The Duchess of York

Top tips for great nights out in Leeds
Ian R P
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat 19 May, 2007 6:32 pm

Postby Ian R P » Sat 02 Feb, 2008 1:04 am

nesbit wrote: It’s good to know the Duchess lives on here at least, Hugo what have you done. Reading these posts don’t half bring back memories of many gigs, bottles of brown followed by a day or so of tinnitus. Was one of the sweatiest places to see gigs and when full was a struggle to get past the bottle neck and into the main stage area..Just seen videos of Nirvana in Leeds on you tube, must be the DOY as the stage divers were just walking onto the stage right, no bouncers, joy.The Nirvana gig was the stuff of legend by the time they let me in to the place. I remember Radiohead were always supporting people for about two years such as The Frank and Walters and if memory serves Sultans of Ping FC, where’s me jumper? They finally headlined and Creep really took off soon after.I’m sure that when DOY shut the gigs were meant to move to Scrumpies? I thought that the same people owned Scrumpies and were meant to put on bigger and better gigs at the new venue. That reminds me of the broken toilet in Scrumpies, what a place.I’m sure that someone at Leeds City Council hates the live music scene as places like DOY and the T&C really should still exist in centre of Leeds, am I wrong?? I've heard that the old T and C building is going to be a Leeds Carling Academy which is something at least. I know only [edited for content] big bands will appear but it is time for a Leeds Arena.The Warehouse was always good for gigs too.
Ro-Man
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue 27 Feb, 2007 11:53 am

