Watching Stranger Things on Netflix reminded me of just how close I was to a bunch of mates myself in the early Seventies.
We did tons together and one of our number one things was the Top Rank.
The Top Rank was a Saturday-morning disco for pre-pubescent teens. It was located in Preston Town Centre in a vast windowless room in a building, maybe a cinema, which on reflection may have been underground. It certainly was dark inside.
Around 1973 and '74 My mates and me adored the Top Rank.
To get there we caught the bus from Ashton up town to the Bus Station, from whence we walked past Brady's record shop, Millers Arcade, the creepy subterranean Victorian toilets and onwards to the dark disco like a gang of daywalkers!
Being Saturday morning it was bright sunshine as we walked through Preston but once inside the Top Rank the lights went off and you were plunged into a strange day-time world where there was no lighting except for the flicker of huge glitterballs rotating on the ceiling.
The Top Rank was THE pre-teen disco in Preston and everybody went there from allover the borough. The air was filled with an electric mix of adolescent gossip and loud thumping chart music peppered with early Northern Soul.
But better than all this there were the girls! Us boys loved it! The air was buzzing with pubescent flirting and that shivery spark when young teens become aware of the opposite sex for the first time. Lads thought they'd died and gone to heaven!
Everyone was togged up to the eyeballs in the very latest clobber. Ben Shermans, Paisleys, Skinners, Lees, Wranglers, Levis, Falmers, pink parallels, Oxford bags, penny rounds, bomber jackets, tank tops, monkey boots, brogues, royals, platforms and even some brothel creepers. We had the lot and we looked ace!
I got all my gear from the Kop Shop on Water Lane, an ultra cool bijou store stuffed with everything a Top Rankin' 12 year old groovemeister needed. As if that wasn't enough Heatleys pushbike shop was round the bend with its window rammed with Choppers, Moulton Minis and Pavelco gears and across the road was a newsagents where a guy called Phil Bowie served behind the counter. We were convinced he was David's brother!
Oddly enough the one thing I can hardly remember about the Top Rank is the music. I know it was loud and eminently danceable but my memory's silent apart from one single looping song, which they played incessantly, Have I The Right by The Honeycombs from 1964.
All that dancing made us kids hot! As hot as a docker's armpit! But parched people need never have feared, the Top Rank's secret weapon for cooling down hundreds of wilting youths was none other than Slushy and they had tanks of the stuff at the back of the dancehall!
Slushy was and is a plastic cup of semi-frozen flavoured ice, which when drunk through a straw, instantly chilled the most arid of throats and often lead to full-on brain freeze. It came in every day-glo colour going and I particularly recall slurping the blue frost like a gannet. Slushy was the disco's irrigation system and without it we would have self-combusted in a disco inferno for sure.
Yep, Up town top ranking were without doubt the best Saturday mornings me and my mates ever had. Period.
Did you go to a disco when you were kids readers?