Is Anybody There?

Rah Band – Is Anybody There

There was hardly anyone ever inside the Lower Ruth whenever you had a look. Still, somehow the large venue kept grinding for five decades in Jyväskylä, the town I grew up in. The club was always underappreciated, always in the shadow of more successful competition. “What are you saying, the Lower Ruth, you mean it’s still open?”

The place started as a cocktail lounge and like so many other venues, turned into a disco during the mid 70s. Thru the years the Ruth went thru countless name changes in useless attempts to create interest but it was always known by it’s name of birth. Now, the end has arrived for the old girl as the building is about to be demolished.

During the seventies the management realized no matter what they couldn’t lure in the hardcore clubbers so they went for the lower end of the market. This meant the music was a relentless medley of hits by the likes of Dshinghis Khan, Baccara, Boney M and all thru 1978 and even beyond, every track off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack apart from Ralph McDonald’s Calypso Breakdown. That had a way too complex structure for the clientele of the Ruth.

The club was on the second floor of the building. The large windows were darkened with increasingly peeling black paint that let the midnight sun in during the summer. Come the winter the club was heated to the maximum, resulting in uncomfortable sauna-style ambiance.

Originally, things were not so bad. The design of the place during the sixties had a cool modern look to evoke a subtle James Bond-style experience. When disco hit, the expensive furniture was thrown out and the place was transformed into a hideous wild west saloon nightmare, complete with crudely drawn images of gunfights, dancing girls and cactus plants on cardboard walls that were erected on the premises to divide the space and supposedly create more visually interesting geometries. There were the swinging doors too of course, leading to the toilets that became a nightmare of their own.

So, when you for one reason or another walked up the stairs to check what’s going on at the Ruth, you’d first see there was nobody dancing to say, Eeny meeny miny moe by Luv. Along the walls, solitary figures would be sitting in booths, hunched over their beers. Beer was cheap there.  At the bar counter there were always small drunken groups of guys on the verge of asking the few girls in attendance to dance, never summoning up the courage. I myself actually played records there a couple of times – don’t ask why – and never saw anyone Get Up And Boogie.

Now that it’s curtain time, locals feel sad of course.

The track is an attempt to make Rah Band’s tune interesting by playing it at 45 rpm. In the spirit of the Lower Ruth, it didn’t really work.

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