Deep down everyone’s a junglist (Freetime at the Ivy House, May 2015)

The thing about Freetime is that you never quite know what to expect.

Apart from good music of course.

Freetime is the one where we get to play what we want. No theme, just a space to play stuff, where you get to come and hang out with us in your ‘freetime’ if you want to. No pressure, nothing to pay on the door, just nice friendly vibes.

On Friday we were back to our favourite Freetime venue, the Ivy House, which has been saved by the people and is London’s first co-operatively owned pub, and all the more special for it (quick confession, I am a shareholder, but that doesn’t mean any of the above is untrue).

Music-wise we played Audio Bullys to Congo Natty via Marvin Gaye, The Beat and Ibibio Sound Machine. Kit-wise we got through two mixers and three decks, having to make a quick detour home mid-set to pick up our own equipment. We played everything on proper old vinyl. Dancers were typically shy at first (apart from the ‘there’s always one’ guy who couldn’t sit down from the off) but by the time we got to the jungle face-off between djs D Rex and Kamakiri, everyone was a junglist and was forming circles to out-skank each other on the dancefloor. We had some winners in the crew who had travelled from Cardiff to spend some freetime with us, but there were definitely a few contenders!

Technical hitches aside, we had a blast and here comes a massive big thanks to all of you who joined us. It was a lovely mixture of regular Dino Collective fans, old pals and I think we made a few new ones. Welcome to Freetime courtesy of Dino Collective, and if you want to keep updated, you can subscribe to this blog or join our Facebook page.

Here are some photos. Comment if you see yourself!

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Bazooka Joe’s in Bordeaux: the commitment to disco

What began as a quirky idea to put on a Bazooka Joe’s night in France turned into a full-on disco mission when French air traffic controllers decided to strike on our day of departure, and we had to change our flight tickets to train tickets.

The ambitious (some might say crazy) idea to pack the whole disco into a disco case and take it to Europe weighed heavily on the two of us as we (mostly Dolly Debris, as she’s hard like that) swung the Samsonite up onto Eurostars and TGVs as we railed through England and then France. Changing only at Disneyland, would you believe.

It might have looked like chutzpah to hold a party in someone else’s town.  In fact it was more than that. This was a pure commitment to disco.

The venue, Paul’s Place, was situated in a most beautiful part of Bordeaux called Chartrons. The eponymous Paul is originally from Cambridge and moved to Bordeaux many years ago. Big on literature, he holds many events in Paul’s Place and serves meals every day of the week. I believe this was his first disco, however.

Paul was generous enough to allow us the run of the place for a couple of hours when he went out to stock up on cocktail ingredients. I don’t think he had fully prepared himself for the transformation from bar/restaurant to bingo hall/dancefloor!

Also super generous, local bordelais Benjamin Charles aka Michel Bananes Jr from fab local artists’ gallery N’a qu’1 oeil lent us his sound equipment, despite having a lot on his plate himself that weekend. Merci infiniment à Ben for this generosity. We really appreciate it!

This really was a Bazooka Joe’s just like the ones we have in Brockley (we only do them in places which start with a ‘B’ so watch out Berlin and Bognor Regis). From the lights, to the sweets, to the bingo prizes bought in Deptford, we really did take south London to Bordeaux. We had the same wigs, shoes, peach dresses and bingo balls that we usually have.  I repeat, all of this paraphernalia fits into 1 case of less than 20kg in order to fit into an Easyjet plane’s hold!

Our audience was made up of a brilliant European mix, due to the fact that we were (primarily) in Bordeaux on a work project. We are really indebted to all of you who came, not just French, but Lithuanian, Belgian, and Dutch too, as well as some Brits, friends and relatives of Paul. It was also fantastic to see my old pal Adeline from past Habitat days, so pleased you came Ad!

Anticipating that the Europeans might not appreciate our ‘ironic’ sense of humour and our unusual enjoyment of playing bingo, it was really great fun to see everyone partaking in the bingo, and some taking it more seriously than you might imagine, considering the prizes!  I find that bingo always brings out that competitive spirit! Also the French reputation for being slow or reluctant to dance was not too evident, as they whipped up a storm on the dancefloor!  Particularly impressive was the bodypopping and the knowledge of lyrics from the men when it came to classic tunes by The Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash.  Going 80’s next time looks like a dead cert.

