Having kicked off this blog with an article on Martin Heaphy and Irvin Gordon’s Hubba Hubba Club, it was a shame to be reporting last autumn on its closure. However, true to their word, Martin and Irvin are back with a regular club that comes even closer to a pure rockabilly rendezvous. The venue is the Constitution Pub in St Pancras Way, Camden. As a venue, it’s a real find – a proper pub, away from the trendy exploitation of central Camden, still within walking distance of bus, tube and overground, street parking in the neighbourhood, and with real beer and friendly staff. That would be enough to set it apart on its own, but theConstitution is also a pub dedicated to real music, with a long history of live performance in varied styles. Such a breath of fresh air after London pubs who agree to host a record hop simply in the hope of pulling in some extra punters without having to do any work themselves.
The club area at the Constitution is heavy on atmosphere, especially in the winter when the pub garden alongside the adjacent canal is closed. A narrow door in the main pub leads down a tightly curving set of stairs into a basement room with concrete floor and tiny performance area. It’s just right for the purpose, though, and a tidy little bar makes it feel perfectly self-contained. For a while we wondered if everyone was going to be able to fit in, let alone dance, but it was clear that most were, like us, keen to make the most of Martin and Irvin’s return between opening and the closing time dictated by the pub’s licence. Having reached a peak, the crowd managed a kind of Red Sea parting to create a dance floor, which stayed occupied throughout the evening as the boys kept up a steady stream of choice records. With such an intimate atmosphere, there was no need for the traditional progression from boppers to jivers to strollers and back again. Great record followed great record and somehow both the physical closeness and limited duration heightened the intensity so that each track was welcomed and relished rather than blurring into a musical backdrop – it’s certainly the first time I’ve heard records applauded in a rockin’ club.
Martin and Irvin have already booked in the next few events, aiming for the first Saturday of the month on each occasion. You can check the dates on their Facebook page and liking it will get you a reminder as each night approaches. For more information on the Constitution, see their website. Given the weather was awful for the opening night, keeping many at home, I can see this club getting more and more popular. Until Spring arrives and allows the doors to the beer garden to open, best get there early or you could be watching from the stairs!