Losing their cool

Swiss Cottage plays host to the Eddie the Eagle of club nights. Nicola Davidson meets the distinctly unhip Ski Sisters
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The Independent Culture
every londoner has at one stage of their life driven past the alpine-style chalet pub at the centre of Swiss Cottage, but few people know that it is now host to one of the capital's silliest club nights. Every week London clubbers transform their cool image by sporting ski gear they would normally only ever wear on the piste, while dancing to the kitsch sounds of Bros and Kylie. "What on earth is going on?" asked a bemused American tourist, "I was told that London clubs were among the coolest in the world."

Welcome to Ski Sunday, a new theme-night hosted by the Ski Sisters, otherwise known as Jo Metcalf, 24 and Michaela, 26. Their chosen attire of pink earmuffs and ponchos are more Swiss Family Robinson than St Moritz aprs- ski - hardly surprising, as they themselves have never been skiing. Michaela, nevertheless, proudly claims to have skiing in the blood - she recently discovered that her Uncle Basil was one of Frank Ifield's backroom singers on the classic "She Taught Me How to Yodel".

The Ski Sisters came up with the idea of doing a ski club after they developed, together with a little help from their friends, their very own ski dance - a variation on the punk classic of pogo-ing titled the Ski Pogo. They say they can't stand the type of nightclub that is "full of disco dollies with fluffy bras and furry knickers who crotch dance all over the place", and are sick of "serious" clubs who charge big bucks for maximum attitude. "Here, it is uncool to be cool," explains Michaela. They don't have a guest list; everyone pays £3 and you get a free Schnapps on arrival.

They describe the atmosphere as: "Relaxed. People get drunk, go mental and the early closing time ensures people get home at a normal hour so they can still function the next day." Although the pair do indeed appear to be piste artistes, do not be fooled. The Ski Sisters might not be chalet girls but they are well connected to hip young London. They never let celebrity names slip, but rumour has it that Suede, Bjork and Shampoo are Ski Sister fans together with Blur, whose casual style has so obviously influenced club life, and gives Ski Sunday the Eddie the Eagle edge.

As the club is "strictly salopettes", full retro ski suits are respectfully admired and ski passes looked at with a mixture of awe and envy. "Wow!" shrieks Jo as she spots a friend wearing a white parka with a furry hood. "That is really disgusting." The friend smiles sheepishly. "Thanks, but where did you get your poncho? - it's gross." Meanwhile, on the dancefloor the skiers are building up a sweat. It's hard to get down in your ski suit but they do their best - after all, the Ski Sisters have offered "free drinks all night to anyone who can break their leg at the club", and judging from the performances, the competition is fierce.

Gillian, 25, from Wimbledon seems to be having fun, although it is hard to see her eyes behind her ski goggles, which have their own windscreen wipers. "I have just come back from Verbier and I am going skiing again at Easter." She's a serious skier but admits she wouldn't be seen dead on the slopes in her attire this evening.

Ski Sunday is the equivalent of the Jamaican bobsleigh team. "We think that we are normal and everyone else is mad," explains Michaela. "Although we realise that some people might think we are raving lunatics." I made my excuses and left. "Ski you next Sunday," they trilled.

`Ski Sunday', Ye Olde Swiss Cottage Chalet, 7-11pm Sundays, £3

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