Thursday, 21 July 2016

Reflections on ... The Rise, The Fall and The Rise by Brix Smith Start

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/ Portrait of the Author: present-day Brix Smith photographed by Amelia Troubridge /

[I was commissioned to write this book review of Brix Smith Start’s memoirs a while back, it seemingly got “spiked” and rather than let it go to waste I’ve posted it as a blog entry!]

Brix Smith Start has a knack for self-reinvention, from punk guitarist to Shoreditch fashionista and boutique proprietor to TV presenter.  She also seemingly possesses great timing: her autobiography follows on the heels of successful recent efforts by the likes of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, The Pretenders' frontwoman Chrissie Hynde and Viv Albertine of The Slits. Confessional memoirs by veteran rock chicks are red-hot right now.

Born Laura Salenger in 1962 in Los Angeles to an affluent family with show business connections, as a teenager she embraced punk rock (the nickname “Brixton” came from her love of The Clash song “Guns of Brixton”). Following a whirlwind romance with Mark E Smith (frontman of hard-edged Mancunian band The Fall), in 1983 Brix impulsively marries him, relocates from sun-kissed LA to drab and overcast Manchester and joins his band as guitarist. The book is especially funny describing her horrified culture shock at her new Northern husband’s grimy poverty. (“Mark’s parents suggested we have the reception in the Eagle and Child pub and that we serve sausage rolls, salt and vinegar crisps and pickled onions to our guests,” she shudders).

“The Brix years” were arguably The Fall’s creative and commercial peak.  Her towering, catchy riffs, steeped in surf instrumentals and rockabilly, injected The Falls’ music with a new accessibility. Diminutive, blonde and beautiful, she also added a jolt of Californian glamour to one of the most austere and uncompromising of post-punk bands. The Falls’ artistic zenith would perhaps be in 1988 performing onstage with drag monster Leigh Bowery in queer bad boy of dance Michael Clark’s avant-garde ballet I Am Curious, Orange.  (Brix played guitar while seated atop a giant Pop Art hamburger).




/ Art-rock heaven: The Fall meets Michael Clark /

A volatile musical genius Mark E Smith may be, but he didn’t make for ideal husband material.  Brix depicts him as an unhinged alcoholic and speed freak with an increasingly ugly temper.  Once their romantic and musical partnership imploded (they divorced in 1989), Brix would struggle with low self-esteem, depression, dysfunctional relationships, career disappointments, eating disorders and sleeping pill addiction (very Valley of the Dolls). 



/ One of my favourite Fall songs and videos. The skunk-striped black and white Cruella de Ville hairstyle was one of Brix's best looks /

Her lowest point sees Brix back in Los Angeles and broke after leaving The Fall, unable to play guitar because of painful tendinitis and supporting herself as a waitress while hustling for acting jobs. One night a group of Mancunian musicians recognise her at the restaurant and ask, “Didn’t you used to be Brix Smith?” (To her credit, she replied, “I still am”).

Gossip hounds will find much to savour here. Brix seemingly crossed paths with everyone over the years. Her mother used to work in the television industry. As a child Brix would watch transfixed as Sonny and Cher rehearsed for their TV show (“even in street clothes she radiated glamour ... Cher is my jeans idol”).  As student at Bennington College Brett Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt were fellow pupils in her creative writing class. Later she would rub shoulders with everyone from Morrissey (“he was always so unfriendly, prickly and weird”) to Courtney Love (she almost joined Hole in the nineties) and even Princess Diana (“I’ve rarely seen a woman turn it on the way she did”). And then of course there’s Gok Kwan. Let’s face it: for a generation of gay guys Brix is inevitably best known as co-host of Gok’s Fashion Fix.

For anyone allergic to New Age self-help speak this probably isn’t the book for you (Brix underwent years of therapy and it shows in her writing). But she’s so effervescent and disarmingly likable you can’t help but root for her as Brix – now 53, happily remarried and playing music again - overcomes adversity and ultimately emerges resilient and serene.


