Monday, 29 September 2014

Cockabilly 17 September 2014 DJ Set List

Cockabilly

First the good news: the return of COCKABILLY! London’s only monthly queer rockabilly night for punks, leather boys, cry-babies, prison wives and juvenile delinquents of all ages! Rock around the cock! Gay greasers unite! This was the first Cockabilly since July and I was itching to get back behind the decks at The George and Dragon (East End hotbed of gay bohemia) and crank up some putrid vintage musical sleaze.

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Now the not-so-great news: since Cockabilly’s triumphant return to The George and Dragon our regular monthly residency was on a Friday night. As of the September Cockabilly the management at The George and Dragon has relegated us to Wednesdays instead. Obviously moving from a buzzing, ultra-desirable Friday night to a quieter week night feels undeniably like a demotion. But Mal and I are hard-bitten tenacious starlets in the Jayne Mansfield tradition. So rather than feel dispirited, what would Jayne Mansfield do? She’d click on a pair of diamanté cat’s eye sunglasses, thrust out her breasts, paste a smile on her face and get on with it.

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Anyway, it was a good night and I vow that Wednesday is destined to be the new Thursday. And we had some glamorous notables pop in. Nightclubbing royalty Princess Julia was spotted dancing at the July Cockabilly. This month irrepressible Prosecco-guzzling enfant terrible of the cutting-edge London drag scene, DJ John Sizzle of Gay Bingo and The Amy Grimehouse notoriety (I had the pleasure of DJ’ing alongside him at the rancid John Waters Filth Fest in March; sweetly, he calls me “Trash Bag”) and novelist, man-about-town and all-round silver fox Jonathan Kemp were in attendance.


I DJ'd for a tight hour. Musically I puked-up my standard mess of frantic rhythm and blues, white trash rockers and deep kitsch. As usual, I drew inspiration from film soundtracks: think Kenneth Anger’s homoerotic underground classic Scorpio Rising and the cinema of John Waters. Cry-baby in particular is, of course, a perpetual Cockabilly touchstone.  

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/ Wanting it, wanting it, wanting it: Pencil-skirted hot pool of woman need Traci Leeds in Cry-baby (1990) /

This week I learned of the death of the great mid-century homoerotic beefcake photographer John Palatinus (6 July 1929 – 22 September 2014). He was a true artist, a connoisseur of firm male flesh – and a genuinely modest and sweet man. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him in October 2012 (he was an impressively dapper 83-year old) at the launch party for a retrospective exhibit of his photography in London. In tribute I’m posting some of my favourite physique pin-up shots by him. As I’m sure you’ll agree the work of John Palatinus is timelessly sexy.

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/ Gay greaser: double denim beauty Tony Ames by John Palatinus. (Gee, which side do you think he “dresses” on?) / 

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/ Quintessential homoerotic cowboy: Peter Andrews by John Palatinus. 1957 /

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/ Bob Ireland photographed by John Palatinus in 1957 (the scruffy little beard makes Bob look so heartbreakingly au courant) /

John Palatinus Exhibit Launch Party at Space Station 65 Gallery

/ Great example of Palantinus's photography at its smouldering best. This is Brad from the Brad and Bob series taken in New York in 1957. Brad and Bob were lovers. Most of Palatinus's models were straight guys (or at least hetero-flexible!). I love this image (I love "biker cap" porn!): it evokes Marlon Brando in The Wild One / 

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/ Russ Alles by John Palatinus. 1960s /

Read more about my encounter with Palatinus here. More photos here

Beat Guitar # 2 - The Fabulous Wailers
Rockin' the Joint - Esquerita
Let's Have a Party - Wanda Jackson
Tongue-Tied Gill - Charlie Feathers
Woodpecker Rock - Nat County
She Said - Hasil Adkins
How Much Love Can One Heart Hold? Joe Perkins and The Rookies
Bop Pills - Macy "Skip" Skipper
I Want Your Love - The Cruisers
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell
Wiped Out - The Escorts
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Party Lights - Claudine Clark
Welfare Cheese - Emanuel Laskey
Tina's Dilemma - Ike and Tina Turner
Wailin' - The Fabulous Wailers
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Batman Theme - Link Wray
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
Jim Dandy - LaVerne Baker
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Killer - Sparkle Moore
Johnny Hit and Run Pauline - X

Further reading:

Read about the squalid proceedings at previous Cockabilly nights hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere,  here, here and here.

