I've just come back from and event where I fell into conversation with a chap called Nicky Price. Nicky's an interesting guy with some great local connections.
Back in 1981 young Greek entrepreneur, Nicky Price, who had previously worked as a DJ for local gay spots in North London, saw a gap in the market, and launched the UK's first gay one-nighters in straight clubs. Called Bolts, the one nighters started in the space above Tesco Express, Harringay in a laser show mecca club called Lazer.
The music was a mixture of camp disco, pop, and the exciting new music that gay central London mega-club Heaven was pioneering – Hi Energy.
The club soon became the launchpad for some well-known names from the Eighties pop world. George Michael was a regular and, Nicky told me, Take That got their start at Bolts Harringay.
During the early years virtually every Hi NRG/Disco Star made an appearance – Divine, The Weather Girls, Gloria Gaynor, Hazell Dean, Evelyn Thomas, Sylvester, Sharon Redd, Seventh Avenue, Sinitta, Miquel Brown, Kelly Marie, Angie Gold, etc. etc.
Nicky also started his own record label and achieved a number 4 Top 40 hit with “Male Stripper” by Man 2 Man. Heady times!
By the late 80’s amidst the AIDS hysteria, the club had closed down.
Nicky's agreed to chat again and even share some of his few remaining photos. I'l try and remember to get in touch with him again in the New Year.
Thanks to Adrian Dunbar, from whose history of Bolts Bournemouth a few snippets have been taken for this post.
Yes, that's the Adrian Dunbar piece.
Here's another coupla little snippets:
Next was the legendary North London club Bolts @ Lazers on Green Lanes near Turnpike Lane. This was the first big gay club I went to and the first time I ever saw Divine live was here. It really was a great place. Cheap drinks, big dancefloor, great crowd fantastic lights and the iconic DJ of the time Norman Scott. I spent countless Friday and Saturday nights here drinking and dancing to Dead Or Alive, Hazell Dean, Miquel Brown, Evelyn Thomas, Sinitta..the list is endless. Hazell Dean was a regular performer (isn't she everywhere) and I can still recall a young George Michael turning up with some "friends" one night. I always knew he was gay from that moment on...What a sorely missed club..So many many happy times here. Does anyone else remember it or was a regular there?
From http://www.kemglen.talktalk.net/stradivarius/OurHistory1.htm#The City Link no longer active - archived version available on Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20171119083323/http://www.kemglen.talkt...
A summary of Bolts Records publications and a picture of THAT record label.
I was a great fan of Bolts at Lazers. My good friend Norman Scott was the resident DJ. The lovely door man was called Pickle (I think it was unnecessary to mention the cause of his death). I think it was Wham's first public appearance.. Not only did it have celebrity guests it also had celebrity patrons. I remember holding Boy George up on many occasion. It was party heaven. The cab service (then) often refused to take members of Bolts and The Salisbury (then) was a place to most definitely be avoided. Its a shame the Garden Ladder wasn't around then it would have made a fortune. I too met Nicky Price a while ago and he still talks fondly of Bolts. Don't forget there were other Gay venues around Harringay at that time. The Rainbow at The Manor House, a pub on Seven Sisters Road , i forget the name, had a one night a weeker, also one off Stroud Green Road that didn't last very long and one other on West Green Road. Surprisingly all of these were in relatively 'rough' areas at the time. Crouch End or Muswell Hill didn't have any. Oh hum memories. And then of course there was Bolts Brighton now that's another story regarding a very drunken Norman and George
Those who read this discussion may also be interested in this site:
Stradivarius: A website for older gay men and their admirers :o) http://www.stradivarius-london.co.uk/ (Link no longer working - a web archiver version is available at https://web.archive.org/web/20140910045031/http://www.stradivarius-...)
I'm sure I read something on Bolts 'way back when': It can be found under: London in the Eighties > The Pink Past - The Eighties > The City Bar and Bolts
Interesting that this should pop out of the vaults this week - I found this article from Pink Star News that not only links back to this very article, but also has confirmation from none other than Norman Scott, who used to DJ at the place, that Bolts closed in the early '90s; so it is likely that the rumour about Take That appearing here is probably true...
What was the video, by the way? (It's "broken").
Video fixed - was embedded with the now deprecated 'object' html. Thanks for flagging up the linkback for Pink News.
I fondly remember Bolts from this era. Not sure about 'Take That' - the dates suggest otherwise - but certainly 'Wham!' singers George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) and Andrew Ridgeley were variously often in evidence, in addition to other emerging pop-celebs already mentioned above.
Thanks for dragging up (sic) this old article.
Oh my god what a trip down memory lane that was. Really enjoyed reading about Bolts, used to go there all the time, loved the lazer light display and such a friendly place. I remember Norman Scott the Dj.
Bolts sounds like such a blast ! My partner went there a lot in the 80's and he's got some fantastic stories about the club ! I used to work out ( occasionally ) at Legends gym and it still has the mirrored disco ball hanging from the ceiling : )