Monday, 24 February 2014

19 February 2014 Dr Sketchy DJ Set List

/ She's a brick ... house /

The first Dr Sketchy of the New Year was quite simply one of the best ever. In fact last Wednesday night at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern felt like Dr Sketchy being plunged back to its classic golden age (or age d’or, if you prefer).

First of all, hostess with the mostest (or should that be “moistest”?), emcee Ophelia Bitz was back in charge of proceedings and on raunchy form. Think of her as the toilet-mouthed and debauched Tallulah Bankhead du nos jours. Bad girl of cabaret Ophelia and her boyfriend upped sticks and re-located to Bristol a while back, so this was a rare London appearance (I’m pretty sure I hadn't seen her since Bestival 2012).  Boy, do we miss her at Dr Sketchy. Resplendent in gold sequins, at one point she apologised to the crowd for not having washed beforehand and explained Febreeze is the patron saint of cabaret. Later, circulating through the crowd and glancing at their drawings, she stopped at one, exclaimed, “That’s disgusting!” and gave a filthy cackle.

/ Filthiest Woman Alive? Ophelia Bitz channeling Divine in Pink Flamingos /

Both of the night’s guest performers / models, Amelie Soleil and Fancy Chance, were cabaret crème de la crème and Dr Sketchy doyennes who hadn't performed for us in ages. I’d only ever seen “Britain’s Tiniest Tease” Soleil once before (at the May 2012 Dr Sketchy at The Old Queen’s Head) and didn't recognise her at first at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern: she’s since shuttled from blonde to Ann-Margret not-found-in-nature red. (Needless to say I slipped in an Ann-Margret track while Soleil modeled – not that I need much excuse).

Bestival 2012 039

/ Totally gratuitous cheesecake bathing suit “glamour shot” of Fancy Chance at Bestival 2012 – just for the hell of it /

Like with Ophelia, I hadn't seen maverick burlesque comedienne Fancy Chance since Dr Sketchy and Time for Tease at Bestival 2012.  Chance’s routine was certainly au courant: Prince has been causing a sensation in London lately, playing tiny intimate gigs that instantly sell out.  The savvy Chance dusted off her Prince tribute act (she howls along and strips to “Kiss”) and was probably far more entertaining than the genuine article himself these days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t have any Prince tracks in my collection. But figuring Chance in male drag (with her tousled pompadour bouffant wig and pencil-line pimp mustache) looked just as much like Little Richard, Esquerita or Masaaki Hirao as Prince, I cranked-up songs by them during her poses instead.

Bestival 2012 018

/ Sadly, we never seem to get people taking and submitting photos at Dr Sketchy anymore, but to give you a flavour, here is the sublime Fancy Chance doing her Prince act at the Time for Tease tent at Bestival 2012 /

Musically, as usual at Dr Sketchy I sought to induce a sleazy atomic era nightclub ambiance (DJ’ing at an old-school darkened cabaret venue with red velvet curtains and candles on the tables is certainly inspiring) via greasy rhythm and blues (Ike and Tina, Big Maybelle), bump’n’grind titty shaker instrumentals, cooing sex kittens (Eartha, Jayne, Ann-Margret) songs swiped from John Waters, Kenneth Anger and David Lynch soundtracks, discordant post-punk death-jazz skronk (Lydia Lunch) and just plain weird shit (Edith Massey slaughtering “Fever”).

Of course primitive, pagan and taboo exotica lounge music will always hold a special place in my heart. Whether it’s Dr Sketchy or my own night Lobotomy Room, I like to ease into things early on by playing atmospheric and eerie exotica by the likes of Martin Denny and Les Baxter just as people are arriving, probably making them wonder, “Where the hell am I?” I've written before about my admiration for the mesmerising and enigmatic Korla Pandit, but only just recently started incorporating his weird and wonderful music into my sets. He is the high emperor of exotica to Peruvian diva Yma Sumac’s high empress. Playing two tracks back-to-back by these two is spine-tingling and intoxicating.

/ Historic Encounter Between Exotica High Royalty: Yma Sumac (1922-2008) and Korla Pandit (1921-1998) crossing paths in the early 1980s. We are not worthy ... / 

/ Korla Pandit (and a very pretty Asian male dancer) in action in his 1950s prime. Look deep into his eyes /