Postby Ro-Man » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 12:21 pm

I've managed to dig this out of my Duchess archives from The Guardian (February 9, 2000). As for proof of the sofa which Kurt Cobain kipped on, I'll post the image from the article below.Last encores please;Bands like Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers might never have made it without Britain's pub venues. But now they're disap-pearing. Dave Simpson reportsSECTION: Guardian Features Pages; Pg. 12Upstairs at the Duchess of York pub in Leeds there's a sofa. It's a leather, moth-eaten affair that could have come straight from the set of Steptoe and Son. But people from all over the world have stopped to ad-mire it. 'That,' they say, excitedly, 'is the sofa where Kurt Cobain slept.' On March 25, the pub will close after a farewell gig featuring Chumbawamba. The sofa will have to find a new home. 'It'll probably end up in a skip,' sighs Duchess promoter John Keenan.The Duchess is legendary in the north. Over the last decade it has played host to some of the biggest names in pop. Nirvana, Oasis, Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, The Verve and many more learnt their trade here. Now, musicians and rock fans alike are in mourning as another hallowed pop shrine bites the dust. 'I'm really saddened that the Duchess is closing,' says Embrace singer Danny McNamara, 'because we couldn't get gigs anywhere else when we started out. We actually got signed by playing at the Duchess be-cause it was one of the few venues where record companies would be prepared to come and see you.'The local music industry is up in arms. One irate missive to the Yorkshire Evening Post compared the closure to London's Marquee turning into a chain bar and Liverpool council's notorious 70s decision to con-crete over the original Cavern. Recent events, however, suggest that this is more than just a local issue, and that the Duchess is the latest victim in a nationwide cull of key venues that has left the grass-roots live 'cir-cuit' which spawned our finest bands in danger of extinction.Newcastle's Riverside (bought by club giants Gatecrasher and converted into a club), Manchester's Boardwalk, Birmingham's Edwards No 8 and even London's acclaimed Embassy Rooms have closed, and many other venues are teetering on the brink. 'In the past three years we have profiled 50 venues,' says Crispin Parry of national pop-venues magazine Circuit. 'Twenty of them are now extinct.'There are some who won't mourn the passing of the smaller, sweatier, smoke -filled rooms, but the ramifications for pop music are potentially catastrophic. Where will the next Manics, Oasis or Beatles come from if there is nowhere left to play?The problems facing grass-roots venues are symptomatic of lean times in the music industry. Since Britpop, there hasn't been any great upsurge of live bands to justify the number of venues major cities have sustained. Record companies are signing fewer bands than they used to, and are spending money on mas-sive marketing campaigns rather than pushing bands as live acts. This means fewer 'name' bands for small venues and ultimately fewer punters inspired to start bands of their own. It adds up to an even greater threat of being dominated by manufactured pop horrors like Steps and S Club 7.Live music also suffers from an image problem. Compared with superclubs, or even Playstation, the idea of seeing a rock band in a small venue (and the accompanying imagery of old men, urine-soaked toilets and feedback-ridden speaker stacks) lacks glamour for young people. 'Small gigs aren't as sexy as they used to be,' admits Parry.On a business level, pub venues are being damaged by the same corporate impulses behind theme pubs and fast food. The Duchess, for example, is not closing due to a lack of demand for its live music but because the property company that owns it wants to turn it into a shop. Following a Thatcher ruling that breweries could own only 2,000 pubs each, financially risky pub venues were sold en masse to property de-velopers. They realise that they can earn more money by taking advantage of a venue's prime commercial position.Seventy miles up the road from the Duchess, Paul Jackson, the promoter of Hull's famed Adelphi, is tearing what's left of his hair out at the crisis facing a venue that has been crucial to the careers of bands such as the La's, Radiohead and the Stone Roses. 'The situation is absolutely desperate,' says Jackson. 'In three months my overdraft has gone from pounds 2,500 to pounds 9,000. I don't know how long I can hold out.'Eager to capitalise on the recent bar boom, Hull's corporate bar owners have flooded the city's crucial student/cultural area with drinking houses. A price war has erupted, with the artificially cheap beer in these bars making a night out at an independent venue like the tiny Adelphi suddenly uncompetitive.'I remember what it was like to be a student with pounds 5 in my pocket,' confesses Jackson. 'If you can get a pint for 20p somewhere you'll go there. But at the moment it's a step away from them paying people to drink their beer. It's a battle only the big corporations can win.'Jackson, like most of his customers, who include Adelphi-spawned hitmakers The Beautiful South, voices despair at the state of Hull's cultural heartland. 'It's all beer and squidgy sex.'John Power of Cast is horrified at the threat to the Adelphi's future. 'The La's and Cast both played that venue and others like it for ages before we got successful. That's where we learned our craft. These venues absolutely must be supported, not shut down. It's bad for our business and a shame for future bands.'The crisis isn't limited to pubs. Student venues another mainstay of pop culture at a grass-roots level are suffering equally at the hands of government policies. 'Since student unions' funding changed in the mid-90s, there's been no slush fund to absorb any losses,' explains Charlie Myatt of tour bookers 13. 'Events manag-ers came in whose job was to make money out of entertainments rather than provide a service. The best way to make money is to put on clubs and discos and not risk money on bands. There's a drip effect be-cause then nobody in the student unions knows how to put on a band.' Meanwhile students who don't have as much money to spend as they used to because of student loans prefer clubs to gigs.Competition between promoters causes more problems. Myatt points to national gig promoters muscling into smaller clubs in order to forge relationships with potentially lucrative new talent. 'You'll get a big com-pany now promoting a 200-capacity venue, which takes money away from small promoters.'It's not all gloom and doom, though. The smaller promoters are fighting back. The Duchess's John Keenan is looking for another venue and after 25 years as a promoter (initially as a pivotal figure in the late-70s punk scene) insists he hasn't lost his hunger or his enthusiasm. He says he is addicted to the thrill of putting a potential Oasis on in front of 12 people and 'watching them grow and grow'.Equally, Charlie Myatt points to one success story: Water Rats in King's Cross, London. 'It's working be-cause rather than take record company product they listen to tapes and put exciting new bands on. Promot-ers just have to be a bit sharper nowadays.'That's no doubt true but should the future of pop be left to the entrepreneurial spirit of small-time pub promoters anyway? Pop music is an art form and it's time that grass-roots level pop received a subsidy along the lines of the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Opera House, cultural centres with far less popular appeal. Pop venues and rising musicians are routinely subsidised across Europe, so why not here?This is the question that Crispin Parry hopes to put to the Arts Council, as he seeks lottery or other fund-ing to back a nationwide tour by a 'name' band with an entrance fee of pounds 1. 'I want to be able to show younger teenagers what it feels like to be at a live gig,' beams Parry. 'Hopefully they'll come away saying 'That was really exciting. I can't wait to go back.''We have to do something,' he concludes, 'otherwise it'll be a case of 'Will the last person to leave please turn off the amp?' '
Ro-Man
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue 27 Feb, 2007 11:53 am

Postby Ro-Man » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 12:24 pm

Here's the picture from the article above. This is the legendary upstairs room at The Duchess where the bands used to wait. I only went up there once (our first ever gig anywhere as it happens, so what a way to start).The "Cobain sofa" (as it will now be known!) must be the one on the left.
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Ro-Man
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue 27 Feb, 2007 11:53 am

Postby Ro-Man » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 12:33 pm

By the way, Robin - as virtual landlord of the Duchess Myspace site, if you want the original article of this out of the paper, post a message on here and I'll send you it. Like the flyer scans I posted earlier in the thread, I'm sure the picture will end up on the Myspace site anyway, but it's just a thought.

