Friday, April 30, 2004

Weekend to-do list 

See below, do come.
Monday, White Horse, Brixton Hill, SW2

2. Pigeonhold
Residents' special, it'll be a goodie.
Saturday, Salmon & Compasses, Chapel Street, N1

3. Secret Sundaze
Usual booze'n'BBQ shenanigans with Ralph Lawson* as special guest.
Sunday, 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, E2

Excellent. I think it may be a very long weekend...

* Amusing Ralph Lawson anecdote: Smacked Face recalls, some years back, at an after-party in a Glasgow hotel room in the company of said Leeds-based DJ, watching a 5am repeat of Countdown while others in the room indulged in the usual after-party japes**. How we laughed when we saw the "Countdown conundrum": SNIFF UP. How we howled when we saw the answer after the break: PUFF INS.

** This is no way implies that Ralph Lawson or anyone else involved in this story has ever touched illicit drugs. No sirree.

Handbags at dawn 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Hurrah, have just scored the next-to-last remaining tix for the New York Dolls at the Meltdown festival. In your face, Hasan!


[Smacked Face in lack of inspiration/self-promotion shocker]

Yet again I will be playing records at people this Bank Holiday Monday at the good old White Horse in the company of the venerable Terry Bristol and the lovely Jamie Robertson.

Yet again it's disco/soul/funk/Italo/new wave/hip hop/what-else-can-we-throw-in-the-mix heaven.

Yet again it's an all-day happy hour.

If you've always kinda wished you'd been at The Loft*, you'll love it. If you haven't, then just come for the beer.

White Horse, 94 Brixton Hill, SW2, 4pm-10.30pm-ish.
Decent disco, punk, funk 'n' drunks, Pimms, nice food etc

* Not that in any way I would dare to compare the grungy environs of the Horse to the legendary Broadway Loft. Or my DJing to David Mancuso's, although considering we both firmly stand by the principle of 'can't mix, won't mix', perhaps I would. Hmmm...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Easy Lover, Phil Collins (ugh, where did that come from?)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Oh dear. In response to the 'Boozehags Do Brixton' story below, Busted points me in the direction of the Beeb's EastEnders lookalike competition. If you thought professional lookalikes were funny, wait till you check the rank (and I mean RANK) amateurs out...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Now That's What I Call Smacked Face, Vol. 1 

Hmm, compiling this hypothetical CD is harder than I'd originally thought. So many brilliant suggestions - and I haven't even thrown in my two pesetas yet. It might have to be a hypothetical box set...

• Billyboy sticks with a classic theme:
"Rapper's Delight - Sugarhill Gang; Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa; The Message - Grandmaster Flash; Fashion - David Bowie; Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths; Party Fears Two - The Associates; Rock The Casbah - The Clash"

Oeillade is short, sharp and to the point:
"Teardrop Explodes? Maybe Sleeping Gas or (more obviously) Reward"

• Quentishtown takes the general approach:
"Vienna? joy division, the smiths, the pixies, um um um loads. Suicide - johnnie (brilliant)"

• Damian at Public Address proves you can take the boy out of the radio but you can't take the radio out of the boy, with a running commentary:
1. Aha - Take on Me.  Still one of my favourite songs of all time, ever.
2. Yazoo - Only You.  Alison Moyet at her finest (with that guy from Depeche Mode).  Still on my MP3 player today.
3. New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle (ext mix).  Still rocks the party that rocks the party when played.
4. Clash - Straight to Hell.  Not their best-known, but definitely one of the best.
5. The Jam - Ghosts.  Ditto.
6. Cure - Close to Me (Paul Oakenfold Closer Mix) Okay, technically the Remix came out 1990, but it takes a great 80s song to the next level.
Ooh, and can I add Love of the Common People by Paul Young. Always a crowd pleaser :)"

• And Onionbagblog appears to be a human jukebox (I'm going to take him down the Shakespeare next time their one craps out and plug him in in the corner):
"Malcolm McLaren - Madam Butterfly, Time Zone – World Destruction, Propoganda – Duel, Reynolds Girls – I’d Rather Jack (One of my suggestions should not be taken with total sincerity.)...
And some more: "Prince - If I Was Your Girlfriend, Loose Ends - Hangin on a String, Atlantic Star - Secret Lovers (SERIOUSLY!), Pato Banton - Hello Tosh, Wayne Smith - Under Me Sleng Teng, Shinehead - Billie Jean, Fat Larry's Band - Zoom, Womak & Womak - Love Wars, SOS Band - Just The Way You Like It "

And there are as many suggestions again sitting at home on the PC. Sheesh. Perhaps we need to put this comments box feature to good use with some mass debate.

PS: Chuck Pettifogspot needs "man walks into a bar" jokes for a "small project". Email him with your finest...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: in overload... spazzing out...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Quentishtown forwards "the best press release I've received today". I won't reprint it in full, just the cover note should be enough:

"Dear Q_____,

I hope you will be interested in the exciting news from McDonald’s – that they are implementing a unique personalised name badge reward scheme designed by Recognition Express, the UK business and European market leader in corporate recognition products. The attached release explains the details.

If you have any questions at all please contact me."

A shotgun is in the post, corporate PR girl - use your big toe if your finger won't reach.

Onionbagblog boy has persuaded me to add a comments feature to this page. I'm not totally convinced though, so it's got a week's trial. Knock yourselves out. Or don't. It's up to you.

In the meantime, here are some mummified cat adventures. And some crackified mummy adventures (bringing new meaning to the words "smacked face" - shudder).

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: I'll Always Love My Crackwhore Mama, The Intruders

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Happy anniversary baby 

Crikey. This blog's six-month anniversary snuck past without me even clocking it. It fell on Sunday, Anzac Day, when Antipodeans traditionally commemorate their WWI forefathers who bravely went into battle, ill-equipped for the job, running a constant gauntlet of enemy forces, facing all manner of unknown dangers, stumbling blindly through mud and rain... Much like a Smacked Face Saturday night in South London really. And as for poison gas, well, let's not even get started on the Frenchman's shoes...

