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I never went here, but heard tales of the dance floor being round and elevated, a carpeted subway, visible springs under the dance floor and chrome railings.  The only image I can find is the one below? The Ritz has always been an enigma for me?  Does anyone have any images from its all dayer days? Or can sort of describe it, in detail? I always imagined it to be very "red" for some reason?  The picture below doesn't seem to correlate with the descriptions I've had of it?1933715699_Screenshot_20200418-1228372.thumb.png.efc93a6b555a8facb1f7e885ee4284be.png

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The 90s was a cool time for the Northern Soul scene.. There was probably only 1000 max into the scene that you would see everywhere , Keele, Ritz, Blackburn, Winsford, Bretby, Kings Hall (when it star

2 pics from mid 90s. we drove everywhere in a 1963 ford zodiac..   first pic of me outside Winsford civic hall  . . fecked or what  ?   Then me and sarah outside keele 97 .       

We went several times in the 90s to the niters. I remember going to a warm up night up the road in a small underground club that used to be a public toilets. Remember queuing up outside the Ritz and s

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https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1254888

Think Neil Rushton originally run the the all dayers, ( Heart of England soul club ? ) could be fibbing with that bit. The toilets and cloakroom where underneath the main dance floor and a bit shady, ( will leave it at that ) too much jazz funk for me , but they used to alternate jazz funk and northern and it was funny watching the shift change over as the soulies left and the jazz funkers went on the floor. Which was a proper maple sprung dance floor that you had to go up 2 or 3 steps to get on it and its true about the movement,  it literally moved inches which was a experience.  

I much preferred the nighters there especially when it was the rarest of the rare. Amazing music rammed to the rafters with soulies,  fantastic record bar, was lucky enough to have seen some great act's,  Tavares,  Brenda Holloway . Kim Weston.  Met Brenda and wanted to marry her. Gorgeous. 

When they started to develop the area around the Ritz they disturbed the walls of the underground canal and the water used to seep into the underground cloakroom and toilets, the smell was , let's say not very nice  stagnant water.  There's loads i have left off or forgotten about it but plenty of people on here will definitely remember. 

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46 minutes ago, Winsford Soul said:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1254888

Think Neil Rushton originally run the the all dayers, ( Heart of England soul club ? ) could be fibbing with that bit. The toilets and cloakroom where underneath the main dance floor and a bit shady, ( will leave it at that ) too much jazz funk for me , but they used to alternate jazz funk and northern and it was funny watching the shift change over as the soulies left and the jazz funkers went on the floor. Which was a proper maple sprung dance floor that you had to go up 2 or 3 steps to get on it and its true about the movement,  it literally moved inches which was a experience.  

I much preferred the nighters there especially when it was the rarest of the rare. Amazing music rammed to the rafters with soulies,  fantastic record bar, was lucky enough to have seen some great act's,  Tavares,  Brenda Holloway . Kim Weston.  Met Brenda and wanted to marry her. Gorgeous. 

When they started to develop the area around the Ritz they disturbed the walls of the underground canal and the water used to seep into the underground cloakroom and toilets, the smell was , let's say not very nice  stagnant water.  There's loads i have left off or forgotten about it but plenty of people on here will definitely remember. 

But ...mister ....the picture I've posted....I can't see steps to the dance floor? Chrome railings? Did it change from the photo I've posted? X

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13 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

But ...mister ....the picture I've posted....I can't see steps to the dance floor? Chrome railings? Did it change from the photo I've posted? X

Yes Mrs it did. I think it was in the late 80,s early 90,s when they removed the infamous steps and the chrome handrails around it, when they lowered it so as you could just get on the floor and stay on it, without being bounced back,  forward or sideways . There was also a massive balcony where people could just chill and watch the dancers and things .X There must be people on here with pictures.  X

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I went to the very first ( I think ) all-dayer at the Ritz in 1975. Edwin Starr was the live act. Music policy at the first event was solidly Northern, but given the year, and certain DJs who were doing spots, quite a bit of it was, shall we say, very UN-northern to my ears! Very "Mecca-esque", shall we say? I didn't particularly enjoy myself, and spent almost the entire day sat upstairs yakking if I remember rightly. Then again, I was so solidly blocked after a Friday Sams and a Saturday Casino its a minor miracle I can recall a single thing.