Follow me on tumblr - for all your retro, kitsch and vintage gay porn needs!







Friday, 19 September 2014

Lobotomy Room 6 September 2014 DJ Set List

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/ If Lobotomy Room was a vintage beefcake pin-up, it would look like this /

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/ If Lobotomy Room was a vintage cheesecake pin-up, it would look like this /


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From the Facebook events page:

End summer 2014 on a note of sordid desperation … at Lobotomy Room!

Lobotomy Room – where sin lives! A punkabilly beer blast for the permissive Continentally-minded! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk Cretin Hops! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs The Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (regular DJ at Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly) playing all your rancid vintage sleaze favourites. Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock!

And featuring special musical guests … the vicious EMPRESS OF FUR! Led by the Bettie Page-tastic Venus Raygun (half angel, half jungle cat – all woman!), Empress of Fur answers the musical question “Why do the sweetest kittens have the sharpest claws?” – and rasp your freakin’ face off in the process with their raunchy post-Cramps voodoobilly assault! Imagine the musical equivalent of a 1960s Russ Meyer film about go-go dancers on a homicidal rampage, and you’re on the right track.

Kicking off proceedings: the surf garage punk mayhem of The Von Nitros!

Admission is gratuit (that’s French for FREE!!).

Lobotomy Room: a good time so tawdry and squalid – it might snap your mind! 

Lobotomy Room: Further. Faster. Filthier. 


Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

/ Photo of me by Thomaz Månskugga /

Phew! What a night! Considering what a debacle the last Lobotomy Room was, I really needed this one to be a success. And thankfully it was! The two bands were on fire: The Von Nitros and Empress of Fur totally tore it the fuck up onstage. To their credit, they also both helped aggressively promote the ass off the night beforehand - and it was one of the biggest crowds Lobotomy Room ever attracted to date.

lobotomy room 6 september 2014 018

/ Go baby, go! Sex kitten deluxe Venus Raygun of Empress of Fur lashing out. Lash! Lash! /

And it was great to be back at Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch. When DJ Mal Nicholson (of Cockabilly notoriety) rocked up he looked around and noted admiringly that the surroundings looked like something out of David Lynch's Twin Peaks. I’d never thought about it before, but he’s right: the black and white checked floor and red velvet curtains does make Paper Dress Vintage look like somewhere a finger-snapping, backwards-talking midget (or the ghost of Laura Palmer) might suddenly materialise. 

Typically, on the night itself I was never able to fully relax, enjoy it or talk much to people and it went by in a drunken blur. (I started necking beers early on to steady my nerves). I was also struggling with a glitch-y, temperamental CD mixer which made DJ’ing very suspenseful and unpredictable! (As a result, my DJ’ing wasn’t as smooth and assured as I would have liked). Before I knew it, the houselights were switched on and it was over!  My only real regret from the night is that I was too distracted and manic to take many decent photos, so some of Lobotomy Room’s most striking, sexy attendees yet went mainly undocumented.

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/ Dancing like this is strictly encouraged - at LOBOTOMY ROOM! / 

In fact, once I compiled photos from a variety of sources, it wasn't so bad. But how could I have not photographed glamorous Lobotomy Room regular Craig’s dramatic new image change?  Craig – Lobotomy Room’s own Candy Darling / Cookie Mueller, who transforms any venue into the backroom of Warhol-era Max’s Kansas City just by showing up – recently changed his trademark tousled beehive from sun-kissed Brigitte Bardot-blonde to deep Morticia Addams raven: think Divine as Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble, Ronnie Spector in her hair-hopping pomp or 1960s wedding portrait Priscilla Presley.  

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/ "I'm a thief and a shitkicker and, uh, I'd like to be famous ..." Divine as Dawn Davenport in John Waters' Female Trouble (1974) /

Craig had let it be known in advance he had a special song request. I guessed correctly that it was “The Girl Can’t Help It” by Little Richard, so he could channel both Divine in Pink Flamingos and Jayne Mansfield at the same time. Miraculously, just as I saw Craig and his gang of girlfriends standing outside finish their cigarettes and about to enter Paper Dress Vintage, the song I was currently playing ended and I was able to swiftly cue and play “The Girl Can’t Help It” right as he came through the door! Craig was clearly ecstatic at the timing, screamed and made his friends drunkenly dance to it. He also seemed to dig Empress of Fur (clearly recognising Venus Raygun as a fellow bad girl).