Love Song of the Nile - Korla Pandit
Ataypura (High Andes) - Yma Sumac
Voodoo Dreams / Voodoo - Les Baxter
Kizmiaz - The Cramps
Cafe Bohemian - The Enchanters
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Mamma's Place - Bing Day
Fever - Edith Massey
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show - Big Maybelle
Ain't That Good? George Kelly and Orchestra
Night Scene - The Rumblers
A Cruise to the Moon - Lydia Lunch
One Mint Julep - Sarah Vaughan
Not Me - Robert Mitchum
Go Calypso - Mamie Van Doren
The Coo - Wayne Cochran
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Little Darlin' - Masaaki Hirao
Love Letters - Ike and Tina Turner
Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
Nobody Taught Me - Eartha Kitt
Where Flamingos Fly - Linda Lawson
Dream Lover - The Paris Sisters
Shangri-la - Spike Jones New Band
You're My Thrill - Dolores Gray
The Stripper - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Heartbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Slow Walk - Sil Austin
The Flirt - Shirley and Lee
Welfare Cheese - Emanuel Lanskey
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Kruschev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Margaya - The Fender Four
Jaguar - The Jaguars
Esquerita and The Voola - Esquerita
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Lucille - Little Richard
My Boy Lollipop - Sakura and the Quests
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Hiasmina - Jean Seberg
Crazy Vibrations - The Bikinis
Sexe - Line Renaud
Je t'aime moi non plus ... Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
Begin the Beguine - Lynn Rockwell
Mack the Knife - Hildegard Knef
Kool Kat Walk - Julee Cruise
Intoxica - The Revels
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Cry-baby - The Honey Sisters
Roll with Me, Henry - Etta James
Tina's Dilemma - Ike and Tina Turner
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
Moi je joue - Brigitte Bardot

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Cockabilly at The George and Dragon 31 January 2014 DJ Set List

/ Gay Greasers Unite: Make new friends at Cockabilly / 

2014 just got a whole lot sexier! In summer 2013 Cockabilly (London’s only monthly queer rockabilly night since 2008!) was graciously welcomed back to its ideal locale, the ultra-bohemian George and Dragon in London’s gritty East End, for a regular monthly Wednesday night residency. On 31 January 2014, the George and Dragon management bestowed on Cockabilly a much-coveted Friday night slot as a trial. And it was such a triumph it looks very likely we may well have the last Friday of the month as a regular thing!

Swapping a week night for a Friday night took Cockabilly to a whole other level. It was incredibly exciting to look down from the mezzanine-level DJ booth and see a whole sea of people swarming below. DJ’ing to a packed house is such a buzz it's almost erotic!

As an added bonus, Mal (the brains behind Cockabilly) wrangled a projector and screened Hairspray (the 1988 John Waters original, natch – not the 2007 re-make abomination starring John Travolta!) as a sort of atmospheric silent video installation against the wall. Once Hairspray finished, we stuck on my DVD of raunchy 1955 burlesque film Teaserama for extra sleaze appeal. Needless to say, the crowd was utterly mesmerised by the undulating hips and lingerie-clad striptease cavorting of Bettie Page and Tempest Storm. (One of the wonders of Teaserama is that no matter what music you’re playing, it looks like the strippers are dancing to it!)I've always wanted projections at my own club night Lobotomy Room but never managed to get the technology together; this Cockabilly demonstrated it really adds that something extra.

/ Girls! Girls! GIRLS! The gloriously trashy Teaserama /

And it’s got to be said – Mal and I rocked the freaking house! (We're normally a trio but Cockabilly’s other regular resident DJ Emma Peters was engaged that night with her exciting new gin palace pop-up venture. Read about it here). During my lager-fuelled set, I aimed to keep things frantic, emphasising white trash rockers with high-pitched desperate wailing voices (think “Whistle Bait” by The Collins Kids, Ronnie Dawson’s “Rockin’ Bones”, the orgasmic shrieking of "Little Boy" by Johnny and Jackie and The Sex Pistol's punk thrashing of "Rock Around the Clock"). Otherwise I whipped together punk (X), frat rock (The Fendermen, The Trashmen, The Readymen), John Waters soundtracks, surf, greasy rhythm and blues (give me Ike and Tina or give me death) and tittyshaking instrumentals. In other words, all your favourite rancid vintage musical classicks (sic)!

Special thanks to my friends Christopher, Eric, Paul, Dez, Simon and Charlie for coming. Things were too hectic and drunk for me to take any photos on the night – I’ll endeavor to next time. 

Further reading: 

Read about previous Cockabilly nights hereherehereherehereherehere and here!

If you don't already, follow me on tumblr: for all your kitsch, retro and vintage homoerotic needs! Not safe for work and never will be. (Don't look at it on your work PC unless your employers are exceptionally hip and open-minded). Satisfy your delinquent desires! 

Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Rip It Up - Little Richard
You're the One for Me - Wanda Jackson
Whistle Bait - The Collins Kids
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Club Delight - Jack Jolly
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Salamander - Mamie Van Doren
Jungle Fever - Charlie Feathers
Where's My Money? Willie Jones
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Willie Joe - The Mystery Trio
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Little Boy - Johnny and Jackie
Breathless - X
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Ain't That Loving You, Baby - Elvis Presley
Stranger in My Own Hometown - The Earls of Suave
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Chicken - The Cramps
Chicken Shack - Ike and Tina Turner
Shout - Johnny Hallyday
Dance with Me, Henry - Ann-Margret
Boss - The Rumblers
Save It - Mel Robbins
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Vesuvius - The Revels
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Margaya - The Fender Four
Ah, Poor Little Baby - Billy "Crash" Craddock
The Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Rockin' Bones - Ronnie Dawson
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia