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Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers

Northern Soul Yesterdays ImberBoy

 
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Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers

 

On my travels I often meet those who attended The Torch, Mecca, Imber, Samantha's, The Twisted Wheel, and of course The casino, I have never ever met any one who had attended Va Vaas or The Cats Whiskers?

 

These two clubs are etched into Northernsoul history but why? What was broken there? Who DJ's, yup I know this maybe old news but to be honest I get a little sick of CD cover experts and Google pasters, is there any first hand info and stories on these venues?

 

We have just seen a Stafford reunion, what a brilliant thing to have had and what a mega opportunity for those who didn't go to have sampled a slice of the pie, I take my hat off to any one who tried to put something back into our scene, I think that's why I kinda respect the likes of Ady Crowsnest so much, getting off subject a little.....

 

So who went to Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers? Why haven't we ever seen a reunion? How big, where the venues? What were the influences?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

badge%20cats%20whiskers.jpg

Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers

On my travels I often meet those who attended The Torch, Mecca, Imber, Samantha's, The Twisted Wheel, and of course The casino, I have never ever met any one who had attended Va Vaas or The Cats Whiskers?

These two clubs are etched into Northernsoul history but why? What was broken there? Who DJ's, yup I know this maybe old news but to be honest I get a little sick of CD cover experts and Google pasters, is there any first hand info and stories on these venues?

We have just seen a Stafford reunion, what a brilliant thing to have had and what a mega opportunity for those who didn't go to have sampled a slice of the pie, I take my hat off to any one who tried to put something back into our scene, I think that's why I kinda respect the likes of Ady Crowsnest so much, getting off subject a little.....

So who went to Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers? Why haven't we ever seen a reunion? How big, where the venues? What were the influences?

The all - nighters at Va - Vas were short lived . They started in late March of 1973 , following the closure that month of The Torch , and ran until June . It started again in July , but was never the same .

I suppose that The Torch and The Cats were the main influences record wise , as Pep and Alan Day were big supporters of the venue , and used to take emidiscs of stuff for Richard to play . Dave Hornsby , Snowy , Bob Beasley , Bob Mellor and myself usually made the trip across from Doncaster while it was on .

As for a reunion , I always wondered why there has not been one : possibly due to it not being around long enough to make a real impact .....

Malc Burton

post-5097-12709845735636.jpg

Edited by Malc Burton

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Posted

badge%20cats%20whiskers.jpg

Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers

On my travels I often meet those who attended The Torch, Mecca, Imber, Samantha's, The Twisted Wheel, and of course The casino, I have never ever met any one who had attended Va Vaas or The Cats Whiskers?

These two clubs are etched into Northernsoul history but why? What was broken there? Who DJ's, yup I know this maybe old news but to be honest I get a little sick of CD cover experts and Google pasters, is there any first hand info and stories on these venues?

We have just seen a Stafford reunion, what a brilliant thing to have had and what a mega opportunity for those who didn't go to have sampled a slice of the pie, I take my hat off to any one who tried to put something back into our scene, I think that's why I kinda respect the likes of Ady Crowsnest so much, getting off subject a little.....

So who went to Va Vaas - The Cats Whiskers? Why haven't we ever seen a reunion? How big, where the venues? What were the influences?

Va-Va's was part of the weekend ritual at one point. Kick off @ the Central in Leeds and then across to Bolton for Va-Va's every Friday and then Mecca and Casino on a Saturday followed by an all-dayer on the Sunday would make for an action-packed weekend. Very handy as you'd hear the countries top sounds across 4-5 different venues every weekend, so a new record could 'break' in a single weekend. Richard use to often play his new discoveries @ Va-Va's 'cos he was the resident and had more time to play different sets, so musically Va-Va's was great. The only not so great bit was the occasional hassle with Bolton townie dickheads who infiltrated the club sometimes and created unnecessary stress. Could be a hostile atmosphere at times I seem to remember.......

The Cats Whiskers in Meanwood, Leeds was famous for the record decks being suspended from the ceiling because the floor could get jumpy at times. I did a few gigs there with John 'Kojac' Harvey I seem to remember. Best gig bar none for me was the Junior Walker gig which I recall was a brilliant day. I actually wrote-off two cars en route to the Cats Whiskers Sunday all-dayers......

