Coming of Age: Mousetrap 21st Anniversary Bash, Orleans Finsbury Park.
As is my custom of a Saturday evening, I like to take my time getting ready for a night out. Treat myself, put on some tunes – maybe some smooth soul, a touch of vintage blues, a couple of up-tempo funk numbers, a bit of psychedelic jazz if the feeling takes me – music I can glide around in my underpants to after a nice relaxing shower/shave combo, as the white twenty-something in me tries in vain to match Curtis Mayfield note for note whilst also pretending that my mum isn’t smirking at me from the other room. And then it’s time for the main event: the outfit. A once tidy abode quickly becomes strewn with multiple pairs of trousers, shirt and tie couplings, loafers/lace-ups/boots; coats collide with knits and roll necks and every colour of sock imaginable until bingo… there it is. From mad technicoloured jumble sale that now comprises my bedroom the winning sartorial combination has majestically presented itself. Or so you would like to think. You know the drill. If you’re going to go narcissist then what’s the point in going half way? And as the music plays out in the background you’re set to go. At least that’s the usual ritual…
But not tonight. Tonight of all nights being a Mousetrap night and with the crucial preparation buffer zone period rolling towards half past 10, I am nowhere near the sanctuary of my bedroom or my wardrobe. I am in fact racing home on the London rail network reeking of beer and tandoori chicken. It’s amazing just how far an impromptu curry with a mate can set you back on a Saturday evening. Combine that with snail paced public transport and you’re practically in no-man’s land. With our ritual 10-minute train ride to Finsbury Park sailing through the neighbourhood at 20 past 11 and the time all ready 20 to I am compelled to jog at break-sweat speed in a desperate attempt to spare some vital time indoors. All the while I have been turning over potential clothing solutions to my now doomed current attire. Making the most of crisis mode I muster up a winner and grabbing a bottle of beer on the way out hot step it down to the station with 2 minutes to spare. My fellow reveller just manages to get on the train at the next station and then we’re on our way. Finally.
Fast-forward two hours…
Amidst the battling puddles of talc and spilt drinks the proverbial rug is being well and truly cut over the sound of the Five Royales. Within the cramped and sweaty conditions of Orleans basement bar the electric atmosphere of the dancers shines through the overt lack of lighting. Loafers criss-cross and dolly shoes quick step with no intentions of missing a beat. There is the usual throng at the bar waiting with wide eyes to drink from Orlean’s famous disposable cups. The peripheral dancefloor shelves are already littered 3 deep with half drunk Red Stripe and Stella cans though it seems no one really has time to finish them with most people shaking limbs to the driving rhythm and blues beat.
Having been a Mousetrap Regular for nearing 3 years I’ve never known this night to be any different. And rest assured, this time round it is the clubs 21st Anniversary. Just by scanning the bustling room you could imagine it going for another 21, as long as everyone has their feet left and the fantastic records haven’t been spun smooth. Lest we forget that most of these records have lived through multiple decades delighting the ears and feet of countless people past and present. Tonight’s specials are a winning combination of Northern and Club Soul, vintage R&B, Ska and Boogaloo. From the moment we descend the steps into the thumping subterranean den to the moment we drag ourselves back up to the cruel late-Winter morning, the dancing is ceaseless. Amongst the many immaculate individuals gathered here just looking good is not enough – the inevitable trip to the dry cleaners is a sure fire sign of a sustained stint on the dance floor.
A serious mod jazz vibe is going down as I return from some fresh air an upbeat saxophone spills over a jaunty off beat as shoulders drop to Jolly Jax mod banger ‘’Preciate It’. A few further bangers later and the masterful organ of ‘I’m Longing for You Quick’ by Ann Caudell has the floor alive once more. It’s these little shots of vinyl magic that really transport you to another time. And boy does it get you moving. Alongside hits of classic sax and Hammond sit huge soul dancers ‘Indian Giver’ by the Chantels and ‘Never Learnt to Dance’ by Harvey Averne. Feet don’t fail me now; you could cut the atmosphere with a leather sole.
With spirits running high and being poured the music moves into a Ska section with a bit of Prince Buster. At the encouragement of certain friends some brief and far from mastered ‘Russian dancing’ is momentarily introduced to the floor, of which my trousers and my knee ligaments are lucky to walk away from. Though I will definitely be feeling the results of this the next afternoon.
The rest of the night plays out to prime northern soul and true to form we are sad to have to leave the dance floor. After another fantastic Mousetrap evening all that’s left to be said is a big congratulations to Rob Bailey and the rest of the team on London’s finest underground club night making to full legal adult age (Mousetrap can now drink even in the USA). If the tide is strong enough and we haven’t all been wiped out by nuclear Armageddon 1960’s Cold War style then this one may even make it to free bus pass age.
Arthur Gun over and out.
Powered by Max Banner Ads