Cronx Cookout @ The Oval

As one of the weirdest summers on record drew to an end, the CRD girls bemoaned the fact that they hadn’t had a righteous party in a while. There had been no magic tricks with poles, no incredibly huge and tasty barbecue, no dubiously-termed ‘family friendly’ fun with resident pop sensation All Night Fisting. It was time to bring the mayhem at the Croydon Oval! (but only until 8pm because there was another band on after that.)

Crowds gathered to watch Vicky Walters aka Skatja Boloksov, the now-retired former skater and honey-voiced pipsqueak, begin the evening’s entertainment with an acoustic set. There was just enough time to head into the massive beer garden, enjoy a freshly-grilled burger as big as your head, and check out some of the things for sale – everything from fairy cakes to taxidermy – before Herbie Licious took to the stage. Herbie is always a hit with the mums and there was a fair amount of swooning as our bearded crooner sang super-smooth covers of Self Esteem and Golden Brown.

Then the crowd surrendered to Bev and her games, which included trying to pick up a cereal box with your face, heads ‘n’ tails, and various other debauched activities.

My brother and I (he doesn’t know it yet, but his roller derby name will be Well-Done Cooper) were incredibly nervous about debuting our newly formed punk band, Special Baby. With a princely two rehearsals under our belts, we covered such greats as Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone and the Divinyls’ I Touch Myself, as well as a few songs that I’d written (andwhichareavailabletodownloadherethanks) to surprisingly rapturous applause. Hooray for Special Baby!

Time for more games with an increasingly lathered Bev, whose fun game-show host persona was beginning to veer towards the frightening, and a delicious and very reasonably priced plate o’ barbecue – a selection of giant salads and a burger for about £3. The perfect thing to line your stomach whilst All Night Fisting revved their engines and prepared to take you to Planet Ecstasy, or something.

No-one could have predicted the sheer sensuality of All Night Fisting’s live show. Hidden at the back of the stage in a top hat and glasses, demurely playing the keyboard, I could only watch as the crowd was rendered speechless by a man in a monkey suit (Herbie), a total babe (Sim), a furious stickwoman on the skins (Bert), stonefaced bass chaos in the form of Alex, and a hotpanted Croydon sex pest (Gib).

ANF roared their way through all the classics – Love Shack, Gold, Tainted Love, Beat It and Word Up to name but a few – to hooting, hollering and questionable dancing. I don’t think the Oval had ever seen such raw sexual power. As the set drew to a close with a slightly off-pitch rendition of Fat Bottomed Girls, the audience raised their fists aloft. Some of the weaker specimens went home. Others headed outside again for more of Bev’s games, including a ‘reverse raffle’ and an intriguing dance with a pool cue.

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It was a weird and wonderful day – thanks everyone for coming, see you at the next one!

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