As far as you can go – The Rock Club

Our nightlife on Edsel’s first visit was centred on a location not in Jamestown itself but up in Half Tree Hollow.  This area was like a suburb of Jamestown, where the city itself had to outgrow the confines of the steep sided valley, but in fact was strictly its own community, and had become the largest settlement in the whole territory.  It was a compromise location for most between the nice climate of St Paul’s and the closeness to Jamestown itself and row after row of detached one storey houses faced out north west over the Atlantic Ocean.  Nestled in the middle of these was the Rock Club.  We’d travelled over to St Helena with our  good friends from Ascension Island, Ray and Sandra Benjamin.  They both worked on Ascension and we had spent many a happy time with them at parties on the beach huts or Sunday lunch up at their little house in Two Boats, but they had their own home in Half Tree Hollow.  On our first evening we had been invited up to the club run by Ray’s brother and met up with two of the Benjamin’s daughters, Tanya and Andrea.  The whole family were superb and the daughters were bubbly and incredibly friendly.

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Looking down on Half Tree Hollow

The Rock Club was like a working men’s social club in the UK.  It had a kitchen and a bar and a number of tables spread around a dance floor – a stage at the far end supported whichever act was on that night.  It may just have been a disco, but they sometimes had live bands on, and there was an overwhelming predominance of country, folk, line dancing and similar tunes most nights, with accompanying dancing.  Being a Scottish dancer which had overlapped at many a function into old time sequence dancing, I knew a few of the ones they performed – the Military Two Step, Fiona’s Wedding,  the Barn Dance and the Gay Gordon’s .  Edsel was much more circumspect about getting up on the floor, but Tanya in particular was good at dragging this heavy footed Kittitian around the floor.  Some of the saints here really went to town on the Country and Western scene.  It included a guy decked out in check shirt and tight blue jeans, cowboy boots, leather belt with humongous buckle and wide brim hat.  All from someone who has probably never left the South Atlantic.  He danced around the floor in that curious form called line dancing, stepping forward, spinning, sideways shuffle, with all the emotion and interaction of a solitary bee exiled to the moon.  But it was done with dedication and detail.

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