BEAT NIGHTS:

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."
Tonight the band are playing for an older generation. There is no group of lads back-combing each other's hair, as Ivy says was the case the night before. Tonight the holiday makers are keeping the waiters busy on errands to the bar, are clapping the singers and are shouting snatches of Jeepers Creepers and Gypsy In My Soul in each other's ears. Ivy says that we are invited to join her with 16 lady publicans and licensees' wives from Bermondsey and district, who are on holiday without their husbands.
By midnight the coloured streamers and the bits of burst balloon are thick around the dancers' ankles, the band has stepped up the volume and lines of bulky people are lurching, glazed in the eye and slack in the mouth, through the conga. This could very well be 1945.


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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".

Unknown Writer/Newspaper