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Hackney Downs by IanMH
Hackney Downs, a photo by IanMH on Flickr.
Saturdays in our flat have become "Pancake Saturday". My boyfriend has mixed feelings about this as he's the Pancake Master. I like to say on Friday night things like "I can't wait for Pancake Saturday tomorrow." Or, "I notice we have bananas and blueberries - Pancake Saturday is going to be extra special tomorrow."

In the morning, he'll try a "you do the coffee then." I'll smile, hit the coffee maker's button and go sit on the sofa. I prepare the coffee maker the night before, you see.

I love nothing more than BBC Radio 6 on a Saturday morning, a copy of the London Review of Books and the smell of pancakes frying in the kitchen. Yesterday, I read in the LRB a review of a Nijinsky biography. About his famed beauty, the choreographing of the Rite of Spring, the ensuing succès de scandale, his madness… before I knew it, I had disappeared into a search through YouTube footage and Tumblr photos.

In the evening, we met my friend Vini Bambimi in Stoke Newington for some drinks at the Three Crown and a spot of dancing downstairs, in The Waiting Room. It was a 90s night - a 90s I'd forgotten about. Utah Saints more exhilarating than Elastica; Hole instead of Nirvana (very popular with the attendees, I'll tell ya); the unfairly neglected Urban Cookie Collective.

It was a LGBT night too. The crowd was mostly young but one or two oldies were also on the dancefloor. It was a good mix.

The Waiting Room

Next Friday night is 80s night - I'm thinking of checking it out with [ profile] millionreasons. (We are going to some birthday drinks in Bloomsbury beforehand and I'm planning on dragging her to the club afterwards.)

It's a very small space - the kind that would elicit many casualties if a stampede broke out. But it has that thing Electric Dreams doesn't have - a dance floor without bright lights straight in your face. Also doesn't take long to get a drink from the bar.

This morning, the boyfriend made an omelette and hashbrowns to go with the croissants we bought on the way home last night from the 24-hour bagel shop on Stoke Newington High Street. We then took the 425 bus to Clapton, where we met Vini Bambini again for a 5K run through Hackney Downs, London Fields, Broadway Market, Regent's Canal and Victoria Park.

I wish I had an Agatha Christie to watch tonight.
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I want to dance to this in the early hours of the morning in [ profile] neenaw's basement disco.
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Gary Numan : Warriors by See Gee
Gary Numan : Warriors, a photo by See Gee on Flickr.
I returned to Electric Dreams last Friday. It was good - solid four hours on the dance floor - but emptier than the previous time. I've noticed a pattern with the DJs: start out with popular synth tunes, get the dancefloor going. Then, bring on a DJ that plays obscure stuff that only the hardcore enjoy. Finish it off with a third DJ returning the popular tunes (even Madonna!). 3am, lights go on, everyone goes home.

It's a dying scene though. Always the same (old) faces. Everybody stuck in the same decade. Thatcher is gone but we still keep dancing. As soon as it hits midnight 31st December 1989, we get thrown back to the start of the decade. Everyone else moves on.

On Saturday, I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness on 3D. It was fun, or maybe I was just too gobsmacked by the £17.50 ticket to see it for what it was. No wonder downtown cinemas are dying. The meagre audience had a good chuckle when the screen said after Fast and Furious 6 "reserve your tickets now and avoid the rush." "What rush?" asked the woman beside me holding the tiny £5 popcorn bucket.

I've been going for runs in Victoria Park during week mornings and, last Sunday, I returned to the local pool after a year away. I've been reading loads, working loads, working out loads, wanting to go out loads... but broke.

I'm supporting Norway in tomorrow's Eurovision.

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Sweet Dreams by Studio d'Xavier
Sweet Dreams, a photo by Studio d'Xavier on Flickr.
I went dancing last night at Electric Dreams, which happens once a month at the London Stone pub. 80s music with a dash of the 90s. Loads of alternative stuff and the occasional run of dancefloor populars. The Cure, Duran Duran, Japan, Depeche Mode, you name it.

Last time I went dancing was last summer, at the disastrous Old School Indie. And before that was The Cure night at Electric Dreams. My dancing days get shorter and rarer, which I find very sad. I'm not ready yet to give them up!

