The building is ugly but it has a tale or two to tell if you’d like to listen. To get there we move through the town centre past pie shops, Poundland and Primark until we reach a big cube of place covered in sickly yellow tiles and bright red brickwork. The pavements round here are certainly not paved with gold but this unlikely looking venue once drew the youth of Wigan through its doors and left the rest of the town’s nightclubs fighting for the scraps.
Tiffany’s opened in the late 70’s and promised sophisticated entertainment for the over 21’s, well I suppose it was a little bit more upmarket than the usual late night haunts in town. Before Tiff’s we had places like Puffers and Blutos, smallish places that didn’t require any dress code especially Puffers/Pemps. I was also a regular at the Wigan Casino Rock Nights and once went there in a jumper I had slept in the night before. Bryan Ferry had nothing on me.
Tiff’s changed all that and initially split my group of mates in two. I suppose there was always an unseen dividing line between us though we always got on well. Half the group would be in high waist many buttoned trousers with patterned shirt fitted over the top collar of their wide lapelled jackets or bombers and the other half would be in jeans, t-shirts and duffle or afghan. I was in the t-shirt/jeans side of the equation. The differences were magnified on holidays that we took together when the trousers had one room and the jeans the other. The trouser gang took a bath and then used deodorant, a fact that amazed the jeans fraternity whose bottle of Hai Karate or Old Spice lasted from Christmas to Christmas. This combined with using hairdryers and brushes was almost gay! Well apart from the fact the nice smelling coiffured bunch seemed to get more women than us natural musk smelling scraggy haired lot.
When the trousers went to Tiff’s we initially refused to go but gradually the disco sirens calling to us from the yellow and red cube drew us to our funky fate. We procured the trousers, shopped for shirts, ditched the duffels and most importantly of all, got the tie. The tie was the key to the magic kingdom for without it your entrance was barred. Now if you’re sat there imagining the jeans gang emerging like some lovely butterflies from denim cocoons think again. We looked like those Victorian photographs of old Wild West outlaws, after they had been killed; you know the ones, propped up on a board wearing an ill-fitting suit. We were as comfortable as a jelly on a bed of nails.
The dance area in Tiff’s was enormous and packed with women and Jason King lookalikes with shirts unbuttoned to the navel and enough chest hair to stuff a small sofa.
The tie was the worst bit, apart from Weddings, Funerals and job interviews we hadn’t worn one since our school days and it was the one item of clothing we were apt to forget. Tiff’s had a strict rule regarding ties, no tie no admittance and if you forgot your tie then you had to put your reserve plan into action. This could include putting your belt round your neck and passing that off as a tie. This seemed plausible after 10 pints and your drinking partners would nod their approval as they groggily inspected your neckwear “Awreet that, corn’t tell it’s a belt” Alas such attempts were likely to end in failure unless the bouncers were myopic.
By far the best substitute for a tie was the humble sock. Stretched out as far as it would go and then tied round the neck, pull your jacket up and together, push your neck down, keep one hand in your pocket to keep your pants from falling down and lift your shoulders up. Suave it wasn’t but it usually worked especially if you walked closely behind your tallest mate. The daft thing was once you got in the club you could take your tie/sock/belt off and nobody gave a monkey’s.
The place itself seemed massive and quite impressive but I was comparing it to Puffers with its tiny dance floor and barrels for tables. The dance area in Tiff’s was enormous and packed with women and Jason King lookalikes with shirts unbuttoned to the navel and enough chest hair to stuff a small sofa. Their taches could stuff the cushions. In front of them was a stage and a DJ spinning the music which was purely D.I.S.C.O. Tiffany’s had a female Disc Jockey named Stella and I think she was a good looking girl but I never ventured up close enough to look at her and I didn’t think she’d play “Stairway to Heaven” if I asked her anyway. Up above the grooving gyrators was a spinning mirror ball casting a million stars around the room, kids this was the 70’s and all those clichés were right, well they were at Tiff’s.
Tables and chairs surrounded the dance floor and on the odd occasions I strutted my funky stuff it felt like you were being judged in a 70’s version of “Strictly” I can’t have a wee if the toilets are packed so if my version of the Hustle was a little wooden then that’s why. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Palm trees and Roman/Greek columns were dotted about the room and I’m pretty sure they were fake though that didn’t stop one of my mates trying to climb up a tree to see if they had coconuts.
Up above the grooving gyrators was a spinning mirror ball casting a million stars around the room, kids this was the 70’s and all those clichés were right, well they were at Tiff’s.
The stage was also the place where the resident group at Tiff’s played. They were called “Sunshine Cake” which sounds like something you might buy in the cafes of Amsterdam. I can’t tell you if they were any good but they must have been alright because I never noticed the switch between records and the live music. Mind you by the time they came on I was well oiled and probably chatting up a Roman column.
Three bars were set in the walls of the room and I remember the ale being bloody awful and if I’m not mistaken it was served in plastic glasses and went warm in a couple of minutes. The best thing about the bar staff women was the togas they wore and anything off the bottom shelf was a popular choice for all the male customers. Tiff’s also had a snack area where you could buy chicken in a basket! I’d heard about this exotic dish from someone who had been to the world famous Batley Variety Club, what do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Well it was famous “up north” and deserves an article to itself, watch this space. The snack bar was ideal for a bowl of chips at around 1am and if you tapped up you could always impress your wench by sharing a chicken & chips basket. Oh those greasy snogs later!
Between the bars and the seating area was a walkway running all the way round the club. It was carpeted and before too long it was sticky from all the ale spilled on it. The one thing everyone remembered when I asked them about Tiff’s was this walkway. All night long people would walk round in a continuous circle; it was a never ending cavalcade of women mixed in with the odd Jason King pillock. The best ever description of this women’s circle came from Paul Richardson who said “It wer like hookin’ a duck at fair” fantastic imagery!
Despite the plastic palm trees, glitter balls and ancient plaster columns it never really won me over, it was all a bit too artificial and all those hairy chests and satin shirts didn’t help either. I can understand though if some people loved it and probably more couples met there and went on to get married than from anywhere else in town. I met the future Mrs TT there and at least four of my mates met their respective partners there too. The place must have had something about it but personally I put it down to the Old Spice and regular baths.
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