The dance floor was indeed at chest height, and had a chrome rail running all around it. Maybe smoked glass as well, but don't quote me on that. Can't remember how many steps up to it, but it can't have been more than about three. The pic posted bears very little resemblance to how I remember it.

As Winsford has said, the toilets/cloakroom facilities were downstairs, and under the dance floor. And also as he said, there could be "many adventures and much excitement" to be had there!

I returned sometime around the millennium, after a Keele Niter, to attend another all-dayer. I think it was the day after a Manchester Pride event, and it was like a Village People convention in places. Seem to recall I sold Searling a few British London Demos.

All in all, not a venue I have particularly happy memories of really. But, that's just me, and Im sure others will have adored the old place.

Oh, one last thing. My Mum, in her between husbands phase, used to go there every Wednesday night. Ballroom dancing I think. Must have been the ultimate "Grab a Granny night" at that time I reckon. 🙂 

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1 hour ago, Flamingemeralds said:

I never went here, but heard tales of the dance floor being round and elevated, a carpeted subway, visible springs under the dance floor and chrome railings.  The only image I can find is the one below? The Ritz has always been an enigma for me?  Does anyone have any images from its all dayer days? Or can sort of describe it, in detail? I always imagined it to be very "red" for some reason?  The picture below doesn't seem to correlate with the descriptions I've had of it?1933715699_Screenshot_20200418-1228372.thumb.png.efc93a6b555a8facb1f7e885ee4284be.png

This is an old picture. The stage is set up for a big band or orchestra. Before vinyl records were used by DJ’s in the late 50’s and early 60’s, people danced in pairs to the sound of live music. If this is the Ritz, it might be sometime in the 1950’s. After this time, I guess it would have been taken over by one of the major entertainment companies such as Mecca or Top Rank and revamped with a raised dancefloor.

I went to the Ritz between 1975 and 1978. The Alldayers were on Sundays. As you entered from Whitworth Street, you were impressed by the opulence of the venue. The stage was at the far end. There was a small bar in the corner to the right but the main bar ran along the left but memories of this are hazy. There were steps up to the dancefloor on the sides and near the main entrance, maybe 3 or 4, but not certain. There were gold-chrome railings around the dancefloor and usually people leaning on them as they stood out for a record. The carpets were red or maroon if memory serves correctly.

I think the Ritz was used for a TV ballroom dancing competition, ‘Come Dancing’, so there may be video footage around someplace.

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Went to a few of the Ritz Revival all dayers in the early 80,s, usually the Sunday before a bank holiday Monday and somewhere in my loft I’ve some photos and a couple of C90 tapes that friend of mine (Janice Thorpe from Leigh) did from the balcony. From what I remember lots of jazz funk and whistles, remember hearing king tutt- you got me hung up, for the first time there.

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So, was the "new" Top Ranky type dance floor circular? And the "subway", did that lead to the toilets underneath the dance floor? Thanks so much for all the information! I hope a photo can be uncovered of it. 

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I may have  a photo somewhere (If I find one I'll post it up) but no one took photos generally then (I'm talking in the 1990s)  It was a fab place, and a very exciting time for the scene in general (Winsford, Wilton, The 100 Club, The Ritz) to name a few - We were at one or 'tuther every single week.  Generally the same attendees at each venue.

One time there was an Oldies All-nighter on, and we were sat in a Pizza place in London having decided not to go.  We were talking about The Ritz as it was on that night, and as we were finishing our meal, one of us grinned and said....."Shall we go?"........That was enough - We almost ran out of the restuarant and headed off up the motorway!

