Oh! The Working Men’s Club

Picture this. A warm alluring bar, rich, mellow music, intimate seating and culinary delights to tease your taste buds into a frenzy.

Well, a Working Men’s Club wasn’t quite like that. When I was a lad this was our Sunday night out, down the Labour Club. You arrived at seven o’clock to ensure a table. You couldn’t sit at any table because families had their own tables, especially on a Sunday night. I’ve seen fist fights over ‘table territory.’  The McGlynn and the Robertson family? They would just glower at you, all night, but the Grimes’? – they would rip your lungs out, so you had to be careful.

The lino floor ensured strict hygiene could be observed. Beer, blood and occasional vomit was uncomplicatedly washed away with mop and bucket. Upon entrance your ears detected the eloquent sounds of Jack and Bill playing organ and drums and by the time you had downed your third pint of Tetley’s bitter people were having a dance and  ‘Sooty’as we affectionately called our host would have announced the evenings entertainment. He earned the name simply because he stood behind a box.

The programme was usually the same. Jack and Bill played a few waltzes, quicksteps and foxtrots for the serious dancers and the rest of us waited for the main attraction, quite often a comedy dance band, which we called the ‘Turn.’ I remember the 4 Statesmen (photo below) who were hilarious and accomplished musicians. Eventually the ‘Turn’ had a break and we were treated to pie and peas and a game of Bingo. Oh we knew how to live 😉

We had Stewards who kept an eye on things, especially me. I was only fifteen when I joined (proposed by the President and seconded by John McGlynn, no less) So, five to six pints of hand pulled Tetley bitter was my limit. and if I misbehaved I would be hauled before ‘The Committee.’

I remember one particular Christmas party at John’s house where I was drinking half pints of whisky and orange – showing off in front of my new girlfriend – the Fitzgerald lass. I eventually passed out and was put to bed by Mary and Sue (John’s wife and her friend). I awoke five hours later, stark naked, in a strange bed, desperately trying to recall the preceding twelve hours. That evening – Boxing Day – I remember sitting in the Labour Club when Sooty announced that, “Mary and Sue would like to know if Charlie still has his purple underpants on?” I think that was the moment the Fitzgerald lass decided that all things being equal we possibly didn’t have a future together. Oh! those were the days.

About charliecountryboy

Part-time Carpentry Assessor. writer, runner, guitarist. Curious about life and all those wonderful people in it.
This entry was posted in 1970'S, Blogging, Dancing, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, Over 50's, people and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Oh! The Working Men’s Club

  1. What fun times they were.. We always want future and change but olden day was carefree and fun.. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. zendogsits says:

    A life well lived always has stories to tell. You seem to grab life by the throat and shake it for all you’re worth! Keep on keepin on my friend! (And keep sharing these stories!)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. How nice to read something that makes you laugh out loud. We all need things like this, nowadays.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. erotismoenguardia says:

    Love it!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The Hinoeuma says:

    Peas & pie? What’s in the pie?

    Though I am a dull Yank, I know what Spotted Dick is.

    Orange & whiskey. Whew. I was a teen in the early 80s. We got drunk from quarter toss.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hmmm never heard of quarter toss (dull limey 😂) it was basically pork with bits of fat and grisel lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Hinoeuma says:

        Pork pie & peas. Hm. Interesting. I could do without gristle, tho…even if it is good for your own joints.

        Quarter toss is a game where you bounce a quarter off the table and try to land it in a cup or a shot glass. If you are successful, you have to drink all of the alcohol at once. Shots aren’t too bad but, harder to score. Cups are usually Red Solo cups (full size, not bathroom size). Easy to hit but, much to drink…usually beer. Back then, we cheap teens had Budweiser (I’m burping just thinking about it) for the cups and cheap Vodka for the shots.

        I drank enough alcohol to float a Battleship as a teen. 🍷🍸🍹🍺🥃

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sounds like a fun game, ah, yes just remembered the peas have to be mushy peas, not the garden variety and you put mint sauce on them haha. Couldn’t do with lager when we were kids it had to be hand pulled beer, not gassy at all. The benchmark of a good pint was that the head of the beer stayed there until the end lol. Better to get it out of your system when your young, we went out every night but in those days it was 13 pence (100 pence in a pound) for a pint. 19 pence for a packet of cigarettes and 30 pence for a Curry lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Hinoeuma says:

        I don’t mind mushy peas but, the mint…that is something I have never heard of. Odd combination.

        The ones that didn’t participate in the quarter toss usually drank Boone’s Farm…a well known cheap wine. Then, the California Coolers showed up. And, everyone smoked Marlboros. Blacks preferred Kools.

        I wish I could remember cost.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hmm, you should try them, but there again I’ve never tried Grits lol. Yes cheap wine was a saviour when the government started taxing beer heavily 😉


      • The Hinoeuma says:

        Heh. Love grits. Grit pie is good, too, though, I haven’t had that in 30 years or more. That is a regional thing. Shrimp & grits has been a big seller, recently. That’s awesome. Very hardy dish…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds great, I need to investigate 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Brockelman says:

    Brilliant. I was with you all the way. I’m off to find a recipe for whiskey an orange.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I could imagine what it was like! Thank you for sharing your memory.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Carolyn Page says:

    Think I prefer Bushy Park, Beverley and Westwood, Charlie. 😂
    Yeah; they talk about ‘the good ole days’ – but……. were they really?
    Course they were!!! 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I missed the 3 day week due to strikes, the freezing fog that seemed to haunt us for the whole of February, the smell from the tannery and sewerage works, the ice on the inside of your bedroom window, the buses, blue with cigarette smoke, working Saturday mornings as part of your hours, no carpets, no central heating, apart from that they were great xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Ah, happy days. I think life was simpler because we didn’t have so many things. No craft beer, no cocktails, no health warnings. 🙂

    We have mushy peas and mint sauce in Nottingham, but the hot pork pie was a new one on me – first seen when one of the kids started playing rugby league in Yorkshire about ten years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. kerbey says:

    Five or six pints?? I had never heard of pie and peas, and I unfortunately clicked on a “Pies and Peas” youtube link to check it out, but that was most assuredly NOT what you were talking about. Reminds me of a shepherd’s pie.

    Liked by 2 people

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