Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Nightclub Called Millionaires

"Ice, Ice, Baby" Vanilla son you were a white rapper from a posh school, Eminem you weren't but you get a mention because you were the wife's favorite song at Millionaires. Personally couldn't stand ya, always preferred MC Hammer, what trousers, or even at a push Bobby Brown, shame the drugs done him in, but hey shes moaning shes known as wife to be full stop or Sarah full stop so to stop the moaning there you go love Ive mentioned your favourite song. Love Hubby now let me get on with the story.

Ive written about my summer of 1990 and was asked by friends to do one about Millionaires so here it is. Its been a lot of fun remembering all the crazy stuff we got up to down the years. It seems like yesterday, but really it was 20 years ago. My nightclubbing career started with the Ilford Palais when I was about  16. It was okay but it was an old building and was full of people I didn't know and to be fair was a little intimidating as well. I went there a few times and also went to Faces, Epping Country Club and the Flamenco but none of them hold as many special memories as Millionaires.

It wasn't called that when I first went there it was called Valentines. It wasn't the biggest club in the world but it was cheap to get in and the beer was cheap as well. It got even cheaper after a while but more of that later. There was a group of us that went a mix of girls and boys, 20-30 most weekends depending on the time of the month. We got to know the bouncers well enough and after a while we made their job very easy. I bet they couldn't believe their luck. Why I hear you ask? Well we ran the place if I'm honest.

If there was any trouble we used to sort it out, we started it mostly but we also finished it as well. We could handle ourselves and as there was so many of us no one took any liberties. It had a dress code for everyone else apart from us, we could wear what ever we wanted, jeans, trainers, football shirts it was unreal Ive never been treated like that before.

Our reputation proceeded us and if I'm honest we loved it. We never looked for trouble it just seemed to find us. Well there was 15 blokes all full of energy and gob, in their prime and mob handed. I must say now though that we did fight fair we weren't dirty fighters and anyone of our group that did fight dirty normally got it off of us when it ended. We never used tools didn't believe in them, we never hit or kicked a person when they went down either. There was one bloke who was annoying me one night, he was trying it on with the girl I was with at the time, I warned him off he didn't listen so I hit him. Down he went, he then got back up and I put him down again, this went on for about 5 minutes until even his mates were telling him to stay down. Drink does strange things to people.

I left the club at closing time one night and walked outside to find Gary and Ian holding this bloke up against a shutter threatening to beat the living out of him. I sauntered over as you did back in the day, and asked what was going on. They said they were going to give him a beating and I started to walk away, apparently he had taken a liberty and needed sorting, no problem my end, they could both handle themselves and it wasn't my grief, as I walked away I heard him say he knew me, I walked over and would you believe it, it was a bloke I went to primary school with, hadn't seen him in years, so I did what anyone would do in that situation I started hugging him and saying hi, to the utter amazement of Gary and Ian. Their faces were a picture, theres them all het up waiting for a scrap and there me treating this bloke like a long lost brother. Brilliant.

I wont name this person because I'm not sure who it was (well I do but I cant remember who they was seeing at the time so its safer not to name names) but it was defiantly one of our lot. I went in the men's one night and there was a group of blokes hanging about inside looking all menacing. Aye, aye I thought whats going on here then?. I pretended to have a jimmy, listening to the conversation that was going on. Apparently one of their girlfriends had disappeared and they couldn't find her. They knew she hadn't left the club as they'd asked the bouncers if they had seen her. I began to realise what was going on. One of our lot had disappeared with her, but the brains that they were they hadn't snuck her off downstairs to the quiet area. Oh no that would have been too easy. No they were having a little bit of fun loudly in the bloody toilet. This was going to be tricky. So I did what all good mates do in a situation like that, I chinned one of them, I couldn't honestly think of any other way. I got grabbed by the others but being a clever fella I managed to work my way to the door and bundle them out of the toilet hoping the noise would disturb the numpty who was with one of their girlfriends in the cubicle and let them sneak her out. It worked as well. The bouncers saw what was going on thought I was in trouble and threw them out. Like I say I never saw who it was but you owe me one and so I may call it in one day.

