Last night was the final Laugh show at Shepherd’s Bush-based-club Ginglik before it changes hands and undergoes a revamp. It’s undecided whether comedy will return to the venue once it reopens, but I hope it does.
It’s a cute little club, situated in the old public toilets under Shepherd’s Bush Green, and is surprisingly spacious and and clean given that description. For me, it’s always sad to see a long-established club close its doors (Laugh had 9 years under its belt, with line ups that featured pretty much every major act in the country, and a certain Mr Robin Williams on one occasion), not just because it’s one less gig to play and earn from, but because with its closure, it seems that a chapter of comedy history is closed.
The entrance to Ginglik
Not that a chapter ending is a bad thing, but when you remodel a room, remove a stage, wallpaper the green room, you’re altering the place where careers were made, stories gained and audiences entertained. In my university thesis, I argued for a listings system applicable to cultural landmarks similar to that seen in the field of architecture, with buildings given Grade I or Grade II status, preventing substantial development or alteration of/to them. Abbey Road studios was listed, in one of the major example of protecting a site for reasons of art over architecture.
I’m not suggesting that Ginglik had an impact similar to the Studios, or to The Red Rose, one of London’s first comedy clubs, which my thesis was centred on (it was closed after 20+ years and completely redeveloped – although I haven’t visited recently, it had planning permission for flats to be built on the site); I’m not even sure how strongly I feel about the situation – perhaps one of the many reasons my thesis received a Third class mark (41, so only just) – but I do hope comedy will continue there.
The main room (for comedy, it’s set up cabaret-style).
Being a no-longer-functioning toilet, it stirred up a memory – one from no more than two months ago, that I’d intended to blog about before forgetting, as I have a terrible memory for things other than jokes and trivia – and it goes like this:
I’m at a pub in East London, Stratford specifically, having a burger with three friends after an afternoon jamming improv games in the park. My friend Sophie is eating fish and chips, and they’re not very nice. My burger is good, and I’ve got a free pint of Czech lager Kozel thanks to an app-based promotion. This is my third pint, and I need a wee.
We’re competing in a pub quiz. Not intentionally, we just sat down in the area where it was going to be on, and when the landlord, Quizmaster D (short for Dave) turned on the mic and announced that it was quiz time, we were waiting for our food and so were trapped, forced to compete. Plus, it’s £1 a team and as a group of recent graduates, we fancy our chances.
There’s an interval in the pub quiz – unnecessary, as there’s a 3-7 minute break between each of the 20 questions where Quizmaster D plays a song. The 7 minute one was so he could have a fag break. Still, I take the interval as a chance for a much-needed toilet break, so head off to the gents. The one near the quiz room is occupied, so I head to the loos in the lounge, where a painted arrow shows their location.
Upon entering, the floor is wet and the one cubicle is locked. There are two urinals, one with a plastic bag in it, and one with a plastic bag under it. Upon using the one without a bag in it, it becomes apparent that it is out of order, due to a leak underneath it. This means that wee is going all over the floor, as the bowl fills and the piss percolates down and through the gaps in the washer-less pipe beneath. Still, I had really needed a wee, and the only way I can potentially solve the situation is to stop mid-flow and transfer to the sink, which just seems weird, and disrespectful to the landlord. Unlike indirectly pissing all over the floor.
At this moment, in walks Quizmaster D.
“For fuck’s sake” he exclaims, using the full version of the popular internet acronym. “Did you not see the bag?”, implying that I did, but had fished the pissy plastic bag from the bowl and gone anyway. All the while, I continue to micturate. “I can’t really stop, you see”, I lie, inching back to keep my shoes away from the growing pool.
Quizmaster D bangs on the cubicle door. “Hurry up, we’re pissing on the floor out here” – he hadn’t joined in, but I suppose it gave his request more emphasis. A minute later, the man in the cubicle exits, and leaves without looking at us or washing his hands, which strikes me as unhygienic, until I shuffle backwards to escape yet more puddling piss, and bump into Quizmaster D, who is weeing in the sink.
We win the quiz.
There you go.
I now have a facebook page which you can ‘like’ if you wish to be updated with things like pictures, videos, jokes and gig updates. I’d be flattered if you did.
Also, there’s a day left to answer 5 questions about your sleeping habits if you share a double bed. Click here to do so.
Ta ra fa na.