minor miracles of the internet

Many months ago I uploaded a scene from The Killing of Sister George on YouTube. It was shot on location at the Gateways club, a lesbian club in London that opened in the 1930s and closed in 1985, and I thought it was an important little artifact. The film as a whole is hardly a documentary — here, read this if you’re not familiar with it — but this scene features many of the club’s regulars at the time (including its famous bartender/manager Smithy and its proprietor Gina Ware) and I thought it was a shame it wasn’t on YouTube already. (There are more lesbian characters in movies and on tv these days but for the most part they don’t seem any more genuine or interesting than the heteronormative minstrelry of “Real Housewives of Wherever”. . .). I also thought the hipster couple in black glasses slow-dancing around 6:36 was super cool.

But what was the name of the band playing throughout the entire scene?

No answer on IMDB, no answer anywhere.

Until yesterday, when a YouTube commentator named Renee serendipitously told me that the band was called the Mission Belles and that she played drums with them while their regular drummer was having a baby. The band was from East Ham and was comprised of three sisters and one sister-in-law, and “[t]hey were playing still up to the nineties (more or less).”

Cheers, Mission Belles! I’ve been wondering who you were for a long time now so as far as I’m concerned this calls for a round of sherry.

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