I stumbled blindly through the rain this very evening actually, as London experienced one of its characteristic climatic U-turns, going from warm hazy sunshine to purple skies, a spectacular thunderstorm and marble-sized hailstones in the space of an hour. And it decided to absolutely chuck it down just as I stood, in ill-advised T-shirt and mini-skirt, bare-legged and umbrella-less, waiting for the 149 at Monument station. But there's something quite fun about getting completely drenched - once you're wet through, you're wet through, and there ain't no point grizzling about it. Some of the best times of my life have been spent skipping about in rain-soaked clothes, although warm weather and your house being less than five minutes away are generally important prerequisites.

Bugger all to do at work today meant another quick Blorgy browse. In the temporary absence of Nutgroist, the newly-discovered Letters From Laputa has become my favourite blog du jour. Verily do I clap my Hands aloft to it, fine Sir. (See also Survive Zombies.)

And this post served to remind me of the time, many years ago, I was holding a very important state-of-the-relationship conversation with the Radio Star Ex in bed one night. I interrupted my own impassioned soliloquy after I noticed the Radio Star's breathing seemed to have become rather regulated...

"Hey! Don't you dare fall asleep! Have you been listening to anything I've said?"

"Mmmm," came the muffled response.

"Really? So what was I talking about then?"

[long pause] "Um... ham?"

Sadly, a relationship based on one partner's subconscious desire for pork products cannot last, and it was with heavy heart, dear Reader, that this union was soon consigned to the pet-food pile of life.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Date With The Rain, Eddie Kendricks

Moz's Meltdown Festival line-up 

... has been announced. All I could have hoped for and much, much more.

(BTW thanks to late-notice guestlists (hurrah!), I now have Morrissey tickets to flog for the May 22 Manchester gig. Email me etc.)

Another ode to StoNo 

Strange Locals Of Stokey:
No. 67 in a series - "The Don-abee"

Characteristics: Male, 60s, sporting long coat, fedora, gloves, cane (optional)
Traits: Imagines himself as Marlon Brando in The Godfather. Likes to accost strangers in parks or, in a café, occupy the empty seat at their table and help himself to wine
Conclusion: Essentially harmless. But definitely creepy. Do not approach.


Ah yes, we had another run-in with 'the Godfather' last night in Il Bacio, where we were enjoying some well-earned caffè e torta after a delightfully pleasant dusk stroll about Clissold Park.

I first met the Godfather while the Donkey and I were filming an ill-fated video to take home to the parents down under, when he approached us, asking if we wanted to film him. I think he truly believes he is Sicilian. Many's the time I've seen him wandering down Stoke Newington Church Street, greeting off-licence proprietors and kissing babies, just like that Brando scene in The Godfather (or Homer Simpson in that donut fantasy), except that no one looks terribly pleased to see him or offers him any gifts.

Last night, he sat down at the table of an elderly Parkinson's sufferer dining alone, proceeded to pour himself a glass of his wine and eat half his bread, then made his excuses and left (after first shaking the hand of everyone in the place), leaving poor old Shaky to ask, who was that daft man?

Anyway, Clissold Park is fantastic at the moment, ducklings galore, and the addition of the bunny enclosure next to the pygmy goats is all good. Frenchie and I watched them for close to an hour - we saw a male rabbit just about explode with desire for a wee fawny lass in the next-door enclosure before attempting to release his sexual frustrations on his bitch-boy pal, and were somewhat disturbed by the actions of one lop-eared white bunny and his friends beating up on a black one (the Rodney King of the rabbit world). Ah, animals. You gotta love 'em.

Finished the night with a wee glass of red at The Prince. Quite nice but a soulless gastropub feel, and whoever blasted the Sugababes at full volume at 10.30pm needs a bullet. The Tuesday music quiz from the Stoke Tup (now the Red Lion) has moved there, though, their food is good (seven days a week from the 1st May) and it's well within staggering distance, so we will no doubt return.

PS: Last call for 80s track suggestions. We're almost there.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Round Round, Sugababes

Monday, April 26, 2004

Congratulations to the Northern Monkey, who's only gone and got a mix on Dave Seaman's website. Nice one. You can hear it here.

And commiserations to Bad Boy, who sustained a nasty gash and ruined both jeans and underwear when the seat broke on the three-year-old child's tricycle he was attempting to ride at 3am in Glasgow last week. A set of these "wacky" mugs is winging its way to him as we speak.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Observations on a sunny day 

Things that rock:

The sun.
Clissold Park in the sun.
Getting a tan in Clissold Park in the sun.
Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2000.
Not being in Hamilton.
Finally getting my camera phone to work. Who's for ice cream?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Things that don't rock:

A hangover on a sunny day.
My CD-R drive crapping out.
The prices at Totem Records on Church Street.
Only having £200 til payday on the 15th.
The fact that at the end of forthcoming blockbuster Troy, Paris doesn't die, but ends up with Helen. (Proving Americans truly are the stupidest people on the planet. I am absolutely staggered.)

Anyway, as you were.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Love Having You Around, Stevie Wonder

Friday, April 23, 2004


Hurrah, we have pictures!!!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

(Plan) B is for Boozing 

"When," I pondered aloud, "do you think we'll reach the age when we can no longer prop up a bar with any dignity? And will we even know that moment when it arrives?"

"Hmmm," my fellow boozehag, Ms G, replied, "I'm not sure. Perhaps we're only as old as we feel. And besides, darling, we haven't propped up a bar with any dignity for years."

We popped in to Brixton's Plan B last night and assumed the traditional boozehag thrones (old-soak-spotters will know these are always the stools at the right-hand side of the bar). The staff rightly recognised the presence of royalty and treated us as boozehag queens, with free cocktails presented to us on a silver platter at comfortably regular intervals.

They sure know how to mix their drinks there too, with more tricks than Tom Cruise on a Kokomo high. South African barman Lenny (Kenny? Benny and The Jets?) accomplished the awe-inspiring feat of balancing five glasses on top of each other in an intricate Leaning Tower of Pisa formation, before filling them up (still balanced) and handing them out to his appreciative audience (us).

