Rockers Reunion 2008


Rockers Reunion 2008

19th January 2008

Rivermead Leisure Centre Reading

the 25th Rockers Reunion

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Rockers Reunion 25th Winter Party Dance


There is an old saying, that old rockers never die their leathers just get tighter, and on Saturday January 19th there was more creaking leather to be seen than you can shake a dead cow at, there were enough teddy boys and girls to have a right royal picnic as well. 

Can it really be 25 years ago that the Rockers Reunions Dances Started at the Clarendon at Hammersmith. Originally it was the brain child of Len Patterson, who wanted to relive the rock and roll dances, and see old friends from the era.

I never made the first but saw the review in an early BSH and it was pencilled into the diary. One year on and your fresh faced reporter and a mate were at the Clarendon for the second dance. The headliners then were the superb rockabilly group, Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers, the best thing to come out of Wales since the M4, and here 24 years on they are still on the bill. In 1984 Mike Berry was also on the bill along with the sadly missed CSA who always brought the house down and along with Crazy Cavan and Chris Black and the Black Cats they became the mainstay of many further dances.

Then they were known as Piss ups but now called Winter Party the piss up tradition is upheld by many

Back in 1984 the Clarendon Hotel never quite got the hang of catering for hundreds of thirsty rockers and ran out of beer, and we were forced to drink lager, and worse than that from cans, a fact my mate berates me to this day about and for those that worry about rally toilets obviously never tried paddling up the stairs in the Clarendon to the gents.(Len Patterson happily retold this story and how everything leaked upon the bar below)  My one other memory from then was being stopped by police staggering home as the sun was coming up, still humming rock and roll songs.

Over the years the Dances have been held in Hammersmith, Wimbledon, and then a long run at Battersea town hall, all venues with a certain old world charm and with various artists. By now the milling throng could drain a small brewery of ale and Youngs the local brewer would ensure there was an ample supply, the dance also started to attract big name artists from overseas as well.

 During these formative years there would be pre run dances at places such as Bonnies near Catford (where I waltzed with Screaming Lord Such and the English version of Dwarf throwing was born) and the sadly lost St Helier Arms.

In the mid nineties the Dances moved to their regular venue of the Rivermead centre in Reading and on the regular date of the third Saturday in January.

And so we reach modern day and once more this reporter still with youthful good looks, but an expanding waistline, but with the same mate in tow head off to party. Sadly I have missed several of the dances, but there was still the same great feeling as we headed off

I suppose the best way to describe the venue, is similar to an American gym style dance, think Grease and you are there.

With stalls catering for all your teddy boy and rocker whims.

The word reunion is very much the operative word, and the smiles on the faces of old friends as they meet again is infectious. With folk also travelling from abroad to attend.

This year live acts came from Johnny Powers, Furious, Paul Ansell’s number nine, Mean Streak and to top it all Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers. And real ales by local brewery are the queue for the bar was something else.

Len Patterson was there to celebrate as well, though half of the reunions have been organised by Ian Wallis, ably assisting and rewarded on this evening were

Wild Cat Pete, Pete Bruce and the two Stu’s.

If live music is not enough, the two Pete’s kept the music flowing from their “stack of wax”.

Pete Bruce was presented with a plaque for stirling work, and some fool gave len a mikle to say a few words, will they ever learn after the first do’s Len can chat for England.

When Cavan hit the stage, they hit it running, it was superb, and it was not long before a bevy of young ladies joined them on stage. and then seemingly half the audience

Teds, Rockers, Greasers whatever you want to call them, happily danced the night away

In the wee small hours, tired and pissed folks wended there way home, another blinding night.

Thanks must go to Len for the original dances, and for Ian and crew for continuing a fine tradition, here’s too many many more.

Here’s to the next 25 years