TagMecca Dancing

Mike Connolly lead the Manchester Tiffanys management chase into Tommy Ducks to catch a handbag thief……..

Jean Charnock sent us this the following story about her days at Manchester Ritz and the occasion when Mike Connolly lead the Manchester Tiffanys management chase into Tommy Ducks to catch a handbag thief.

Hi – I  started working at the Ritz Ballroom in the seventies as assistant chief cashier to Jean Dawe who was Chief Cashier, then transferred to Tiffanys as Chief Cashier.Mike Connolly was Manager while I was there and I would like to know how he’s doing these days.

Judy Gee was also Manager for a spell,I could tell a few tales but better not – and yes – she was was hard work.

I remember an old cleaner called Winnie Harrison who had been at Tiffany’s during the Jimmy Saville days and he used to take them round the block in his fancy car.

One day after leaving work and heading up George St my bag was snatched with the safe keys in. I ran back into Tiffany’s, Mike and DJ Steve Jones came running out half undressed as they had been getting ready for the evening.

We all ran in the direction of Tommy Ducks as that was where the young hooligan had ran. A police car came and my bag was recovered intact.

A long way back now.

Great memories Jean – many thanks for sharing


The Night Graham Peel waited and waited and waited for Margaret Thatcher at the Blackpool Locarno

The late great Graham Peel left us a wealth of stories here at Locarno Boy, and on the day of Margaret Thatcher`s funeral it seems fitting to tell the following story – which we have titled –

The night Graham Peel waited and waited and waited for Margaret Thatcher at the Blackpool Locarno.

Graham was one of the most successful and nomadic nightclub managers in the industry. Working in almost every town and city in the country, he dealt with issues ranging from the Krays holding court at Tottenham Royal as they collected their protection money from “clients” – attempting to run Liverpool Tiffany`s in the face of fanatical union pressure because he had sacked someone for stealing – and meeting and greeting Prince Charles and Lady Diana at Hammersmith Palais.

On this occasion he had been sent to manage Blackpool Locarno.

On arrival he introduced himself to the staff and read the private function sheets, one of which referred to a Conservative Party event, so in his inimitable and stoic style he rang the local party office about “a Conservative Party Dance”.

At this point he was subjected to the blistering response of ” A Conservative Party Dance……..THE Conservative Party Dance”.

And from thereon things moved apace. The building underwent a transformation as it was cleaned, polished, painted and adorned with spectacular displays of plants courtesy of the Blackpool Corporation Parks Department.

On the night, with everyone standing in their allocated positions, the Locarno waited in anticipation. The dance floor shimmered under the reflection of the cleanest effect lighting in any of the Locarnos.

The was band primed and ready to ensure that Mrs Thatcher`s favourite tune would greet her the instant she arrived.

Graham stood to attention at the front door, and eventually the phone call came to say that she had left her hotel.

It was as though the building itself gasped in anticipation as the band glided seamlessly into “Hello Dolly”.

But by the end of “Hello Dolly” there was no Mrs Thatcher. So the band played it again, while Graham hopped from foot to foot. Anxious faces peered along the road……. as the band played on and on.

Suddenly the entourage appeared, Mrs Thatcher and Denis were greeted and ushered into the building to the fourth or fifth rendition of “Hello Dolly” at which point everyone began to relax.

Specialist police officers had been brought over from Northern Ireland to assist with the security for the event, a number of which were on duty in and around the Locarno as result of activities by the IRA in other parts of the country.

However this caused something of a difficulty for the then Home Secretary William Whitelaw.

Whilst attending to the needs of nature he was spooked by a number of dinner suited Irish speaking males, which made him somehow lose concentration.

All of which resulted in his exit from the Stag Room with somewhat damp shoes.

Other than the Home Secretary`s damp shoes the night was a great success, and we are indebted to Graham for relating the story.

I wonder if those who had the pleasure of working with him have any doubts as to where he will be tonight!

Hl will be standing at the Pearly Gates with his band playing……

“Hello Dolly”

Ready to say “My name`s Graham. Do you remember that night at Blackpool Locarno?”


Why was there always a clown trying to dance to a drum solo?

Many thanks for the comment from Sue regarding The Cats Whiskers York.

Yes it was a special club. Seating for up to 200 people dining around the horse shoe shaped dance floor. The Richard King Set playing for the diners, including waltzes, quicksteps, and a St Bernards Waltz with a cheeky chorus from Dick Smith that went – Dinah, Dinah don`t be slow – On the sofa you must go – Off with your …… Well! we leave the rest to you, but poor old St Bernard would not have been impressed.

Sue is correct, the “Cats” had some excellent cabaret – The Nolans, The Dooleys, Ruby Murray, Kieth Harris and Orville, Max Wall and a host of others. Convoys of coaches streamed into York from Hull, the West Riding and the north.

