Monday, 13 October 2014

Graham Russell's DJ'ing Résumé

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/ Photo by Adrian Lourie /

(It’s time to get serious about pushing myself as a DJ – and ideally find a permanent home for my Lobotomy Room club night! I’ll be using this online curriculum vitae when I send proposals to venue managers and will update it as necessary)

I first thrust myself onto an unsuspecting world as a DJ about five years ago now, gradually progressing from my public debut at a friend's birthday party in 2008 to playing in a wide range of clubs, bars and even festivals, ultimately launching my own semi regular club night Lobotomy Room in 2012.

Lobotomy Room Flyer 1

/ The first Lobotomy Room flyer by Ego Rodriguez /

Obviously I vary things a bit depending on where I’m playing, but my music policy can probably best be described as “vintage sleaze”: I like to whip together a mixture of frantic 1950s rhythm & blues (the Fifties really is my decade), desperate rock’n’roll and rockabilly, beatnik Cool Jazz, Latin exotica, lounge, twang-y surf instrumentals, sleazy titty shakers, novelty stuff and curiosities – atmospheric and obscure weird shit, basically! And I aim to keep it punk-y, confrontational and abrasive as opposed to too nostalgic, purist or soothingly retro (especially once I've had a few drinks).


17 May 2013 Lobotomy Room at Ryan's Bar

My first real break was in 2008 via guest DJ’ing stints at Cockabilly (London’s only monthly queer rockabilly night for gay greasers, punks, leather boys, cry-babies, prison wives and juvenile delinquents of all ages). Cockabilly venue-hopped a lot in the early years: I managed to DJ at all of its residencies at The Moustache Bar, The Haggerston, The Dalston Superstore and finally its present home, The George and Dragon in Shoreditch.

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

Since 2009 I've also been the regular resident DJ at the monthly burlesque-meets-drawing class / Anti- Art School cabaret night Dr Sketchy. Emceed by cabaret aristocracy like Dusty Limits and Ophelia Bitz, Dr Sketchy originally happened three times a month at three different venues: The Paradise in Kensal Green, The Old Queen’s Head in Angel and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern in Vauxhall. These days it is once a month, solely at The RVT.

In September 2012 I DJ’d five shows a day at the Time for Tease tent at Bestival (four Time for Tease shows a day, and one Dr Sketchy show each night) to the biggest crowds I've ever played before. It was draining but exhilarating! 

At Dr Sketchy’s I've had the opportunity to work closely with the crème de la crème of striptease performers.  Over the years I've become a kind of musical advisor to some of them (I'm the "go-to" man for grinding tittyshaker instrumentals): the likes of Kiki Kaboom, CherryShakewell, Sophia St Villier and even Bunny Pistol in San Francisco have all incorporated songs I've recommend into their routines.


Lobotomy Room Flyer 2

/ Above: Lobotomy Room flyer by Joe Pop /

By the end of 2012 it felt like a natural progression to venture into organising my own club night. My vision for Lobotomy Room was informed by my decades of clubbing and bar hopping, in particular by More than Vegas in London, Squeeze Box in New York and San Francisco’s Hole in the Wall Saloon. I pictured Lobotomy Room as a low brow Mondo Trasho punkabilly beer blast, with a rancid musical approach informed by John Waters soundtracks and Songs The Cramps Taught Us. To date I've thrown eight Lobotomy Room nights, alternating between two venues – mainly Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch and Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington. With each Lobotomy Room I’ve lured more and more of a cult following of devotees and now I’ve acquired some genuine regulars who come to each one. My project for 2015 is to find a permanent home for Lobotomy Room and ideally do them more frequently.


Lobotomy Room Flyer 3

/ Above: Lobotomy Room flyer by Ego Rodriguez /

Lobotomy Room Flyer 6 September 2014

/ Above: Lobotomy Room flyer by Ego Rodriguez /

Read about all the Lobotomy Rooms so far hereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Otherwise, I've made some fun and notable guest appearances over the years: In 2009 I DJ’d at the Christmas staff party for high-end luxury reproduction / faux-vintage lingerie boutique What Katie Did at The Paradise in Kensal Green (the night ended with Lily Allen’s friends causing a fight and the police being called!). When Sparkle Moore and Cad van Swankster, the proprietors of the chi chi vintage clothing emporium The Girl Can’t Help It had a farewell party at Ryan’s Bar before relocating to San Diego in April 2011, I was invited to be one of the featured DJs. Art Wank is Ophelia Bitz’s cabaret night centred around screening her huge collection of 1920s stag films (porn with dead people, essentially).  I was an obvious choice to DJ afterwards when she held one of these at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern in February 2012.  Since then, I've appeared several times at the queer rock'n'roll night Wild Thing at The Retro Bar in Charing Cross. Read about those here, here and here. I definitely reached a kind of acme DJ’ing at immersive cult cinema organisers The Amy Grimehouse’s 12-hour John Waters Filth Fest on 29 March 2014. DJ’ing to such a wild, freaky, trashy and appreciative crowd while scantily-clad drag queens and Divine lookalikes did stripper squats and slut drops really spoiled me.


John Waters Filth Fest

/ Contestants of Filthiest Person competition at The Filth Fest (photo by Alex Menace) /

For more information, email me.

Monday, 29 September 2014

17 September 2014 Cockabilly 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 Lords 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.

lobotomy room 6 september 2014 001

/ 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 /

lobotomy room 6 september 2014 002

/ 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

 photo LOBOseptA4_zpsa24f1036.jpg


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!).

 photo LOBOseptA4_zpsa24f1036.jpg

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