TagThe Dome

The Dome – truly a New Years Eve to Remember

New Year`s Eve at The Dome  Birmingham was always a memorable occasion.

It was made even more special towards the end of the 1980s by the skill and showmanship of resident disc jockey Franklin Hughes.

Franklin was one of the great names from Radio Trent, and unlike many radio DJs at that time, could produce a brilliant club show.

There was also something special about the actual Dome itself. Even without customers, lighting or music, it had an amazing atmosphere all of its own.

Add this to Franklin`s talent, throw in the excitement of New Year`s Eve, then stand back to be absolutely amazed.

And this particular night truly was amazing – in more ways than the huge audience anticipated.

Franklin could really sing.

So he stopped playing music after the countdown to midnight – and he sang.

And the whole room joined in with him – and continued to do so for almost half an hour.

Now that really was a New Year`s Eve to remember.

Bon Viveur

I was at university at Wolverhampton from 1985 to 1988. I was president of the law society. We started running a bus over to the Dome on Thursday nights. It ended up with us taking 11 buses – 300 plus people.

I was called into the student union and asked to stop as the bar takings were so down. It was a moment in time and simply special.

Happy days.

The Best laid plans – or how not to be a Dome cracker!

In one of my stints at The Dome Birmingham, yet another robbery attempt took place that just highlights the need for meticulous planning. Having been labelled a jinx by John Bunce,due to the attempts to rob The Dome whilst I worked there. This was attempt 2 of 3 in my residencies.

On this particular occasion we arrived to a scene from the Texas chainsaw fire door massacre. The robbers had used a cutting disc to gain entry by cutting a flap in the fire door, then through the cash office and into the inner cash office, which held 2 safes.The safe to the left had a right angled piece cut into it and levered back like a sardine can and with marks into the four inches of concrete – but no success in opening the safe.

It transpired that when the would be robbers entered the outer cash office, they triggered a recording system. Their voices were recorded in a conversation something along these lines

Robber 1 to safecracker “this is the safe we want opening man”

Safecracker to robber 1 “I don’t do this type of safe, I do domestics… I’m off”

Robber 1 to Robber 2 ” Use the cutter on that safe(the one on the left)”

About 5 minutes of grinding noises now follow and then Robber 2 to robber 1 “Never gonna get in here man… Let’s get out of here..” They now leave.

Planning is everything – Had our hapless pair done their homework they would have realised that the best safe would have been the one on the right. The one on the left, had they managed to get through the 1 inch of metal and four inches of concrete, would have revealed a tin with 67p and a load of receipts or the Petty Cash Box.

The one on the right was Saturday nights takings and probably in excess of £40,000.

Oh the youth of today!

The pulling power of The Dome

You can force a nightclub onto a city, and force a city onto a nightclub – but every once in a while a nightclub and a city join together as though by divine intervention.

And so it was that The Dome and the City of Birmingham united to create one of the must “visit venues” in one of the “must visit cities” of the late 1980s.

If you then add the management style of D, you have an interesting recipe for success – although as Regional Manager you are never quite certain what is going to happen next – so it was quite normal to find the cast from a touring musical on stage performing numbers from Grease or Rocky Horror. Even the gents turned theatrical when Segue Segue Sputnik lined up at the urinals in full stage gear.

On one particular night he had a full show running in the club, Kim Wild in the pre-club lounge, and Nicky Campbell interviewing someone as part of a live television show. UB40 were regulars in the French restaurant, as well as the footballers from Aston Villa, West Brom and Birmingham City, and the cast of Crossroads.

D was a natural at organising and socialising in the restaurant, so it was no surprise to go into the club one Saturday evening to find two rows of tables, each set out for twenty two people.

Another of D`s qualities was that he wore his heart on his sleeve. So when I asked him who the tables were for, he immediately replied, “these are for xxxxxx`s son`s twenty first birthday party”, as he pointed to the row on the left. “And the ones on the right are for twenty two available ladies, all paid for by xxxxxx`s father – I have three grand cash to cover the costs”.

Sometimes words don`t come too easily, but before I could speak D added that the father had also paid for a whole floor of the Holiday Inn for them, but there were conditions. The girls were to act as a hen party, and the guys were not to be told the real story – so it was up to them to “pull”, all of which created an amazing “must watch” event.

At this point I ought to clarify any mental images you may have created. Firstly the guys were all from wealthy families, and extremely well dressed; secondly you must dispel any images of French tarts and girls in tiny mini-skirts and low tops. These girls were gorgeous and expensively dressed, so the scene was set for a very interesting night.

Clearly the guys were over-awed by the girls, and the girls played very hard to get, then slowly they began to interact, but of course the shier guys needed extra coaxing from the “spare” girls. All of which seemed to be orchestrated by D, with an enormous grin on his face.

Did they all pair off?

I think they did.

Did they all go back to the Holiday Inn?

Sorry – can`t say –  that would be  just too much information.




Interview for a Cashier

Birmingham – The Dome

To the majority of us, remembering who we have interviewed would  be an instinctive part of the process. Remembering who we have appointed as a cashier at the venue is clearly essential but not so in the case of the hapless Deputy Manager in the halcyon days of The Dome Birmingham.

During the late 1980s the venue was nationally renowned. The French Restaurant at balcony attracted stars from television and the popular music scene. Capacity attendances were the norm. Bar and box office tills worked overtime.

Commonsense and insurance requirement created security policies to protect the flow of cash from the tills to the bank. Part of which was for the cashier to count and record all monies on the following morning after the night`s trading.

In compliance with this procedure the newly appointed cashier began counting the money after a very busy Friday night`s business. She was disturbed by a knock on the cash office door, and asked who was there, then opened it when she recognised the Deputy Manager`s voice.

He burst into the office with his face partially covered, and what the cashier thought to be a gun in his hand. “I want the money now”, he demanded.

“Don`t be silly Gary”, returned the cashier, thinking the whole thing must be a joke. Gary had given her the job after her interview, but he had then gone on holiday and forgotten seemingly forgotten.

Goodness knows what he was thinking.

He wrapped the cashiers mouth, hands and feet together with Sellotape and made off with the takings, leaving the her somewhat confused and distressed, yet easily able to free herself from her “bondage”.

Luckily the cashier was not harmed, but her popularity soared to VIP status. Gifts of Sellotape from mischievous suitors abounded; offers of to organise bondage parties arrived, but she just laughed. Only the insurance company had been hurt.

So what of Gary, the Deputy Manager? Well, he would probably be free to this day had it not been for a motoring incident. When stopped by the police for a minor offence, he caused such a rumpus that he was arrested, and eventually his house was searched, and a considerable amount of illegal drugs were found. As result he was given bed and breakfast by courtesy of her majesty.

And the cashier? Still a fabulous bubbly person – still amused by the strangest of robberies and breaks into giggles every time someone mentions Sellotape.


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