But it was a school night, so at Pumpkin Hour we made our slurred excuses and left, but not before promising to return tonight. You can find us in the club, etc - we'll be the ones at the bar, probably looking like EastEnders' Dot and Pauline (a disturbingly accurate analogy).

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Street Player, Chicago

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Much ado about nothing 

EDIT: Oops. Told off for gossiping so eagle-eyed readers will notice a hasty delete this morning. So anyway... Check out my favourite blog du jour, the anal-sex-fixated, faux-Bowie-lyric-writing Nutgroist:

"...I'd like to walk down a busy street with a dog humping each of my legs, hanging on and rutting for dear life. I shall strut along the pavement and visit every shop with fragile goods balanced precariously throughout the floorspace. Then i'll perform the famous waggledance of the double dog-tails, shrugging my shoulders like I give a shit every time something falls to the floor."

On a more visual tip, this chap (scroll down his page) might cause you to emit white wees from your front bum (swiped from Pauly's Stokey Soapbox).

And if you're really bored, geek yourself senseless with this grammar test. Apparently I am: "...a sad fuck GRAMMAR GOD! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. Congratulations and thank you!"

Er, quite. Keep those 80s tracks (see below) coming in...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Supernature, Cerrone

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Get busy 

I've been surfing about other people's blogs of late, thanks to the afore-mentioned Blorgy, and though some of them are rubbish and frankly don't warrant the time taken to read them, many are quite inspired and will no doubt be referred to in future editions.

One idea I rather liked and thus plan to steal comes from someone calling themselves Oeillade ("wink" in French), who asks for his readers' help in compiling "a CD of the songs of the last fifteen years or so that have most influenced modern guitar music. The request has come from a 40-year-old colleague who feels a little 'out of touch'."

Regular readers of this column will know I'm partial to a bit of CD compiling myself, with my imaginatively-titled "Weird Shit", "Easter Funk Shit 1" and "Easter Funk Shit 2" currently topping the pops down the White Horse. So let's get busy - if old Winky boy up there can do one, so can we: Now That's What I Call Smacked Face Vol. 1.

Here's this week's starter for 10 - email me with your suggestions for a CD to explain to a hypothetical musical know-nothing (very possibly a David Devant fan) how the 80s were much more just Bananarama and Duran Duran. Not just pop either - I'm thinking funk, punk, disco, poodle rock, house, hip hop, hip house even... And for a bit of added value, I will subsequently compile this CD and send one random punter a copy (ooh, you lucky sods).

Hurrah. This could be fun.

Freaks and geeks 

To paraphrase Catch 22, where are the Sharons and Tracys of yesteryear? Well, last night they all seemed to be at Dingwalls, watching David Devant & His Spirit Wife. Lord have mercy on our souls.

But let's start at the beginning. Or perhaps not quite at the beginning - we'll ignore the delicious yet fatal Thai prawn soup at The Lock Tavern, which gave Frenchboy Billy the bloat and caused me to bellow for George into the big white telephone at 2am, and launch straight into the night's musical entertainment.

We arrived just in time to catch the last four songs of support act Veldt's set. Lucky us. A pack of Brighton-based art school dorks finally freed from the confines of their bedsit to howl angsty ballads at the moon, with a singer who resembled James Spader and was equally creepy as he wailed and posed like Tony Hadley in his dad's worst suit. We laughed until they stopped.

The music was so dire that we turned our attention to the crowd - and a pack of fatter, uglier, balder, gimpier misfits could not be imagined. (And so old! Mum, please go home now, you're embarrassing me - and take Great Uncle Albert with you!) It was as if someone had swooped on a provincial university in the mid-90s and collected the role-playing, Dungeons & Dragons crowd, the IT students, the slightly defective and assorted other socially inept goons, and locked them in the student union bar for a decade.

Remember that plump, plain, sweet-yet-desperate girl at uni, who would usually end up hideously drunk on Lambrini, dance out of time on a table, pass out and wake up in some much-older stranger's bed? She was there. That chap who insists on reliving his student days (even though he now manages a Barclays branch in Hendon) by heading out to gigs every so often in his badly-cut leather jacket and too-tight Levis? He was there too. Awkward, badly-coiffed young gay trying to look art-school in a musty old op shop suit, jerkily dancing to the beat, legs akimbo, like Satan's own marionette? Check. Fat pony-tailed Comic Book Store Guy? Yep. Bespectacled sporter of polo-shirt and high-waisted jeans? Aye man.

You get the point. And this was the problem with David Devant & His Spirit Wife. I actually didn't mind them. The singer, 'The Vessel' (oh, spare me), is still a fairly charismatic chap who looks like Richard E Grant and sings like a cross between Brett Anderson and Bauhaus's Peter Murphy - the rest of the band ('Foz', 'The Colonel', 'Professor Rimschott' and assorted 'spectral roadies') may look like David Brent, but that's beside the point. The music is perfectly pleasant too, in a James kind of way, although the "wackiness" of it all is somewhat hard to stomach. But it is the terribly sad fanbase that must surely put paid to any hopes of a comeback.

Basically, it seemed as if the majority of the crowd had seen the band 10 years ago in their freshers' week, and then spent the next decade meeting up with their geeky buddies, getting drunk and warbling along to the oh-so-hilarious George Formby-esque lyrics (not forgetting the actions and singalonga-catchphrases), remembering the times when they were young and free and people still got drunk enough to shag them. (Much like the girls I briefly flatted with years ago in Wellington, who would get together once a week post-graduation to drink sweet white wine, reminisce about the good old days and sing Bare Naked Ladies songs. Shudder.)

Anyway, I may have been unduly harsh here, but all in all, it was a genuinely terrifying experience. I feared I would be seized by the tan-leather-jacket brigade and taken to their underground lair of chat rooms and medieval battles, only to emerge years later resembling a Human League shop girl three decades on - my shirt tucked into my jeans, an arse the size of a bus, and a magenta-tinted spiky haircut previously only seen in the windows of Fringe Benefits hair salon in Preston.

