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.
ah, the 80s, such a lot going on then! Love the track, great music era
I used to go Bolts until 1984.. the guy who ran it died very early on from HIV/AIDS - just can't think of his name.. a Wood Green Cypriot I think ..
Yes, you are right. His nick-name was definitely Pickle. He was a short fella.
Take That formed in 1990, so if they did perform at Bolts it must have been open into the 90s.
Thanks, Andrew - sounds right. It also sounds like some fact-checking is called for. My club closure date came from the Adrian Dunbar piece so that may be inaccurate. I know there are other people on here who remember the club. So they may be able to help. Failing that I'll try and check it with Nicky. However the Wikipedia entry included the following:
the group worked its way toward Hi-NRG dance music, while also pursuing an adult contemporary ballad direction. As they aimed to break into the mainstream music industry they worked a manner of small clubs
In light of which, I guess it's not unlikely they'd be playing in one of London's preeminent Hi-NRG venues.
Wikipedia also shows that guy who set up the band, Nigel Martin-Smith, was listed by Gay Times in 1995 as one of the most influential gay people in music. That would fit with the Bolts story too.
Seems like we have another fascinating stream of Harringay's history here! Would be really good to get more facts but a lot of the 80s passed by in a blur, didn't they!
They did Ruth.. NO Harringay connection here.. but at least a gay song for the 'werching man'..
oh gawd.... I used to love FGTH. I could relive the 80s anytime but I might not look so great in my red ra-ra skirt anymore. Or feathers and war paint- Adam Ant anyone?
A lot of sources say 1990 but the official Take That website says September 1989. Can't find out when Bolts actually closed though so it's a moot point for now...
I also recall one of the glass panels in the dome over the dance area being removed to enable a Hi-energy singer (was it Sharon Redd?) to be lowered singing in a cage down to the the adoring masses..
I presume you are aware of this page?
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