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David Bowie: Extracts from his first TV drama ‘The Looking Glass Murders’
03:11 pm

Pop Culture


When his debut album flopped in 1967, David Bowie thought his pop career was over. The years of practice and ambition had sadly delivered nothing but the indifference of the public (who preferred The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s) and the bewilderment of critics, who could not quite understand this young singer (who sounded like Anthony Newley) and delivered such diverse and original songs. Bowie had discovered the width of his talent, but not its depth. Understandably, disheartened, Bowie considered packing it all in and becoming a Buddhist monk at the Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, but fate played a hand and he soon found himself under the influence of a charismatic fan - the brilliant dancer, performer and choreographer Lindsay Kemp.

Kemp loved Bowie’s first album, and used one its tracks “When I Live My Dream” for one of his shows. Kemp offered Bowie a new career - as dancer, actor and member of Kemp’s dance troupe

On 28 December 1967, David Bowie made his theatrical debut in Kemp’s mime Pierrot in Turquoise or, The Looking Glass Murders at the New Theater in Oxford. Bowie wrote and performed the music, and co-starred as Cloud, alongside Kemp’s Pierrot, Jack Birkett’s Harlequin, and Annie Stainer’s Columbine.

The production was still in rehearsal when it played for its one night at the New Theater, which perhaps explains why the Oxford Mail described the show as “something of a pot-pourri,” though it highlighted Bowie’s contribution for praise:

David Bowie has composed some haunting songs, which he sings in a superb, dreamlike voice. But beguilingly as he plays Cloud, and vigorously as Jack Birkett mimes Harlequin, the pantomime isn’t a completely satisfactory framework for some of the items from his repertoire that Mr Kemp, who plays Pierrot, chooses to present….

...No doubt these are shortcomings Mr. Kemp will attend to before he presents Pierrot in Turquoise at the Prague Festival at the invitation of Marceau and Fialka next summer. No mean honour for an English mime troupe.

The mime told the story of Pierrot and his attempts to win the love of his life, Columbine. Of course things are never simple, and Columbine falls for Harlequin, and is then killed by Pierrot.

After a few tweaks, Pierrot in Turquoise or The Looking Glass Murders opened at the Rosehill Theater, Whitehaven, before its proper run at the Mercury Theater, and Intimate Theater, both London, in March 1968….

More on Bowie & Kemp in ‘The Looking Glass Murders’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Notes From The Niallist: That’s so CVNT, a ‘Future-House’ voguing mix
03:30 pm



I have a new house music project, and it’s renewing my faith in this whole “making music” malarkey.

It’s called CVNT TR4XXX, or if you don’t mind bad language, CUNT TRAXXX. If you;re wondering why I chose that name, the c-word has been used in drag and gay circles for quite a while as a compliment, and CVNT (for short) is dedicated to VOGUING and the culture that surrounds it, which is heavily gay, trans and femme. 

As the picture I use as a logo states:

CUNT: (adj) a term used in gay slang to describe someone who is impressive, original or fantastic in regards to style or demeanour.

This week the London-based fashion label Long Clothing have uploaded a CVNT mix I put together showcasing some of my sounds, and a lot of others who operate in roughly the same ballpark.

For too long, house music has been perceived as a European-dominated scene (which it is to an extent) but it’s important to remember the roots of this music, and that it was born in the ghettos of Chicago, produced mostly by black and queer kids messing around with drum machines and boxed-up synth modules.

Not to mention house music’s spiritual home of New York City, the town that gave birth to voguing, and that, in the early 90s at least, spearheaded an assault of queer/black/latino/drag culture on the popular consciousness. Madonna didn’t start that shit, you know.

For those of you who don;t know, voguing was not just a fad, it was and still is a unique and complex culture in its own right, and it lives on, stronger than ever. That’s the real inspiration for starting CVNT, watching clips of various new way vogue dancers competing on YouTube and dreaming up a soundtrack to make them go wild to.

There’s some other kinds of house on this mix too, most notably “Jersey Club”, which features a distinctive 5-kicks-to-the-bar rhythm, a little bit of a “B-More”/Baltimore influence (similar to Jersey Club but with breakbeats) and “ballroom”, which is essentially house music for new way voguers and combines elements of B-More and Jersey Club with a heavy dose of 90s diva realness.

I call all this stuff “future house” because these genres are taking house music in a different direction, but one that is still very much connected to the black/gay undergrounds where they started. This music has got very little to do with dub, or spending hours tweaking a synth patch to sound good in a k-hole. This is defiantly DANCE music, designed to make you MOVE. Most of it is based around the rhythm, cutting up tiny samples of speech and music and arranging it around quick-fire patterns. This is music from the MPC generation, where you don’t get money for anything, but the synths are free.

