B&D thoughts

There’s going to be a photographer at Beautiful + Damned tonight, taking pictures for official B&D flyers, a dedicated MySpace page and the like. Please come; and if you’re coming, please dress up. 8pm start, Metropolis on the screen, a bit of live performance, anything goes. And indeed, ‘Anything Goes’ from The Boys In The Band.

Tonight, I intend to play Paul Williams’s ‘The Rainbow Connection’ from The Muppet Movie, and either ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ or ‘Feed The Birds’, or both, from Mary Poppins. I’ve also discovered a rather good version of ‘Cabaret’ by Louis Armstrong, which Russell “Not With A T’ Davies alerted me to on his excellent Radio 2 programme.

Trivia learned from the same radio show: Mr Sinatra’s song ‘New York New York’ – the one with the opening line “Start spreadin’ the news” – owes its creation to Robert De Niro, the star of the 70s Scorsese film for which it was written. The songwriters Kander and Ebb (of Cabaret and Chicago fame) originally wrote a completely different theme song, but Mr De Niro dismissed it as ‘too weak’. So they went away and produced the all too familiar one we know today, particularly popular after a few drinks.


B&D earlier start

Just a note to say that this month’s Beautiful & Damned is now starting at the earlier time of 8pm. This is to cater for patrons who have to leave before the night really gets going, due to it being a School Night in Slightly-Out-Of-The-Way-Shire.

So, 8pm till late, then, Thursday 22nd.

And there’s the high possibility of some live performance this time, too.

Full club info at the DE News page.


DJ Life

I had to make it back from Tangier for Saturday evening as I had a DJ booking at a private party for a friend of a friend. They paid well, though Shane offered me the same money to stay with him and miss it. I couldn’t possibly renege on a gig booking, and Victoria Clarke turning up at the Minzah on Thursday made it easier to say goodbye and make my way home solo on Sat morning, leaving him in more tried and tested company. He grumbled but let me go. I think they’re still there now.

It did mean me getting my first ever plane by myself, and spending a dreary five hours in the dull departure area at Casablanca airport. Would love to have walked around Casablanca for a bit, but the way my passport was stamped meant I couldn’t even visit the outer section of the airport, the one with proper shops rather than duty frees.

Found myself waived through the customs at Heathrow like royalty, even though I was a slightly alternative-looking man coming back from a druggy country. I swanned past while sniffer dogs were set to work on the suitcases of families with small children. Perhaps I just have Harmless written all over my face. Still, I was hardly complaining, as I made it back to Highgate with barely 30 mins before the DJ gig.

Two more DJ dates this week. One is tonight, a late booking at ‘Loss: An Evening Of Exquisite Misery’. I am told I have to play the most miserable songs I know. Given the date, Nico’s My Funny Valentine is a must. The Carpenters, Smiths, Shangri-Las and Mr Cohen willl also be on the menu. I’ll put down the list here afterwards.

Then on Saturday I’m the guest DJ at 60s girl group / 80s indiepop club How Does It Feel To Be Loved, the first time time back since I started Beautiful & Damned. It’ll be hard to not punctuate the Smiths and Supremes with the likes of Ms Garland and selections from Bugsy Malone. I may not entirely succeed. We shall see.

How Does It Feel To Be Loved?
Saturday February 17th
The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PP,
three minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube station,
9pm-3am, £4 members, £6 non members.
Membership is free from http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk


B&D Feb

Writing this from the El Minzah Hotel’s 1930s Moorish Wifi. Fezzes everywhere. And yes, I did have to look up the plural of ‘fez’.

Mr MacGowan is still here. The El Minzah is very Moorish.

I bet I’m not the first to make that joke, but I don’t care, frankly.

Here’s this month’s details for B&D:

Date: Thursday 22nd February
Times: 9pm to 12.30am.
Venue: The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Road, London N6 5AT, UK. 020 8340 2928.
Tube: Highgate (Northern Line). Buses: 43, 134, 263.
Price: Free entry, but patrons are strongly encouraged to dress Timelessly Stylish.

More info on the News page.


DE as DW?

Another appeal to make, this time to my Swedish readers and those connected with the Swedish indie music scene.

The dazzling baroque-pop band Scarlet’s Well, who are fronted by Bid of The Monochrome Set, and with whom I’m an occasional lyricist and ardent fan, are keen to play in Sweden. They want to know if I have any contacts with promoters over there. Well, what happened with Fosca last time was a group of Fosca fans actually became temporary promoters themselves, purely to put us on. I don’t think I really know any proper professional Swedish promoters.
But if any are reading, do please contact Bid and Scarlet’s Well via their webpage.

That’s enough appeals for friends for now. I’ve got a backlog of requests, in fact, from all kinds of people asking me to publicise their projects or help them find collaborators, but this is meant to be a diary, so I must keep such announcements sporadic if I do them at all.
Back to me. A fellow Highgater with a blog consisting entirely of drawings suggested by readers has recently featured me as a subject. Link (with permission)

Donny asks: Please could you draw a picture of Dickon Edwards?

Anna asks: Please would you draw a robot wearing a feather boa and a hat with wax fruit on it?

Decided to combine the modern day dandy that drinks in the local and the robot dolled up for a nice cabaret show. Don’t they look cute together.

Actually, I think he’s drawn me as the fifth Doctor Who wielding a Sonic Screwdriver and a piece of Psychic Paper.


