Friday, 24 December 2010

22 December 2010 Christmas Dr Sketchy Set List



/ Because nothing says "Christmas" like Ann-Margret in a leopard skin catsuit ... /

Another night of Christmas-a-go-go! Much as I love it, by now even I am sick of Christmas music! Obviously on Christmas day I’ll be playing some 1950s Christmas lounge and jazz music while pounding back glasses of snowballs and mulled wine – but after that my Christmas compilations are being put on mothballs for twelve months.

This night Dr Sketchy was at probably my favourite of all our venues: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. It’s long been the home of London’s most cutting edge alternative cabaret club nights (living up to its reputation as a historic music hall venue), and (gratifyingly for a DJ) its sound system is thunderously loud. The RVT was decorated with beautiful Christmas decorations (including big plaster cherubs), with moody atmospheric night club lighting and candles glowing on the tables: think festive but Weimar Republic decadent, as if the seedy nightclub in Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel(1930) was decorated for Christmas. In other words, the perfect locale for Dr Sketchy at Christmas! So I was annoyed when suddenly the houselights were cranked up again just when people were starting to filter in. There also seemed to be a commotion outside, with RVT staff rushing in and out, but I was busy DJ’ing and oblivious. Finally one of the bartenders came over and explained why they’d turned up the lights: there was a bomb scare outside; the surrounding area was taped off while it was being investigated. That’s the kind of news that really jangles your nerves, but we carried on in the British blitz spirit and hoped that we wouldn’t have to cancel, and that people would be able to arrive safely. Mercifully the bomb scare was a false alarm, and the place gradually filled up. We just had to push back the start time from 8:00 pm to 8.30 pm to accommodate late comers.

We had two models: Platinum blonde burlesque starlet Slinky Sparkles (a Dr Sketchy veteran) performed an adorable Christmas-themed striptease number giving new meaning to the concept of “Christmas stocking”. We also had a sinewy male model, Beau Black. The RVT is primarily a LGBT venue, and our shows there tend to get a little raunchier than normal, sometimes featuring full male nudity. At the end of night for the final sketch the two models plus suave emcee Dusty Limits and a member of the audience recreated a kinky, non-traditional (sacrilegious?) nativity scene onstage – for which Beau posed stark naked except for a Santa hat, while I played Wayne Newton belting out “Jingle Bell Rock!” My kind of Christmas!

Doing two sets now of Christmas tunes this month (see my playlist from 6 December 2010) made me realise how many endless versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” I’ve played. Great songs that open themselves to infinite interpretations, but considering the lyrics of neither ever make reference to Christmas, it’s funny how they have been embraced as Christmas standards. (For the record, Julie London’s sloooowed down version of “I’ve Got My Love ...” is the sultriest of all time).

As of the next Dr Sketchy on 8 January 2011, normal musical service will be resumed. In the meantime ... Merry Christmas!




Santa Claus is Comin' to Town / White Christmas - Jimmy McGriff
Winter Wonderland - Chet Baker
Violets for Your Furs - The Continental
Candles Glowing - Marlene Dietrich
Silent Night - Dinah Washington
First Snowfall - The Coctails
Exotic Night - Martin Denny
Let Christmas Ring - The Coolbreezers
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Nancy Wilson
My Christmas Prayer - Billy Fury
White Christmas - Elvis Presley
Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me - Mae West
Santa Claus is Sometimes Brown - El Vez
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Wayne Newton
Jingle All the Way - Lena Horne
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Jingle Bells Bossa Nova - Eddie Dunstedter
Sorry to See You Go - June Christy
Winter Wonderland - Peggy Lee
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Lou Rawls
Let It Snow! Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Eddie Dunstedter
Christmas Time is Coming - Stormy Weather
JIngle Bells - The Vel Mares
Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas - Ruby Wright
Santa! Please Don't Pass Me By - Jimmy Donley
Sleigh Bells, Reindeer and Snow - Rita Faye Wilson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jimmy McGriff
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Al Martino
Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock - The Hollyridge Strings
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Lena Horne
Far Away Christmas Blues - Little Esther
Blues for Christmas - John Lee Hooker
I'd Like You for Christmas - Julie London
Christmas Time Is Here - El Vez
Santa Claus is Back in Town - Mae West
Christmas in Jail - The Youngsters
Ole Santa - Dinah Washington
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Mambo - Billy May
Winter Wonderland - Dean Martin
Jingle Bells - Gene Autrey
Fat Daddy - Fat Daddy
Merry Christmas, Baby - Lou Rawls
Nothin' for Christmas - Eartha Kitt
Christmas Kisses - Ray Anthony
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Julie London
Christmas Wish - El Vez
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt (1960s version)
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday
Warm December - Julie London
Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin
Cha Cha Cha All the Way - Capital Studio Orchestra
The Merriest - June Christy
White Christmas - Peggy Lee
I'll Be Home for Christmas / Baby It's Cold Outside - Jackie Gleason / Jack Marshall
Everybody's Waitin' for the Man with the Bag - Kay Starr
Jingle Bell Rock - Wayne Newton
Christmas Island - Bob Atcher & The Dinning Sisters
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Sammy Davis Jr and Carmen McRae
This Year's Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Santa Claus is Back in Town - Elvis Presley
Frosty the Snowman - The Ventures


/Haunting Christmas scene: pink flamingos in the snow /


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Monday, 13 December 2010

6 December 2010 Christmas Dr Sketchy Set List



/ Wishing you a Jayne Mansfield Christmas ... /

For the first of our two Christmas extravaganzas this month (this one was at The Paradise in Kensal Green), Dr Sketchy’s glamorous promoter and stage manager Clare Marie emerged from behind the scenes to emcee the night herself. Marianne Cheesecake (who’s done three Dr Sketchy’s in a row and is starting to feel like Dr Sketchy’s burlesque artiste in residence!) charmed the crowd with a great Santa’s little helper routine in green sequins. Considering it was a Christmas spectacular, we spiced things up with a grand total of four beautiful models: Marianne Cheesecake, Ruka, Violetta and Ellie.

Later on there was high drama when a woman in the audience accidentally set her hair on fire! She was leaning back to get a good photo of the performers onstage and leaned right back into the candle on the table behind her! I was DJ’ing and distracted, when I heard a woman scream, there was a puff of smoke and suddenly the air was filled with the stench of scorched hair. What was cartoon-like was the people surrounding her spotted her hair was on fire before she did and started screaming. She was initially oblivious. Horrifying, but mercifully she wasn’t hurt or even lost much hair! Also luckily it happened toward the end of the night. Once we realized she was OK we tried to get on with the rest of the show and pretend nothing had happened, but it was hard to ignore the smell of singed hair. She even said, "I feel like Michael Jackson!" She also said she was wearing lots of hairspray -- it could have been much worse. It was a very John Waters moment, actually! So please remember the hazards of combining long hair and candles this Christmas season, ladies.

Musically, it was a great opportunity to go heavy on the abrasive kitsch Christmas tunes. Things started off quite elegantly, with the focus on 1950s cool jazz (Chet Baker’s Christmas album – think Christmas standards played at sultry junkie tempo) and exotica / lounge (an ethereal Martin Denny track, a bossa nova interpretation of “Jingle Bells”, Marlene Dietrich huskily exhaling Christmas carols while still sounding like she’s straddling a chair backwards and wearing fishnet stockings). Later on I ramped up the campiness and sleaze appeal: Christmas novelty songs,Christmas doo wop, Christmas surf instrumentals, Christmas raunch (Mae West’s 1966 Christmas album),Christmas rockabilly (Elvis Presely, Billy Fury, Jack Scott), Christmas rhythm & blues (Little Esther, Dinah Washington), glitzy Vegas Christmas (Wayne Newton, Dean Martin), sex kitten Christmas (Julie London, Eartha Kitt), plus other oddities and curiousities.

