By Phil Le Brun
Crank up the Baggy Winkles
A couple of doors down from the bakery is Ye Olde Village Inn. This Isle of Wight pub claims ‘every visitor is a local’. A claim we put to the test. We were staying a little off Bembridge’s ‘high street’ at Nick’s house. He’d invited a few of us to join him on the Island for a couple of days to work on D&AD briefs which provided a brief intermission from Marc’s play in which we were all starring. This brings us to Ye Olde Village Inn and what happened when eight out of work creatives walked into a local’s night in the rural heart of the Isle of Wight.
As we approached the pub from the ‘high street’ – a meandering lane lined with farm shops, a butcher’s and a Co-Op, we heard the steady beat of music and saw the dappled technicolour of a disco ball. It was on. The windows were smeared with ale infused condensation and the air hung with the scent of ladies’ perfume and Dad’s cologne. Saturday glad rags, hair gel and heels. Old friends shimmied to the beat, while the barman joked with people he knew by tipple and name. We squeezed towards the crowded bar, embarrassingly urban and millennial, to be ID’d and checked out before grabbing some drinks and slipping into the twenty people gathered round a small stage in the corner. The crowd silenced. On the stage were an assembly of geography teachers, IT-technicians and postmen, all in their 50’s, bespectacled and bearded, with the exception of a female guitarist tucked behind the PA system. The lead singer, who was head to toe in denim, bopped up and down as he counted in the drummer. Clack, clack, clack, ‘HEY!’. The lead vocalist soared into Beatles inspired melodies calling out and building to crescendos like John Lennon, shaking and rocking to the driving beat coming from the postman on the skins. Complicated bass-lines flowed seamlessly from the fingertips of another denim-clad retiree in the corner who chipped in with pitch-perfect backing vocals. To his right was Chuck Berry trapped in the body of a geography teacher chiming in with jingling riffs which sent spikey-haired grandmothers into delirium.
I’m no music aficionado but this band was tight. Every element was individually brilliant and collectively elevated to something even better. At one point Terry the unassuming bassist belted out Mustang sally from the corner. Unexpected. The lyrics were universal and funny referencing people in the pub, walking dogs and lovers from years gone by. Packed with story and emotion. Every song on the set-list had the band smiling and joking between themselves. Relaxed and playful. They were in full flow. Receptive and electrified with a shared energy. They weaved in new lyrics riffing off their audience, switched to new instruments to mix up their sound and the lady in the corner shredded spontaneous face-melting guitar solos.
Our perceptions were challenged by their craft, energy and skill. In the most unlikely of places we found true creatives and they’d never give a shit about D&AD. Creativity isn’t about surface appearances. It knows no category or restriction, however hard we try to harness it. Our time will come, but for Saturday night in that pub on the Isle of Wight raw creativity belonged to The Baggy Winkles.