Besides, I’m SICK of boring bloody minimal, ploddy bro-step and electro-house! As “EDM” takes more and more of a foothold in the American consciousness it’s worth reminding people that YOU GUYS INVENTED IT. You still have PLENTY of homegrown talent pushing these genres forward right on your own doorstep, but possibly not in the places you’d expect to find them. 

If I can point anyone in that direction, then it’s a start.

Here’s the mix for Long Clothing, which you can download from their website. The tracklist is here.


Here’s a couple more tracks for good measure, from the Death Drops EP:


You can hear more productions on the CVNT TR4XXX SoundCloud page.


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The ‘Hypno-Psych Voodoo Groove’ of Golden Teacher
05:41 pm



There’s just not enough analog dance music nowadays. And I don’t mean analog as in made on real instrurments. No, if you happen to stumble across a “live” dance act these days, the chances are that more effort has gone into making it sound immaculately tight than making it irresistibly funky or attractively odd.

That’s where Golden Teacher comes in, a new all-live disco-not-disco band, as influenced by Arthur Russell’s tangental looseness as by Giorgio Moroder’s synthesized precision.

Hailing from Glasgow (seemingly the home of all things musically interesting in the UK), Golden Teacher are a super group formed around the nucleus of two other acts, Silk Cut and Ultimate Thrush, who I have blogged about here before. In what is almost a scarily perfect meeting of minds, Golden Teacher has been released on Optimo Music, label of the club night Optimo (Espacio), another act I have mentioned here.

Scary, because no other band I have heard have come closer to representing the Optimo “mentality” (if such a thing exists) of playing absolutely anything as long as it gets the people up and dancing, and for seeing genre not as a boundary but something to be pushed and experimented upon.

More info on Golden Teacher from the Optimo Music website:

Golden Teacher started life as a studio collaboration between Glasgow’s noise punk trio, Ultimate Thrush and Glasgow’s all analogue house duo, Silk Cut. The results of their collaboration turned the ears of all who heard them, not least Twitch who after one listen asked if he could release the project on Optimo Music label.

Recorded live, direct to tape at Glasgow’s legendary Green Door studios with minimal overdubbing and editing, the tracks feature various associates of the band contributing vocals and additional percussion. It’s a little hard to describe Golden Teacher’s sound (always a good thing in our book) but imagine Arthur Russell’s Dinosaur L jamming with Bobby O, K Alexi Shelby, Liaisions Dangereuses, Imagination, some voodoo drummers and Sly & Robbie. It is in our opinion one of the most original and wildest records to come out of anywhere in 2013. We like to call it hypno-psych voodoo groove.

This is one for all the dance-heads who are attracted to the unusual, and all the noise-niks who just like to get down every so often.

Details on where to pick up the limited edition, silk-screened, 5-track debut 12” of Golden Teacher are here, but hurry, there are only 250 copies being pressed.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Lindsay Kemp’s ‘Flowers’: A legendary dance production inspired by Jean Genet’s novel
06:48 pm

Pop Culture


Jean Genet wrote Our Lady of the Flowers while in prison in 1942. It was published anonymously the following year, and sold around 30 copies. It wasn’t until after the Allied Forces liberated France in 1944 that the bulk of the copies were bound and sold.

Due to its sexual content Our Lady of the Flowers was sold as high class erotica, but Genet never intended it as such. It would take until the book had been revised and reprinted by Gallimard in 1951 that Our Lady of the Flowers received the critical accolades it richly deserved - even if Jean-Paul Sartre described it as “the epic of masturbation.”

It was an over-the-wall conversation with a neighbor that led Lindsay Kemp to create and produce his now legendary dance production of Flowers in 1974. As Lindsay recounted to Dangerous Minds last year:

‘I’d just rented a little cottage, a country retreat, in Hungerford in Berkshire, and my next door neighbor - it was one Sunday morning and we were listening to Round the Horne, we all did on those Sunday mornings - and my neighbor across the fence leaned over and said.

“Oh hi, I think this book might interest you.”

And it was Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers. And I began to read it, and as soon as I began to read it I could already see it on the stage, and I could see myself as Divine, the central character. And two weeks later, we opened it.

Only someone of Kemp’s incredible talents and vision could have produced Flowers, and the production put Kemp and his dance company literally “on the map.” Since then, Kemp and Co. have performed Flowers all across the world to incredible acclaim.

In 1982, a video was made of the Lindsay Kemp Dance Company performing Flowers at the Teatro Parioli, Roma. It is rarely been seen since, and the video is a incredible treat for anyone interested in dance, performance and theater.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Lindsay Kemp is on the ‘phone: Scenes from his life from Genet to Bowie


Lindsay Kemp: Seldom seen interview about his production of ‘Salome’ from 1977


David Bowie and Lindsay Kemp’s rarely seen production ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ from 1968

With thanks to Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bouncers: Vintage film on the Training of Glasgow Doormen in the 1970s
04:28 pm



Before bouncers or doormen became codified, legislated and organized into a multi-million-dollar security industry, anyone could turn-up on the door of a bar or a club, so long as they were willing to put the boot-in or take ‘a doing’ from some disgruntled patron. Back in the 1970s, everyone seemed to take turns at standing on door. My brother made a brief career of it, in velvet jacket and bow tie, before becoming an accountant.

