Posted by: docdenbow | August 8, 2012

Tales From The Workingman’s Clubs

Having had a go at Olympic drug cheats in my last in my last couple of posts, I thought this time instead of venting my spleen at what must be said are very easy targets that I would write about something else. I usually end up writing about rock albums when I can’t think of much else to write about, but not this time. Besides I don’t think anyone would be too interested in reading tales of Glam Rock bands like Wrathchild, Pet Hate, Silverwing et al. So let’s move swiftly on and gloss over that.

Instead I will tell you two stories told to me that the teller assured me were true, I only hope and pray that they are.

Story The First.

Over the years this geezer that I know has played in a wide variety of “local groups.” You know the sort of groups I’m talking about. Saturday night kings who play the songs some of us know and hate in pubs and clubs the length and breadth of this sceptered isle. Now this geezer has played in about a million groups and I’m sure there that are many tales to be told from the “ordinary” groups. This tale, however, comes from his days playing with that now extinct beast that was known as a “comedy group.” Now these “comedy groups” usually coupled crap musicianship with feeble attempts at humour, some scaled the heights and got repeat bookings whilst others never got to come back after the Bingo! My mate’s group featured a couple of really good musos and a couple of headcases so my guess is that they were pretty good.

Anyway the story goes like this…..This group, let’s call them The Rockers (not the real name) always liked to open their shows with a bang, a gimmick if you get my drift. As they usually played in Workingmen’s Clubs there was invariably a “Compere” AKA Bingo Caller who handled the mic and introduced just about everything that ever happened in the Club. It was this bloke that The Rockers wanted to get involved with the opening of their shows. The usual routine was midway through the “Compere’s” introduction one of the group would scamper on to the stage and “kidnap” said “Compere.” and much hilarity would ensue. The “Compere” would be given a simple script and would be advised that as soon as he said ”The Rockers” then the “kidnap” would begin. The script went some like this –

“We’ve got a fantastic group you tonight! So please welcome “The Rockers!!!!”

So this “Compere” hit the stage as “The Rockers” waited backstage. He solemnly took the mic and surveyed the expectant audience. He began to speak…..

“Ladies and gentlemen. I have some sad news for you. Our former Chairman Reg passed away this morning, so let’s have 2 minutes silence before “The Rockers” entertain us”

Of course as soon as “The Rockers” was heard on pile 5 blokes and a sack which they put over the “Compere’s” head and dragged him off the stage whilst the theme to “Mission Impossible” was played through the PA.

That was the 2 minutes silence shattered in a most interesting manner……………….

Story The Second

Same geezer was involved in this one as well. It was 1995 that this happened – the year is important. This Workingman’s Club was having a Charity Night and had got a few local bands to ply their trade gratis in order to help in fundraising activities. My mate was playing in a duo, 2 chaps acoustic guitars and some backing tracks. Anyway having done his bit he settled down to have a few pints, and a few pints became a few pints more

When it came time to introduce the headline act no one was around so this geezer I know duly volunteered. He took to centre stage mic in hand and swaying gently under the influence of alcohol took a deep breath and announced

“Our bill topper tonight is….with a tribute to the music of Queen and Billy Mercury….please give a warm welcome to……………………..Fred West!!!!!!!”

That announcement bought the house down – Billy West wasn’t best pleased though.

Ciao For Now



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