As it was, I escaped from Dingwalls enfeebled but alive, blinking at the sheer beauty and brilliance of the outside world.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

BTW have I mentioned lately how much Scotland rocks? No? Well, consider yourselves told then.

T In The Park announces more acts, including The Libertines, The Thrills, Badly Drawn Boy and, er, Starsailor, here. Ooh I cannae wait...

And how much do I wish I was at the Triptych festival next week? Like Sonar but Scottish. What an absolutely killer line-up.

Speaking of Sonar, there'll be none of that nonsense for me this year, but I am being taken somewhere hot and sunny in a few weeks' time to ensure an early-season tan. Barcelona again? Bilbao? Rome? Sicily? All thoughts welcomed, but make it quick - Frenchie's booking the tix tomorrow...

PS: Favourite graffiti spot this week - "Stroke cats, pat dogs" outside Kick Bar, Shoreditch.

PPS: Another impromptu session of Booze, Disco, Etc kicks off this Sunday at the White Horse. Rock on.

Deer cheap 

Feeling a tad fuzzy this morning after a few red wines last night, over dinner at Elk In The Woods in Angel followed by a few chasers at The Alma in Newington Green, but I still don't seem to be able to get a proper hangover - a sure sign of an alcoholic if ever there was one...

So. Elk In The Woods. I must admit I was prepared to loathe it on sight after a recommendation from the ever-tactful Wanky-Donkey some months ago, who informed me it was the venue for one of his first dates with the new bird. Er, great - cheers for that.

Anyway, first impressions weren't terrific - the bare log-cabin-esque walls needed some pictures or more moose heads to jazz it up a bit, and the tables were too high for the chairs - a common complaint, I find (and no, I am not at all short). However, things started improving when the friendly and very informative waiter served us the house red. House reds are usually a bit of a gamble here - they're generally a reliable bet on the Continent, but British restaurants tend to offer up crap for the cheap arses among us. Not at Elk In The Woods - £12 secured us a bottle of Les Terrasses 2002, served in properly large glasses, and it was very drinkable indeed.

Next, I discovered the notes left by other diners in the table drawer - a nice quirky touch and also helpful in choosing what to eat. The risotto, in particular, was much recommended, but remained untested this time - French Billy opted for the parsnip soup (quelle surprise) and the steak ciabatta, I had a Thai chicken salad. All were pretty much faultless, although Frenchie was initially served the steak and fries, a mistake that was swiftly remedied (but not before I'd scoffed more than a few of the chips - superb).

Anyway, all up, the bill came to a reasonable £29. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Cruised to The Alma afterwards for more red wine. It's a nice wee pub, although perhaps a bit too civilised for my liking, and does great food, as you'd expect from the women behind it, ex-The Duke of Cambridge etc.

In other news, the Daily Mail (I have to read it, it's my job) confirms DJ Clive's theory on the 'pet cemetery' (see below), reporting that wild big cats are on the increase in the countryside. Crikey. Be alert, ramblin' folk.

And if you're bored tonight, you could do worse than head to Camden. You can either: 1) join us for David Devant and His Spirit Wife at Dingwalls; or 2) join one-time regular feature of these pages Mr B for his beloved Hot Chip at Dublin Castle. Hey, Tuesdays are the new Saturdays, doncha know?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Keep On Truckin', Eddie Kendricks

Monday, April 19, 2004

At last. I've been promising to put the last remaining Southsidesoul pics up on the grossly out-of-date website for, ooh, two years now, but here's an interim solution until one day Ms Groves and I sit down and do it properly.

The pics were supposed to be in separate albums of each SSS so you could flick through them at ease, but it seems to have come out as one 200-strong slide show (bizarrely enough entitled "sdadasd"). Oh well. You weren't wanting to do any work anyway, were you?

PS: You are a bunch of fools. Fact.

PPS: Thanks to Pret for all the vouchers in response to my soya latte whinging. Nothing paid!!

Ramblin' man 

Lummy, there's a lot to get through this morning.

Firstly, I am in love with Justin Quirk and intend to marry him. I haven't actually met him yet, but after reading his scathingly brilliant singles reviews in the Guardian Guide this weekend, I know we are destined for each other. As soon as I find a copy of said Guide to hand, I will post a few snippets and we can all share in Quirky love. (But hands off, I saw him first.)

Secondly, thanks ever so much to DJ Clive for having us up to Hertfordshire for a spot of ramblin' on Saturday. We rambled high and low, encountering all manner of crazy things and people on the way. Spookiest of all was the 'pet cemetery' we stumbled across - a collection of deer carcasses and assorted random hooves (hoofs?) in a clearing. What or who was savaging these animals? And why?! We entertained several Hound of The Baskervilles-type fantasies before being told it was probably a wild big cat, which was even better - apparently there are loads in the British countryside, mostly coming from crazy rich hippies in the 70s who just set 'em free when the hassle of caring for their exotic pets got too much.

The highlight, though, was of course the cream tea at the end. I'd been salivating at the prospect of this for days, and as usual it didn't disappoint. Fellow booze/creamhag Ms Groves and I, like good Kiwi girls, tucked in to our scones with gusto, only to bring shame on our names by scoffing, between the two of us, the cream and jam meant to serve the entire table. (NB: the correct way to eat scones is to smear the cream on first. This way, the jam adheres to the cream; the other way, it's hard to get the cream to stick properly. And we definitely want as much cream sticking as possible.)

I was particularly proud of my rambling efforts as I was sporting a dicky knee, having (inevitably) fallen off my 5-inch wedge heels, in the middle of Brixton Hill while rushing to the tube on Saturday morning. It was the most spectacular tumble in history - I swear to god it took me five minutes to hit the ground as I tipped, rebalanced, tipped again, lurched forward, and finally crashed onto my hands and knees. People beeped their horns, small children pointed and laughed... It was terrible.

