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Monday, 6 January 2014


I was sad to read, one of my old haunts, The Coach Inn in Banbridge may be closing it's nightclub.

The Coach, back in the 80's, we were told, was one of Europes biggest clubs, and every week it was packed to the gunnels in a way few other clubs in Northern Ireland were in the '80's and early 90"s.

The real beauty of The Coach was not Brian the DJ, Brian or Miles Scullion's music, decor or style taste; nor was it the fact that it was an escape from the drudge of the building site, shoe factory, office or dole that was relatively cheap and open three nights a week to show off your top shop/River Island cool.


The Coach brought together young people who had been torn asunder by 11 plus and 'religious' schooling. It brought together farmers and towny, City folk, trendy, punk and square. It was the place to be if you were labourer or Doctor... And music, hairstyles and fashion levelled all... Or just craic.

The lights and the smoke and the drink and the tightly packed bodies a heady mix of euphoric posing and banter.

And soap operas were faught out in that place, from the dance floor to the cocktail lounge and manys the night you went from no goat's toe,  strutting peacock to slug with one look or word or dancemove from that weeks love of your life.

The dancefloor heaved, writhed, jumped and gawked to Belouis Some, James, Cool and the Gang, New Order,  Wham! The Jam and Morrissey and you left exalted or deflated or in the search for a house party or lock-in.

And you swore never to go back until the grey mundanity of dreich morning commutes had you buzzing in anticipation for the weekend when you longed for that queue, on freezing nights or muggy and the fear of Davey not believing you were 18; the first taste of that freedom pint as the music blared 2001: A Space Odyssey, the dry ice hissed and we all looked cool straddling the divisions of our culture, rich, poor, catholic or protestant.

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