Apologies for the bad dancefloor pictures. As always, I ask for you to send me any photos you took if you were there as they will surely be better than mine. It’s always hard to multi-task as DJ/bingo mediator/translator/photographer, using just a phone to take photos.

Enfin, merci à Bordeaux de nous accepter! I know we have strange British ways but you have to admit they are kind of cute…

Bazooka Joe’s is back in Brockley in May. We are doing a special night on 30th May, the first Saturday of Brockley Max, upstairs at the Talbot Pub.  See you there!

Bazooka Joe’s at the Brockley Social Club, February 2015

The return of Bazooka Joe’s to the Brockley Social Club came along faster than you can pop a massive bubble of gum.

The party people of Brockley turned up in their glad rags, multi colours and 70s tank tops and joined us for 2 rounds of bingo and an aperitif of cheese and pineapple on sticks, before dancing the night away.

Our impeccably dressed guest DJ, Mr Francis aka Captain Disco, did us proud with some funk and soul on the dance floor, and DJ Mental Floss got the ladies dancing, and even some of the men, with some real disco classics.  The niftiest moves came from the oldest dancers, who everyone else tried (in vain) to copy. Those feet were just moving too fast; the nimble turns were executed so lightly – it was wonderful to see a couple who have plainly spent a lifetime dancing together with such enjoyment.

Nobody recognised Debs ‘the Dealer’, our wonderful bingo caller, once she had put on her (third) wig; in fact a few rumours went about that it was Debbie Harry who had turned up in Brockley in a shiny lurex jumpsuit. Whichever Deborah it was, she dished out some unforgettable prizes, as usual. Top prize tonight was the bumper 1975 edition of the Family Fortunes board game. What a lucky winner. So lucky that she gave the prize back.

Huge thanks go to Angela for the wonderful gigantic hedgehog that she made, absolutely stuffed with cheese, pineapple and grapes, and with licorice for eyes.  It’s thirsty work doing disco dancing, and this fruity mocktail went down very well indeed. I went back for more, to find just the polystyrene carcass winking sadly up at me with a few remaining wonky sticks.

It was such fun, being transported back to that old era when most of us were kids.

We are off on our European tour next, stopping off at Bordeaux don’t you know, and you are all invited. A new city starting with B, a new Guest DJ on the horizon who I know will get you all dancing comme des fous.  But if you can’t make it to la belle France, you will join us, next time we pop back to Brockley, n’est-ce pas?

You can click on any of them to see them better.

Apart from a few taken by me, photo credits and big snappy thanks go to Jay Alix, with selfies by Shermin Arkut/Ruth Spencer and Laura Kinnunen/Gerald Francis. As ever, if you have any good photos from the night, please send them my way!

See you next time!

Bazooka Joe’s first outing at the Brockley Social Club (October 2014) – photos

We have just announced our second coming (on the 7th February).

For some of you that may mean nothing.

So please find some photographs from our first coming, in October of last year. I was remiss and didn’t post them at the time.  It was a mild autumnal day and evening and we had a lovely time dressing up the social club and then dressing up ourselves. You’ll see more of the former than the latter in the photos (due to darkness) but that’s probably a good thing as we looked very silly. Well I looked alright but you should have seen my Northern cohort and bingo-caller in her many guises and hair pieces!

A little bundle of you conga-ed in, all at around ten to nine, we played bingo for some brilliant prizes, and then we disco danced the night away to some classic 70’s tunes.

Bazooka Joe’s returns to the Brockley Social Club on 7th February 2015.
240 Brockley Road
SE4 2SU

All welcome, so do please join us!
8 till late, just 3 pound coins on the door, no need for advance ticket or RSVP or queue round the block. Feel free to dress up, 70’s gear or otherwise, but feel no obligation.Bazooka Joe flyer 2 Feb 2015