Friday night we went to see The Blues Band at the Ritz Ballroom in Brighouse, as part of their 25th anniversary tour. I last saw them when I was 14 in Leeds, probably at least partly interested because their lead chappie Paul Jones was at the time playing Uncle Jack in the kids TV series of the same name. Another 14 years later they still have the amazing energy they had then, and they played a great set with lots of their own stuff, and a smattering of Ray Charles songs in tribute.
As a gig this would have been great, but what made it even more fun was the company and the venue and most of all the venue's regulars. Not only were there the 5 immediate family there but both of my sisters' boyfriends joined us, along with two sets of family friends, John and Virginia and Steve and Jane. I hadn't seen these friends in quite a while so it was nice to catch up amongst other things.
The Ritz is one of the oddest places I've been in a while though. It has a stage up the front, a large sprung dancefloor, and seating round the edges which they had extended partly into the dancefloor space for the evening, plus a bar at the back and a kitchen selling an entertaining menu of snacks headed with Pie and Peas. And the ceilings still have big chandeliers, and there's gold trim round the top of the walls, and lots of red velvet curtains. A real slightly-down-at-heel old dancehall.
As well as having the occasional band in they have music every Friday night, Ceroc dance classes on Thursdays, god knows what on other nights, and tea dances in the afternoons. It seems that the Ceroc dancers tend to come along every Friday regardless of who's playing, which lead to a completely weird atmosphere. Throughout the first half of the set the dance floor was dominated by dancing, with the music fans occasionally being brave enough to go and bop for a bit. In the second half the front by the stage became more like yer average gig with a fair crowd standing and watching raptly, but with some of the dancing still bravely going on towards the back.
And what dancing. I've never been to a Ceroc class, but it seems like odd stuff. Partner dancing with lots of twirling each other round. And some of the people there were obviously pretty damned good at it. There was on couple who had us completely rapt for half the night, not quite being able to believe in the ra-ra mini-skirt, gold 2-inch heels and cropped spangly top combination of the woman, and the bloke barely her height, bald and in a tie-dye-ish shirt, both doing the most implausible sorts of moves to accompany blues.
It was a fabulous night, with so many things rolled together it was impossible not to have fun, even though I'd arrived in a not terribly cheery state of mind. I should definitely get out to more places where I can get up and dance though, it's briliant exercise, and more interesting than the gym.
On Saturday I got up far earlier than I would normally consider sensible and me and mum went clothes shopping while Dad went round the supermarket. This was surprisingly fun. BHS had quite a lot of nice things, mostly up to a size 20. Unfortunately their size 20 varies by quite a bit so some of them were a bit on the big size and some a bit small, but I did find a rather nice long flowy natural linen mix skirt, and a pretty blouse to go with it, which mum bought for me, and then we wandered along to Evans and I found a seriously scary bright pink top with gold sequins on, which turned out to be perfect. Also finally found the strappy tshirty material nightie I've been looking for for months.
Lunch back home was pie and peas, with inspiration from the night before. Good stuff. And then I piled in the back of the car with John and Emily and headed over to Steph and Dave's. John was abandoned to cope as well as he could with Dave's geeky friends, and the rest of us piled back in the car with Steph and headed over to the photographic studio. The prize my mum had won was a time in the studio with all of us, and a preview of the pics next week, when they can choose one print to have free, and decide if they want to buy some others too. Looking at the prices this is obviously an excellent gimmick, since the photos themselves are *exceedingly* expensive. Mum and Dad will be choosing which ones they like without my help though, since I shalln't be heading back up just for that.
Darren introduced himself and took us up to the studio, which had a big white part of the room with the wall and the floor sloped into each other, and lots of diffuse lighting. In fact in first it looked as if that bit of room wasn't there at all and that it was just a plain white wall. He soon had us posing in a variety of ways. Starting with a couple of us perched on steps and boxes and the rest standing around, to one with dad lying on the floor and the rest of us draped over him from various angles trying not to giggle too much and fall over. He was constantly making baby-noises at us and grinning and awwwing which had us in stitches.
Nope, gone off to have dinner and now I've run out of steam. We had a nice BBQ at Dave's after that, got up late today and slightly hungover, had a nice Sunday lunch and came home. RJK is full of hayfever, I'm full of cold, the kitchen is for some reason full of ants, and I'm too knackered to write any more. Oh yeah, and I'm currently blonde.