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A right Rum do; The Rum Rummer Reunion at Ronnie Scotts was a big hit. Words: Ros Dodd. Pictures: Jeremy Pardoe.

It wasn't quite like the good old days and the punters were older, wiser and much more mellow, but it didn't stop 300 ex-Rum Runner clubbers strutting their stuff on the dance floor of Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham.

The jazz venue in Broad Street played host to a reunion for those who frequented the legendary club in the 70s and 80s.

One of Europe's most influential nightspots, it launched Duran Duran on the band's road to fame and was attended by an army of household names, including Fashion, Boy George, Japan, Steve Strange and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

When the doors closed for the last time in 1983, Birmingham lost a slice of its identity. But the days when New Romantic was king were resurrected this week as the likes of Planet Earth, Duran's first hit, engulfed the dance floor at Ronnie's.

The reunion's repertoire of music didn't cater only for the New Romantics and Futurists, however. Jazz and funk were also on the menu.

Teasing the old records back to life were DJ Shaun Williams, who had a regular Monday jazz session at the Rum Runner in the late 70s and early 80s, and DJ Bruce Q - better known as a dancer at the time - who became a full-time disc-jockey after the club closed, keeping jazz and funk alive all over the world.

"I think the beauty of the Rum Runner was that it attracted so many different types of people for so many different reasons," said Ronnie's general manager Iain Ross- MacKenzie.

"What we tried to do at the reunion was fit all the different strands that made up the club into eight hours."

There were, he said, more than a few "guess the tune" competitions conducted at the bar.

"The idea was that you had to guess what song would be played next and if you lost you bought the next drink," said Iain.

Declaring the reunion a huge success, Iain - better known as Gonzo - added: "Although some people said it wasn't like it used to be, it's what the Rum Runner would have progressed to if it hadn't closed.

"Those who came to the reunion used to go to Rum Runner on different nights, when different types of music were played, but they were all jamming together. And that's what it was all about."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 30, 1999
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