Sunday, September 24, 2006

The 'Kirk'

The Kirk or Kirklevington Country Club as it was officially called was a club run by the brothers 'McCoy' in Kirklevington. A tiny village about 10 miles outside Middlesbrough. Not an easy place to get to if one intended on drinking as no buses ran after 11pm.

When we first started frequenting the Kirk in our mid-teens we thought it was the coolest place on Earth. We also found out that some of our parents also went to the Kirk and also thought of it as the place to go.

The Kirk was the only club we knew in Middlesbrough that played indie music at the time, and we would sip our pints around the outskirts of the dance floor ready to run on as soon as The Smiths, New Order or Joy Division came on.

It was the highlight of the week. And budgeting began on Monday if we planned to go on Friday. Occaisonally unknown local bands played downstairs in the 'Kirk' mostly not that good, but if you search on Google you will find that in its day the Kirk was the place to play for upcoming and established bands.

Jimi Hendrix - Jan 1967
Jeff Beck - Oct 1967
The Animals - Dec 1967
Moody Blues - Feb 1968
Yes - 69
Jackson Heights -1970
Simple Minds 1979
George Melly 1973
Level 42 1981
Mott the Hoople 1970
Ben E King, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, the Small Faces , Chris Rea also played at this small venue.

Unfortunately the Kirk no longer stands in Kirklevington as it was decided to close the club. The McCoy brothers had decided to concentrate on their restaurant businesses 'The Tontine' and 'The Purple Onion'. They were raised in the Masham Hotel, an iconic 'green tiled' building in the centre of Middlesbrough with Marks and Sparks attached to its' side.

So our next generation will never experience the joy of returning home at 2 in the morning, aftertaste of 'dodgy mobile van' kebab in the mouth, and 'Rock the Kasbah' and 'The Passenger' ringing in your ears, and a sore arse from bouncing up and down on the country roads in the 'clapped-out' smelly mini-bus.

And Kirklevington, population 282 will only be known for its unofficial poulation in the HMP Prison


Glynn said...

You are forgetting the Skywalkers who were a good house band. If you're feeling nostalgic, a pub in town does a "Kirk night" once a month. This entails playing "Rip it Up" by Orange Juice every so often.

You can't go back. We're all too fat, grey and old now.

Glynn said...

I thought I commented on this before? They run a Kirk night at a pub in town, I believe.

I don't know what goes on there but I suspect they've got a few Spear of Destiny records and fridge full of red-stripe.

Polarbear said...

the skywalkers were indee a good band.
I remember smoking spliffs with them backstage and offering to get them a gig at Salford Uni.
Heady Days!

Anonymous said...

There is always the semi-regular but long running (ten years now) Kirk reunion. the next one is at Ku Bar in Stockton on April 9th 2009. There's a 12 piece Dexy's tribute band coming down from Scotland for it!

Dave Farthing said...

Saw Soft Cell and Ted Hawkins at the Kirk, Also did the P.A for a short while when a couple from Hartlepool took over the Kirk. They had previously run the Centerfold Nightclub in Middlesbrough where I was resident DJ after Id finished as resident DJ in Madison Middlesbrough

chris pattinson said...

Bit short on facts i.e. the Mccoy brothers did not own The Kirk! John McCoy owned the club with partner Ken Crawford (an architect) after buying the premises in '65. For a short time in the early 70's, John's brothers leased a small part of the ground floor area as a restaurant, they then moved to The Cleveland Tontine, further down the A19. The club actually went 'bust' after John McCoy & partner opened another club at Darlington in '91 which failed. Most of this blog deals with a tiny part of the club's history and an even smaller section of the music it played over nearly 30yrs. Any other facts stated, are simply guesswork, sorry.

Yarm lass said...

You also missed out the fact the Howard (Maz) Mays was the 3rd partner & effectively ran the club. Think you'll find that John McCoy ran it into the ground after Maz quit & all his subsequent ventures also ended in disaster