Anyway, this is getting very long. Last thing: Quentishtown forwards this gem, another example of good old Kiwi ingenuity - not. The best part is the Waikato Times' tag line - "As Waikato as it gets". What a truly frightening thought. This one goes out to Harvest Bird, an apparent regular reader of these pages whose blog I have just discovered, in which she refers to me as "the marvellous Smacked Face". Aw shucks. There's nowt nicer than hearing that on a Monday morning. (Unless it's someone saying, "Saturday's Lotto numbers were 2, 7, 19, 21, 26 and 39." That would be ace.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Brother's Gonna Work It Out, Willie Hutch

Friday, April 16, 2004

He has not left the arena 

MICHAEL JACKSON IS NOT DEAD. This is a hoax. A shame I know, but... I much prefer this Jacko anyway - he's my kinda man.

And speaking of beer, I appear to have a geeky science-based twin, who, like me, enjoys setting up overnight cultures, researching the history of house, and enjoying the afore-mentioned brown nectar. That's blown my cover now, innit?

Oh dear. My review of the rubbish-rubbish-rubbish SW9 seems to have raised the ire of some fervent Brixtonians. Apparently there are "loads of good places" to eat down sarf these days. Let's discuss.

• Atlantic Road is host to the relocated Lounge (ex-seller of Rooty tickets, not bad food, but always packed), crap newcomer 66 Atlantic ("Look! We kitted the whole place out in Ikea!") and some other place I read about in yesterday's MetroLife, the details of which I will update and no doubt scathingly review forthwith. There's also a sushi place and what-have-you, but sushi for brunch isn't going to do my hangover any favours. So as a whole, Atlantic Road isn't winning my vote.

• "Don't forget Fujiyama!" cries Mr C. Actually I would rather forget Fujiyama, thank you very much. Why this place has become a Brixton institution is a mystery, solved only by the fact that (yes, that old chestnut again) Brixton has a chronic shortage of decent places to eat. The food may be reasonably priced, but so what - it's greasy tempura, bland noodles and sparse bento boxes, and on a particularly bad day you'll even be served off fish. Mmm-mmmm. And besides, they aren't open for lunch, are they? Hardly solves the dilemma now, does it?

• Wonky-Donkey alerts me to the fact Goya on Acre Lane is now apparently called Tomlins and got three stars in Tuesday's Metro. Well, good for them - without host-with-the-most Dennis (who can spit out the word 'cunt' better than anyone I've ever met) and the Goya super-stack breakfast, as far as I'm concerned it just ain't cricket.

Best bet? Make a beeline to Boca Deli in Market Row for all manner of deliciousness - and that's just Pretty Nick behind the counter - then head to Brockwell Park and leave rotten bung old Brixton far, far behind.

Keep those café tips coming, though. I'm sure there's a whole world of gastro delights out there in the deep south just waiting for the trip of my acid tongue.

PS: Just scored our T In The Park weekend tickets - yah man! Get yo ass to Ticketmaster quickly if you want the no-camping option, on sale again for a limited time blah blah blah.

Early morning singing song 

Oh, what a beautiful morning. Time for another 'ode to Stokey' moment, because we haven't had one of those for a while...

Got up at the crack of dawn today, for reasons unknown even to myself, and proceeded to completely overestimate the time it would take to pop over to Springdale Road to perform cat-feeding duties for some absent friends. This was brilliant, as it meant I could meander aimlessly in the sunshine and marvel at how the blossom makes Stoke Newington even prettier. Life-affirming stuff indeed.

Even better, I completed the whole mission without getting any blisters from my 5-inch Marks & Sparks wedges, which I intend to live in all summer. (Luckily I bought a pair in each colour way for when they inevitably fall apart - well for £30, they ain't gonna last...)

I also have to confess I fell off the wagon a little last night. But it was only two glasses of red wine, and you're supposed to drink that much every day, so the experts tell me. Nice surroundings actually - the Snooty Fox in Newington Green. Rather pleasant in an upmarket leather sofa kind of way and definitely one I shall call on again.

Anyhow, cheers to Chuckers Pettifogspot who forwards this. I laughed like a drain. Whatever that means. (And yes, I know the wack album covers have all been seen before - read the text, fools.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Song Sung Blue, Neil Diamond (grrr)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Adventures in stereo 

Was assaulted by a delightful chorus of sniffing, hoicking and snorting in stereo from two hanky-less cold sufferers on the back seat of the 243 this morning. I could only bear it so long before I turned around, tissue in hand, and said, "For god's sake, use this!", garnering a round of applause from surrounding passengers in the process. Shame on their names.

Anyway, how many rubbish bars are there in Shoreditch these days? I mean, there have always been rubbish bars in the Ditch - Trafik has miraculously stayed open for what must be years now, and how the hell do dodgy old Liquid and Grand Central remain in business? - but there's a positive spate of new, shit ventures of late. Jam on the corner of Shoreditch High and Old St, Juno and Montego down the high street, The Legion - all leather sofa or Ikea-pale-beech identikit interiors, generally lacklustre music policies, bar staff clones... Rubbish. Somebody derail this bandwagon before it is the ruin of us all.

Fashion tip: high-heeled cork wedges from (unbelievably) Marks & Spencer, £35. The most comfortable and stylish high-street heels of the summer. BARGAIN.

And last-minute edit: NicCam directs me to My Music Year. It's quite a masterwork, the kind of web resource I'd love to create - but that would involve me being able to actually remember the gigs I go to. Still, the new no-drinking rule might assist in that department. Hmmm...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Movin' On Up, M People (thanks Casino Avenue)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Frenchman texts, "Don't be glum - have some soup! Life is more meaningful when one has soup!" Sigh. That's his answer to everything.

Reasons to (not) be cheerful, part 3:

• My Sparks Tryouts For The Human Race/Beat The Clock 12" arrived from the Ebay seller bent in half. Nice one.

• Pret A Manger curdled my soya latte AGAIN. And has so far refused to offer substantial compensation or even acknowledge my complaint. EDIT: A nice girl called Rose has just emailed offering apologies, and promises to send in a 'secret shopper' to suss it out (and land the incompetence staff in it - oops, they'll never serve me again), and to pop mucho voucheros in the post. Well, that's something.

