These days, the only times we get to sample ‘The Blitz Spirit’ are a) when something terrible happens, b) there’s a tube strike, or c) it snows. But if you long for the long-lost music, manners and mayhem of wartime Britain then help is at hand.
The bi-monthly Blitz Party provides a thrilling antidote to the pre-pubescent posers you’d normally expect to find in too-cool-for-school Shoreditch, with disused railway arches transformed into a World War II bomb shelter occupied by swing bands, sand bags, uniformed lads and red-lipped ladies.
The underground location adds to the sensation that you’ve somehow managed to travel back in time, and with a strict 1940s dress code and cocktail menus disguised as ration books, no detail is left in no man’s land. The clothes play an interesting role in the entire affair, too. The stiffer cuts of ration-fashion seem to put everyone on their best behaviour, triggering a return to the more rigid gender roles of days gone by; expect to ask a lady for a dance down here (and hide your dismay when she turns out to be a professional swing dancer).
London two-piece The Correspondents are key players in this current wave of cultural nostalgia. Named after the classic two-tone brogue, band members Mr Bruce and Chuckles cite both Billie Holiday and Fatboy Slim as influences, and aim to create ‘the Big Band sound of the 20s and 30s… revamped for the 21st century.’ Their stage shows are visual treats, as front man Bruce (dressed like a modern day Beau Brummell) spins schmaltzy tales over an energetic dance sequence.
As is the nature of time travel, the Blitz Party can be unpredictable; sign up to the mailing list at www.theblitzparty.com to hear about the next event, which should be coming very soon. And if all this leaves you checking your fob watch for more antebellum fun, catch regular nights at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club (The Correspondents are regulars), or brush up your moves at the London Swing Dance Society’s free taster workshops at the pleasingly retro Bloomsbury Bowling Alley. The hottest place to be this summer is definitely 1942. Charlie Jeffries