Our next Christmas Dr Sketchy will be at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on 22 December – I’ll inevitably play the same tracks, but in a different order!

Christmas Song - Chet Baker
That's What I Want for Christms - Nancy Wilson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Jingle Bells Bossa Nova - Eddie Dunstedter
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Lena Horne
The First Snowfall - The Coctails
Candles Glowing - Marlene Dietrich
Exotic Night - Martin Denny
Let Christmas Ring - The Coolbreezers
Santa! Don't Pass Me By - Jimmy Donley
Christmas Island - Bob Atcher & The Dinning Sisters
Silent Night - Dinah Washington
My Christmas Prayer - Billy Fury
Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me - Elvis Presley
Merry Christmas Baby - Mae West
Sleighbells, Reindeer and Snow - Rita Faye Wilson
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Mambo - Billy May
Brown Christmas - El Vez
Jingle Bells - The Vel Mares
Jingle Bell Rock - Wayne Newton
I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas - Eartha Kitt
Christmas Wish - El Vez
Far Away Christmas Blues - Little Esther
Warm December - Julie London
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
Ole Santa - Dinah Washington
There's Trouble Brewin' - Jack Scott
Santa Baby - Mae West
Christmas Time Is Coming - Stormy Weather
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Nancy Wilson
Happy Holidays - Peggy Lee
Fat Daddy - Fat Daddy
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth - Nat King Cole
Have a Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas - Ruby Wright
Sleigh Ride / Jingle Bells - Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani / Jimmy McGriff
Jingle Bells - Gene Autrey
Little Drummer Boy - Marlene Dietrich
Snowfall / Snowfall Cha Cha Cha - George Shearing / Billy May
I'd Like You for Christmas - Julie London
Christmas in Jail - The Youngsters
The Christmas Waltz - Nancy Wilson
Blues for Christmas - John Lee Hooker
Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me - Mae West
Christmas Time Is Here - El Vez
Christmas Kisses - Ray Anthony
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Julie London
Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin
Everybody's Waitin' for the Man with the Bag - Kay Starr
Frosty the Snowman - The Ventures
Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock - Hollyridge Strings
Here Comes Santa Claus - Elvis Presley
I Wish You a Merry Christmas - Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva
Let It Snow - Wayne Newton
This Year's Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

/ Essential Christmas viewing ... John Waters' 1974 classick "Female Trouble" /



"I hate you, I hate this house and I hate Christmas!"

/ Below: Mae West's 1966 Christmas album /




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Sunday, 28 November 2010

24 November 2010 Dr Sketchy Set List



/ Jazz sex kitten Ann Richards posing for Playboy magazine in 1961 /

It was a night of technical hitches a-go go! Like I’ve said before the decks and controls for the lights, etc in the DJ booth at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern are as complicated as the control panels of a helicopter! When I was setting up the venue's manager was kindly helping and somehow the dry ice machine got accidentally switched on – and then we couldn’t work out how to turn it off again. Dry ice kept billowing out, filling the whole venue with thick smoke. Finally he had to phone someone to instruct him how to switch it off. Mercifully it was all resolved before punters started arriving: I was thinking we’d need to fling open all the doors to air the place out, but by the time people arrived there wasn’t even a hint of grey mist.

Later one of the performers realised she’d brought the wrong CD for her number and she couldn’t dance without it. She had the song on her iPod but try as we might we couldn’t get any audio when we tried to play her iPod through the decks – nightmare. And none of my music was suitable for her act. To her eternal credit, at the last minute she did a whole other routine based around the music she did bring and really saved things – and the audience was none the wiser.

Otherwise: a great night. The crowd was up for it, the two featured burlesque performers (Sophia St Villier and Marianne Cheesecake) were both seasoned Dr Sketchy veterans, and Ophelia Bitz emceed again in her inimitably sassy and casual way.

Early on I eased into things (and calmed my frazzled nerves!) with some lounge, Fifties Cool Jazz and Latin exotica – as the night progressed the music got sleazier and more raucous. I had to play a Juliette Greco track (the classic “La Javanaise”, written for her by Serge Gainsbourg) because some friends and I went to see the legendary Parisian beatnik chanteuse's breathtaking concert at The Royal Festival Hall on 21 November – that merits its own blog, which I'll try do soon.

I’m a sucker for obscure jazz and blues singers with tragic life stories. Sick, I know. Someone who definitely fits that bill (and who I play on a regular basis at Dr Sketchy) is the beautiful and talented but doomed 1950s jazz vocalist and sex kitten Ann Richards. As a rising starlet under the wing of her husband, big band jazz leader Stan Kenton, Richards seemed destined for great things. But while she emerged from the same 1950s cool jazz style of singing as Julie London and June Christy, Richards sadly never quite achieved their level of stardom. After her marriage to Kenton ended her career began to circle the drain: posing for Playboy magazine in 1961 to promote her Ann, Man! album backfired, leading to scandal rather than reviving interest in her career. From there Richards succumbed to depression and alcoholism (although apparently never stopped performing, singing in jazz clubs in Los Angeles) until she died aged 46 in 1982 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Thankfully her music lives on and her reputation has been rehabilitated. Ann Richards deserved a lot better, and I highly recommend her sultry, swinging Ann, Man! album (from which her finger-snapping rendition of the Dinah Washington standard “Evil Gal Blues” comes from). See more pics from Richards's Playboy spread here.



Hurt - Timi Yuro
I Remember You - Chet Baker
Playboy's Theme - Cy Coleman
Life Is But a Dream - The Harptones
One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) - Marlene Dietrich
Exotique Bossa Nova / Quiet Village Bossa Nova - Martin Denny
La Javanaise - Juliette Greco
Requiem pour un Twister - Serge Gainsbourg
Mack the Knife - Hildegard Knef
Blues for Beatniks - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Besame Mucho - Betty Reilly
Eso - Conjunto TNT
Kiss Me Honey Honey - The Delmonas
Tonight You Belong to Me - Patience and Prudence
Honey Rock - Barney Kessel
Somebody Buy Me a Drink - The Earls of Suave
Honey's Lovin' Arms - Robert Mitchum
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita
Save It - Mel Robbins
A Week from Tuesday - The Pastels
I Would If I Could - Ruth Brown
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
Interlude - Sarah Vaughan
Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
Honeysuckle Rose - Lena Horne
Mack the Knife - Bill Black's Combo
Falling in Love Again - Billie Holiday
You're My Thrill - Chet Bake (instrumental version)
Everybody Loves My Baby - Brigitte Bardot
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Sam Butera
No Love for Daddy - Serge Gainsbourg
I'm in Love Again - Lizabeth Scott
I Feel So Mmmm - Diana Dors
She Acts Like a Woman Should - Marilyn Monroe
Blondie's Strip - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
The Beast - Milt Buckner
Mack the Knife - Eartha Kitt (you can never play too many versions of Mack the Knife)
Baubles, Bangles and Beads - Marlene Dietrich
Some Small Chance - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-Tease soundtrack)
Lovin' Spree - Ann-Margret
Begin the Beguine - Billy Fury
Desfinado - Si Zentner
Blockade - The Rumblers
Bacon Fat - Andre Williams
You Can't Stop Her - Bobby Marchan
Cherry Wine - Little Esther
Tuxedo Junction - Bill Black Combo
Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? Dinah Washington
Evil Gal Blues - Ann Richards
The Stripper - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Night Train - Alvino Rey
Drums A Go Go - The Hollywood Persuaders
Fever - Timi Yuro
Blue Kat - Chuck Rio & The Originals
Summertime - Little Esther
Revelion - The Revels
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Denise Darcel
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostick
I Put a Spell on You - Nina Simone
Stop and Listen - Mickey and Ludella
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Bewildered - Shirley & Lee
I'll Upset You Baby - Lula Reed
Stranger in My Own Hometown - The Earls of Suave

The titty shaker du jour:



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Sunday, 14 November 2010

13 November 2010 Dr Sketchy Set List



I can't imagine DJ'ing at Dr Sketchy and not playing at least one track from John Barry's soundtrack for the ultra kitsch 1960 sexploitation B-movie Beat Girl (aka Wild for Kicks). The moody and atmospheric album cover alone is inspiring: Shirley-Anne Field pouting in front of a vintage jukebox, dreamy young Adam Faith in a black leather jacket brooding over a cappuccino and sex kitten Gillian Hill painstakingly styled to look exactly like Brigitte Bardot.

