Friday, 4 April 2014

CHAPTER 16

OH NO, THE MEN ARE NAKED!







Almost opposite Rudy’s was an a imposing tented building that housed The Riviera Discotheque. Every time I drove passed this extraordinary structure I hardly ever saw any activity. Yet every evening a green laser light would light up the night sky above it which was visible for miles around. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and one day I pulled into the car park. The place seemed deserted the doors were locked, so I walked around the back. I shouted to see if anyone could hear me, eventually one of the rear doors slowly opened and a man asked me what I wanted. I said I’d like to look around, he introduced himself explaining that he was the technician that built the sound and lighting in the club. He invited me in and what greeted me left me speechless, It was like arriving in large circus tent. Pepe then started a demonstration of the sound and light show. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; I’d never seen anything like it, not in Marbella in fact not anywhere. The whole set up fascinated me and now I wanted to see it in action. Pepe told me they were only opened at weekends and invited me to come and have a drink with him the next Saturday night. As I drove away I remember thinking that surely something as majestic as this could be turned into an amazing venue, but what? I certainly never wanted to get back into the discotheque business, but yet again, It was hard for someone like me not to think that at least with the corrected marketing and management it could be turned into something spectacular.

I accepted Pepe's invitation, so on Saturday night I set off for my drink at the Riviera. When I pulled up in front of the club the first notable thing was the lack of cars but an abundance of mopeds and scooters. As I walked to the main entrance I was expecting to be met by the usual doormen or at least someone in charge of the door, I just walked straight in. Music was pumping out of Pepe's state of the art sound system and his light show was awe inspiring, all I could think was, this must have cost a bloody fortune, but the club looked empty with about 20 Spanish kids hanging around the bars, the place just looked neglected and so sad. It was then I spotted Pepe, he looked delighted to see me and asked me to join him for a drink. “Does it get busier later?” I asked him, Pepe explained this was about as busy as they get. To tell you the truth it was all slightly embarrassing. I just stood there thinking this place must have cost millions to build. “Who’s the owner?” was my next obvious question. He explained it was owned by a multimillionaire Arab who’s main business was constructing shopping centers in the Gulf States. “So why this?” I asked. Again Pepe explained he had bought the land that the club was built on as an investment and just fancied owning a club in Marbella. Pepe could see I looked confused and suggested that I should meet the owners Spanish personal assistant and if I wanted he could set up an appointment for me. Nothing gained nothing lost I agreed, I gave my number and left, still fascinated by what I had just seen.

A couple of days later I had a call from Pepe saying the owners PA would be delighted to meet me. I agreed to come up to meet him at his office, which was in a two storey building attached to the Riviera. So that afternoon I made my way back to the club wondering what was I doing, I had absolutely no plans or no desire to get involved with anything at the moment as my radio show, TV show and live shows at Rudy’s were taking up all my time. Pepe met me at the car park and brought me to the offices where I was introduced to a polite bespectacled suited Arab gentleman call Massude. After some pleasantries he explained the history of the club and the owners background. He then asked the question that I had I knew that I would have no idea how to answer, to tell you the truth I had no idea what I was doing there in the first place; “And how can I help you?” he politely asked. I told him that I was fascinated by the whole set up and how shocked I was at how empty this wonderful looking club was, In fact the marketing was appalling as I had never seen or heard of anything that was going on in the club and only knew about as I passed it nearly everyday. He didn't seemed phased by my harsh criticism and politely reacted by asking me “Are you offering to help to promote the club?” I replied “I don’t know Massude, to tell you the truth I don’t even know why I’m here, let me go away and think about it.” After a few more pleasantries we shook hands and I left. I remember driving into the radio station for the evenings show thinking what a plonker Mr Massude must think I am!

I tried to put The Riviera, my meeting with Massude and Pepe to the back of my mind convincing myself that I just wasn't interested, that it would take up all my time , which I had little of anyway, to try and make it work, so forget it. A few weeks later I was at home watching a news report on TV about the worsening situation about the drought in Somalia that was causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, they showed men women and children that looked like walking skeletons, it just got to me. Although it was approaching midnight I picked up the phone and I called Massude, thankfully he answered almost immediately meaning he hadn't already gone to bed. I apologised about the time explaining the reason for my call was about the news report on Somalia and how I wanted to do something to help, suggesting that perhaps I could stage a fund raising charity event at the Riviera club. Massude had also seen the report and immediately agreed saying the club was mine to be used as I saw fit.

