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Mobile Disco - Quick Before They Lock Us In

Aug 17, 2007
I was roadie for Martyn Brown on one of his mobile disco shows last week. As you may know, one of Martyn's home businesses is running a mobile disco agency where he is self employed as a disc jockey.

I don't normally roadie for him but his usual guy couldn't make the venue so he asked me. I always like a laugh so decided to go along, after all he was paying me 10.00 in cash, so I couldn't refuse.

I use the term 'venue' loosely because he was actually performing at an old people's home in front of 25 'over 75's' age group.

We eventually found 'Undertakers lodge' which was an unusual name for an old folks home, but still.

My job as a roadie was to help carry the DJ's equipment into the hall, the hall turned out to be no bigger than my living room at home and it was a struggle to fit his equipment into the corner.

We started setting up the gear - speakers, amplifiers, lights, CD players, MD players, DAT players, crickey, was Martyn going to USE all this stuff.

I squeezed his CD collection into the corner of the room and had to overspill onto the piano stool as we'd run out of the space allocated to the DJ.

The lounge was entered via walking past several of the residents doors. There was a terrible smell of pudding and poo coming from number 9 and I found myself holding my breath each time I passed it.

I nearly knocked one old lady for six with a speaker as she leaped out in front of me to say 'Hello dear'. Why they insist on giving you a cuddle as well, I don't know.

We were constantly held up from old folk telling us about the weather and asking us how long the front door would be open for. 'It's not normally open after six o'clock', they would say.

We were reminded of the six o'clock rule by several of the inmates, sorry, elderly residents, while walking in and out collecting the next piece of disco gear.

The smell from number 9 cell, sorry, flat, was getting stronger, I was sure. Shouldn't one of the caretakers pay it a visit and clean someone or something up?

Martyn made the mistake of asking for another table to put some discs on. Five of the old folk carried it in for us from the hall. It took the poor people a quarter of an hour but they wouldn't let us help - so independent these oldies aren't they?

I noticed that the party ravers were queuing outside of the room we were in and somebody let them come in early so that they could sit down for a rest.

Martyn had a complaint from one old lady, 'Turn it down!, it's too loud', she called. Martyn wouldn't have minded but he hadn't started yet.

On switching on the gear a sudden thud was heard as the amplifier became live. This made all 25 guests jump six inches into the air as they weren't expecting that.

It was Joan's birthday and Mabel's too. Both were around 90 but didn't look it, I expect they did once, though.

A 'test' piece of music was put on before we actually started.

The DJ didn't set all the lights up as he didn't want to give any of the old folk a turn. One lady was sat staring at the main light show - a box which looked like a kaleidoscope with it's varying flashing coloured lights and we found that she had been hypnotised, so had to give her one of her tablets to enable her to enjoy the rest of the show.

I was surprised to learn that they were all on alcohol and we too were offered a beer. I picked up a glass and commented to Martyn that it was all smeared inside. 'Probably had someone's teeth in it last night', Martyn quipped, which I didn't' think was funny as there wasn't another clean one on the table.

It was 7.30 and a final walk past smelly room number 9, we were back into the disco room where all the oldies were waiting for us to perform. The music was so quiet it didn't even drive some of the sound to light effects but we dare not turn it up in case of more complaints. Martyn had me manually turning the lights off and on instead, to give a similar effect but I soon got bored with that.

One of the women burped after a few sips of her drink which made me jump. I couldn't see her at first as she looked like a cushion on the sofa. Her cardigan had the same pattern and she was camouflaged. Martyn pointed her out to me and then she came into focus as she burped a couple more times, which was being drowned out only by another old lady coughing her guts up in the corner, strewth I thought she was going to die!
Panic over after a few sips of brandy and some smelling salts - for me that was, the old lady just blew her nose.

A woman came up and asked us for 'Whoosh', 'er, what's Whoosh', Martyn asked. 'I don't know', she replied and made a windmill motion with her arm as she said again, 'Whoosh'. 'Perhaps she wants The Who', I suggested - 'or the loo', Martyn added, Whoosh, she asked with a frown appearing on her face.

Anyway, it ended up she wanted, Hands Up Give Me Your Heart, an old song by a group called, Ottowan. Though quite where, Whoosh, came into it we couldn't figure out.

One of the guests asked for a quiet waltz, so the DJ obliged. During this smoochie dance with most of the Senior Citizens on the floor dancing with each other, one of the guests broke wind. It was what can only be described as a huge volley of sound which drowned out Engelburt Humberdinck totally. So much for The Last Waltz.

