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.