As usual I came up with a name for the event first calling it ‘Fight Against Time’ I set the date for the 4th of October about a month away so I could capitalise on the news report before it gets forgotten , I realised that it was important to strike whilst the iron was hot to make an event like this work. I then got on the phone and started asking bands and performers to participate . I really can’t remember who performed that night but looking at the poster I see Tony Dalli and Mel Williams were appearing, what I do remember it was a sell out and I was delighted that we raised an awful lot on money for the cause. I suppose it was then that I was bitten by the charity bug that was to play such an important part in my life to come.



One painful memory of that night was a terrible mistake I made , a mistake I still regret to this day and spoke about it briefly in an earlier chapter; I had bumped into actor Paul Henry a week or so before the gala.
Paul you might remember played simpleton Benny in the TV soap Crossroads and asked him if he would make an appearance at the charity event, Crossroads at the time was one of the top rated TV shows and I felt as it's star it would be an added attraction to the evening. He readily agreed and said he would come up on stage and say a few words. I was delighted. Come the big night as I said it was a spectacular success and as you can imagine how delighted I was eventually when it was all over. I was thanking everyone etc and the artist when they were leaving when a furious Paul Henry approached me shout and raving that I hadn’t called him up and that he’s written a special poem called ‘Miss Dian’ etc etc etc. What a mistake I made and dampened the whole event for me! (photo: Paul Henry as Benny in Crossroads)


Meanwhile it was back to my normal life on radio, TV and live shows etc. As well Rudy’s I was performing the odd one off event in other establishments across the Costa del Sol. One afternoon Pepe Nervaja, the Onda Cero boss called me into his office and told me he was so impressed with my charity show that he would like to book the Rivera club for the radio stations annual Christmas party where the listeners are invited for free. I was delighted with this request and called Massud to inform him, he told me he was grateful for all my support and requested a meeting as soon as possible to discus the next event for the Rivera. Next event! what next event? I thought, but agreed to meet with him anyway.


My 45th Birthday held at Rudys


By this time I decided to call a halt to The Boland Big Risk TV Show and sat down with my producer Martin Wood to see if we could come up with a new idea and format to hold up the audience figures. “How about a talk show” I suggested “We could fly our guests in from UK on a weekly bases and I was sure I could get flights and hotel accommodation sponsored” Martin said he was up for it. So I set about planning my new TV Show and as usual the first thing I did was come up with a title; Boland Live.... Then it was a matter of 1. Finding famous guests and convincing them that they should come on my show without a fee and 2. To get the flights and hotels sponsored. In fact the second task was the easiest as the Costa’s largest travel agent (you couldn’t book on line then) was Servitor and as they were already a sponsored on my radio show they thankfully agreed to fly my guests in for free, again hotels were delighted to put up celebrities from the UK for a couple of nights free as they could then use photographs of them staying in their hotels which they could use in future. Now all that wa left to do was to book the guests, funny enough although no one knew me at the time most if not all the celebrities I called readably agreed to fly over as my guest, I suppose there was a certain kudos in saying “I’m off to Spain to STAR in a TV chat show” Next job was to come up with an idea for a set which I designed to look like graffiti covrd walls (see photos) I got Rob Topp and brilliant artist that I had used in the past to do all the art work and that was more or less that. We were ready to Rock and Roll.
I booked Mel Williams and his band as the musicians for the show I can’t remember who my first guest was but the list included: Cynthia Lennon , Beatle John Lennon’s ex wife, Mike McCartney, from scaffold and Pauls young brother, Faith Brown, Kenny Lynch, Mr Motivator, Chris Haney, who invented Trivial Pursuit, Linda Nolan, Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, Lionel Blair, Bonnie Langford, Wayne Sleep, Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, and many more (I’m sure I’ll be reminded it)

I personally organised most of my guests but the occasional guest came through a booking agent in London. I remember one day the UK booking agent called me asking if I had a guest organised for the following week and if I hadn’t he had someone that would surprise me, I hadn’t in fact booked a guest yet and asked him who it was, I nearly fell off my seat when he said it was Mandy Smith! If you had read my chapter on my relationship, management, with Mandy you will know we didn’t part on the best of terms and that was 8 years ago so for a request for her to come on MY television show was very surprising, I asked him if she knew what show she was going on and he told me she was really looking forward to seeing me again. Life is full of surprises I thought after hearing this news, anyway of course I agreed and privately was really looking forward to seeing Mandy again. It was organised that she would fly in with her usual entourage of MUM Patsy, Sister Nicola and I think a few cousins. Meeting after the eight year gap i thought would be a little strained but it was fine and Mandy was her usual bubbly self. The TV show which went out live on Wednesday between the hours of 1 and 2pm was a hit thankfully (again remember very few people had had Sky then so no competition for viewers).