Anyway, back to the bands. To be frank, I’d never actually heard of The Von Nitros previously – they were chosen by Stephen, the main man at Paper Dress Vintage. But they were a perfect fit, with their bratty Stooges-style garage punk, naggingly minimalist Question Mark and The Mysterians keyboard sound and in Adz Queenie Bond, a very memorable frontman in the Joey Ramone tradition. Nice sense of showmanship, too (I always love bands who wear matching outfits).


Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

The Von Nitros wigging out

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage


I've known Empress of Fur for about twenty years now and consider them pure distilled essence of Lobotomy Room - in fact, they probably represent the ideal Lobotomy Room band. This was their second time performing at a Lobotomy Room: their debut in summer 2013 was wild, but the crowd that night was a bit square and couldn't really dig what Empress of Fur was laying down. This night was a triumphant vindication! The sight of 1950s pin-up come to snarling life Venus Raygun in her blood-red Queen of Hearts outfit flailing and thrashing around on the floor, evoking sex kitten-gone-berserk Ann-Margret in Tommy and a female version of The Cramps' Lux Interior will not soon be forgotten!  

/ Photos of Empress of Fur below: top one by Thomaz Månskugga, rest by me /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

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Right. From here I'll let the photos do the talking. You can see the full set (raw, uncut and uncensored) on my flickr page.

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/ Chani and Pal: Check out Chani's suave new Tilda Swinton haircut. The women had the best quiffs at this Lobotomy Room /

Lobotomy Room 6 September 2014

/ I'll Be Your Mirror: Photo by Emma-Louise /

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/ Niels and Thomaz - they came all the way from Amsterdam to attend Lobotomy Room! (Not really: they were in London to see Kate Bush) /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

/ Thomaz and I /

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/ Nell and Chris of Tuffbroad Productions (you may know Chris better in his scary drag persona of Baby Lame, currently wreaking havoc in venues around London) /

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/ Mia and Alex (possessor of another great female quiff) of The Amy Grimehouse /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

/ The gang's all here: Christopher (aka Christophina), Mal of Cockabilly, Pal, Charlie and Sarah /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

/ Gingers united: Emily and Pal /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage

/ As well as being very ginger-y, it was also a very beard-y night: Eric and Christopher /

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/ Hayley (right) and friend injecting proceedings with some serious glamour /

Lobotomy Room at Paper Dress Vintage 6 September 2014

/ Hayley and friend dancing /

Mau Mau - The Fabulous Wailers
How Much Love Can One Heart Hold? Joe Perkins and The Rookies
Save It - Mel Robbins
Eager Beaver Baby - Johnny Burnette
Wiped-Out - The Escorts
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
I Stubbed My Toe - Bryan "Legs" Walker
Love Me - The Phantom
Funnel of Love - Wanda Jackson
Bombora - The Original Surf-aris
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Little Girl - John and Jackie
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Esquerita and the Voola - Esquerita
Rockin' Out the Blues - The Musical Linn Twins
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Boss - The Rumblers
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Dance with Me Henry - Ann-Margret
Viva Las Vegas - Elvis Presley
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Trash Can - Ken Williams
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Vesuvius - The Revels
Salamander - Mamie Van Doren
Beat Guitar - The Fabulous Wailers
Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Somethin' Else - Sid Vicious
Breathless - X
Juvenile Delinquent - Ronnie Allen
Chicken Walk - Hasil Adkins
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
He's the One - Ike and Tina Turner
Teenage Lobotomy - The Ramones
Nothing Matters Anymore - The Alley Cats
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Chicken - The Cramps

Further reading:

Read about previous Lobotomy Rooms herehereherehereherehere and here

Follow me on tumblr for all your rancid kitsch, retro and vintage gay porn needs


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Scrawl the date in blood ... the Next LOBOTOMY ROOM is 6 September 2014

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End summer 2014 on a note of sordid desperation … at Lobotomy Room!

Lobotomy Room – where sin lives! A punkabilly beer blast for the permissive Continentally-minded! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk Cretin Hops! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs The Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (regular DJ at Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly) playing all your rancid vintage sleaze favourites. Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock!