Ian D biggrin.gif

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Va-Va's was part of the weekend ritual at one point. Kick off @ the Central in Leeds and then across to Bolton for Va-Va's every Friday and then Mecca and Casino on a Saturday followed by an all-dayer on the Sunday would make for an action-packed weekend. Very handy as you'd hear the countries top sounds across 4-5 different venues every weekend, so a new record could 'break' in a single weekend. Richard use to often play his new discoveries @ Va-Va's 'cos he was the resident and had more time to play different sets, so musically Va-Va's was great. The only not so great bit was the occasional hassle with Bolton townie dickheads who infiltrated the club sometimes and created unnecessary stress. Could be a hostile atmosphere at times I seem to remember.......

The Cats Whiskers in Meanwood, Leeds was famous for the record decks being suspended from the ceiling because the floor could get jumpy at times. I did a few gigs there with John 'Kojac' Harvey I seem to remember. Best gig bar none for me was the Junior Walker gig which I recall was a brilliant day. I actually wrote-off two cars en route to the Cats Whiskers Sunday all-dayers......

Ian D :D

The CW at Meanwod was a great venue .

I keep getting asked about him , but have you any idea of what happened to Terry Sampson Ian ?

Malc Burton

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The CW at Meanwod was a great venue .

I keep getting asked about him , but have you any idea of what happened to Terry Sampson Ian ?

Malc Burton

That was the other promoter I was trying to remember Malc. Terry Sampson promoted the Jr Walker gig I think. Was he from Sheffield? I seem to remember doing a few gigs for Terry. Dunno what happened to him as I haven't seen him for 36 years LOL....

Ian D biggrin.gif

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Posted (edited)

Simon

The Cat's Whiskers/Burnley Mecca was where I would have cut my teeth/dancing legs way back in 71' 72' as an 11 yr old. platform shoes/white bomber jacket-hair like the son out of wait til your father gets home. Under 16's Sat afternoon disco's. But where I would first hear Miracles/4 Tops/Temps/Supremes etc alongside Little Eva records. This would be pre Northern days for me. Then a few years later we had Stuart Kelso was the resident dj under 18's Sunday nights. He played the last hour Northern. I remember The Jades 'I'm Where It's At' 'This Beautiful Night' 'We Go Together' Exus Trek and similar stuff.

Later it evolved into The Rose Room/Lancastrian Suite etc. Used to attend Ginger's mini Nighters til 4am.

Although before my time I think there were alldayers there in the early 70's. Someone was saying on a lookback thread that they saw Chairman of the board there in the early 70's.

Best

Kev

Edited by Kev Moore

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Mega!

I have some questions........

Malc, what are "emidiscs"?

What does the badge consist of? I can't make it out?

Can any one give a play list for the two clubs, so we can get a flavor?

Was this music pre the term "Northernsoul"?

How did you find out about these places? Easy now days with text and Tinternet, was it via Echoes and Blues and Soul?

Who where the DJ's Richard and Ginger and ????

How much, if any, did these clubs influence what we now know as Northernsoul?

I am fascinated by this stuff and know zero of our roots, I have visited The Twisted Wheel and the story of The Wheel is well documented, there seams to be an air of silence surrounding Va Vaas n The Cats Whiskers, was there a club on Rochdale road called The Cats Whiskers?

I know I may regret this but, can some one who has visited these clubs come and talk to me about them next time I am at a nighter please.

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First time I saw emidiscs (about 73/74) metal plates cut with the latest sounds. There used to be machines floating around. I remember Sean Cain in Burnley having one and swopping it for a tatoo gun. Everyone went from having really heavy record boxes to having David Carradine dragon tattoos on their arms.laugh.gif

Kev

Richard and Ginger used to dj at Burnley Cats/Rose Room and Richard Searling used to dj with our Dave at the Concorde Club next to Burnley bus Station. By the mid 70's when I got into Northern Burnley and surrounding area was a definite hotbed of Northern with clubs almost every night and week. Keithley Green/110 Club/The Circulation/Rose Grove/Lowerhouse Canteen/Bankhall Miners/ Buffs Club etc etc.

Kev

But Simon I wouldn't say these days were pre Northern Soul. Northern had been going for a long time before the early 70's.

