TagEMI Leisure

Tribute to a great man – Industry legend Sid Steward has passed away

Tribute to a great man

We were saddened to learn of the death of industry legend Sid Stewart, who  passed away on the 17th of April 2014.

There are a number of articles on Locarno Boy relating to Sid, but the greatest memories are with those who worked with him over the years, and became lifetime friends.

He was both an industry character and an industry professional who worked tirelessly to help others.

Retirement was never an option for him. When he finished his nightclub career he concentrated on his work with the Samaritans, where he worked tirelessly to help others.

Originally from the North East, Sid was one of the key players in the growth of the Bailey Organisation,  which brought him to Blackburn. It was from here that he helped the company open cabaret clubs in the North West, but his heart was always in the Cavendish at Blackburn.

We were lucky enough to meet up with Sid  a few months ago. He was witty and as sharp as ever, reminiscing about his days at the “Cav”, laughing about the occasion when Norman Wisdom wanted to fight with him, and the hours spent with Tommy Cooper and the Cavendish staff – as Tommy ate a basket meal of chicken and chips that lasted from the public leaving the premises to the sun rising.

Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Sid will never forget the honesty and warmth he offered. Sometimes “shooting from the hip”, but never malicious or hurtful. He was a man who knew the importance of loyalty, and was inherently loyal by instinct.

A true professional and a great man.




Officer off duty – but he wanted to hang on until he arrested Jesus!

Throughout the years the Police have been kept very busy in Derby, especially at The Pink Coconut, Molly Magoos, Romeos and Juliet`s and The Slick Chick.

And some amazing officers – and some not so amazing – have graced Colyear Street in the name of upholding the law.

On the Christmas Eve afternoon of 1983, when the Pink Coconut was only a few weeks old, there was a full house of happy, dancing customers.

And a team of scallies from one of the estates going around stealing purses – many of which contained large sums of money.

So the “street police” officers were asked to solve the issue quickly.

So they did – and quickly got to work.

One officer announced that he should be off duty really, but he wanted to hang on until he arrested Jesus!

He had already arrested Matthew, Mark and Luke – and was pretty certain that he would eventually get a full set.

It transpired that they were all brothers, but their capture may have not have been out of the Police Training College manual.

One of the officers had approached a young male and told him that unless he found out who was stealing the purses, the officer would tell a local villain that the man was having a secret affair with his girlfriend (which apparently he was).

But it solved our problem.

But not all of the police officers were destined for the higher ranks. Like the officer who was in Romeo and Juliet`s off duty when an argument broke out by one of the pool tables. So against the manager`s advice he interviened, inflamed the situation to such a point that he was hit on the head with a pool cue.

Flashing blue light – two men in court for assaulting a police officer – “Police Officer Hit on Head by Pool Cue” headline in local paper.

Fortunately he left the force shortly afterwards.

Then we had the Inspector who arrested the Manager of The Slick Chick and Regional Manager for “Contravention of the Lord`s Day Observance Act” which did not allow public dancing on a Sunday. This Act has its roots in the 1700s, so to get around it “members” could dance, but not the public. As the Slick Chick did not have a membership it was apparently illegal to allow anyone to “shake their booty” to music.

Even though the dance floor was full of tables and chairs!

But it never went to court – the City Council changed one of its by-laws –

And “booty could be shook” on Sundays til the cows came home!

1979 – Romeo and Juliets Derby – One Year Old Tomorrow

The year was 1979 – Romeo and Juliets Derby – one year old tomorrow – a real “rocker from the locker” story.

It had been a great first year for Romeo and Juliet`s Derby, and to celebrate the occasion – a full week of activities was planned by the management team below – who are –

Left to right – Assistant Manager Phil Riley – Food and Beverage Manager Marie Burton and General Manager Mick Jordan.

The celebrations included a Mr and Mrs Competition, a computer dating roadshow, an appearance by No1 Funk Band “Spooky”, and a free champagne dinner for the 500.000th customer to visit the club during the first year. Which was some total!

We are not too good at maths here in the office, but we reckon this works out at 9615 customers per week, and as the club did not open (as far as we know) on Sundays, gives an overall attendance of 1603 customers per night.

WOW. Wonder who the prize winning customers were?

The resident DJs were Bruce Greg in Romeos and Glen Rogers in Juliet`s, and the resident band was called “Clinton Cardine”.

One of the busiest nights of the year had been the World Disco Dance Competition, when we are told that Paul Melba was one of the judges.

Wednesday night cabaret was promised for the future, with bands such as Marmalade, The Foundations, and Bill J Kramer – as well as a competition to find the best DJ.

Of course Romeos and Juliet`s remained until its transformation into the Pink Coconut in 1983.

Happy Days!



Some of the artists who appeared at R&Js and Pink Coconut Derby


Trying to remember some of the artists who appeared at R&Js and Pink Coconut Derby – maybe forgot some, but you know how to remind us.

First to mind was Black Lace – Yes – how everyone grumbled – “Agadoo” you wont catch me doing that. But a packed audience did – and loved it. What an atmosphere!


And who could forget the beautiful Linda Luscardi? Though she didn`t wash her hair at the Coconut.


The Palm Grove – presented The Searchers one Wednesday evening


Radio One DJ Simon Bates became a good friend of Romeos and Juliets – he once got into trouble for talking to the staff outside Romeos and Juliet`s when he was booked to appear next door at Clouds! Do you remember “Our Tune”?


One of the best PAs at the Pink Coconut was Percy Sugden from Coronation Street who was played by Bill Waddington. What a lovely interesting guy – and the girls loved him.


Then there was Captain Sensible – we think he appeared for a full week. His red beret was certainly a regular feature around the building. He had left The Damned and topped the charts in 1982 with “Happy Talk”.


Towards the end of the R&Js era Icelandic jazz funk band Mezzoforte appeared as their record Garden Party climbed the charts. Sadly very few people climbed the stairs to see them.


Baileys one time favourite band Showaddywaddy also wowed the crowd at the Pink Coconut –


And they could not stop the customers climbing the stairs to see Edwin Star. He was indisputably the best live artist any club could present. An amazing man and so sadly missed.


Great shows with Steve Wright and the Afternoon Boys! What concoctions did they dream up for the audience to eat though! Always guaranteed a full house though.


KC and the Sunshine Band did not pull the crowds in. Harry Wayne Casey (KC) was anything but friendly – although their show was excellent.


Hot Gossip. On stage for a full week in during the first year of the Pink Coconut – and they could have filled the club twice over.


Chris Quentin (Brian Tilsley from Coronation Street) attracted a capacity audience – of women – and did they throw themselves at him. The team at Locarno Boy knows who he chose for the night – but lips are sealed!


With “Zoom” flying high in the charts, Fat Larry`s Band gave an amazing show the night they appeared  stage at R&Js. They were a treat to work with, and Fat Larry smiled from the moment he entered the building. Super professionals.



The last band standing at Romeos and Juliets Stoke on Trent

The picture below shows the last band standing at Romeos and Juliets Stoke on Trent, it also shows some of the detailed finishes to the Juliet`s room where the photo was taken.

The band was called Endless Flight, but unfortunately the flight had to come to earth. The nightclub public wanted high energy, high production music, which was best delivered by DJs, so live bands were not cost effective.

We know that the girl was formerly one of the children featured in our Liverpool Empire post – re Dusty Springfield -but who are the guys?

Second from the left (we think) is Andy the keyboard player from the West Midlands – but who are the others?


Image from Joe Torlati Hanley






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