And featuring special musical guests … the vicious EMPRESS OF FUR! Led by the Bettie Page-tastic Venus Raygun (half angel, half jungle cat – all woman!), Empress of Fur answers the musical question “Why do the sweetest kittens have the sharpest claws?” – and rasp your freakin’ face off in the process with their raunchy post-Cramps voodoobilly assault! Imagine the musical equivalent of a 1960s Russ Meyer film about go-go dancers on a homicidal rampage, and you’re on the right track.

Kicking off proceedings: the surf garage punk mayhem of The Von Nitros!

Admission is gratuit (that’s French for FREE!!).

Lobotomy Room: a good time so tawdry and squalid – it might snap your mind! 

Lobotomy Room: Further. Faster. Filthier.

Read about previous Lobotomy Rooms herehereherehereherehere and here

Flyer by Ego Rodriguez. Cadaverous blue-skinned cover girl: Brigitte Bardot

The Facebook events page

LOBOTOMY ROOM is kindly sponsored by Vivien of Holloway, fine purveyors of 1940s and 50s reproduction clothing! Making the world a more glamorous place! For all your retro bad girl wardrobe needs!



Saturday, 2 August 2014

25 July 2014 Cockabilly DJ Set List at The George & Dragon

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/ Personification of Cockabilly: Robert Rex by Kris Studio of Chicago photographed in 1959 (Via) / 

Cockabilly! A rock’n’roll homo-fest! A pink riot of bliss! Further! Faster! Filthier!

There hadn't been a Cockabilly club night (London’s sole regular queer rockabilly booze party at Shoreditch epicentre of hip, The George and Dragon) since May. So by Friday 25 July I was gagging to shake-up a rancid cocktail of vintage musical sleaze alongside Cockabilly head honcho Mal Nicholson. Sweat to the oldies! Get in touch with your inner juvenile delinquent! Swallow a fistful of bop pills and hit the dance floor! And how hip was this night? Let's just say Her Royal Highness, Ms Princess Julia (the princess of our hearts) was spotted dancing early on.

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/ Perennial Cockabilly favourite: Cry-baby (1990) by spiritual father / filth elder  of us all, John Waters /

Let's Have a Party - Wanda Jackson
Tough Bounce - The Fabulous Wailers
Love Me - The Phantom
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Hound Dog - Little Esther
Don't Be Cruel - The Bill Black Combo
Honolulu Rock'n'Roll - Eartha Kitt
Rock-a-Hula Baby - Elvis Presley
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
The Swag - Link Wray
Kruschev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Let's Twist Again - Johnny Hallyday
Twistin' the Night Away - Divine
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Tina's Dilemma - Ike and Tina Turner
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Dance with Me Henry - Ann-Margret
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
C'Mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Breathless - X
Comin' Home - The Delmonas
Wiped-Out - The Escorts
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
One Hand Loose - Charlie Feathers
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Vesuvius - The Revels
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard

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/ Walter Leon Gibson by Bob Mizer /

Read about the squalid proceedings at previous Cockabilly nights herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here.


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/ Clown Princess of Punk: Nina Hagen /

Bonus set list! The following night (Saturday 26 JuIy) I hauled my ass to South London (Brixton, to be precise) for a club night called Strength! And Power! organised by my brilliant and talented artist friend Sarah Holly Sayeed. (Nightclub hostess Sarah was radiant in a kimono with her hair scraped into a little Samurai top knot). By the time I started my DJ guest spot towards the end of the night, the crowd had pretty much thinned and the atmosphere was a bit funeral parlour-ish. (The couple sat directly opposite me seemed to be there mainly to sit and text on their iPhones). So I cranked-up the aggression and antagonism to try to rouse a reaction with loud, raspy-voiced and confrontational tracks by the likes of Divine, Edith Massey and Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black amidst the usual mess of kitschy surf, punk, rockabilly, twist music and sleazy instrumentals.

Most satisfyingly, I seized the opportunity to play my favourite track from East German freak diva Nina Hagen’s unsung 1982 post-punk masterpiece Nunsexmonrock: the truly maniacal “Iki Maska.”  Just before it I played The Jester’s grinding tittyshaker twist version of the Peter Gunn theme and eased them into each other. Like “Planet Claire” by The B-52s, “Iki Maska” is anchored to that same minimalist repetitive surf-y Peter Gunn riff, over which Hagen trills, growls, shrieks and spews her crackpot bag lady lyrics while channeling Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Spine-tingling! My boyfriend Pal shook his head and said, well, you succeeded in making people feel uncomfortable! 