For some reason DJ'ing at Saturday afternoon Dr Sketchy's at The Old Queen’s Head in Angel always feel more relaxed and laid-back. This time the guest emcee was the vivacious Ophelia Bitz (my first time working with her; it was a real pleasure) and the models / performers were Scarlett Daggers and Marianne Cheesecake. It was a nice day: I drank two pints of lager on a practically empty stomach, which made me very mellow (that’s the problem when you DJ in the middle of the afternoon! Obviously I could have drunk coffee instead of beer, like the sensible and professional Ms Bitz). During the break a cute rockabilly couple were dancing to the music I was playing, which was insanely flattering. I eased into DJ’ing by playing some mambo and Latin exotica. Later on I played more rockabilly than usual in honour of Scarlett Daggers' stage persona, which is inspired by outsider fetish artist Vince Ray's Bettie Page-style bad girl drawings.

Tierra va Temblar - Eartha Kitt
Ou Es-Tu Ma Joie? Caterina Valente
I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me - John Buzon Trio
Yeh, Yeh! - Mongo Santamaria
Pauvre Lola - Serge Gainsbourg
Ich bin leider viel zu faul (Laziest Gal in Town) - Hildegard Knef
You Make Me Feel So Young - Chet Baker
Call Me Irresponsible - Dinah Washington
Topsy - Joe Bucci Trio
A Week from Tuesday - Pastel Six
I Ain't Drunk (I'm Just Drinking) - Jimmy Liggins
I Ain't in the Mood - Helen Humes
Stranger in My Own Home Town - Elvis Presley x-rated version
Wait a Minute, Baby - Esquerita
Beaver Shot - The Periscopes
The Flirt - Shirley & Lee
Revelion - The Revels
That's How It Is - Diana Dors
Red Hot - Billy Lee Riley
Accentuate the Positive - Bill Black Combo
Mondo Moodo - The Earls of Suave
Angel Face - Billy Fury
Uska Dara - Eartha Kitt
Shangri-La - Spike Jones New Band
Lust - Les Baxter
Sexe - Line Renaud
Cherry Pink - Bill Black Combo
Love Me or Leave Me - Lena Horne
Blues for Beatniks - John Barry (Beat Girl Soundtrack)
Don't You Feel My Leg - Blue Lu Barker
Melancholy Serenade - King Curtis
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Eartha Kitt
Basin Street Blues - Julie London
No Good Lover - Mickey & Sylvia
Blue Moon Baby - Dave "Diddle" Day
Lucille - Little Richard
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Cheap Wine - The Earls of Suave
Fool I Am - Pat Ferguson
Hound Dog - Little Esther
Such a Night - Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters
Ooh! Look-A There Ain't She Pretty - Bill Haley & His Comets
Woman Love - Gene Vincent
Salamander - Mamie van Doren(See video below)
Little Girl - John & Jackie
Boss - The Rumblers
Tall Cool One - The Wailers
Give Me Love - Lena Horne
Honeysuckle Rose - Marlene Dietrich
You're My Thrill (instrumental) - Chet Baker
The Immediate Pleasure - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
I'm a Fool to Want You - Billie Holiday
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Denise Darcel
Anytime - Bill Black Combo
All of Me - Mae West
Begin the Beguine - Ann-Margret
Desfinado - Si Zentner
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Comin' Home - The Delmonas
Rip It Up - Little Richard
One, Two, Let's Rock - Sugar Pie & Pee Wee
Fever - Nancy Sit
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin

For her first pose, Scarlett Daggers wore a harem girl outfit -- a great excuse to play Eartha Kitt's hip-swivelling Turkish delight "Uska Dara."

Eartha singing "Uska Dara" in 1952:



And in a 1967 TV special:



Ultimate 1950s bullet bra'd bad girl Mamie van Doren belting out the song "Salamander" (backed by rockabilly hearthrob Eddie Cochran on guitar -- frustratingly, you get just a few glimpses of him) in the 1957 juvenile delinquent film Untamed Youth.



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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Dr Sketchy Halloween Set List 20 October 2010



/ Above: Vampira - the ultimate Halloween pin-up /

Seeing as how this time it fell on 20 October, it qualified as the Hallowe'en Dr Sketchy. Our elegant emcee Dusty Limits wore special cadaverous make-up to mark the occasion, and needless to say it was a great excuse for me to go heavy on the kitschy 1950s and 60s Halloween novelty records: think Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Screaming Lord Sutch -- loads of screaming, basically. Inevitably I played the daddy of all Halloween novelty records – “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett – but I saved it until the end of the night. I also worked in some weird curiosities: The Yma Sumac track comes from her 1957 Legend of the Jivaro album with the infamous cover of her hovering over a steaming cauldron, contemplating a shrunken head: it sounds like a voodoo priestess casting a spell. And a spine-tingling instrumental from a genuine Satanist: Anton LaVey, High Priest of the Church of Satan, was also a musician – and a friend of Jayne Mansfield. (See below. The photo is faded, but that's a skull Jayne is clutching).



My favourite Halloween record, though, is by the more obscure and enigmatic Tarantula Ghoul. Like Vampira before her and Elvira afterwards, Ghoul provided campy comedic introductions to horror films as the macabre Morticia Addams-like hostess of her own weekly TV show called House of Horror in 1957 – 1959 in Portland, Oregon. Sadly no footage of the show survives, but backed by her band The Gravediggers Ghoul cut one immortal single in her brief heyday: “Graveyard Rock” /”King Kong” (both songs are so good it qualifies as a double A-side!). Listening to Tarantula Ghoul’s sexily malevolent purring voice (pitched somewhere between Tallulah Bankhead and Eartha "I Want to Be Evil" Kitt) makes me wish everyday was Halloween. Read more about the alluring Ms Ghoul here; you can listen to and download “Graveyard Rock”/”King Kong” here.

/ Various glamour shots of Tarantula Ghoul /



TarantulaGhoul2



Anyway, it was a fun night: the two featured models / performers (Agent Lynch and Lumberjack Luke) were both great and the legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern is my favourite venue to DJ at. I hope the set list below might provide some inspiration for anyone planning a Halloween party.

