It was almost time.
The Chuckle Brothers were about to descend upon Bournemouth. Oh dear oh dear!
I was quite looking forward to their arrival – they were one of the few icons of my childhood that had not been investigated by Operation Yewtree.
Paul and Barry were doing a meet ‘n’ greet at Halo nightclub, an activity usually partaken by chiselled, personality-vacuums celebrities from Love Island, or ‘Gaz’ from Geordie Shore.
We arrived at Weatherspoons. Like Phil Mitchell and moaning about the weather – this pub behemoth – affectionately abbreviated as ‘Spoons – was a staple of British culture. Some warm-up drinks were needed – the cocktails of Woo Woo and Purple Rain were the perfect social lubrication for the mainstream Halo Nightclub – something I was unfamiliar with. I was used to Sound Circus, a rock bar which only plays 7 different songs and is inhabited by people with big beards and questionable social skills.
We exclaimed to the ‘Spoons barmaid that we were meeting the Chuckle Brothers, and her face erupted into an expression of nostalgic glee.
“Ask them to come here at 3am,” she proclaimed.
Did she wanted a threesome with them? To me, to you, to me?
I asked her if she’d be giving them free drinks – seeing as they were a great source of entertainment when she was growing up.
“No, they got paid to be entertaining!
I arched my eyebrow.
“Maybe a free soda water.”
After getting suitably tanked up, we ventured to Halo. Many years ago, it was a church – Aplace of God. Unfortunately, like Tesco in Westbourne, places of Christ were now the new haven for capitalist greed. We are still yet to see the day the local synagogue is converted into a Gregg’s.
I was proud to have my £6 ticket in hand, getting my special queue jump bonus! We were one of the first to arrive and there was about 8 people queueing – but we still got to jump the queue!
We had to pass through 3 members of staff to get access to the
Church Club. First past the bouncer, who squinted at the ticket. Then another person who scanned my ID into a special computer. It flashed up to reveal my ripe age amongst the horde of 18 years olds behind. I felt like retiring to bed, putting on my slippers and moaning about Brexit.
We arrived at the front desk to find one of the barmaids stuffed inside a tight cblack orset, her cleavage gasping for air. It turned out this – along with stilettos – was the dress code. Good to see objectification and gender unequality was alive in 2017.
To my horror, I had to pay an additional £5 to get into the club that I was not expecting. My friend retorted that Barry and Paul were worth it, but I still silently seethed at this marketing trickery. Paying to go to an event, then paying to get into the building that’s holding said event? It’s like getting buying a meal at Chiquitos but paying for the cutlery and plate – before you can eat it!
I held in my rage, and ordered a double vodka and coke. It was served in the same kind of tumbler that we had at school. The minimum card spend was £10 and the drink was £2.50. This was a fair attempt to get me to buy more and help my slow descent into alcoholism.
I was then hit with the news the Chuckles weren’t appearing until half 12. I wondered what had happened, perhaps they’d done too much ‘to me, to you’ and had driven off Bournemouth Pier, and were now getting their moustached towel dried.
Going to the bathroom, I dared look up. An army of about 20 small flies flew around the tank above my head. Maybe this was a Bush Tucker Trial and they’d be a gold star inside for camp? I grimaced. As I turned to leave the toilet attendant sultrily declared to me that no spray, no lay? and he sprayed Paco Rabanne in the air. I wish all it took to improve my connection with the opposite sex was a quick burst of perfume from a bloke in a toilet.
I pondered amongst joining the others on the dancefloor. I thought about tempting to do some eccentric arm movements, but I didn’t want the people of Halo thinking that I was having a seizure. Instead I bobbed up at down in tandem with everyone else.
I looked around to see hundreds of fresh faces, and started to realise my days of clubbing were on the wane. With matching shaved side haircuts, I kept on thinking if their parents knew they were staying out late.? They look pretty joyous, knocking back their Jagerbombs. How little did they know about forever being entangled in student debt, and having to schedule a daily chiropractor after years of looking neck down l at their phones.
Suddenly, the stage was rocked by the two comedy legends from Yorkshire – the Chuckle Brothers! Paul proclaimed I wanna hear you say “To You” to the crowd! “To Me,” they chanted back.
Barry meekly stood to the side, not sure what was going on. They disappeared upstairs and I got ingested into an almighty queue all the way up to the VIP area. I waited half hour, lost in a sea of people, some people squabbling over others allegedly pushing in. I thought the British people loved queues? Just give them a cup of tea, it’ll blow over.
Time passed, and having rejoiced with several random people just how exciting this was, I finally made it up to the top of the stairs and I could see Paul. Barry came up to about 4 feet so I had to assume he was up there too.
I was just steps away from meeting the comedic heroes of my childhood. Paul looked at me, bizarrely wearing sunglasses in a club. I fanned my face.
Should I say Oh dear Oh dear? Or maybe a cheeky rendition of No Slacking?. Instead I went over, and shook their hands like they were long-lost pals. In a sense they were. It felt very weird seeing people I grew up with but had not actually met, but if felt right. I put my arms around them and posed for a picture, praying inside that I didn’t blink.
Barry reminded me of my Nan. Short, silver-haired, his eyes filled with admiration.
He gave me a hug and wished me a good night. It was.
I’m now on Youtube !
I’m raising money for charity and achieving goals at http://rupertsresolutions.tumblr.com