Paul Nicholson

Liverpool
I was introduced to the Blackie when I was 8. We lived in Prince Albert Gardens and it was invaded by staff and volunteers from the Blackie dressed in futuristic costumes and as aliens from a "Space Theme" project. It intrigued us since we knew little about the building at the time. I started attending regularly and it gave me the opportunity to develop my future career.
Over the years I built a positive relationship with The Blackie. I was part of the ‘Building Development Team’ with the objective to renovate the building, under the theme of ‘Old Liverpool’in the ‘New Blackie’. We collected bricks from derelict properties to create the new interior. Anyone who goes to the Blackie today can still see those original bricks.
I was involved in the Blackie ‘7 Up’ magazine and we made an album of the noises on the building site. We also did a 'Rainbow Theme’ at the Walker Art Gallery. Liverpool companies donated materials. I had responsibility for project budgeting, which proved invaluable in my working life. I can honestly say that attending the Blackie was more educational than school.
I now had a blueprint for the future. I was a DJ at the famous Liverpool Havana Club in Duke Street my skills had been homed at the Blackie. I was at the Havana for around a year. It was to prove to be the platform for tI now had a blueprint for the future. My organisational and communication skills had been honed at The Blackie. I became DJ at the famous Liverpool Havana Club in Duke Street for a year. It was the platform for the start of a managerial career tht was to have a profound effect on the Liverpool club and gay community scene, in regard to venues in the city.
In 1982 I became Manager of ‘Jody’s’ night club, one of the first in Liverpool to play Garage/House music. It was on two floors, one gay and one punk, both got on well. I was instrumental in building up two of Liverpool’s most famous clubs, The G-Bar and Garlands. I will always be proud of my role in providing facilities for Liverpool’s diverse communities.
An achievement I will always remember was receiving the ‘Best Bar None’ Award in 2005 and 2006, the ‘Club Oscar' of the Liverpool club scene. The Judges were Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council and the Chamber of Commerce. My Blackie experiences had provided a solid foundation so I appreciated the necessity of good budget planning.