Archive for the ‘music’ Category


In music, Uncategorized on November 22, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I posted a little while back about Oxjam, a charity music event supporting Oxfam. My partner and I got to go along for a couple of hours and I had a really great time.

In my 20’s I went to a lot of pub gigs and I had a thrill of nostalgia as we went up to the Rose & Crown’s function room, made our donation and got the traditional stamp on the back of the hand. We’d come in as the Wondersmiths were playing.


The Wondersmiths clearly loving what they do

They’re  a melodic punk band to me. The singer reminded me a lot of Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory. As ever witha  pub gig the sound balance meant he was drowned out sadly, but performed with much zest!

The room was pretty full with around 30 people, although I later realised the back function room had been opened as a bar with some more in (I went downstairs to get real ale off the taps).

After a break it was time for Velodrome. I did not realise at the time but this was in fact organiser Katherine Evans! I wish I’d known, I’d have loved to meet and congratulate her. There was some wonderful unintentional comedy while her sound tech tried to stop the speakers from exploding.


Velodrome opens her set.

Wow, what a set. With a couple of costume changes (I am so very annoyed the photo of the Tiger onsie did not come out) she was reminiscent of Bowie or Freddie Mercury. Playing guitar and bass with her laptop she reminded me of Laptop (Jessie Hartman’s solo project). Musically her dulcet tones and rhythmic guitar brought to mind The Nields on the guitar songs, but also The Knife on the more electronic tracks.

I was so very happy to be able to buy a CD of her music on the way out. Although tape albums were available; very hip. I was tempted, but having hundreds of tapes accumulated through my teen and student years I try to at least move forward with my technology. (I’m enjoying listening to the CD as I write this).

Sadly I was limited to just a couple of hours of this all evening gig. And I really mean that; I am genuinely sad I missed all the other bands. Very well done to Katherine, the volunteers and the bands involved. I’d love this to be an annual event. It’s exactly the sort of thing I hoped to find when I started this blog.


Oxjam Walthamstow

In music, Uncategorized on November 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

So Katherine Evans reached out to me about her upcoming charity event and it sounds rather spiffy!

“I’m single-handedly organising Oxjam Walthamstow, a charity fundraising gig in November at Ye Olde Rose and Crown pub. It’s a special Oxjam because as well as raising money for Oxfam, I am primarily promoting local female and LGBTQI artists. It’s going to be a very interesting if not slightly bizarre evening, with live drama, hip hop, female punk bands, and experimental rock.”

The event is on Saturday 19th November from 6PM and donations will be taken on the door.

There are more details of the event in the facebook page including a list of acts who are appearing:
And the Twitter account is here:
Go see!

Punk Waltham Forest Music History walk

In history, music on September 17, 2016 at 8:34 pm

As part of the Punk Waltham Forest there was a walk given by local music historian Mark Hart. As fans of modern music history (god, I get so excited by those BBC4 specials) my partner and I decided to go along. Apparently there were 50 free tickets but we forgot to book some, so in true punk fashion we crashed the gig anyway.

Early on in the walk Mark made the point that music needs infrastructure to flourish; publishers, recording studios, live venues, agencies.

Our guide, Mark Hart.

Our guide, Mark Hart.

I think this was what I learned most from the walk, that a community like Walthamstow needs to provide resources to have a vibrant artistic community.

And what resources. Starting from the Small Wonder exhibition (which I wrote about last week) we went on to the EMD/Granada (I’m not using it’s silly new name) to learn how it replaced it’s failing film takings with income from live music. Buddy Holly, John Coltrane, James Brown and Gene Vincent and most famously the Beatles all played there. Mark told us a number of stories of it’s music hall days.

As we traversed Hoe Street Mark told us about local recording studios, mastering studios, Small Wonder itself (now the Arbat Eastern European Store) and many others. Of band members who grew up locally and long gone clubs. Of Ian Dury famously at Walthamstow college and how 21 of the 30 students in his class went to the Royal College of the Arts. We ended at the Assembly Hall, well across the park from it as a rather spendid wedding was happening with drum music! We learned of the famous Sex Pistols gig but also of the inspiration that ripped out of that night as it did many of their concerts. But also how it hosted Placido Domingo, Joy Division and The Fall.

The splendid wedding party

I made copious notes during the walk but frankly instead of dumping what I learned here I’d rather just give a sense of the talk and encourage people to go on the walk when Mark next runs it (he has before). It really is very beautiful and not just historical; Mark spoke movingly of the ‘stow’s cultural melting pot and how the modern Grime scene has grown and is growing out of here. About how some young kid might be hearing some national music in a cafe or corner and taking that into their own music to make the next big thing. Making some more history to feel proud of.

Small Wonder exhibition, Hoe Street

In Events, music on September 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

I love me some music history. Not classical or jazz, but I’m an old rock and metal fan and that takes in punk too. So I really enjoyed reading in the E-List about how Pete and Mari Stennett started Small Wonder Records on Hoe street in the late 1970’s. So today after a slap up Sunday lunch at Chequers my partner and I headed 0ver to the small shop along from Central Parade which the council formerly used for pop up businesses but it now an exhibition dedicated to the ‘Stow’s most famous record shop.

They even have a recreation of the shop sign!

They even have a recreation of the shop sign!

