I’m rushing to squeeze in a few last blogs before Christmas and get up-to-date. I can’t let my haphazard and inept kooky DJ’ing misadventures go un-documented! This will probably read more tersely than usual – think of it as a telegram from hell!
The Christmas Cockabilly at The George and Dragon (epicentre of Shoreditch bohemia!) was on 17 December 2013. An East End hipster queer rockabilly booze party – what better way to usher in the holiday season?
I guest DJ’d alongside Cockabilly regulars Mal Nicholson and Elma Wolf. My work Christmas staff party was beforehand so I rushed straight to the venue stuffed to the gills with roast turkey and lager and feeling a bit lethargic – and promptly set about sweating to the oldies in The George and Dragon’s upper-mezzanine DJ booth! (It was insanely hotter than hell up there! I had opted to wear my biker cap and the sweat was rolling down my face and stinging my eyes in no time).
I’d packed my DJ bag under the influence of a thunderous hangover the day after my annual Christmas cocktail party. Perhaps that explains how I bleeding forgot to pack the 1957 Elvis Christmas album! I could’ve kicked myself – if I wasn’t going to play that at the Christmas Cockabilly, when would I? I had totally intended to include Presley’s “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Back in Town” in my set – two swaggering Christmas anthems delivered with a sexy rockabilly snarl. Damn!
/ My photo of Los Straitjackets at Viva Las Vegas 2011 /
Thankfully I did pack ‘Tis The Season for Los Straitjackets: 13 Rockin’ Christmas Instrumentals! Nashville’s mighty veteran surf outfit Los Straitjackets (their identities perennially concealed behind Mexican wrestling masks) performed at the annual Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender in 2011 - and they blew my freaking mind. (On their website they refer to themselves as “the world’s leading instrumental guitar band” – and I concur!). This year I made a point of tracking down their 2002 album of Christmas standards given a brutally stripped-down, rumbling and ominous surf treatment. It’s definitely a new festive favourite. Los Straitjackets’ versions of “Feliz Navidad” and “Jingle Bell Rock” pack an aggressive, nasty punk edge and make you want to kick over a Christmas tree!
Amongst the usual rancid assortment of mondo trasho vintage musical kitsch I sprinkled in some tracks from Kenneth Anger’s gay occult biker art cinema classic Scorpio Rising (1964). I know I’ve banged on a lot already about the impact of Anger’s underground oeuvre and Scorpio Rising in particular on me. I saw that film at an impressionable age and it was genuinely transformative – it made me! Until the emergence of David Lynch, no filmmaker used seemingly innocuous, sweet and camp pop music to such twisted evocative ends. It continues to inspire me. Anyway, dropping in “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels and The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out” was like my homage to His Satanic Majesty.
/ Scorpio Rising in its entirety is currently available on Youtube. Ideally I'd recommend you buy it beautifully digitally re-mastered on DVD - but if you haven't seen it before, grab the opportunity before it gets yanked down! /
Feliz Navidad - Los Straitjackets
My Boyfriend's Back - The Angels
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
Heartbreakin' Special - Duke Larson
Mule Skinner Blues - The Fendermen
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Chicken - The Cramps
Chicken Walk - Hasil Adkins
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Here Comes Santa Claus - Los Straitjackets
Tina's Dilemma - Ike and Tina Turner
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Party Lights - Claudine Clark
Revellion - The Revels
My Boy Lollipop - Sakura and The Quests
Whistle Bait - The Collins Kids
The Swag - Link Wray
Ah, Poor Little Baby - Billy "Crash" Craddock
I've Told Every Little Star - Linda Scott
I Live the Life I Love - Esquerita
Jingle Bell Rock - Los Straitjackets
Leave Married Women Alone - Jimmy Cavallo
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Scorpion - The Carnations
Salamander - Mamie Van Doren
The Whip - The Originals
One More Beer - The Earls of Suave
If you've made it down this far you get a bonus pin-up! From my red hot camera session with photographer Adrian Lourie in October 2013 for Meat magazine (think of it as the London equivalent of Butt - but better!). My spread is featured in issue number 11, which is out now. You really should buy the whole issue and support a 100% independent queer publications (besides, it has photos of hot naked men!). The Meat website.
Lurid photos from the 2011 Christmas Cockabilly at The George and Dragon
The next Lobotomy Room (my depraved and sensual occasional club night - where the international sin set meet!) is Saturday 28 December 2013. Full details here
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