On this occasion, my visit co-incided with that of Rebecca and Simon, who’d crossed from Brussels for the weekend, also to revisit Liverpool friends and memories.
It became a foregone conclusion that a visit to The Raz would figure on the weekend’s agenda. I only made a few visits during the years I lived in Liverpool, but they were memorable. The Raz is formally known as The Blue Angel (though it takes a leap of faith to consider any variant of the word ‘formal’ in the context of this place). The grottiest, cheesiest of venues with the nastiest cheapest beer and the worst, most ineffectual ventilation had always made The Raz an aquired taste, but this time, things seemed a little different…
The first clue was the smell. The smell in the street. As we climbed out of our taxi and eagerly made our way to the The Blue Angel’s front door, our nostrils collectively caught a whiff of something quite revolting. We assumed it was a drain or a binbag and moved closer to the venue. And the smell grew stronger. And stronger. Until we were in the queue at the front door facing the grim realisation that the smell was coming from within The Blue Angel. As a real sign of the times, a bold notice, not there ten years ago, was displayed at the entrance:
“YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A DINGY, SMELLY, SLIPPY PLACE.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.”
We had indeed.
We entered the foul smelling venue and headed downstairs to the cave-like dancefloor. The smell of stale sweat and vomit grew ever more intense, with the only escape being offered by a visit to the toilet to enjoy the fresh air.
In a previous life, our fellow patrons were more of our own. Students, ex-student hangers-on and university sports teams, all in their early twenties, we would boogie away our cares in youthful abandon. Now, ten years later, we were probably the oldest people there.
Music was a mix of recent tunes and the old classics we used to dance to. Our favourites were seen by most Raz-goers as ‘oldies’ but we danced along together all the same, drinking merrily from plastic glasses – cheap lager for the boys, and an anonymous flourescent blue alcopop for the girls.
Two o’clock came round too soon, and we made our way back to Glyn and Jamie’s flat to catch up on some sleep. We woke the following morning to the funny feeling that something had followed us home. Something smelly. A revolting grey substance identified by Rebecca as ‘boogie poo’ had smeared itself onto our clothes and was living all over our shoes and trousers. Windows were opened, shoes were placed on window ledges and last night’s trousers were plunged into washbasins as we wondered when we’d next make our excitable return to the horrible, horrible Raz.
I took a few photos, but Simon and Rebecca have some great pictures.