A tap dancing mouse on caffeine (Klub Kakofanney Lockdown Letter)

A tap dancing mouse on caffeine

I find myself having mixed emotions this week. On the one hand, the covid numbers are shockingly high, much higher than we ever thought would happen, but on the other hand, they have shown signs of coming down over the last couple of days, and vaccinations are proceeding at a cracking pace, with more vaccines and treatments coming onto the stage. Each day we get through this is one day closer to life resuming. Keep looking forward.

Subversive swing

A couple of days ago, Wednesday 27th, was Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme of the day was to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also to remember the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness before, during and after the genocide. So it is fitting to bring you this previously unpublished clip from The Mighty Redox performing their song, "Edward", at Klub Kakofanney in 2018. This song was originally inspired by their emotional meeting in Vienna with Phil's great aunt Erszi, who was herself one of the survivors of Auschwitz.

Always a popular dance number, this song is defiantly set to swing, to reflect the subversive use of swing music in the concentration camps, to maintain the human spirit in the darkest of times. The full lyrics are included in the youtube notes, to give you more insight into the meaning. The song appears on the album "Beyond Our Eyes" which was made possible by crowdfunding and released in September 2018. As always, your comments are welcomed.

So what if I dye my hair?

I'm certain you've all heard of Toyah, the young woman who burst onto the music scene in the new wave era and impressed us with her articulate vocals, dynamic dancing, and inspired fashions. She still performs at gigs, (pre-covid, obviously), and "I want to be free" continues to be the crowd-pleaser. For me, the lyrics of that song describe the spirit of punk, and maybe it is also an anthem for this period of lockdown. I've found this clip of her from the utterly brilliant Kenny Everett Show, circa 1980.

The quality of that clip isn't great, but remember that your tiny digital phone has more pixels on it today than the monster luxury analogue TVs of the 80s, more colour depth, more fidelity. Watching it reminded me how great the Kenny Everett show was, how ground-breaking some of the effects were, how anarchic the comedy was, and how the artists didn't take themselves too seriously and were so willing to join in the fun.

Tap-dancing mice

Toyah married Robert Fripp, the founder and lead guitarist of King Crimson, a band which dates back to the 1960s and was the original prog rock band. In the days when Hyde Park in London used to host several completely free gigs each summer featuring seriously big names in rock, King Crimson supported The Rolling Stones in July 1969 and headlined the final Hyde Park gig in September 1971. Toyah is now 60-something, and Fripp is well into his 70s, but they still have music in their veins. Over the past year, they've been putting out very short videos once a week entitled "Toyah and Robert's Sunday Lunch". This one from last summer shows the spirit of fun lives on. Fripp is playing a strangely contracted version of the King Crimson song, "Fracture".

The tap dancing is impressive, but clearly it's the mouse ears which make all the difference. A large survey out today confirms that in this lockdown, people have been spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV. Maybe the winter weather discourages people from going on walks, so if that's the case, make sure you have a dance round the living room every now and then, just to keep the muscles working and the blood pumping. And if mouse ears encourages you to do that, go for it.

29th January 2021
The Lockdown Letters
Klub Kakofanney