ensured that Chris`s arrangements in place.

Time to head back to the club, but as we walked down Boar Lane Neil dropped a bombshell! .

“Do you want a beer I’ll buy?”

This was unheard of, and luckily I hadn`t any money with me, so he couldn`t borrow of me to buy me a beer with my own money, as was his reputation.

Then he bought me a Guinness – and it never tasted sweeter……

So to finish off the story-

The Majestyk had an attendance of over 2500 admissions that night.

Chris Evans played an impromptu Dj set of 30 mins (Including Nivarna – mind blowing!).

Chris didn’t touch a drop of alcohol, but his party got well and truly smashed, and it took me 35 minutess to walk the late and great ‘RichardWhiteley'(Countdown) 50 metres back to his hotel …

And Neil Maguire’ bought me a beer!

That was, and still is, my best memory of that wonderful day / night!

 

Mecca picture – but where is the venue? Hull or Leeds.

We are grateful for the loan of so many photos of the legendary Brian Train`s career – but the venue for this one has us beat.

It is definitely a Mecca picture – but where is the venue? Hull or Leeds? Locarno or Tiffany`s?

Our suspicion is Leeds Tiffany`s – bet the the man in the bow tie to the right of the picture knows.

Can you help us solve the mystery?

 

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