When Darren brought up the idea of Bethnal Green Working Mens Club one hazy Saturday afternoon, we looked at him with a bit of confusement. "No no," he exclaimed. "It’s really cool!" Really? A working mens club is cool? "Yes, they are sometimes on rollerskates!" We decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, albeit with one eyebrow raised.
My birthday rocked round and options for where to go seemed pretty limited. We could have an admittedly great time at Wig-Out or we could try something different. Purusing the wonders of the world wide web, I happened across Oh My God I Miss You: The Hellfire Club at, well would you believe it, the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club. Aah this was fate.
The website itself scared quite a lot of my friends who wondered exactly what I was planning on taking them to. After all the dress code was that you should have a ‘touch of the whore’ about you. Brilliant.
It promised sleazy kitch, rock & roll, classics, showtunes, rockabilly, oddball delights and a taste of the devil.
So off we went about 1030, and arrived at a mammoth queue. Hooray. Eventually after lots of standing in the cold and being allowed in 2 at a time, we all got in and watched cool young 20somethings go to the groundfloor, and those you may associate more traditionally with a WMC downstairs. What exactly was downstairs we may never know, but the Guardian indicates that our room is run as a separate licensed venue rented out from the WMC itself.
So the room was a large square, mainly carpeted and full of elaborately dressed up twentysomethings with a devil on the stage. When we entered Editors – Munich was playing. A fabulous song, but surely a bit safe and regular given the music policy. Within about 20 minutes the regular indie was pushed aside and a more random selection ensued. We were happy.
Great thing #2 : Lots of people I know happen to live near us randomly. And we saw them all there. Hooray.
Great thing #3 : Everything was decorated in a really fun way. You can tell the promoters put a lot of effort in.
Great thing #4 : It was fun buying random things to wear, and getting a smidge dressed up in silly things. James had a cane, Naomi a bowler hat, Darren a leopard skin scarf. Jeez we’re hardcore.
Great thing #5 : It was like being back at uni, walking from the union to Hurst. It took us 5 mins to walk home. Sweet!
Bad thing #1 : The door queue was massive, and they seemed really disorganised about who they were letting in and who they were making wait longer.
Bad thing #2 : It was quite hot
So yes, it was rather good and it’s definately got the Karinski stamp of approval. Hooray!
We look forward to many more nights at the WMC. Sometimes Mark Lamarr plays rockabilly, sometimes they have tea partys and bake sales. Sometimes they play bingo and learn how to jive. I get the feeling we might be going there quite a bit.
[writing about Saturday 11 February]