Mau Mau - The Wailers
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Twisting with Bad Boy Bubbles - Shuggie Smith and The Cajuns
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Margaya - The Fender Four
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Iki Maska - Nina Hagen
Punks Get Off the Grass - Edith Massey
Female Trouble - The Melvins
Hey, You - Divine
Pillow Case - The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Can't Stop Thinking About It - The Dirtbombs
He's The One - Ike and Tina Turner
Boss - The Rumblers
Honolulu Rock'n'Roll - Eartha Kitt
Rock-a-Hula Baby - Elvis Presley
Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Esquerita and The Voola - Esquerita
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Rip It Up - Little Richard
Hard-Headed Woman - Wanda Jackson
Shout! - Johnny Hallyday
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Year One - X
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Save It - Mel Robbins
Love Me - The Phantom
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Rock-a-Bop - Sparkle Moore

And finally: scrawl the date in your social calendar - preferably in blood! End summer 2014 on a note of sleazy desperation on Saturday 6 September 2014 when Lobotomy Room (my irregular Mondo Trasho punkabilly club night) triumphantly returns to its ideal venue, Paper Dress Vintage. And featuring special musical guests ... the vicious EMPRESS OF FUR! Led by the Bettie Page-tastic Venus Raygun (half angel, half jungle cat – all woman!), Empress of Fur answers the musical question “Why do the sweetest kittens have the sharpest claws?” – and rasp your freakin’ face off in the process with their raunchy post-Cramps voodoobilly assault! Imagine the musical equivalent of a 1960s Russ Meyer film about go-go dancers on a homicidal rampage, and you’re on the right track. The Von Nitros kick of proceedings with their surf / garage punk mayhem. And it's all totally gratuit (that's French for free!).

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Facebook events page

Follow me on tumblr, damn it.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Remembering Nico (16 October 1938 - 18 July 1988)

Warhol superstar Nico (16 October 1938 - 18 July 1988) - the ultimate wraith-cheekboned, crypt-voiced, chain-smoking, heroin-ravaged chanteuse and the Marlene Dietrich of punk - died on this day in 1988.

Nico modeling in Paris in 1956 photo Nico_1956_shorthair_zpsd50a5bcf.jpg

A nice way to remember her: These two moody and dramatic portraits of androgynous crop-haired 18-year old beatnik Nico in her fashion modeling days in Paris in 1956.

Nico modeling in Paris in 1956 photo Nico_1956_short_hair2_zpsac7ac88c.jpg

Below: a much later shot of the angel-of-death diva in the 1980s. (The cigarette was ever-present, spanning decades).

Nico smoking 1980s photo Nico_smoking_1980s_zps44876b9c.jpg

Note the skull-studded black leather wristband she's wearing here - one of her punk-y sartorial trademarks in the 1980s. I wonder who has it now, or if she was cremated wearing it? And did anyone ever smoke a cigarette with such bleak conviction? I've blogged about Nico many times: her contemporary Marianne Faithfull reflects on Nico here; the historic encounter When John Waters Met Nico; Nico’s 1960s modelling days; how the old jazz standard "My Funny Valentine" (and heroin) connects Nico with Chet Baker; and finally, When Patti Smith Met Nico.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Lobotomy Room DJ Set list 31 May 2014

Lady Chinchilla photo LadyChinchilla_GertrudeForstner_zpsdb87a315.jpg

/ If Lobotomy Room had a human face … it would be the enigmatic Gertrude Forstner (stripper name: Lady Chinchilla), photographed here in 1963. Between burlesque engagements (she was famous for her savage “cage act”) she was French sex kitten Brigitte Bardot’s screen stand-in. Read more about Lady Chinchilla here

From the Facebook events page:

The international sin set has been waiting - and the first Lobotomy Room of 2014 is Saturday 31 May 2014 in the subterranean basement lair of Ryan's Bar in Stoke Newington (or "outer Dalston" as I prefer).
Lobotomy Room – a punkabilly beer blast! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk Cretin Hops! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs The Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (fresh from The Amy Grimehouse’s triumphant Filth Fest, regular DJ at Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly). Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock!

