TagRomeo & Juliets

Portugal – the land of sun, sea and…….R&J`s dinner plates???

Talk about rolling back the years!

Went over to Portugal for a break and to share a few stories about the old Bailey`s, EMI Romeo`s and Juliet`s, and Mecca days with an ex-pat management couple.

Great company, fabulous weather, and wonderful memories of Portugal – the land of sun, sea and…….R&J`s dinner plates.

Yep! -in the plural. Clearly the plates travel well – all the way from Hull.

Not revealing the culprits yet, but future posts may do the job for us, as we have some great stories to tell over the next couple of weeks.

R&Js plate

When we mentioned the plate to a former manager of R&Js Hull he admitted to also “having had one of those”.

Past tense – it`s now under the custody of an ex-wife! Same as the pot kookaburra filched from Brisbane!

Perhaps aptly summed up by the words of a former area manager…. “I don`t believe it……”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found some pictures of the legendary guys who made R&Js Derby brilliant

Every now and again we come across images that really roll back the years, and amongst them we found some of the pictures of the legendary guys who made R&Js Derby brilliant.

In the early 1980s, the entertainment team included Dave Maurice, Martin Raynor and Glen Rodgers. They had an old “rock n roll” sound system in each of the two rooms, and the amazing ability to both pack the dance floors, and to keep the sound and lighting systems working with invaluable assistance from the staff at Potts in Babbington Lane.

Strategically placed televisions showed “Match of the Day” every Saturday during the football season, which ensured a capacity audience by 10.30pm, and completely “male free” dancefloors when Derby County were playing.

Live entertainment was becoming difficult, with the resident band playing on a darkened stage, initially to a packed dancefloor, then to the bare boards when the customers realised they were not dancing to the DJs.

The following image of Martin and Dave shows some of the history of the time; the large “mop cap” lamp shades through the opening are from the Peppermint Lounge restaurant area, and “Oh Dear” – the slash curtains to the left (these formed the backdrop to the stage. And yes! There was wiring everywhere – long before the epidemic of health and safety. And not only is Dave smoking – he is playing “records” – how time has moved on!

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You will remember the story of the new assistant manager who was sent into report on R&Js before actually starting work there! Well – that is Paul on the left in the image below. Poor Dave looks as though he had been press ganged into being involved.

It`s a shame we don’t have images of the two lovely dancers from that time – Yeta Hall and Mary Minto – they were fabulous.

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We see that Dave is reading a “mock” book – The Perfect Lover by Ron B.

Now pleased do n0t rush out to buy a copy. Ron Bromwich may well have been the author/culprit. He was an excellent food and beverage guy, but we found no evidence of the him being Perfect Lover, although he may well be working at this very moment on “Fifty Shades of Disco”.

We have no idea where you are now Ron, but we wish you the best of luck.

Then as time moved along another DJ was added to the team, and was spotted behind two young ladies outside the Old Bell in Sadlergate.

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Chris Steadman was a legend, he not only knew what to play, he knew how and when to play it.

Chris came along after Dave and the team, and was one of the key players alongside John West, Dave Burley, Daryl Rodgers, and others – who were each vital in the business increase needed to obtain the funding required to create the Pink Coconut.

But that is another story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was Caroline Topless? No one was Certain, but the Effect was Electrifying.

After we posted the Bocker – “Hey kid, give us 10p” story – a number of snippets have come into Locarno Boy relating to some of the people who were there at the time.

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Caroline was the girl singer in the very last resident band to work the stage at Romeos and Juliet`s. Hazel O`Connor had recorded “Broken Glass”, and the team got together to try and beat the video version of Hazel`s performance.

The stage was blacked out other than for a waist high circular cut out in the centre of the stage, but with a powerful white light aimed towards the audience. Extra lighting was fitted around the stage along with pyrotechnics.

First the building was plunged into darkness – followed by the opening bars of music-  followed by a massive shaft of light, outlining Caroline`s silhouette – as she danced and mined to “Breaking Glass”. Powerful explosions of lighting and smoke crescendo-ed to the pace and excitement of the music, and the audience was captivated

Was Caroline topless?

No one was certain, but the effect was electrifying. Pure theater, and the subject of endless phone calls throughout the day and night to enquire about the 3 minute show.

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We are also reminded of the two aging gentlemen who attended the Wednesday Club Solitaire night at the Pink Coconut. This was to eventually become the very successful “Over 25s Night”, but not without a considerable amount of image changing.

The two gentlemen were probably in their late 60s – and had come out to dance!

Unfortunately they filled the dance floor, with a style of dancing that had to be seen to be believed. The smaller of the two took up a position in the centre of the dance floor with his feet apart and both hands resting on his walking stick, while he swayed to the music like a trembling tripod. His friend, who wore a white suit, ran round and round the dance floor with his arms outstretched – something like a cross between a moth and a Spitfire.

