A miserable March night in Skegness and snow is falling. Big soggy flakes lit by amusement arcade neon. The streets are horror-film deserted and the giant seafront bars have closed early, but Busters fun pub is hanging on. So is the old man on stage doing karaoke.
Clutching a microphone in one hand, he leans heavily on a stick with the other. Age – he’s 83 – has added a richness to the timbre of his voice and he’s already delighted his audience with Always On My Mind. Now he’s about to launch into Somebody Told Me by The Killers.
Next door, a poster outside the ex-servicemen’s club promises a Sunday afternoon’s entertainment in April with Bruce Jones, who used to play Les Battersby in Coronation Street. ‘We get all the big names,’ jokes a member. ‘Even out of season.’
Locals revel in the town’s tongue-in-cheek nickname, Skeg Vegas, and they need their sense of humour, now more than ever. For one thing, the town, though popular, keeps getting sniffy reviews.