28 August 2009

Steve Fishwick album launch - Thu 3rd Sept

Album coverExcellent, young hard bop outfit The Osian Roberts/Steve Fishwick Quintet, will be launching their new album on Thursday 3rd September downstairs @ The Spice Of Life in Soho. Titled "... WITH CEDAR WALTON!", this latest album was recorded in New York with legendary pianist Walton (who played on such seminal albums as Art Blakey's "Free For All" and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps") and is released on the independent Hard Bop record label. Unfortunately though, Cedar Walton himself will not be playing on the night.

The Spice Of Life, 6 Moor Street, London, W1D 5NA
Admission: £8 (£6 concessions)
Doors: 8:30pm

For more information on the venue and event visit: www.spicejazz.co.uk

You can find out more about the album and record label from: www.hardboprecords.com

And for more information on award-winning trumpeter Steve Fishwick, check out: www.stevefishwickjazz.com

The Portobello Film Festival - 3rd-20th September

Poster for The 14th Portobello Film FestivalThe 14th Annual Portobello Film Festival starts on 3rd September and runs until the 20th. There will be over 700 short and feature films shown and best of all the screenings are free. On top of this, there will also be art on display by some of London's finest up-and-coming "street" artists.

The festival has a number of different themes including:

Caribbean Film (a two day showcase of contemporary films produced by Caribbean filmmakers)

European Films (a 'Best Of' selection from France, Spain, Germany and around Europe)

London Film-Makers (a selection of contemporary London film making)

Some particularly interesting-sounding highlights include:

The Beat Goes On
Fifty Years of Counter-Culture from The Beat Generation to A New Waste Land featuring live poetry and music plus rare films of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and UK Beat poets and musicians.
Friday 4th September from 8pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

Duke Vin And The Birth Of Ska (Gus Berger)
Sunday 6th September. 5.35pm
@ Westbourne Studios, 242 Acklam Road, W10 5JJ

The Power Of The Vagina (Jimmel Daniel)
Wednesday 16th September between 7pm and 11pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

The Faces of the Slave Trade (Neigeme Glasgow-Maeda)
Wednesday 16th September between 7pm and 11pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

For full listings and details visit: www.portobellofilmfestival.com

Carnival After-Party - Sunday 30th August

Flyer for Carnival After-Party @ Ginglik
If you're looking for a carnival after-party this Sunday, there's only one place to be: Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush.

I'll be DJing there myself, alongside Natty Bo (Gaz's Rockin' Blues / Ska Cubano / Top Cats) and Count Sizzle, plus live music from The Severed Limb.

Expect to hear a real mix-up of roots music from the 1950s-1970s; from sexy calypso, cumbia and mento to Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae, all the way to dirty funk, jazz and rhythm 'n' blues.

Date: Sunday 30th August 2009
Address: Ginglik, 1 Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8PH
Times: 7pm - 2am
Admission: £6 before 10pm then £8
Venue website: www.ginglik.co.uk

27 August 2009

Carnival time!

Girl dancing at Notting Hill Carnival 2008Well, the Bank Holiday weekend is nearly upon us, which means only one thing: Carnival! Nothing beats dancing to great music out on the streets in the sunshine (fingers crossed!) in the company of thousands of other like-minded revellers.

The Notting Hill Carnival means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but to me it's mostly about the sound systems. Fortunately, despite the parade being given earlier start and finish times this year, the static sound sytems will be playing from noon till 7pm on both Sunday and Monday, just like last year (though I still feel that's way too early to have to stop the music and dancing).

The two must-visit sounds are The Gladdy Wax Road Show, which plays 60s ska through to 70s reggae, and Gaz's Rockin' Blues, which plays mento, calypso, ska, rocksteady, early reggae, soul and rhythm & blues. Gaz's sound system is always the biggest and most exciting-looking too (in fact he's deservedly won the "best-dressed sound" prize a number of times over the years) and each year he picks a different theme for it.

If roots reggae is more your thing though, you probably want to check out Channel One, Aba Shanti-I and Jah Observer.

The other sound system I enjoy is The Latin Rave Street Jam, which is the only sound playing pure Latin and Salsa on both Sunday and Monday. Fortunately, this is situated right next to Gladdy Wax, so it's easy to flit between the two (and there are public toilets nearby too - a fact well worth bearing in mind).

The Gladdy Wax Road Show is located adjacent to 304/306 Portobello Road, near the corner of Golbourne Road.

Gaz's Rockin' Blues is located outside 103 Talbot Road, near the corner of Ledbury Road.

The Latin Rave Street Jam is located outside 318 Portobello Road, right by the corner of Golbourne Road.

If coming by tube, Westbourne Park (assuming it's open) is the best station to use to get to these sound systems. Be aware that there can be tube station closures throughout the weekend though, due to overcrowding.

With the huge crowds making it difficult to move around, it can be hard to find particular floats or bands amongst the parade, but if like me you're also a fan of samba, be sure to look out for The London School Of Samba who will be celebrating 25 years at the Notting Hill Carnival this year, with the theme of their parade being "A History Of Samba". There's something very special about the sound of a Brazilian bateria parading down the street (not to mention all that sexy dancing). To find out more, visit: www.londonschoolofsamba.co.uk/public/default.asp

And finally of course, I mustn't forget the steel pan bands, which are, after all, fundamental to the roots of carnival. You will find around a dozen different pan bands playing along the parade. But with all the mobile sound systems playing on the same route, it can be difficult to find and listen to the steel bands. So, if you're a real fan of steel pan and calypso, make sure you head down to The National Panorama Championship in Hyde Park tomorrow (29th August). This takes place near Speakers Corner from noon until 9pm (the main competition starts at 4pm) and is the offical opening of the Carnival weekend. Here, you will get to hear all the different bands playing at their best, as they vie to be crowned champion.