Once, even I had my stint on the door of a club with a pal called Mike. While I was out of my depth, Mike had experience. He wore steel toe-caps, had a cycle belt wrapped around his waist, and carried a chib tucked-in his boots. I hoped my interest in modern literature and the films of Ken Russell would dissuade any would-be trouble-makers. Thankfully little happened other than escorting a few drunks off the premises. But it was an experience and I’d discovered it wasn’t my calling. Mike went on to join a chapter of the Hell’s Angels, while I went off to college.

I was reminded of my puny attempts at bouncing by this rather wonderful film report, from the late great Bernard Falk, on the training of Glasgow bouncers during the 1970s. Meet Cherokee, Dirty Harry, Big Billy, and Little Billy, who are trained to deal with troublesome customers in a gentle, polite and effective fashion, at a ‘rent-a-bouncer academy’ by black belt Judo champion, Brian Voss.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Frankie Vaughan: Glasgow Gang Culture in the 1960s

With thanks to NellyM

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Best Holiday Remix of ALL TIME: Butter dance + Wham!
12:27 pm



A lovely holiday remix featuring Indonesian artist Melati Suryodarmo’s “EXERGIE - butter dance” and Wham!‘s “Last Christmas.”

Butter makes everything better…

Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘This Is Ska’: hi-energy documentary on Jamaican dance music from 1964
02:15 pm



1964 documentary This Is Ska has been viewable on YouTube in chopped up form, but now you can watch all 40 minutes of this wonderful slice of musical history without missing a single beat. Skank God.

Jamaican Ska - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Sammy Dead-O - Eric ‘Monty’ Morris
One Eyed Jack - Jimmy Cliff
Wash Wash - Prince Buster
Treat Me Bad - The Maytals
She Will Never Let You Down - The Maytals
So Marie - The Charmers
Rough ‘N’ Tough - Stranger Cole
Two Roads Before Me - Roy & Yvonne
I Don’t Know - The Blues Busters
Sammy Dead-O - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
King Of Kings - Jimmy Cliff

Your host: Tony Verity.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Elgin Marvel: Supporting Your Soccer Team through the Interpretative Medium of Dance
02:32 pm



A young fan of Elgin City Football Club, celebrates her team through the medium of dance.

I’d certainly like to have some of whatever she’s on.

Bonus yaldi remix, after the jump…
Thanks to Parkhall2009, via Brian Sweeney and Alan McGee

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Notes from the Niallist #10: the Golden Larynx of Shaun J. Wright
10:33 am



Shaun J Wright. The name may not be familiar, but the voice should be.

Shaun is the owner of the beautiful baritone that graced the best bits of Hercules & Love Affair’s Blue Songs album, released in January 2011. A Chicago native, his work is a real treat for fans of house music, recalling some of the best vocalists in the genre, singers like Robert Owens and Peven Everett, while still retaining a distinct flavor all of its own.

This week, as he appears as guest vocalist on not one, but two separate releases (audio below); I sent him some questions for my notes column:

THE NIALLIST: Where are you based just now and how do you find it?

SHAUN J WRIGHT: I currently spend most of my time in my hometown Chicago. It’s interesting being back here as I haven’t lived here this long since I left for college. Before leaving I was in such a rush to go I didn’t truly have a chance to appreciate the city’s rich textures beyond house music. This time around I feel at ease with being here and it’s been just what I’ve needed to refocus and begin working on my solo endeavor and other collaborations. 

TN: You have two new releases coming out, one with Stereogamous who are from Australia, and one with Kiki on Berlin’s highly respected BPitch Control label. Tell me how recording with these two different acts came about. Were there different processes and inspirations? 

SJW: I met Jonny Seymour and Paul Mac backstage after a gig in Barcelona. They sent me a few tracks and instantly I connected with and recorded what is now “Face Love Anew” (which will be released Nov. 27th, on vinyl and Dec. 11th, digital format). They gave me a lot of freedom to write the lyrics and express them melodically as I imagined. It’s been such a pleasure working with them as they’re so talented and incredibly loving and sweet. It’s also been a great experience preparing for the release with Honey Soundsytem’s HNYTRX and CockTail d’Amore. Everyone has been so gracious and open throughout the process. The remix package is sick and quite the family affair. Honey Soundsystem’s Jason Kendig, my sister Kim Ann Foxman, my boys from Horse Meat Disco, The Miracles Club and Carry Nation! It’s just all types of ovahness going on with this release!

