A rummage through my letterbox will normally produce a vast array of unwanted rubbish: takeaway menus (don’t they know I’m loyal to Tulse Hill locals Oregano and Khan’s?), clothing collection bags for dubious-looking charities and letters from estate agents asking whether I’ve considered selling the property – I’d love to, but I suspect my landlord would have something to say about that.
But last week I found a more interesting item: an invitation to Club 43, a jazz club that has opened just a stone’s throw from my house. “Dear Club 43 Local,” it said. “We’d like to invite you to London’s newest jazz club.”
I’m no jazz aficionado, but the prospect of a night out that involved live music and a two-minute walk home was enough to draw me, and my flatmate, in.
The first thing to say about Club 43 is that it is well-hidden. A small entrance, next door to Brazas restaurant on Tulse Hill, has a reception desk and – well, nothing else. But you’ll be led downstairs into a plush bar, with bright lights and leather sofas.
The club has only been open for about a month, and it has a very new, just-getting-going feel to it. The staff seemed genuinely excited to see us, nattering away about Brixton as they got to grips with the colourful array of bottles behind the bar.
Drinks in hand, we headed to the club’s second room, where the band was about to start. In contrast to the main bar, this is dark, candlelit and atmospheric – the perfect setting for the soulful jazz and blues from Lauren Dalrymple and Maurizio Minardi.
The gig was intimate, to say the least: there was a tiny audience of about six people. Partly this can be put down to the newness of the venue, and partly to the music’s early start, as crowds started arriving around 11.30 when the live performances were all but finished.
Those crowds had really missed out: the music, mostly improvised, was incredible.
I’ll certainly be heading back to my new local – and hopefully I’ll be part of a bigger crowd next time.