Getting on for thirty years ago, one of my plumbers Roger told me that he and a group of his friends had nurtured a dream for some years. They’d formed their own “Entertainment Group” playing and singing in pubs and clubs all over London. He invited my wife and I to his next gig at a Loughton night club. Apparently he’d also invited several others from our workforce in Hackney to be there. I took the name of the road that the club was in and assured Roger that we would be there.
Jan, my wife, had some little trepidation at meeting the blokes I worked with every day. But I knew she was more than up to that sort of challenge. We went to Loughton by car. About an hour later we walked into the club. I was shocked to see Roger, because I was used to him wearing overalls over his jeans and a sweatshirt, but there he was on stage in a blue tuxedo with patent black leather shoes. His group were dressed the same. This was their ‘working clothes’ when they were doing a gig. He looked every bit a star as he was genuinely good looking, broad in the shoulders etc. It was an excellent night as not only most of my plumbers were there, with their partners but also our Supervisor Bob Patmore and his wife. Despite the bar prices being quite steep, we quickly arranged that one of us, Gordon Springate, would hold the whip money and take responsibility for ordering the drinks. We were all enjoying Roger’s singing he had a truly great voice and a vast repertoire on which to call upon. Even his group were all proper musicians who could harmonise with Roger on several of the songs.
Towards the end of the evening, when we were all pleasantly merry Roger asked the audience if they had any specific requests. I thought that would be a significant challenge as almost certainly, neither Roger or his group would know both the words and music of every, or any tune named. Whether it was good fortune or pre-planned they easily got through most of the modern ballads that were popular in the day. Until well after eleven that night one bright spark shouted out “Ring of Pears, by Glen Miller”, all those around him quickly told to stop being stupid and anyway, some asked – who was Glen Miller?
It was nearer twelve before we left that night to drive home and Jan who had been on lemonade all evening suggested it would make sense if she drove! Whilst just chatting, were saying what a great night it had been and we would definitely go to another gig put on by Roger and his group. I think we did indeed attend one more gig somewhere in South London, but then Roger became more and more popular and within a next year, he gave in his notice, to follow his dream.