At The Foot Of The Stairs Theres Darkness The mighty 100 Club, saturday night, was fun...........
I've regularly descended these stairs for over 30 years and still it's a great place to be. It's oh so easy to take places for granted and then they are suddenly gone. I've done that with many places over the years. But saturday night in Old London Town made me realise just how special this small 4,000 sqft odd of the capitol city really is.
Many that go treat it as something special and arrive during the day meeting at many points round the city for pre-nighter shenanigans and in this age of technology the airways are full of texts and PM's of 'We are at ...', Where are you', 'Landed......' etc.
So to our little jaunt, we arrive early evening in North London for a little supper with Butch & Naoko at their flat. She had cooked up a Japanese, Spanish fusion that hit the spot. Conversation between Butch & I soon got round to current 45's, old record finding stories and dealers in the U.S. we have both known, trying to identify possible record hunting targets for the future. Then heading out with the drive down through North London, to arrive at a respectable time. When did 20mph zones appear? think I got flashed somewhere around Islington, I mean 20mph, that means driving in second gear!!!.
Anyway parking round the back, as we rounded the last corner and coming onto Oxford Street, we see the usual gaggle of people outside smoking furiously. The air is thick with that machine gun fast conversation fuelled by excitement and ....... The door staff are new faces to me, gone are the dependable guys, who used to let you pass with a knowing nod and entry as if a member of a secret society. All a little too brusk in their manner and full of their importance, but hey, they get the job done.
Descending those well worn stairs, now masked by the new entrance lobby, 'let the games begin'. Immediately welcomed by familiar faces, Tony Smith, who counts them in and counts them out, like a sentinel on duty. The room is packed to the gunnels, dance floor pulsating in one with the booming sound system. The first pass through the room over to the end wall, where for years high valued pieces of plastic have been traded over, is a slow process. Greetings from familiar faces, shouted welcomes over the sound system, all with that genuine look of being pleased to see you, Eddie Hubbard, Leona & Adi, Soulful Crisï, Jon Buck, Mick Heffernan, and homeboy Leon Brown, the list is a long one, it gives you a feeling of comfort and that 'I'm glad I came'. OK now down to the serious business of talking bollocks, with occasional trips to the dance floor, I am getting older, so need to pace myself. Now this was an anniversary, so not completely typical of current 100 club nights.
Early hours entertainment came in the shape of Ady Croasdell, mastermind behind the last 35 years of this club, playing a selection of his new finds from the Kent endeavours and old guard stalwarts Mick Smith and Roger, sadly no room for newer young gun Joel Maslin tonight on the rosta. Both of these played a selection of tried and tested bangers to a happy frenetic dance floor, with whirling dervishes in the shape of Yann Vatise, Ali Wollaston, Malayka and the rare ‘lesser spotted’ James Trouble mastering the floor. They in turn were followed by The Butchmister who unleashed his ‘weapons of mass destruction’ on the room. Energy levels hit maximum, the whole room is suddenly in the grip of ‘Marco Time’ as he bounces round the stage, urging on the whole room with woops, hollers and wolf whistles, at any moment now The Santochi is going to explode. Jax Transit Authority, Sag Warfare, the room is in hyper drive, oh what fun !!!
Keith Money then takes to the stage and delivers his dependable set of high quality supa rarities and so these first few hours demonstrates why The 100 Club is special and held its place as the club that it is in the UK for so many years. 60’s, 70’s supa rare, classic bangers, the latest new discoveries, all played in one room, bringing people from all parts of the country together for a manic few hours.
No promoters dictating the play list, no punters none tolerant of other peoples musical tastes. Other places have come and gone, had their moment in the limelight, but The 100 Club marches on, fun-bloody-tastic.