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Artefact

Press
Continental
1983
List of clubs round the city circa ’83, the good, the bad and the ugly of them. Thinking back M/c was certainly blessed/ cursed with an over- abundance of dodgy clubs but my Saturday morning constitution won’t allow me to walk down that particular cul- de –sac of broken dreams; quite rightly too! There’s obviously many more but a screamingly obvious omission is The Conti (old); I suppose they were trying to keep it exclusive and didn’t want any riff raff in.
Oh oh, I feel a flashback coming on....After the Poly on a Friday we’d most times head to The Conti and whether they’d let us in or depended on how those good ol’ Greek boys were feeling or how packed it was. If they didn’t want you in they just said you had to be members and as we’d been going there for yonks, and we knew them and they knew us, we all knew that was tosh. However, most times we’d get in, and you could resort to getting in through the back door anyway.
It was dodgy but cheap and cheerful and being young types we mostly made nuisances of ourselves. A particular fave song on their juke box at the time was “The Cowboy Song” on the B side of the“Public Image” single. It was annoying and repetitive; a bit like us really. Well we’d put it on the juke box a few times and as most of all those old machines had a button round the back you could push to skip to the next track, that’s what we would do so that our lucky number tended to come up more frequently than not. Course you had to be quick so you didn’t get caught and barred again for the next few weeks; (that meant resorting to the climb round the back and through the back door. routine.....so inconvenient.) Course, the old hippy types were usually a bit nonplussed when their favourite Fleetwood Mac or Tod Rungren track went missing in action but as there was barely room for them to swing their long hair on the dancefloor, which was basically the entrance to the toilets, we felt we were doing them a service.
Well while we were dickin’ about like so, on one occasion I hopped on a mates shoulders, just missing the low ceiling and that was the best fun I ever had till he leaned against the wall and we proceeded to get zapped by what felt like several thousand volts surging through me from the bare wires sticking out from the wall into my back; could have been the start of a new dance craze except for it hurt a lot. That surely sent the Stella surging round my body that night. Probably Karma for fuckin’ with the juke box....
As for the toilets, the quickest way in and out was to use the sink...
When I was last back in M/c a couple of years back I went to, I think it was Jabez Clegg, near the Swinging Sporran , with two of the oldest swingers in town; good night too. Well lo and behold there was this old hippy looking dude we called Spivnik (never knew if it was his real name), an old stalwart of The Conti, who I hadn’t seen for 25 years or more and he was still carrying around a sketch pad where he’d draw people sat around him and he looked exactly the same as he did since I first clapped eyes on him in’77, and I know he’d been round a fair bit longer than that. So if you’re still doin’ the rounds big fella, good on ya!
There was also a club on the Oxford Road Station approach, one of those dodgy hole in the door type places, I think frequented by journalists, but we never did manage to get in there....
Artefact added : 19th March 2011
by dubwise-er
Bernard Lord Says –
I was a medic and remember going to the Continetal club - the Conti- in 1972. There used to be shutter that opened when you pressed the bell. A dark face would look you up and down and if known the door would open. I went down once when the doorbell had been ripped off. There was just two bare wires. I carefully pulled them together a few times and it rang as usual! The steep steps, the watery floor due to the toilet being higher than the floor. The small bar. At that time Virginia Plain by Roxy Music was played over and over. A couple of registrars would sneek off down there from night duty and tell the nurses to ring the Conti if there was a problem! The phone would go off sometimes and someone would shout out " Dr ***" ward 4 for you!!! or even "Phil, the hospital"! Your life in their hands! Seriously I heard of no problems fromthese escapdes. Happy days!
COMMENT ADDED 29th September 2014
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