Lucky Col
Dance as though nobody's watching, love like it's never going to hurt

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Nottingham legend to go ?

The Irish, the last place you want to go on a night out, but the only one you can all agree on. Full of mid-thirties mothers on nights out trying to relive their old days.

I remember the time you had to be Irish to get in, or at least worked behind a bar with someone Irish (thanks Sean). You got a little folded cardboard membership card to the 'Nottingham & East Midlands Irish Social Centre' and with that you didn't have to give your fathers name to the bouncers on the door. And boy, were those bouncers needed. There didn't seem to be a night when there wasn't trouble, chairs flying around the dance floors, gangs of lads waiting for other gangs of lads outside.

So it all changed. Sensing the correlation between stupid students and lots of disposable income, almost overnight The Irish, as it was now called, had turned into a student night-club. At the time it was pretty much the ONLY night-club in town you could get in wearing jeans. If you weren't in by 10:30 you'd shot it, with both upstairs and downstairs bars dangerously packed full. Somehow I managed to get hold of a few graduate membership cards, never ending with a host of different names. No queuing for me any more.

Thursday night was nurses nights, and especially the first Thursday after their collective pay-day. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

As time went on and fashions changed, more clubs allowed people in with jeans and the Irish's attendance dipped. The downstairs of the night-club closed, never to re-open. And then the final death-nail, late night drinking. Most of the people who went to the Irish never danced, preferring to stand around chatting at the bar. What's the point of paying a few quid to have a late drink at a bar when you can do it for free in most bars in Nottingham. The credit crunch kicks in, people stay at home drinking cooking lager at 50p a can, and pubs shut down at the rate of 8 a day. EIGHT A DAY !!!

So, without so much as a whimper, the Irish night-club closed in December. Now it seems the whole social club is going under too. £30,000 in the hole to repay refurbishments that, in my humble opinion, weren't necessary in the first place.

You can donate money, details here, but whether that will be enough is any one's guess.

I'll give a few quid, and hope others do the same. I've had some good memories there, a couple of dodgy ones too, but in the main happy times. Hopefully they'll raise enough money to keep afloat during the current financial crisis, organise something with their creditors to help in the long term, and then come back all guns blazing in better times.

Or, should I just hold on to the good times ? ........

Pretty much every Thursday night in the early nineties - You could tell which records would be played and when, Katrina and the Waves, Dexys, The Pogues. Britpop came and went but things remained the same. Dance all night with your mates, chat someone up if you wanted, wasn't always necessary. Wait until the slow songs come on and grab the nearest member of the opposite sex. Easy.

July 2006 - England lose to Portugal on penalties. My mate and I, dressed in the English national costume of shorts, England shirts and filp-flops head off into town to drown our sorrows. The night-club hasn't opened at ten when we get there, so we go downstairs to the social club next door. It's a wedding reception for people we don't know. They let us in and give us food. Where else do you get that ?

October 2002 - My last night in Nottingham before my dream move to Scotland. Beer Festival and then the Irish. Everyone who I wanted there was there. Superb. Mixed feelings now looking back on it, my dream move turned into a bit of a 'mare and it turns out that some of the, ahem, more important people there didn't have the same sense of direction as me. Ah well.

March 1989 - Up there fourth in the best days of my life, behind both my kids getting born (equal first, in case they're reading this, in which case I didn't do anything on Thursday nights, honest) and a balmy night in August 2007. Got back from Old Trafford after witnessing Forest beating United 1:0 in the qtr final of the FA Cup. Straight into town and down The Irish. Danced like a goon all night, drunk on the result & lots of alcohol. Picked up and back to a house in the Meadows 'til the following morning. As I walked home Sunday morning I met me dad walking to work, one of those times when a wink is all that's needed.


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