With Mandy, we hadn't spoken for 8 years prior to her coming on my TV show. This photo was taken by Gary Edwards for spread in Hello! magazine

I loved the TV talk show format I enjoyed all my guests and its popularity continued to go. As the show went out live every Wednesday afternoon I would invite my overseas celebrity guests to join me at Rudy's that evening for dinner, many of those pictures can be see in Chapter 14. Before getting on stage at I still had a radio show with Barry, but things were beginning to get strained between us both and cracks beginning to develop I needed to sort this out and quick

One of the first memories I had as a kid was receiving three Albums as a barmitzvah present, one was Elvis, the second was Cliff Richard’s and the third was Joey Dee and the Starliters at the Peppermint Lounge New Your City.
I was mad about this album as it was recorded live and I used to stand in front of the mirror and mime imaging myself live in the Peppermint Lounge and that I was Joey Dee (Believe it or not Joey Dee and the Starliters are still going strong and I was delighted to interview Joey on my radio show a few years ago)). So when I met up with Massud I told him if I got involved, and it was a very big if in some capacity, I would strongly recommend opening an American style diner in what was a restaurant next to the Riviera's main arena. Again Massud readily agreed telling me simply to go ahead and do whatever I believed was necessary! I don't know if it's Massud's gentle politeness or his persuasive manner but it sort of creeps up on you unaware and before you know it your hooked in, so now I felt at least obliged to help relaunch the Riviera. As the discotheque didn't need any structural work and all it needed a was a very good cleaning, I set about looking for an expert to run the restaurant, in that I found the perfect guy from Gibraltar who had run restaurants for many years, believe it or not his name was JOEY! So from then on I called him Joey Dee. I promised myself and Massuad that I would relaunch the Riviera Club but that would be it, the relaunch, then the rest would be up to him and his staff


I had no confidence that the Riviera simply as a discotheque would work. I believed the only chance the club might have would be as a live act venue. The Chippendales were big news in the UK and I don’t mean the furniture! Male strip acts were all the craze at the time and they were the most famous of them all. I felt their show would work by drawing a large audience as it would have been the first of it's kind in this part of Spain, I also believed that it would attract a large press turnout giving the club much needed publicity. After inquiring the price etc it worked out to expensive but I was offered a second choice of a group called Climax who were made up of four good looking ‘Hunks’ as the women would call them. So I booked them straight away.



I was driving past the club one weekday evening when I nearly crashed, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, for there up in lights on a huge free standing hoarding in front of the club was 'Maurice Boland's Riviera Club' I secretly made a mental note to kill Massud next time I saw him!

When the day for the Climax concert finally arrived, I got a call from Massud asking me how come I hadn’t rented any sound equipment, guitar amps, drums etc for the band. Shit! Massud thinks The Climax are some kind of pop group, I had stupidly assumed he knew what they were! As if that wasn't bad enough he then informed me that the Arab owners wife was flying in from
Dubai and wanted to come to this evening show. He made it worse by explaining she was a devout Muslim so he hoped the ‘band’ wouldn’t be to loud!!! Boy was I in trouble??? By 10 O’clock that evening the club was packed with screaming women NO men except, staff, myself , and the four members of Climax who were back stage oiling there semi naked bodies, they all looked 7ft tall and built like body builders!!! I tried to explain to them that the owners muslim wife who was now in the audience and was there any chance of possibly making their acted slightly less risqué, they looked at me as if I was mad. With that their theme music boomed from the speakers and all four marched onto the dance floor dressed as Gladiators. From the roar that met them you would have thought that the women had never seen a semi naked man before. I was almost to nervous to look out from the dressing room but when I did my worse fears were met, they were now NAKED!! My hands covered my face as I peeped through my open fingers at the area where the owners wife was seated dreading to see how she was reacting, would I be executed by the Taliban????? . I couldn’t believe what I saw, she was clapping frantically with a smile from ear to ear. What a great night it turned out to be...

To be continued......

HERE IS A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BOLAND LIVE TV SHOW




COMING NEXT. BARRY AND MYSELF GO OUR SEPARATE WAYS AND I GO SOLO. LAS VEGAS CALLS AND CHARITY STARTS TO TAKE HOLD OF MY LIFE.

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