Edited by Kev Moore

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Posted (edited)

Mega!

I have some questions........

Malc, what are "emidiscs"?

What does the badge consist of? I can't make it out?

Can any one give a play list for the two clubs, so we can get a flavor?

Was this music pre the term "Northernsoul"?

How did you find out about these places? Easy now days with text and Tinternet, was it via Echoes and Blues and Soul?

Who where the DJ's Richard and Ginger and ????

How much, if any, did these clubs influence what we now know as Northernsoul?

I am fascinated by this stuff and know zero of our roots, I have visited The Twisted Wheel and the story of The Wheel is well documented, there seams to be an air of silence surrounding Va Vaas n The Cats Whiskers, was there a club on Rochdale road called The Cats Whiskers?

I know I may regret this but, can some one who has visited these clubs come and talk to me about them next time I am at a nighter please.

Heres a few more pictures I got off Martin Allsopp.One is obviously the Top Rank in Hanley from xmas 73.Don't know who is playing though.The other is from the northern club in a cave??? Theres also 2 pics from 69 I believe Inez and Charlie Foxx.Anybody name the venue? Theres another piccie of a group of people in what i would describe as suedehead clothes, red socks, blazer badges, sheepskins.This is what I think as pre northern soul...youth club discos, Johnny Johnson,Invictus Hotwax,Tamla etc.

BMP_01.BMP

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post-18577-12709943500281.jpg

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Edited by wiggyflat

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, I have never ever met any one who had attended Va Vaas or The Cats Whiskers?

Thats not quite true Simon youve met me many times!!yes.gif

Nige B ex Va Va 73

PS see the Va Va thread

post-1851-12709962264718_thumb.jpg

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The all - nighters at Va - Vas were short lived . They started in late March of 1973 , following the closure that month of The Torch , and ran until June . It started again in July , but was never the same .

I suppose that The Torch and The Cats were the main influences record wise , as Pep and Alan Day were big supporters of the venue , and used to take emidiscs of stuff for Richard to play . Dave Hornsby , Snowy , Bob Beasley , Bob Mellor and myself usually made the trip across from Doncaster while it was on .

As for a reunion , I always wondered why there has not been one : possibly due to it not being around long enough to make a real impact .....

Malc Burton

Malc, was the badge based on a Dr who character? lol

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Guest Johnny Mack\
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Malc, was the badge based on a Dr who character? lol

Simon,

The badges carried the Brewery's logo - Greenall Whitney if I remember right. Pretty awful.

Couple of washes on a pair of levis and they ended up pretty well mashed.

Take care

John

post-1703-12710013042773_thumb.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Mega!

I have some questions……..

Malc, what are “emidiscs”?

What does the badge consist of? I can’t make it out?

An Emidisc ( more commonly known today as an acetate ) , was the branded name given by EMI for 7" and 12" discs . They were made of aluminium with a plastic coating thick enough to be grooved or etched by a machine with copies of an original recording or pressing of a record . I still have four 12" blanks ( plus the labels and the metal box that contained them ) .

As for the Va - Va badge , god knows what the design in the middle is . I think as John states , it had something to do with Grennhall's . I always thought it was weird , as it looked something out of Greek Mythology , as it appears to be the body of a woman with the back legs of a horse pouring something from an urn .

There was another - and less complicated cloth badge - which had just the wording of Va - Va All - Nighter on it .

The name " Va - Va " is the combination of the Spanish word " Va " , which roughly translates into English as " It Goes , it Goes " or " Go - Go "

Malc Burton

Edited by Malc Burton

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Simon

The Cat's Whiskers/Burnley Mecca was where I would have cut my teeth/dancing legs way back in 71' 72' as an 11 yr old. platform shoes/white bomber jacket-hair like the son out of wait til your father gets home. Under 16's Sat afternoon disco's. But where I would first hear Miracles/4 Tops/Temps/Supremes etc alongside Little Eva records. This would be pre Northern days for me. Then a few years later we had Stuart Kelso was the resident dj under 18's Sunday nights. He played the last hour Northern. I remember The Jades 'I'm Where It's At' 'This Beautiful Night' 'We Go Together' Exus Trek and similar stuff.