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[The Rise, The Fall and The Rise by Brix Smith Start is out now, [published by Faber & Faber]


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Robert Altman's That Cold Day in the Park (1969)

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/ How far will a 32 year-old virgin go to possess a 19 year-old boy? /

Read my review for Loverboy Magazine of Robert Altman’s disturbing, unjustly forgotten 1969 psychodrama That Cold Day in the Park - a horror film about sexual dread and emotional repression - starring Sandy Dennis at her twitchiest. (It was reissued on deluxe dual format by Eureka Entertainment on 20 June 2016). The film would be a profound influence on pioneering Canadian homocore filmmaker Bruce LaBruce (his 1991 film No Skin Off My Ass is a loose remake with added hardcore gay sex). 

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 Further reading: read an analysis of That Cold Day in the Park on the Dreams Are What Le Cinema is For blog.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lobotomy Room at Fontaine's DJ Set List 24 June 2016

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/ Won't you join me for a cocktail - at Lobotomy Room? /

From the Facebook events page:

Wilder than you can imagine! Explicit beyond belief! Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly strange dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s premiere Art Deco vice den Fontaine’s! Friday 24 June! 

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly
booze party! A spectacle of decadence! Bad Music for Bad People! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities! And Other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (of Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly notoriety).

Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! Now with vintage erotica projected on the wall for your adult viewing pleasure! Come for the £6 cocktails - stay for the putrid music and dirty movies!

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it!

A tawdry good time guaranteed!



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Wow. Bumpy times! Where to start? My 25 May 2016 Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club screening of Valley of the Dolls had to be cancelled at the ultra-last minute (as in, on the night itself) because Fontaine’s projector packed-up just hours before it was due to start. What timing! And it was due to be a full house.  As anyone following this blog knows I’ve had my share of travails club promoting (mortifying technical glitches, DJ’ing to cavernously empty rooms) but having to frantically pump-out Facebook updates urging people not to come to my event (after having aggressively promoted the ass of it for a month pleading with people to attend) represented a definite nadir. I was gutted!


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/ Ai chihuahua! Jayne Mansfield and canine companion. Flyer by Ego Rodriguez Illustrations /

After the disaster on Wednesday I wasn’t filled with confidence and sure enough the Lobotomy Room club night that Friday was pretty dismal. Two people turned up, surveyed the empty room, finished their drinks and went back upstairs, never to return! Not being able to project my vintage erotica on the big screen while I DJ’d was a definite drag. I admitted defeat by 12:30 am.

Just to rub salt in the wounds: Bloc Bar in Camden appears to have thrown Cockabilly under a bus! It’s hard to gauge how permanent this situation is, but the night that was Cockabilly’s is now committed to someone else. In the past the now-defunct, much-missed George & Dragon in Shoreditch would invite us to do Cockabilly there, bounce us out after a few months and then eventually invite us back. No bridges have been burned, but for the foreseeable future Cockabilly is in limbo.

Flash forward to June and things look much rosier. The film projector at Fontaine’s is operational again and Valley of the Dolls was re-scheduled for Wednesday 22 June. Mercifully, the night went off without a hitch. In fact it was triumphant! I swung into action promoting the screening on social media like a demon again and the numbers wound up being even bigger for the postponed night. (In the end, we got a few more people than for The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield and Kitten with a Whip, a bit less than Desperate Living – our busiest film club to date. In any case, the Bamboo Lounge was nicely full!).


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/ "Neely O'Hara - nice kid turned lush": Patty Duke in Valley of the Dolls /

“If you’ve never seen Valley of the Dolls before, it is a life-changing film,” I told the attendees by way of introduction. “You will be quoting lines from this for the rest of your life!” I’ve only ever watched Valley on DVD at home, so seeing it surrounded by an enthusiastic audience tipsy on Fontaine's potent cocktails was a revelation. The crowd loved it and it was fun to see the bits they really reacted to. I went for an ill-timed piss so missed their response to Sharon Tate’s “You know how bitchy fags can be” line, but of course they went nuts for the infamous ladies room “wig yanking” scene. People spontaneously applauded Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward) when she tied that scarf over her grey hair and defiantly announced, “I’m going out a star …” But for me, Valley of the Dolls is really about the monstrous, rampaging, majestically awful performance of Patty Duke as Neely O'Hara. Like Mommy Dearest and Showgirls, Valley truly is a perfect film and the ultimate campy “bad movie we love.” I wouldn’t change one single frame of it! I’ll inevitably do a separate blog post about Valley of the Dolls to do it full justice.