There were four of us and we ended up leaving early (some were tired, some had run out of money and some needed to work in the morning.) I got a good dose of the dancefloor; my leg muscles tingle today.

On our walk back to Liverpool Street Station I luxuriated on my comfort despite not having a scarf. My friend Bia pointed out how Electric Dreams is unusual for its lack of pretention and its variety of people: tall and short, large and thin, old and young, alternative or business-suited, men and women. Nicely split in half, all for the music.

We walked past a homogeneous group of bankers who'd left a posh bar and one of the women had just finished vomiting at their feet. They didn't have an ounce of the fun we had.

My boyfriend and I are now bundling up and stepping outdoors for a walk and some lunch. The sunshine promised during the week failed to materialise.
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An evening at the Barbican with colleagues from work, to see Deborah Colker's Dance Company perform Tatyana. Based on Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, it's a story of unrequited love and tragedy. Two young men, Lensky and Onegin, meet two beautiful young women in the countryside, one being Tatyana.  She falls in love with Onegin and opens her heart in a letter - but he rejects her.  Years later, he runs into her again - this time married to a rich man in St Petersburg - and realises she was meant to be with him... but now her feelings have changed...

The first Act has a large contraption on stage - a sort of wooden tree - which the dancers climb all over, jump from and dance around. The second Act is more surreal and modern, with the dancers dancing as if suspended in the air while light is projected and run through them.  Their style is more modern dance than contemporary - with a lot of ballet thrown in the mix in the second half.

Two interesting details which I thought raised the performance: each character is played by four dancers, and a new character is introduced into the story - Pushkin himself (played by a blonde male character dressed entirely in black which I first thought represented death, and who sometimes was substituted by Deborah Colker herself.) This idea of a character having four dancers works well when demonstrating emotion: four Onegins surrounding one Tatyana gives the impression of "overwhelming emotion" or "excessive love".  And the idea of Colker herself taking turns with Pushkin inside the story was an obvious, but nice, idea of the author never being too far from its creation, and that maybe a love story written a century ago by a man can gain new life today through a woman from another side of the planet (Brasil).

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I was having a drink last night with my brasilian friends Lila and Bia at the Haggerston when I noticed a guy dancing by the front door. I couldn't see his face (the pub was dark) but I got the hunch he was cute. The DJ was blasting soul & funk and the guy was animatedly dancing to it with his friends and having a good time. He danced quite well too.

Later, when he walked past our table after visiting the gents I realised it was Michael Fassbender. Cue five minutes of me trying to explain to Bia and Lila who he was, complete with descriptions of X Men and Shame, and the obligatory iPhone Google search.

A woman in the table next to ours leaned over and asked: "is that the certain Hollywood gent I think he is?"


She rubbed her face in surprise and shrunk back into her boyfriend. "He is THE number one... my number one star!"

Just then, Fassbender picked up his jacket and left with his friends. A search through Twitter informed me he'd been all afternoon in London Fields, causing a commotion with his naked torso. He joined some random BBQ with his friends and talked about chicken hearts (he likes them) with a brasilian girl who only clued in who he was once he'd left.

Other celebrities I've spotted since I've gone on annual leave: Boy George (as mentioned before) and Ulrika Jonsson window shopping for specs in Covent Garden (the shop where Johnny Depp usually buys his.)

This gorgeous sunny weekend also involved an unsuccessful trip to Old School Indie, a club night at the venue usually used for Feeling Gloomy (but still run by the same people.) The idea was apparently to do F.G. but with "happier" songs. It was complete rubbish. The DJ played Rolling Stones after The Cure, amongst other barbarities. Bob Dylan is apparently indie too. RUBBISH. And there was nobody there.

While everyone in London was celebrating the athletes parade this afternoon, my boyfriend and I were at the Tate Modern, enjoying the Edvard Munch exhibition.

It's a beautifully put together show on his life work, arranged thematically. I recommend you use the multi-media guide if you visit: it gives you really good commentary on key work as well as an overview of his life and the key historical events of the time.

