The magic of the Maniqui - Falkirk's famous nightclub

Now we have all been stuck inside at the weekends for what seems like years, it’s hard to remember how much fun a night on the town could be.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:30 pm

It’s not hard for former top DJ Douglas “Dougie” Law to remember though – he was at the epicentre of a groovy good time explosion of music and dancing at Falkirk’s magical Maniqui nightclub back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Storm, as it was most recently known, began life in 1933 as Doaks Dancing Academy and has - until this COVID-19 crisis anyway – been a constant feature of the town’s night life for almost 90 years, changing from a ballroom to a restaurant and finally into its current form.

Now in his 70s, Douglas can recall those epic nights as if they happened yesterday, instead of yesteryear.

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DJ Dougie Law in action getting folk up on the dance floor back in the day

The fact he also met the love of his life – wife of 40 plus years Joyce – there was a bonus.

It all started for Douglas back in 1973.

He said: “It was the first birthday of the Maniqui in 1973 when I started as a DJ at the age 27 to work alongside the brilliant Tam Caine. After about two years Tam left, and I was resident there until 1984 which took me well into the Oil Can Harry era. I was very privileged and proud to have worked there with the Johnston family.

"Every Friday and Saturday night we were packed out with our very loyal crowd which created a brilliant atmosphere as they danced the night away to our mix of pop, rock, soul and disco music until one o’clock.

DJ Dougie Law recalls the great days of the Maniqui and Oil Can Harry's back in the 1970s and 80s

"On stage every Saturday night we had live music from bands such as Rokotto from Dundee with lead singers Cleveland and Sister B who went on to have chart success.

"Salvation appeared here with their lead singer Midge Ure. We also had regular visits from Shakin’ Stevens and his band The Sunsets.

"Christian was also popular with the crowd. Chart acts of the time that appeared were Liquid Gold and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds.

"Radio 1 DJ’s who appeared over the years were Johnnie Walker, Paul Burnett, Simon Bates, Stuart Henry and the wonderful EmperorRosko.

"The Maniqui was not just about the music it was about the whole experience from the brilliant bar staff and stewards. The legendaryChristmas nights were also a bit special.

"I would make up the rota for the other DJ’s to say where and when they would be working during the evening. Over the years we had Scott Clapperton, Tom Strang, George Fleming, Eric Liddle and Frank Anderson.

"Truly magical times and memories of playing such great music. If I was asked to pick one piece of music it would be Candi Staton, andYoung Hearts Run Free from that very hot summer of 1976.”

Last summer owners David and Bill Johnston announced their intention to retire on Storm’s Facebook page and stated the long established Meadow Street premises would be continuing under new management.

The new owner is local man Steven Dougall, managing director, of Horizon Reinforcing and Crane Ltd, based in Falkirk’s Dollar Industrial Estate.

He plans to reopen the nightspot under the name he knew it best – the Maniqui.

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