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After the successful film night, I was in a much more positive frame of mind for Friday’s Lobotomy Room on 24 June 2016. That date, of course, is now historic: voting on the European Union referendum was on Thursday 23 June and that Friday morning we woke up to the sickening news confirming Brexit. In response, on the Facebook events page I posted:
I know the news today is gloomy, but if you feel like headbanging away the heartbreak I will be playing ANGRY punk music and loads of European / Continental foreign-language cover versions LOUD downstairs at Fontaine’s tonight! Let’s get drunk and twist angrily to Johnny Hallyday! I'll be projecting dirty movies (sorry - "vintage erotica") on the big screen all night to accompany the putrid music.
Ruby (Fontaine’s beehive-haired boss lady) suggested cancelling Lobotomy Room because 1) one of the speakers downstairs in the Bamboo Lounge is malfunctioning (it didn’t work for Valley of the Dolls but I compensated by cranking up the volume extra loud. It was OK for a movie night, but not ideal for a club night) and 2) the gruesome news about Brexit made her suspect she wouldn’t get any customers that night. (Seriously – it felt like London was numb with heavy shock and depression that day). I told her, "Let’s carry on as normal but I’ll do Lobotomy Room upstairs instead. Maybe after such an awful day people will want to come out and have a drink". It worked out fine and in fact we had a decent, rowdy crowd straight through until 1 am. The sole downside to doing Lobotomy Room upstairs is I couldn’t project my “blue” movies!

As promised, as a protest I worked in some pro-European foreign language stuff: Portuguese (via Brazil’s wailing sixties pop starlet Wanderlea), French (the sultry, pouting Brigitte Bardot and Johnny Hallyday) and Polish (the utterly berserk Violetta Villas). And some angry, snarling punk too: X, The Germs, The Cramps, The Ramones – and self-styled “queen of punk” Mama Edith Massey.


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/ Adorable young Violetta Villas (1938 - 2011) in "hair hopper" mode. Think of her as a deranged low-budget Eastern European hybrid of Yma Sumac, Bardot, Jayne Mansfield and Charo. Why isn't this woman revered as a kitsch naive outsider artist and queer icon?  /

Adult Books - The Ramonetures
High Wall - The Wailers
Taboo - The Shangaans
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Beatnik - The Champs
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
The Flirt - Shirley and Lee
Bombora - The Original Surf-aris
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thundes and Patti Palladin
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
Hearbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
Mama Looka Boo Boo - Robert Mitchum
Dona Wanna - Wanda Jackson
Vesuvius - The Revels
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Jukebox Baby - Alan Vega
Town without Pity - James Chance
Torture - Kris Jensen
Dream Lover - The Paris Sisters
I Wish I Were a Princess - Little Peggy March
Margaya - The Fender Four
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad - Tammy Wynette
Leave Married Women Alone - Jimmy Cavallo
That's a Pretty Good Love - Big Maybelle
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Gostaria de Saber (River Deep Mountain High) - Wanderlea
What Do You Think I Am? Ike and Tina Turner
Adult Books - X
I'm A Woman - Peggy Lee
Fist City - Loretta Lynn
Three Cool Chicks - The 5,6,7,8s
The Swag - Link Wray
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Carbona Not Glue - The Ramonetures
Teenage Lobotomy - The Ramones
Boss - The Rumblers
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Wiped Out - The Escorts
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Rip It Up - Elvis Presley
Kruschev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Twist Talk - Jack Hammer
Viens danser le twist - Johnny Hallyday
Beat Girl - ZZ en de Maskers
It's a Gas - The Rumblers
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Intoxica - The Centurions
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
How Much Love Can One Heart Hold? Joe Perkins and The Rookies
Fujiyama Mama - Annisteen Allen
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Roadrunner - The Fabulous Wailers
Meu Bem Lollipop - Wanderlea
Contact - Brigitte Bardot
Breathless - X
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Heartbreak Hotel - Buddy Love
Big Bad Boss Beat - The Teen Beats
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Treat Me Right - Mae West
Punks Get Off the Grass - Edith Massey
Little Queenie - Bill Black's Combo
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Wild Wild Party - Charlie Feathers
Batman - Link Wray
Media Blitz - The Germs
Czterdziesci Kasztanów (Forty Chestnuts) - Violetta Villas
Under My Thumb - Tina Turner


