In three weeks time, I’m going to be front and centre of the Cockpit Theatre, putting London radio legend, Gary Crowley in the hot seat. This irrepressible raconteur has gone from teenage punk fan to schoolboy fanzine editor to record plugger to NME receptionist, from whence he moved onto radio and TV during the magical years of 80s indie and pop.
He’s run a fanzine from a phone box, was the first to play Wham! on the radio (and became their tour compere), helped bring hip-hop and Brit pop to the masses and schmoozed with Soho’s fashion and music finest during the Wag Club heyday. First and foremost a hardcore music freak, he currently hosts shows on BBC Radio London and this year released the frankly brilliant ‘Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s’ compilation album. A potent cocktail of killer rarities and under-appreciated gems from 1980-1987, it runs the gamut from post-punk new wave and indie guitar pop to early hip-hop and dance electronica. (My most played: Keep on Keeping On by the Redskins and Stop That Girl by Vic Godard).
On 7th October, Gary is returning to his NW8 roots to answer my loooong list of questions about The Clash his most memorable moments in the music biz. Even better, we have carved out time for Qs from the floor, so if you want to come and see me in the Michael Parkinson seat, grab the last few tickets here. Or, to win a pair of tickets, leave your name in the comments (email addresses won’t be published), or on Twitter. The winner will be picked at random on 23rd September and notified by email or social media.
My Facebook feeds are currently full of friends waxing lyrical about the joys of coastal living, having fled London for the simple life. Me? I’m not quite there yet. London’s where I was born and grew up and as a West Londoner I’ve not strayed far from my childhood stomping ground.
In particular I’m passionate about the pocket of London where Portobello meets Golborne Road. This little local stretch is relatively unknown by the masses. You won’t find hordes of tourists and bloggers descending here for their selfies and outfit posts, but you will find a genuine melting pot of character and style.
You can people watch in the flea market, pick up an antique mirror from Les Couilles du Chien, delight in the curiosities of Kokon To Zai, and make a pilgrimage to Rellik, the famous vintage store that specialises in collectable Westwood, Galliano and Comme. Foodies can enjoy a Palestinian feast at Maramia, fish & chips at George’s or queue up for a pastel de nata at Lisboa, the Portuguese coffee shop that’s a local institution.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind month for CUTS, my hairdresser and London landmark of sorts. It’s a kind of ‘if you know, you know’ thing; it’s been around forever but was never treated as a ‘brand’, rather a word of mouth hangout that does very good hair. (Side note: they came out with the phrase ‘You Look Good’ long before anyone else.)
CUTS started in Kensington Market during the post-punk years, then progressed to Kensington Church Street (I would pass it on the way to school) and ended up in Soho where it’s been for a couple of decades. It’s where I went when I decided to go short in the early 90s. (more…)
Japanese slow fashion brand, 45R has just opened its London outpost at 6 Brook Street, selling its cult denim, lived in knits and quilted outerwear. The Americans may be the originators but the Japanese are experts at producing artisan-quality denim that you’ll keep for years. (At 45R they hover between £350 and £800 which gives you an idea of the level of quality we’re talking about.) (more…)