• I've finished reading the best book I've encountered for a while - Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 by Tim Lawrence, buy it - and am stuck having to finish off Julia Phillips's You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again, which is one of the most turgid, self-absorbed piles of dross I have read in a while. And I'm usually a sucker for any book on 1970s Hollywood.

• The fools at the White Horse have already booked Sundays for all of May, meaning Booze, Disco, Etc is going to have to wait til June to kick off or move to a Friday night. Boo.

• I've just accidentally bitten my cheek. Ouch.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Santa Cruz, The Thrills


Film star George Sanders' suicide note famously read, "I'm bored." On days like today I can see his point.

PS: Cheers to whoever submitted my SW9 rant to Blorgy.com, a kind of Pop Idol for blogs. As long as I don't become the Rik Waller of blogland I'll be happy.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Some Love, Chaka Khan

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Sheesh, five Google referrals for Adidas Melbournes today. Well, all you trainer-seeking Google people, I am happy to announce that I am currently sporting a pair of the shoes of which you enquire, replete with tag worn in an ironic Japanese-trainer-spotter fashion, courtesy of the Frenchman, who is slowly working his way through my birthday list, the darling. He seems a bit hesitant about the knife skills masterclass though. I wonder why.

And Dangerous Currents forwards another reminder of why I fled New Zealand. Parochial? Them?

Houston, we have a problem 

Must. Stop. Drinking. No, really. Have come to the end of a long and boozy Easter, and, like Christ himself, I feel like I really have risen from the dead, so hungover and bleary am I.

Aside from the health woes and the ever-present booze bruises (where do they come from?), there's the rather alarming tendency of late to get somewhat cocky when drunk. (Note to self: just because your boyfriend runs a bar doesn't mean you run the bar.)

There's also the realisation that I'm routinely drinking to a stage where I can't actually remember large portions of the night, which - though no doubt a blessing in that it saves me recalling what a drunken fool I almost certainly have been - is not good at all. And coming from a long line of alcoholics, it's probably time to nip this in the bud.

So farewell, alcohol, my friend - we had joy, we had fun, but now our season in the sun is over. Sob.

(Actually, I hold Pretty Nick personally responsible for it all - he's the one serving me sly quadruple-strength vodkas. I think he's just trying to get me drunk...)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks/Westlife

Sunday, April 11, 2004


If my blocked sinuses weren't causing me enough pain, I also have the mother of all hangovers. Actually, it's fairly mild compared to the shocker I got aged 19 after a colossal boozing session with the boss of the restaurant I worked at, who I then ended up in bed with, after apparently first running around the house with a hammer claiming there was a serial killer in the basement... But I digress.

I haven't left my room all day save to run to the offy for some soy milk. I don't think I'll brave outside again either - inside, in bed, seems a much more pleasant idea, and besides, someone might recognise me from last night... No hammers or serial killers, but I wasn't terribly well behaved either.

I was OK for most of the night though, it was only the gallons of free Stella at Tim Beatwax's house at the end that turned me into Super Brat. Started off at Zigfrid in Hoxton Square where some shite DJ was playing shite electroclash - that's, like, so two years ago, darling - then moved onto The Legion, where Tom Middleton was laying down a rather fine set.

I once had the pleasure of looking after Tom in Wellington, and remember him educating the local bar staff in the art of mixing jedi cocktails - 'No dirty ice, man!' - and sporting the first LCD T-shirt I'd seen. This inspired me to order one for the forthcoming New Year's party from Cyberdog (yes, yes, I know, but it was the Millennium, give me a break), which had a light-up clock you could set to count down to midnight, when it would flash '2000' and go a bit crazy. It was quite brilliant, but the best part was spotting a mong in the self-same T-shirt - but who'd obviously wired it up wrong. Instead of a nifty bells-and-whistles countdown sequence like mine, all his did was flash '76, '76', '76' all night long... Ah, how we howled.

Speaking of The Legion, I noticed Lottie checked it in her '5 things that are rocking my week' bit on her Evening Standard clubs page recently, a section which usually includes the latest s/wanky restaurant she's been to. Huh? I don't see Fay Maschler recommending the new Kenny Dope album, or the drinks reviewer telling me what book he's just bought, so why is a ropey, rubbish DJ telling me where to eat? Stick to what you know, Charlotte dear.

Remember: White Horse, Brixton Hill, tomorrow (Easter Monday) for Booze, Disco, Etc with Terry Bristol, Quentishtown and my good self massacreing good tunes. Food from 2pm, all-day happy hour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Let The Beat Hit 'Em, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Nothing to say and saying it too loud 

Aye, that's me today, but then it is Easter Saturday so I shouldn't be saying anything at all, I should be on a tropical island soaking up rays or some such, not killing time before going boozing in the "gritty urban" hell of Shoreditch.

Anyway, apart from the exciting fact I bought a new pair of aviators to replace the pair I lost in a St Germain bar last weekend, the only thing I have to report is the hilarity afoot at Popjustice today - the Pop! profiles caused me to turn the house upside down searching for a needle and thread with which to sew up my split sides. If only I'd had a Singer to hand...

DON'T FORGET: Come see me botch records at the White Horse on Monday. Please please please. Any day's a good day for boozin'.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Comfortably Numb, Scissor Sisters

Friday, April 09, 2004

Rubbish day 

Brixton was decidedly grim today, scagheads and crack freaks everywhere, and that fat old drunk woman that hangs about Brixton Hill sitting with her legs wide open WEARING NO UNDERWEAR. A glimpse of skanky boozed-granny fanny was not something my hungover stomach appreciated at all. Ew. Ew ew ew.

Anyway, this blog's subtitle includes 'whinging etc', which is something I haven't done terribly much of recently, so let's make up for lost ground, shall we? Fortunately we have a more than deserving recipient of my vitriol - SW9 bar/cafe, where I had the misfortune to have lunch today. Apologies for my overusage of the word 'rubbish' in the pars to follow, but there simply is no better description for this utterly rubbish venue.

