Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Face Club Listings, March 1989

From The Face, March 1989, an overview of (mainly) London clubland - 'Clubland is coming to life again after the traditional Jan/Feb slump, with over 20 new one-nighters opening in the capital alone'.  Nights featured include: - 

- 'Beautiful Contradictions' - 'a collaboration between dancer Michael Clark, comedian Keith Allen and long-standing club-runner Phil Dirtbox' taking place at Wall St, 14 Bruton Place, W1.

- 'High on Hope' and 'Talking Loud, Saying Something' at Dingwalls, Camden Lock. 

- 'MFI' - garage night at Legends in New Burlington Street, W1. 

- 'Confusion' at Bill Stickers, Greek Street, W1 - 'Sunday night rave for hardcore clubbers'. 

- 'Bangs' at Busbys, 157 Charing Cross Road, WC1 'gay mixed (but mainly male) crowd dancing to an almost Taboo-like mix of pop trash, new imports and disco classics' 

Places outside of London include:  

- 'Abraham Moss All-Nighter' at Abraham Moss Community Centre, Cheatham Hill, Manchester ('bi-monthly rare soul rave'). 

- 'Club Voodoo' at McGonagles, South Anne Street, Dublin. 

- Laurent Garnier's 'Locomotion' in Rue Pigalle, Paris.

 At this point, house music hadn't become the dominant sound in London clubs that it was shortly to become - it was still just one of the flavours. The Dancefloor tracklist from Daddy Gee (Massive Attack) includes Soul II Soul and the Jungle Brothers, among others.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bracknell Squat Party 1985

Red Rag was a radical newsletter published in Reading from around 1979 to the mid-1980s.  Somebody is currently doing a great service by gradually scanning in back issues, with a wealth of information not only about the Thames Valley area but also wider radical movements in that period.

Here, from May 26th 1985, is a report of a mainly anarcho-punk squat gig at Bracknell cinema which featured bands including No Defences, Slave Dance, Pro Patria Mori, Barcelona Bus Company and the Magic Mushroom Band.

From the same scene and the same year (I think), a report of a 'free festival benefit gig' at the Paradise Club in Reading, featuring Karma Sutra, Barcelona Bus Company and Cosmetic Plague. Not sure of the source of this report but it is reproduced in the booklet for Karma Sutra's retrospective album 'Be Cruel With Your Past And All Who Seek To Keep You There' 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stewart Home, Tim Cockburn & a Norfolk Rave Poem

Enjoyed the spoken word event at the Hannah Barry Gallery in Peckham last night (actually a warehouse on the Copeland Industrial Estate). Of course Stewart Home stole the show - not many other writers can recite their work without the book in front of them while standing on their head.

Good stuff too from Katrina Palmer and Iphgenia Baal, among others. But on a dancing tip I enjoyed some of Tim Cockburn's poetry from his collection Appearances in the Bentinck Hotel, especially this one:

A Rave in North Norfolk

For Laura

After the rave the steamed-up Peugeots
that, nightlong, blunted the field’s edge
slunk off one by one like a flagging picket,
leaving a stillness of litter-strewn hedges
the waterfowl dared enter back into.
On the lawn tall shadows tucked stickered decks
into retracted back seats, whilst the few
who remained in the lamp-lit mill slept,
not noticing how like kicked up sediment
settling the displaced calm restored
itself around them, or how, beyond the lane,
the shallow-pooled stretches sharpened:
the coloured smudge of ballast and gorse
beside a decelerating train.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

NME Guide to Rock & Roll London (1978): Gay Clubs

From the NME Guide to Rock & Roll London (early 1978), a guide to the Gay Scene starts with a warning: 'a note to all you guys 'n' gals, cuties 'n' chickens, rent boys 'n' muscle men, leather lovers 'n' sock eaters: REMEMBER British Law permits homosexual activity in PRIVATE between two consenting adults of 21 and over. Any sexual contact in public is forbidden'. Places mentioned include:

- Bang Disco, The Sundown, 157 Charing Cross Road 'a good mixture of gays and punks';
- Gateways, 239 Kings Road, SW3  'Women only'
- Louise, 61 Poland Street, W1
- El Sombrero, 142-144 Kensington High Street, W8
- A & B Club, 27 Wardour Street, W1
-  Escort, 89a Pimilico Road, SW1.
- Maunkberry's, 57 Jermyn Street,W1
- Mandy's, 30 Henrietta Atreet, W1
- Napoleon's, 2 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, W1
- Oscars, 4 Greek Street, W1
- Festival Club, 2 Brydges Place (off St Martin's Lane), WC2

See also:

NME Guide to Rock & Roll London 1978: Disco
NME Guide to Rock & Roll London: Reggae

Sunday, June 03, 2012

This Feast of Flunkeyism - Agitate, Educate & Organise

On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, I am reminded of James Connolly's denunciation of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897:

'“The great appear great to us, only because we are on our knees:  LET US RISE.”

Fellow Workers, The loyal subjects of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, etc., celebrate this year the longest reign on record. Already the air is laden with rumours of preparations for a wholesale manufacture of sham ‘popular rejoicings’ at this glorious (?) commemoration. Home Rule orators and Nationalist Lord Mayors, Whig politicians and Parnellite pressmen, have ere now lent their prestige and influence to the attempt to arouse public interest in the sickening details of this Feast of Flunkeyism...