Admission is gratuit (that’s French for FREE!!). If you're working that night -- call in sick. If you're in prison -- BREAK OUT! A sordid and tawdry good time guaranteed!

Lobotomy_Room_May14 photo LOBOTOMY_may14_A4_zps2df61ac2.jpg


Wow. Just – wow. This Lobotomy Room was a chaotic trauma with problems a go-go. I won’t go into the unpleasant details. Suffice to say the night began with me being given the news “Just so you know – one of the CD drawers doesn't open” in a really nonchalant no-big-deal manner (not exactly music to the ears of someone who uses CDs to DJ! And which was made clear from the beginning). At one point it looked very likely I'd have to cancel the whole thing. Why do I put myself through it, eh? The search for a hip, simpatico and functioning permanent home for Lobotomy Room continues. Onward and upwards: I’m not defeated. Let’s hope the next Lobotomy Room is a vast improvement.

On the plus side, a functioning CD mixer was eventually sourced and I managed to salvage the night musically at least. (My set got messier and more drunken as the night progressed, as I'm the first to admit). Most importantly, my glamorous and loyal regulars didn't let any of this cramp their style. In fact, I think I’ll let the photos do the talking.




/ Sheffield Christopher, Harrogate Rachael (two of Yorkshire's finest) and Matt /



/ Pal and Lauren /



/ Charlie (giving his best Robert Mitchum) and Sarah /



/ Pal and Craig. Having Craig in attendance is always like having my own Warhol Superstar. That's Dez reflected in the mirror /



/ Xena and friend /



/ Hayley and Roberta /



/ Hayley and I /



/ Lauren and Christopher (aka the band Spanking Machine) /



/ Outbreak of violence at Lobotomy Room. Those damn juvenile delinquents! I must have been playing aggressive punk music at the time /



/ Ginger beards unite: Christoper and Pal /



/ Soft focus glamour shot of Xena and Craig /



/ Sweaty and stressed DJ /



/ The CD I'm holding here is X's essential punk classic Wild Gift (1981) /  

High Wall - The Fabulous Wailers
Der Karibische Western - Die Haut featuring Lydia Lunch
Slow Walk - Sil Austin
Fever - Edith Massey
Ain't That Good? George Kelly and Orchestra
Drummin' Up A Storm - Sandy Nelson
I Learn a Merengue, Mama - Robert Mitchum
Don'a Wan'a - Wanda Jackson
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
I Live the Life I Love - Esquerita
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Pussycat Song - Connie Vannett
My Pussy Belongs to Daddy - Faye Richmonde
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Let's Twist Again - Johnny Hallyday
Twistin' the Night Away - Divine
Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
He's the One - Ike and Tina Turner
Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black Combo
I Got Stung - Elvis Presley
Year One - X
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Little Girl - John and Jackie
Tall Cool One - The Fabulous Wailers
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Boss - The Rumblers
Garbage Man - The Cramps
C'Mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Margaya - The Fender Four
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Party Lights - Claudine Clark
Khrushchev Twist- Melvin Gayle
Chop Suey Rock'n'Roll - The Instrumentals
Tina's Dilemma - Ike and Tina Turner
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
Female Trouble - The Melvins
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
I Can't Stop Thinking About It - The Dirtbombs
Handclapping Time - The Fabulous Raiders
You Give Me Worms - Turbonegro
Media Blitz - The Germs
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Hard Nut to Crack - The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Chicken Walk - Hasil Adkins
Chicken - The Cramps
Run Chicken Run - Link Wray
Mi Palomita - Yma Sumac
Tongue Tied Jill - Charlie Feathers
Tongue Tied - Wanda Jackson
I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
Juvenile Delinquent - Ronnie Allen
Dance with Me, Henry - Ann-Margret
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
Beat Girl - Adam Faith
Rocket in My Picket - Jimmy Lloyd
Intoxica - The Revels

Further reading: 

See the rest of the photos - raw and uncut - on my flickr page

Read about previous Lobotomy Rooms hereherehereherehere and here

If you don't already, follow me on tumblr. My page (also called Bitterness Personified) is a squalid, kitsch and frankly homoerotic celebration of vintage sleaze













Tuesday, 10 June 2014

30 May 2014 Cockabilly DJ Set List

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/ Nice ass: James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) /

The May 2014 Cockabilly (London’s only regular queer punkabilly beer blast, last Friday of every month at epicentre of hip, The George and Dragon) was reliably divoon, to quote Saint Jayne Mansfield. As usual, Mal Nicholson (the brains behind Cockabilly) and I DJ’d our most putrid vintage sleaze selections to an eye poppingly sexy crowd. In fact, I was looking around like this from the DJ booth.