RUBBISH! The waitress, who after taking 20 minutes to get round to serving us, promptly came up five minutes later and asked if we would be eating this afternoon. Yes, you fool, when you bring us the food order you just took from us. Then forgot to bring us our drinks. Then took the drinks to the wrong table.

RUBBISH! The food, which took years to arrive and, when it did, was tasteless and bland (I know that's a tautology but it really was that bad). The pitta bread was akin to cardboard, the butter on the garlic bread rancid, the leek and gruyere tart came in a ready-made store-bought tart case... I could go on, but I just don't want to remember any more.

RUBBISH! The clientele, which consisted of styleless gays in bad trainers (truly, Rubbish Gays) and fat, over-made-up Topshop pogs spouting rubbish, so ugly they'd make anyone go out to bat for the other team.

RUBBISH! The decor, which is like a blind Changing Rooms team has been let loose on the place. At least back in the day they had the rude Keith Haring-alike painting to distract you from the shite purple walls and mirror tiles.

RUBBISH! Playing Rachel Stevens' LA Ex twice. TWICE! This is only acceptable if you are Optimo and playing the 'Schaffling The Funk Out Of Rachel Stevens' mix. It is certainly NOT acceptable if you are a rubbish south London bar.

So yes, SW9, rubbish to the core. If someone opened a decent cafe in Brixton, a la the much-lamented Goya on Acre Lane (come back Dennis!), they would make a killing.

Am off to Pearl Necklace tonight, where Pretty Nick will be escorting Marc Almond. Excellent, another 80s legend to add to my burgeoning list. Perhaps he can play my birthday next year... ;)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, Rachel Stevens (gee thanks, SW9)

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Come this way sir 

A distinctly Shoreditch theme to the referrers turning up in the Smacked Face lounge this week, plus of course the usual porn-related bollocks. Nice to see me old china Gary of Garyoke fame has been Googling himself. Remember, Thursdays at the Swan, Stratford. Ye cannae beat a night's singalong with the Gazmeister.

brendhan+ lovegrove
mc+ pitman
Pet +Shop+ Boys

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Crazy Love Affair, Beyoncé v Sly & The Family Stone (Go Home Productions bootleg)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Go see 

Ah, The Station Agent - what a lovely, lovely film. One of those quirky little arthouse flicks that will probably be inconsequential in the scheme of things, but are an absolute delight at the time, and indeed the next day. I still feel enveloped in a cosy, warm feeling. Awww.

When I announced we were going to see a movie about a trainspotting dwarf, the reaction was understandably a little mixed. But my choice was justified from the very start. There's such a good feeling about this film from the moment the opening credits roll, and soon we too were rolling - in the aisles (metaphorically speaking, I hasten to add) at a trainspotter's commentary to his train-chasing footage: "This is a tunnel... This is us going into the tunnel... It was, er, one of the darker tunnels in Canada..."

Train-chasers' home videos aside, the film is gorgeously shot (on location in Newfoundland), and unsurprisingly centres around trains and railway tracks. There's something rather introspective, melancholic, even a little eerie, about quiet country tracks on long summer days - although that may be just a hangover from watching Stand By Me as a child - and The Station Agent calls on this to full effect.

But the real stars of the film are, er, the stars of the film. Peter Dinklage is nothing short of incredible as the dwarf who just wants to be left alone. Dwarf actors must get so sick of drawing the short straw (excuse the terrible pun) and having to play such generally stereotyped characters, but here, Dinklage is able to rise above (oops, there I go again) the usual pap with the wonderfully complex-yet-simple character of Fin - and is distinctly sexy in the process. No wonder the women in the movie can't leave him alone. Patricia Clarkson - oh, how I love her - excels as the fragile bereaved mother Olivia, and the laughs mostly come from sweet New Yoick buffoon Joey, played by Bobby Cannevale.

Anyway, I didn't take notes so this is no way constitutes a proper film review, but GO SEE IT. It's tender and sweet and funny, and will make you feel good in the best, least cheesy way. And refreshingly, the good guys smoke and they don't bother with the 555 telephone number nonsense. Always the hallmarks of a great indie film.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Shy Boy, Bananarama


I will be playing records at people this Easter Monday at the White Horse in the company of my DJ hero, Mr Terry Bristol (and anti-hero, Quentishtown), so if you feel like coming down sarf and sinking a pint or two, you would be more than welcome. Go on, make an old girl very happy (or a happy girl very old).

BTW, as an extra incentive, Mondays mean all-day happy hour. It does not get better than that. (Except if it were all free. Which it's not.)

White Horse, 94 Brixton Hill, SW2, 2pm-10.30pm-ish.
Decent disco, punk, funk 'n' drunks, Pimms for Africa, good food etc

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Ho ho ho. We've had a chuckling old time here at Smacked Face Towers with the following diversions. And on deadline day too! Tsk!!

From Quentishtown, it's pants as usual.

Swiped from Chuck Pettifogspot, my new favourite site of all time. (How many times a day do i say that? But STILL...)

Not particularly funny, but a reasonably interesting concept pinched from Blogger.com. Possibly better than just deleting all that spam, but... Hmmm, maybe not.

NicCam alerts me to yet another good old Kiwi quirkie on Ananova - groan. Did I make it clear that I have renounced my NZ passport? Did I? DID I?!

And lastly, of interest only to sad Ebayers like myself, rare-as-all-fuck Northern Soul 45s going for a song (possibly Abba's Money Money Money or Hey Big Spender).


Le stationnement est interdit et gênant, part 2 

Right, the concluding chapter to the Paris account...

Forgot to include in the bars/clubs bit below the Guillotine Bar, in rue Galande, St-Michele. Brilliantly cosy wee timber-beamed pub, with an excellent jazz bar in the basement. Took us a while to realise the large wooden structure in the corner was in fact a genuine Revolution guillotine, thus the name. Ouch. Rather unnerving while you're knocking the head off your pint.

