On beat nights it's
fantastic. Boys come on to the floor and just dance by themselves. Everyone
sticks to their own little square foot of floor, just moving in time
to the beat."
Bald and plump men keep going up to the stand to introduce Ivy to their wives and ask for favourite songs.
In the cocktail bar of their hotel a little later, they receive Ivy in strident, competitive adoration, surrounding her with drinks, then warning her that there are people about who'd like to make tiddly. They have sprung to life in a pastiche of Cockney knees-up. Two of them pound upstairs and re-appear draped in candlewick bedspreads and lavatory seat covers, doing an Eastern dance. Another, blonde and dumpy, is seated on a bar stool in a pink nightie. "I've" they keep shouting, "play for us, Ive. Be a sport Ive." They offer her a guitar and Ivy strums 'Your Cheating Heart'.
In all this noise and knockabout she maintains a warm decorum, effortlessly treading the tightrope between reserve and unseemliness. She might be an exotic sister, home from some glamorous abroad for a family reunion. She is regarded fondly here, and she is not having to work at it. Foreign place names decorate her conversation and laughs "Do you know?" she says "this is the first night out I've had all the season".