Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I know it's only rock and roll.....

The thought of going out on a Friday or Saturday night holds less and less appeal in London. When once the weekend was looked forward to with eager anticipation, an endless sea of hedonistic pleasures, now, the streets where I live start to fill up early with packs of eager young ladies, scantily clad (why is it the bigger the girl, the smaller the outfit?), and totally up for it. Burly bouncers stand po-faced rocking on their Doc Martens outside the once humble pub, checking the lads who shuffle about in the cold night air, violently sucking in the smoke, puffing out their Clearasiled cheeks, rummaging in their condom stuffed pockets for their ID. Anything over 35 heads for home, by 9 the streets are deserted of all grown-up life, herded on by the youth police, "Move along there's nothing for you out here." A few brave the dark and scurry off to the theatre or a restaurant, the natural home of the mature, but otherwise Friday and Saturday nights appear to belong to the young.

So it was with some trepidation that last Saturday night I went to see a band. It was cold and wet and very windy but the venue was only round the corner and the friend of the friend was very keen to galvanise the troops, so, fuelled with a couple of vodka tonics, off we went.

Outside the north London cellar, teenagers with cigarettes and mobile phones thronged. My initial instinct was to tell then to put their coats on and although we looked more like parents there to pick up children, with hands stamped, we descended the stairs into a small basement room. Beneath Highbury we discovered a hot, dimly lit bar reminiscent of a Paris club or East village haunt. Boys with full beards (what is that about?) and girls in silky scarves and bits of black lace (reminding me of my own college days) mixed with a number of balding, bespectacled men of a certain age, two with pony tales and one in a navy blazer, all lurking in the gloom.

We found our party and ordered drinks at which point the band came on stage, more a sort of platform really, and to my great joy, they were older than me...... Anyway, they were very.....enthusiastic and quite entertaining in a Lobster Rock sort of way and, after the second vodka and much posturing and posing by the lead singer, we were cheering with the crowd. The man with the mic turned out to be Valentine Guinness, as in the famous pint, and the band was The New Forbidden. We were standing at the bar which, because of the size of the venue, was also the side of the stage, when suddenly Valentine careered towards us and started pointing. At me. I don't know what the lyrics he was singing were but I only hope they were complimentary...........The biggest shock though was when he introduced the band. "On lead guitar....Loyd Grossman"!! Is it only me that didn't know that Loyd 'through the keyhole' Grossman by day is a rock God by night?
I mean, who'd have thought..........

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