In a similar vein: I found an old interview with Poison Ivy and the late Lux Interior (RIP) of The Cramps (a band that warped me at a young age) in an issue of Details magazine from 1994. They give tips on how to make your Halloween party truly memorable:

Party Dos

Put Valium in the punch bowl * Play music loud enough so guests are forced to do anything but talk * Throw out guests who whine for white wine * Give home perms, tattoos and / or bikini waxes to guests who pass out

Lux suggests these frighteningly good tunes for a perfect party tape

“Midnight Stroll” – Revels
“The Green Slime” – The Green Slime
“Mr Ghost Goes to Town” – Louis Prima
“The Headless Horseman” – Kay Starr
“The Ghost of Smokey Joe” – Cab Calloway

The article concludes with a recipe for their toxic-sounding Poison Ivy’s Scarlet Sangria:

To one large cauldron add:
13 pints blood-red wine. 1 #5 beaker cognac. 69 cc’s Cointreau, and slivers of blood oranges. For a really dramatic effect, light with a blowtorch and set fire to the house as you serve. Kills eight

/ Below: contestants in a 1950s Vampira lookalike contest. Some of these chicks are even scarier than they intended to be -- the one on the far right with the white belt looks like she should be entering a Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West contest /



/ Below: the genuine article /




Night Scene - The Rumblers
Sick and Tired - Lula Reed
Save It - Mel Robbins
Get Back Baby - Esquerita
Ghost Satellite - Bob & Jerry
Night of The Vampire - The Moontrekkers
Sauma (Magic) - Yma Sumac
Rockin' In the Graveyard - Jackie Morningstar
Torture Rock - Rockin' Belmarx
Beat Generation - Mamie van Doren
Skull & Crossbones - Sparkle Moore
Vesuvius - The Revels
The Monster - Bobby Please & The Pleasers
Wino - Jack McVea
Drac's Back - Billy DeMarco & Count Dracula
The Whip - The Frantics
Frankenstein's Den - The Hollywood Flames
Frenzy - The Hindus
The Creature from Outer Space - The Jayhawks
Bloodshot - The String Kings
Strollin' Spooks - Ken Nordine
Bop Pills - Macy "Skip" Skipper
Bo Meets the Monster - Bo Diddley
The Whip - The Originals
Monster Party - Bill Doggett
Caravan - John Buzon Trio
The Munsters Theme -All-Stars / Milton DeLugg
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Nightmare Mash - Billy Lee Riley
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Tall Cool One - The Wailers
Oo Ba La Baby - Mamie van Doren
Red-Headed Flea - The Caps
Big Man - Carl Matthews
King Kong - Tarantula Ghoul & Her Gravediggers
The Way I Walk - The Cramps
Mr Werewolf - the Kac-ties
Spooksville - the Nu-Trends
Drums A-Go-Go - The Hollywood Persuaders
Do The Zombie - The Symbols
Screamin' Ball - The DuPonts
Midnight Stroll - The Revels
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - The Monotones
Vampira - Bobby Bare
Graveyard Rock - Tarantula Ghoul & Her Gravediggers
She is My Witch - Kip Tyler
I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch - Eartha Kitt
The Voodoo Walk - Cindy & Misty/ Sonny Richard's Panics
Alligator Wine - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin
Monster in Black Tights - Screamin' Lord Sutch
Satan Takes a Holiday - Anton LaVey
Goo Goo Muck - Ronnie Cook & The Gay Lads
Monster Surfing Time - The Deadly Ones
I Put A Spell on You - Screaming Jay Hawkins
Theme from The Addams Family - The Fiends
Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
Dinner with Dracula - Zacherley
The Werewolf - The Frantics
The Mummy's Ball - The Verdicts
The Mummy - Bob McFadden
Frankenstein's Party - The Swingin' Phillies
Feast of the Mau Mau - Screaming Jay Hawkins
Coolest Little Monster - Zacherley

Read a nice write-up Dr Sketchy got in The Erotic Review -- the journalist was at the Halloween night. For all your Dr Sketchy needs, refer to this.

A special thank you to Steve "Evil" Eden for sharing his stash of Halloween novelty songs with me.

Happy Halloween ...

Monday, 11 October 2010

Dr Sketchy 4 October 2010 Set List


/ Above: Perma-pouting film noir icon Gloria Grahame in sweater girl mode, demonstrating how best to fill out a bullet bra /

Getting to the venue was a chaotic, sweat-drenched nightmare, but even the tube strike didn't dampen what turned out to be a fun night. The featured performer and model was Beau Burlington. For one of her poses she worked a motorcycle mama / rock chick look (black leather jacket, long black boots), so I cranked up some female-fronted rockabilly: Wanda Jackson, Jackie De Shannon and a sultry psychobilly deconstruction of the old Peggy Lee standard “Woman” by my old mates Empress of Fur.

For one of Beau’s earlier poses I played a great new discovery. I love the jazz staple “Caravan”, and this accordion-driven version by The Dell Trio is the most berserk I’ve ever heard – so lurching, abrasive and frantic, it sounds like it could be played under the opening credits of a horror film. Listen to it here on the great blog The Homoerratic Radio Show.

Little Ole Wine Drinker Me - Robert Mitchum
Stranger in My Own Home Town - The Earls of Suave
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Tonight You Belong to Me - Patience and Prudence
Drums A Go Go - The Hollywood Persuaders
Oh Lonesome Me - Ann-Margret
You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog - Little Esther
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
Oo Bala Baby - Mamie van Doren
Hearts Made of Stone - Otis William & The Charms
I'll Upset You Baby - Lula Reed
Poontang - The Treniers
Fool I Am - Pat Ferguson
My Heart Goes Piddily Patter Patter - Nappy Brown
I Would if I Could - Ruth Brown
Too Old to Cut the Mustard - Marlene Dietrich & Rosemary Clooney
Honey Rock - Barney Kessel
Comin' Home - The Delmonas
Gizmo - Jimmy Heaps
Tight Skirt, Tight Sweater - The Versatones
Caravan - The Dell Trio
Teach Me Tonight - Dinah Washington
Too Close for Comfort - Eartha Kitt
Yes Sir, That's My Baby - Ann Richards
Baby Won't You Please Come Home - Julie London
Spring, Sprang, Sprung - Jack Fascinato
I Wanna Be Loved - Ann-Margret
Les Feuilles Mortes - Juliette Greco
Autumn Leaves - Eartha Kitt
Petite Fleur - Chet Baker
Crazy Horse Swing - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-tease soundtrack)
My Heart Belongs to Daddy - Hildegard Knef
Tuxedo Junction - Bill Black Combo
I Did What You Told Me - Adam Faith (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Woh! Woh! Yea - The Dynamos
If I Could Be with You - Mae West
Night Scene - The Rumblers
Lucky - Lizabeth Scott
Beaver Shot - The Periscopes
Woman - Empress of Fur
You Don't Know, Baby - Wanda Jackson
Trouble - Jackie De Shannon
The Strip - The Upsetters
Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
L'Eau à La Bouche - Serge Gainsbourg
Strip-tease - Nico (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Misirlou - Laurindo Almeida
You're My Thrill - Chet Baker (instrumental version)
Mack the Knife - Hildegard Knef
Begin the Beguine - Billy Fury
Boulevard of Broken Dreams / Fever - Sam Butera
I Wanna Be Loved by You - Marilyn Monroe
Everybody Loves My Baby - Brigitte Bardot

Sleazy does it ... my all-time favourite actor, the ultra-suave Robert Mitchum, was an underrated singer.



Resident emcee Dusty Limits suggested the theme "autumn" -- a good excuse to play Juliette Greco's version of the classic chanson "Les Feuilles Mortes", followed by Eartha Kitt singing the English language version, "Autumn Leaves." Here La Greco gives an exquisite and intense performance of "Les Feuilles Mortes" on German TV in the early 70s -- but check out how stony-faced and unmoved the tuxedo-clad audience is at the end. Tough crowd!



