The Thatcher Crisis Years

An era of protest and fury

Travelling back to 1980s Liverpool clubs

March 19, 2017


After a year at Liverpool University, the student paper said I should make up my mind whether I was a “dedicated Marxist” or a “decadent disco kid”. I decided to be both! And by day I was a political activist. Then at night I took to the 1980s Liverpool club scene with gusto!

The passes pictured here were for what passed for the posher end of Liverpool clubs. Hollywood and Valentino’s tried to tap into the early 1980s desire for glamour. The music was a mix of disco and new romantic. And you definitely had to dress up to get in.

Cagneys always seemed a bit of a naff name for a club but they played very cool music and I believe even hosted bands like the Human League. Again, you had to get the dress code right – in my case black leather trousers, pointy shoes, thin black leather tie and floppy fringe dyed…black.

DISCOVER: The 1981 Moss Side riot

A night out might involve popping into ‘The Raz’, a shortened name for the The Razamataz Club. It’s now the Blue Angel. All I remember was a bar upstairs and a packed dance floor downstairs. Vague memory of bopping to Iggy Pop’s The Passenger in the basement.

The She Club is a blur – and probably best. The Grafton, just outside the city centre, had a ‘grab a granny’ night, which I never experienced. The Cabin was a clubbing institution. It dominated a street corner near Bold Street. It’s the only club I ever had to do a runner from – for reasons I shall leave buried in the past!

The LGBT scene was pretty much where it is today around Victoria Street and The Lisbon pub. Jody’s was always an amusing Liverpool club in the early 1980s. Downstairs was ‘futurist’, for which read sort of new romantic. Upstairs was full of moustachioed clones. The two met in the middle at the gents’ loo. Nuff said.

FIND OUT: Aftermath of the Toxteth riot

If you needed an illicit speakeasy feel to your drinking then it was off to Toxteth. I drank in a club based in a big old Victorian town house, which was actually collapsing. That’s not a figure of speech. There was no back wall. The toilet was under the stars. No idea how the whole place remained standing but it was heaving.

Aaaah, found memories of the 1980s Liverpool club scene!

The 1981 riots presented the news media of the time with a huge challenge covering live events around the country that sprang up at a moment’s notice