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A while back in an older blog I posited, Was Billy Fury gay? It turned out to be pretty popular. This time (in the continuing spirit of Homer Simpson's maxim, "If celebrities didn't want people pawing through their garbage and saying they're gay, they shouldn't have tried to express themselves creatively"), let’s play: Was cinema’s bongo drum-playing archetypal 1950s bad boy James Dean (1931-1955) gay? Or bisexual? Hetero-flexible?  When asked, Dean himself reportedly replied, No, I am not a homosexual. But I'm also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.” Let's go there!


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/ James Dean obliging us with a tantalising glimpse of the waistband of his white boxers /

The persistent rumours of Dean’s conflicted ambivalent sexuality add to rather than detract from his tormented, sensitive and brooding “rebel male” allure. When I was an old movie-addicted kid I would dutifully snap up and devour each new James Dean biography as fast as they appeared (and there have been loads; Dean ranks alongside fellow mid-century pop culture icons Marilyn and Elvis as catnip for biographers. My first was definitely 1974's Mutant King by David Dalton).  


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/ James Dean at home in his tightie whities /


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Justifies the invention of Photoshop: Fellow traveler Montgomery Clift and James Dean get intimately acquainted. From the 1997 Mark Rappaport film The Silver Screen: Colour Me Lavender. (I love how Monty looks so into it). Alongside Marlon Brando, Clift was one of Dean's essential influences. In her 1978 book Montgomery Clift: A Biography, Patricia Bosworth recalls director Elia Kazan telling Clift about upcoming rival Dean: "He's a punk and a helluva talent. He likes racing cars, waitresses - and waiters. He says you're his idol." Clift’s assessment: “Dean is weird.”  /

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/ Masterpiece of Photoshop, part two: Dean also hero-worshiped Brando. When director Elia Kazan (again!) introduced them during the making of East of Eden, a tense Dean “was so adoring that he seemed shrunken and twisted in misery.” (James Dean: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Paul Alexander) /

The subject of Dean’s sexuality has definitely been reappraised over the decades.  As most recent Dean biographer Val Holley notes, “There's been quite an evolution in the thinking since Dean's death in 1955, moving from "James Dean was straight" to "Dean had sex with men but only to advance his career" to "Dean had sex with women but only to advance his career.””

It’s interesting to compare the different slants Dean’s various biographers have taken on the issue. For example, everyone agrees a key influence on Dean’s proto-beatnik sensibility growing up in Indiana was his teenage friendship with local Methodist minister Reverend James DeWeerd.  Initially this was depicted as innocuous: it was older bohemian, unmarried mentor DeWeerd who encouraged young Dean’s non-conformity and interest in high culture. According to James Dean: Little Boy Lost (1992) by Joe Hyams, the relationship was more sinister: DeWeerd sexually molested him. In James Dean: Boulevard of Broken Dreams (1994), meanwhile, Paul Alexander argues Dean and DeWeerd were consensual lovers and it was more akin to an affair.

If so, it set a pattern. Dean’s sugar daddy liaisons with older men are well-documented and beyond dispute. Like many a female starlet before him, calculating and opportunistic Dean was seemingly agreeable to sleeping with influential male show biz figures who could further his career. (See also heartthrob of 1960s European art cinema, French actor Alain Delon.  The “protégé” of Italian director Luchino Visconti was widely perceived to have slept his way to the top – something the present-day ultra-conservative elderly Delon would probably prefer everyone to forget). In particular the hungry young actor was the “kept boy” of New York ad executive Rogers Brackett. “The fan magazines spoke of their father-son relationship,” Kenneth Angers writes in a typically acid aside. “If so it was touched by incest.”

