I found myself DJ’ing at The Retro Bar for vintage trash queer club night Wild Thing again on 18 July 2012. It was a last-minute gig: my friends Christopher Raymond and Paul Kennedy were meant to be guest DJ’ing alongside Joe Pop (the brains behind Wild Thing) that night, but Paul had to drop out at short notice. I was planning to go just to hang out, anyway, when Christopher texted me asking if I’d be interested in co-DJ’ing with him. To paraphrase the late, great Gore Vidal (a timely reference! RIP), I never turn down the opportunity to have sex, appear on television or DJ – so I quickly packed my DJ bag and rushed to the venue.
If the set list below looks exceptionally short, it was because our set was only an hour long and we “alternated” as a tag team, me on CDs and Christopher on vinyl. (I don’t have Christopher’s tracks to add to the set list, but his were more modern / post-punk: I definitely recall some Boss Hog, Holly Golightly, The Cramps, Babes in Toyland, “Atomic Bongos” by Lydia Lunch, "White Mice" by The Mo-dettes). The partnership worked well, and the flowing pints of icy lager only added to the inspiration. Both of us chose Link Wray for our opening tracks, which meant back-to-back Link Wray songs – but how can you possibly have too many twang-y, ominous Link Wray instrumentals? (Mine, “The Shag”, is of course the opening theme tune to John Waters’ Pink Flamingos – ensuring it will always hold a special place in my heart).
/ Black T-Shirt Convention: Christopher and I (double chin alert) photographed at The Retro Bar on 18 July 2012. Une photo originale par Joe Pop /
As ever, I endeavoured to pack in a varied selection of urgently sleazy music: some punk (X, Sid Vicious), hillbilly (Hasil Adkins), surf (The Fender Four), titty-shaking stripper instrumentals (The Hustlers), cooing / purring sex kittens (Ann-Margret, Mamie Van Doren) and weird Satan-worshipping voodoo shit (Esquerita).
I also worked in a mini-tribute to Kenneth Angers’s 1963 experimental / avant-garde homoerotic short film Scorpio Rising. I know I bang on about this film a lot, but I saw it at an impressionable age and it definitely had a transformative effect on me – it contributed to making me the twisted fuck I am today! I frequently dip into the songs Anger used on the soundtrack to Scorpio Rising when I DJ as a bit of an homage to the master - on this occasion, Elvis’s “Devil in Disguise” and Ricky Nelson’s “Fools Rush In.” Which is a nice excuse to post a photo of Ricky at the height of his beauty. (Sigh).
Here’s a tantalising fragment of Scorpio Rising to whet your appetite: you just hear the tail end of Ricky Nelson’s “Fools Rush In” before the music fades into “Wind Up Doll” by Little Peggy March. Now make it your mission to track down Kenneth Anger: The Complete Magick Lantern Cycle on DVD (easy enough on Amazon). You will thank me later.
Christopher has also asked me to point out he spun a track off a weird Halloween novelty compilation record on the Crypt label entitled Monster Rock’n’Roll, with truly inept but heartfelt “outsider art” cover art of Frankenstein jiving with a pony-tailed girl in a graveyard (I think it was done by a violent psychobilly prisoner in solitary confinement. See for yourself here).
Afterwards, while Joe Pop himself DJ’d I caught up with my work colleague, American ex-pat Eric. We bonded by reminiscing wistfully about our mutual all-time favourite rancid dive bar in the world: The Hole in the Wall in San Francisco. (Eric used to live in San Francisco). By then I was very drunk.
OK, enough of my wittering. Time for naked vintage beefcake – and I’m not feeling particularly “safe for work” today. I’ve mentioned before how Joe Pop’s designs for Wild Thing flyer images are nice mini-masterpieces of pop art. Unsurprisingly, gay icon / Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro is a frequent source of inspiration.
/ In the shower with Little Joe: a relatively un-corrupted (pre-junkie, anyway) teenage Dallesandro in his nude modelling days /
The Shag - Link Wray and His Ray Men
She Said - Hasil Adkins
Little Boy / Little Girl - John and Jackie
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
Oh Lonesome Me - Ann-Margret
Somethin' Else - Sid Vicious
Dancing with Tears in My Eyes - X
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum
Big Bounce - Shirley Cadell
Esquerita and The Voola - Esquerita
I Stubbed My Toe - Bryan "Legs" Walker
Margaya - The Fender Four
Stranger in My Own Home Town - The Earls of Suave
/ I don't blame him. I wouldn't be able to stop staring, either /