Grammar Tuesdays: A Legacy

Let’s face it, Durham isn’t exactly a gumbo mixing pot. If you think about it, the place you get your kicks is pretty obvious from the colour of your chinos; burgundy – Market vaults, royal blue – Studio, salmon – Loveshack, vanilla – Klute. Am I forgetting somewhere? I realise this is a ridiculous generalisation, but you know what I mean. Individuality is important: and you’ll only find out who you are by trying everything – even rainbow leggings.

Fishtank (Neville Street above Stanton’s Fish & Chips) is not glamorous, at least not conventionally, but it does have romance. I don’t mean moonlit booths and ballroom décor-style romance… I mean… Ok, so I don’t mean romance at all… I mean character, It has character and in generous cheese-smothered portions. One visit to the men’s toilet and its many tributes to Sylvia Plath will introduce you to some of her lesser-known and frankly underrated sayings such as “Ted Hughes is a bellend”. This is a place that thought that turning itself into a barbershop-cum-recordstore during the day would be a viable business plan. Imagine that: What would you like cut today? Your neck-hair or your EP? The first time I turned up they were playing Syrian rebab music and the last time I turned up the singer of a post-hardcore band was trying to extinguish his flaming hat with a pint of Kozel ; at some point between these two events I came along on a Tuesday night and discovered Grammar.Best described by Lloyd Bent (one of next year’s DJs), Grammar is a night of “beery indie disco” – the only place in Durham you can ask for ‘A Message to You Rudy’, ‘Debaser’ or ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ and expect more than a vacant stare and a what the fuck? One of the biggest problems with clubs in Durham is that I quite quickly get tired of their playlists (the notable exception being Klute, where this happened almost immediately). Even on their supposedly ‘indie’ nights, ‘Last Night’ and ‘I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor’ seem to be playing from some unwanted nauseous loop and the atmosphere has more in common with the lyrics of Divine Comedy’s At the Indie Disco than an awesome jazz club. Simply put, these places are just not worthy of our drunkenness, but Grammar true to its Kerouac plaque on the stairwell will have you throwing your feet about all night with pleasure. DJs Ralf, Ollie and Rafael (who will be entertaining for us again when exams finish) really know how to shake the place up, and it’s really down to them that Grammar has become such a success and that other emerging Fishtank events like One More Tune (which is also great) are doing so well.

The problem is, that with all this talk of rebabs, leggings and Kerouac , people think that Fishtank is just some place for lonely hipsters and fans of Sylvia Path to get their kicks and get together, but you’d be wrong. For sure there’s a lot of that going on in the place, but by the admission of one miserable bitch I mistakenly begun train-conversation with “I don’t think Grammar is pretentious enough”. I asked her to explain what that meant, but I don’t think she knew either. The truth is I’ve seen more sincerity in one hour at Fishtank than I have in three years of Studio, not to mention a more interesting cloak depository.What makes Grammar great isn’t the eclectic music or the great drinks prices (which are irresponsibly good – 1.50 pints and 50p shots at happy hour) though, it’s the people you meet – and that you can meet people. I mean when was the last time you really ‘met’ someone in Klute without having to wake up with them in a pool of garlic sauce – though there’s plenty of that at Fishtank too.

If there’s one thing you try before the end of this year, you must make it Grammar. It’s as integral to the circuit as Sundays at Klute, Mondays at Studio and Wednesdays at Lloyd’s. It’s the answer to the age-old question: ‘Where to be on a Tuesday night?’ and Fishtank’s the only place in Durham I’ve seen a guy wearing rainbow leggings. As Sylvia Plath once said: “There is nothing like puking with somebody outside Grammar to make you into old friends.”

A Short Introduction to Grammar DJs:

Ralf “make ‘em dance” Webb: Starter: Rudie Can’t Fail – The Clash
Mid-flow highlight: Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!,
Closer: Anywhere I Lay My Head – Tom Waits

Oliver “Iron Hands” White:
– Starter: Yes I do – Captain Beefheart,
– Mid-flow highlight: The Rat- The Walkmen
Closer: County Line – Cass McCombs

Rafael “Indie Rock and” Lubner:
– Starter: Excursions – Tribe Called Quest
– Mid-flow highlight: Age of Consent- New Order
– Closer: Louis Louis – The Kingsmen

Grammar nights are closed for exams but will kick back into full flow after they finish. Check out the page to get updates

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