This is a fundamental tenet of my beliefs.
And I’ve had it dashed.
Repeat exposure to old copies of Top Of The Pops, ancient photos revealed in the holy book of Mojo show the fathers of rock n roll, the progenitors of pop flouncing around with clean locks.
I feel sick to my stomach.
I keep on telling myself I will never believe again.
But where did I create this mantra. It was forever in Chuck’s ducktail, Little Richard’s pompadour, Elvis’s Quiff. And blow me down; even Buster Bloodvessel’s bald head was cleanly shaven – in all likelihood even dabbed with aftershave. Brut-ish brutes.
Eyeliner, make up, lipstick. They’ve all been at their momma’s pots.
Even last night, back at the Karamel Club, Nia’s deep bluesey, Karen Dalton, Billie Holiday, barnet was washed. Charlie Snelling’s positive pop evoked tainted love tresses proved pure. Adam Masterson’s urban pagan pernickety lion’s mane pristine preened. What has been going on in mind.
Rock N Roll gave me a commitment to rebel long hair, regular face fluff and ear wax. But did it have to be so dirty.
Where was I in aligning myself to rock, greaser, grebo, hippy, punk and permed footballers. Why couldn’t I see that my religion was dominated by fake pretty priests. When did music stop getting real and when will it return. Chris Sheehan I ban you from the shampoo.
Travelling to the Shape Offices for the last day of the New Voices course I found myself shocked and alarmed by a poster on the tube.
It wasn't the picture. It was the title. I suddenly realised that as a disabled person I was now at risk of acquiring another label.
I was suddenly beiing asked to consider myself as one of The Undateables. Any search for love would be futile. Love for me had to be blind, disfigured and autistic.
I could hear the word echoing around the playground, in the pubs and on the terraces.
Should i feel grateful to Channel 4 for this? Having not watched programmes about disability for a long, long time I also felt strangely drawn to this. I also felt sick to my stomach.
So, i took a photo. I forgot it for a while and then i decided to manipulate the image a little.
Wonder how everyone feels about this.
Up early, yesterday, sitting at the PC, marvelling at an early youtube clip sent by Chris Sheehan of Robert Plant getting up to sing a rollicking rock blues with Charlie Wood .. Late last night going home having seen Chris compere for Charlie’s chilled out jazz grooves at the Karamel Music Club, Wood Green, London, I thought I need to tell my readers about this place.
This story reflects on Keys to the Karamel Club’s Sweet Konnektions. Chris Sheehan, Creative Director of Karamel Music Collective prefers to call himself a singer songwriter. A while back he had the opportunity to lead a couple of days at a Chris Difford's (Squeeze) songwriters week. They met, they played, they created, and became the bedrock of the Karamel’s Music Nights – all sweetly konnekted – all top of their kraft, all konnekted to others, and the others starting to come to the Karamel – a kalm, kollected kollektive dedicated to good times and kraft. Ddi the people who used this k technique for the Kinks back in the day have a spell chekker korrekting all the words?
Songwriters seem to inhabit a secret life of their own, scuttling off to dark corners of the soul, returning with rewards for all who want to listen. They don’t necessarily front their own songs. Others sometimes do it. Some have other abilities. They can sing, they can play. They are wanted. Charlie Wood is connected to Jacquie Dankworth, herself a Karamel regular and scion of Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth. Other artists who have shown up have been connected to Fairground Attraction, Alicia Keyes, Shirley Bassey. The list goes on. They have been around, they're not muppets, nor pop puppets. They are real, authentic, rootsy and red hot. They have turned themselves around to face a little club in North London. Why? To be connected, to form a community, to be loved and wanted. It’s not quite Laurel Canyon. Its’ not quite CBGBs. The talent has its own flavour and collects quietly and modestly at the Karamel. And listen to this…. they play for nothing. A tip jar is passed around. The community, a crowd prepared to sit, liten and adore gladly show their respect and appreciation.
The crowd itself is another key to the Karamel. Every time I go there I find someone new to talk to. A politician, a producer, a fan, lovers of the arts. Many come through their connections with the Chocolate Factory and Collage Arts whose Director, Manoj Ambassna, is almost always in attendance, networking, listening to ideas, wanting to support.
There is an element of playing for a pie and a pint. They get fed and watered by the mighty Ian, chef with his own connections to restaurants a foodie would have heard of. Ian’s always hot, always cheap, always excellent food is another key element. It should be praised highly.
Then there’s Rosely Funari who runs the club itself, who has created the comfort, the ambience, the warmth, further keys. Rosely is supported by family and volunteers. She is another who is willing to talk with, work with, mentor artists. She might be top of the food chain but she is no feeder. She is the final key element in a club that gives and keeps on giving. The Karamel is a love fest.
The Karamel seeks to be accessible and inclusive. A disabled toilet has been built into the premises. Rosely wants to know if it’s right. She wants to listen to anyone who can tell her how to improve things so the club becomes more and more a thing for everyone, a place for a community to grow. Support it.
In the spirit of inclusivity, I have been offered the Karamel space for 6 weeks later in the year. I want to hang works by our artists on the walls, I want people to use the performance space, I want to host talks and put on workshops that reveal our lives, our world to this keen to learn community. If you are interested in participating drop me a line on my other blog;