Len :thumbsup:

 

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1 hour ago, Winsford Soul said:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1254888

Think Neil Rushton originally run the the all dayers, ( Heart of England soul club ? ) could be fibbing with that bit. The toilets and cloakroom where underneath the main dance floor and a bit shady, ( will leave it at that ) too much jazz funk for me , but they used to alternate jazz funk and northern and it was funny watching the shift change over as the soulies left and the jazz funkers went on the floor. Which was a proper maple sprung dance floor that you had to go up 2 or 3 steps to get on it and its true about the movement,  it literally moved inches which was a experience.  

I much preferred the nighters there especially when it was the rarest of the rare. Amazing music rammed to the rafters with soulies,  fantastic record bar, was lucky enough to have seen some great act's,  Tavares,  Brenda Holloway . Kim Weston.  Met Brenda and wanted to marry her. Gorgeous. 

When they started to develop the area around the Ritz they disturbed the walls of the underground canal and the water used to seep into the underground cloakroom and toilets, the smell was , let's say not very nice  stagnant water.  There's loads i have left off or forgotten about it but plenty of people on here will definitely remember. 

Correct Steve. Neil ran the Alldayers and issued Heart of England Soul Club membership cards which I have stored away. I used to pester him for his copy of the Vibrations ‘Cause Your’e Mine’, and he sold it to me at the Ritz.

When I was there in the mid to late 70’s, the sounds were sixties oldies and mainly newies including several tailor mades, in today's language, that translates as classic Northern and 70’s crossover nudging into New York Disco. In other words, both Wigan and Blackpool  sounds were being played so you could go to all three venues in a weekend and hear the same tunes eg Pointer Sisters, Carstairs, Willie T, Lloyd Michaels, Doris Jones, L J Johnson etc

The Brian Ferry effect had definitely taken a hold of the crowd 1975-78 in the pre Jazz-Funk years. Loads of people wore drainpipe trousers, plastic sandals, mohair jumpers and Brian’s hair style but there were plenty of old-school Northern stylists there too. That said, the Ritz had much more in common with the Mecca than Wigan.

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Jimmy Saville was the manager of the Mcr Ritz at one time.. 'ows about that then'? 

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I've managed to source some photos through a friend of a friend. I'm waiting to see if I can have permission to post them.  You can see the edge of the dance floor, railings and tables and seating round the edge. And a number of moustaches too!  I think the history of the Ritz is really interesting. Apparently later on it was a sort of copping off disco, with fights all the time, full of "drunks and slags" (not my words!) . 😲

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10 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

So, was the "new" Top Ranky type dance floor circular? And the "subway", did that lead to the toilets underneath the dance floor? Thanks so much for all the information! I hope a photo can be uncovered of it. 

Not circular, from what I remember, but more or less shaped like the pic you posted. Just raised somewhat! And yeah, as others have said, it had a VERY well sprung dance floor, that literally bounced when full.

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We went several times in the 90s to the niters. I remember going to a warm up night up the road in a small underground club that used to be a public toilets. Remember queuing up outside the Ritz and swarms of strangley dressed people (bubble wrap jacket ?? !)  were going past us to the Hacienda ... Them  looking at us curiously , and vice versa... two allnighter scenes  but we were first  ..😉. As Steve said, musty toilets   and the sprung floor was interesting, if you hit it at the wrong time it threw you off your step ha ! . 

 Heres me and Sarah on the steps to the stage in 1998 , check out the bingo hall carpet..

 

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25 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

So, was the "new" Top Ranky type dance floor circular? And the "subway", did that lead to the toilets underneath the dance floor? Thanks so much for all the information! I hope a photo can be uncovered of it. 

No Mrs.  I don't ever remember the dance floor being round .oval ish. Yes the subway lead to the toilets and cloakroom.  You could access the subway from stairs behind the stage sort of thing. X

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4 minutes ago, Chas said:

Great pics!.. Time travel is that! 