Everybody ignored this outburst of wind, either just to be polite or because they knew that Mrs. Damien had a problem and so were just used to it. Martyn and myself were in pain trying not to laugh, like a couple of naughty schoolboys, we were. Judging by the smell, the person from number 9 had just come in too.

During the break for tea somebody gave the Mrs. Burp on the sofa, (the one looking like a cushion) a huge piece of Dundee cake with icing and marzipan on top. Martyn and I looked at each other - isn't that a little dangerous we thought. Burrrrrrrpppp!, yes it was.

Albert meanwhile had polished off a whole bottle of whiskey during the first half of the disco and insisted on dancing to the background music. He looked silly doing the Highland Fling to 'Puppy love' by S Club Juniors.

The Max Bygraves singalong was a highlight, they all knew the words. 'If it's too loud', Martyn said, 'please do - just turn down your hearing aids'. That went down like a lead balloon.

'If I play a song you like, just wave and I'll play it again' - same reaction. 'Stick to playing the music and shut up', I suggested.

Happy Birthday was played for the two birthday girls. 'Who's singing this' a man asked. 'You're meant to be', Martyn replied. By the third playing of the song they'd gotten the hang of it and all joined in and all was jolly.

Play a square tango, Mr. Whiskey man called. Martyn found a tango and the man staggered around the dance floor. 'Play the square dance', country style, he called out, again. 'Play a nice Waltz', he shouted out even louder - 'A square one?', Martyn asked.

The party went with a swing and all danced. Well, most did. It was a struggle for some, obviously not as young as they once were?, not at all, they were all drunk!

I thought it would be a good idea to play, Vera Lynn, as she was a great oldie. But Martyn criticised my request because three people burst out crying. 'A nightingale sang in Berkley square' was a good choice, especially for, Mr. Whiskey as it mentioned the word, Square, again.

We had to end at 10pm, an early night for Martyn as he normally works pub or club hours. 'You can all have a lay in, in the morning', Martyn announced. That went down like the Titanic.

The 'clubbers' looked like death warmed up after all that activity - come to think of it, they looked that way when they walked in earlier in the evening.

On clearing up, Daisy had lost here glasses, Mr. Whiskey had lost his whiskey bottle and the lady who kept coughing had lost her teeth. All was found under the sofa though. Well, the teeth were in a plant pot but nobody got too worried, after all, it was bedtime.

While packing up the disco gear, Martyn and I were approached by a tall gentleman who was the regimental type. 'I'm in my nineties you know!', 'Are you really, marvellous', Martyn replied. 'Let me give you some advice, young man', the tall man went on, 'When you talk over the microphone, SHOUT, tell them who's boss, you're in control, SHOUT at them to dance, sing a long, give them HELL over that microphone, they're hard of hearing and can't hear you if you don't SHOUT!'. 'Takes me back to my army days!', he continued.

'That was a great show boys, you and I will join ranks, make no mistake!'.

The badges on his blazer told the story of his past life. 'Do you know', he shouted, 'I once prayed that Guy Fawlkes would come back and finish the bloody job, bloody government!'. We knew that it was time to move on.

It was the first time that Martyn had performed a disco at an old people's home and they wanted to book him for more dates in the future. Whether he will go back or not I don't know. I won't be the roadie that's for sure. It was an experience I won't ever forget - the Home Business Roadshow, I called it.

An old gent asked if we wanted a hand lifting some of the equipment out. We said, no, but he really did want to help so lifted a double CD player. Martyn looked incredibly worried as the old timer was struggling with two thousand pounds worth of gear.

We took some other stuff out to the van only to return finding four other oldies helping the kind old timer out with his CD player. I'm not sure whether they were helping him lift 'it' or helping keep him upright while he lifted it.

About 10.55 all was packed up and ready to go. A short chat with the organiser (who was moaning about some of the residents), and a man with no shoes or socks on, ended our visit to, Undertakers Lodge. Bookings are now being taken. Not for the disco but for Martyn and me to live in the Lodge, we're booking in early - there's a waiting list you know, and the entertainment's wonderful.
About the Author
Martyn Brown: 20+ years involved in home business and the Internet. Has edited newsletters and magazines since 1985. For a free, downloadable, work from
home magazine, visit: http://www.WorkingHoursMagazine.co.uk
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