There was also the time I was a little worse for wear and came out the club with Jamie. This was in the turtle power days. We were so drunk we found the nearest drain and on our hands and knees we started to call the turtles from the drain. We thought we were hilarious we were having a great time. This though caused a huge annoyance of the wife to be but much to the amusement of everyone else. One Christmas we went down the club and one of our mates had bought a huge black bag in with him. We asked him what was in it and he said a load of Christmas hats he'd got cheap that day. You know the ones red Santa hats with luminous sticks attached to the end. We then spent the night selling them at a rather inflated price and everyone in the club bought one. The whole place looked like a bloody Santa convention when we had finished. The funniest thing was the owner was doing his nut as he hadn't thought of it. We were to quick for you pal.

Then there was the occasion the wife to be lent Wardys sister her ID to get in the club. She had been going for months and never got asked for it. However on this night she did, but she had already given it to Wardys sister and couldn't get in. To say she was polite about it wouldn't be fair. She went ape. I have to say it was one of the funniest things Ive ever seen. Theres this 5ft 2in pocket rocket all done up and looking pretty balling this 6ft 6in built like an out house bouncer out. He didn't know what to say and I think he was a little glad when he saw us and knew she was with us. I was convinced she was going to take him on any minute and I'm sure he was as well.  All permed up and letting rip at the bouncer it took her ages too calm down and I didn't help because I kept laughing. Which to be fair annoyed her even more. She saw the funny side in the end, but it took her a year or so ( no I'm joking it took her 5 years, okay Ill stop now if she reads this Ill be round me mums with the begging bowl, oh wait forgot mum's in Scotland for 10 days, wheres the delete button, oh no its just broke on the PC, oh well Ill have to hide this from her but just in case can I say you are the most wonderful women Ive ever met and I love you loads xxx.............there that should do it)

A little crew from the Broadmead estate started to appear after a while, all grey suites and gobby. They tried to make friends with us at one stage and to be honest I never saw them as a threat. I knew they wanted to take our place but they didn't have the numbers and once again our reputation proceeded us so they didn't try anything. Until John (white vest, RS2000) decided he didn't like one of them. That was fine with me but the problem with John was he'd start the row and then leave me or Mark Thomas to finish it off. He did this so many times down the years it became a  running joke. John was a nice enough bloke to be fair he was generous with his time and would take you anywhere you wanted to go but he had this bloody awful knack of pissing people off. Which was okay but he never dealt with his own problems he used to leave it to us. We left the club and John did his usual packed the car with all the women and drove off thinking he was doing us a favour. We looked down the road and saw them standing there waiting for us. Running wasn't an option to be fair and I knew they were tooled up so we started to help ourselves to the convenient golf clubs that Ian kept in the car.

It was turning into a bit of a stand off, more mouth than action when one of their lot started to swing a lump of wood around his head. It was going rather well until it snapped and hit him on the head nearly knocking him out. That started me and Gary of into fits of giggles, it got worse as well when one of our lot decided to charge at them with a golf club, on hearing this Ian decided to swap it for one of his less expensive ones, well he didn't want to ruin a perfectly good golf club and I cant say I blame him, as he ran down the road he swung it over his shoulder and went straight up in the air and landed on his back. Well that was it we were know leaning on the car tears rolling down our faces with laughter. A very bad situation avoided and we never saw them again after that.

We gradually out grew the club and the group started to split up. Its difficult trying to keep that many people happy and in the end in fighting and people pairing off meant it gradually came to an end. Others tried to have what we had there but it was never repeated. How could it be we were one offs in the right place at the right time. Crazy days but wouldn't change them for anything.

 Ill raise a glass to Millionaires and the memories it gave me and the fun it gave me as well. To Millionaires and to friendship. Happy memories all.

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