Sadly, The Scream is not part of the show (maybe they were scared of another attempted theft?) And my only tiny criticism would be that Munch's photos and experiments with film are almost presented as worthy artistic pieces, whereas they are more like studies of themes he was interested in (self-portraits, ghostly bodies, and other things the moving camera made possible for artists at the turn of the 19th century.)

I forgot to mention another "celebrity" I spotted this weekend... Maeve from Dalston Superstars! She was working behind the counter at the Haggerston and she looked well tired. (Or was there a camera secretly following her around for Season 2?!)


Aug. 31st, 2012 09:45 pm
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1985 by cphollywood
1985, a photo by cphollywood on Flickr.
My boyfriend and Sissy A have gone to a goodbye party in Stoke Newington and I'm home alone. Listening to 80s music and wishing I could - on these first hours of my two week off work - be in a nightclub dancing to new wave songs.

I'm slightly tipsy on white wine. I have a bottle of Jack Daniels I'm going to finish off. Rubber Rodeo's Anywhere With You is now playing on my iTunes.

Ok, wait a sec, I'm going to go get the drink and will be right back...

I'm back. It's about two fingers of JD plus six small ice cubes. Somebody take me out!

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There's a party currently taking place at [ profile] suede's journal.  Head over there and join in - all welcome!

My LJ is celebrating 11 years of existence!! (and all thanks to [ profile] live_life_like, who originally created it for me because she thought I'd enjoy it... how right she turned out to be.)
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Feb. 13th, 2012 08:06 am
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One of the most beautiful films I've seen in recent years:

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Voguing in NYC by MichelleMcCormack
Voguing in NYC, a photo by MichelleMcCormack on Flickr.
I get the feeling the next big flash-in-a-pan trend with (straight) hipsters will be voguing. I say straight because with the gays it's something that never really went away, even if only as a panto move you make in the club, encircled by your friends.

But the whole 80s house sound keeps getting re-explored by ever more artists on the wake of Hercules and Love Affair, to the point where i think that voguing is the only way kids can go these days with their dayglo and moustaches. There's even a book just out on voguing and the House Ballroom scene in NY in the 80s.

I had this thought about voguing last night at 2 Many DJs Xmas gig at Brixton Academy. They were accompanied by guests - the fantastic DJ Paul Chambers and some other nameless DJs - but, more interestingly for me, Azari & III, who I had never heard of and who I really took to. Essentially, they are two singers who sing very catchy house pop in the style of Hercules & Love Affair accompanied by a band/DJs. Oh look, they have an ace single coming out soon!

I was with [ profile] loveinsuburbia, who kept wishing they'd bugger off the stage; but I think she was just incapable of truly appreciating their goodness thanks to the constant flirting between her and the boy across the way we nicknamed Superman.[1] We had tickets for the Circle at the Brixton Academy, which meant dancing in front of your seat and being distracted by ushers going back and forth trying to stop people leaning over the railings to gape at the downstairs crowd.

There was this really cheeky, tiny Irish bloke completely off his head who kept sneaking past security and dancing right by the rails, his hands raised to the stage, a big grin on his face. Then he'd turn around and high five us. When we'd see security coming, either us or Superman and his mates would pull him away until security were gone.

It was a great night of dancing, and I was happy to realise that I could stay up until 3am non-stop moving without the need of MDMA. Just a couple of pear ciders, gin and tonics and water did the trick for me. 2 Many DJs set was great but the next time with them will either have to be in a field or a proper club.

For those of you who don't know what voguing is, here's the trailer for Paris is Burning (1990).

[1] The flirting got so silly that I had to actually give Superman a thumbs up as I walked away (without [ profile] loveinsuburbia's knowledge), to see if he'd finally make his move. But the silly bugger was either too shy and fried or he really thought I was her boyfriend, despite me camping it up to dissuade him of the idea. A pair of good looking guys later introduced themselves to [ profile] loveinsuburbia and again, as they chatted to her, they kept looking at me with that "are you her boyfriend?" look. Good manners still exist, people.

