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Bananarara 80’s night, at the Hill Station cafe, 28th November 2015

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Bazooka Joe’s upstairs at The Talbot, for Brockley Max – May 2015

A lot has happened since May, most of it not relevant to this blogette about discos and music and playing vinyl in the South of London. But aren’t you desperate to find out what happened when Bazooka Joe’s came to The Talbot for the fun and popular local festival Brockley Max?

The photos say a lot (mostly thank you to the ever generous and talented Jay Alix). As you can see there was bingo and Barry, synchronised disco dancing (thank you Ken and Matilda), nylon and nibbles and generally a lot of good fun.

The Disco Phone rang, and I like to think we answered it.

Here are lots more silly pictures. If you had came and had fun, please do comment, or if you have a venue and are looking for a fun night of retro 70s entertainment, get in touch and we will bring Bazooka Joe to you.

Our thanks go to the friendly venue, to the festival organisers of Brockley Max. and most of all to those of you who came, old timers and new friends. Looking forward to next year… if you’ll have us.

Silent Disco – what’s it all about then?

You’ve either heard the term bandied about and wondered why on earth disco might be silent.

Or you’ve pranced around yourself wearing headphones in a dark quiet room looking quite the eccentric, bobbing about to sounds no one else can hear.

Silent disco has been around for years, originating in music festivals and used by some eco-activists to minimise noise pollution and disturbance to the local wildlife.  The ‘silent’ element means the music can continue playing beyond a normal curfew.  That silence is due to hearing the music through wireless headphones, and not ‘out loud’ – the music is broadcast through radio transmitters – although of course in reality there is no silence but a lot of singing aloud and giggling and, well, people having fun are not generally making much of an effort to remain quiet.

The term has been in the Oxford Dictionary Online since 2005. A silent disco was held in that year as one of the many activities at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, USA and the catchy term obviously stuck. Today there are many companies offering silent disco headset hire, in the UK and worldwide.

The high entertainment factor, and the main reason for their popularity, comes from the fact that silent disco headsets are generally manufactured with two or three channels, which gives the listener the choice of which one they want to listen to – and they can change between them as they wish. Due to the different music and tempos in the one party space (can be indoors, can be out) you get a funny rabble of all sorts of out of rhythm jigging and out of tune singing. From the DJ’s point of view, you are competing for dancers, but in a nice subtle way as it’s not glaringly obvious if nobody is dancing to your tunes (the pressure’s off – I love this about silent disco djing!).  From the dancer’s or onlooker’s point of view it’s great fun to see who else is dancing to what you are dancing to. It’s a case of sidling up to people who have flung their hands in the air or started singing along to something en masse, and saying ‘I want what you are having!’ It’s basically very funny.

Silent disco doesn’t always suit the party, the atmosphere, the timing or the crowd.  You come to know when in an evening it’s a good idea to ‘go silent’ or if it’s even worth it. We have a friend who is an expert in organising (and going to) parties full stop and if there were ever PHDs given out for Studies in Silent Disco, she would be the first recipient and would get a First for sure.  She is our font of all knowledge when it comes to the art and science of silent disco and, what’s more, she has a large number of headsets for hire.  In fact when she is ready to launch her company I will be fully bigging it up! Until then, we can access those very headsets (at a competitive price!) and that scientific know-how in order to organise a brilliant silent disco for YOU.

Don’t think that any DJ will do, either. You can’t use a diva of a DJ with silent disco, as he or she will want to claim to himself all the glory of the tunes and the frenzied crowd of dancers.  The Dino Collective just want you to have a good time, by dancing to some great tunes. You give us the brief of what you want to hear – it’s not about us, it’s about YOU.

As you can see from the photos, silent disco can be for all ages (RIP Alan who enjoyed whiskey and dancing to the end). It can be used for different genres of music, film (just hook up a projector and you are ready to go), kids, outdoor parties, house parties where some people want to carry on chatting and not everybody wants to hear music or dance. It also seems to go very well with fancy dressing (you will see photographic evidence of some very fancy Mexican Day of the Dead outfits, don’t ask me why this theme goes so well with silent disco).  We have even done a silent disco in a teepee in a field in Surrey, but it didn’t seem too necessary to be silent when you have hectares of space around you and no complaining neighbours, so after a while we gave up on the silent bit and just did noisy disco.

If I have spurred you on to hold your own silent disco, you know what to do. Try it!

If you want help sourcing the headsets, organising the night or just getting us to dj for you, please get in touch via a comment or through our Facebook page.

Above all, enjoy!

Photo credit: most photos taken by the wonderful Jay Alix.

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!