Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Carnival 2011!

My jerk chicken craving was well and truly satisfied this weekend at London's biggest street party, the Notting Hill Carnival...

This annual two day extravaganza has been taking place since the 1960s and is the biggest Carnival in Europe - and is in fact one of the biggest in the world, second only to the Rio Carnival in Brazil.

I usually like to head to Carnival veteran Norman Jay's Good Times sound system, but unfortunately (and rather disappointingly) they took a hiatus this year.

So, I headed to the legendary Gaz's Rockin' Blues sound system, which had a gypsy theme going on, and a great atmosphere with a live band - never before would I have thought that you could mix ska with bagpipes....but it worked, yes you heard right somehow it worked!

Other highlights included going on a hunt for food in my Malibu haze and meeting chef, and inventor of Reggae Reggae Sauce, Levi Roots!

I think there was some fear that there would be trouble at Carnival this year, following the recent riots across London, but from what I saw, and what I have read, it was mostly peaceful, except for maybe one or two isolated scuffles. As ever, there was a strong police presence, which is to be expected for an event of this size.

The atmosphere was brilliant, and every time I go to our Carnival I am always reminded of yet another reason why it's so great to live in our beautiful city.

Check out my photos from last year's Carnival...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Discerning doo-woppers!

I went along to the debut show of the cleverly named Inteli-Gents last weekend and I have to tell you that those three dapper dudes have doo-wopped their way straight to the top of my favourite new bands list.

They took to the stage at the Cat's Meow club night (something I have blogged about many times before) which is, in actual fact, less like a stage, and more like a musical cavern of sorts. Either way, those guys, with their charming smiles and pleasing vocal harmonies made a brilliant first impression, and their matching outfits did not go unappreciated - you've gotta love a band who looks the part as well as sounds it.

I don't think there are too many doo-wop bands on the London scene at the moment, so it's quite refreshing to hear something a bit different, that's played skillfully and is both fun to listen to, and fun to bust a groove to. Every one of their songs was danceable, which was evident as the dance floor remained packed for the whole night! I didn't want to risk too many dance related kicks to the shins and bumps to the bod, so I alternated between dancing a bit, and also just sitting back and watching them play (this never would have happened had Aaron been there - I would have been on that dance floor from start to finish!).

I think they may have been a teeny bit nervous, pre-performance, but they needn't have been, as the crowd was happy, and they even threw some Nappy Brown into the mix, which always wins my vote.

At the risk of sounding like the president of their fan club, I really cannot sing their praises enough - stellar performance gentlemen! I look forward to the next show...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rock-a-hula baby!

Elvis returned to the building, (namely, the South London Pacific tiki bar) to shake things up for a special Hula Boogie tribute night to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the King's death.

It was a night (oooh what a night, it was, it really was such a night) filled with popcorn, peanut butter sandwiches with either banana or cheese, limited edition Elvis kitkats, a raffle featuring Elvis cushions, dolls, dvds, cds a supposed piece of Elvis' bed sheet (!!!!) and more, Elvis masks (creepy!), Elvis' music, flying underwear and.....*drum roll*....Black Elvis!

Clearly there were a lot of us who wanted some good rockin' on a summery Sunday night, as the bar was packed and hot providing a big audience for the hunk of burning love himself. Black Elvis played a couple of sets, complete with costume change, and as he felt his temperature rising, dabbed himself off with the array of thongs that were thrown on the stage during his performance....

The Reverend Boogie kept the tunes coming and the crowd happy, and Miss Aloha was, as ever, the hostess with the mostest, making sure that everyone was having fun!

It's clear that a lot of effort went into organizing this annual Elvis celebration, with so many little details added to make it special. Therefore it's no surprise that Hula Boogie was voted the Best Vintage Club Night in London in The Vintage Guide to London's 'Best of 2011' Awards. This is a great accolade for the club, but also great for us Hula Boogie-ers, because as a result of their win, entry to the club for next month will be reduced! Hoorah and thank you very much!

Thank you to Miss Aloha for letting me use some of her photos from the night, as I was too busy having fun to take very many!