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Dancing the night away through the decades
An inebriated guest is sick on your shiny new bomber jacket. What do you do?
Do you take a firm grip of his shirt and throw him into the gutter?
Do you explain what will happen to him unless he coughs up 30 quid to cover the dry cleaning?
Or do you escort him politely but firmly from the premises?
That’s the kind of poser Brighton nightclub bouncers were puzzling over in 1995.
In October that year, the doormen were forced to take multiple choice tests to determine whether they were up to the job.
On a chilly evening outside the Royal Escape on Brighton seafront, bouncers Nick and Pete said their job did require both brain and brawn.
Both qualities were put to the test when a lad was ejected for abusing bar staff. At first claiming to be sober and innocent, the teenager suddenly kicked Nick and vowed to return with a “shooter”.
Chris said: “I’ve only seen two people come back tooled up, one with an axe, the other with a crossbow.
“Most of the time it’s the drink talking.”
In stark contrast to rowdy Brighton, Worthing was once dubbed God’s Waiting Room for the number of pensioners who retired to the town.
But in December 1996 it was fast becoming the nightclub capital of Sussex and leaving its larger neighbour in its wake.
Thousands of teenagers from all over the county would descend on the party town’s theme bars every weekend.
There was the Tzar Bar in Chatsworth Road, complete with door handles shaped like hammers and sickles, and a huge picture of Lenin on the wall.
There was the Kazbah on the seafront, with ancient Egyptian murals, and Cloisters in the High Street, based in an old church.
Pete Mott, co-owner of the Tzar Bar, reckoned Worthing had finally hit the big time.
He said: “The average age of the people in here is 22 to late thirties and they’re coming from everywhere.
“Brighton has gone a little bit grungey. It’s really for students now and hasn’t got any really good dance bars that I know of.”
Clubber Melinda Marston, 18, from Angmering, said: “Worthing has definitely picked up in the last 12 months. It’s been getting trendier. Anyone who says it’s just full of old people has obviously never been here before.”
In Brighton, nightclubs often hit the sound barrier. In September 1996, the Concorde Bar in Madeira Drive was warned it would lose its licence unless it cut down on noise.
Manager Christopher Steward took the warning to heart and turned off the power when a noisy band called DVS refused to turn down the volume.
Unable to play their electric guitars, the group carried on banging the drums until they were hauled off stage by staff.
Mr Steward said: “They were making a terrible din and were just too loud. We asked them to turn down the amplifiers a bit but they just refused.”
In September 1994, one nightclub owner got that sinking feeling when he heard rumours sweeping Worthing about his venue’s demise.
Rutherford’s nightclub was forced to deny it was sinking into the sand, contrary to popular opinion.
Plans were being drawn up for a dramatic £1 million refit at the club on the end of Worthing Pier.
The club even had to change its after-hours answerphone message, adding: “Rutherfords is still open. We are not closing and we are not falling into the sea.”
General manager Mike Weber said business was better than ever, thanks to the rumours.
He added: “I’d like to buy the man who started this a drink. We’ve been packed out because of them.”
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