Back at base camp, we donned our glad rags and pirouetted down to the Stardust Cabaret Bar (think swirly carpets and swirly ceilings) to watch the permanently smiling bluecoats strut their amateur stuff. We were greeted by pissed-up pensioners and sprightly sprogs. As far as we could tell, we were the only wooly-woofters in wonderland (apart from a light fairy dusting from one or two of the bluecoats, obviously). We’d arrived at the tail end of a line dancing hour and sat back to marvel at a small company of wrinklies giving their pacemakers a welcome workout. The dosey doe harmonies were supplied by one woman and her magnificent organ. I ordered a couple of drinks from a barmaid called Richard. She’d mislaid her badge, apparently. Taking a table next to a couple of senior citizens, we nodded a polite (if slightly nervous) hello. We needn’t have bothered. Mr Senior had already nodded off into his half-pint of ‘mild’. Mrs Senior made no attempt to check for a pulse so we guessed he hadn’t yet expired. “That’ll be us in twenty years,” whispered. Liam. “You’re kidding,” I replied. “That’s us now.”
The headline act was local lass Toni Warne, a finalist from the BBC show The Voice. Liam could hardly contain his excitement. As he shivered in anticipation, the dressing room door inexplicably blew open to reveal a startled MC sucking on an illicit fag. Once recomposed, the camp compere minced out onto the floor to introduce the star turn. “Please give it up for Toni Ward.” Ms Warne didn’t let his faux pas get her down and belted out a string of old standards and modern classics from Doris Day and Barbra Streisand to Adele and Jessie J, all bang in tune. Mrs Senior turned down her hearing aid I suspect she and the rest of the audience would have preferred a spot of Vera Lynn. Liam thought Ms Warne had a great voice for musical theatre. I felt rather sorry for her. I thought aspiring stars gigged at Pontin’s before making it big, not after.
Despite the so-so weather and jaded Seventies social club ambience, we rather enjoyed our windswept blast from the past. Thank you, Pontin’s. You perked up these weary travelling pansies and provided a quiet place to rest and write.
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