‘The 6T’s Rare Soul Allnighter at The One Hundred Club’
Charcoal and Pastel on dark blue Canson paper.
75cm x 55 cm. 2006
From March 2004 to Spring 2007, I lived in a flats-hare in Langley Lane, Vauxhall. This was a perfect location for me as a cyclist. I was 12 minutes cycle from Soho, Westminster, Waterloo Stn and Victoria Stn. I have been going to Adrian Croasdell’s ‘6T’s’ allnighters, on and off, since returning to London from The North back in 1987. At Vauxhall, Number 100 Oxford St was seriously convenient and I could be quite whimsical about my attendance. I remember on this particular occasion, laying down for a snooze around 10.30 pm in my room in Vauxhall, with the intention of resurfacing around 1.30 am to waltz into the 100 Club, thereby avoiding the queue that always bult up around opening time at 1am.
However, this ’snooze’ went on until about 5am, when I made some coffee and toast and called it ‘breakfast’. My drawing stuff was already prepared, and it would be a pity to waste the opportunity, I thought. So by 5.20, I was on my bike, headed for Oxford St, arriving about 5.50. if my memory serves me correctly. In those times, door policy was looser than now. No rules disallowing ‘late entry’. Indeed, it was even my habit (since the 90’s) to wheel in my bike and lock it in the ground floor hallway, before proceeding down the steps to the entrance. It seems inconceivable now that such behaviour was acceptable by the door staff, but it was. I never had a problem, and they were fine about it. It was a different Time!
At that time the allnighter finished at 8am, so I hurriedly set up my easel on the edge of the parker wooden dance floor. No one batted an eyelid. Anything goes at 6am in that dingy cavern. I do remember that the Sounds that night were particularly good, even though most people had already gone home. The rare-soul deejay Butch was present and is seen here behind the front man (on the microphone), in a black T-shirt, purring over a pile of 45’s.
Even though I only had 2 hours to complete my drawing, I kept breaking off to dance to the music. But this was one of those occasions where the need to dance energised the drawing and enabled me to work in an economical and disciplined way. Also I think the ‘bravado’ inspired by storming Northern Soul also helped me to throw sand in the eyes of those self-critical voices that always sit upon my shoulder and seek to inhibit my efforts and take the wind out of my sails.
Cycling back from West End Clubs in the wee small hours (or in broad daylight in the case of The 100 Club) has always been a secret, “upside-down’ pleasure of mine. There are no strenuous hills between Oxford Street and Vauxhall so I could practically float home, feeling euphoric about my drawing-dancefloor victory. Hardly any traffic on the road yet (Sunday Morning). Only early risers for extreme shifts pepper the pavements. Even McDonalds has only just opened and the Tubes also. The City has such a peaceful feeling at that time. Early morning is the eye in the storm.