I know! I can't believe it! I've wanted to see pictures of it since I can't remember when! 👍🏼

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19 minutes ago, Frankie Crocker said:

The Brian Ferry effect had definitely taken a hold of the crowd 1975-78 in the pre Jazz-Funk years. Loads of people wore drainpipe trousers, plastic sandals, mohair jumpers and Brian’s hair style but there were plenty of old-school Northern stylists there too. That said, the Ritz had much more in common with the Mecca than Wigan.

Remember that well during same period - some couples had taken to jiving and a lot of budding referees blowing whistles!

It was a continually evolving scene in those days and I enjoyed that. Happy to travel from Wigan to Ritz and enjoy both on their own merits without getting into the 'which camp' thing. The way I dressed in '78 bore no resemblance whatsoever to the way I was dressed in '74..

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Another from 1994, Sarah dancing bottom right. This pic is from the Soul Survivors book .

 

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2 minutes ago, Veedub said:

Another from 1994, Sarah dancing bottom right. This pic is from the Soul Survivors book .

 

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Is that still the Manchester Ritz?

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Yes thats the Manchester Ritz , the pic was from Manifesto mag, then it was in Soul survivors book 

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1 minute ago, Veedub said:

Yes thats the Manchester Ritz , the pic was from Manifesto mag, then it was in Soul survivors book 

Wow, it's huge. What a great venue it must have been in its day. 👍🏼

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The 90s was a cool time for the Northern Soul scene.. There was probably only 1000 max into the scene that you would see everywhere , Keele, Ritz, Blackburn, Winsford, Bretby, Kings Hall (when it started)..  same faces everywhere, just before the internet it was very underground, relied on fliers and word of mouth . 

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I'd disappeared by then.  I had no idea the scene was still around! Not a clue! I slunk off more or less straight after the Casino died and got on with marriage and mortgages, like a lot of other people I expect.🙄

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 i dropped out after wigan then Stafford, then got back into the scene in 89, right through the 90s it was  such a cool underground scene, we had the time of our lives.

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4 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

I'd disappeared by then.  I had no idea the scene was still around! Not a clue! I slunk off more or less straight after the Casino died and got on with marriage and mortgages, like a lot of other people I expect.🙄

Yeah, same as many of us. I left at the end of 75 and was amazed when I heard the Casino had lasted til 81. Absolutely gobsmacked a few years later in the mid 90's when I discovered that the scene was still going. The scene then was, if anything, almost as good as the early 70's. Lots of faces had returned, but no DS, no Bouncers, and an easy supply of gear. All this meant a return to our teenage years for most of us, with zero worries.

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25 minutes ago, Stevie said:

Remember that well during same period - some couples had taken to jiving and a lot of budding referees blowing whistles!

It was a continually evolving scene in those days and I enjoyed that. Happy to travel from Wigan to Ritz and enjoy both on their own merits without getting into the 'which camp' thing. The way I dressed in '78 bore no resemblance whatsoever to the way I was dressed in '74..

Funny thing about the referees whistles. They actually had an airing for a short time in the late summer of '74. I vividly recall one night at the Casino, Ricky Warburton of Manchester threatening to shove mine up my arse if I blew it again! If you look at the picture album on my profile page, there's a pic of me and an ex outside the baths that very same weekend. You can see the whistle hanging around my neck.

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Just now, Joey said:

Yeah, same as many of us. I left at the end of 75 and was amazed when I heard the Casino had lasted til 81. Absolutely gobsmacked a few years later in the mid 90's when I discovered that the scene was still going.

I was too! It was very underground, near the earth's core! 😂.   I only found out it was still around after a couple of old soulie friends told me. They persuaded me to go to a do. I was terrified! But, after that night, I was hooked again.  The Ritz had always niggled me mind you, and every time I played my copy of The Carstairs, I always thought about The Ritz and wished I'd gone and experienced that famous dance floor.

