• Tony

Of ill repute

What happens when the meeting place of Rutland’s wildest gangs becomes a dance club?

Many years back there was a public house of ill repute not far from my offices, sitting resplendent on the wild borderland that marks the co-joining of the county boundaries of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

Called “The Toppled Bollard” for reasons that will not become clear at this point, it was the scene of many an unsavoury conspiracy as often as not involving retailers of second hand 45rpm records, Ofsted school inspectors, criminal headteachers, and senior officials from the Liberal Party.

But times move, and such wild and jolly days are long behind us. The Bollard is still there, but it now has about it a serenity that belies its explosive past. The machines that made fake ID cards for the more dubious members of Parliament have been demolished, and the floor has been mopped clean.

And now the Toppled Bollard has a new role in life - as a modern jive dance club, where members of the Rutland aristocracy mingle with Corby’s lower orders in nights of jollity and attempts to learn the double arm reverse switchback, a dance move that has reduced many a retired gangster to tears if not downright penury.

I mention this as, with so much of the excitement of the borderlands now but a fading memory, I myself have returned to the old haunt to take up the occasional caper, cavort, frisk, skip, prance, romp, gambol, jig, bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, trip, bounce, and, if I may be so bold, rollick.

And to my surprise, yesterday an esteemed customer of Schools.co.uk found her way to the Bollard and asked me to dance.

After a jig to Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill” she turned to me and said, “You’re very good.”

I smiled graciously, admitting the truth of what she said.

“How long have you been dancing?” she enquired.

“A long time,” I replied shortly for it is not the done thing to talk too much about the past while in the Bollard.

“You mean like five years?” she asked.

My smile faded a little. “Longer than that,” I said.

“How long?” she persisted.

“I taught the Warner Brothers to dance,” I said.

“Who are they?” she said.

If you really think you can take more of this, Tony Attwood is on Facebook.


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