I enjoyed going clubbing and there was so much more choice in the 1990s. In the early days we would head to the seafront to Peggy Sue’s and dance to anthems such as Ride on Time and Back to Life by Soul to Soul. On a Monday we went to student night at 5th Avenue and on one infamous occasion there was five of us lined up along the edge of the stage, perfectly choreographed to Take That’s Relight My Fire. No wonder we were single. I was sober when I ventured into Joanna’s for the one and only time and don’t remember how or why we ended up in Club China Town next to the Queen’s hotel.
We had a couple of parties at the Albert Tavern on the pier and one Christmas I went to a friend’s office party at the Gaiety Show Bar hosted by Steve Kingsley, which resulted in a spoof rendition of The Full Monty.
Sometimes, we went to Martine’s on Guildhall Walk and on rare occasions I relented and went to Scandals to sample the bottles of brightly-coloured 20/20 which tasted like medicine. It was very low in Scandals and, being tall, many a time I nearly knocked myself out on the beams. The bacon roll from the van outside at closing time was always welcome.
As the 90s’ wore on we began to have a set routine. We would start the night in Wetherspoons on Guildhall Walk, maybe go over the road to Yates’s before heading to Palmerston Road and Route 66. We would get there very early and pretty much have the dance floor to ourselves for a while. I seem to recall some masks being given out and three of us prancing around to The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Thankfully the place was empty at that point.
Again, we liked to dance on the edge of the stage. It was the safest place for my friend who tended to wave his arms around and periodically point skywards like John Travolta.
We would stay there all night until we discovered our Mecca. That place was Buddies at the Pyramids. We would head to Route 66 for a couple of hours then make our way to the seafront to join the queue for Buddies. It was a Friday night ritual.
Spookily, most times when we arrived the song Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue was playing so we would do the shoulder dance as we went up the stairs. In the early days you could buy our favourite bacon roll from the booth in the corner and that would set us up perfectly for throwing a few shapes on the dance floor, which we did for hours. After a while we began to recognise the same old faces and even had nicknames for some of the regulars.
At one point a lot of MDF shelving appeared all around the dancefloor. It was very strange. We pretty much knew the playlist by heart and would wave enthusiastically and jump up and down when one of our favourites came on, Castles in the Sky. Sometimes Mr Kingsley would relent and agree to our repeated requests to play Gold by Spandau Ballet. At the end of the night we would join the hordes outside waiting for a taxi. It was not unusual to walk most of the way home before flagging down a cab in North End.
Our world came crashing down when we marched up to the doors to be told that Buddies was now closed. We were devastated!