During this glorious reign Ireland has seen 1,225,000 of her children die of famine, starved to death whilst the produce of her soil and their labour was eaten up by a vulture aristocracy, enforcing their rents by the bayonets of a hired assassin army in the pay of the –best of the English Queens’; the eviction of 3,668,000, a multitude greater than the entire population of Switzerland; and the reluctant emigration of 4,186,000 of our kindred, a greater host than the entire people of Greece. At the present moment 78 percent of our wage-earners receive less than £1 per week, our streets are thronged by starving crowds of the unemployed, cattle graze on our tenantless farms and around the ruins of our battered homesteads, our ports are crowded with departing emigrants, and our poorhouses are full of paupers. Such are the constituent elements out of which we are bade to construct a National Festival of rejoicing!'.

Connolly goes on: 'To you, workers of Ireland, we address ourselves. AGITATE in the workshop, in the field, in the factory, until you arouse your brothers to hatred of the slavery of which we are all the victims. EDUCATE, that the people may no longer be deluded by illusory hopes of prosperity under any system of society of which monarchs or noblemen, capitalists or landlords form an integral part. ORGANISE, that a solid, compact and intelligent force, conscious of your historic mission as a class, you may seize the reins of political power whenever possible and, by intelligent application of the working-class ballot, clear the field of action for the revolutionary forces of the future. Let the ‘canting, fed classes’ bow the knee as they may, be you true to your own manhood, and to the cause of freedom, whose hope is in you, and, pressing unweariedly onward in pursuit of the high destiny to which the Socialist Republic invites you' (full text here).

Agitate, Educate and Organise

I am intrigued by Connolly's use of the Agitate, Educate, Organise meme, a phrase that became common in 20th century radicalism. I wonder about its origins - the earliest reference I have found is from 1882, when the Knights of Labor (a trade union) held what was in effect the first Labor Day parade in New York: 'on Sep 15, 1882, a handful of laborers, organized by Peter McGuire,  began a march uptown through lower Manhattan, carrying signs that read Agitate, Educate, Organize  and  Less Work, More Pay.   Mocked by fashionable New Yorkers they continued their trek as more and more laboring men, women, and children joined them.  By the time they reached what is now called Union Square, there were over 10,000 strong and cheered by thousands more in the Square.  It was the first real Labor Day' (article here).  Irish emigrants played a key role in the formation of the Knights of Labor, and later Connolly himself became involved in US radical politics in the 1900s.

Of course the phrase made its way on to 1980s dancefloors via 'How we gonna make the black nation rise' ('we're gonna agitate, educate and organize') by Brother D with The Collective Effort (1980) - one of the earliest explicitly political rap tracks.

In 1987, Irish band (with American singer) That Petrol Emotion used the phrase in their track 'Big Decision' with its rap section 'What you`ve gotta do In this day and age. You gotta agitate, educate, organize'. The track was no doubt influenced more by Brother D than Connolly, but its references to the use of plastic bullets in Ireland put the band in Connolly's republican tradition.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

NME Guide to Rock & Roll London (1978): Disco

From the 1978 NME Guide to Rock & Roll London, the section on Disco compiled by LeRoy Z. Jefferson, with listings and reflections on the music in London clubs:

'The thing to remember is that Southern Soul is a whole different ball game from the much- publicised Northern brand. In the North, the more obscure '60s foot stompin' scene still dominates, around London it's mainly imported flash funk and deep soul from the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Commodores, Slave, Cameo, Parliament and Pockets, plus a side order of reggae and thankfully just a smattering of android Euro-Disco (Baccara and Amanda Lear) and New York aural soft-porn (Andrea True Commection)'.

The legendary Crackers (201-203 Wardour Street W1) gets a mention. I had no idea that it was the place that hosted the Vortex punk club on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bar prices are given: 50p for lager, 40p for whisky, 27p for coke.

Also mentioned is a forthcoming All Day National Soul Festival on Easter Monday (March 27 1978) at Tiffany's, Brighton Road, Purley (near Croydon), with DJs Chris Hill, Greg Edwards, Robbie Vincent and Chris Brown.

Other places listed include:

- Chelsea Drug Store, 49 Kings Road SW3
- Columbo's, 50 Carnaby Street W1
- Fangs, Praed Street W2
- Fouberts, Fouberts Place W1
- Global Village, Villiers Street WC1 (replaced by gay club Heaven later in 1979)
- Hatchetts, 67a Piccadilly W1
- Hombre, 78 Wells Street W1
- Kareba, 63 Conduit Street W1
- Le Kilt, 60 Greek Street W1
- Saddle Room, Park Lane W!
- Samantha's, 3 New Burlington Street W1
- Speakeasy & Speakearly, Oxford Circus
- Sundown, Charing Cross Road W2
- Thursdays, 36 Kensington High Street W8
- Tiffanys, Shaftesbury Avenue W1
- Upstairs at Ronnie's, Frith Street W1
- La Valbonne, 62 Kingly Street W1

See also:

NME Guide to Rock & Roll London 1978: Gay Clubs
NME Guide to Rock & Roll London: Reggae