TagSlick Chick

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”

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!

The night the Pink Coconut team took over Derby Police Station

The liquor stocks at the Pink Coconut and Slick Chick Derby had not been working out well.

Someone was “at it”.

So a number of out of town managers were brought in to investigate.

They arrived one busy Wednesday evening, accompanied by partners and staff, and began their observations – but little did we know that this would be the night the Pink Coconut team took over Derby Police Station.

Unsuspecting staff gave away drinks, placed money into till drawers without ringing it in, or simply under rang the amount they were charging – which not only left the stock short, but also built up a surplus in the tills, which could be pocketed later.

Of course there were many honest and loyal staff.

But the not so honest ones were gradually identified and handed over to the police.

Something like a security Spring Clean!

Clearly this exercise used up a number of the police officers on duty that night. Statements took time and had to be accurate – so could not be rushed.

When the majority of the erring staff had been interviewed, the supporting statements had to be made, and it was decided that this would take place at the main Police Station in Full Street.

No sooner had the Pink Coconut team arrived when an emergency call came in regarding a possible riot situation in the Normanton district of Derby.

Off raced every available officer – leaving the Pink Coconut team to “keep an eye on things”.

And what could go wrong, they were sensible and responsible licensees?

But it did go wrong.

Especially after one of the managers thought it best to jump over the counter and man the reception desk himself – so as to look the part.

When the phone rang he announced that there was no-one in, then replaced the receiver. When a poor young man came in looking for sanctuary from a violent girlfriend – he was offered a night in the cells for his own safety.

Luckily the fun and games were over when the duty sergeant returned, and removed our man from the reception desk much faster than he went in.

Everyone was reprimanded, statements made and signed, then the whole team returned to The Pink Coconut, although they were told later that no damage had been done, and that time had passed very quickly for a very amused night shift.

Did they sort out the stock shortages?

In a way, but when you have the trilogy of staff, money and alcohol, there will always be irregularities.

No one was arrested. No one was hurt, and everyone was wiser.

But the reception desk at the Police Station never looked the same again.


Image from midlandsheritage.co.uk


Midlands region First Leisure office Christmas Party – no expence spared

It was the Midlands Region First Leisure office Christmas Party – no expence spared – photos were taken – and now we have memories revived.

Or have we?

We can remember some of the names – but others need to be refreshed – so for the record, all assistance will be appreciated. The venue was Cairo Jacks Sheffield

No one can forget Ian Bomber Harries in the thumbnail shot at the start of this post – and below we have Adrian Martin and Dave Howell

On the shot below from left to right we have Hillary from Seventh Heaven, Dick Child, Bomber, not sure, Tony Gorbert from the Travelers – then Andy Conquer from Peterb0rough

Next we have Andy Mac and Jason Smith from Cairo Jacks Sheffield

Johnny West and Angie Weston from The Pink Coconut Derby

Not certain of the everyone`s names – but we definitely have John Sulley and Trish Cosgrove in the middle

Linda (formerly Tony Spragg`s secretary – the cashier at Cairo Jacks – with Area Controller Alaister Braid in the centre.

Betty from the Slick Chick Derby – cashier  and the best agony aunt in the business.

Sorry guys – can`t remember – and they are so happy.

Another shot of Trish and John – she looks coy – but she likes his style

Maureen, cashier from Shanghai Sams Peterborough

Andy Mac`s team from Silks and Cairo Jacks Sheffield – probably waiting for everyone else to go home

Not sure how true the story is – but it is rumoured that one of the managers collected in the party hats and sold them to try and get his petty cash to balance.


Don`t forget to credit Locarno Boy if you copy any of the images


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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