Later it evolved into The Rose Room/Lancastrian Suite etc. Used to attend Ginger's mini Nighters til 4am.

Although before my time I think there were alldayers there in the early 70's. Someone was saying on a lookback thread that they saw Chairman of the board there in the early 70's.

Best

Kev

Yes indeed Chairman of the Board where on at one of the all-dayers at Burnley Mecca.

As you said (in other post) you could go to a soul nite 7 days a week back than (I never stopped in.:no: )

Dave.

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Mega!

I have some questions........

Malc, what are "emidiscs"?

I have still got a few in the loft ( the big sounds from 74 c/o Pete Lawson. )

I know I may regret this but, can some one who has visited these clubs come and talk to me about them next time I am at a nighter please.

I think you might regret asking this, you might get some serious ear bashing.:laugh:

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As for the Va - Va badge , god knows what the design in the middle is . I think as John states , it had something to do with Grennhall's . I always thought it was weird , as it looked something out of Greek Mythology , as it appears to be the body of a woman with the back legs of a horse pouring something from an urn .

Malc Burton

Wow. Perfect imagery for a Northern Soul All-Nighter in Bolton then........

Ian D :D

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Wow. Perfect imagery for a Northern Soul All-Nighter in Bolton then........

Ian D biggrin.gif

laugh.gif:lol::D

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Yes indeed Chairman of the Board where on at one of the all-dayers at Burnley Mecca.

As you said (in other post) you could go to a soul nite 7 days a week back than (I never stopped in.no.gif )

Dave.

I would have loved that Dave. Norman Johnson and co. Burnley Mecca. Great stuff.

Kev

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post-16602-12710193265683_thumb.jpg

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Guest Jimmy Scriv\
Posted

I remember going to Burnley Mecca/Cats Whiskers around 1970 and Arthur Conley was supposed to be on. He turned up

but his backing band had broken down on route. Later found out he was on in Sheffield or somewhere and we had all been

conned as no cash refunds given only tickets to come to other nights at Burnley.sad.gif

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As someone has already said Va Va's only lasted about 3 Months.

Heres what I remember.

Small club, with lots of glass/perspex panels all over the

place which were walked into on a regular basis.

Musically I only ever remember Richard Sealing Djing although

there may have been others, memory a bit vague.

I think Richard had been to the states,probably Philly, and brought

back loads of new sounds. I seem to recall lots of stuff on Arctic Volcanoes etc, and possibly

the first airing of Frank Beverly on Gamble

What I do remember is that the sounds at Va Va's were probably the best being played

anywhere around that time.

Fuelled by "backstreet blueys" which were sourced from a guy in Ashton, those

of you. who were about at the time, particularly the Bradford/Selby/Donny lads

will know who I mean.

Heres the story on the closure.

My mate Hector and I had sold some blueys to a kid, next thing I

knew we were being dragged up to the managers office by the bouncers.

We had been set up.

Anyway the manager then says he's calling the Old Bill.

I try to tell the clown that without gear there would not be an

all nighter in the first place, but he's not convinced.

Hector and I are ambivalent to him ringing the cops, as we had sold

all the gear we had, and would just deny that we had sold the kid any.

So the cops turn up and we get nicked, unfortunately when they

search me they find 8 red & browns, that I had forgotten I had,

in my shirt pocket.

Unfortunately for Hector he had a knife on him.

The story that the bouncers were involved in the set up soon

got round and the next nighter was almost empty.

I think the cops withdrew its license the week after.

Kegsy

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Posted

How important was Va Vaas in the evolution of Northernsoul? Was it just a club or was it held as a measuring stick for Wigan?

I know that the importance wouldn't have been imagined at the time but for those who where there and did both Va Vaas and the Casino/Mecca, was the impact noticeable or is it just a footnote on a CD cover?

Is there such a creature who has attended the Torch, Va Vaas, The cats Whiskers and the Casino/Mecca?

Who else had the records, who else DJ'd at Va Vaas, where there DJ's who played soul who didn't carry on to the Casino?

I have never wanted a time machine as much as I do now! I hope you fookers appreciate your experiences coz I am jealous as fook!

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Posted (edited)

How important was Va Vaas in the evolution of Northernsoul? Was it just a club or was it held as a measuring stick for Wigan?

