Friday, November 26, 2021

British Hip Hop Championships 1985

Flyer for first 'National Hip Hop Championships' at the Rok Rok Club at Brixton Recreation Centre, 'the freshest most awesome place to be'.  Two heats and a final in July/August 1985 with rapping, scratching, breaking and popping. Organised by British Hip Hop Alliance (184 Brixton Road) for ‘people interested in scratch DJing, Breaking, Graffiti, Rapping and related performance arts’. 

Flyer comes from 'Mirror Reflecting Darkly: the Rita Keegan Archive', book published  to accompany interesting exhibition at South London Gallery and available from their great bookshop.

Some video footage of the event, with some great moves to tracks including Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick 'The Show':

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

William Scott at Studio Voltaire (En Vogue in Clapham)

William Scott is an Oakland, California based artist with an exhibition of his work at Studio Voltaire gallery in Clapham, South London. Outside the gallery on the corner of Clapham High Street there's Scott's billboard sized picture of 1990s R&B group En Vogue, who also started out in Oakland.

Scott's paintings have an afrofuturist and spiritual dimension with spaceships  ('Citizen Ships') of his imagined Skyline Friendly Organization bringing peace and indeed bringing the dead back to life.

As well En Vogue, other musical reference points include Janet Jackson (in painting above), Diana Ross and Prince who we are told 'will be coming back to life soon'.



Friday, November 19, 2021

Gender Autonomy Now

Lots of interesting material at the South London Gallery (fire station site) in the School SOS display of work from a recent critical design programme, SOS-21.

As I'm posting this in Transgender awareness week (November 2021)  I'll highlight a couple of relevant works from this exhibition.

O.S. Warren risograph print 'Gender Autonomy Now' and pamphlet 'Transgender health in the UK: a primer':

'Gender, and identity more broadly, is work: an alienated labour of enacting or failing to enact an amorphous set of supposed norms, the value of which is handed over for judgement by supposed experts'

Jackson Deans' video piece 'Malicious gay faggotry 'interrogates historical trans exclusion from LGBTQ+ activism and the current climate of corporate late-stage Pride':


Monday, November 08, 2021

Dancing in London in the Second World War

From 'The Dancing Times' magazine, a snapshot of social dancing in London during the Second World War by day and night.

At the Astoria on Charing Cross Road, 'Dancing twice daily' at this 'West End Dance Salon' where 'A new and beautiful floor makes Dancing a pleasure'. Music from Jack Lennox's 'The Astorians' and 'Syd Dean's Band'

Dancing Times, March 1943

At the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, dancing every day in the afternoon and again in the evening with 'two famous bands' - Lou Preager's and Harry Leader's (in 1943) with the latter replaced by Sydney Simone by 1945.

Dancing Times, March 1943

Dancing Times, April 1945 - prices have gone up!

There was also a whole culture of dance schools - for instance at Westbourne Hall in Westbourne Gorve W3 you could try your hand at Spanish classes with Elsa Brunelleschi and Scandinavian Dances with Danish dancer Madame Karina.

Dancing Times, December 1942

'Records for dancers' reviews from Dancing Times, April 1945, note reference to 'Jivists', not sure if that was a term that was widely used:

A post war issue (May 1950) and another change of font for The Dancing Times


Tuesday, November 02, 2021

'Freedom of Movement': Anti Fascist Action on the dancefloor 1993

One way or another music was at the heart of the movement against racism and the far right in the UK in the early 1990s. Some of the heaviest confrontations, notably the fighting at Waterloo station in 1992, arose out of mobilisations against planned gigs by bands in the neo-nazi 'Blood and Honour' music scene. Meanwhile Anti Fascist Action (AFA), the most militant of the opposing groups, had its own Cable Street Beat musical arm and put on gigs and festivals.

A rare explicit intervention into dance music was 'Freedom of Movement', launched in 1993 by Manchester AFA and sympathetic DJs associated with Manchester clubs.

The aim was 'to raise awareness of fascism and encourage people at least to identify with the anti-fascist cause and get active'. The title 'arose out of the idea that the largely unpolitical dance club scene is one where black and white, and gay and straight people mix and enjoy themselves together... Under the divisive hate politics of fascism, such a vibrant and multiracial scene could not exist'.

Freedom of Movement put on a number of benefit club nights, including at Home in Manchester and the Venue, Edinburgh in December 1993, with sets from Justin Robertson, Norman Jay, Luvdup and, Flesh DJs.

Report on Freedom of Movement from Fighting Talk (Anti Fascist Action), no.7, 1994

A write up of Freedom of Movement in i-D magazine, December 1993

Norman Jay in anti-fascist t-shirt