RIP Theatre Museum & Trash

An idle, aimless drifting around the clock governs my opening days of January, so I decide to impose a strict timetable. I force myself to be out of bed at 6am, into a sandblasting shower, strap myself into the uniform and start writing a diary entry by 6.30. The aim is to get a daily entry posted by 7am. I feel a diary should be written either last thing at night or first thing in the morning. I prefer the morning – the sense of being the first in the queue, as it were.

An announcement, first of all. The splendid Toronto singer-songriter Gentleman Reg, aka Reg Vermue, is coming to London to play a few gigs. He’ll be in town from the 10th to the 15th and tells me he’s looking for floors to sleep on for himself and his two bandmates. “I have the last few nights covered but not the first few. Let me know if you have friends with huge london apartments…”

I wouldn’t normally make such an appeal if I hadn’t got to know him in person the last time he visited. I can therefore vouch that Mr Vermue is as Gentlemanly as his recording name suggests, the very opposite of that rather uncouth young rock singer on Celebrity Big Brother. If you can help, Dear Reader, please contact Reg via his site at www.gentlemanreg.com.

He’s playing the 12th at the The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and on the 14th at the Windmill in Brixton, and is well worth catching.

RIP today to two favourite London institutions: the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden and the Monday night club Trash. The former saw many a pleasant visit from my teen years to one of the rare attempts to use my college training as a Stage Manager in 1992. This was when some fellow Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduates mounted a production of Mr Godber’s “Bouncers” in the Museum’s performance space. Still Bristol-based at the time, I stayed in Lambeth with a kindly gay gentleman who worked at the Drill Hall. His huge record collection consisted solely of classical and opera, with the exception of one pop album: “Behaviour” by the Pet Shop Boys. While I was staying there, I bought the latest Unrest album from Rough Trade (“Imperial” – still a favourite) and tried it out on his hi-fi. The stylus must have recoiled in horror.

I was last at the Theatre Museum a year or so ago, when it hosted some panel debate on circus arts versus burlesque or some such. The museum itself was always gorgeous and magical, and it’s a genuine shame it couldn’t keep going. Exhibits which spring to mind include the sinister skeletal horse costumes from the original National Theatre production of ‘Equus’.

Last time I was at Club Trash, I felt my age all too keenly: the clientèle always tended to be under 25, if a fashionably dressed under 25. In fact, I’m pretty sure some young acquaintances said “Aren’t you a bit old for this, Dickon?”. I’d been going since it opened in 1997 and was once featured as a ‘Face’ of the club in an Evening Standard feature circa 2000. In fact, I’d started going to Erol Alkan’s previous club Going Underground in 1995, recalling him spinning Pulp’s ‘Common People’ before it was released. Trash was more of the same, but gradually morphed from just another indie disco popular with students, NME readers and tourists into Britpop, and into something unique. Entirely down to Mr Erol’s infectious spirit, I think. For me, he’s always been one of the few London well-connected types who manages to buck the cliche of being stand-offish and unfriendly. He was serious and ambitious about the club, yet retained an amiable and open attitude. It’s impressive that he never missed a single Monday night for ten years, and that he kept the door price far below what he could have gotten away with given then club’s international reputation in its latter years. Again, bucking that London cliche of charging what you think you can get, and then adding more, just because it’s London.

I was a regular for about seven of its ten years, and Trash provided many happy memories. I’m sad it’s closing, but I’m sure Mr Erol will be okay. He’s passionate about what he does, always walking about with a bag full of records and a pair of headphones. The proper DJ all-enclosing sort, not those ubiquitous little white iPod bugs.


B&D – Jan 25th

Here’s this month’s B&D details. If you’re in London that day, come, be nice, enjoy feeling lightly attractive and not saturated in London sarcasm.

Date: Thursday 25th January
Times: 9pm to 12.30am.
Venue: The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Road, London N6 5AT, UK. 020 8340 2928.
Tube: Highgate (Northern Line). Buses: 43, 134, 263.
Price: Free entry, but patrons are strongly encouraged to dress Timelessly Stylish.
More information on the News page.


Artistic Help Wanted

I’m keen to make a new paper flyer for the Beautiful & Damned Christmas Masked Ball. Something simple in B&W A6 size, where four flyers can be printed out on a sheet of A4 and cut up accordingly.

My own talents in this department are found wanting. So if this sort of thing is second nature to you, please do get in touch. I’ll pay what I can.

The flyer needs to have the following text:

BEAUTIFUL & DAMNED – Christmas Masked Ball.
The decadent disco gets festive…
Thursday 21st December.
9pm to 12.30.
The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Rd, N6 5AT. 020 8340 2928.
Highgate Tube.
Free. Dress code: Stylish & Masked.

Some sort of 1920s-themed masked ball imagery would be ideal.

There, I’ve asked.



Saint Shane’s Letters To The Internetians – via The Guardian

I’ve been charged with taking dictation from Mr MacGowan again. This time, it’s for the Guardian website’s blogs section. Essentially, I get him on the phone while he’s on tour, he rants on about whatever’s on his mind, and I write it all up. Rather helps that my answering machine can be switched to recording a live call. The blog has the blessing of Mr O’Boyle and Ms Clarke.

He mentions a Mr O’Neill, who has something to do with football, specifically Celtic FC. It’s fair to say I had to look him up.



Beautiful & Damned: Christmas Masked Ball

My fellow DJ Miss Red had now re-branded this month’s Beautiful & Damned as a Christmas Masked Ball.

As ever, the dressing-up is optional, but the addition of a suitably stylish mask is strongly encouraged. Even those cheap Zorro-style eye masks will do.

Other details are unchanged; the club is on Thursday 21st December, at The Boogaloo. Full club information is on the News page.