Sat. 1st June 2002
|For all of you who feel that you’re missing
out on good 40‘s do’s here in Germany, it’s definitely time that you got
yourself off to the Jitterbug Ball in London. This year was the 9th time
this exclusive event has taken place. Myself and lots of of other international
swing fans from USA, Italy, Norway, Denmark, France, Switzerland and of
course England, all found their way to this „the most talked-about 1940‘s
dance in the UK“. A fabulous event that every 30‘s and 40‘s fan would
Prior to the main event, a “Pre-Ball Celebration Dinner” took place. I however, did not partake, but observed from outside whilst enjoying the sounds of Sophie Garner singing to piano accompaniment. We queued up with a few hundred others in front of the hall (very correct and polite in single file) and waited patiently for the doors to open – which wasn’t so terrible considering the beautiful summer weather and the fun and friendly atmosphere.
The Hammersmith town hall has a lovely 1930‘s Art-Deco ballroom with a huge wooden dance floor which, due to the great sounds of the OPUS ONE BIG BAND, THE BIG HEAT and DJ, ROBIN‘S BAKELITE BOOGIE, was constantly bulging with dancers.
At around 11.45 p.m. the little British flags started to wave and together with the big band war-time songs were sung ( Songsheet ). I personally found this part a bit of an atmosphere killer - I would have much rather carried on dancing – but it seems that such an event is just not complete without a „sing-a-long“ which I can only say seems to be „Very British“ but I have to admit it was also good fun.
Between dances you could get yourself togged up in original 40‘s gear from Mickey and Debbie’s clothes stall, or take advantage of the talents of top photographer Mr. Gordon Ayres and get photographed in authentic black and white 1940‘s glamour style. Waiting at the bar to be served seemed to last for ages – but of course the „good housewife“ always has a little something in her hand bag for such occasions...
Unfortunately this evening passed by far too quickly and, at exactly 1.00 am, the evening ended with a rendition of „God save the King“. That the event ended so early was my one and only criticism of the whole evening – typical for England – but by then my feet were getting pretty sore and worn-out (tip from me - make sure that you bring really comfortable footwear – in London you’re always on your feet!).
In London there is simply so much to see and so many places to visit – and there’s always a 40’s swing dance going on somewhere in the vicinity.
Below some useful addresses for swing events in London and surrounding area:
Maybe I’ll see you there somewhere, sometime.