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Review: King Of Clubs – The Eddie Fewtrell Story – by Eddie Fewtrell and Shirley Thompson

King Of Clubs

I worked a lot in Birmingham nightclubs during the 1990s and 2000s. I thought I would investigate the history of clubs in the UK’s second city and Eddie Fewtrell, who began in the nightclub industry during the 1950s, has clearly been the most influential businessman in this sector. From humble working class roots in the city, Eddie, accompanied by his large family, and through dedicated hard work, set up an independent empire of world class venues that had the respect of the very best global artistes as well as the backing of the public, who loved the safety and entertainment value of Fewtrell nightclubs. Eddie was a very feared man, who seemed to thrive on his reputation. Back in the early days, the Krays headed up to Birmingham from London in an attempt to expand their protection racket crime empire. In one of Eddie’s clubs they were just another set of punters and when they tried to get heavy with him they were given short shrift and sent packing. The same also happened allegedly with the Richardsons. Eddie could pack a punch and could be a formidable fighter if called upon. Yet, he was a businessman and not a criminal. He set up venues where ladies were prized assets and protected by his gentlemanly values. His nightclubs were safe environments and due to his reputation only fools would create trouble in his clubs. He had gambling and cabaret entertainment – the very best comedians and music acts. He pushed for changes to licensing laws and always gave back to the communities through charity work. Fewtrell formed lasting friendships with celebrities and star acts. He was very good friends with comedian Bernard Manning, Jazz musician, Bev Bevan, and counted the likes of Tom Jones, Sonny Liston and Shirley Bassey among his friends. The book is full of celebrity anecdotes and endorsements of Eddie’s wide ranging venues. Eddie created a family for his workers and was a loyal man who could always offer a helping hand – although he never tolerated fools gladly. He was a dedicated family man – a very conscientious father figure for his children. He was above all a shrewd businessman whose hard work paved the way for his lasting success. Sometimes the writing in the book is a bit simple and poorly structured, but the invigorating content makes up for this lapse. As a student of clubland…

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Interview with Justin Bond, Mental Health Sufferer from Birmingham

justin bond castle inn

How did you first come to the attention of mental health services? In 2000 I went to hospital after attempting suicide not long after my mother passed away, aged 48. I had also not long split up with my girlfriend of four years and was really down in every way. I decided to visit a casino in Birmingham which I was a member of but hardly frequented, lost about £1000 on gambling, bought a few bottles of JD and some pain killers, went home and attempted the deed. I was only found because when i arrived home, I had left my front door wide open and the couple next door had called the Police as they had thought I’d been broken into. Was your first hospital admission a shocking experience? Hell yeah! I woke up on the first night to a woman running up and down the wing on fire, screaming like a Banshee. I thought I was tripping and went back to sleep. It wasn’t until the next day when the other residents were talking about it that I realised that it wasn’t bad drugs… How did the medication make you feel? Medication wise, it was always a struggle. Just when i thought I’d found the cure, the side effects would kick in, sometimes making it physically impossible to take them. My first prescribed meds had me trying to iron clothes with the kettle. What do you think of the public perception of mental illness? Is there a stigma attached? I have always been very, very open with my illness which has left me open to certain folks taking advantage or ridiculing me. Worse than that are the folks that try and help but the minute something goes wrong in some way, blame it on me because it must be my fault… How have you built your life back together away from the mental health system?Apart from a few times when I was addicted to drugs (my way of self medicating at the time), I have very little to do with services. What are your coping strategies? Just try and live each day as it comes What improvements would you like to see in the field of mental health? Actually care and when you’re having an ‘off’ day and this goes to friends and family of all sufferers, stop asking if we’ve taken our meds. We can be pissed…

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Wez G DJ CV

Rock & Fountain, Penhow Set Sail with Shuffle boat parties Miss Moneypennys London: Ministry of Sound, Velvet Underground, The Cross, London Zoo, Turnmills, Plastic People, the Gardening Club, Bar Lorca-Stoke Newington (drum n’bass), The Sound Republic, Legends, The Clinic, Thirteen, Skinny Dipp@UCL, Easy J’s, The Little House, Connaught Hall, Ormonds, Hooked boat parties, The Crystal Ship, Rare FM Radio Birmingham: Bonds, The Church, Raymondo’s Canal Bristol: Lakota, Silent Peach, The Powerhouse, Cast, The Level, Moles, The Vaultz, Walton Castle, Byzantium, Bar Latino, Club Loco, Blue Mountain, The Old Fire Station, Cafe Blue, Po Na Na Cardiff: The Emporium, Elements, Q bar, Slug & Lettuce, The Howardian, GloBar, Cuba Club, Owain Glendower, Sub 29, Journeys, Callaghans, Dep Cult in the Bay Festival, Nettie’s fancy dress shop, Soda Bar Newport: The Cotton Club, V3, Annabels, Bah Rumbah, The Bunker, Langtons, The Arcade, OTT, Baltica, Jesters, Duffryn Community Festival, Maindee Community Festival, the Gallery, Mustang Sally’s, Newport City Radio Chepstow: Muts Nuts@The White Lion, Mathern Village Hall, Jimmy Deans, New Inn-Pwyllmerric Caldicot: The Haywain, The White Hart, The Galleon, The Pill House, Jordan’s, Caldicot Football Club, Undy Football Club, Ye Olde Tippling Philosopher, Dewstow Golf Club, Rogiet Hotel, Broome’s horse shows, The Severn View Club Other UK: Chuff Chuff, Shrewsbury Alter Ego @ The Lost Weekend, Nottingham 1 Love @ The Brunel rooms, Swindon In a field in Chippenham, Wiltshire The Winchester Arms, Taunton Kings Arms Hotel, Salisbury King’s bar, Lydney Disco Lites, Cinderford International: Klubb Ra @ Nefertiti, Goteborg, Sweden Kafe Publik, Goteborg, Sweden Tikisoft, Tahiti, French Polynesia Ceramic, Wanganui, New Zealand Da Tempo Radio Station, Paris, France KryKey Radio, San Francisco, CA, USA JNCBEST Radio, Kabul Afghanistan Dr House Music, Holland Cloob.fm, San Francisco, USA ItaliaNetwork, Italy ScoutLounge, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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