Further reading:

Never been to a Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club night before? Curious? Read this revoltingly candid first-hand account! Disguised under a Jayne Mansfield wig, intrepid journalist Corinna Tomrley of red-hot Loverboy Magazine entered the Mondo Trasho Wild Wild World of Lobotomy Room and afterwards wrote this shock-by-shock exposé!

Read about all the previous antics at Lobotomy Rooms to date hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere , hereherehere, hereherehere, here and here.

Follow me on tumblr for all your kitsch, camp, retro vintage sleaze and fifties homoerotica needs!


Follow me on twitter!

"Like" and follow the official Lobotomy Room page on Facebook if you dare!


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette (1980)

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"It started with a photo. Entitled Samurai Sissy, the stark black and white 1979 portrait by French artist and conceptualist Jean-Paul Goude depicted steel-cheekboned Amazonian black supermodel turned disco chanteuse Grace Jones wrapped in a dramatic padded-shouldered Issey Miyake creation. At the time Goude and Jones were both artistic and romantic collaborators (he’s the father of Jones’ only child, Paulo born in 1979. In fact Jones is pregnant with Paulo in Samurai Sissy). Sinister but sexy, the image is so powerful, androgynous and alluring it suggested a world of possibilities: Jones as a panther in human form. Black Marlene Dietrich. Female Bowie. Space-age Nefertiti. Dominatrix from outer space. In her 2015 autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, Jones herself describes it as ‘me as an ominous hard-eyed samurai filtered through something occult and African, the killer clown interrupting some mysterious ceremony.’ Chris Blackwell, head honcho of Island Records, had the photo enlarged and stuck to the wall of his deluxe Compass Point recording studio in the Bahamas, instructing his crack team of musicians, ‘Make a record that sounds like that looks.’"

A deluxe digitally re-mastered box set of Grace Jones’ 1980 stone-cold classic Warm Leatherette - the ultimate punk-disco hybrid - is out now. Read my full review for Loverboy Magazine here.



/ Fragment from Grace Jones' avant garde 1982 performance art /concert film A One Man Show. Why oh why has this essential art statement never been digitally remastered and reissued on DVD?! /

Further reading: I've blogged about The Jones Girl - one of my all-time favourite artists - a few times now:

Scene report from her 2010 Royal Albert Hall performance

Scene report from her November 2015 book-signing session at Waterstone's in Piccadilly



Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cockabilly at Bloc Bar DJ Set List 11 May 2016

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From the Facebook events page:

Drag a comb through your quiff, swallow a fistful of bop pills and rock around the cock – at COCKABILLY! Wednesday 11 May 2016 in the louche surroundings of Bloc Bar in Camden! And every second Wednesday night of the month thereafter!

Leather boys, gay greasers, cry-babies, prison wives and juvenile delinquents of all ages are welcome at Cockabilly - London’s only regular queer rockabilly night! With DJ Mal Nicholson and I (Graham Russell) spinning all your favourite rancid vintage sleaze classicks! Think rockabilly, rhythm and blues, surf, punk and tittyshakers! Daring and virile! Chains, whips, knives and leather belts all swished around together in bone-jarring rock and roll! Way-out sex and sin for those who like it that way!

Bloc Bar: 18 Kentish Town Road London NW1
8-midnight
FREE

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/ This month has been an emotional roller-coaster for fans of the fabulous Bronze Liberace, Little Richard. Prompted by a perhaps hasty Facebook update from Bootsy Collins (“Lil-Richard needs our love & understanding right now … he is not in the best of health so I ask all the Funkateers to lift him up”) on 28 April 2016, the internet was abuzz with speculation the 83-year old Georgia Peach was gravely ill. Certainly when I saw a frail Little Richard perform at the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender in 2013 he was visibly (and audibly) ailing. On 3 May, Little Richard’s attorney was forced to make an official statement assuring everyone that in fact his client was most definitely not on his deathbed.  “I don’t perform like I used to”, an aggrieved Richard is quoted. “But I have my singing voice, I walk around, I had hip surgery a while ago but I’m healthy.’“ Phew! Still, it was gratifying to see the outpouring of love, concern and affection for Little Richard – the freakiest and queerest of rock’n’roll’s original pioneers. Little Richard is, of course, one of the essential faces and voices of Cockabilly. (I played his his version of "Rip It Up" at this installment of Cockabilly). All hail the kween! /

