ACME Workers Club
THE SOCIAL ALTERNATIVE
Edinburgh’s new favourite Auntie and Uncle divulge the delights of the capital’s latest leftfield club phenomenon, the ACME Workers Club to Mark Edmundson.
When ‘social directors’ Auntie Joan and Uncle David decided to create a regular event that put fun to the fore and would be easy on the pocket they eventually settled on an after work happening that reflected the humble appeal of the long forgotten supper club. One Friday a month their ACME Workers’ Club boasts live entertainment and music, which harks back to a more innocent age and yet perhaps presenting the future of alternative clubbing. ‘I remember in the late 50s and even the early 60s there were a lot of miners’ clubs,’ explains Uncle David over a soothing ale in a traditional Edinburgh boozer, ‘but of course when mining died out so did working men’s clubs. The public’s taste in entertainment became more sophisticated too, suddenly there were discos and the working men’s clubs just didn’t cut it anymore.
‘A lot of variety acts that are huge names today cut their teeth on this circuit,’ he continues, alluding to a wealth of entertainers who were happy just to be out there performing and from whom the AWC had little trouble recruiting an opening night cast that featured a live band, burlesque, drag karaoke, mind reading, magic and regular fixture, the frozen chicken raffle. ‘Boredom is not an option because there’ll be someone doing something on stage every 15 or 20 minutes. There’s music in between, there’s food, you can socialise, play draughts, have a drink and a dance.’ According to Uncle David, the people who came along on the first night were overjoyed at paying just £6 for entry, £2 for a pint of beer and £3.50 for a main course meal, enjoying a comprehensive night out for as little as £20. ‘There’s a real family feel and it’s all over by 12.30pm should you want to go on to a club or actually achieve something on Saturday’.
For the next date Auntie Joan and Uncle David are launching the ACME Talent Quest. They are holding auditions for variety entertainers between 5:30 and 7pm, with five-minute slots pre-booked by e-mail. The venue itself is a little known ex-serviceman’s club replete with members and offering an authentic supper club look and feel - not to mention price. ‘ACME Workers’ Club is a modern twist on the working men’s club. There is no dress code and it’s not going to alienate anyone.’ Your hosts only ask that attendees are open minded, friendly and adhere to the club rules. Uncle David adds, ‘If you want to come out and socialise and have a laugh, you’re the kind of people we want to be with on a Friday night.’
Of course with a capacity of only 80-120, if the AWC really takes off the organisers face having to put it on more regularly rather than finding a new venue or turning people away. Auntie Joan and Uncle David accept this would be a nice dilemma to have. ‘It’s an unproven theory that might just about work, but is it sustainable?’ Uncle David asks of himself. ‘Have we discovered a format that we can really work just because it’s time is now? I suspect that this is the case.’ And we would suspect he is quite correct.
ACME Workers’ Club, 11 Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh, Fri 9 Mar. Professional or amateur variety entertainers interested in auditioning to appear at the club should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org