Monday, 29 September 2014

17 September 2014 Cockabilly DJ Set List


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

/ If Lobotomy Room was a vintage beefcake pin-up, it would look like this /

/ If Lobotomy Room was a vintage cheesecake pin-up, it would look like this /

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.

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/ 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.

/ 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.  

/ "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.

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/ 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 /

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/ 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