Second Wednesday of the month can only mean one thing – Cockabilly at Bloc Bar! Between us Mal and I whipped-up a menacing roar of rockabilly psychosis and my vintage beefcake homo porn looked sin-sational projected on Bloc Bar’s big screen.

I won’t lie: the crowd this month was small. But it was interesting! Some attendees in particular caught my attention from the DJ booth.  A middle-aged black guy sporting a baseball cap and faded eighties-style double denim entered. My initial impression was: no gay vibe, but a definite authentic sleaze vibe. I noticed he was alone, but ordered three drinks.  Within minutes he was joined by two tough-as-nails, been-around-the-block women in short skirts and heavy make-up. I kept glancing at the trio as I DJ’d and finally the nature of their relationship dawned on me: they were two “working girls” and he was their pimp (or john).  Finally – my kind of clientele! They were like escapees from one of my favourite New Orleans dive bars, The Double Play. Very John Rechy, very City of Night! At one point I cranked up a frantic surf instrumental and the two women jumped up and began gyrating to it, right in front of the flickering homoerotic sixties physique porn. Later - when Mal was DJ'ing - their hipness quotient dropped substantially when one of them requested some Pink or Lily Allen.

Anyway, here is what I played:

Jane in the Jungle - The 5,6,7,8s
Tough Bounce - The Fabulous Wailers
Ain't That Loving You, Baby - The Earls of Suave
I Will Follow Him - Little Peggy March
Little Miss Understood - Connie Stevens
Wipe Out - The Surfaris
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Tornado - Dale Hawkins
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Vesuvius - The Revels
Lucille- Masaaki Hirao
Rip It Up - Little Richard
Boss - The Rumblers
Year One - X
The Swag - Link Wray
Goodbye So Long - Ike and Tina Turner
Rockin' the Joint - Esquerita
Bombora - The Original Surf-aris
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Wiped Out - The Escorts
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Chicken - The Cramps
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Johnny Hit and Run Pauline - The Ramonetures


Cockabilly_May_16_chicken

/ As usual, you get a reward for reading this far /

Upcoming Lobotomy Room dates for your social calendar:

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Wednesday 25 May 2016: As host and DJ of the regular monthly Mondo Trasho punkabilly club night Lobotomy Room, I – Graham Russell - will occasionally crash Fontaine’s free weekly film night and screen a rancid title of my choice, with an emphasis on the cult, the queer and the camp! The Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club selection in May is … The Valley of The Dolls! Wednesday 25 May!
“You have to climb Mount Everest … to get to The Valley of The Dolls.” Before Mommie Dearest … before Showgirls … the original “What the hell were they thinking?” Bad Movie We Love was The Valley of the Dolls. (Or Vallée des poupées if you want to get all French about it). A perennial favourite of drag queens and a cult classic for connoisseurs of kitsch, the unintentionally hilarious and wildly entertaining 1967 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s lurid 1966 bestseller took the already trashy source material – and went even tawdrier with it! (At the film’s premiere, an outraged Susann reportedly called the film “a piece of shit!”).
A cautionary tale about the perils of show business, it follows the travails of three ambitious casualties of the glamour jungle: friends Anne, Neely and Jennifer. (The “dolls” of the title refer to the fistfuls of uppers and downers the characters pop like Tic Tacs throughout – usually washed down with booze).The Valley of The Dolls packs everything discriminating thrill-seekers demand in its lunatic two hours: hammy performances, pill-popping, bouffant wigs, catfights, slurring drunken scenes, rehab, drug-fueled meltdowns and crap-tastic musical numbers.
This screening is dedicated to the memory of Dolls’ recently deceased-leading lady Patty Duke (14 December 1946 – 29 March 2016). Former child star Duke is rivetingly awful rampaging through the role of Neely O’Hara, a scenery-chewing performance so berserk it can be favourably likened to Ann-Margret’s in Kitten with a Whip. Get yourself a stiff drink and strap yourselves in for a wild ride when Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies presents The Valley of The Dolls!
As usual: arrive circa 8 pm to order your drinks and grab the best seats. The film starts at 8:30 pm prompt. The Bamboo Lounge seats about 22 people. If you’re feeling proactive, contact Fontaine’s to reserve a seat in advance: email ruby@fontaines.bar or call 07718 000546. Events page


