Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Summer Nights at the Rivoli

Cut a Shine

The launch party for Lewisham People's Day last Friday saw a packed and very hot dance floor at the Rivoli , thanks to Cut a Shine and their raucous ceilidh/barn dance set. There were people spinning in circles, dancing under arches and looking around in confusion as they struggled to keep up with the instructions from the caller as the drink took effect (or was that just me?)

All of this in the fabulous ballroom and its railway carriage-like bar.

Brockley Ukulele Group supported, and thanks to this I got to poke around backstage for the first time. Among the treasures to be found in its red painted corridor was this vintage cash register from the days when a pint cost 6d.

Florence and The Machine

A few days later (Tuesday 7th), Florence and The Machine held the launch party for her debut album at the Rivoli. Florence is from Camberwell, and the album Lungs is getting fantastic reviews. With Brixton's La Roux also riding high it looks like the predicted South London Redhead Insurgency is in full effect.

(photo by Nialler9 at Flickr)

Jive Dancing

I've also just come across this article from The Independent (2.11.2008) by Luiza Sauma on Austerity Entertainment: Hot to Trot: 'Britain may be in financial turmoil, but inside south London's Rivoli Ballroom, you'd never know it. Under the scarlet glow of the venue's giant Chinese lanterns, hundreds of people are jiving the night away, while a band in 1940s garb swing out on stage. At the centre of the dancing mass, a beautiful girl in a white 1920s-style flapper dress is kicking her heels on the wooden floor, a gleeful smile on her face. In fact, Deborah is 41 and works in HR, but the carefree way she moves makes her look 20 years younger. No one else can match her, but they try anyway: from the eight-year-old dancing with her dad, to the teenagers with indie hair and vintage frocks. There are white people, black people, Asian people; old, young and middle-aged; all dancing together, as if they don't have a care in the world'.

"We invite everybody along, as long as they behave themselves – and why not?" says the Rivoli's amiable owner, Bill Mannix, who has been running the grade II-listed venue for 30 odd years, and dutifully preserving its original flock wallpaper, chandeliers and plush velvet furnishings. In the past, this is what people have always done during troubled times – they cobbled together their glad rags, and went out dancing...' (lots more in the full article).

For details of jive dancing at the Rivoli, check out Jive Party.

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