The club entertainment scene, as it was once known and enjoyed by so many communities, is now a mere fragment of what used to exist during the heydays of the 1970’s. Mark Ritchie looks at the way those who still work the social clubs are treated these days, compared to during its heydays.
Within military circles, it is often said that battle is the crucible in which character is formed and Clubland entertainers almost invariably end up involved in battle at some juncture in their career. In the old days the act of ‘paying someone off’ by giving them a portion of their agreed fee, or even sending the off penniless was commonplace. Nowadays judgements in small claims courts have put a stop to this practise. Today the battles conducted between club officials, agent’s and visiting entertainers can be more nuanced, although many are, in my view, now just as unnecessary and out of date as they ever were.
The old Etiquette is no longer observed in many cases. In the old days, if someone wished to even knock on the artistes dressing room door, they had to ask the club chairman for permission. So frequently now, people just take it on themselves to go walking into dressing rooms, which can be particularly alarming for female artistes. Since the advent of karaoke, some people think they can clamber on-stage at will while the entertainer is performing. There are of course huge public liability implications, if the artiste is misrepresented by suggesting he/she/they invited the invader up there under the spotlights. Many totally disregard the fact that a singer may be in the middle of a song and approach the front of the stage to ask for a request or merely to start chatting right in the middle of the show.
On the other hand, many clubs have now started to offer tea and coffee facilities, or even a free soft drink at the bar for visiting entertainers who in many cases have travelled huge distances to do their jobs.
I still venture out regularly to perform odd gigs here and here and one club in Halifax recently caused a huge problem, due to neighbours parking right at the foot of what is supposedly a fire escape and egress for acts to clamber up in the darkness and dump their gear on the stage.
People who buy or rent houses next to clubs, only to subsequently discover ‘shock-horror’, that crowds of people come and go, there can be parking problems and live music is being performed inside the premises seems to be disregarded, due to the apparent self-interest of others. The 21st century lack of community spirit and the growing feeling of entitlement seem to be the main drivers of the very real problems which exist in and around so many 21st century live music venues.
We continue to look for area correspondents who could collate and send us information across the national club scene. If you have a Clubland related story to tell, please e-mail all your Clubland information to firstname.lastname@example.org