Thousands of middle-aged former disco-goers will wake with a heavy heart tomorrow morning after Cookstown’s premier ballroom of romance, Clubland, permanently closed its doors on Friday night.
The Pink Pussycat, which drew millions of lurkers, drivers, drinkers and dancers every weekend since the 1980s, was reportedly once thought responsible for 71% of marriages and 92% of children born in East Tyrone during the 90s. Pope John Paul II was allegedly a fan of the venue as it kept numbers healthy in the predominately catholic areas around Ardboe and Derrylaughan.
Leo McCann (48) from Moortown remembers the Molesworth Street venue with great affection:
“Ah, I’m vexed about the closure. Every week, without fail, I’d leave the venue with a girl under my arm – usually one of the Murray sisters from up the country. The eyes would be cutting out of me from the fake smoke they’d release during the slow set but it was the same for everyone. We’d all be red-eyed, with many crying uncontrollably from the stinging sensation, not really knowing who we were courting. Great days.”
John Kirby, a 46 year old single labourer from Pomeroy who often stood in the Kildress Corner of the dance floor , recalls how important the venue was during his late teen years:
“Yes, myself and seven mates would arrive in my souped up Volkswagen Golf and we’d speed up and down Molesworth Street maybe 700 times, trying to impress the dames. Sometimes we didn’t even go in. Just drove up and down for 4 hours playing Christy Moore full pelt. I’m sad our young ones won’t experience that. And the luminous dandruff was class under them laser lights.”
The former Clubland building will be replaced by a new sausage factory reportedly run by Owen Mulligan.
We took a spin around the county to test the temperature on the Guinness money-spinner ‘Arthur’s Day’.
“Arthur’s Day my arse.” SANDY SAVAGE, NEWMILLS
“To be honest, every day’s an Arthur’s Day in our house. Yer man comes home full of stout after a few in Quinn’s on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then he goes on a charge on Sundays and Saturdays. But listen, being a parish priest ain’t easy.” MRS TONER, BALLYGAWLEY PAROCHIAL HALL
“I think it’s great we’re finally acknowledging the great joy Art McCrory brought us. Mickey’s Day just sounds like a Dublin brothel.” PADDY KAVANAGH, DUNGANNON
“Ach I wouldn’t be up-to-date on Christy Moore’s stuff. Is it any good? Hard to bate Don’t Forget Yer Shovel.” R MCSHINNY, COALISLAND
“The basterd. I left a stocking at the end of the bed last night hoping he’d have left a tin or two in the morning. Nothing”. D DEVLIN, GREENCASTLE
“I hate it. St Patrick didn’t chase the snakes out of Ireland so we could brew stout morning to night. Or, …did he?” G MCCANN, MOY
“I’m sick of these Irish stereotyping holidays. As soon as I finish my pint, I’m going to punch someone with my Shillelagh, begob”. P MURPHY, CAPPAGH SHEBEEN
“They should call tomorrow National Sewage Day. There’ll be some blockages in the morning going by the shower drinking stout in Sally’s.” J MCMAHON, OMAGH
“Ghost-oh” MOST OF ARDBOE
“Bloody hell. Christmas, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween and now this. All holidays invented by the Stormont government boys to fleece us all.” F LOGAN, STEWARTSTOWN
E-mail users throughout Tyrone have been asked to be on the alert for a dangerous email which is currently circulating in thousands of unsuspecting inboxes across the county.
Police have warned that the email which has the heading, ‘Two Free One Direction Tickets’, should not under any circumstances be opened, as it contains two free One Direction tickets.
“It’s tara”, said 62 year old pig farmer Connor Cunningham from the Urney Road. “I expected it to be one of those scam emails that tries to sell you Viagara or has got pitchers of nudie wummin and suchlike. To be honest I just opened it for the craic. I was horrified when I found out it contained two free genuine One Direction tickets. Well, I can’t not go, can I? It would be a bit rude. To be honest I’ve no idea who those One Direction lads. Are they a bit like The Chieftains?”
Cunningham’s brother in law, Noel MacIlreavy, muttered, “People were saying you couldn’t give these tickets away. Well apparently you can. Just email it to a bunch of eejits like Connor and someone will fall for it. Have you seen the state of him walking about in his wellies with his big ball of blue rope? He’s not wise. If he turns up at the Odyssey Arena like that, people’ll think he’s the child catcher out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.
Upon being told that One Direction are one of the biggest teen sensations to hit the music charts since Christy Moore teamed up with Declan Sinnott, Connor said,
“Ah now, I don’t hold with all that buck leapin’ around on stage like you see on the TV, lickin’ their lips and grabbin’ themselves and singin’ all that jangly music. I’ll have my electric cattle prod with me. Any of that nonsense and they’ll get 10,000 volts up their jacksies. They’ll be grabbin’ themselves then all right”.
Cunningham however remains adamant that he will take up the offer from the anonymous ticket donor.
“Normally I’d be worried about the expense of getting the bus down to Belfast, but I’m not too bothered”, said Connor. He confided, “See, between you and me I also had an email from this African boy wanting to deposit some money somewhere safe and he’s going to give me a whole lock of pounds. I’ve already given him my bank details. I think I’m going to get surprise next time I go to the cashpoint. Deadly”.
When contacted about the email, a One Direction spokesman revealed that it has been a long-term ambition of the band to play in Clady some time.
An inexperienced session musician has admitted to being way out his comfort zone during a session at Tomney’s in the Moy on Monday night. Noel Sharkey, 78, of Gorestown Road had been touted as the best musician to come out of The Moy since Ryan Kelly after he won the tin whistle solo in P7 playing Roddy McCorley at the Dungannon Feis in 1941.
“It was cat” said Sharkey, still shaken by the experience. “It was all going fine to start with. The Eglish crowd let me play alongside them and we were doing Nancy Spain. Nice and easy on the fingers. And then the man on the fiddle decided to up it with Phil the Fluter’s Ball. To make it worse he started tearing away, getting faster and faster. Flip, like there wasn’t enough pressure with all the Moy regulars willing me on without the rest of those lads playing like the clappers and me trying to keep up. I think the fiddler must have smelt the fear off me, the oul Eglish bollocks. I was doing my best but by the time he started onto the Kerry Polka, I just shut my eyes and hoped everyone would think I was really into the session, but to be honest I was just praying it would stop and the sweat was blinding me anyway. At one point I thought my hands were going to fall off. Even the boy on the bodhran seemed to be doing okay, and you know what them lot are like.”
Fortunately, Sharkey had the presence of mind to create a diversion.
“I started throwing in the odd ‘yeooo!’ and ‘hup!’ at the top of my voice like I was mad into it. I saw Christy Moore do it once with the Dubliners on You Tube and thought it was class. Come to think of it, maybe Christy was struggling to keep up as well. He was certainly doing plenty of sweating”.
As the Polka finished, Noel pretended he’d consumed a bad pint, lifted his accordion, made his excuses and headed home. Looking back on the evening Sharkey commented, “Lucky escape. Jaysus, what a nightmare. The longest five minutes of my life. I’ll only be doing Roddy McCorley or Raglan Road from now on”.