It’s a fam­ily af­fair for disco tunes at Boo

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Amanda Crook

IT’S one of the long­est run­ning night­clubs in the coun­try and has be­come part of Stock­port folklore.

The Bam­boo – or ‘The Boo’ – has seen rev­ellers throw­ing shapes since open­ing in 1961, but the real disco years were the 70s, 80s and 90s when gen­er­a­tions of club­bers crammed into the venue.

Brothers John and Clive Bee­ley opened it 58 years ago, with the el­der brother John working on the door while younger sib­ling Clive got busy be­hind the bar. The pair opened up as backup to their fa­ther James’s suc­cess­ful cater- ●● ing busi­ness, but it even­tu­ally be­came the main­stay of the Bee­leys’ busi­ness em­pire.

Now John’s son Si­mon, 53, has taken over the reins and his son Christo­pher, 26, is also on the books learn­ing all as­pects of the trade as the third gen­er­a­tion of Bee­leys get­ting busy at The Bam­boo.

And the en­dur­ing suc­cess of the venue is at­trib­uted to ‘lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion’ by Si­mon, who lives near the club in Hazel Grove, and says sim­ply: “There is no other club for miles and miles.”

Si­mon added: “It’s been a fiver to get in for as long as any of us can re­mem­ber and the al­ter­na­tive for club­bers is prob­a­bly £60 or £70 in a cab to Manch­ester. That’s why we get peo­ple through the door. In the 80s and 90s we were packed out ev­ery night we opened, with 600 or 700 through the doors.

“We are open un­til 3am at the week­ends, but back then we had to put the full house sign up early.”

His son Chris added: “It’s al­most a cult thing go­ing to The Bam­boo – we get peo­ple leav­ing on a week­end, say­ing the place is cr*p, but you know ●● they’ll be back next week­end. I started working here when I was 16, fill­ing the fridges on a Satur­day and the worse job of all was always emp­ty­ing the ash­trays.”

Lo­cally it’s got nick­names such as the ‘Boo’ and ‘Flam­boy­ant Bam­boo’, but for many it is far from flam­boy­ant with the recipe for suc­cess com­ing in the shape of bot­tled beers and Car­ling lager on draft at the club’s four bars. For more than five decades John, now 77, was on the door ev­ery week­end. He said: “In all that time I only got punched once. I was try­ing to stop two guys fight­ing when out of nowhere one punched me in the face, it turned out he’d only just got out of jail that week.

“We dealt with all sorts and the club is a part of lo­cal folklore now and is prob­a­bly re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing to­gether more cou­ples than any­where else in town.

“My son Si­mon still gets girls com­ing in and say­ing things like my grandad 0161 330 1133 met my grand­mother in here, while I used to get peo­ple telling me their mum met their dad in The Bam­boo – it is nice to know we have been re­spon­si­ble for that.

“We never knew it was go­ing to last a life­time when we started out putting jazz bands on when we first opened in Oc­to­ber 1961, as that was the mu­sic of the day. We had all the big names in here from the world of jazz, from Blues leg­end Jimmy With­er­spoon and the Gor­don Robin­son Septet to Acker Bilk, who told us how he’d played ev­ery ladies loo in the world.

“We adapted down the decades with Clive book­ing the acts. In the sum­mer of 1967 we man­aged to get a band fronted by Cana­dian Blues singer Long John Baldry, which though few peo­ple would recog­nise it now, con­tained mem­bers who have gone on to be­come house­hold names such as El­ton John, Eric Clap­ton and Rod Ste­wart.

“Sir El­ton was just 16 or 17 when he played The Bam­boo – we’d love to have him back. We have had Mud and Sweet and so many names off Top of the Pops. Our most mem­o­rable mo­ment though has to be when we in­vited the rock band Black Sab­bath, fronted by Ozzy Os­bourne, to play at the club. They turned up too late so we sent them back to Birm­ing­ham with a fiver to pay for their petrol.”

Co-founder Clive, 71, added: “We have had an ab­so­lute ball in the busi­ness and wouldn’t swap what we did for the world.

“Ob­vi­ously, it has not all been glam­orous and we did have to give up ev­ery week­end for around 50 years, but we loved it so much that we didn’t mind. It’s great that it re­mains in the fam­ily with Si­mon and Christo­pher do­ing a great job go­ing for­ward.” ●●

Si­mon Bee­ley, Clive Bee­ley, John Bee­ley and Christo­pher Bee­ley

Stock­port’s leg­endary Bam­boo Club

Club­bers in The Boo in the 1970s

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