I know that the importance wouldn’t have been imagined at the time but for those who where there and did both Va Vaas and the Casino/Mecca, was the impact noticeable or is it just a footnote on a CD cover?

Is there such a creature who has attended the Torch, Va Vaas, The cats Whiskers and the Casino/Mecca?

Who else had the records, who else DJ’d at Va Vaas, where there DJ’s who played soul who didn’t carry on to the Casino?

I have never wanted a time machine as much as I do now! I hope you fookers appreciate your experiences coz I am jealous as fook!

Guilty your honour .

Va - Vas was one of the stepping stones between The Torch and WC , and was important in that respect . I am sure if it had lasted longer , it's impact on the scene would have been considerably more than just the position it holds in NS folklore .

The main DJ at Va - Vas was Richard . There were others , but I cannot recall exactly who they were , but I am sure Pete Fell and Barry Tasker were two of them .

Malc Burton

Edited by Malc Burton

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Guest Dave Turner\
Posted

Guilty your honour .

Va - Vas was one of the stepping stones between The Torch and WC , and was important in that respect . I am sure if it had lasted longer , it's impact on the scene would have been considerably more than just the position it holds in NS folklore .

The main DJ at Va - Vas was Richard . There were others , but I cannot recall exactly who they were , but I am sure Pete Fell and Barry Tasker were two of them .

Malc Burton

Can't remember who else now Malc but have read Pep, Martin Ellis and Alan Day spun at Va-Vas on occassion.

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Posted (edited)

Can't remember who else now Malc but have read Pep, Martin Ellis and Alan Day spun at Va-Vas on occassion.

thumbsup.gif

My memories of those nights are a little cloudy due to the " distractions " :rolleyes: , but it may be correct about Skewesy ( ME ) , Pep and Alan getting behind the decks as it would have been a long shift for Richard to do on his own . I remember Pep and Alan mostly for taking Richard emidiscs of sounds that were big - or were breaking big - for them .

I am ringing Alan tonight , so I will ask him - if I can get a word in :yes:

Malc Burton

Edited by Malc Burton

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Posted

Heres what I remember.

Kegsy

After reading those words, I expected to see a blank page :laugh: Hello my darlin ' !

I've always thought your stories should be properly documented Kegsy; you tell absolutely the best warts and all NS stories ever. That one about the night after Blackpool Mecca where you ended up in hospital is a TV drama waiting to happen.

Get a voice recorder and get all those memories documented now before those last remaining brain cells give up on you (whoops, duck from the swipe aimed at my head!)

Interesting thread this.

Toodle Pip xxx

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Myself,Gary Spencer and Stephen(Jonah) Jones DJ,d at the Cats Whiskers.........date eludes me although a few tune we did play were Bill Brandon and Lorraine Johnson...Let me be your full time groover,Tamiko Jones Spellbound,Dave Mitchell and the Screamers The trip amongst others.

Someone said about the sprung loaded decks...........what a bast@@d they werelaugh.gif

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Dear Jim'll Fix It,

My name is Simon and I would like you to fix it for me and the many other Northernsoul fans to have a Va Vaas reunion so we can have a taste of where our roots are from.

If you do this I will try my hardest to stop touching my special place.

Thank you Simon Cuerden aged 47 and a half

jfi-logo.jpg

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Fond memories of hitch hiking on Friday nights to my birthplace to allnighters at Va vaas as i remember it was like a proper disco venue with glass and crome perimeter to the dance floor but not disco with Stranger in my arms and Christine Cooper belting out, me and Brad went to the local bar cause we were always there early, the old fogies had a sing song (hang on a minute i'm the same age as them nowlaugh.gif

Great times then on to the mecca sat morning, (fell to sleep once on the beach in the sun, packed night at the Mecca and sunburn ouchyes.gif

Reunion count me in

Stin

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Maybe a little later than the era you mean but a few of us from Burton on Trent got chucked out of an alldayer for being naughty boys.

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Posted (edited)

Cats Whiskers Burnley circa 1975.

 

post-7917-0-62045800-1388683585_thumb.jp

That`s Searlings Moggy van far right.

post-7917-0-69666400-1388683587_thumb.jp

 

post-7917-0-66891100-1388683589_thumb.jp

 

post-7917-0-90807700-1388683815_thumb.jp

Edited by Steve Lane

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As someone has already said Va Va's only lasted about 3 Months.

