Last night we went to see Errol Brown of Hot Chocoloate at the Cliff’s Pavillion in Southend. Things started off not too great when we headed down to the sea front from Southend Victoria, then intending to turn right heading for Cliff’s Pavillion which sits on the coast at Westcliff – a simple short walk because, as directions obtained from the Internet detailed, it was only a mile. Reaching the sea front we asked someone for direction and he pointed where expected saying, “About three miles.” We had two hours (intending to eat beforehand), so cue the fast walk. Arriving at the Pavillion half an hour later just affirmed our knowledge that some people haven’t got a clue about distances.
Now with time to spare we found a restaurant called Bojangles that produced very acceptable cod and chips, scampi and chips and half litre carafes of white wine, and now, much more relaxed and happy, entered Cliff’s well on time. Surely Errol’s show would be no longer than a couple of hours and we’d have plenty of time to catch the last train home. Our time was limited because that train departed at 10.36 but, since the show started at 7.30, we assumed we’d take it all in. It was not to be.
Before Errol Brown appeared someone called Yolanda Brown took the stage (no relation, and nothing about her when we bought the tickets). We now got a half an hour of the ‘pimp Yolanda Brown show’, half an hour of ear-ringing boring jazz with lots of, “Let’s have a big cheer for Fred Bloggs on piano!” and “Here’s Animal on the drums!” and “Give it up for Osama Bin Laden on the Jew’s harp!” all followed by the usual tiresome and interminable jazz solos. And if, by the end of it, you didn’t know this female saxophonist’s website or know that her albums were on sale in the lobby, you weren’t listening. I was trying not to.
This period of, “We came here to see Errol Brown so why don’t you fuck off?” ate up over a half an hour of our available time. It was then followed by a half hour break during which it seemed most of the audience was intent on dulling the pain in the bar, then finally we got what we came for. Errol Brown was good, though at 61 the tight trousers had been consigned to history and he wasn’t leaping about the stage (but then he never did). It was all somewhat marred by seats designed by some research branch of the Inquisition, and the sheeple standing up when summoned and not having the decency to sit down again. However, even though our view was distant, near the back, I’m glad we weren’t on the first row, since numerous greying and somewhat wrinkled fans thought it might be an idea to line up along the front of the stage and wave their hands in the air.
By 9.50 it was time to head off, and I’m guessing, having heard the Full Monty ‘You Sexy Thing’ the show was nearing its close. Fast walk now back to the rail station, lost again and venturing into the regions of hoodies, vomit and discarded burger boxes. Annoying that we got to the station 20 minutes before the train departed, but to risk missing it and end up stuck in Southend at that time wasn’t an option. All an interesting adventure, but not one I’m anxious to repeat.