People often ask me, So what kind of music do you play at Dr Sketchy? Obviously it covers a wide range of various styles of kitsch and vintage sleaze, but strictly speaking the technical term for much of what I play is “Tittyshaker.” Think desperate, grinding instrumentals propelled by honking saxophone designed for strippers to rotate their nipple tassels to; the soundtracks of grainy black and white 1950s and 60s sexploitation B-movies; sequinned go-go dancers writhing in a cage ... and you’re on the right track. If you're curious to hear more, this excellent website is devoted to the dark art of the tittyshaker.

A prime example ...



For all your Dr Sketchy needs, go to the website.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

22 September 2010 Dr Sketchy Set List


/ Esquerita at the height of his beauty. I only wish I'd been there to light his cigarette for him /
This time as well as the usual ass-shaking vintage sleaze I incorporated some calypso (Robert Mitchum and Mamie van Doren singing calypso = kitsch heaven), latin exotica, doo wop, rhythm and blues and more rockabilly than usual. Obviously I try to take my musical cues from the costumes the models are wearing and the poses they strike. For example, when Peekaboo Pointe posed wearing black sparkly cat’s ears, I went with a feline vibe (i.e. “Sweet Little Pussycat” by Andre Williams, “The Pussycat Song” by Connie Vannett – a song whose single entendre lyrics are so blue the audience always starts tittering). More of a challenge was Bomb Voyage who wore a blood-splattered corset and a nurse’s hat – tricky to know what to do with that! That’s why midway down my set list it suddenly takes on a bit of a morbid horror theme.
Vírgenes del Sol - Yma Sumac
Eso - Conjunto TNT
Oink Oink Mambo - Chuy Reyes & His Orchestra
Thunderbird - The Casualaires
No Good Lover - Mickey & Sylvia
Jelly Roll Rock - Walter Brown & His Band
Beauty is Only Skin Deep - Robert Mitchum
Go Calypso - Mamie van Doren
Intoxica - The Centurions
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Night Scene - The Rumblers
Tight Skirt, Tight Sweater - The Versatones
Near You - Marlene Dietrich
Like Young - Dave Pell
Dancing on the Ceiling - Chet Baker
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer - Nina Simone
Maybe Baby - Esquerita
I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
The Flirt - Shirley & Lee
Vesuvius - The Revels
Daddy Daddy - Ella Mae Morse
The Whip - The Frantics
Crawfish - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin
Blue Moon Baby - Dave Diddle Day
Cyclone Bop - Bill Black Combo
Life is But a Dream - The Harptones
Bye Bye Young Men - Ruth Brown
I'll Upset You, Baby - Lula Reed
Hump-A-Baby - Little Ritchie Ray
Blockade - The Rumblers
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Anytime - Bill Black Combo
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Pussycat Song - Connie Vannett
Aged and Mellow - Little Esther
Make Love to Me - June Christy
Shangri-La - Spike Jones New Band
Do It Again - Eartha Kitt
Lazy - Marilyn Monroe
Caravan - John Buzon Trio
Frankie and Johnny - Mae West
Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
I Was Born to Cry - Dion
You'd Better Stop - LaVerne Baker
Kiss Me Honey Honey - The Delmonas
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostic
Wo Ist Der Mann? - Jayne Mansfield
Bloodshot - The String Kings
The Strangeness in Me - The Runabouts
She's My Witch - Kip Tyler
I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch - Eartha Kitt
Sinners - Freddie & The Hitchhikers
Werewolf - The Frantics
Black Tarantula - Jody Reynolds
Give Me a Woman - Andy Starr
Esquerita and The Voola - Esquerita
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
Boss - The Rumblers
8 Ball - The Hustlers
The Stripper - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Mack the Knife - Bill Black Combo
C'est Si Bon - Ann-Margret
Love for Sale - Hildegard Knef
Pop Slop - Bela Sanders und Sein Orchester
One, Two, Let's Rock - Sugar Pie & Pee Wee
Eager Beaver Baby - Johnny Burnette
Rip It Up - Little Richard
Pink Champagne - The Tyrones

I can’t imagine DJ’ing and not playing at least one track by the late, great Esquerita – an endless source of fascination and inspiration for me. Little Richard may be the Queen of Rock'n'Roll, but Esquerita (his chief influence) comes close. I played “Esquerita and the Voola” while Bomb Voyage and Peekaboo Pointe posed together – with Esquerita’s knuckle-pounding off-key piano and blood-curdling whooping, it sounds like the soundtrack to a voodoo ceremony. Read about the demented genius and tragic life of Esquerita on this excellent blog.

Another heroine (and one I had the chance to meet before she died): sex kitten deluxe Eartha Kitt. "Do It Again" tends to be perceived as one of Marilyn Monroe's musical signatures, but I love Eartha's sensual, purring rendition. Check out her singing it on a 1962 television special -- her constant smouldering eye contact is mesmerising.



Keep up with upcoming Dr Sketchy's here.

Enter the Void: A Reunion with Cyril Roy

Cyril Roy is like my petit frère. I got to know him in the mid-90s when he used to play in the awesome garage punk band The Sires (I interviewed them for the legendary hardcore punk zine MAXIMUMROCKNROLL). He also used to work behind the bar at The Elephants Head in Camden Town (my all-time favourite pub). With his raspy Pepé Le Pew French accent and Gallic joie de vivre, Cyril was a much-loved fixture in London on the retro rock scene. Years ago he married a Japanese woman and re-located to Tokyo, where he managed a bar. Every few years he visits London, and is as reliably debauched and hilarious as ever.

A while back I started getting occasional cryptic emails from Cyril saying he got an acting gig and would be appearing in the new film by Gaspar Noé, the French-Argentinean enfant terrible / provocateur notorious for the brutal rape revenge film Irreversible (I’ve never seen that film and don’t intend to – I’m very squeamish. I know someone who saw it years ago and is still traumatised!). This was a very surprising development, as Cyril had never expressed an interest in acting. Sure enough, when the film Enter the Void screened at Cannes in 2009 there was Cyril photographed with Noé and the rest of the cast on the red carpet. I’ve been dying to ask him about it ever since.

Finally caught up with Cyril this week when he was passing through London (touring with the Japanese garage punk band The Minnesota Voodoomen), which coincided with the film’s premiere in London. Managed to snatch a quick drink with Cyril before seeing a screening of Enter the Void at The Curzon in Soho (at the French House, appropriately enough). Over a large Pernod Cyril explained how someone from Noé’s production company asked to rent one of the function rooms at the bar where he works to hold auditions for the film. Cyril had been a fan of Irreversible and was curious to meet Noé. When they finally did meet, Noé – presumably impressed by Cyril’s charisma and grungy sense of style -- asked him if he’d be interested in doing a screen test. Apparently he liked the results, because Cyril wound up with one of the lead roles! To me, Cyril is the best thing in the film – but then I would say that.

Enter the Void is Noé’s hellish, hallucinatory vision of Tokyo as a neon-lit purgatory. The soundtrack is mostly one long menacing industrial throb while Noe’s astonishingly mobile camera swirls and swoops overhead, capturing a cavalcade of depravity below. In truth I’d find it hard to recommend the film (it’s two and a half punishing and intense hours of having your face rubbed in squalor!) but it is virtuoso and original filmmaking – Enter the Void is a bit of an endurance test, but also a genuinely memorable experience. And I’m so proud of Cyril! He told me that Noe paid him the compliment that he “eats the screen.” It’s true, he does.