Dejadude
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 03 Dec, 2007 8:53 pm

Postby Dejadude » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 3:20 pm

Dear Mr. Ro-Man,Please send me an email at: robindover@hotmail.com.I am touched by your offer. I actually had this article at one time. I have moved back and forth from Leeds to virtually every planet in the known universe... I've lost track of the safe I have it sealed within. Please send me an email and let's make some arrangements.Peace.Robin Dover - Virtual Landlord - The Duchess Of York - Leeds
David Raven
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue 05 Feb, 2008 4:28 pm

Postby David Raven » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 6:37 pm

Eeee! You guys are bringing back the memories! I loved the DOY. From about '89 until it closed I used to call regularly, afternoons (when I was on the dole) and nights (when I was working and could afford to see bands). Maybe one of you can help me - at what point in it's history was it the 'Pub with no name'? I think it was before being called the DOY, but aren't sure...And how come it ended up being called the 'Pub with no name'? Did it really not have a name for a while, or just no pub sign?!Thanks everyone for sharing your reminiscences and piccies!CheersDave
Northern Earth Walks
Dejadude
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 03 Dec, 2007 8:53 pm

Postby Dejadude » Thu 07 Feb, 2008 8:38 pm

Ey Up, Dave,Glad to see heart-warming memories are churning!It went something like this... it was originally the Robin Hood going all the way back into World War 2 which was black-listed by the US military because of rampant prostitution (ladies hanging out at the bar with price tags on the bottom of their shoes) and drug trafficking. It was. after all, a pretty rough part of the city at that time. Then, around the end of '85 (I believe) the name changed to The Marquee. There was the threat of a lawsuit from the Marquee in London... so out of urgent necessity, she became 'The Pub With No Name' circa '86... then... enter "The Duchess Of York". I am still gathering an accurate history on our sweetheart and will keep everyone posted as it grows. Anyone with more details... we would love to hear more so I can post these details on the Duchess Of York Leeds myspace site.Cheers,Robin Dover - Virtual Landlord - The Duchess Of York - Leeds
weeman
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 7:51 pm

Postby weeman » Fri 08 Feb, 2008 1:26 am

hi everybody . does anybody know what happened to the cobain couch then? and is the building still a hugo boss shop? thanks anyway

Dejadude
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 03 Dec, 2007 8:53 pm

Postby Dejadude » Mon 18 Feb, 2008 12:37 am

Yes... the building is STILL a Hugo Boss shop...I am researching into the location of the Cobain Couch... apparently it ended up in a museum in Sheffield... I have yet to have this confirmed. Anyone with genuine proof of this?FREE FEATURED ARTIST GIG NIGHT - EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT!Where: http://www.myspace.com/duchess_of_york_leeds_ukSATURDAY 23 FEB 2008 FEATURED ARTIST: SHAKINOUTS promoting their new single: Time You Were Told available at Crash Records and Jumbo Records in Leeds for only 2 Quid!The Duchess Of York - Leeds - are beginning a FREE 'FEATURED ARTIST GIG NIGHT' beginning next Saturday the 23rd of February 2008 on The Duchess MySpace site. It will happen every Saturday from the 23rd of February onward. If you would like, we will be more than happy to consider you as a FEATURED ARTIST on our site.If you have a video link, youtube vid or code that you can provide to us or are prepared to create one specifically to be featured for The Duchess, send us the link and we will schedule you for a FEATURED ARTIST GIG.Ideally, the video will be of you and/or your band performing live. However, we are also willing to consider creative concepts expressing your unique talents. We are always open to genius. Let us help you get your music and your message out to the world and what better forum than The Duchess Of York in Leeds!Let us know if you happen to be interested.Cheers. Robin Dover - Virtual Landlord - The Duchess Of York - Leeds
Mr Rik
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 1:44 pm

Postby Mr Rik » Mon 18 Feb, 2008 12:57 am

"I am researching into the location of the Cobain Couch... apparently it ended up in a museum in Sheffield... I have yet to have this confirmed. Anyone with genuine proof of this?"It did indeed go to The National Centre For Popular Music (or The Unpopular National Centre For Music as it wass known, locally)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_C ... r_MusicThe place closed down very soon after due to it's utter crapness but they DID have it in the meantime and the acquisition of the sofa is mentioned herehttp://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/news/2000/04 ... b.shtmlNot really "proof", I know but as a Duchesser and a Sheffielder I can testify it WAS there.No clue what happened to it when to place changed hands. Good hunting!





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