TagRitz Manchester

Craig Smith and the aftermath of the Cherry B Promotion

Whilst I was the Catering Manager at the Ritz in Manchester, we held a Cherry B promotion. Helium filled ‘logoed’ balloons were tied around the dance floor, which floated up to the ceiling as the punters untied them.

At the end of the night the GM Bill Hunt asked me how we were going to get these balloons down .I suggested bringing my shotgun in and shooting them down – he said “what a great idea” ,so we arranged to meet at 6pm on the Saturday night for some target practise.

I arrived at 6pm but there was no sign of Bill so I let myself in and went up to the balcony and set everything up. Meanwhile Bernard Valensky our cleaner was wax and saw dusting the dance floor.I waited a little longer, still no Bill so I decided to have a go at shooting the balloons down .Boom,boom went the 12 bore automatic ,the ceiling was peppered, plaster fell, a couple of the balloons floated down to the floor – poor Bernard’s broom and bucket flew into the air and I gave him the fright of his life.

It was so funny and he never forgave me to his dying day. He used to tell visitors how mad I was and how he had fought Hitler through the war, but he had never had such an experience or fright. God bless him – I never forgave him however for setting my new microwave on fire, while trying to dry his washing!

Great days, when characters worked in clubs, Stella the female DJ,Vince Lazelle and his band; Phil Moss & his band doing the tea dance on a Wednesday.

The first ever Student Night started in Manchester on a Monday, circa 1983 with Ralph Randell as DJ – 1500 every week. Gordon the Head Doorman and Cellerman. Very fond memories which set me up for a long career in clubs as a GM,RM then Director with Mecca, Themes International ,First Leisure and the Nightclub Co.

Anyone remember the story about Bill Gillian and the cat in the Managers office ?

Great times also at Rockerfellas Bolton ,The Studio Newcastle, Coco Savannah Stockport, Atlantis Bolton, Destiny & Elite Cheshire Oaks and of course The Wintergardens Blackpool.

Ian Marriot, Gone but not forgotten

Those of you who have read the post by Lesley Field on the Lord Mayor`s fundraising event at the Adulte Ballroom in Burslem Stoke on Trent, may remember her saying –

“and the wonderful Ian Marriot the assistant manager. Ian usually wore V necked jumpers with the imprint of the V showing on the back.”

Ian was a reluctant domino on that night. He was also a gentle and kind man; full of integrity and consideration for others, and an absolute rock both as a man, and a member of any management team.

The nightclub world is a transient world. People move around the country as part of their career development. And so it was that Ian moved to an under-managers position around 1990 at The Ritz Manchester.

On Thursday the 27th of September 1990 he was parking his car before work, when a young male asked him the time. As Ian looked at his watch the male sprayed hydrofluoric acid over his head and shoulders. Ian died nine hours later in hospital from the effects of inhaling the acid.

He was 35 years old.

The nightclub world is also a caring and passionate world. The perpetrator of this heinous crime is not worthy of comment.

But Ian`s legacy is powerful and strong, and long may it remain so.

The dream of the Romanoffs – The Ritz – Tiffany`s and a free takeaway

Romanoff`s Manchester was the brainchild of Peter Robinson, a former manager from the Mecca organisation. Peter had style and aspiration, but not quite enough money!

Romanoff`s was decadent, stylish and popular. Everything was engraved with the letter “R” written in flamboyant script including the carpets, cutlery, etc. etc.

Located between two Mecca clubs, The Ritz and Tiffany`s; the positioning was excellent.

The Palace Theatre was close by, and it you saw a mouse in Greasy Nick`s takeaway you were given a free meal.

Sadly Romanoff`s was doomed to failure, despite being well attended and with good quality entertainment, service and standards.

It seemed that Peter Robinson had funded his investment by borrowing on the strength of future profits, but sadly they did not balance the books.

The only picture I could find of Romanoff`s is of the band – wonder if you recognise anyone?

The club was later re-opened by a company running a chain of Rotter`s nightclubs!!


Images from ioffer.com and Locarno Boy


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