The management puzzled for while as to how to get rid of them. One customer suggested that if one of them fell over they could be thrown out for fighting – but eventually they disappeared.

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Then there was the famous Rolls Royce Christmas Party, which seems to have had little to do with Rolls Royce, but is rumored to have been one of most imaginative Summer Holiday funds.

The story goes that three or four Rolls Royce employees linked the first letters of their wives names to create a promotion company, and created one the most sought after Christmas nights out in the 1980s.

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And of course there was Sarah the lighting operator at the Pink Coconut – and it can be really hot working those lights! So hot that sometimes you can forget  where you are – and strip to the waist.

It`s a mistake anyone can make!

She went to work at her partners topless bar in Spondon, where he wrote a letter to the Derby Telegraph to complain about himself; writing under the name of The Reverend Pratt. This created considerable publicity, and helped promote the venture.

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But the truth of the matter is that everyone involved was a character. Some more noticeable than others, but each as important as the next. The late 70s and 1980s were a wonderful time to be clubbing, and the envy of so many 20 and 21 year old today who wait for the return of the “proper” clubs where you really missed something if you stayed in.

Where stage presentation was paramount, something different happened each week, and no amount of Jagerbombs would entice you elsewhere.

Brilliant memories!

 

“Where have all the proper tramps gone?”

A group of guys were talking about the old days in Derby, when someone asked – “Where have all the proper tramps gone?”

“Proper Tramps?”

“Yea!, people like Bocker Wright and Winnie Austin. All we have now are a few yobs in grey trackie bottoms drinking cans of beer.”

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Bocker and Winnie lived in amongst some boxes at the back of the Pennine Hotel. They had an army of assorted friends, and usually sat on a seat in Macklin Street, behind Duckworth Square.

Bocker`s mantra was “Hey Kid, give us 10p”, in a gravelly voice like a soul singer`s dream; but you only walked past him once. Anyone not giving him his 10p suffered a verbal abuse worthy of the Guiness Book of Records, which resounded throughout the city.

Bocker was also a key factor in the attendance figures of Romeo and Juiliet`s and the early days of the Pink Coconut. If he stood by the front doors growling “Hey kid, give us 10p”-  attendance could be left wanting. Other nights he would walk up and down the queue – filling his pockets with the handfuls change offered, doubling as a scary street entertainer.

Winnie died, and Bocker just faded away, although some said the Salvation Army took him in and kept him safe..

He was a constant topic of conversation, and someone regarded in a odd way as part of the night`s entertainment. There was a rumour that he had been a boxer, but no-one really seemed to know.

Most of those who were there at the time have a Bocker story. Some are embellished to the point folk hero. Others remember the first time they heard – “Hey kid, give us 10p”, and the ancillary intimidation. But one of the favourite stories was of the terrified young lady who told him that she didn`t have any money.

So he gave her 10p.

What a character.

 

 

 

It was all part of a national promotion called Miss In-String

It was all part of a national promotion called Miss In-String. Modelling contracts were up for grabs. The Sun newspaper needed to build up its Page 3 portfolio, and the Daily Star needed the same for Page 7. All the girls needed was a string vest and bikini bottoms. It should have been easy – but no no  no.

Contestants were hard to find, but many requests came in from the girls on the bar. Good living Rolls Royce, Qualcast, British Celanese and Debenhams staff all bared their “souls” – although they would be horrified today if we unearthed the photos.

Press passes were issued to those with cameras wishing to take ‘glamour’ pics. Some with cameras large and long enough to capture the dawn of creation, others were repaired with gaffer tape and with springs and coils hanging out.

Only problem was that there was an acute shortage of contestants. Male attendance was high, and there was the odd muttering from the females like “yours are better than hers”, or “good lord she should be able to fly”.

Friday night was the night. Hen Party night; and they came in droves. So it seemed logical that the bride to be should take part in the competition. Sometimes it worked; sometimes not.

Then happened. Forty five ladies from Mansfield stood in front of the stage ready to cheer on the bride to be – who looked distressed to the point of panic. But what are mates for, but to help out in times of need? So they all stripped off completely and climbed onto the stage, dancing, wiggling and cheering.

Poor John West, the DJ, for the first time in his life was stuck for words. The security staff had no idea what to do. They had not been trained in how to “handle” 45 short stocky naked ladies from Mansfield.

The entourage of assorted “photographers” nervously snapped away, while an off duty police officer muttered “don’t be ringing our firm, you got yourselves into this mess”.

The security staff were so traumatised that they left the building in pairs.

 

Miss In String

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