Angie Wallace worked at Romeo’s and Juliet’s during the 1980s. Here she recalls working behind the various nightclub bars and as a lighting jockey. She remembers the notorious wet t-shirt competitions, staff friendships, rumours and scandals.
|Year of Birth|
|Location:||Western Library, Boulevard, Hull|
|Date of Interview:||15/04/2019|
Angie: My name is Angela Wallace. My Dad used to have Beverley Travel so I used to do the exhibitions there on a weekend. Anyway when I got to 18 I thought, oh I need an extra job you know on a weekend, so I got a job … my Dad got me a job there. Anyway the first…I went for my interview and everything. She goes ‘oh yeah you got the job’, so she gives me the outfit and I took it home and I thought where’s the bottoms and it was this really small like toga dress where you couldn’t wear any underwear, only your knickers underneath it. And that was it and I thought ‘oh’. Anyway, when I started my first night it just opened my eyes to this massive new world of nightclubbing ‘cos /I never used to go nightclubbing you see.
Tom: So how old were you when you first started?
Angie: Eighteen, The week after my eighteenth birthday, yeah. So yeah, it was quite exciting. We used to have like one, two, three, five bars. So at the beginning of the night you’d go in the office and they’d say what bar you’re on, they’d tell you what bar you was on and you’d go off to your little bars. Then there’d be like the doorman and all stuff like that. It was just brilliant. I used to love going.
Tom: So what was a typical night like then?
Angie: So you’d start about 8 o’clock. And then you’d set all the bar up. But it was like we started to be all one massive family so we’d go in during the day and do like you know, like if it was Malibu promotion, do all the bar up in Malibu, take our kids, you know, if you got kids and that, have breakfast downstairs because the Coop was shut then and there was a café and stuff like that. But the weird thing is my Grandad, when he was younger lived behind the Tally Ho’ pub and it was actually built next to Romeo’s so when I was sat in that café I was actually sat in the pub that he’d been sat in when he was little. It’s really strange isn’t, what’s gone on round there.
Tom: So what memories do you have working there then?
Angie: Oh amazing memories. We’ve had like Miss Wet T-shirt competition because first of all I started on Bar 2 and she made me supervisor. Then I went on to Bar 5 which was the most notorious bar ever. We used to have fights. I used to grab them by the collar as they went by you know and drag them over the bar and stuff like that. And so she said, ‘oh would you, do you fancy training to be a lighting jockey’. So you did the lights you know to the music but also you had to go and get the girls in the audience for the wet t-shirt competitions you now, Miss Instring(?) and that. So Mike who was the DJ there at the time, Mike McKay, he said oh will you go pick me six girls out. But he’d already wound me up about something else, you know what I mean, embarrassed me a bit. Not in a funny way you know on stage. So I got him the five fattest girls you’ve ever seen with the biggest boobs you’ve ever seen in your life. I took them backstage and got the t-shirts on and he said have you got them, are they alright, thinking they was going to be really slim and that and I went, oh yeah, they’re brilliant. So of course, live isn’t it, the first one comes out and he’s like that (laughter) and he had to chuck water on them and that. It was really funny.
Tom: Can you say about Bar 5 then. So was there a lot of fights?
Angie: Oh God yeah. There was loads of them at Bar 5. Yeah, it had the pool room next to it so they used to have the pool cues and start fighting with them. Definitely there was a fight about three times in the night at the back there, yeah. There was, there was a rumour at the back, because Bar 5 was built on a revolving floor, there was a rumour that a…oh yeah, Bar 5 was built on a revolving floor so it was partitioned off so you had massive space at the back. You could see the revolving floor you know on the floor, and that someone had hung himself so they said that you can hear the ropes swinging, you know, during the night. So you’d run in and go get the bottles, ‘cos that’s where the bottles were stored, and run back out again real quick, you know, in case you heard it. But as you were in there you’d hear scuffling and that and there’d be like people having sex, you know, ‘cos it, ‘cos you could get in, you could get in through the pool room round the back (laughter).
Tom: Was there a lot of that going on then?
Angie: Oh there was loads going on, yeah. Everything happened at Bar 5 and I think that’s why she put me on it ‘cos I could like handle myself, you know what I mean don’t you, and handle the people that actually, the rogues that were round there you know. But Ruth who run it, she had massive control of the nightclub. So she wouldn’t let any druggies in or anybody like that but she’d have a few hard blokes in, you know what I mean don’t you, that would fight, you know, but they’d soon get sorted out. Anyway, what we didn’t realise was the doorman and the woman who took the money, you know, give the tickets, cashier at the front desk. We didn’t realise they was ripping the nightclub off by about five hundred people. So when the figures come through they’d say, oh you haven’t been very busy tonight but we had. Five hundred people had gone in their pocket. You know, like she took the money. Anyway, they sent Ruth off somewhere else to go run another club so they put this other bloke in charge and they put a camera so they caught the lady you know doing it. We used to think why has she got such a posh house and she’s only a cashier and it was all this money that they was raking in. Anyway, the bloke who took over, he was from down south and he didn’t know the druggies or anything like that so he starting letting all the riff raff in and that’s when ’91, that’s when it all got shut down. We had the drug raid.
Tom: So you left just before then?
Angie: ’89. Yeah, I went to Starkies to be a croupier.
Tom: So did you still go to Romeo’s after you left then?
Angie: Yeah, yeah. We used to go, yeah, we used to go on out nights off. We used to go see everybody and all the bar staff that I knew and stuff like that.
Tom: What was it like towards the end then?
Angie: … it was … Juliet’s turned into like a rave place where they’d all do raving and talking drugs. And Romeo’s stayed like more or less the same, do you know what I mean don’t you. But when I first started working there it was really plush. You had to have your nails done. The smell was gorgeous. I hadn’t smelt anything like it before. You know like when you walked in it smelt lovely you know. And it was really posh and they had to have a shirt and tie to come in. No trainers. Women had to be dressed really nice to come in and it was a really nice place to go, you know, to be. And only at the back of Juliet’s was the worst part, you know, where they used to have the fights. But it was usually the Bransholme lot against the Orchard Park lot that’d come in and then you didn’t realise and there’d be a massive fight. But when I was on Bar 2 it was really posh. You had to have the drinks nice you know and you got trained really well and that.
Tom: So what were the different bars like then? Can you talk me through it?
Angie: Yeah, yeah. First of all you walk in and there was reception and it was like a round, where people could sit, a round place where you sat and there was all flowers coming out of the middle. Toilets were gorgeous. There’d be all like glass cabinets, what you know, like where you can buy things like clothes and stuff like that. There’d be a boutique cabinet and all like that if you wanted it. And then you’d walk through and to your right there was Bar 1. Only one person worked on there because it was only a little bar. Bar 2 was the massive bar. You’d have eight staff on there and then Bar 3 was the cocktail bar and then you’d have like a cafe. There was like a little cafe where you could get a burger and that. Then you’d walk through the corridor into Juliet’s and Juliet’s had just been refitted and it was full of lights and there’d be Bar 4 there and then – Bar 5 (laughter)