Heres what I remember.

Small club, with lots of glass/perspex panels all over the

place which were walked into on a regular basis.

Musically I only ever remember Richard Sealing Djing although

there may have been others, memory a bit vague.

I think Richard had been to the states,probably Philly, and brought

back loads of new sounds. I seem to recall lots of stuff on Arctic Volcanoes etc, and possibly

the first airing of Frank Beverly on Gamble

What I do remember is that the sounds at Va Va's were probably the best being played

anywhere around that time.

Fuelled by "backstreet blueys" which were sourced from a guy in Ashton, those

of you. who were about at the time, particularly the Bradford/Selby/Donny lads

will know who I mean.

Heres the story on the closure.

My mate Hector and I had sold some blueys to a kid, next thing I

knew we were being dragged up to the managers office by the bouncers.

We had been set up.

Anyway the manager then says he's calling the Old Bill.

I try to tell the clown that without gear there would not be an

all nighter in the first place, but he's not convinced.

Hector and I are ambivalent to him ringing the cops, as we had sold

all the gear we had, and would just deny that we had sold the kid any.

So the cops turn up and we get nicked, unfortunately when they

search me they find 8 red & browns, that I had forgotten I had,

in my shirt pocket.

Unfortunately for Hector he had a knife on him.

The story that the bouncers were involved in the set up soon

got round and the next nighter was almost empty.

I think the cops withdrew its license the week after.

Kegsy

Kegsy....was that black HECTOR from leeds?

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Had a couple of scary nights at Va Vas.........not the friendliest for sure

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The comment about Va Va's being revived and Kegsy's mention of Hector brought back a memory of Xmas '73. Me and Hector went over there after a Friday all nighter at the Central (doesn't sound right even to me but it was the holidays), I was carrying about 200 blueys for him and as they were searching people going in I started flashing my new army id card as some proof of innocence. Absolutely of my box and paranoid as hell. Don't remember that much of the place as it was the only time I went but the perspex panels seem to ring a bell and I don't remember it being a particularly good night however as was stated Richard had moved on then and others claimed it went downhill after that. 

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 VaVa changed to Pips  didnt it . Sure i had my 18th birthday there and it still had the booths and the perspex ,they were different colours every body use to walk into them

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Neil

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Posted (edited)

 VaVa changed to Pips  didnt it . Sure i had my 18th birthday there and it still had the booths and the perspex ,they were different colours every body use to walk into them

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Neil

 

 

Neil. it wasn't built when you were 18 surely, :)

 

Yea, Pips, Rotters, Space City, and a few others right up to the 90s I think

Edited by Pete60

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Hi Pete

          Hope everything is good with your self

Sad news about Jimmy Muuirhead, he used to go to va vas back in the day

                                                                                               Neil

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Hi, I travelled up to the xmas dayer at Burnley rose room"cats whiskers" from northants back in 74 saw the chants on stage. Still have a rare badge somewhere and a flier knocking around . Travelled up with mates from Rushden Rug (rip), Phil Attley, Tony Parker and Graham Howe from Wilby. Great times a few funny occurrences (pulled by the law at welly station, the mad man at Manchester Piccadilly Tony P crackin his nuts on a fence and graham falling asleep at Crew stationwith and nearly copping a mouthful of man meat ha ha and brill brill tunes. atb Kimbo

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Kegsy....was that black HECTOR from leeds?

 

from Bradford

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Hector was mentioned on Gethro's FB page, still about living down south I think they said. 

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from Bradford

Yep l knew him......nice fella could be scary at times :thumbsup:  :)

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Had a couple of scary nights at Va Vas.........not the friendliest for sure

[

Hello mister Russell.

Yes, as Kegsy says, Black Hector was from Bradford, we became friends during our

Va-Va/Wigan/Mecca days although I don't remember noticing him at the Torch (if he ever went).

Like yourself I had 1 or 2 scary moments at Va-Va's including one particularly bad experience

and Hector was very supportive and there for me. I have asked lots of Bradford lads over

maybe the last 20 odd years what became of him but most didn't know him.

He were a smashin lad.

Neil/quote]

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