TagCat’s Whiskers

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?

The Sound of The Cats Whiskers

There`s nothing like a few pints and a bit of like minded company to bring the old memories into focus.

Alan used to be a waiter at The Cats Whiskers. In our free time we were lads about town, drinking in the Burns, White Horse and Big Coach and Horses. These are now The Hansom Cab, part of the Viking centre and the RBS. We liked these because they had live bands.

Mustn’t forget The Tavern in the Town, now Yates’s. Duckling in Orange Sauce – for working lads!!!!!!! By `eck!

Then up to The Cats Whiskers.

Jack the commissionaire stood at the entrance, dressed in top hat and a long royal blue coat with red and gold braid. He was chief greeter and door opener to a long walk up the corridor –

 


Then into the Bali Hai for few beers and back out to the right hand side of the room where the girls stood waiting for the Trevor, Dick, Max, and Bill from resident band The Richard King.

Tony Adams was resident DJ, and there was a different cabaret each week – Max Wall, Keith Harris and Orville, Jimmy Cricket, The Dooleys etc. The Richard King Set were brilliant at reproducing the records of the time – such as –

 

 

On reflection the raised dance floor/stage area was quite small. Especially at the end of the night, when the lights dimmed and the slow music came, as couples moved towards the centre to smooth and fumble to –

Call us easily pleased if you like, but we had never seen anything like the Polynesian themed Bali Hai before; eaten chicken and chips from the basket, and legally drunk beer into the wee small hours.

But above all the Cats Whiskers attracted girls like we had never imagined.

 

The Ebor Suite forgotten

I have seen a picture of the Rialto and can`t remember a thing about The Ebor Suite! But I think it was originally the casino (before gaming laws changed in the late 1960s).

I suppose it was the ideal link up to the dinner dance cabaret of the joined on Cats Whiskers, and a step into slinky highlife. The office had a two way mirror so that the managers in the office could watch the tables. A man called Don attended to security. He was rumoured to be able to do anything except fly – but I only ever saw him smiling. A large man called Lynden Potter gambled regularly with sums of money that made my toes curl.

The Ebor Suite was eventually redeveloped as a standalone discotheque called Vanessa`s. And if you were lucky you were allowed through the side exit into The Cats Whiskers. It eventually became the Heartbeat and you paid one fee for both rooms.

Joe Whaley was one of the original managers; Barry Jones was the unforgettable one though. A trained actor; tall, slim, dark, theatrical and a manner that charmed the ladies of all ages! His DJ was little Chris Crossley, who made the audience sit on the dance floor while he read “Noddy” stories. He was the master of the double entendre, and a first class entertainer.

The Cat’s Whiskers was crap

The Cat’s Whiskers was crap. What was the point of opening a nightclub for people to relax, then letting coach loads of idiots in to fight and wreck everyone`s night out. No wonder it closed. Unless you could fight or enjoyed watching one it was not for you!

The Boulevard along Tadcaster Road was something else! There was a casino next door and the Wild Man further along. If there was the odd scrap the bouncers knew how to sort things out.

Late night transport was poor, a late bus or expensive taxi. My Triumph Herald got me home in a different direction each weekend – and without Satnav – great times!

I`ll never forget seeing Geno Washington and the Ram Jam band there shortly after the Funky Butt Live album charted for a full year. Great tribute to him by Dexy`s Midnight Runners – Geno!

The Hypnotique was legend! Tucked away off Fossgate in Lady Pecket`s Yard. Dave Cullen oversaw the club for hypnotist Martin St James. I believe the door was managed by Arthur Rhodes, and the lovely Ann Thompson managed the bars. Some of the best times ever – and I don’t remember any violence. But I do remember great music – Mott the Hoople, Rod Stewart, Roxy Music, Canned Heat, Free, Spencer Davis, Manfred Man, Traffic, The Kinks, etc

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