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Life was never going to be dull at Bailey`s Liverpool

Stuart Edwards quickly discovered that life was never going to be dull at Bailey`s Liverpool.

Preparation for the opening of Baileys Liverpool began at the Hull club during January 1974. Stuart was appointed General Manager. Jeff Marshall became Bar`s Manager; ten potential trainee managers were appointed, one of which was the inimitable Graham White, who eventually went on to manage Bailey`s Watford.

During the second week in February the team crossed the Pennines and began working at the Liverpool club.

Mike Payne organised accommodation for the management. He was friends with Jack Ferguson. One of the Holiday Inn executives. Stuart took a number of former Hull staff with him. They were allowed four weeks stay in bed and breakfast accommodation, then had to fend for themselves, while management enjoyed ten weeks at the Holiday Inn.

Part of the manager`s package was use of the “Bailey`s liveried” company car, and a company house.

At this point in our conversation Stuart grinned and switched to anecdotal mode.

******

He remembered  The Peddlers topping the bill at Bailey`s Liverpool. They had good album sales. Had previously toured America with Frank Sinatra, and had similarities to the very popular Emerson Lake and Palmer. Consequently they attracted a huge following, but perhaps had something to learn about the dangers of ill conceived announcements to the audience.

So when the keyboard player decided that it would be hilarious to announce  –

“You can always tell when the manager comes Hull”

Brief pause

“Because he always smells of fish” –

The Hull staff decided it was time to start a collection.

The insults increased as the week went along – as did the collection.

The Peddlers show began in complete blackout, followed by a wall of sound and flood of lighting.

But not on the Saturday night.

The blackout went well.

The wall of sound quickly came and went.

And so did The Peddlers – straight off the stage.

The key board player had suddenly realised he was not alone.

A huge dead fish lay across his keyboard – complete with tail, head, any staring eyes.

Revenge!

“You can always tell when a keyboard player comes from Hull………………..”

 ********

Stuart continued –

R Dean Taylor

During the final week of the R Dean Taylor tour, it became apparent that his South American tour manager had severe racists tendencies. Evidenced by his cruel racist comments towards black staff members; some of which came from Hull.

R Dean had wowed audiences throughout the week, and looked forward to end of tour party at the Holiday Inn, so a plot was hatched when he confided to the staff that the man had been “a pain” all week,

Unbeknown to the tour manager he was the subject of much plotting, giggling and scheming. His racist comments and attitude increased, to which his victims merely responded with stoic smiles. He too looked forward to the end of tour party at the Holiday Inn.

Saturday eventually came along, and the hapless tour manager was greeted by a cheerful smiling faces. The same ones he had abused and insulted throughout the week, including some of the Hull staff.

And the same faces continued to smile as they threw him full clothed into the swimming pool.

Of course those faces had now stopped.

They were roaring with laughter, with note more enthusiastic than R Dean Taylor.

“Hell hath no fury like a Hull guy scorned ???”

*******

 Now to Stuart`s final Bailey`s story –

Jimmy Ruffin toured the Bailey clubs when his re-released single “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” went to number two in the charts during 1974. Audiences loved him. Cabaret club owners adored him – but some managers had other views.

Fifteen hundred people went to watch him on the Tuesday night of his week at Bailey`s Liverpool. The majority of which were avid female fans.

His show was exceptional.

Such was the audience response that he “faked” five false tabs. By this time door staff were having difficulty holding back more than 1000 enthusiastic females, at which point Stuart demanded “enough – stop now”.

And off stormed an angry Jimmy Ruffin. Straight to the dressing room to cool down.

On the Wednesday morning he was booked to go to London to record Top of the Pops. Clearly this was an opportunity to further enhance his revived stature and appeal.

The show was to be televised the following night, Thursday.

But he never made to London, or to the Bailey`s stage for the rest of the week.

We went straight back to America.

So for the remainder of the week compère Bob Ellis had to announce –

“Due to circumstances beyond our control Jimmy Ruffin will not be appearing tonight.”

As for Jimmy Ruffin`s disappearance

Rumours quickly circulated regarding a heavy drinking session with Graham White`s brother in law and a certain entertainer with black and very swollen eyes.

As for the truth – Stuart never had the opportunity to hear Jimmy`s side of the story.

 *******

 Stuart detected a fall-out between Bailey executives Ian Young and Ray Copeland, brought on by what he interpreted as a power struggle, and left the company in August 1974.

Jeff Marshall left three months later.

Monk Bretton Miner`s Welfare Club Barnsley. Not exactly the cream of the Bailey clubs

shane fenton

Monk Bretton Bailey`s – a former miner`s welfare club on the outskirts of Barnsley, allegedly bought by partner John Smith (New Faces) without agreement from fellow partner Stan Henry. The manager had been sacked after a police raid relating to customers selling stolen goods, so a manager was needed quickly. Who they gonna call ?

Stuart Edwards

Stuart was initially asked to cover as two week holiday relief, which evolved into a request to take over the venue fully, to which he gave a determined “No thank you”.

