When we danced around our handbags – new book recalls Merseyside’s 1970s club and music scene
Former ECHO music journalist and founder of Good Taste magazine, Jade Wright, has collected vivid memories, pictures and mementoes from those who lives through a magical era of great nights out
Merseyside’s bar, club and music scene of the 1970s is to be celebrated in a new book.
The Dirty Stopouts Guide to 1970s Liverpool is an affectionate look back at the era defined by glam rock, industrial action and the rise of punk, told by the people who were there.
Authored by former ECHO music journalist and founder of Good Taste magazine, Jade Wright, the book vividly recalls days of gigs at Liverpool Stadium, cabaret nights at Allinson’s and grabbing a granny at The Grafton, when cabaret was king and wrestling drew huge crowds.
‘Chippy on a stick’
Big bands played small venues, girls danced around their handbags and the brave ones drunk Pernod and blackcurrant and lived to tell the tale.
You could see David Bowie at the Top Rank Suite for 50p, before the newly built St John’s Centre venue went on to become Bailey’s, Romeo and Juliet’s, Studio 54 and then Rotters.
Down below it had The Moonstone, The Penny Farthing and above the revolving restaurant at St John’s Beacon, or as one diner described it ‘the chippy on a stick’.
Clubs like The Babalou, The Beachcomber, The Timepiece and Ugly’s drew big crowds to the Ropewalks end of town, where you were judged by the width of your flares and the height of your platform shoes.
Memories live on
The London Road end of town was booming in those days, with The Shakespeare, Sampson & Barlow’s and The Peppermint Lounge, and as you got over to Hardman Street there was Rumblin’ Tum, The Sink, Kirkland’s, Chaucer’s and O’Connor’s Tavern.
Some of the places are still going strong, places like The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, The Everyman Bistro and the Blue Angel, or The Raz, as she’s known to her friends.
Others, like The Mardi Gras, The Royal Tiger Club, The She and The Victoriana are long gone, but live on in the memories of those who spent their formative years there.
Over the water the club scene boomed in New Brighton, Birkenhead and Wallasey, with venues springing up in grand old hotels, houses and cinemas.
Jade has collected memories, pictures and mementoes from people across Merseyside for the book. She says: “It has been amazing to see how much the city has changed since those days. It seems like a different world.
“I loved hearing about the revolving restaurant where the Radio City Tower is now, and people’s brilliant memories of going there for dinner.
“Looking at the prices it must have been a real special occasion place, and the stories about people sitting down at the wrong tables after going to the toilet – they didn’t account for the restaurant having moved – are fabulous.”
The Dirty Stop Outs Guide to 1970s Liverpool is a reminder of those brilliant nights, and the people who made them what they were. It’s available now priced £13.95 from Waterstones, HMV and online at www.jadewright.co.uk and www.acmretro.com/dirty-stop-outs-guide-to-1970s-liverpool/