3 April 2010

Must hang Sally

Glee Club, Bedfont, June

Farewell to the Royal Oak, Bedfont. At the end of June the old girl was meant to be pulled down to make way for a hotel complex to service Heathrow. What a bloody shame. tVC have done 3 parties here. And this is the farewell. We arrive as the blues band, who are on till 11, start their set. We can set up when the band has finished and go on till, ooh, at least 9am. Maybe beyond.

The last time we played here the very same blues band played covers, not your usual ones, but, well, mainly the usual ones, but a few wild ones thrown in, just to off kilter the mainly biker crowd (lovely chaps and chappesses). A Parliament song for example. Anyway at the end, around 11.15, they shout out; "Any requests?" and we were always shouting back, "Mustang Sally! Mustang Sally! Coz as everyone knows, this Commitments classic is to blues bands what Hi Ho Silver Lining is to wedding receptions.

But they never did it. Tonight, for the third time, the routine is well established. 11.15 comes. They finish their last song. "Any requests?" they shout. "Mustang Sally," some one behind the bar shouts. Every one in the pub is pissing themselves. It's a stitch up. 2 women jump from the crowd and stand behind a mic. The opening chords to Mustang Sally break out and the whole room is up, whooping and clapping and shrieking. We were on one, matey. Us cynical old clubbers, the rock flame long extinguished, suddenly re-ignites. And the power of rock music to move the emotions is there again for one bright, shining instant. Then it's over. By the time the band wring out 'just one more chorus', the horse is dead, been flogged and is rotting on the flesh by the time they finish. We put our rock spark back in its little cupboard, never to be seen again. Well, maybe when Jeff Beck's Hi Ho is played at the next wedding you appear at.

The blues has given the pub its swansong. Now it was the turn of house music. It's packed solid. "Right now!" shouts the landlord. "Everyone who's staying" (all of us) "is going to have to pay a fiver." It's a free party! What are you doing. Be quiet. "Or leave!" Half the pub stampedes at the door. The other half mumble protests.
Half an hour later the rig's up and running but there's no money to be extracted from the crowd. No money and lost half the crowd, not an auspicious start.

We don't care. We're used to playing to one man and his dog. Still there, people from Kent, Acton, Kingston, a right west London crowd. Adam turns up. Def E turns up. Oz and Shaun are here. They all do 2 hours. And it's bloody great. The DJs love these intimate soirees.

In the morning the landlord says, "You may as well take these," and pats two crates of Fosters Ice, "and have a drink when you get back!" Taa very much. And goodbye Royal Oak.

After following Charles' bassed up Audi for a while we stop and pick up 3 more sub bass bins that need to be loaded to make a noise with. Then head home, secure in the knowledge, that yes, we like London, we love doing parties there, but we don't half love going back to our little seaside town to watch a decent sunset.