The build-up to our Birthday Evening on Thursday
3rd April had gone really well. The local
press had run the story that we were fifteen
years old and that we had booked a group of dancers
to recreate a routine from one of the Boys' films.
We had a lot of phone calls, with questions like,
"How much are the tickets?" and "Can we
bring friends along?" etc.
Jacqui Bryan (the chief Bellydancer) also told
me that the girls would bring up to thirty guests.
So we knew in advance we were in for a good
Mandy and I arrived at the club just before 7
o'clock, to find that twenty-three people had
already booked in. By 7.30pm almost every seat was
taken. Just then "We are the Sons of the Desert"
came ringing into the room. Who else could it be
but the brilliant Saps at Sea Tent. Roger, Paul
and the gang had driven up from Southend to
join us. It was great to have them here on our
We started off with a showing
of Laughing Gravy, which just happened
to be the first film we screened fifteen years ago.
The film was well received and now everyone knew
who Charlie Hall was!
The lights came back on and there were quite a
few people standing up. Some of us raided the
pool room and brought in extra chairs. There
were still a few people standing when I introduced
our special guests for the evening - the wonderful
To howls of approval and thunderous applause the
girls danced their way through several of their
routines. The Sand Dance in particular was
greeted with the loudest cheers.
We had a break for the loyal toasts, which
included one for Barrie Finney, and we remembered
all our absent friends.
The girls then performed the Honolulu
Baby dance sequence from Sons of the
Desert, again to a great roar from the crowd.
It was so good that we demanded, and got, a
repeat performance. Still the dancing continued,
followed by quite a bit of audience participation
(some of which left a lot to be desired!).
A rough estimate was that 170 people attended
that night. The atmosphere was electric and I would
say it was our best ever tent night. Fun and
friendship were in abund-ance and we presented
Jacqui with a bouquet of flowers and
thanked all the girls for making the evening
so special. How we will ever follow this night,
I don't know.