target date - 80's]
Zhivagos nightclub was
named after the 1967 romantic epic 'Dr Zhivago' and retained
the tacky hi-gloss of the 70's discotheque well into the mid
1980's. It was located in the basement of the Victoria Centre
and was very much in the classic 'Saturday Night Fever' vein.
John Travolta would not have looked out of place in this establishment.
Zhivagos was favoured by
smartly dressed girls as the venue's strict door policy excluded
male groups, underage drinkers, drunkards and the great unwashed.
If you were a young male, it was virtually impossible to enter
the club after 11.00pm if you didn't wear a tie. Paralytic youths
could sometimes be seen just around the corner from the club,
fumbling with yard-long lengths of rags in an attempt to create
the illusion of actually wearing one.
Dress code was sometimes relaxed
at the bouncers discretion, and for a brief period Riff and
I were admitted in our new romantic attire, probably because
we looked so effeminate (and non-threatening) but also because
we drank Black Witch in huge quantities. (1pint cider, 1 measure
pernod, blackcurrant cordial).
On the dancefloor, Michael Jackson
and Kool and the Gang were the order of the day, with some concessions
to mainstream futurist and new wave groups in the form of The
Police, Soft Cell and The Thompson Twins. It was pretty much
one step up from a school disco.
parties, dancing competitions, ladies nights and beauty parades
were standard fayre at Zhivagos. Photographs of events like
'Miss Nottingham' appeared regularly in the Nottingham Evening
Post and were usually hosted by Radio Trent DJs or minor celebrity.
Attending these events went against the feminist teachings of
our respective college courses, but they were so delightfully
tacky that we couldn't resist.
to its range of exotic cocktails, the nightclub had its own
fast food bar, offering a simple yet expensive menu of chips
and chicken-bites. My last memory of the club is that of sitting
on the stairs, tucking into a salty, ketchup-laden tray of chips,
dressed in my best Don Johnson suit with canvas shoes and a
crimson ponytail. 'Miami Vice' was top of the TV ratings in
1985, so I must have looked pretty cool back then.
Zhivago's site is occupied by Vision Express, a company who
specialise in supplying spectacles and contact lenses to once
youthful disco dancers. If you are one of these people, please
send stories and photographs of Nottingham nightlife in the
80's to email@example.com