Saturday, 18 November 2017

Hall and Oates vs Steely Dan

As celebrity death matches go, a tussle between two elderly veterans of pop music sheen, the very venerable Hall and Oates and even more doddery Steely Dan, couldn't be nicer.

Both are proponents of tunes smooth enough to buff your best crockery with. Although you might argue that the latter are slightly more prickly than their hair plug sporting counterparts. But whatever, both peddle 'AOR' of the most excellent variety. Rather than watching them putting their dukes up and slugging it out in the ring, we had the pleasure of catching them both play over consecutive nights as part of the Blues Fest at London's cavernous, vertigo inducing arena at the O2.

Saturday night was all about Hall and Oates who successfully transported some California sunshine to Greenwich. Thankfully, they didn't dilly dally with new material, instead just wheeling out a dazzling set of total bangers from Private Eyes to I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) and sporting some delightfully buffonic hair do's. One of the funnest aspects of watching an old band is the old audience and we felt incredibly young as we went through the airport style security of the arena. We were also the only punters on our side of the stadium to ingest too many Stellas and dance in the aisles while simultaneously shitting it that we might come a cropper and tumble to an almost certain death from our vertigo-inducingly high seats. But we lived to tell the tale. Whoooop.

Sunday evening was spent feeling a little more stale and watching Steely Dan from the vantage of the BT corporate box on the other side of the stadium.Our contact got us in on the lure of a cheapish ticket, plus free booze and food. But while we were ushered into the venue via the VIP entrance, the promise of gratis stuff to stick in our gobs never materialised. Instead one of our party spent £7.50 on a bowl of nuts and we again got on the Stellas. Steely Dan went through a greatest hits style set with one of the slickest band of session musicians you'd ever did see. And while they'd lost a member in the form of the sadly departed Walter Becker, a lone unused microphone paid tribute while Donald Fagan twitched his way through some of the best, jazzy-pop bits... these guys might be fucking ancient but they've still got it...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hey London - let's oppose the developers

Unless you go to bed at 7pm or don't ever look outside, then you should be well aware of the struggle and strife London's LGBTQ+ venues have been facing in recent times. The capital has lost more than half in the last decade but campaigners are now taking a stand and attempting to block the tide of gentrification running over and exchanging the city's best night spots for shit, luxury flats. 

The battle to save the Joiners Arms pub in Hackney has been at the centre of this fight with campaigners recently winning in their bid to guarantee that a redevelopment must see an LGBTQ+ club included in any plans for at least 25 years. 

Well done to the Friends of the Joiners Arms and read this piece I put together for Mixmag on the fight (it was published just before news of the victory)...

The Andrew Weatherall weekender

I reached the ripe old age of 36 last month and to get over it, we went to the Andrew Weatherall weekender in Sete in the south of France for two nights of nocturnal shits and giggles... here's what happened...

The dusty old nooks and crannies of Sete's Theatre de la Mer are perhaps more used to dramatic re-enactments of classic tomes and high brow cultural bashes than electronic knees ups.

But at the end of September this amazing, coast hugging venue throbbed luridly to the beats of Convenanza, Andrew Weatherall's annual music festival.

Dedicated to the passions and talent of the almost mid fifties acid house veteran, the event was previously located in Carcassone within the walls of a medieval count's castle. You'd walk up through the town past the elderly tourists choffing on snails and red wine with bats circling overhead before entering the lair. This year, the crew exchanged the castle for the theatre, heading to the sea and over two nights, held one of the most spectacular shindigs you could wish for.

It's obvious that 'the guvnor' (as AW is affectionately referred to by the crew of gnarled ravers in attendance) is well used to throwing a rave in a suitably incongruous location. But while the setting helps, it's the on point musical selections and programming that always makes it special. From the live electronica of Autarkic to Weatherall's own psychobilly sets, the soundtrack riffs and kicks across all bases.

Sete is a balearic working port in the day, still heated by the late September sun, but when night fell, strobes and smoke beamed out from the venue like electronic sirens urging ravers to come and crash on its salty shores.

As you'd expect, the crowd was a sausage fest but more than made up for this lack of diversity by being totally up for it. No nobs, as the grizzled late 40 sometings we made friends with gurned at us. They might be old but they were hardened, willing to go in over the two evenings while the baby sitters back in the UK worked as hard as they raved. I know our's did. And of course the line up, all cherry picked by Weatherall's exquisite taste. It was so good I returned to the UK with 35 euros worth of drinks tokens while the only French food we ate was a cheese toastie and a burger. You could buy oysters, dance dangerously on steps and even buy scrambled eggs from the food vendors. It's a bizarre mix of the civilised and deranged and is like nowt else... they even finished with this on the Friday which was a fitting tune to stagger off and have a cry to. Ooof...

Drinking beer in Tottenham

We've been in Tottenham for just over a year and in that time it's gone from being home of the Carling binge drinker to the capital's craftiest postcode. Coincidence? I think not mi familia. We're setting the bench mark for taste buds all over the north of London. With so much good beer on offer and the trendies who over run Hackney yet to take over our environs, we've been out and about sampling many of N17's best aley wares.

Check out the latest issue of the Tottenham Community Press for a piece exploring Tottenham's new beer mile...

Read Tottenham Community Press issue six

Summer in the city

Summer has gone and we're now bracing ourselves for a winter shit sandwich of Trump, Brexit, May, North Korea, David Davis and more. Turn your televisions off and don the helmets as the gross get grosser and the stupid get even more stupid innit. It's been pretty hectic round these parts hence the catastrophically long gap between posts but vibes are for living right? Right - check out how we do via this handy photo montage...

We had no hot water for ten days and suddenly we'd started a fucking trend. 

Inside is outside innit 

The end of days

Soul power


A suckling pig


John Willies!

Halloumi fries in Liverpool yo 

The Low End

Daylight marauders

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Get yoursens down Monty's Deli

Other than world peace, is there anything more palatable than an overfilled meat sandwich? Monty's Deli is in Hoxton, achingly trendy but do a fucking immense butty which comes with a pickle the size of your conk. Check it.

A very Scottish wedding

We travelled up the spine of the UK at the end of July for a wedding in Scotland. The wedding was bo (big up Bron and Phil) but one of the major moments was discovering a new food. The Macaroni pie! Right on Nicola Sturgeon for allowing this to happen in her lands. May - take note you troll.

A new species of food 

Inspecting the aga

Where Nicola Sturgeon does all her dumps 

A very long sausage roll

A rainbow - I deleted a load of photos and apps to make space for it, then five minutes later it rained so hard that we couldn't see anything