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Friday 27 May 2016: Oh god, it's happening again ... the next Lobotomy Room club night. Events page. 

Further reading:

Read about all the previous antics at Lobotomy Rooms to date hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere , hereherehere, hereherehere and here.

Follow me on tumblr for all your kitsch, camp, retro vintage sleaze and fifties homoerotica needs!


I'm also on twitter!

"Like" and follow the official Lobotomy Room page on Facebook if you dare!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Lobotomy Room at Fontaine's DJ Set List 29 April 2016

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From the Facebook events page:

Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly strange dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s premiere Art Deco vice den Fontaine’s! Friday 29 April! With sensational special offer cocktails on the night!

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly booze party! A spectacle of decadence! Bad Music for Bad People! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (of Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly notoriety). Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! Now with vintage erotica projected on the wall for your adult viewing pleasure! Come for the £6 cocktails - stay for the putrid music and dirty movies!

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it!

A tawdry good time guaranteed!



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/ Human sacrifice is strictly optional - at Lobotomy Room! Pic is from Macumba Love (1960) - a voodoo-themed horror film set in Brazil/

OK I’ve probably claimed this already – but this installment was perhaps the single best Lobotomy Room yet! I’ve learned to approach each one with an open mind and minimal expectations. The previous two Lobotomy Rooms in a row were pretty quiet (think morgue or funeral parlour quiet). But on the plus side, my Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club that Wednesday night (27 April) was bustling. (The film selection was the ultra kitsch 1968 exploitation classick The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield. La Mansfield is, of course, the face and patron saint of Lobotomy Room. It was gratifying to see the attendees really embrace the spirit and celebrate all things Jayne. That night warrants its own separate blog post).  So I was cautiously optimistic about Friday.

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Friday night began quietly. Then a group of people would arrive – followed by another group – and then more. And finally I glanced up and we had a nice buzzing (and most importantly dancing) crowd. And what a hip, stylish and sexy bunch! Of course I have no photographic evidence. (Multi-tasking isn’t my forte and it’s pretty hard to DJ and dash around with a digital camera documenting the scene).  But trust me – it was fabulous.


As per usual I endeavoured to whip-up an ambiance of hardcore sensual and depraved vintage sleaze, musically and visually. (Apparently one of Fontaine’s young male bar staff went upstairs and told boss lady Ruby, “It’s a weird atmosphere down there.” That’s Lobotomy Room for you!). I played burlesk tittyshaker films on the big screen most of the night (Bettie Page, Tempest Storm and Lili St Cyr in bump-and-grind action, Russ Meyer’s boob-tastic Mondo Topless). Towards the end of the night I swapped to fifties and sixties beefcake homoerotica. At the first glimpse of grainy black and white male semi-nudity, a guy’s voice exclaimed, “Why didn’t you start with this? I’ve been looking at tits for an hour!” That was one of my highlights of the night.

Like I said, I have no shots from the 29 April Lobotomy Room, but here are a few shots from the Mondo Jayne Mansfield film night on 27 April.