Tony Adams would often sing with the Richard King Set, as well as working as DJ. One night the inimitable Eric Morley visited the “Cats”, and was captivated by the dancers innovative clapping to the Four Tops “It`s the Same Old Song”. It could be that Tony left “Jump up and Down with Your Knickers in the Air” out of his program that night – but he certainly included The Bedrocks reggae floor filler the “Lovedene Girls.

The whole atmosphere was tremendous – behind the scenes there was Carlo the head chef, with a famous soup that was rumored to have had the same base for years, as it morphed from Oxtail, through to Spring Vegetable, into Minestrone, and onwards and upwards towards Pea and Ham, and only stopping as it approached Mulligatawny.

One of the greatest and most amusing characters was Tilly Clayton. Tilly was overtly gay – which was no mean fete in the middle to late 60`s. He worked as a waiter, and adviser to any of the female staff who were getting married, seeking a new hair-do, or deciding what to wear for a special occasion. An early day Gok Wan, and an amazing character just to be around.

Michael was the kitchen porter. An unsung hero, who suffered the indignity of being knocked off his bike in Exhibition Square by the Rentokil van.

Jack Alison was the first manager, then Brian Sanford, then Derek Lacey. Barbara Hopwood and Linda Lovel were the cashiers, and the reception was managed by John Haig.

Ken worked the lighting effects for both the cabaret and the dancing – all based on theater and professional stage lighting which added that special dimension to the night by accentuating mood and atmosphere.

Opposition clubs were The Hypnotique, The Old World Club and Jack and Jills.

But there was nothing to touch the excitement and professionalism of The Cats Whiskers, yet there was one part of the night that beggared belief –

Why was there always a clown trying to dance to a drum solo?



Glasgow Locarno – Miss Scotland – and the Amazing Sounds of 1963

The golden days of Saucheihall  Street – Glasgow Locarno – and the Amazing Sounds of 1963.

We are delighted to have been loaned the picture of the Miss Scotland 1963 contestants on the Locarno stage.


When the catwalk was removed the dance floor filled to capacity to the music of 1963 – including –

The sounds of –

The Beatles – Please Please Me, Twist and Shout, and She loves You – The Bachelors – Charmaine – Kenny Ball – Sukiyak -The Caravelles – You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry – The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me – The Dave Clark Five – Glad All Over –

The Cascades – Rhythm Of The Rain – Billie Davis – Tell Him -Lesley Gore – It’s My Party – Trini Lopez – If I Had A Hammer – The Four Seasons – Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man – The Fourmost – Hello Little Girl – Gerry & The Pacemakers – How Do You Do It ? – I Like It – You’ll Never Walk Alone –

Heinz – Just Like Eddie – Rick Nelson – Fools Rush In – In Dreams –  Falling, and Blue Bayou –   Paul & Paula – Hey Paula – Peter, Paul & Mary – Blowin’ In The Wind – Gene Pitney – Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa – Brian Poole & The Tremeloes – Twist And Shout – Do You Love Me –

Freddie & The Dreamers – If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody – I`m Telling You Now, and You Were Made For Me – Billy Fury – Like I’ve Never Been Gone – Jet Harris & Tony Meehan – Diamonds – Scarlet O`Hara and Applejack – The Hollies – Searchin’ –  Buddy Holly – Brown Eyed Handsome Man – Frank Ifield – Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine  and Confessin`- Los Indios Tabajaras – Maria Elena – Big Dee Irwin – Swinging On A Star – 

Johnny Kidd & The Pirates – I’ll Never Get Over You – Kathy Kirby – Dance On, and Secret Love – Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – Do You Want To Know A Secret – Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé – I Want To Stay Here – Little Eva – Let’s Turkey Trot – Kenny Lynch – You Can Never Stop Me Loving You – Ned Miller – From A Jack To A King – Elvis Presley – One Broken Heart For Sale  and Devil In DisguiseJim Reeves – Welcome To My World – 

Cliff Richard – Summer Holiday – Lucky Lips and All In The Game – Tommy Roe – The Folk Singer, and EverybodyThe Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man – The Ronettes – Be My Baby – The Rooftop Singers – Walk Right In –  Bobby Rydell – Forget Him – Kyu Sakamoto – Sukiyaki – The Searchers – Sweets For My Sweet, and Sugar And Spice-The Shadows – Foot Tapper – Del Shannon – Little Town Flirt  Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You – The Springfields – Island Of Dreams –

The Surfaris – Wipe Out – The Tornados – Globetrotter – Bobby Vee – The Night Has A Thousand Eyes –  Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You –Mark Wynter – Go Away Little Girl, and It`s Almost Tomorrow – 

Great times. Great music.

Much of which still fills the dance floors of today.




Plaza Belfast – but what is the name of the band – and band leader?

This picture arrived in our office recently.

We think it is of the Plaza Belfast – but what is the name of the band – and band leader?





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