That was of course the tagline for the once thriving, and now sadly closed, nightclub and cabaret entertainment bar Foo Foos Palace, which stood proudly on Dale Street in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter for over 27 years.
Opening in 1975, the club was owned by legendary drag artist Foo Foo Lammar.
Named in his The Times obituary as “one of the North of England’s most popular female impersonators”, Frank ‘Foo Foo Lammar’ Pearson was the son of an Ancoats rag and bone man and left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications.
But with a fierce ambition to go into showbusiness, he created his iconic stage persona Foo Foo – adding Lammar in honour of Hollywood actress, Hedy Lammarr – and started performing in the clubs and bars of Greater Manchester.
And went on to make quite the name for himself.
A gifted performer, his rise to fame was quick.
Appearing on stage in blonde bouffant wigs and expensive sequinned gowns, with an act that was risqué but perfectly-timed, Foo Foo was known for his caustic wit and repartee with tough northern audiences, so much so that he said “I don’t see myself as a drag queen, I’m more of a comic in a frock”.
After finding himself in particularly high demand and attracted a large following, the success of Foo Foo Lammar lead Pearson to opening his first club in 1971 called The Picador in Shudehill, with the infamous Foo Foos Palace coming along shortly after (1975 – 2002), following a brief stint where it was named ‘Celebrity’.
Off stage he became almost as big a celebrity as he was in drag, a familiar sight in his native city dressed in shiny suits and dripping in gaudy jewellery. He owned a succession of Rolls-Royces with the registration plate FOO 1, and he delighted in giving lifts to local people in the neighbourhood.
One described him as being as essential a part of Manchester as the town clock.
He was also known for his tireless charity work – raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and The Christies – and even released an album (My Life At The Palace) and published his autobiography (I Am What I Am) a year before his death in 2003.
Foo Foos Palace – now a block of apartments – went on to become a favourite with Manchester United players and was also frequented by many showbusiness personalities, but who could forget its popularity for hen and stag parties in the city too?
This is probably why many Mancunians have memories of a night in those four walls, and here are The Manc – as ‘the people’s voice of Greater Manchester’ – we’re always keen to hear your stories.
So we took to our social platforms Facebook and Instagram this week with a picture of the club’s iconic frontage to pay tribute to the venue and ask our loyal audience to share your memories of this undeniable cultural gem with us.
This is what you said.
“Well that’s spooky – I woke up this morning and for some reason I started singing I Am What I Am – with Foo Foo singing it in my head. I went on my first works do at 16 – many years ago. What a great performer Foo Foo was and what a genuinely kind and generous person Frank was.
You don’t get many people like Frank these days.”
“I went a couple of times. One night I went in a new dress, and felt amazing in it. Until foo foo himself, walked on the stage in the exact same dress. I don’t know who was more annoyed me, or him.
My mate laughed so much we nearly got kicked out, because you couldn’t hear him over her laughing.”
Julie Diane Gallaher
“They broke the mould after Foo. Amazing man very funny guy. I knew him for many years worked with him on lots if his charity events.
Foo Foos was legendary.”
“I had my 18th birthday party there it was the best night out. Everyone was up for a laugh. Good old chicken in a basket. My dad was so up for a laugh, Foo Foo got him up on stage and in typical Foo Foo style humiliated him. My dad thought I was drinking whisky and lemonade and I came back to a table of 30 glasses of whisky. I was drinking Southern Comfort and Lemonade, but we made the best of it.
Remember it like it was yesterday, my dad has passed away and this night will be in my memories always – really was a night to remember.”
“Had some great night’s out there. Few years later I walked past down Dale St on my way to work each morning, Foo Foo was often outside the club with his golden Rolls Royce parked at the kerbside. He always had time to have a natter, lovely man with a big heart but very modest, did lots of kind things for people having a hard time but didn’t make a big deal about it.
Was very sorry to hear about him passing away – RIP.”
“Had my stag night there. Foo Foo got wind I had fish nets and a thong on under my clothes (for when the lads stripped me off on way home), [so] he got me to one side and said “if you strip off later when I get you on stage, your drinks will be free”.
Absolute legend, I got free drinks and the old fella nearly has a heart attack.
For years, my picture was on the wall as you went down the stairs.”
Do you remember a night in Foo Foos Palace?
We’d love to hear your stories.
You can head on over to our posts on Facebook and Instagram to have your say and take a read of the rest of the memories thousands of memories of the venue that we unfortunately just didn’t have the room to include on this article.
Ben Foster reveals he’s being paid ‘literally peanuts’ to play for Wrexham AFC
We refuse to believe any UK football fan didn’t let out a little smile upon hearing the news that Ben Foster came out of retirement to re-sign for Wrexham AFC nearly 20 years on from his first spell.
