TagBaileys

Graham White has passed away and now joins his old mate Ray Park – what a team! Gun point negotiations – bottle skip races – and a “wonderful” lie.

We are saddened to hear that Graham has passed away. He had cancer, and his sons wanted the funeral arrangements to be made quickly. So his funeral took place last Thursday.

Graham was one of the industries larger than life characters. He began his career with the Bailey Organisation, and eventually with First Leisure, where he worked with Mike Payne at Bailey`s Leicester. He later became manager of Bailey`s Watford where he worked alongside Ray Park.

Graham and Ray were something of a joint enigma. Each had his own style and personality. A pair of opposites forming a management team that entertained royalty and the greatest entertainment acts of the day. Each in their own inimitable style. Ray had his bizarre recruitment policies, including the balcony test, embarrassment test and the 100,000 volts test (each best described over a beer or two). As well as looking after the catering aspect of the business, while Graham dealt with the cabaret, security and overall running of the club.

******

Dealing with cabaret acts can be dangerous, as Graham discovered the night he gave one of the black American soul groups their show time. After which he was quickly confronted by their manager, and the conversation went something like –

Manager: “These guys is going on stage at 8.30”

Graham: “No. Top of the bill goes on at 10.30”

Manager: “These guys is going on stage at 8.30”

Graham: “I told you 10.30. Top of the bill goes on at 10.30

Manager – producing a handgun and holding is to Graham`s neck: “8.30”

Graham: “Dead right. These guys is going on stage at 8.30”

I think you know what time they went on stage.

******

Bailey`s Watford was also famous for after hours “bottle skip races”, whereby the skips normally used to collect empty bottles on the bars became “chariots”. Wives, girlfriends and smaller males became the “jockeys”, as they were raced around the club at crazy speeds, by enthusiastic males.

We have no record of serious injury, although perhaps they were hidden by a “what goes there stays there” doctrine.

******

A favourite Graham and Ray story comes from one of the First Leisure management conferences, and of course alcohol was involved. In fact quite a lot of alcohol. Sufficient for a somewhat inebriated group of individuals to decide to stack as much furniture as possible into the hotel lift, and for Graham to fall asleep in one of the lounge chairs. After which information became somewhat confused.

The following day, back at Bailey`s Watford, a very stern looking Ray approached a very sad looking Graham.

“I am absolutely shocked at you,” growled Ray.

“What. Why?”, spluttered Graham.

“After all that man has done for us and the company, and you treat him like that,” continued Ray.

“Who?”

“Only John Conlan, our Chief Execute,” glared Ray

“What did I do?”

“You were sitting in a lift full of furniture. The door opened and he was about to get in when you told him to “fuck off”.

The last of any colour drained from Graham`s face as he spluttered. “No. I didn`t. Did I?”

“Oh yes you did,” replied Ray sternly. ” and the best thing you can do is go and apologise straight away.”

And so it was that a very ill looking Graham presented himself at the Soho Square London offices, where he sheepishly approached John Conlan and apologised. In fact he apologised for everything else that he may have done (because he had no recollection of anything from the later part of the evening), and could still have been apologising the following day had John not stopped him.

“Graham I didn`t see you after dinner last night. I went to bed early,” he grinned, “who told you this?”

“Ray Park……..Ray Park I`ll……”

And of course when Graham returned to Watford, Ray was nowhere to be seen.

******

Treasured memories and wonderful days to remember.

We would love think that Ray and Graham are together now – playfully tormenting each other and presenting the most amazing cabaret shows with St Peter as Chief Executive.

Really miss you guys!

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

A huge thank you to Steve Firth – who has sent us some great information on the early Hull club scene

A huge thank you to Steve Firth – who has sent us some great information on the early Hull club scene

Steve writes –

Although I’ve written a couple of times I was sure that somewhere I could find out a little more information about my time in Bailey’s Mecca/Locano/LA etc but I can’t find the stuff I’m looking for. But what I have found, I’ve been in the loft, is some old newspapers and a couple of thing caught my eye. They are mainly adverts but still shed some light on the club scene when I use to visit these places.

 But I can’t find anything about Bali Hai anywhere around my house and although I do remember certain things the facts are harder to substantiate. The cost to a night out are very vague to me although in these adverts there are some clues. The main thing I do remember is that the Hull scene was really buzzing in those days and ‘town’ was certainly the place to be.

 Hessle, in its own little way, also had a thriving scene as did many pubs on the outskirts. I remember The Duke Of Cumberland in Ferriby, Cottingham Town Hall, Ferry Boat in Hessle, Westfield Country Club Cottingham, Red Lion Anlaby, the list seemed endless, a far cry from the dilapidated scene of today. 

 

There is more information from Steve on the opening of Baileys Cabaret club and Jimmy Savile at Malcolm`s –

Be posting  it shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baileys – a class act of a night club

Baileys came to Hull and it has to be said it really was a class act. It took over the old Skyline Ballroom on the top of what was the Co-operative store. They refurbished the place to a standard not seen since in the centre of Hull. It also had a disco, a new thing in those days – anyway the place was a revelation and would you believe I still have my membership card :).

The Bailey Organisation Ltd Europe’s Biggest Nightclub Group, offered a membership card called ‘Passport To Pleasure’ – But with no name of the disco. I can’t remember all the acts my wife, friends and I saw at this place – but some that do come to mind are Mud (fantastic) – and Jimmy Ruffin, who were appearing when the fire alarm went off and we all had to shuffled outside.

We did have a great table near the stage before we went out but coming back we were nowhere near the stage. We also saw the Bonzo Dog Doo Da Band or it might have been The Baron Knights.  We also saw Showaddywaddy, and Dave Berry who we also saw at the Cecil picture house – along with The Honeycombs.

There were many I didn’t see, Bob Monkhouse was one, Tiny Tim (didn’t want to see him for a start) and Kathy Kirby. Entry costs were minimal and waitress service was laid on in the concert room. The disco was something new at the time with all glitz and stuff. Can’t remember how it came to close as Hull in those days was certainly buzzing with places to go.

But as I look at my black plastic  membership card, still in its folder – membership number: Q 43508 The Bailey Organisation Ltd, Cavendish House, Crossgate, South Shields, Co Durham –  I have to smile at myself.

Fond memories of Baileys – a class act of a night club.

© 2017 LocarnoBoy

Maintained by Graphic Design DerbyUp ↑

wordpress stats