For more on the Notting Hill Carnival, including maps and travel information, visit:

Prince Buster gig cancelled

Bad news I'm afraid; the Prince Buster gig at the Camden Centre (due to take place on the 5th September) has been cancelled. I have been given no official explanation for this, but have heard through the grapevine that it is due to medical problems. I can only hope that Prince Buster and his band are ok and that any illness is not serious.

21 August 2009

Update on Mark Lamarr's BBC Radio shows

I've received some excellent news from Mark Lamarr. Following a meeting with BBC Radio 2 management last week, he is happy to report that his Shake, Rattle and Roll show has been saved from the axe and will be back on the air.

Unfortunately however, there's no sign of his Reggae or Alternative 60s shows returning. Personally, I think this is a great loss and I would still urge readers to write in to The BBC Trust complaining about their disappearance and asking that these genres of music continue to get airplay:


But fans of good ol' rock 'n' roll at least have some great music to look forward to over the next couple of years. Here's the full message from Mark himself:

After a particularly frustrating silence it's with great pleasure that I can now give a huge thank you to those people who cared enough to somehow be involved in any of the various campaigns and forums designed to save Shake Rattle And Roll.

I finally got my first chance of a proper sit down with my boss and the news is very good. The show will return for a shortish run of 8 shows later in the year but he has assured me that from next year it will be back to 26 shows a year, which is actually a few more than it has been for 3 years or so and is a very good sign for all non mainstream music broadcasting. Incidentally, I was told that the average listenership for the various specialist shows approaches a million listeners, so there is definitely a massive audience out there for all things non-chart.

I'm truly thankful for the pressure a few people have exerted and I hope I manage to repay you all with some worthy shows over the coming years.

Sincerely, Mark Lamarr

London Dossier club listings updated

Just finished an update of the club listings for August/September/October. So, if you haven't already seen the new calendar functionality, now's the time to check it out! If you have any problems with the page or have any feedback, please leave a comment or drop me an email: info@londondossier.com

Club listings and updates should also be sent to this address.

You may notice that the page's URL has changed too, so if you have it bookmarked, please be sure to update your links. The new address is: http://www.londondossier.info/clubs.php

07 August 2009

Prince Buster live in Camden - Sat 5 September

The King Of Ska, Prince Buster, is to play a rare, one-off, central London gig on Saturday 5th September.

Having seen him in concert twice over the last few years, I can highly recommend catching him live. So if you haven't seen him before, don't miss out! His voice is still excellent and he performs many of his greatest tunes, not just the big hits.

The concert takes place at The Camden Centre, near King's Cross / St. Pancras stations. Tickets are unfortunately a little expensive at £38.50 (plus transaction fee), but it's not every day you get to see a true ska legend like Buster in London. I'd also suggest buying tickets ASAP as the gig is likely to sell out.

Doors: 8pm
Venue: The Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, WC1H 9BT
(Evening entrance is on Euston Road, WC1H 9JE)

To buy tickets visit: www.seetickets.com/agmp/

To find out more about the venue (including travel information) visit: www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure/events/camden-centre/

06 August 2009

Help save Mark Lamarr's BBC music shows

Photo of Mark LamarrYou may have already heard this sad news, but I feel it's important to help spread the word as widely as possible. Due to management changes at BBC Radio 2, Mark Lamarr's excellent Reggae, Alternative 60s and Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll music shows have unexpectedly been axed. Lamarr's shows are loved almost universally by vintage music fans and these were amongst the very few shows on mainstream radio playing this sort of quality music.

So acclaimed were his shows in fact, that for Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll he won the Bronze award for Best Music Broadcaster in 2003 and 2002, and the Music Broadcast Award and the Special Interest Music Award at the 1999 Sony Radio Awards. His Beginners Guide to Reggae show also won a Sony Award.

The only show of his that is currently still on air is the equally fantastic God's Own Jukebox. However, the future of that show is by no means certain either.

It is essential that anyone who cares about having a diverse range of music on British radio stands up now and lets their voice be heard.

If you're not familiar with Mark Lamarr and his shows, check out his page on the BBC website:


A group of rock 'n' roll fans have got a well-organised campaign underway aimed specifically at saving Lamarr's Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll show. You can find out more here:


They are collecting email addresses to forward on to the head of BBC Radio. I would urge everyone to email them right away on this address to show your support:


You don't have to write a message, but I feel that it's important to let them and the BBC know just how much all three of Lamarr's shows are loved and how important it is to have all of this music represented on air.

You can also make a complaint yourself, directly to The BBC Trust:


Remember, this is not about the cult of the personality or keeping someone in a job, but about keeping quality music on British radio, presented by someone who's passion for collecting and sharing obscure vintage music is second to none.

Wheelie Bag Wednesdays come to an end

DJ Wheelie BagOne of London's best-loved sessions has come to an end. After 8 years at The Pillars Of Hercules, the legendary DJ Wheelie Bag has been told by the venue that his services are no longer required. This comes as quite a surprise as Wheelie Bag's weekly Wednesday evenings have always been popular and well-attended. He has gained a lot of press over the last few years too and in my opinion has helped popularise this otherwise uninteresting Soho boozer.

Well, all good things come to an end as they say, but let's hope that this is a new beginning and that Deejay Wheelie Bag finds a new home where his talents are better appreciated.

You can find out more about the great man from his website: www.djwheeliebag.co.uk