Take Me Out

Dec. 2nd, 2011 07:07 pm
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Feeling Gloomy
Feeling Gloomy's bar

When I first moved to London in 2001, we lived with three lesbians and Erika (the non-lesbian) in a Victorian house in Stoke Newington.  Some people called it Murder Mile, some people called it the lesbian neighbourhood.  You saw girls everywhere, on dates at the pizzaria on Church Street, at the girls-only karaoke just round the corner - even at the gay bar on Stoke Newington High Street owned by a pair of blokes.  It's all gone!  What happened?  Where have all the lesbians gone to?  On Friday night, my brasilian friends Vini Bambini and Bia invited me over for drinks and food before we hit Stoke Newington's streets for a bit of gay drinks (something I hadn't done in years.)  There's only one gay bar now in Stoke Newington, Oak Bar, which turned out to be depressingly empty and loud.  We had a pint, played some snooker and stumbled to Dalston thinking it would be a good idea to try the Superstore. Hunger got the better of us and we called it a night at 12.30am after a chicken burger meal with Coke and fries.

The New Rose

The New Rose

Yesterday, I went to the gym and cleaned some of the flat in preparation for [ profile] wink_martindale's return today.  In the evening, I met up with [ profile] loveinsuburbia for a coffee before we walked together to the New Rose pub for [ profile] zenithed's birthday drinks. Reserved tables, friends, new faces, people I hadn't seen in a long time, a few pizzas, some whisky, some beer, some Lady Gaga text messages, chats about everything ranging from Big Brother to the Holocaust, then a plan to walk up the road and do a bit of dancing at Feeling Gloomy. (Didn't I promise at the start of the year I'd never go back?)

Feeling Gloomy was ace!  Turned out to be its 6th anniversary, celebrated with the distribution of cake, The Smiths' "Unhappy Birthday" and a free beer token if you made a donation at the door to SANE.  It was still empty when we arrived so we took the seats closest to the dancefloor and hovered over it for the rest of the night.  Very soon it got crowded and animated to FG's classic playlist: The Cure, The Cult, New Order, motown classics, Blur, Pixies, The Breeders, and so on.  As [ profile] zoo_music_girl correctly pointed out, it was Student Union Disco Night. 

We ended the night back at [ profile] zenithed's, chatting in his living room and drinking tea until 4 in the morning.  [ profile] loveinsuburbia and I then had the grim and knackering task of catching a nightbus home without freezing to death or falling asleep and losing our stop.  We had three hours of sleep before mystery caller started ringing my landline non-stop.  I've been feeling sensitive and out-of-it ever since.
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Lovebox 17/07/11 by antonyprice
Lovebox 17/07/11, a photo by antonyprice on Flickr.
This was the moment at Lovebox on Sunday when 2ManyDJs ended their set. We'd been on our feet for 8 hours by that stage - most of it spent dancing. We were also freezing cold even though most of our bodies were buzzing (and some didn't even stop when it all went quiet.) No applauses, no calls for 2ManyDJs to get back on the stage. Everyone was too knackered as they trudged through the mud out of Vicky Park (apart from the gay boys who found each others tongues pressed against the ferris wheel's grates.)

My memories in no particular order:
- [ profile] kirsten 's mint spray and the delicious taste it left in my mouth. The taste of Kirsten's cigarette. Kirsten's coffee too.
- [ profile] amy 's excitement when Blondie came on, and the crowd erupting when they sang "Heart of Glass"
- The discovery of the 80s tent, playing Communards, Journey and Flashdance to ecstatic jumps.
- Dancing R&B with [ profile] kirsten and [ profile] kevin because it was warm and cosy in that tent.
- Meeting brasilian girl M who knows my friend B in São Paulo and who was high on acid. Going on an amusement ride which flew us into the sky and from where we didn't want to come down.
- Beth Ditto nearly naked, blowing the top off Vicky Park, especially when she karaoked Vogue.
- Marc Almond's lacklustre performance. Very unfair to put him in the afternoon on such a big stage when he'd be perfect in a dark intimate venue.
- [ profile] kirsten and [ profile] amy 's smiles, which always lifted my mood.
- Coming home like the living dead and [ profile] kirsten breaking the news that Rebekah Brooks had been arrested.

My favourite performance was probably Beth Ditto though I had fun dancing to 2ManyDJs. I just checked out her EP on Spotify and it's pretty good - very, very Hercules and Love Affair.

Promises have been made to repeat Lovebox next year. Join us, won't you?

April 2017



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