Tag Archives: Upstairs at the Ritzy

The Magpie Lands and Brixton’s Bank Holiday Feeling

23 Aug

The French take a day off work to let off fireworks on Bastille Day, on 14 July, to commemorate a key symbolic event in the French Revolution. The Americans get all pyrotechnic on 4 July in celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And the people of the Philippines celebrate their independence from the USA, and Spain, with fireworks and a public holiday on 12 June.

As a nation, Britain is in the rather embarrassing historical position of generally being the ‘oppressor’; looking through the list of national days on Wikipedia, most countries seem to be celebrating their independence from us. So the UK’s designated ‘fireworks day’ on 5 November, rather than a commemoration of the glorious achievement of nationhood, is in honour of some disgruntled Catholics who tried to blow up the government, and were then executed. What exactly we’re celebrating here is a bit of a grey area, but unless the government suddenly grants us a public holiday to do it, I reluctantly mention that this weekend coming is the last Monday off until (shhh) christmas. So let’s use it wisely, eh?

The refurbed Upstairs at the Ritzy is having a free relaunch party  on Friday featuring music from awesome skiffle band The Severed Limb. The Windmill (sticky floored music venue not historic mill) are planning to barbecue on Sunday to the sound of their 1992 ‘Retrospectacular’  – with various bands covering songs from this year. Dressed in global hypercolour, hopefully. Also on Sunday, Radio6Music’s Gilles Peterson has been confirmed for the roof terrace at Brixton Clubhouse. Or head over to Myatt’s Field for a picnic to learn about Remakery and Makerhood, skills swapping and local craftiness from 1pm.

Also taking place this weekend at The Brick Box’s temporary home at the old Angel Pub is Magpie, a mini-festival of music, art and performance, weirdness and wonder, kicking off on Thursday night (£3 entry) and carrying on through Friday and Saturday evenings (£5 entry).

The Angel is destined to become a development of four houses and four flats once planning permission is received by the property company, Lexadon. Until October however, they have been renting the space out to The Brick Box, a grass-roots arts organisation who put on various community-based shows, workshops and interactive arty experiences from their usual locations in Brixton and Tooting markets.

There’s a veritable artistic buffet of performers lined up for this weekend’s festivities. Local artist and curator of Magpie David Nevin will be displaying his work, and Aerial Sparks has made a house out of dolls. Creepy. There’ll be poetry from acclaimed poet Dan Holloway on a roof, as well as in a very small ‘Eritrean Hut’, where, for the brave and, er, probably those whose courage comes by way of Holland, more intimate performances will be taking place. That’s not a euphemism. (Apart from the bit about Holland, that was).

Music tonight comes from the London City Reggae Choir and Brixton DJ Geoff Parker, who I think is behind the Catch a Fire nights Upstairs at the Ritzy. Tomorrow night is Gothic rock from Andi Sex Gang and Chris from United 80 will be DJing on Saturday.

If you’re there at around 10pm definitely look out for weird, absurdist comedy from Annie Bashford and Grumpy Lettuce. Having trained at clown school in Paris (where she met her comedy partner) Annie’s just back from performing right wing cabaret  with Frank Sanazi (say it out loud) at the Edinburgh festival. As you do.

Hungry? There’s veggie curry on offer tonight, and expect fantastic LA-inspired meat sandwiches on offer from London French Dip on Friday and Saturday. Get there quickly because odds are they’ll sell out.

Right then. I’ll start the Weekend Countdown Clock then shall I?

The Friday Feeling

9 Dec

Well, it’s Friday flippin’ Friday again and we’re heading full tilt towards Christmas. If you’re one of those people who dislikes the whole tinselly debacle I’m afraid it’s just tough, as Brixton is conspiring to Shove It In Your Face this weekend.

It sounds like it will be the usual fun and frolics at the Village tonight. Oh, but with a cardboard log cabin. No, I don’t understand either but am definitely going to go and investigate. Grand opening is at 7pm.

Coldharbour Lane is going to be the scene of a craft-and -Christmas-off this weekend. Which will no doubt equal a whole lot of bunting. The New Vintage  is back at Living Bar on Saturday from 11am. If you didn’t make it last time there’s a post and some photos here. The Christmas cheer will be provided by a three-part harmony group called Swinging in Heels (no, not that kind of swinging) who will be singing festive tunes.

Not to be outdone, rival gang/market the Crafty Fox a few doors down at Dogstar is countering with a Christmas decorating workshop. They get points for stamina too, setting up shop both Saturday and Sunday.

I’m looking forward to some crafting smack-talk.

On Saturday night the Windmill is hosting ‘a festive evening of post and electro punk and mince pies’. Proving wrong all those doubters who thought punk wasn’t a pastry-friendly genre. 

Alternatively, £20 at Upstairs at the Ritzy gets you a full Caribbean buffet, a glass of punch and a night of reggae at the Rocksteady Christmas Party

And do you know who’s playing the Academy on Saturday night? It’s Ocean Colour Scene! Go on, you LOVED Moseley Shoals. Everyone did, it was the 90s! All together now, WO OH LA LA, WO OH LA LA. The after party’s at the Brixton Jamm. Just in case you want to, you know, sip another rum and coke…



HANG ON: Update on the Log Cabin. There will be no Log Cabin opening tonight, I’ve just seen on Twitter that it’s been moved to next weekend.

The Friday Feeling

21 Oct

As Beirut might say: it’s been a long time, long time coming. But it’s HERE. FINALLY. So, what to do with 48 hours of freedom from the drudgery of our working lives?!

My weekend will start in the company of about 4,000 antipodeans.  I am very generously taking Mr Liz to see Australian band Cat Empire at the Brixton Academy tonight. So if you’re getting off the tube at Brixton after 11pm tonight be prepared to face a surge of flip flops and shrill girls called Kylie and Brooke.  Then, excitingly, I’ll be spending Saturday in the marathon of drinking cocktails and wearing pink that constitutes a hen do. My first ever one!

But more importantly (for people who aren’t me): what’s Brixton up to? Well, on Saturday there is the chance to take part in a rural idyll in urban Brixton and help plant winter wheat at the windmill.

There’s still tickets available for When the Chickens Came Home to Roost, a biographical drama about Malcolm X  and the first play to be staged at The Brixton Empire (formerly Mass nightclub in St Matthew’s church).

The main action this weekend is Sunday’s Oxjam. Aiming to raise £6000 for Oxfam, performances are being staged from 3pm onwards at four different Brixton venues. There still seem to be early bird tickets available for £7 from here. On the day they’ll be a tenner, I assume from the venues but I’m afraid I couldn’t find anything to confirm this!

The line up was a little hard to find it has to be said… (It’s in the info tab of the event’s Facebook  page, you have to expand the section.) If you can’t be bothered to click through, it’s here:

PLAN B (6pm-Midnight):

Nu:tone B2B Logistics ft. SP:MC
Ayah Marar
Drop/ Dead
Somethink Sounds
DJ Strago

THE DOGSTAR (3pm – Midnight):

Work It! DJs
The Stow
The Great Malarkey
Jack Leon Colton
BAC Beatbox Academy ft. Deanna Rogers and Paul Cree

THE WINDMILL (3pm-11pm):

Kay Suzuki
Beaty Heart
Spectre Spector
A Sweet Niche
Soccer 96
Little Big Noise
Zoe Konez
Mercy Alexander


Russell Swallow & The Wolf
I Am A Pilot
Jon Nickoll
Grace Banks
We Are Goose
Tim Lacy

(Oh, apologies for the lack of Friday Feeling last week. As I took a trip to Scotland, my Friday was actually Wednesday, and that just would have been mean)


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