Promised Land

Inside The Infamous Crondall Rock'N'Roll Club

There’s a little village near to where I grew up called Crondall. It’s the kind of village that’s so small every road leading into it is like a death trap. You know the type, where the roads are so skinny and overgrown with forest you feel like an intruder forcing your way through.

The first time I drove there it was November and it was pouring with rain, I remember edging my car down a track path feeling lost as hell. Just as I convinced myself that I’d made a wrong turn, I heard it. A building blaring Buddy Holly, its porch light turned on and an old Teddy Boy stood  outside smoking under the bulb.

Home to one of the oldest rock ‘n’ roll clubs in Britain, stepping inside Crondall village hall for the first time felt like entering a film set. Having residence here since 1976, the patrons in attendance are serious. Amongst the crowd are veterans such as Mick and Peggy Warner (attendees since the 1980s - their son Adie and daughter-in-law Janie have been the main organisers of the club for the past 8 years)

On the dance floor they blend seamlessly with the new generation of rockers also in attendance, teenagers who’ve inherited the love of the music (and the decade from which it originated) from their parents. Given permission to photograph some club members in their homes it became clear that these characters embraced the music in all aspects of their everyday lives.

Spending hours in countless space filled with relics from the 1950s only enhanced my perception of the pride in authenticity and attention to detail paid by these people trying to create a life in the past. Looking through my viewfinder as I was pressing the shutter momentarily took me away from reality and contemporary life, into another time and a completely different way of living - a parallel universe inspired by rock ‘n’ roll in the middle of nowhere.

 

Words and Photography by Hayley Louisa Brown

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