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/ Homoerotic tension: Dean and cute chicken co-star Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) /

This brings us to Anger’s gleefully malicious book Hollywood Babylon II, the 1984 sequel to his legendarily scabrous original Hollywood Babylon. Anger’s chapter on Dean (“The Trouble with Jimmy”) begins, “During production of Rebel Without a Cause James Dean was host to a colony of crabs. He acquired the critters from a binge of sleeping around” and just gets more sordid from there. The origins of “The Human Ashtray” legend can probably be found here:
“Dean had taken to hanging out at the Club, an East Hollywood leather bar. The predatory night prowler, who dug anonymous sex, had recently discovered the magic world of S&M. He had gotten into beating, boots, belts and bondage scenes. Regulars at the Club tagged him with a singular moniker: the Human Ashtray. When stoned, he would bare his chest and beg for his masters to stub out their butts on it."
“After his fatal car crash,” Angers continues, “the coroner made note of the “constellation of keratoid scars” on Jimmy’s torso.” Much as I revere Angers’ underground art films and treasure both volumes of Hollywood Babylon for his deliciously bitchy writing style, his stories should always be taken with a heaping grain of salt: Angers never let the truth get in the way of a juicy sin-sational good story. One by one many of Anger’s assertions have been disproven over the years: Frances Farmer never had a lobotomy. Jayne Mansfield wasn't decapitated in her 1967 car accident. Lupe Velez didn't drown face-down in her own toilet. Clara Bow never had an orgy with the entire USC football team. Certainly Dean was frequently filmed and photographed bare-chested throughout his career with no obvious disfiguring third degree burn scars visible. I suspect the utterly amoral Angers enjoyed spreading these lurid urban myths out of sheer perversity.

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/ James Dean on the set of his last film Giant (1956) /

A few years ago I was very briefly involved with a gloomy Dutch quasi-rockabilly guy. I hate national stereotypes, but he definitely conformed to Dennis Cooper’s appraisal of Dutch guys in his 1991 novel Frisk: “Dutch guys are impossible, even the hustlers. They have these childishly beautiful faces that lead you to think they’ll be open and sweet and so on, but it’s a fluke because they’re actually closed, repressed, insecure arrogant people ...” Anyway, he definitely had a James Dean fixation (a bit adolescent for a 35-year old, you might argue). In particular he really embraced the Human Ashtray story. When I told him my theory it was probably wishful thinking on Anger’s part, I suspect that’s the moment he decided he really didn't want to pursue things with me. (Having said that, considering what we know of his proclivities, Angers almost certainly would have been au fait with the underground gay bondage scene of 1950s Hollywood – so maybe the Human Ashtray rumour is true!). 

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Anyway, as Angers ultimately concludes, “Jimmy may have had crabs, but he also had durable charisma.” That no one can dispute.

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/ Modern biographers now acknowledge Jack Simmons (left) as one of Dean's key boyfriends /

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/ In the 1970s this famous grainy black and white nude photo supposedly of Dean surfaced in The Advocate magazine.  “A couple of years ago (the) alleged photo of Dean was selling in New York like hotcakes, purported to be a scene from a gay porno movie that Dean made before he became a star,” the caption leered. Paul Alexander, author of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, argues that if it is Dean, it probably dates from 1952. I’d ask: does it really look like him, or is it the power of suggestion? /


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/ As usual, if you read this far down you're rewarded with a totally gratuitous nude vintage beefcake pin-up. Find more like this here /

Mau Mau - The Wailers
Rocket in My Pocket - Jimmy Lloyd
Little Darlin' - Masaaki Hirao and His All Stars Wagon
I Want Your Love - The Cruisers
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Khrushchev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Viens danser le twist - Johnny Hallyday
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Twistin' the Night Away - Divine
The Swag - Link Wray
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7, 8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Margaya - The Fender Four
Save It - Mel Robbins
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Boss - The Rumblers
Let's Go Sexin' - James Intveld
Handclappin' Time - The Fabulous Raiders
My Boy Lollipop - Rita Chao and The Quests
Drummin' Up a Storm - Sandy Nelson
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
Juvenile Delinquent - Ronnie Allen
Beat Guitar - The Fabulous Wailers
Human Fly - The Cramps
Breathless - X
I Got Stung - Elvis Presley
Oo Ba La Baby - Mamie Van Doren
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Ooh Look-a There Ain't She Pretty? Bill Haley and His Comets
Pink Champagne - The Tyrones

Further reading:

Read about the squalid proceedings at previous Cockabilly nights hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here

If you don't already, follow my sensual and depraved tumblr page - for all your kitsch, retro and vintage homoerotic needs! NSFW and never will be!