/ Characteristic pose for Cyril outside The French House in Soho: drink in one hand (Pernod), cigarette in the other. Note the beautiful skull ring /



/ Cyril and Dominique Gillan outside the Wenlock Arms in Shoreditch /


/ Cyril and I outside the Wenlock Arms in Shoreditch /



/ Cyril and French chanteuse Fabienne Delsol (his former bandmate in The Sires) outside the Wenlock Arms in Shoreditch /



/ Cyril displaying his impressive Japanese tattoo. (Trust me, it extends down to his ass) /

Enter the Void UK trailer:



Read Peter Bradshaw's five star (!) review of Enter the Void in The Guardian here.

Read an interview I did with Cyril circa 1998 and his bandmates in Dollicious for Razorcake.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Dr Sketchy Set List from 4 September 2010

Quickly posting my set list from earlier today -- I depart to Canada for two weeks early tomorrow. It was a fun and memorable Dr Sketchy: the burlesque performer / model this time was Khandie Kisses. Our usual resident emcee Dusty Limits was indisposed; his replacement was glamorous burlesque performer Kiki Kaboom. I’d never worked with her before and she was a blast: a wry, relaxed and engaging mistress of ceremonies, and best of all she finished things off by serenading a guy from the audience with an alluring rendition of the Marilyn Monroe standard “You’d Be Surprised.”

Kiki in action (her showreel, to the tune of the awesome "Boss" by The Rumblers):



Playboy's Theme - Cy Coleman
Eso - Conjunto TNT
Mi Palomito - Yma Sumac
Chihuahua - Luis Oliviera
Vesuvius - The Revels
Java Partout - Juliette Greco
Gizmo - Jimmy Heap
Go Calypso - Mamie van Doren
Sunny - Robert Mitchum
Frankie and Johnny - Bill Black Combo
I Found Her - Esquerita
Bye Bye Young Men - Ruth Brown
Stranger in My Own Home Town (x-rated version) - Elvis Presley
I Need Your Lovin' - Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford
Strange Love - Slim Harpo
Bewildered- Shirley & Lee
Begin the Beguine - Billy Fury
Rock'n'Roll Waltz - Ann-Margret
Destination Moon - Dinah Washington
Fever - Nancy Sit
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Groovy - The Groovers
L'Appareil a Sous - Bardot
It's Legal - Shirley Ann Field / John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostick
Where's the Money, Honey? Chubby Newsome
Crybaby - The Honey Sisters
Boss - The Rumblers
Love is Strange - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin
Salamander - Mamie van Doren
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
The Whip - The Originals
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Summertime - Little Esther
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Pussycat Song - Connie Vannett
I Feel So Mmmm - Diana Dors
Like Young - Dave Pell
C'est Si Bon - April Stevens
Pop Slop - Bela Sanders und Sein Tanzorchester
Hot Toddy - Julie London
Last Night - Lula Reed
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Heartbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Denise Darcel
Blue Kat - Chuck Rio & The Originals
Aged & Mellow - Little Esther
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
St Louis Blues - Eartha Kitt
I Was Born to Cry - Johnny Thunders
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Someone to Love - Dinah Washington
Astrosonic - Jimmie Haskell
Hearts Made of Stone - Rudy Gray
Comin' Home - The Delmonas
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
Tiger - Sparkle Moore
Thirteen Men - Ann-Margret
A Guy What Takes His Time - Marlene Dietrich
Jim Dandy - LaVerne Baker
I'd Love to Take Orders from You - Mildred Bailey
Tuxedo Junction - Bill Black Combo
Wo ist Der Man? Jayne Mansfield
My Daddy Rocks Me - Mae West
Nite Hawks - The Chicken Grabber
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Sam Butera
Whatever Lola Wants - Eartha Kitt
You're My Thrill - Chet Baker (instrumental version, not vocal version)
I'll Upset You, Baby - Lula Reed
The Beast - Milt Buckner
Je t'aime, Moi Non Plus - Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot
Black Coffee - Julie London
Ou es-tu Ma Joie? Caterina Valente
Mambo Miam Miam - Serge Gainsbourg
Lover - Peggy Lee
Ole Devil Moon - Chet Baker
Wondrous Place - Billy Fury
Fever - Timi Yuro
Beat Girl - Adam Faith
Honeysuckle Rose - Marlene Dietrich
Look-a-There, Ain't She Pretty? Bill Haley & His Comets
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin

Nice'n'sleazy does it every time ... "The Whip", one of the ultimate bump and grind titty twisters by The Originals:



The sublime Brigitte Bardot in 1963. Music by Serge Gainsbourg:



Keep up to date with Dr Sketchy here

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Gainsbourg: La vie heroique

Saw the new Serge Gainsbourg biopic earlier this week. Not sure what to make of it: the tone and pacing of the film strange and uneven, some of the more whimsical bits really grated on me (am unconvinced by the puppet representing Gainsbourg’s subconscious – if you see the film, you’ll know what I mean!). On the plus side, it looked stunning, the performances were great (was really enjoyable seeing how the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Juliette Greco portrayed) and Gainsbourg’s music on the soundtrack gave me goose bumps. Many years ago I wrote a piece about Gainsbourg for the punk zine Razorcake. Seeing the film inspired me to dredge it up again: I’d write it very differently now, but in any case here it is!

The UK trailer for the film:



Gainsbourg at his finest:

Sunday, 8 August 2010

2 August 2010 Dr Sketchy at The Paradise in Kensal Green

Felt like one of the sweatier, more chaotic Dr Sketchy nights, but still fun – some challenges can really keep you on your toes and keep you focused. The main technical glitch was that no one could locate a microphone for the master of ceremonies Dusty Limits to use. It stressed me out, but Dusty is such a consummate pro he was completely nonchalant about it and just projected his voice a bit louder. (Anyway, a mic was finally sourced midway through the night for him). The two exquisite models were Miss Johnson (aka Ruka, the brains and beauty behind Sugarlesque) and Vee Worldmistress. Towards the end of the night they posed together. I had an elegant French chanson number cued up and ready to play, but then I saw their pose: Miss Johnson sprawled across Vee’s lap, ready to be spanked, straight out of an Irving Klaw / Bettie Page bondage photo session. So I scrambled to find and cue something more raunchy and lewd: “Here Comes the Bug” by The Rumblers (the percussion almost sounds like spanking noises anyway).




Catwalk - Jack Constanzo
All of Me - Little Jimmy Scott
Pick Up - The Corvettes
Beat Generation - Mamie van Doren
Little Ole Wine Drinker Me - Robert Mitchum
Oh Baby - Esquerita
I Would If I Only Could - Ruth Brown
After Hours - Bob Taylor
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
Destination Moon - Dinah Washington
Astrosonic - Jimmie Haskell
Fool I Am - Pat Ferguson
Frenzy - The Hindus
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
The Strip - The Upsetters
Vesuvius - The Revels
It's Legal - Shirley Ann Field / John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Cafe Bohemian - The Enchanters
Mi Palomita - Yma Sumac
Cha Cha Cha du Loup - Serge Gainsbourg
The Lady is a Tramp - Hildegard Knef
Street Scene - Lou Busch
The Strip - The Upsetters (played again in error. It was that kind of night!)
Oh Honey - Gloria Wood
Fever - Timi Yuro
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
A Woman Wouldn't Be a Woman - Eartha Kitt
Harlem Nocturne - Martin Denny
Honky Tonk - Bill Black Combo
I Got a Right to Sing the Blues - Billie Holiday
Travellin' Light - Chet Baker
Work Song - Nina Simone
Born to Cry - Johnny Thunders
Pink Champagne - The Tyrones
Blue Kat - Chuck Rio & The Originals
Bachelor in Paradise - Ann-Margret
Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby - Ann Richards
Do It Again - Eartha Kitt
Chery Pink - Bill Black Combo
Love Me - Marlene Dietrich
Shangri-La - Spike Jones
Take It Off - The Upsetters
Night Train - Alvino Rey
Blondie's Strip - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Kiss - Marilyn Monroe
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
La Javanaise - Juliette Greco
Mack the Knife - Hildegard Knef
C'est Si Bon - April Stevens
Let's Get Lost - Chet Baker
Makin' Whoopee - Marlene Dietrich

Jane Morgan singing "C'est Si Bon": not the version I played (in fact I'd never heard of this singer before), but this clip is so irresistably kitsch (the ultra low-budget set! The pouting, crotch-thrusting go-go dancers! That cotton candy bouffant wig!) I had to include it on here.




