Back in the days

I began my career in the late night industry at Romeos and Juliet`s in Colyear Street. Back in the days when it was essential to work as a door supervisor, usually with two years or so of training before you began moving up the management ladder.

The building was fitted out in the 1960s (I am told) as a bowling alley, then converted into Baileys Cabaret Club around 1970. When Baileys was changed to Romeos and Juliet`s, many of the key staff were retained; Marie Burton, Angie Weston and Greg and Jane Kobernic. I joined the company in the early 1980s, when business was good, but not good enough to warrant the investment required to create the Pink Coconut.

John West, Daryl Rogers, John Kay and Jules Burton headed up the entertainment team, and Tony Walker and Stafford Scalley strengthened the management – and the business began to grow. The Pink Coconut opened on the 13th of October 1983. The following year it made over a million pounds profit, and continued to do so for many years to come.

Due to the phenomenal success of the Pink Coconut, Clouds discotheque (formerly Sadies), was added to the complex as the Slick Chick. Stafford Scalley took over as manager, and was assisted by John Sulley, who had been poached from the Rhode Island Diner.

The main bar was built within a greenhouse, onto which water “rained” onto the roof. Or that was the plan until it began to leak like a sieve. The second bar was further into the room, with a stage built on top of it – complete with a DJ dressed as an American Baseball player, and supporting cheer leaders.

When Stafford moved over to the Superbowl section of the company I took my first managers job at the Slick Chick.

Not of a bar, or a discotheque or a nightclub – but a “Fun Drinkery”

The Night Tommy Cooper was Locked in the Dressing Room?

Graham Jay remembers working at Baileys Derby during the mid 1970s, and the night Tommy Cooper was locked in the dressing room?

Terry Molloy was the manager, and he usually introduced the cabaret. At other times it would be done by his assistant, but on this occasion they were both busy entertaining Derby County footballers, so Graham had to take over.

Everything seemed to be going well. The lights dimmed and the room crackled with audience enthusiasm.

“Ladies and gentlemen – please give a big Derby welcome to Tommy Cooper”.

Rapturous applause – slightly less so – then silence – and no Tommy

Even louder, and with even greater enthusiasm “Ladies and gentlemen – please give a huge Derby welcome to Mr Tommy Cooper”.

Even more rapturous applause etc – more silence – and still no sign of Tommy.

Then Graham heard a quiet voice back stage –

“Is there anybody out there?”  “Can anybody help me?”  “The dressing room door is jammed.”  “Is no one going to help me?”

It was Tommy, and Graham knew he was being wound up – but the audience was waiting to see a show that looked as though it may never happen.

Graham went back stage to Tommy`s dressing room, to find the door wide open.

As he returned to the stage there was Tommy behind a curtain, three sheets to the wind and roaring with laughter.

And the audience loved that laughter – and the man who could make them laugh even louder.


The picture below is of Graham with one of the Baileys cabaret acts – but can you tell us who they are?


Graham remembers Clouds disco in London Road, Cleopatra`s and The Friary Hotel – visits to RE Cords – drinking in Ramsdens and the Irongate Tavern.

And especially walking up to The Seven Stars where they sold Newcastle Brown Ale.

Think you were served the pint bottle of Brown Ale with a half pint glass.

Well – that was how the old ladies drank it in Newcastle.


Even more pictures of the Midland`s team – a few interlopers – and a short history of the local club scene.

Sorted a few early day Romeo and Juliets pics – then even more pictures of the Midlands team – and a few interlopers – and a short history of the local club scene.

First off with Dave Morris and Martin Raynor from the Romeos entertainment team – this picture was taken shortly before Dave left to build up the business at Clouds nightclub, which closed very soon afterwards and became The Slick Chick – then Molly Magoos – Brannigans and more. Not bad for a former luxury cinema!

Then one of Martin in very familiar mode!

And Dave Morris could Bee anyone he wanted to Bee – The guy on his left was the one we thought may not be cut out for MI5

Dave and Paul MI5 Walker – not sure what was happening this night???

It`s that man again – Johnny West preparing to cast off his crutches – maybe that fact that he wedged against the makeshift bar had a bearing. To the left of the poster is Pink Coconut lighting technician Lee Poulter.

Fancy catching Lee with a pint!

This chap must have slipped in under cover of the smoke from the bonfire that refused to burn. Mark Shaw, manager of Midsummer Leisure`s Paradise night club. He not only sneaked in – but tried two steal two of our women – Debbie and Helena. The pained expression on his face is probably from squeezing into the Rollerworld Big Boot he occasionally drove around Derby. Clearly the girls impressed him, as he came to work with us just afterwards, managing The Travellers at Griffydam.

Chris Shore was managing Mecca`s Babbington Lane Ritzy nightclub, but he must have been lost in the smoke so no pictures. Chris now manages Stringfellow`s Wardour Street club, with a clientele that includes Lily Allen, Drogba etc.


What better setting for a manager`s meeting than the patio at The Travellers. Ian Bomber Harries organised the cooking, while John Sulley and Tony Walker pretended to be helping. But who is that by the back wall? Could it be the man who had to decide between being a professional goal keeper and a night club executive. We think it`s Tony Gorbert!

Tony was the manager of The Travellers at one time, as were John Bunce, Marie Burton, Mark Ovenden, Mark Shaw and others.

Food cooked the lads relaxed with the Black Orchid Manager Mike Hilkene. What a treat to then discuss facts, figures and budgets in an almost Mediterranean setting!!!

But who have we here – is it Masterman DJ Chris Steadman – seemingly pulling girls two at a time?

Now on to the Pink Coconut Pictures – and first off with Celebrity customer Stan Hall – who may have made a serious error with his chat up patter!!!

A general shot of the stage (sorry about the picture quality – thank goodness for today`s digital cameras)

The next picture is of Dave Howells – and I dare you to call him a chicken!

And Finally we have a picture with Ian Stanley in the orange T shirt, and Raj (I`m not looking at the camera) Sandau on the right – but who are those small guys in the middle???

Good times!





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