Which brought on the sweeteners;

If he would take the job on a temporary basis he could live in Stan Henry`s luxury flat at Hallam Towers Sheffield, complete with black satin sheets and waste disposal. And Bob Monkhouse had stayed there!!!!

Well somehow that clinched the deal. Not bad for a former band singer from Eccles!

 ********

The club was surrounded by busy cabaret clubs – the Fiesta Sheffield, Wakefield Theatre Club, Batley Variety Club, and Baileys Sheffield – which was later to become Romeo and Juliet`s, then Cairo Jacks

Only two things of note had happened at this venue (other than the police raid). When playing there Shane Fenton had apparently been persuaded by the previous manager to change his name to Alvin Stardust, and a 500 strong stag party descended onto the venue every Sunday for breakfast, a serious drinking session and a bevy of strippers.

A far cry from the bustling cabaret world of Hull, but not for long; Stuart was to return in January 1974

At which point Stuart grinned and muttered something about “a reduced sentence for good behaviour”.

Image from www.shanefenton.co.uk 

January 1973 – Baileys Hull and working with Ray Copeland, Norman Wisdom, Tommy Cooper and Tiny Tim

January 1973 – Stuart`s Edwards next project – Baileys Hull and working with Ray Copeland, Norman Wisdom, Tommy Cooper and Tiny Tim, along with an eclectic mix of characters; some famous; some not so.

Ray Copeland was the general manager, supported by his wife Jeannie as Chief Cashier.

His deputy was “Smooth, sophisticated babe magnet” Terry Molloy. Further described by Stuart as “Englebert Humperdink on a good day”.

Management and artists stayed at “The Whitehouse”, and it was here that Stuart stayed at the same time as Norman Wisdom. They had dinner together and enjoyed each other`s company. However, not everyone saw Norman in the same way.

Norman Wisdom was a perfectionist, and expected ultimate attention to detail from those supporting him. Consequently stage management and lighting technicians would be savaged for the slightest delay or mistake whilst he was on stage. Furthermore he could remember every minuscule error in detail, via the stage crew. The allegations of him wanting to fight with Sid Steward and John Smith may only be subject of rumour. Or perhaps not – Sid clearly remembers a very angry Mr Wisdom being told that there was no possibility of “a completely white stage at such short notice” at the Cavendish Blackburn.

Off stage Norman was a most affable, friendly man,  and a mirror image of his stage persona.

********

A Country and Western private hire had been booked for the Wednesday of the week of Olivia Newton John topped the bill at Baileys. And with her hit “Take me Home, Country Roads” playing everywhere including The Les Dawson Show, management persuaded her to make a stage appearance during the Country and Western night.

Unfortunately this turned out to be a serious mistake, and poor Olivia left the stage in tears. Her act was not appreciated. Apparently not Country and Western enough for the Hull cowboys.

The following night, and every other night of the week she left the stage to thunderous applause.

 *******

Around this time Stuart also worked with The Move, Rockin` Berries, Noddy Holder and Slade, and Showaddywaddy. The latter winning a battle of the bands talent competition at Bailey`s Leicester, where one of the prizes was a week`s appearance at each of the Bailey clubs.

Charlie Williams, Tommy Cooper, Mike Yarwood, Duggie Brown, Jim “Bullseye” Bowen, Colin Crompton, Paul Melba, Freddy Starr, Frankie Howard, Mike Yarwood, Frank Carson, and a host of lesser known acts also appeared.

Many acts “doubled” by appearing on the same night at Bailey`s Doncaster and Sheffield clubs.

Acts also came over from America, many via the Henry Sellars Organisation. They were usually paid £1000 per week, while Henry Sellars charged the club £3000 – although there was also the cost of supporting musicians, transport and accommodation, which only left around £1000 profit!

The late Buddy Holly`s Crickets appeared, but were late for band call due to J.I. Allison flying over late from America. At this time he was also Elvis Presley`s drummer, and had been backing Elvis on the previous night. Johnny Tillotson (Poetry in Motion), Chris Montez (Let`s Dance), Tiny Tim (Tiptoeing Through the Tulips), R Dean Taylor (There`s Ghost in my House) and a host of other acts appeared.

Stuart also enjoyed the appearance of Roger Whittaker, who travelled  to Hull in his large white chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. “Another of the industries really nice guys,” commented Stuart.

And so was Ray Park, Bailey`s Catering Coordinator.

*******

Ray was a hilarious to work with. The consummate professional to the customers. A man always delivering a professional standard and service. Although some of his methods were omitted from the textbook.

It was Baileys policy was to present good quality, food, cabaret, and service, on time.

So when the chef decided to walk out at the start of a capacity attendance night, Ray zoomed into action.

Without hesitation he walked out of the building, and straight up to man working a hot-dog stall. After quickly convincing the man that to be able to cook and serve hot dogs you needed the same skills as a chef. Ray immediately escorted him up to Bailey`s kitchen, and issued instructions.

Meals were served. The customers were happy, and the new “chef” turned out to be quite competent.

********

Paul and Phil Rigby also worked at Hull Bailey`s during this time, as did John McVay (brother of Ray) and the inimitable Graham White, who had previously been a doorman at Leicester Baileys.

And we have more stories from Stuart to publish later.

