the spitz is one of those london institutions that you cannot avoid. the venue itself is hotter than hades, even in the dead of winter, and no civilised person should be forced to watch music in such conditions. and yet, there I have been a zillion times, watching many bands, over and over, or more likely sitting in the outdoor café avoiding the upstairs heat or the lame opening act. the food is prohibitively expensive and mediocre. there is always one bartender with whom no one can make eye contact because there are 30 people waiting to get his attention. still, I have had an odd fondness for the silly place because of its location in my old neighbourhood of spitalfields in the old spitalfields market, which is slowly and sadly melting away, so that new chain stores can be opened up in a vast shopping centre for yuppie city workers who probably commute in every day from tunbridge wells. anyway, the spitz is dying, or at the very least relocating (from the looks of it, being paid off to relocate) so you might want to go there one last time and sweat your head off while watching a band this summer.
the news around here is that record stores are closing down but british people are not that into downloading either. so what are they doing then? maybe it is just that most music here sucks too much to bother with.
the guardian made a list of over-rated albums here. but what about you people? what is your most over-rated album? I am guessing pet sounds is top of the list. what else?
finally. the fashion police make a decision I can get behind. let’s face it, this style of trousers is so five years ago, no one should be working that look anyway! this just in: a follow-up, including a brief list of famous fashion furores! what fashion don’ts would you like to see outlawed then? feedback please!
chickfactor was all about the speedy-jangly girlpop (heavenly! shop assistants! salem 66! etc!) when we started, but who knew the world was going to keep getting more girlpop supergroups? tiger trap were chickfactor cover girls on issue number four and the acest of the ace, no doubt about it. they had as many inter-band dramas as fleetwood mac, and could not remain together forever, but then we got the softies and go sailor and some other quality sounds out of the whole deal. so. anyway. we are super-duper-chuffed to bits to be informed of this fine london pop show happening in august at the pro-quiet show luminaire venue:
rose melberg (ex-tiger trap frontperson extraordinaire)
harvey williams! (come out of retirement for the second time this year!)
and the dreamers (action biker/mr wright collaboration)
get tickets here and I am sure we will see you there.
sorry, the photo of the week hasn’t been updated in a long time. this is because I rely on someone else to do it, but plans are underway for the photo site to be blogged up so the inertia will come to an end at last!
alan vega is playing at camden’s roundhouse in london for free this saturday 16 june. doors 8pm.
our little lupe pipas was working her big head of hair on national (us) television the other night, as a backing singer and clapper for canadian singer feist. quick, head to youtube.com and type in “feist conan o’brien” to see the silly shenanigans…
jane fryers is a london-based chapeau architect with lots and lots of style and glamour. she is also one of the four girl DJs in the shellac sisters, a group of retro-styling ladies who all wear jane’s ace creations every time they pull out their crackly old 78s and beautiful old gramophones. I take photographs of the shellac sisters and part of the reason they are a joy to photograph is that they all have stunning headwear. we asked jane a few questions, and figure we need a new hat wearing goddess in london during the week of isabella blow’s funeral, don’t we?
chickfactor: what is your favourite hat that you’ve seen in a film or photograph — or if you can’t choose, tell us three.
jane fryers: I can’t choose one or even three, although I did see a fabulous hat in the film the maltese falcon the other day. I was so busy trying to work out how it was made that I missed half the plot of the film.
cf: are there any designers from the modern day or the past that have inspired you? or perhaps not designers but someone else?
jane: stephen jones is the most inspiring modern day milliner. his designs are glamorous and humorous, and he is such a nice man.
cf: what happens to your hats when the shellac sisters wear them for a night out?
jane: they get lots of compliments, thanks to my beautiful sisters, who are always ready to tell anyone who asks that I made them.
cf: can you explain how you became a shellac sister and what it takes to be one?
jane: I’d just bought a wind-up gramophone from portobello market and I took it to the park for virginia’s birthday picnic. she loved it and wanted one, and we joked that once we had two we could dj with them. then we met theo and jenny, two gorgeous girls with gramophones and the shellac sisters were born.
cf: how did you get into millinery yourself?
jane: I wanted to do something creative and had always wanted to go the the london college of fashion. I thought I’d try millinery, beadwork and silver jewelry making … a term of each … but I never got to try the others. one lesson of millinery and I was hooked.
cf: do you feel underdressed without a chapeaux?
jane: no, but I always feel better dressed with one and a hat is a great conversation starter.
cf: where would you like to see your hats on sale?
jane: I would like to see my hats on sale in beautiful surroundings with lots of mirrors.
cf: and who would you like to see wearing them?
jane: I don’t mind who wears my hats as long as they feel fabulous in them.
cf: what else does jane do while not shellacking or hat-making?
jane: I work on commercials for TV/film, dance salsa and hang out with unsuitable boys.
cf: what hat will you put on for summer?
jane: I’m working on a 1960s inspired creation for ascot.
cf: thanks jane.
photographs (except dorchester one): gail o’hara
stephen duffy has been jet-setting around the world with his boss (robbie williams) for the past couple of years (or was he robbie’s boss?) and we have missed him. hopefully we won’t have to go to the green man festival and sleep in a muddy field to see him this year (stephen, please play at our chickfactor party!). it has been like four years since his wonderful keep going LP was released and I still listen to it a ton. here are some lyrics from one of its top tunes and if you haven’t heard it, you should go and listen to it now. it is the perfect accompaniment to what is a typical summer bank holiday monday in london: torrential rains, freezing cold weather, ahhh, I love it:
Bank Holiday Monday
Bank Holiday Monday
You don’t have a lot to say
You’re waiting for payday
You can’t wait to get away
This boring town gets you down
There’s no one to come around
Why wait in for someone
Who is not as good as you?
Train on the eastbound track
Girls without make up
Keeping me coming back
When you’re old you can’t be told
That anywhere is paved with gold
Why wait in for something
That’s not as good as you?
You must take heart
You’re heading for the sky
You don’t have to ask why
Wystan Hugh Auden
John Winston Ono Lennon
Left middle England
Where they suffocate everything
They got away and so could you
What else is there to do?
Why wait in for something
That’s not as good as you?