She wore a teeny weeny itsy bitsy zebra print bikini: Jayne Mansfield. Why don't people wear zebra print more often?
This was my first Dr Sketchy since getting back from two weeks in US (I got back on Saturday 14 April after going to the annual Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender, followed by a few days in San Francisco), and have to admit it felt like a bit tepid this time. Which was certainly not the fault of the stellar line-up of performers: homme du monde Dusty Limits on emcee duties, platinum blonde Monroe-a-like showgirl Slinky Sparkles and kooky newcomer, Australian starlet Georgina Ruby. Lately we’ve been on fire, but this Dr Sketchy didn’t sell out (although it didn’t exactly look sparsely attended from the DJ booth and to their credit the crowd seemed open and enthusiastic).
I’d spent a bomb on CDs at Amobea Records in San Francisco (my favourite record store in the world. And when I say “spent a bomb”, my credit card statement is giving me anxiety attacks), which I was keen to play. One of the CDs was a mondo exotica Tiki compilation (that’s why you might see more Les Baxter and Martin Denny than usual, as well as Yma Sumac’s sublime “Wimoweh”), but don’t think I managed to integrate it very well into things. In fact musically I think I was incoherent as hell. It was one of those nights where musically it just didn't gel for me. Let’s blame the murderous post-US jetlag I’m still suffering from (it takes me at least a week or two for my body clock to re-adjust to UK time! I was feeling zombified with exhaustion all week) and drinking pints of lager on an empty stomach (I went to the venue straight from work and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s kitchen has temporarily stopped serving food. I was depending on a bowl of their chips to line my stomach with!).
One of the evening’s most disconcerting touches was the sleeping guy. He looked like what we in the know would call a “bear.” He came in alone, ordered a pint of beer, picked one of the best seats in the venue – and then snoozed through pretty much the entire show. At one point Clare Marie (Dr Sketchy’s glamazon promoter) was standing next to me in the DJ booth and I pointed him out to her. Unruffled, she just shrugged and said he paid his entry fee so he could sleep if he wanted to. (Midway through, he woke up, looked confused by his surroundings and wandered out). Strange!
For Georgina’s poses I cranked up the kitsch factor and sleazy instrumentals. With Dr Sketchy veteran Slinky I always go heavy on cooing Hollywood sex kittens. Obviously playing a Marilyn Monroe track is obligatory, but I could skip one by Jayne Mansfield this time because Slinky already used a song by Jayne as part of her burlesque number (“Too Hot to Handle” in case you’re interested). I also explored a sultry and melancholy blue mood with a trio of ballads by three quintessential chanteuses: Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt and Juliette Greco.
Georgina Ruby: Doesn't she look a bit like New Wave crackpot Lene Lovich here?
Pin-up come to life: Slinky Sparkles evoking Betty Grable (All photos by the talented Andrew Hickinbottom)
Fragment of La Mansfield bumping, twitching and pouting her way through "Too Hot to Handle"
Glimpse of the breathtakingly beautiful young Juliette Greco (in trademark stark Morticia Addams black) singing "Bonjour Tristesse" in 1958. Trust me: the original French lyrics are much better than the trite English ones!
Misirlou - Martin Denny Monkey Bird - The Revels Champagne Taste - Eartha Kitt Witchcraft - Joe Grave and The Diggers Los Cigarillos - Serge Gainsbourg Hot Toddy - Julie London Fever - Richard Marino and His Orchestra Mess of Blues - Elvis Presley All You Had to Do Was Tell Me - Ann-Margret Oui je veux - Johnny Hallyday Sea of Love - The Earls of Suave Night Scene - The Rumblers Cheesecake - Nite Sounds Town without Pity - James Chance The Mexican - The Fentones Tequila - Stan Kenton and His Orchestra Wimoweh - Yma Sumac Not Me - Robert Mitchum Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black Combo Made You - Adam Faith (Beat Girl soundtrack) Intoxica - The Centurions (Pink Flamingos soundtrack) Sweetiepie - Eddie Cochran The Swag - Link Wray (Pink Flamingos soundtrack) Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies Baby Blues Rock - Carl Simpson Tonight You Belong to Me - Patience and Prudence Beaver Shot - The Periscopes Bewildered - Shirley and Lee Strolling After Dark - The Shades Caterpillar Crawl - The Strangers Boots - Nero and The Gladiators It's Legal - Shirley Anne Field (Beat Girl soundtrack) Cherry Pink - Bill Black Combo Caravan - 80 Drums Around the World Come By Sunday - Diana Dors Tall Cool One - The Wailers Drummin' Up a Storm - Sandy Nelson Lookie There, Ain't She Pretty - Bill Haley and His Comets Je Me Donne A Qui Me Plait - Brigitte Bardot Scorpion - The Carnations One Mint Julep - Sarah Vaughan Begin the Beguine - Billy Fury Jungle Drums - Earl Bostic Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown Boss - The Rumblers Whiplash - The Shells Anytime - Bill Black Combo Willow Weep for Me - Nina Simone Solitude - Eartha Kitt Bonjour Tristesse - Juliette Greco Petit Fleur - Chet Baker Do It Again - Marilyn Monroe Blues in My Heart - John Buzon Trio Harlem Nocturne - Martin Denny You're My Thrill - Dolores Gray You Beautiful Doll - Nancy Sinatra Drums A G-Go - The Hollywood Persuaders Thirteen Men - Ann-Margret The Beast - Milt Buckner Deep Dark Secret - Lizabeth Scott Hand Clapping Time - The Fabulous Raiders Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders and Patti Paladin Don't Blame it On Me - Ike and Tina Turner I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
Next time: an update on Lobotomy Room, and a full scene report on Viva Las Vegas and San Francisco!