*******

Footnote: –  to learn more about the amazing J.I.Allison follow the link http://www.thecrickets.com/bios.html

 

 

The other side of the stage at Blackburn Cavendish – November 1972

After a successful decade working in support bands, Stuart Edwards turned his back on the spotlights illuminating a career working with The Beatles and some of the other iconic bands of the era.

He had joined the world of the trainee manager, where most of his duties involved working front of house, as he began learning about life at the other side of the stage.

Blackburn Cavendish – November 1972; home of the master of showmanship, diplomacy, motivation and a management style creating some of the best managers in the industry – Sid Stewart.

Sid was supported by Reception Manager Phil Rigby, Bars Manager Paul Rigby, Lighting Operator “Twiggy Sue” Atkinson, Restaurant Manager George Moss, plus Rod Pearson and Andy Conquer.

Lovelace Watkins was the first act Stuart worked with during his trainee days, followed by the Rockin` Berries, and the frisky Larry Grayson, who took a shine to him (sadly for Larry attraction was far from mutual).

When asked about any difficulties with the authorities, Stuart only remembers the unruly son of a magistrate, but that did not deter from the success and image of the Cavendish.Business was good, with capacity audiences, and bookings up to New Year and beyond.

Each night Stuart drove home to Blackpool. Early one morning he was woken by a phone call from Jim, the Martel rep, asking “What happened at Blackburn?”

Jim continued before Stuart could reply. “The Cavendish burnt to the ground.”

Stuart had been one of the last people to leave the building, leaving the night watchman to begin his nightly task of a “rough clean” of the building, in readiness for the early morning cleaners.

He arrived at the club to find it transformed into a gutted shell with only the walls standing. In addition a huge section of the shopping centre underneath had been flooded  by water from the fire hoses.

One theory was that cigarette waste had been stored in an adjoining waste bin area. This had ignited during the night, and was blazing out of control before the night watchman smelt  the smoke. By the time the fire brigade arrived the whole club was ablaze, destroying any hopes of hosting capacity booked Christmas and New Year Parties.

A management meeting was held at a local pub. Enormous issues needed to be resolved, amongst which was the hiring of St Georges Hall for the New Year`s Eve Dinner Dance and Cabaret – using the cabaret previously booked for the Cavendish.

The night was a phenomenal success, created by a mix of stoicism and wartime spirit, coupled with Sid Stewart`s determination that the show must go on. A fitting finale to Stuart`s Blackburn days, and a classic example of leadership and customer loyalty.

On the 2nd of January 1973 Stuart was transferred to Baileys Hull, and promoted to Junior Assistant Manager.

But that`s another story….

Champagne for the same price as a house, and a “birthday slap” for Justin Bieber.

The origin of this post is a feature by Guy Adams on pages 12 and 13 of the Daily Mail on Saturday the 10th of August 2013, and is well worth a read in its entirety. 

We had many tempting options for a headline. We thought about Cirque Le Soir – possibly the most self indulgent nightclub in the world – or – 30 litre gold plated bottle of champagne at £120,000 – or even – Justin Bieber “shown the door” because of his “early” teenage friends – but settled for  – Champagne for the same price as a house, and a “slap” for Justin Bieber.

Located via a small lane off Carnaby Street, entry to Cirque Le Soir is  controlled by Chamonix, a South African “picker”. Entry to the club is largely based on “money” or fame – the famous are allowed entry, but not footballers, soap stars or reality TV celebs. Dress code is flexible, especially if you have booked a £2000 table for the night.

And the policy works.

Benedict Cumberbach, Stephen Fry, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo Di Caprio, Rihanna, Will I Am, Kayne West, Jason Statham, and Cara Delevinge have all visited, but not at the same time. Other guests include the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Katy Perry, have descended the Alice in Wonderland staircase, into an arena dedicated to the spending of money. Secondary attractions include scantily dressed entertainers and  soft core porn, with latter watched through “key hole shaped peep holes”.

Half of all hopeful customers are turned away, and the girls must wear high heals. Dirty trainers and Bermuda shorts are OK for the guys providing wallets are loaded.

But not for poor Justin Bieber.

Fancy being forcibly ejected on your 19th birthday especially when you have the 14 year old Karate (Jaden Smith) Kid in tow. In a fit of hissy he told 42 million Twitter fans that his 19th birthday had been ruined. At the same time informing millions more that Cirque le Soir was now a safe Bieber free zone.

Theatre and Champagne take centre stage. A bottle nine litre bottle of gold plated, Armand  de Brignac. Midas Ace of Spades complete with pewter label, will set you back £120.000. Behind your back you will be referred to as a “whale”, and the young ladies who join you as “table whores”, but who cares. You`re too rich and powerful to care. Business in steady at one bottle every two months.

Over £700000 for six drinks.

However, budget champagne is also available. Jeroboam s of Dom Perignon are only £3000, but don`t expect a Cirque le Soir to be opening in your town any time soon. Similar venues have opened and closed since nightclubs began.

Such overt displays of wealth and its perceived power are timeless. We have a good idea how the Cirque le Soir story will end.

Let`s wait and see.

 

 

 

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