Sunday, 14 March 2010

Come Dancing

One thing I love about London is its nightlife. Not all your big fancy super-clubs like Ministry and Fabric, but all the little random nights in random places, full of random people.
Take my last two nights out for example (if only because they happened within a week of each other and make me sound like a social butterfly). Just over a week ago I went to a night called “How Does It Feel to Be Loved” in the function room of a pub in Brixton. Although the music was not quite to my taste (sorry Mr DJ but too much emphasis on obscure 60’s Soul and not enough of the Northern variety – please take note) it was a very pleasant night out. It did feel a bit like a student’s union, but that’s okay, because I used to like going to my student’s union and went to a couple of nights out in such bars when I moved to London. Cheap and cheerful, as was this night at the bargain price of £4 (for members, darling).
What really made it was the crowd. The atmosphere was relaxed. People were laughing and talking to strangers. Men and women danced together, not gyrating their hips together like some bad version of Dirty Dancing, but dancing how they wanted to dance. Okay so a couple of people were clearly on the pull, but their advances were playful and harmless, not groping and intimidating.
I had fun.
Last night I ventured out for a boogie once more, but of a slightly different nature. With stockings with a seam up the back, elbow length satin gloves and a mini hat and veil accessorising my look I headed off to the Blitz Party near Old Street. Held in an obscure warehouse-type building just off the main road, armed service uniforms, pencil skirts and tea dresses were the dress code. Straight hair was out and carefully curled hair was in. Moustaches turned up at the end. You get the picture.
So, after a rather tasty Gin Fizz we headed to the dance floor and picked up some swinging moves as we listened to a bit of Vera Lynn and a couple of impressive live acts (it’s easy to pick up – just kind of swing your legs out at the knees and pretend to wash a car). Although the “rations” looked tasty (scotch eggs and ham and cheese bloomer sandwiches) I decided to spend my housekeeping on a selection of cocktails priced at £6 ½ (cute, eh?). A couple of rounds in I was well into my roaring forties groove.
Sadly, some people can’t take their drink. Put it down to the stresses of the war or the lack of nutrition the Blitz’s diet offered (told you I got into it) but the flow of gin, Spitfire and champers was a bit too much for some. Even in their finery people soon forgot the simple etiquette of moving through a crowded enclosed space (gently placing your hand on someone’s shoulder to warn them you are coming through if you were wondering) and elbows became a weapon of choice. One couple managed to ruffle our feathers on more than one occasion, barging into members of my party, spilling my drink down my blouse (honestly!). They then decided to have a spin on the dance floor, which is fair enough, but without any regard for anyone else, bouncing off anyone who happened to get in the way of their moves. When queuing to collect our coats they even had the audacity to try and push in front of us. Luckily my friend Leila was there to push right back past them and put her own elbows to good use (well done Leila!).
Then there were the men. We had concluded upon arrival that there was a very small quantity of single straight men. Not that we were looking, of course. But, as the liquor flowed, hands started to rove. My arse got pinched. Someone gestured squeezing Leila’s boobs. Another chap took a real shine to my other friend Laura and collapsed onto her in some kind of attempt of dance before wandering off into the crowd trying out his pulling technique on other women as he went.
Maybe all those stockings and heels were too much for them. It certainly was for me by the end of the night. Being a tall lady I am not accustomed to heels and my feet were less than grateful for my efforts at wartime glamour. Having said that, getting all dressed up was a nice change, as was the music and dancing.
Shame the crowd who joined me in that function room in Brixton hadn’t been here though. That would have been the icing on the cake. But that would have been having my cake and eating it I suppose.
My quest for the perfect night out in London continues. Watch this space.

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