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3 minutes ago, Joey said:

Yeah, same as many of us. I left at the end of 75 and was amazed when I heard the Casino had lasted til 81. Absolutely gobsmacked a few years later in the mid 90's when I discovered that the scene was still going. The scene then was, if anything, almost as good as the early 70's. Lots of faces had returned, but no DS, no Bouncers, and an easy supply of gear. All this meant a return to our teenage years for most of us, with zero worries.

Spot on Joey !!!  I couldnt have put it better !!  It was so amazing, sense of belonging, plenty of gear,  Ive struggled to fill the gap ever since  mate .

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Lol. I stopped again at the end of 2006 when I passed fifty. It was taking me an eternity to get over the comedown. Five days of feeling crap just for a Niter just didn't seem worth it anymore. There does, after all, come a time when a boy has to grow up! 

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2 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

What was that whistle thing about anyway? That's something else I never experienced, mass whistle blowing! (That's not a euphemism! 😳).

I think it started at the Mecca when Levine began turning the place into the Fylde coasts answer to Studio 54. All to do with the funk scene possibly. Didn't last long on the northern scene though, probably only a few weeks or so. 

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I stopped goin 2002 ! All our friends had drifted away, just didnt feel the same . Struggled to get good gear  anywhere lol ,  

Anyway.. listening to Bury allnighter the last few weeks... and tonight , I want to start going again when things get back to normal ! 😀

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8 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

I'd disappeared by then.  I had no idea the scene was still around! Not a clue! I slunk off more or less straight after the Casino died and got on with marriage and mortgages, like a lot of other people I expect.🙄

I didnt let such things as a mortgage and wives get in the way 😂 As stated amazing times. Underground, with fantastic nighters at brilliant venues  ,music that good its still relevant today and friendships forged that are still strong to this day. From a personnel point of view as good as Wigan but unfortunately without a certain young lady.

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25 minutes ago, Veedub said:

The 90s was a cool time for the Northern Soul scene.. There was probably only 1000 max into the scene that you would see everywhere , Keele, Ritz, Blackburn, Winsford, Bretby, Kings Hall (when it started)..  same faces everywhere, just before the internet it was very underground, relied on fliers and word of mouth . 

Generally only one or two niters a month as well early 90s which meant you pretty much knew everyone wherever you went.

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9 minutes ago, Joey said:

Lol. I stopped again at the end of 2006 when I passed fifty. It was taking me an eternity to get over the comedown. Five days of feeling crap just for a Niter just didn't seem worth it anymore. There does, after all, come a time when a boy has to grow up! 

Not yet for me Joey. 61 going on 18 and still loving it. Infact i cant imagine life without it. Sometimes i will travel 50/60 miles to a soul night then go on to a nighter 5 miles from home or vice versa

Steve

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1 minute ago, Stevie said:

Generally only one or two niters a month as well early 90s which meant you pretty much knew everyone wherever you went.

And I suppose, because of that, everywhere was packed with a fab atmosphere. You don't get that these days do you, not in the same way.  The 90s are NS's "hidden" years really I suppose. Oooh there's a book title there! We need two books writing, one about the life of The Ritz in Manchester which seems to have evolved in a chameleon type way, always changing its colour to blend with the environment and the 1990s Northern Soul's hidden years! 👍🏼

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2 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

And I suppose, because of that, everywhere was packed with a fab atmosphere. You don't get that these days do you, not in the same way.  The 90s are NS's "hidden" years really I suppose. Oooh there's a book title there! We need two books writing, one about the life of The Ritz in Manchester which seems to have evolved in a chameleon type way, always changing its colour to blend with the environment and the 1990s Northern Soul's hidden years! 👍🏼

I think those of us that where there in those special days could each write a book on the antics. certainly plenty of characters to have fun with and spend hours at service stations up and down the country having a ball 

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7 minutes ago, Winsford Soul said:

