Yesterday lunchtime in the horrible drizzle, I popped to the library to bring some books back. On the way there I heard a right old din reverberating around Covent Garden Piazza. Thinking it was some sort of demonstration (and praying it was nothing to do with the rugby) I trotted off towards the Strand to find out it’s origin.
The closer I got, I realised it was loud rhythmic drumming interspersed with chanting (in a call and response style) from a couple using megaphones. The crowd consisted of about 40 people including a couple of shaven-headed nuns in ceremonial robes holding brollies while others waved Tibetan flags.
Speaking to a hobby-bobby at the scene, I was told the crowd were there for Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, who was inside a building just off the Strand giving a talk for World Peace Day.
It was a nice hypnotic audio treat for a Monday lunchtime, shame it was tipping it down or I would have stayed around. P
A big thanks to Astrid from The ICA (The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH) for showing me around their exhibition called Shout Out this lunchtime, about the 1980’s underground pirate radio scene in the UK. Ta also to our good mate Jim N for letting us know about it. It’s great stuff, all in a small back room tracing the history and cultural significance of pirate radio in a towerblock style. As the video monitor was turned off in the room (the ICA was not officially open as it was a Monday but Astrid kindly let me have a look) I didn’t see the film which accompanies the exhibition, which I was told was very good but I did see a mixer and an FM transmitter (below) alongside some historical photos and magazines. The exhibition is free but will probably cost you a days’ membership of The ICA (£1) but if you’re into radio like myself and remember the FM airwaves of the 80’s, it’s well worth it! It’s on until the 19th July when it’s goes out on a bit of a tour of the UK. More about the exhibition here. P
I was on my way back from the supermarket this lunchtime and walked past The Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury and saw an A4 sign on the door advertising an exhibition for “X-Ray Audio” a free exhibition about “Forbidden Music, Cold War Culture and Bootleg Technology.” How could I refuse…
It was about recordings cut into X-ray plates from the cold war period when certain music was forbidden. Here’s what it says about them on x-rayaudio.squarespace.com
“In the Soviet states during the cold-war era, most modern Western bands and music was banned for all sorts of reasons including ‘neo-fascism’, ‘mysticism’ and even ‘obscurantism’. Much Russian music was also forbidden for a variety of other reasons. Even certain rhythms were regarded unfavourably. But a vibrant, secret and risky trade grew up in what became known as ‘Bones’ or ‘Ribs’”.
“These Bones were medical X-Ray fluorography sheets unofficially obtained from hospitals, cut into discs and embossed with the grooves of bootlegged gramophone records – a kind of medical version of a DJ dub plate.”
To find out more about these illegal x-ray releases have a look here and to hear them go here.
The exhibition runs only until the end of this week so if you like the sound of spooky recordings made onto x-rays go and have a look before it’s too late (30th January 2015)! P
Here’s news of a great free event at LimeWharf this Friday.
It’s an early session of funk, disco and reggae from 6-9pm and we do love anything that’s free!
7th November 2014
The Rhythm Doctor from Tallinn, Estonia
One Deck Pete from Weeds up to me knees
Plus Hayereyah on the mike and harmonica.
This looks like a great early night out! P
Here’s a great FREE event happening on Good Friday 18th April 2014. It’s the V&A Ska Garden Party featuring the excellent Gladdy Wax Sound System and the great Tighten Up Crew. It goes from 1pm until 5pm and costs a great big zilch and kids are more than welcomed, they are encouraged. You’ve no excuse, there’s enough time to get it in the diary!
It’s held outside in the middle of the V&A, the kids can run about and parents can sit and enjoy the good vibes in the (hopefully) nice weather! P
Victoria and Albert Museum,
Cromwell Road, South Kensington,
London SW7 2RL
Not from London nor appearing in a lunch hour but the flamboyant suit wearing risqué comedian Max Miller in action following on from the music hall post by W. Where’s me washboard indeed. P
Heard this track on the replay of this week’s excellent Echo Chamber on KFAI. A big shout to Dr Strangedub and DJ Baby Swiss!
Which reminded me of this youtube our good friend The Rhythm Doctor told us about a few months ago. Big up Rhythm Doc and the No1 platform MC Carl! P.