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Melanie Morris: The Pink is back -- but will I get to play Bono at pool?

In the midst of all this gloom, I'm ashamed to say that my diary is looking rather exciting, particularly on Thursday night, when I'm invited to the launch of Robbie Fox's new club, The Pink, on Dawson Street.

Anyone with an interest in Dublin nightlife for the past 25 years knows Robbie Fox.

Back in 1980s Dublin, you had two choices if you wanted to go clubbing. Most would descend into one of the many claustrophobic basements along Leeson Street for cheesy music, over-priced wine and propositions from 'mature' men with wedding bands hidden in their pockets.

A chosen few, however, would make it past the velvet rope of the Pink Elephant on South Frederick Street, but only after being given the nod by Dublin's most famous doorman -- Robbie Fox.

I know, because I spent about two years trying to convince Mr Fox that I was as cool and fashionable and interesting as any of the beautiful people he'd already let in. That was a pretty tall order, though, because at that time regulars included members of the Eighties biggest bands, hottest models, movie stars and true A-list celebrities.

Meanwhile, I was a lowly UCD student who tried to make up for lack of glamour, height and cash by wearing extraordinary outfits, hairstyles and make-up. Eventually Robbie took heart (when my lips turned blue from pleading in the cold, rather than due to lipstick).

As I made my way downstairs the first time, past the tropical fish tank, a whole new world opened up. There was Spandau Ballet sitting in one of the four VIP booths overlooking the dance floor. Frankie Goes to Hollywood were beside them, and Def Leppard in another. At the centre of everything, was model Karla Rhamdani, who later married Def Leppard's Joe Elliot. She was the queen of The Pink (as we called it), with her eighties scrunch-dried hair, tiny, figure-hugging ripped jeans and rock-chick tops.

My friend Susan and I would bring in old soy sauce bottles, filled with vodka, because we couldn't afford drinks. There was also a restaurant, serving exotica such as scampi, and steak, but the closest I ever got to The Pink's cuisine was a cake on my 21st birthday.

Reputation

Over the years, and due to equal parts of my persistence and Robbie Fox's benevolence, I got more frequent access to The Pink, even making it upstairs to where the infamous pool table would see rock gods engage each other in reputation-making tournaments. If you were lucky, and had a 50p piece to put on the table, you could join in and take on the likes of Bono or Jim Kerr, the then singer with Simple Minds.

I had moved to London when The Pink Elephant finally closed, but Robbie's contacts and industry knowledge saw him snapped up to launch Lillie's Bordello as Dublin's next big hotspot, until Robbie bought the old Pink Elephant premises to launch his own club - Renards. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, with a head (and heart) full of memories, I'm excited, if a little apprehensive, at the prospect of getting to live it all again in Robbie's new club.

I have no doubt that all of Robbie's regulars will be there to wish him well. But what's ahead for The Pink is equally intriguing ... the new faces and late night carry-on.

Two burning questions in my mind though -- will there be a pool table? And will Robbie let me in?

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE magazine


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