Archive for March, 2010

This Thursday….

Hi everyone

This Thursday night is going to be a bit special. For one night only, myself and some dear friends are getting together to do something we did every single Thursday for five-and-odd years, but haven’t done in a long time. Playing tunes in the basement of a small pub on a weeknight doesn’t sound like anything much when you think about it, but for years it was – without question – the most important three hours of my week.

Were it not for The Brickworks sessions, I wouldn’t know most of my best friends. I wouldn’t own half the records I do. I almost certainly wouldn’t still be living in Oxford. Most of my best memories from the past decade may never have happened. I might never have met Peepshow Paddy, and there would never have been a Disco Shed. We wouldn’t have seen DJ Derek, Daddy G, Ska Cubano, The Skatalites and Max Romeo up close like we did so memorably. We wouldn’t have got to watch Alton Ellis rolling back the years at The Zodiac, just months before he sadly passed away.

A great deal can happen to you in five years. For all the great times we had, some weeks I’d turn up with my records at half past eight while personally I was falling apart. Nights like those, finding the right records and playing them in the basement of a small pub dotted with familiar faces can feel very precious. I have very few photos from those years at Brickworks, but even now I can still visualise walking down those steps in twilight, the glow of the candles on the tables, putting that first record that you’d been thinking of while you were walking on the plate. I still miss it.

But it seems that I’m not the only one that does, so I was overwhelmed and overjoyed when I asked some of the people who used to play records back then if they’d be up for coming along this Thursday and got such a resounding response. There should be at least 20 of us in all, which means The Cricketers will be jumping even if no-one else shows up! But I hope that some of you do, particularly if you have good memories of getting cheekily pissed on a school night to the best soundtrack on the Cowley Road between 2001 and 2006. And at least this time you won’t have to take your hangover to work the next day.

Till Thursday, 8:30.


NB: Please note this is at The Cricketers, not the Brickworks!


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And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day in accordance with the scriptures: (1 Cor. 15:4)


Founded in July 1900, in East London, at the bottom of a rubbish bin. The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band play Jumping Jazz and Red Hot Rhythm and Blues Music. Rabbit Foot Spasm Band shows bring you red hot choruses, laughter, bad tap dancing, kazoo solos and authentic, prohibition style, serious drinking, as seen during their recent unforgettable Ska Cubano support. Yes-Suh!

In a career spanning over 40 years, DJ Derek has become a globe-trotting reggae phenomenon, even influencing fellow Bristolians MASSIVE ATTACK along the way. Such has been his popularity on dancefloors the world over, he was able to quit his job as an accountant in the mid-seventies to earn his living in clubland ever since.

Though he should have retired years ago, his appearances at the likes of The Big Chill, Glastonbury and Bestival have added to his iconic status, and the reggae grandaddy’s services are in demand more than ever. A resident at Skylarkin’ Oxford for more than five years, it’s no underestimation to say that this man has given us some of the best nights of our lives. Expect an inimitable mix-up of reggae, ska, soul, rock n roll, and vintage jump-jive hepcat sleaze.

not to mention
Host, Dapper Dan, Wailers Tour DJ and soon-to-be Trojan Records-released remix artist. An hour in the company of the Count guarantees more bounce to the ounce.

9pm-3am, only £4 before 11 / £5 after

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8:30-1am, FREE!

Though I’d been using the name for a while, Skylarkin’ Soundsystem really began properly at The Brickworks in September 2002 as a reggae and soul do every Thursday night. I had the tunes but I didn’t have much of a clue about DJing, so I enlisted some friends to help.

Soon more people started coming down and some of them started helping out too. So we all made more friends. Until after a while we had so many friends that some weeks we couldn’t fit them all in. Then the Guardian started to write about the best little club in the land, and we all liked that one so we drank champagne that week.

Sadly Tommy Kneecaps, our much beloved landlord, called time on his tenure at The Brickworks in August 2006, and though the night briefly re-emerged under the pub’s new management a year later, things were never quite the same, so me and my friends all decided to concentrate on other things.

Until Easter Thursday 2010 – the best Thursday of the year as there’s no work the next day – and a chance for some of those great friends to get together one more time.

Featuring some, none, or all of the following on the decks:

Steamin’ John Dash
The Kevina Van Mule Tabac
Disco Darrell
Pierce Madams
Sir Bald Diddley
Harvey K-Tel (aka Samuel G. Thing)
AJ The Singing DJ
Tommy Kneecaps
Ella Fantasia
Cheesy Al
French Tony
Jason ‘The Cat’ King
Dalton Nuggets
Herbal Albert
Indecision (cryogenically recast as a 17-year old for one night only)
Jennifer Funk-Phillips
Half-A-Job Woodman
Dave Drummond-Bates
Lolita Lollipop
Captain Kempos
John The Sax
Nelly B Page
Dave ‘Natureboy’ Noble
Count Skylarkin


WHAT HAPPENED NEXT (edited highlights):

• KEVIN started wicked nights like Hip Drop, The Black Jack Tabac and The Hootchie Cootchie Royale.

• SIR BALD, TOMMY KNEECAPS and JOHN THE SAX formed The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers and played with The Skatalites amongst others.

• STEAMIN’ JOHN DASH suddenly became a superstar DJ aged 52.

• DISCO DARRELL started Original, itself now running 5 years at The Cricketers.

• INDECISION reached puberty and now regularly tears up dancefloors all over London.

• AJ THE SINGING DJ still makes great records and plies his trade as a singer and a DJ around Oxford and beyond.

• PIERCE MADAMS started playing washboard in The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, then they all got drunk, had a fight and he hasn’t played with them since.

