Monday, 7 April 2014

The Reggulaters at The Brookhouse, Hayes

If you imagine a pub on an industrial scale - that's The Brookhouse. It's my first visit and when I got in I found a pub rammed full of youngsters and with the Jagermeister on tap.

Jagermeister is a German herbal liquer, drunk as a shot. It's an unlikely drink for Hayes but 'Jager Bull's' are very fashionable - a beer glass with a shot glass full of Jager inside and surrounded by Red Bull.

As a driver, I haven't had the pleasure of trying one of these yet - when I'm too ill to drive I think I'll explore the palliative effects of a Jager Bull. Now I think about it, the waiting room at Charing Cross Hospital would benefit from a Jager bar.

In Hayes the Jager was on draft - they had a machine so that they could get the shots out quick enough. It was that kind of pub.

The Reggulaters had a tough old time - they play the Trojan back catalogue of Ska and Rock Steady and are completely uncompromising about it. My collection of Trojan isn't small but they play stuff I don't know.

Up against them was a DJ playing music fast and furious and a load of youngsters up for it.

So for the first set the two cultures clashed.

There were lots of shouts for Two-Tone Ska, which I love and which even young people know and like.

At halftime, most bands would compromise and change - not The Reggulaters.

Then at the same time as the Jagers were doing their work
the DJ played 'Billy Jean'. That always had a near reggae beat, so much so that Shinehead did a celebrated 12" Dub version merging 'Billy Jean' into 'Mama used to say'. That did the trick and had both groups dancing at the same time.
For the second half it was mayhem, someone chewed my tie.
I had a chat with Karl from The SkaSouls who was filling in as drummer for the night. At heart we both prefer pure Trojan - the roots of reggae pure and simple. Dancehall stuff.
But then again for me I grew up with Two-Tone, it combined Punk with Ska - it's always going to be a part of me.
This was quite a special night for another reason - I met Daniel, who is severely disabled and came out in his electric wheelchair and with his carers. He's obviously a regular at music nights at The Brookhouse - everybody came up to shake his hand like I did or, in the case of the pretty girls, they queued up to do selfies with him on his mobile.
You can only ever judge people by the way they treat vulnerable people.
Not by whether they are necking Jagers or the kind of music they like.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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