This fantastic steel drum player was busking outside Ealing Broadway station, this evening. In the couple of minutes I spent listening to him he covered some pop song I couldn’t place and Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D-minor. He let flow a gentle, swaying lyricism to both pieces: a hint of jazz, a nod to the relaxing heat of the Carribean, the odd blue note and lots of swing. Glorious!

I’m a fan of buskers who pick music or styles that exaggerate or totally shift the ambience of a space. I think if you simply busk famous songs in a style similar to how they’re most known, you’re missing a trick. Busking has so much potential to subvert the familliar patterns of an average day. Not that I have musical skill enou to pull this off, you understand!

This guy nailed it. Totally out of place amongst commuters scrambling to get home, and really beautiful; reminding us to take it easier and smile more often.


Some friends, as The Dead Pets Society, run an irregular series of club nights, for which I’ve been “the sound guy” at most of the recent ones. They held another of these “occasionals” last friday, and I helped out in my usual fashion. The venue, Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington, holds regular music and club events. The manager likes The Dead Pets a lot and begged them to return – they’re quirky and host off-kilter shows with a diverse range of acts and ideas. This one was themed to celebrate Lief Erikson day, the US’ memorial for the real first European to find North America. I’d mention the yellow submarines, but that might be too obscure a reference for most…

There were three bands, plus DJs.

  • Lonesome Cowboys from Hell play a twisted country sound, with added spooky atmospherics that match their American gothic look. Their lyrics will turn your stomach if their outfits don’t get you first.
  • Bolide improvise spacious, agitated soundscapes, with more than a nod to the free-jazz of the late 60s.
  • Justin Paton has a solo act to compliment his role in Now, jamming simple but very effective acid house on minimal gear.


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