Let's all do the conga (Klub Kakofanney Lockdown Letter)

Let's all do the conga

Here we are again. It is the first Friday of the month and in normal times right now I'd be charging up cameras and sorting out signage ready for a Klub Kakofanney evening. Tonight's gig would have been a special one, the start of Klub Kakofanney's 29th anniversary weekender. Twenty nine years!

Phil and Sue started Klub Kakofanney back on October 1st, 1991 as a not-for-profit venture with a mission to support live music in Oxford, and have kept it running ever since, making it the longest-running music night in Oxford. So yesterday, on the exact date of the anniversary, Sue and Phil sat in front of my camera and we recorded this special video for you of recollections and reminisces.

Twenty nine years is a lot of gigs, and prior to this year, the only Kakofanney gig that was ever cancelled was March 2018 when the Beast From The East swept across the UK, when buses were frozen to the tarmac, when 22 inches of snow fell in the Cotswolds and the country ground to a halt. During the rest of those 29 years, hundreds of bands and musicians have played for Klub Kakofanney, many of them making their live performance debuts, and goodness knows how many people have been in the audiences in that time. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years. You make the difference.

Blackbird, ladybird, hummingbird, crow

This year we are confined to our anniversary armchairs, so here instead is a banging "Klub Kakofanney Reloaded" video for you, from July 2018, when the legendary Barry and The Beachcombers got together for a memorable one-off reunion gig. We started the evening with people arriving early in case we sold out, and ended the night dancing the conga around the Wheatsheaf. The band is fronted by Chris, who had come all the way from Australia, with Ali (cow suit) on guitar, David (deranged clown make-up) on bass, and Jason beating out the rhythm on the drums. So close those curtains, crack open a tin of your favourite tipple, turn up the volume, and do a socially-distanced conga around your living room. Go on, you know you want to.

New wave is now middle-aged

Going back even further to forty years ago this month, October 1980, the great John Peel played the music of Altered Images for the very first time on his late night show. I can't remember which tracks he played that night, but those were the days when unknown unhyped new wave bands could get airtime on Radio One and it was that exposure which kicked off Altered Images' career. The vocalist Claire Grogan was also to become famous for her acting role in the film Gregory's Girl, and has appeared on TV playing Kristine Kochanski in cult comedy Red Dwarf, and as the feminist rock star Niamh Connely in the Rock-a-Hula episode of Father Ted. Forty years on, Grogan still gigs with Altered Images, although these days she is the only one of the original members left, and the band is now an all-woman line-up. Here is their Top Of The Pops appearance from the 1980s. Can you guess which track it is going to be?

The serious bit

And now for the serious stuff. The number of covid cases in Oxford has doubled in the past week. That was almost inevitable given that students make up 24% of the city's population, but it does mean we all need to be more careful than ever. I know how difficult it is, but please try to rememeber the facemasks, social distancing, and hand sanitising at every opportunity. I don't want anyone ending up as a statistic. So until we gig again, keep healthy and keep those spirits up.

2nd October 2020
The Lockdown Letters
Klub Kakofanney