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Added 23rd October 2010 by dubwise-er


John Gannon, Ralph Randell a.k.a. Norman Ralph Mayles
The Ritz

Think that’s shallot for The Ritz uploads; (it’s quite catching that Smashy and Nicey type of D.J. speak. All done in the best possible taste, and mostly thanks to Alan “Fluff” Freeman....”alright pop pickers!”).
Well The Ritz obviously had a very long history and no doubt played host to Mr. Jimmy “ ‘ow’s about that then..” Saville himself. Of course it was a traditional dancehall with a sprung dancefloor designed for Tea Dances etc. I oft regretted never getting to see Vic Lassals and his Orchestra who seemed to have been the in-house band there for an eternity;not so much for the Thursday "grab a granny" nights though. It was, and still is no doubt, nicely decked out, which beggers the question why they let open their doors to a rabble of spotty little oiks in the early ‘80s; finances I suppose....
I think John Cooper Clarke’s “Queen of the Ritz” was given it’s first public airing on the night he was supporting Magazine here and had been especially written for that august occasion; and as I’ve mentioned somewhere before the B.B.C. recording unit rocked up one wet Winter’s evening to record The Triffids (I think...), and The Passage for The John Peel Show. Mr. Hucknall did one of his “Black Rhythm” nights here too as I recall.
Saw a few bands here but seem to be drawing a blank on most of ‘em (...hangover more than likely). One was Theatre of Hate but they might have morphed into Spear of Destiny by then...Eastwood and Saint, I think....but a lot of Monday nights with their frequent P.A.s, for sure. Young John Gannon had been an even younger spotty little oik and a whippersnapper “Rudeboy” in his Teens; grew up into that man with big hair. If he carried on growing it the way it was back then he’d probably need scaffolding to hold it up. He started out at the illustrious Cyprus Tavern which was cheap as chips and twice as greasy. Bit of a ruff-house with the occasional stabbing. One time I was nearly passed out next to a Fruit Machine on which this guy was playing. He shook me, had a knife to my face and said “move, you’re distracting me....!” Well I’m not one to argue with a man on a losing streak so I obliged him, didn’t I. It wasn’t the last time I had a knife pulled on me...
On another occasion while leaning on the bar at The Ritz these two blokes came up to me and started giving it some, so I kindly asked them to refrain, one in particular, while his associate stepped to the side of me. Next thing I know I’m coming round on the floor spitting out bits of me front teeth and blood pouring out my nose where me nose stud had been ripped out. I was quite inebriated and a little nonplussed .Anyway the posse round-up failed to flush out those getaway outlaws. I’m sure if we’d sat down and reasoned we could have brokered a peace deal and worked through our differences. In truth I could be a mouthy get and a bit of a wind-up merchant, so I may have unwittingly instigated the resulting course of action. The next day I had to go to the Dental Hospital where they put me in the “Trauma Clinic” (could have called it the Comfy Room or somethin’!), while all these apprentice dentists came in to have a gander. I really was spitting chips for the next few weeks. Other than that the venue was the very essence of peace ‘n luv in the ghetto.
Pretty much every night at these sort of do's ended with ol’ Blue Eyes singing “Come Fly With Me”, Nina singing “My Baby Just Cares For Me” or some such ,and the whole of the dancefloor a mass of swirling bodies (including,if memory serves, the odd "Curly" Watts), running/”flying” around in a clockwise (or was it anti-clockwise?) manner. Well at least it was a step up from “rowing” to “Funkin’ for Jamaica” ! was Thatcher’s Britain and we were puttin’ it on at The Ritz.

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