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Remembering The Matrix, Ripon: The saddest hometown club of them all

It was next door to a florist and had a revolving dance floor


The city of Ripon is an uneventful place. Being the fourth smallest city in the country, it’s smaller than most towns, and is known for it’s picturesque views and rich history. It is thought to have inspired many of the key elements of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, has strong ties to Wilfred Owen, and is home to the ancient tradition of the Hornblower. All of this attracts many tourists to the quaint little town.

However, let’s be honest, if you’re not a tourist and/or aged over sixty, Ripon is kind of boring. There’s not that much to do except wander the cobbled streets amongst all the local shops and the many, many Italian restaurants that keep popping up. When you’re a teenager especially, Ripon isn’t the most eventful place to be. But there are a few of us who remember a better time. When there was a place that tried to fix this problem, and give us a place to pass the time by doing stuff we would later regret. The centre of Ripon’s nightlife. The one, the only, ‘The Matrix’.

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Music AND dancing?!

Affectionately known as ‘Trix’ to the locals, ‘The Matrix’ was the place to be in Ripon for a good while. Probably because it was the only nightclub in the entire town. Trix, unfortunately, closed down a few years ago now, despite the many campaigns and petitions to keep it open. Riponers are now forced to take the arduous, half-hour journey to Harrogate for their nights out. But no matter what, ‘The Matrix’ will always hold a special place in our hearts, as it truly was the saddest hometown club to ever have been.

Why was it so sad you ask? Well, it had a revolving dance floor and was literally one room next door to a florist. Does that answer your question? It feels slightly strange (and even more sad) to be drunk raving to some tunes while you know there’s a shop full of flowers right next to you. A bunch of sixth-formers getting off with each other where people buy wedding bouquets is just a little bit bizarre. Though, to be fair to ‘The Matrix’, can you name any other club where the dance floor spins? It was quite unique; you definitely have to give it that.

Trix was the place to be on a Friday night

Though, perhaps the thing that is remembered most about ‘The Matrix’ is those dodgy under 18s nights that were held there every Friday. That was where most of Ripon’s teenagers made their biggest mistakes, and you could be sure that the night would pass without a single dull moment.

Those nights were so notorious, locals knew to avoid the town centre after a certain time, as it would be full of swarms of teenagers drunk off the cheap cider that their mates older brother got them from Sainsbury’s. In fact, it got to the point where Trix had to stop hosting these under 18 nights, as things were getting a bit too out of hand. They were even worse than the regular club nights, and we all have fond, somewhat regretful, memories of them.

Getting ready for a night at The Matrix

But, to be honest, we all saw its closure coming. For years there were rumours of its shut down, and at times it seemed that these rumours were true. But thanks to tireless campaigns from the locals, desperate for somewhere to have a booze up other than Wetherspoons, the closure kept getting delayed.

Ripon would rejoice at the news that their one singular night club was to remain open, and we would all be relieved at not having to pay the ridiculous fare of the 36 bus to get to Vipers in Harrogate. No, we could save our £7.50 for shots at Trix, which was merely walking distance from home. No having to worry about the fact that the buses stop at 11pm, or the fact that public transport in North Yorkshire is appalling. Not having to pay thirty quid for the taxi ride home. No – we had the Matrix, and life was good.

The Matrix saved many from the dreaded taxi ride home

But, alas, at long last the dreaded day came. And, on new years’ eve 2015, we said one final farewell to ‘The Matrix’. Ripon’s one and only nightclub was no more. The town was devastated – there was even a hashtag on Twitter. The petitions could only do so much. And, as much of a dive as it was, it will always hold a special place in our hearts. Trix – truly the saddest hometown club of them all.