And alas, Polly Maggoo's, once a bohemian pub of some note, has been refurbished and shifted up the road, and is HIDEOUS. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The poor Frenchman was nigh-on inconsolable.

Hmm, what else? My scribbled notes say "Montmartre - tartiflette... café au lait... Amelie's offy". Which pretty much translates as what it says - we journeyed to the Frenchman's old 'hood for delicious tartiflette, followed it up with a two-hour backstreet café session reading papers and watching the world go by, and popped into Frenchie's old corner store, which was the one featured in Amelie. You couldn't fail to realise this, thanks to the owner's massive window display of newspaper cutouts, all bearing his cheesy, grinning mug. He looks such a jovial chap, but Frenchie says he's actually a sour old sod.

Eating-wise, we didn't really strike it terribly lucky, only discovering the gorgeous café-strewn square behind our hotel at the last minute. Usually I'd research the restaurant situation and plan ahead before departure, but forgot to do it this time, so we just took our chances on the street. Had a very reasonable dinner the first night at a place called Vins du Pyrenées in the Bastille - fab beef carpaccio for me, a massive salmon supper for him. Followed that up with a totally rubbish dinner the next night at some place in rue de Pot de Fer - even the bread was stale, which was probably a sign we should have scarpered...

The curse of the Americans struck again during lunch on our last day at Royal Turennes, on rue Turennes in the Marais. We had a decidedly average meal of chevre chaud and omelette paysannes, but even these unexciting dishes were considered too adventurous for our Yank neighbours, who hoed into burgers, chicken nuggets and fries. We may have been eating the peasant food, but truly, it was they who were the peasants. Naturally they all were the size of a house and sporting Stars and Stripes caps.

Um, what else? Oh hell, it was Paris with a Frenchman, obviously it was romantic as anything and just brilliant. Travelogue ends.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Pusherman, Curtis Mayfield

Monday, April 05, 2004

Le stationnement est interdit et gênant, part 1 

Well, conveniently, all the notes I took on my Paris trip have been either lost or accidentally deleted. Most of them consisted of unsent text messages on my phone and ran along the lines of: "Stupid yanks... kill the dj... Twitch mixed Optimo into xxx into love will tear us apart... tartiflette... crazy french girls w hairy pits dancing to bad music and belle & sebastian..." Obviously the crucial info was all the tracks I'd trainspotted over the weekend, which now lie dormant in the vaults of lost memories. Never mind.

Anyway, a glorious time was had by all, and it was with a heavy heart that we returned to London. Again, no travelogue from me - who wants to read a 20-page spiel about "Smacked Face's Paris adventures"? Not me, that's for sure, so instead here are my Parisian recommendations, which can cunningly masquerade as falling under the category of public service, rather than the self-indulgent blathering they actually are.


Les Êtages, Marais - Cute wee place in rue Vieille du Temple with very low tables and seating, which I imagine makes for fun when the bar fills up. I foolishly opted for a happy-hour discount cocktail, Ti Punch, wthout inquiring as to the ingredients, which turned out to be basically pure white rum and lime juice. It was like fire in my mouth. And I hate rum. Still, not the bar's fault, and they served continuous supplies of free olives and caramel peanuts, which we naturally made the most of. Coincidentally, we ended up getting a fairly decent coffee (and more peanuts) at its St Germain branch, in rue de Buci, the next day.

Bar des Familles, Bastille - Ducked in here on the Bastille's main party strip, rue de Lappe, on the Frenchman's recommendation for a cheap-ish pint pre-Optimo. Fairly touristy, alas, and it was here we encountered the first of the packs of loud, braying Americans that would become the bane of our weekend. Perhaps it's unfair - after all, they can't help their accent - but Americans could make even a conversation about brain surgery sound like an episode of Clueless. We drank up and got out smartish.

Le Pulp, Marais - The reason for the journey - Optimo playing Kill The DJ at celebrated lesbian joint Le Pulp. And what a joint it is. It's a fabulous club, with exactly the right mix of louche glamour and seediness - a cosy seated area with red velvet and booths, with that all-important view through to the dancefloor, which is a hot, steamy, packed (but not uncomfortable) affair. The sound is fantastic (loud but so clear you don't need to scream yourself hoarse trying to be heard) and the crowd were a friendly, up-for-it, funky bunch - it's "a club for girls but boys are welcome apart from on Saturdays".

The main problem? The fact the bar staff (grrrls with SERIOUS attitude, baby) refuse to serve water before 5am and that soft drinks cost the same as a beer, a staggering 6 euros! We had to beg a staffer to give us an empty glass that we could fill from the bathrooms. Tsk - an accident waiting to happen, judging by the number of pilled-up people we observed. Anyway, great to see Optimo again, although I definitely prefer them going a bit crazier on their home turf. Only wish I could remember the mix I tapped into my phone - Liquid Liquid into something into Love Will Tear Us Apart? maybe? Twitch???

Oh, and highlight of the night was hearing another stupid Yank saying, "Like, why would you want to 'kill the DJ'? I mean, like, who would play the records?" Or maybe I made that up.

Hideout, Quartier Latin - Was initially put off by the name and signage - tres cheesy - but this 4am-licensed place, on rue du Pot de Fer, turned out to be an absolute gem. The bar staff were the cheekiest I've ever encountered outside of the White Horse on a Sunday, but I'm known to be a bit cheeky myself, so I gave as good as I got and thoroughly enjoyed it. Given carte blanche to make Smacked Face a drink of his choosing, the camp Dutch barman created the most delicious cocktail in the world - a superbly-made Between the Sheets - and their mojitos weren't bad either. Plus the DJ was rocking it with sublime 70s soul and funk, so Smacked Face was obviously very happy indeed. (Apart from losing all her trainspotted track notes, damn it.)

Hmmmm, this post is getting rather long now, so that will do for part 1. BTW, its title - the wording of the Paris 'don't park here' signs - is possibly my favourite thing gleaned from this trip. Parking is not only forbidden, 'interdit', but (and how Parisian) 'gênant' - annoying. Love it.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: You + Me = Love, Undisputed Truth

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?