• CHEESY AL still resides in Oxford and can be found DJing underhis ‘Buffet Snafflers’ guise here and at summer festivals.

• TOM ‘TROL23’ OLESEN runs Gold Factory Records and is a budding music journalist.

• HERBAL ALBERT moved to Cardiff and became an worldwide authority on genetics and lives with his partner Kate.

• NELLY B PAGE swapped pulling pints for playing the drums in a White Stripes tribute band.

• DAVE NOBLE released several terrific Natureboy albums and helped set up Phat Sessions, the weekly Jam night at The Cellar.

• JASON ‘THE CAT’ KING moved to London, toured with Little Fish, collaborated with Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes and is currently putting the finishing touches to The Spiralist’s debut LP.

• SAMUEL G. THING became Harvey K-Tel, had a huge underground hit with Boops Apocalypse and has now been signed to Trojan Records.

• JENNIFER FUNK-PHILLIPS quit the rat race to do an MA in creative writing and lives in Bath with HALF-A-JOB WOODMAN.

• DAVE DRUMMOND-BATES travelled the world and now teaches in London.

• LOLITA LOLLIPOP turned 21 and hasn’t yet decided on a new DJ name.

• COUNT SKYLARKIN is the luckiest man alive.

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“Rock and roll smells phony and false. It is sung, played, and written for the most part by cretinous goons. By means of its almost imbecilic reiteration it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth.. Rock and roll is the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear”
(Frank Sinatra, 1957)


Time for London, England to finally taste my BIG TEN INCH!

Whoopin’ hollerin’ REAL rock n roll, SCREAMIN’ r&b, 50’s jump-blues, swing, ska, skiffle, jive, 60s beat and misbehavior.
All Killer, No Filler.

Voodoo rhythm & blues and rawkus six-legged rockabilly!
Sir Bald Diddley: vocals/guitar
Bruce ‘Bash’ Brand: drums/biscuit tin
Gez Gezzard: bull fiddle/blues harmonica
Launch party for their 4th LP ‘The Kneeanderthal Sounds Of…’.

(Ska Cubano)
London’s hippest hepcat, singer and band-leader supreme from Ska Cubano and The Topcats, Gaz’s Rockin’ Resident DJ and the best dressed chicken in town.

COUNT SKYLARKIN (Trojan Records)
Platters from the dapper. Strictly pre-1967 musical heaven.

JASON ‘THE CAT’ KING (Spiralist) + more more more on TWO FLOORS


Saturday March 27th at The Book Club
100 – 106 Leonard Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4RH
FREE before 9pm / £5 after


Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Wynonie Harris, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Ruth Brown, Prince Buster, Fluffy Hunter, Laurel Aitken, BB King, Ray Charles, Bullmoose Jackson, Gloria Jones, Sam Cooke, Barbie Gaye, Bo Diddley, Bald Diddley, The Velvelettes, Barrett Strong, Eddie Cochrane, The Kinks, Pee Wee Crayton, Nora Dean, Johnny Cash, Jackie Wilson, The Conchordes, The Skylarks, The Ronettes, Joe Boots, McKinley Mitchell, Charles Sheffield, Wild Jimmy Spruill, Preacher Stevens, The Gaylettes, Dave Bartholomew, Amos Milburn, Jimmy Cliff, The Rolling Stones, Nancy Sinatra, Big Joe Turner…………………………….


Mods, lindyhoppers, punks, greaseballs and teddy boys all welcome. Play nicely, kids.

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That was good. Mouth like sandpaper, my carrot-pickled intestines yet to be retrieved from the bucket I puked them into, some bloke called “Nigel” still asleep on the Skylarkin Heights sofa, and a vague recollection of a fantastic Cuban Ska band and the best night out I’ve had in years. And as Zyromski, my recently reinstalled valet-de-chambre, rids my bedsheets of whatever alcohol-induced detritus my enfeebled bladder has deposited therein, I’m suddenly reminded that it’s almost time to do it all over again!


Friday Night at The Cellar, Oxford
9pm-3am | £4 before 11 / £5 after

Without doubt our favourite discovery of last year, Z&TWB fuse vice-tight Caribbean rhythms with Bermudian frontman Zion Wilson’s soaring vocal talents, which bring to mind Jeff Buckley as much as Jah Cure and Richie Spice. Epic reggae soundscapes, but with their feet firmly on the dancefloor.


Mic-mad Rasta from Manchester and frequent collaborator with Mr Scruff, Aim, Rae & Christian, Mungos Hi-Fi and The Nextmen. Rasta-fooking-faaari.

These days mostly found in the studio with Roots Manuva, our Tom’s turntable excursions have their heads wedged in the bass bins, with their feet firmly on the dancefloor.

Actual vampire who feasts on the blood of bass-loving permatanned virgins.
© DJ Fu

Saturday at The Big Chill House, Kings Cross
8pm-3am | FREE before 10 / £5 after

As a big thank you to everyone who has supported our nights over the years, you can see some of the musicians from Ska Cubano performing in their other guise as THE TOPCATS at The Big Chill House for FREE.

Beloved of the late Joe Strummer, Ska Cubano’s Natty Bo and Miss Megoo head up this ten-piece ska explosion. One of the best live bands you’ll ever see.

Also featuring two rooms of killer reggae, rocksteady, ska, soul, dancehall, hip-hop, rock n roll and jump blues from The Count, Wrongtom, Natty Bo and The Big Ten Inch DJs. FREE before 10pm, or limited guest spots available for late arrivals if you message me pronto.

And don’t forget the BIG TEN INCH launches in just TWO WEEKS! Have you got your ticket?

In the meantime, I’m going to have to scrape out my innards with a toilet brush… or just keep drinking.

Hasta Pronto

Dalton Nuggets

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