The late Johnny Thunders singing Dion’s “I Was Born to Cry”. His second last record was Copy Cats, a brilliant album of covers on which he duets with smoky-voiced Noo Yawk bloozie chantoozie Patti Palladin. I bought it on vinyl when it first came out in 1988, then many years later bought it again when it was reissued on CD. Yes, a heroin-ravaged Thunders looks distressingly cadaverous here, like a corpse being dangled on wires (he only had a few more years to live – he was dead by 1991) but he’s still in great, powerful voice and what a magnificent pompadour!



Keep track of future Dr Sketchy nights here

Friday, 16 July 2010

Dr Sketchy Set List for 14 July 2010

Another great Dr Sketchy night at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, probably my favourite venue to DJ at. Because it fell on 14 July, the night had a Bastille Day theme -- which explains why you see more French music than usual by the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Greco, Edith Piaf and Brigitte Bardot twined amongst the customary vintage sleaze. A particular highlight: our glamorous Parisian model Mam'zelle Maz demonstrated she was talented as well as beautiful by warbling a husky-voiced French chanson.

Frankie and Johnny - Bill Black Combo
Wino - Jack McVea
Wait a Minute Baby - Esquerita
Evil Gal Blues - Ann Richards
Bop Pills - Macy "Skip" Skipper
Cafe Bohemian - The Enchanters
Baby Let Me Bang Your Box - The Bangers
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Taki Rari - Yma Sumac
Chihuahua - Luis Oliveira and His Bandodalua Boys
Jim Dandy - LaVerne Baker
Frenzy - The Hindus
Salamander - Mamie van Doren
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Tight Skirt, Tight Sweater - The Versatones
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
The Whip - The Originals
Rock Me All Night Long - Ella Mae Morse
Roll with Me Henry - Etta James
Fool I Am - Pat Ferguson
Blue Kat - Chuck Rio & The Originals
I Was Born to Cry - Dion
Fever - Ann-Margret
Beat Girl - John Barry (Beat Girl Soundtrack)
Crazy Horse Swing - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-Tease soundtrack)
Lover - Peggy Lee
Paris Canaille - Juliette Greco
Sexe - Line Renaud
Dormir - Denise Darcel
The Touch - Eartha Kitt
The Beast - Milt Buckner
Night Train - Alvino Rey
Je Sais Que Vous êtes Jolie- Marlene Dietrich
My Man - Denise Darcel
T'es Beau Tu Sais - Edith Piaf
He Is A Man - Lizabeth Scott
My Man - Eartha Kitt
I Want a Boy - Connie Russell
Bewildered - Shirley and Lee
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
Call Me Irresponsible - Dinah Washington
Hearts of Stone - Rudy Grey
Sous Les Ciels de Paris - Juliette Greco
The Girls of Paris - Lee Hazlewood
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Sam Butera
Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus - Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot
La Vie en Rose - Edith Piaf
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders & Patti Paladin
No Good Lover - Mickey & Sylvia
Lucille - Little Richard
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
I'm In Love for the Very First Time - Diana Dors
Shangri-La - Spike Jones New Band
All of Me - Mae West
Oh, Baby - Esquerita
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
Je Me Donne a Qui Me Plait - Brigitte Bardot
Les Cigarillos - Serge Gainsbourg

The delectable Brigitte Bardot in her sex kitten prime singing "Je Me Donne a Qui Me Plait" in a strange bouffant black wig:



One of my perennial favourite tunes to play at Dr Sketchy is the sleazy and atmospheric bump and grind instrumental "Blue Kat" by Chuck Rio & The Originals -- that saxophone! I first heard it on the soundtrack of John Water's 1974 trash epic Female Trouble and it's haunted me ever since. (John Waters soundtracks are an endless source of inspiration for me). I can't imagine not playing this song at a Dr Sketchy.



Keep track of upcoming Dr Sketchy events here.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Rock Chicks Unite!




Rock chicks unite! Ian from The Baby Janes and Jane, formerly of Naked Ruby now in The Deptford Beach Babes, photographed on 13 July 2010 outside The Royal Vauxhall Tavern where The Baby Janes later played a memorable gig. Moments earlier Ian had serenaded Jane with a medley of songs from Marianne Faithfull’s Broken English album. It was like a twisted variation of those scenes from old Elvis Presley films where he sings to his leading lady (say, Ann-Margret or Nancy Sinatra) and they stare dreamily into his eyes. This being Vauxhall, the bystanders included the local outdoor Special Brew drinkers.

Watch this charming clip of The Baby Janes in action from that night. Punk performance art at its finest!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Rachael's Birthday 2010




Everyone’s favourite gritty Yorkshire lass Rachael turned 32 on 2 July 2010. She celebrated her birthday with a boozy and raucous party on Saturday 3 July at the appropriately louche and theatrical Phoenix Artist Club in the heart of London’s glittering West End. The hostess looked radiant in a faux-vintage halter neck black dress, her hair styled by Miss Betty of It's Something Hell's on Carnaby Street. Take a peek at these exclusive pics!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Dr Sketchy 23 June 2010 Set List

A great night! I love DJ'ing at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and got some really appreciative feedback from both audience members and the cabaret performers, which had me buzzing. The featured cabaret artistes were Mr Meredith and Tricity Vogue. I was blown away by Tricity’s “Blue Lady” act – a tribute to the (in)famous / ubiquitous/ iconic 1950s kitsch painting Blue Lady by Vladimir Tretchikoff (also sometimes known as Green Lady or Chinese Girl) of the serene-faced, enigmatic Oriental woman with the peculiar cadaverous turquoise complexion. It culminated in Tricity doing an eye-popping striptease down to nothing but blue skin – it had to be seen to be believed!