The 39-year-old goalkeeper called time on his playing days at the end of last season after slowly moving towards becoming a squad player-come-YouTuber over the past few years and having already enjoyed a long and successful career.
However, following a nudge from the coach and celebrity owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, he was convinced to lace up his boots once more and the former United, Stoke, West Brom and Watford man will now be playing between the sticks at the Racecourse Ground until the end of the season.
To make things even more wholesome, the Premier League veteran has confessed that transfer talks didn’t last long, confessing on his YouTube and Spotify show, the Fozcast: “To be honest, the negotiations took about five minutes”, adding that he’s been paid “literally peanuts”.
Nevertheless, Foster admitted that he doesn’t need much money after such a great career up and down the football pyramid and while “things changed a lot since [he] was last here”, he said, “it’s nice to be back” and labelled manager Phil Parkinson “top class”.
Parkinson, an EFL journeyman himself, had similarly complimentary words for the seasoned keeper, stating: “We’re delighted to welcome Ben to the club. With Rob Lainton getting injured at the weekend, it was important we had all bases covered going into the last part of the season, which this signing ensures.”
The ex-England international first played for Wrexham back in 2005 when he was loaned out by Stoke City and went on to win the EFL Trophy — his first-ever piece of silverware. Now he’s back to help them finally get out of the National League (currently three points clear at the top with a game in hand).
As for his expectations for the season, he said the goal is simple: “getting the team over the line and getting them promoted”, adding “I’m a very low-maintenance player. Just wheel me out, I’ll do a job.” Now that’s the kind of attitude we can get behind.
Speaking to talkSPORT after the sudden move, he revealed that the whole deal felt just as out of the blue for him too, detailing how he got a call from the manager after a bike ride one day and, before he knew it, he’d given them the thumbs up.
Shedding some light on his discussions with the Hollywood owners, he said that Reynolds “actually slid into [his] DMs” once the agreement had been confirmed, joking: “I’m buzzing I’ve got Ryan Reynolds in there, I ain’t even replied to him! I’ll leave him hanging for a bit!”
He went on to admit that he actually approached him first, messaging, “I used to play for Wrexham and if you’re ever available for a podcast I’d love you to come.” Thankfully, he finally responded, saying: “Mate, sorry I didn’t reply. I’ll definitely do the podcast with you, thank you for signing.”
That Deadpool episode is going to be a great watch… You can see him talking about the surprise transfer in full on his YouTube channel down below:
The GIANT £375 chocolate Easter egg that’s ‘too beautiful to eat’
One of the north’s most legendary hospitality businesses has created an Imperial Easter Egg, and the effort that goes into crafting it is wild.
Coming in at 10kg, 22 inches tall, and £375, Bettys enormous chocolate treat shows off a whole lot of artistry.
The iconic tearoom, which has sites across Yorkshire, has shared the behind-the-scenes video to its TikTok page, drumming up almost half a million views.
The mouth-watering video shows first milk chocolate being hand-painted onto a chocolate egg-shaped mould to create the Easter egg’s beautiful textured appearance, The Hoot reports.
Then layer after layer of melted chocolate is poured in from a chocolate tap, before being trimmed and tidied.
Bettys, which has tearooms across Harrogate, York, and Leeds, uses the finest Swiss Grand Cru chocolate for its imperial Easter egg, and every bit that’s trimmed away is melted down to reuse elsewhere.
Then a pastry chef at the tearoom will spend up to an hour PER EGG piping on the ornate decorations, carefully piping on coloured white chocolate stems and ferns.
Then colourful royal icing flowers are placed on its surface, each one again hand-piped by their cake decorators.
The end result is a whopping Spring-time masterpiece covered in shades of green, yellow and purple.
Bettys Imperial Easter Egg weighs in at a massive 10kg and stands at 22 inches tall.
Bettys says: “Celebrating the creativity and craft that makes Bettys unique, our handmade Imperial Easter eggs continue a tradition stretching back more than a century, when our founder Frederick Belmont designed eggs which were ornately embellished with hand-piped icing designs.
“Containing over five kilos of Grand Cru Swiss chocolate made from prized Venezuelan criollo cocoa beans, the Imperial Egg is a true work of art, showcasing the highest skills of our chocolatiers and cake decorators.
“Each Imperial Egg carries an array of delicate, individually crafted spring blooms and foliage including primroses, narcissi and pansies, with hand-piped stems as a final perfect touch.
“Our Imperial Easter Egg is made to order and is only available for collection from one of our Yorkshire shops.”