The exhibition covers the walls and is wonderfully curated chronologically, with years stencilled on the walls. There is loads of ephemera which I assume was collected from many of the shop’s old customers (the exhibition’s thank you list is long). There are record covers, clips from music magazines and fanzine covers. Interspersed are recollections of customers, both local and those who bought mail order. As well as launcing the careers of Bahaus, The Cure and giving a boost to many others Small Wonder also sold records around the world.

The center piece of the exhibition is a recreation of the shop itself. This was way before my time but I have to wonder if the smell of cigarettes is missing! But it did take me back to similar shops I went to in my teenage years.

The exhibition is on to the 18th September and is a wonderful telling of a beautiful, creative story from the Stow’s history.

Stoneydown Folk Festival

In Events, music, Uncategorized on June 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm

After a nice lunch this Sunday my partner and I headed to Stoneydown park which is near where we live. Previous festivals have either had blazing sun or grim rain but this year seemed to be a compromise of warmish overcast.


A good turnout

We had a bit of a wander around. The music was nice, but not a genre I’m a fan of. There were many craft stalls around. We bought some Stow themed cards off local artist Farah Ishaq. She was raising money for her Masters degree she is about to start at the University Of London. Alongside her stall were various soft goods, textiles and other printers. “The home of those who make and create” indeed.

Speaking of local creators the Wildcard brewery provided a bar. A pint of Queen of Diamonds went down well as we sat and people watched.


Ukulele band

My partner observed that there were very few teenagers about. Lots of young families but fewer established families. With the surrounding Warner estate being mostly flat I guess many families move out of the area when they have more than one child.

Before heading off we went to look at the food vans which had been cleverly located in the neighbouring school grounds. My partner enjoyed some chips from the local chippie van Chips n’ Dips. Nom nom.

I’ve always loved how the park is used by a lot of the local community. The annual festival seems to be the pinnacle of this and I hope it encourages more locals to make use of this nice little space.

Walthamstow Garden Party

In Events, food, music on July 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Well the council and the Barbican had such a roaring success last year they went and did it again. My partner and I got to Lloyd park at 12:30 as we did last year and yet again avoided the queues. Which was great as when we left at 18:00 the line of people coming in had snaked down Forest Road, Winns Terrace and could be seen snaking off down Winns Avenue!

The weather was perfect, warm with a nice breeze. We had a look in the William Morris shop and the craft stalls out front first. Had a nose into the local food stall tent and said hi to the guys from Forest Wine. Then wandered down to the food stalls where we fueled up for the day on fish dogs and chips while watchig an African dance troupe in the main marquee.

East African Dancers

East African Dancers

We had a nose in the community tents, avoided getting roped into volunteering (hey, I help the McGuffins!) and then settled on the little hill to watch music, with a nice cold lager in my hand. There were a children’s choir and a steel band and then the Walthamstow Massive group who made me very happy with an excellent rendition of ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’.

Frederick Bremer Choir

Frederick Bremer Choir

Actually there were *loads* of kids and we saw lots of things put on for them. Looked like a really good day out for families.

At the North entrance was a well organised bike park.

At the North entrance was a well organised bike park.

Anyway we had a look into the artists studios which was cool. Bought some Xmas cards from Sprankenstein. It looked to us that there were a lot less studios than there used to be, sadly.

Anyway we wandered back into the local produce tent and got fruit and veg juice from Moju. We settled under a tree in the gallery gardens and had a bit of a snooze before a final, slow wander. I love the facilities in the park and the large play space for kids.

Eventually we felt tired so ambled off home, but we’re looking forward to next year’s big party in the heart of Awesomestow.

A yoga workshop

A yoga workshop

The big tent behind the food stalls

The big tent behind the food stalls

Lots of things to try!

Lots of things to try!

Good news from the Happy Meter!

Good news from the Happy Meter!


Mark Thomas at the Standard

In Events, music on April 1, 2011 at 9:04 am

So last Wednesday was my birthday and my lovely partner took me to see the Mark Thomas gig at the Standard. The gig was to benefit the Fire Brigade Union and was sold out.

The opening act was  stage magician Ian Saville who made Left wing jokes out of his tricks, which was a great spin and really suited the audience. He also did a very funny ventriloquism routine with a picture of Karl Marx.

Then up was Mark Thomas. He did a very animated, lively routine for about 45 minutes. The core of this was talking about research for his new book, ‘The People’s Manifesto’ where he asked audience members at gigs for policies. There were many mad ones and some genuine genius examples. He also talked about religion and his family with a joke about the cohesion and camaraderie of left wing politics getting the biggest laugh of the evening. After his set he was presented with a thank you framed picture of him at a protest, which I think was a very nice touch by the organisers.

And finally there was a very political folk band. We didn’t stay for their whole set – the sound wasn’t good enough to actually hear their lyrics. Although they seemed to have dedicated fans in the audience.

Overall it was a great gig and it’s nice to see the Standard do other things apart from tribute bands!

Local Bands

In music on June 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

How about some local music?

The Stow are a mix of Indie pop, Hip-Hop and a touch of Ska. They won last year’s Metro newspaper’s ME competition beating hundreds of other bands. Bouncy and fun.

Led Bib got a nod at last year’s Mercury music awards. Jazzy, funky and odd.

And no, I’m not going to mention East17!