Todmorden, a charming market town nestled between the brutal bleakness of Burnley and trustafarian paradise that is Hebden Bridge, is the kind of northern town that makes southerners like me feel immediately home because it feels like every northern town you've ever seen on telly. Men walk flatcap wearing whippets smothered in dripping up and down cobbled streets. Old blokes in tin baths say the word "bugger" a lot. One of the pubs has a sign saying "Disco Music" on the door. It's that kind of place. Yes, Harold Shipman did work there for a bit, but let's not tar the whole town with that brush.
I've been to Todmorden on several occasions now and always leave the place in a better mood than when I arrived. Mainly because I've usually spent the majority of my time there drinking pints —readers, I have to break some important news to you: pints are cheaper if you're not in London, crazy I know, but it's true. Amongst the pubs and the pie shops, tucked between offies and pharmacies, is Todmorden's gem. Forget Stoodley Pike and policemen being abducted by aliens, the town's real claim to fame is it's premiere nightspot, the newly named Monty's.
The last time I went to Monty's it was called Club Venue and it was completely, utterly, totally empty at 1am. My girlfriend and I were, apart from the overzealous doormen and the understandably bored barstaff, the only punters there. This was a few days after Christmas and a couple before new year's. We drank a bottle of VK and walked home via the canal where we were assaulted by a to this day unidentified white creature. Back to Monty's though.
Formerly known as CP Bar and Kiss and a few other names, Monty's is the archetypal small town club. It does what it needs to do —sell cheap drinks to locals who want a quick and easy night out— with the minimum of fuss. It gets the job done. Everyone reading this will have been to a Monty's at some point. This is the club most of us grow up in, the club that teaches us the importance of nightlife etiquette, the club where you start drinking and snogging and smoking. It's the club some of us grow out of and look back on with an uneasy mix of fondness and embarrassment. We are the products of clubs like Monty's, each and everyone of us. Still, let's save the musing about the power of the parochial for another day and concentrate on something more important: Monty's branding.
Clubbing in 2015 is more competitive than ever. With clubs closing down left right and centre, the ones that are still open have to impress more than ever to keep the punters on the dancefloor and the doors open. Clubs like Monty's, the one club in the thousands and thousands of one club towns up and down the country, know that they've got a captive audience — young people are inherently lazy and skint so being able to walk home from a club is always an attractive proposition. There's the danger though that nearby towns and cities, which in Monty's case are the likes of Rochdale, Halifax and Manchester, will have the kind of metropolitan appeal that a club like that can't ever really dream of competing with. So you've got to get the hordes excited before they've even started pre-drinking. You've got to hook them in via Facebook.
This is where Monty's excels. The following image is one I've not stopped looking at since I first saw it. My eyes have grown weary but I am unable to pull them away. Look at it. Just look at it.
Nothing about this image makes sense. What is a onesie wave? How is Monty's causing it? Why's the palm tree so hairy? Why is there some kind of cobweb in the corner? Does the party go on ALL weekend or are we allowed to leave for air and chips? Do we have to wear onesies? American onesies? How crazy is it going to get? How wavy? What, when you think about it properly does, "We're causin Onsie Wave! It's a Crazy Wend Party!!" mean? What does any of it mean? Meaning's not the point here — the point is that this poster has got me ridiculously amped for the 27th & 28th of November and I am going to be at Monty's and I'm going to make some fucking WAVES, alright?
Now, if I'm making waves, I'm going to need a few drinks, right? It's not a Crazy Weekend Party if you're sober. Luckily, Monty's, surely the plaything of the titular Monty who pops up on promotional material here and there looking for all the world like a slightly friendlier Bill Oddie-cum-Lou Carpenter from Neighbours, has got me sorted.
Fuck me. This is glorious. This is art. This is it. This is everything good about being blessed with the gift of sight crammed into one incredible, life-changing photo. I had been considering cutting down on the booze due to my inability to halt the processes of ageing and waist expansion, but just when I thought I was out, Monty pulled me back in with his shots. How could I say no? When there's a rainbow of shots on the table you better believe that I am All About the Shots because shots are the thing that aids with me having a Good Night Out and I love nothing more than Shots and a Good Night Out.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, makes me want shots more than the sight of an avuncular club owner fringed by some 2006 era phone clipart leaves. I'm not sat there salivating, seriously considering hopping on the next train north and smashing the fuck out of Monty's, Todmorden. Fuck my liver, I'm going in, and not even Monty himself can stop me.
Let's think about Monty himself for a second. He looks like the kind of bloke who's permanently on the verge of five minute belly laugh, the kind of man who's always got a spare cigarette to hand, the kind of chap who says, "…beggars belief, it really does!" at least twice a day. Monty, mate, if you're out there, get in touch. I want to know everything I can about you. Are you really All About the Shots? Have you got your onesie ready? Monty, mate, how extreme was halloween?
I bet it was spooky as fuck.
See you down the front at Monty's this weekend — the shots are on me.