Kiki and I met in Berlin. My other sister, Aerea Negrot, suggested that we meet up to work together. She was spot on. The chemistry was instant for me. He’s a very calm and patient producer and also allowed me the freedom to move as I chose over his sultry tracks. What’s interesting is that the music you hear now is completely different from the music I initially recorded to. He has the insane ability to recreate songs extremely fast and often. This is the second feature of mine being released on BPitch Control. A few months ago I was featured on a song by System of Survival on their album “Needle and Thread”. I’ve been a huge fan of the label and Ellen Allien for years. She’s been quite supportive of my development and it’s been nice to foster a relationship with BPitch Control.

TN: Who have been the biggest influences on you musically? Give us a bit of background on your discovery of music and getting into singing and writing…

SJW: Hands down, my greatest influences were creators of the second wave of house in Chicago in the early 90’s. I was still very young but the music was ubiquitous throughout the city and I found it infectious. Cajual was my favorite label at the time and I religiously followed it’s output along with it’s sister label Relief. I was also into the street dance culture which later become known as juke so alot of Dance Mania and ghetto house reigned for me. From there I ventured into the popular NYC sound at the time, particularly Masters At Work and the output from Tribal America. 

Some of my favorite singers include Rachelle Ferrell, Minnie Riperton, Donnie Hathaway, Bilal, Norah Jones, and Bjork. 

I began writing songs in my early teens but I eventually became more invested in dancing. I think I was hesitant because I was afraid to sing in public and share my writings. I also desired to begin DJing then but I found it intimidating. Now I’m engaging in them all and I think it’s a good time in my life to do so. 

TN: Dance music and culture seems to be booming in America right now - how are you finding that? How as an artist do you feel you fit into that?

SJW: I don’t connect with most of the mainstream dance music and culture. Maybe it’s a matter of age or aesthetic. Either way, it doesn’t move me in the same manner as music found just below the visible surface. I’m not sure that I do fit into that boom. It’s not even a consideration of mine to do so. I’ll just continue to make the music and imagery that feels authentic to me and if it becomes apart of that dialogue I’ll be well pleased. If it doesn’t, I’ll still be well pleased. 

TN: How was working with Hercules And Love Affair? Are there any more H&LA collaborations lined up for the future?

SJW: Hercules was truly a life changing experience. I got to venture to many new places around the world and develop great relationships. Andy took a big risk allowing a newbie to join the crew so I’m grateful for all that it was. 

TN: What does the near future have in store for Shaun J Wright?

SJW: I’m looking forward to spreading my wings creatively. I have a few more collaborations on the horizon as well as a solo EP that I’ve been working on diligently for the past year. Hopefully, they’ll all see the light next year. 

The first of Shaun’s two singles released this week is an appearance with the Australian duo Stereogamous called “Face Love Anew”, which is released through San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem’s HNYTRX label:

The second release is a collaboration with the Berlin-based producer Kiki called “Spending Time Together/Through Darkness”, and is released through the BPitch label:



Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
7 Inches of Pleasure: ‘The Joy of the Single’
04:52 pm

Pop Culture


The first single I bought was “Snow Coach” by Russ Conway. It was at a school jumble sale, St. Cuthbert’s Primary, sometime in the late 1960s. I bought it because I loved winter, and Christmas, and the idea of traveling through some snow-covered landscape to the sound of jingling sleigh bells . I also knew my great Aunt liked Russ Conway, so if I didn’t like it….

I bought it together with a dog-eared copy of a Man from U.N.C.L.E. paperback (No. 3 “The Copenhagen Affair”). These were the very first things I had chosen and bought for myself, with a tanner (6d) and thrupenny bit (3d). I played the single from-time-to-time on my parents’ Dansette Record Player - its blue and white case and its BSR autochanger, which allowed you to play up to 7 singles one-after-another. My brother had a selection of The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Elvis and The Move, which he played alternating one A-side with one B-side like some junior DJ. It meant I didn’t have to buy singles, as my brother bought most of the things I wanted to hear, so I could spend my pennies on books and comics and sherbert dib-dabs. It was a musical education, and though Conway was a start, the first 45rpm single I really went out and bought was John Barry’s The Theme from ‘The Persuaders’, which I played till it crackled like pan frying oil.

As this documentary shows 45rpm singles were an important part to growing up: everyone can recall buying their first single - what it looked like, its label, its cover, the signature on the inner groove - and the specific feelings these records aroused. With interviews from Norman Cook, Suzi Quatro, Holly Johnson, Noddy Holder, Richie Hawley, Paul Morley, Jimmy Webb, Jack White, Neil Sedaka, Trevor Horn, Miranda Sawyer, Brian Wilson, The Joy of the Single is a perfect piece of retro-vision, that captures the magic, pleasure and sheer bloody delight of growing-up to the sound of 45s.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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