Hastings 1066 Jazz Club at Azur, St.Leonards

“Are you obsessed with attending activities for the elderly?” asks Suzie, my long-suffering companion for evenings out in Hastings & St Leonards. A reasonable question. First it was Posh Club for the over 60s, then Coffin Club for the overs full stop, now tonight it’s the Hastings 1066 Jazz Club. It hadn’t even occurred to me that we would be the youngest people there. We literally turned heads, and that’s not happened for a long time. Angelica Campion writes

Hastings 1066 Jazz Club was born 22 years ago and Azur’s seafront ballroom with its fabulous dance floor is the best venue the club has ever had. In the style of New Orleans jazz, a different band plays every single Thursday and for £10 entrance (£5 students) it’s well worth it, if only for the Brolly Parade. At the start of the second tune of the band’s second set, the musicians continue to play while walking around the ballroom followed by half of the audience who hold decorated parasols aloft. Known as a Second Line this tradition began in the 19th century in New Orleans. 

(At the end of the Civil War, aid organisations were set up to provide help for newly freed slaves. To advertise their services they held parades, and honoured members who had died. The parasols were to keep cool and became a sign of Southern style).

Neither freed slaves, nor from New Orleans, Joan and Michael Clark didn’t stop dancing all night. Joan wore a designer LindyBop
skirt and red froufrou petticoat. Michael sported a suit and straw trilby. They’ve only been married for 45 years and I can’t possibly reveal their ages but combined it’s about 160.

There’s a bar, a good menu to order from, lovely people to talk to, great music to listen to, surprisingly energetic dancing to watch and a serious sea view. What more do you need for a night out?

It’s a real shame the age group that grew up with this music is now dwindling at an alarming rate and if new blood doesn’t discover this great night out, it will in due
course become financially unviable to continue.

I met Barbara who looks 50 but is 72. Her husband says she once was the most beautiful woman in their former home of New Zealand. I have no doubt of that. You too could look like her if you start an active hobby that will last you into your twilight years and keep you out of the doctor’s surgery.

I have no idea if this non-profit club has applied for any social funding but surely it deserves some. If you are working or have a private pension that’s fine. If you are a couple and want to come every week that’s £80-£100 a month and out of the state pension league. There were about 60 people there, but they just need a few more regulars.

So, there’s a secret club in Hastings you’ve never been to. Why not do something for your community and support this event. You’ll probably be the youngest there but, do you really care?

I dare you to go.

Contact Rita Monk for info: 01424 465267. www.1066jazzclub.co.uk

Hastings 1066 Jazz Club is at Azur, Marina Pavilion, St Leonards-on-Sea (opposite the Victoria Hotel).

£10 first timers/ Non-members £12 / Student concession £5 with card.


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