Not yet for me Joey. 61 going on 18 and still loving it. Infact i cant imagine life without it. Sometimes i will travel 50/60 miles to a soul night then go on to a nighter 5 miles from home or vice versa

Steve

Nowt to my taste to attend up here unfortunately. And I'm not going to do 500 mile round trips for a soul night. And a Niter? Straight? Not for me 🤣🤣🤣

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23 minutes ago, Flamingemeralds said:

And I suppose, because of that, everywhere was packed with a fab atmosphere. You don't get that these days do you, not in the same way.  The 90s are NS's "hidden" years really I suppose. Oooh there's a book title there! We need two books writing, one about the life of The Ritz in Manchester which seems to have evolved in a chameleon type way, always changing its colour to blend with the environment and the 1990s Northern Soul's hidden years! 👍🏼

Definitely, and for those of us returning loads of sounds that we'd never heard before which made it even more exciting.

As you say 'hidden years' - not something you could just chance upon and still unlicenced for alcohol, so almost all about the music 😉

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Ive used all my thumbs up. great thread. the 90s, second bite of the cherry, still young enough , hot steamy dancefloors, cigarettes, freedom, the masses totally oblivious to us . gear a plenty,  I mean Wigan was amazing , but in the 90s, we were old enough to appreciate things more...  feckin brilliant decade  

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2 hours ago, Veedub said:

We went several times in the 90s to the niters. I remember going to a warm up night up the road in a small underground club that used to be a public toilets. Remember queuing up outside the Ritz and swarms of strangley dressed people (bubble wrap jacket ?? !)  were going past us to the Hacienda ... Them  looking at us curiously , and vice versa... two allnighter scenes  but we were first  ..😉. As Steve said, musty toilets   and the sprung floor was interesting, if you hit it at the wrong time it threw you off your step ha ! . 

 Heres me and Sarah on the steps to the stage in 1998 , check out the bingo hall carpet..

 

soul IMG_6546 (2)

Great pic! I too went to that tiny warm up event in the public toilets (You couldn't write it!)........Talking of 'off your step' - The wife Nina and I walked down those very steps chatting away, only for Nina to almost dissapear because she had stepped down 'off the step' in to the gap at the side. Luckily I caught her by the hand, but our whole gang witnessed it and rolled with laughter :D

I used to give out flyers in those days, and it was great doing the circuit of the balconly - So much fewer flyers were about back then, I would often have someone asking for a flyer as they saw me giving them out.  It was great to meet various people on my 'travels' round the venue (I didn't spend too much time in 'Scary Corner' though) :wink:

Fab times.

Len :thumbsup:

 

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4 minutes ago, Len said:

Great pic! I too went to that tiny warm up event in the public toilets (You couldn't write it!)........Talking of 'off your step' - The wife Nina and I walked down those very steps chatting away, only for Nina to almost dissapear because she had stepped down 'off the step' in to the gap at the side. Luckily I caught her by the hand, but our whole gang witnessed it and rolled with laughter :D

I used to give out flyers in those days, and it was great doing the circuit of the balconly - So much fewer flyers were about back then, I would often have someone asking for a flyer as they saw me giving them out.  It was great to meet various people on my 'travels' round the venue (I didn't spend to much time in 'Scary Corner' though) :wink:

Fab times.

Len :thumbsup:

 

The was more people outside the toilet venue than inside if i remember rightly. Also the one around the corner up the stairs at the back of Oxford road station .

Scary corner which one Len ? i,m guessing  the emergency exit on the left in between the two bars. or the record bar ? both full of savoury characters

Steve

 

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1 minute ago, Winsford Soul said:

The was more people outside the toilet venue than inside if i remember rightly. Also the one around the corner up the stairs at the back of Oxford road station .

Scary corner which one Len ? i,m guessing  the emergency exit on the left in between the two bars. or the record bar ? both full of savoury characters

Steve

 

Scary corner?! This gets better! What was scary corner all about?! 😲 Why was it scary? 

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