Party Time At Jitterbugs 

Jitterbugs celebrated nine years at Notre Dame Hall on July 5.

Jitterbugs was packed to overflowing as dancers flocked to Notre Dame Hall for the ninth birthday party on Wednesday 5 July 2000. The band on stage was James Langton and The Solid Senders, ideally suited to such a celebratory event, performing in front of a city skylie backdrop.

Club organiser Julie Oram had secured the services of all three of her regular DJs for the evening, with Terry Elliott starting the proceedings, Tim's Jumpin Jive taking the decks between band sets and Pat The Kat seeing the dancers home at the end of the evening. Occasional guest DJs The Reverend Boogie and Miss Aloha were also in attendance, but they confined their appearances to the dance floor.

Another party feature much-beloved of club goers is the traditional cake. A nicely-iced sponge confection was divided and distributed to all and sundry to provide the vital sugar rush of energy as some spirits might start to flag late in the evening.

The Solid Senders ran through a danceable selection of their repertoire, led by James Langton with added vocals from Louise Cookman. The One O'Clock Jump, Sing Sing Sing and Begin The Beguine were amongst the instrumental favourites, while Louise included Watch The Birdie and The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea in her choices. The absence of Enrico Tomasso meant that James took the microphone for Dem Dere Eyes, and acquitted himself creditably.

It is sometimes difficult to believe that this ensemble only came into being at the end of 1998, and then only for a monthly gig at The 100 Club. Since then, their reputation has taken them to Jitterbugs and The Blue Dahlia, and many private events like the launch party for Ralph Fiennes' Richard II in April this year. Their dedication to the original arrangements of Shaw, Goodman and other 40's bandleaders has made them the darlings of the Lindy Hoppers and the 40's crowd alike. The bandstands and smart attire only adds to the authenticity of their performance.

And Jitterbugs? Well, it goes from strength to strength as one of the longest-established swing dance clubs in the UK. Having moved from Tufnell Park to Fulham, it arrived in WC2 in July 1991 and has remained a constant on the calendar ever since. The call of Herrang and other events had called away some of the senior dancers, so it was especially good to see founder Simon Urland stepping out on this occasion. Julie stepped up to the microphone between band sets to thank us all for supporting the club down the years, and give a little history of how it developed. Having started before the advent of the Internet, you can now read all about Julie and Jitterbugs activities at the recently launched web site at Jitterbugs

So another successful Leicester Square dance came to an end and a suitably moistened crowd headed for trains, buses and cars. Next year of course, it will the be tenth anniversary. What will you have in store for us then, Julie?

2000 Andrew Winton.

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