Reasons to own a time machine: The Rum Runner

Yes, yes, of course I’d like to go back to the Blitz Club. But, me being me, I would make sure my first stop was The Rum Runner in Birmingham. The mirrorplex walls, neon lights, zebra print upholstery….and those five gorgeous boys who became the house band. Amongst other things: Nick Rhodes was a DJ, John Taylor was on the door, Andy Taylor flipped burgers and Roger Taylor collected glasses. Do we detect a somewhat cushier job for Mr Rhodes there?

The Berrow brothers (later managers of Duran Duran) relaunched the club in the late Seventies, inspired by Studio 54 in New York, and it became the New Romantic heart of Birmingham (via the Roxy and Bowie nights, mirroring the genesis of Steve Strange’s Blitz club). Martin Degville, the Durans, John Mulligan, iconic designers Jane Kahn and Patti Bell….hell, even Pete Townshend and Boy George paid them a visit.

Rhodes and Taylor created an amazing compilation album, Only After Dark, from their favourite tracks of the time. I’m horrified to see it’s now selling, second hand, for £90-odd on Amazon. Keep an eye out on eBay, or just download what you don’t already have from this amazing playlist they created as well. That is the kind of music which makes me want to cry with its fabulousness. Both Ends Burning? Adolescent Sex? Just mop me up…

“The Rum Runner menagerie was typically English, small, innovative and eccentric, filled with drama and humour. It was warm and friendly with a big personality.” Nick Rhodes

Sounds like my kind of place. Sadly, it was torn down in 1987. Now where IS that time machine?










Duran Duran – Planet Earth – shots from their days at the club.

The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom – filmed at the Rum Runner.

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4 Comments on “Reasons to own a time machine: The Rum Runner”

  1. u.v.ray. says:

    I cut my teeth around Birmingham in the 80's. I was lucky enough to frequent the Rum Runner around 1984 onwards. Just enough to enjoy its final years. It's funny to see your post. I woke up this morning remembering some times around the city during that period and I was just thinking how I'd love to have those moments back – just for a few seconds to experience the emotions again.

    • martin ashton says:

      oh me too!
      i really ache for those days around brum. did you go to the demolition party?
      i have a dvd of that night. such blissful times.

  2. Oh you lucky, lucky thing. How spooky, and lovely…I've never heard mention of it, but I've always wondered if the Fuzzbox gals were hanging around the Rum Runner at any point.

  3. u.v.ray. says:

    The Fuzzbox girls might have just about made the final year or so of the Rum Runner. But they would have been very young. I was only 17/18 myself. I used to see them frequently drinking in The Hummingbird nightclub when we shifted there during the years 1988 – 1993. If I remember correctly they were only about 15 years old when they first started showing their faces. I didn't know them personally though, so I am not sure. The Hummingbird was one of those dives – But a great dive. It got closed down aswell due to frequent drugs raids. It's opened up again but it was never the same. But I am too old for all that hoo ha these days.We also went to The Institute during the early – mid 90's, which was owned by a couple of the Duran guys. But I tell you – I can't remember a damn thing.


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