CUSTOMERS at a Calder Valley bar may well find themselves going back to their youth when they pop to the loo.
Ladies and gents using the facilities at the Bramsche, Rochdale Road, Todmorden, have found the experience brightened the moment they stop to powder their nose, with some imaginative and evocative decor.
For the men, the gents’ rest room is papered with front covers of old copies of the New Musical Express from what just might be its last golden era, as an inky newspaper in the late 80s and early 90s.
The ladies, for their part, will be instantly whisked back to the heyday of Jackie, with a whole stack of front covers gazing back at them.
To complete the scenario, the stalls in the gents are papered with reviews of features from the mid-80s to Madchester and, girls, you can re-read some of the famous Cathy and Claire agony aunt advice pages you might have turned to for advice, or enjoy a few ohoto love stories...
It’s the brainchild of Bramsche owner David Cooper, who also works in music public relations and in his own salad days led highly-rated Hebden Bridge band The Last Peach, who graced the pages of the national music press themselves, especially Melody Maker, in the early 90s.
“I’ve travelled a bit and whenever you go into a rock and roll bar in the U.S. the toilets always have stickers over the wall, but they make it look a bit dark and dingy. I wanted something brighter but still rock and roll.
“I had a box of old NMEs from around 1986 to 1992 and a lot of extra copies from when I was growing up and it was in the cellar for ages. We started pasting them up and that was the gents’ sorted!”
David’s sister Jodee Robinson, who manages the bar, provided the inspiration for what to do with the ladies’ room.
“Jodee used to get ‘Jackie’ delivered so the girls had ‘Jackies’ on the walls. I bought a job lot of them as she wasn’t as good at keeping them as me!
“But we often get the female customers wanting to look at the NME covers in the gents, though in a funny way I prefer the ‘Jackies’, they’re wacky,” he said.
David says he agonised a bit about pasting up some iconic covers featuring The Smiths or the Stone Roses, both among his favourite bands at the time, but he decided they were part and parcel of the era so onto the walls they went.
They are a talking point among customers and caught the eye from the word go, he said - the bar opened last December. David is also introducing some spoken work material through the toilet speakers, a chance to relax to the sound of beat writer Jack Kerouac, for example. Incidentally, the Bramsche jukebox echoes some deep musical tastes. As well as classic artists there’s also a selection of rock, indie and jazz containing plenty of hidden gems from the artists mentioned above, and from the 60s to new indie.
This author’s tip? Try the sheer skewiff melodic beauty of Right Here, fashioned in the mid 1980s by the Go-Betweens and still sounding as fresh as a daisy!