/ The original "Blue Lady" ... /




/ Tricity Vogue pays homage ... /




/ Tricity Vogue posing. Photo by Paul Monckton /




/ Tricity Vogue and I. Photo by Paul Monckton /




/ Clare Marie (the promoter / brains behind Dr Sketchy in London). Photo by Paul Monckton /




My set list:

Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun - Mink Stole
Work Song - Nina Simone
Little Ole Wine Drinker Me - Robert Mitchum
The Beast - Milt Buckner
Destination Moon - Dinah Washington
I Was Born to Cry - Dion
Vesuvius - The Revels
Go Calypso! Mamie van Doren
I Ain't Drunk, I'm Just Drinking - Jimmy Liggins
Green Mosquito - The Tune Rockers
Red Hot - Billy Lee Riley
My Daddy Rocks Me - Mae West
Groovy - The Groovers
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Blockade - The Rumblers
Heartbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
Die Herren (Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love) - Hildegard Knef
Mambo Miam Miam - Serge Gainsbourg
La Javanaise - Juliette Greco
Misirlou - Laurindo Almeida
Gopher Mambo - Yma Sumac
The Strip - The Upsetters
Beat Girl - Adam Faith
Honey Rock - Barney Kessel
Revellion - The Revels
Evil Gal Blues - Ann Richards
Cherry Pink - Bill Black Combo
Love Me - Marlene Dietrich
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Sam Butera
The Blues - Eartha Kitt
The Blues Are All I Ever Had - Julie London
Shangri-La - Spike Jones New Band
Petit Fleur - Chet Baker
Falling In Love Again - Billie Holiday
Yogi - Bill Black Combo
Heatwave - Marilyn Monroe
A Week from Tuesday - The Pastels
Don't Fuck Around with Love - The Blenders
Take it Off - The Genteels (see video clip below)
I Want a Boy - Connie Russell
He Is a Man - Lizabeth Scott
Sexe - Line Renaud
What Is a Man? Denise Darcel
Anytime - Bill Black Combo
Daddy Daddy - Ella Mae Morse
Tall Cool One - The Wailers
Happy Birthday Baby - The Tune Weavers
Drums-a-Go-Go - The Hollywood Persuaders
Fujiyama Mama - Annisteen Allen
A Guy Who Takes His Time - Mae West
Topsy - Joe Bucci Trio
Commanche - The Revels
Caravan - John Buzon Trio
Mack the Knife - Hildegard Knef
You're My Thrill - Chet Baker (swinging, finger-snapping instrumental; not his better-know vocal version)
Romance in the Dark - Dinah Washington
Honeysuckle Rose - Marlene Dietrich (see video below)
Harlem Nocturne - Martin Denny
Easy to Love - Eartha Kitt
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostick
Let There Be Love - Diana Dors
Black Coffee - Julie London
Crawfish - Johnny Thunders and Patti Paladin
Bewildered - Shirley & Lee
I'll Upset You, Baby - Lula Reed

/ Below: Take It Off by The Genteels (the clip features Mamie van Doren gyrating to the ultimate titty twister anthem!) /



Marlene Dietrich singing Duke Ellington's "Honeysuckle Rose" in 1963 (annoyingly, embedding is not allowed, but here's link . It's a great clip and worth watching. Dietrich at her purring, mature sexiest):

Keep track of future Dr Sketchy events in London here

A Date with El Vez! El Vez at The 100 Club in London




El Vez is one red hot tamale! Routinely described as “The Mexican Elvis”, that only hints at what El Vez (aka Robert Lopez) actually does. Injecting the Elvis Presley song book with a jolt of spicy ancient Aztec blood, El Vez looks like a black velvet painting come to life, and his shows are a riot of rock’n’roll, punk energy, kitsch, sex appeal, politics and humour.

Sadly he rarely performs in London these days, so when El Vez returned to play at the 100 Club attendance was mandatory! True to form, he put on an explosive show backed by his band The Memphis Mariachis and accompanied by the Elvettes.

The whole night was a bit of a reunion and nostalgia trip: it was my friend Sparkle Moore (the platinum blonde doyenne of the London vintage / retro scene) who first brought El Vez to London in the mid-90s for his London debut at The Garage. A gang of us who were at that historic gig also went to this and we were dazzled by El Vez all over again.

Postscript: It looks like I’ll be interviewing El Vez for Nude magazine, so watch this space.

/ Mexican Elvis Impersonators Prefer (Platinum) Blondes: Vivien (aka Vivien of Holloway), El Vez and Sparkle Moore /



El Vez and I: Unfortunately I seem to be doing an imitation of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel from The Simpsons.




See all the photos on my flickr page

Check out the official El Vez website

Sunday, 20 June 2010

No Wave's Baby-Faced Death Kitten










A clip from the underground film Guérillère Talks of baby-faced teenage juvenile delinquent Lydia Lunch delivering an outburst of bile in 1978. In a Warholian move, filmmaker Vivienne Dick keeps the camera running for a good minute and a half after she's finished!



Read more about the cinematic collaboration between Lydia Lunch and Vivienne Dick here

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Finding out your daughter has gonorrhea can really wreck the rest of your day

Finding out your daughter has gonorrhea can really wreck the rest of your day. The only solution is to go to the powder room and wash down a fistfull of pills. Burlesque legend Liz Renay (who later played Muffy St Jacques in the 1977 John Waters's trash classic Desperate Living) gives the performance of a lifetime as the anguished mother. See if you can tear your eyes away from her astonishing bouffant wig.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School Set List for 15 May 2010

Probably my most stressful Dr Sketchy’s yet -- bedevilled by technical glitches right up until show time (trying to sort out the audio so that the MC Dusty Limits can talk over music is not as simple as it sounds! Right up until the last minute his microphone was barely audible and the music sounded muffled). I was also waaay too sober – am definitely more relaxed and inspired with a few beers inside me!




/ The lucky winner. Me looking startled on the right. Photo by Celine Chaplin /

Anyway, here’s my set list from the 15 May 2010 Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School at The Old Queen’s Head in Angel.

Revellion - The Revels
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
I Ain't in the Mood - Helen Humes
Crank Case - Bill Black's Combo
Switchin' In the Kitchen - Don Covay
Work Song - Nina Simone
Someone to Watch Over Me - Jimmy Scott
Crybaby - The Honey Sisters
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Bye Bye Young Men - Ruth Brown
The Flirt - Shirley and Lee
Roll with Me Henry - Etta James
I Need Your Lovin - Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford
Baby Let Me Bang Your Box - The Bangers
Crazy Horse Swing - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Anytime - Bill Black Combo
The Stripper - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
The Girl Who Invented Rock'n'Roll - Mamie van Doren
The Man I Love - Hildegard Knef
Baubles, Bangles and Beads - Marlene Dietrich
Kiss - Marilyn Monroe
No Love for Daddy - Serge Gainsbourg (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Looka There Ain't She Pretty? Bill Haley and His Comets
Fujiyama Mama - Annisteen Allen
My Daddy Rocks Me - Mae West
Hit the Road to Dreamland - Dean Martin
Fever - Ann-Margret
Bewildered - Shirley and Lee
Destination Moon - Dinah Washington
The Immediate Pleasure - John Barry (Beat Girl soundtrack)
You're My Thrill - Chet Baker
Look Me Over Closely - Marlene Dietrich
Do It Again - Eartha Kitt
Let Me Entertain You - Ann-Margret
Some Small Chance - Serge Gainsbourg
8 Ball - The Hustlers
I Got a Right to Sing the Blues - Julie London
Little Girl Blue - Chet Baker
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Denise Darcel
Strip-Tease - Juliette Greco (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Mack the Knife - Bill Black's Combo
All of Me - Mae West
Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
St Louis Blues - Eartha Kitt
Crazy, Crazy Feeling - Esquerita
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Intoxicated Man - Serge Gainsbourg
Me Myself and I - Billie Holiday
Wo Ist Der Man? Jayne Mansfield
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders and Patti Paladin
Born to Cry - Dion
Let's Get Lost - Chet Baker
Love Me or Leave Me - Nina Simone
Misirlou - Laurindo Almeida
Lover - Peggy Lee
Jungle Drums - Earl Bostick

Whenever possible I’ll always play an obscure kitsch cover version rather than a classic original. So rather than Peggy Lee singing Fever, I’ll spin Ann-Margret's or Timi Yuro’s version. A particular favourite though is husky-voiced German chanteuse Hildegard Knef’s rendition. Check out Knef’s weirdly anguished, almost horror movie-like Germanic black and white 1963 video, with leotard-clad zombie-dancers interpretive dancing behind her. [Update: YouTube deleted this great clip!]



And speaking of German ...