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/ Above: Trixi Malicous and Corinna. Corinna (on the right) had specially ordered the platinum blonde wig and miniature "toy chihuahua" from eBay for the night. Trixi always looks like that! /

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/ Emma and Emily /

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/ Corinna and I /

See more photos from The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield night here: 

My musical selections from the 29 April Lobotomy Room: 

A Cruise to the Moon - Lydia Lunch
High Wall - The Fabulous Wailers
Sheba - Johnny and The Hurricanes
Three Cool Chicks - The 5,6,7,8s
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Wimoweh - Yma Sumac
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Adult Books - X
Little Darlin' - Masaaki Hirao
Beatnik - The Champs
Taboo - The Shangaans
Accentuate the Positive - The Bill Black Combo
Mama Looka Boo-Boo - Robert Mitchum
Dona Wanna - Wanda Jackson
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Gostaria de Saber (River Deep Mountain High) - Wanderlea
Blockade - The Rumblers
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Bombie- Johnny Sharp and The Yellow Jackets
Fever - Nancy Sit
Comin' Home Baby - The Delmonas
Rock'n'Roll Radio - The Ramonetures
Let's Go Baby - Billy Eldridge
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Wiped-Out - The Escorts
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
He's The One - Ike and Tina Turner
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Gunnin' for Peter - The Fabulous Wailers
Viens danser le twist - Johnny Hallyday
Khrushchev  Twist - Melvin Gayle
Ultra Twist - The Cramps
Twistin' the Night Away - Divine
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen 
Batman Theme - Link Wray and His Wraymen
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Funnel of Love - Wanda Jackson
Breathless - X
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Action Packed - Ronnie Dee
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
The Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell
Juke Box Baby - Alan Vega
Margaya - The Fender Four
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Boss - The Rumblers
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Intoxica - The Centurions
Aphrodisiac - Bow Wow Wow
Heatwave - Martha and The Vandellas
How Much Love Can One Heart Hold? Joe Perkins and The Rookies
Where's My Money? Willie Jones
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Trash - The New York Dolls
Honolulu Rock'n'Roll - Eartha Kitt
Rock-A-Hula - Elvis Presley
Chicken - The Cramps
Chicken Walk - Hasil Adkins

Upcoming Lobotomy Room dates for your social calendar:

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Wednesday 25 May 2016: As host and DJ of the regular monthly Mondo Trasho punkabilly club night Lobotomy Room, I – Graham Russell - will occasionally crash Fontaine’s free weekly film night and screen a rancid title of my choice, with an emphasis on the cult, the queer and the camp! The Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club selection in May is … The Valley of The Dolls! Wednesday 25 May!
“You have to climb Mount Everest … to get to The Valley of The Dolls.” Before Mommie Dearest … before Showgirls … the original “What the hell were they thinking?” Bad Movie We Love was The Valley of the Dolls. (Or Vallée des poupées if you want to get all French about it). A perennial favourite of drag queens and a cult classic for connoisseurs of kitsch, the unintentionally hilarious and wildly entertaining 1967 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s lurid 1966 bestseller took the already trashy source material – and went even tawdrier with it! (At the film’s premiere, an outraged Susann reportedly called the film “a piece of shit!”).
A cautionary tale about the perils of show business, it follows the travails of three ambitious casualties of the glamour jungle: friends Anne, Neely and Jennifer. (The “dolls” of the title refer to the fistfuls of uppers and downers the characters pop like Tic Tacs throughout – usually washed down with booze).The Valley of The Dolls packs everything discriminating thrill-seekers demand in its lunatic two hours: hammy performances, pill-popping, bouffant wigs, catfights, slurring drunken scenes, rehab, drug-fueled meltdowns and crap-tastic musical numbers.
This screening is dedicated to the memory of Dolls’ recently deceased-leading lady Patty Duke (14 December 1946 – 29 March 2016). Former child star Duke is rivetingly awful rampaging through the role of Neely O’Hara, a scenery-chewing performance so berserk it can be favourably likened to Ann-Margret’s in Kitten with a Whip. Get yourself a stiff drink and strap yourselves in for a wild ride when Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies presents The Valley of The Dolls!
As usual: arrive circa 8 pm to order your drinks and grab the best seats. The film starts at 8:30 pm prompt. The Bamboo Lounge seats about 22 people. If you’re feeling proactive, contact Fontaine’s to reserve a seat in advance: email ruby@fontaines.bar or call 07718 000546. Events page


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Friday 27 May 2016: Oh god, it's happening again ... the next Lobotomy Room club night. Events page. 

Further reading:

Read about all the previous antics at Lobotomy Rooms to date hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere , hereherehere, hereherehere and here.

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