Saturday, 31 March 2012

White Mink's Triumphant Return to Brighton

At the Vintage News, we've long been fans of the Brighton club night White Mink.  What started out as a compilation cd has spawned brilliant nights in both Brighton and London as well as many copycat nights all round the country.  The Vintage News filmed at one of the last White Mink nights in Brighton before they went gallivanting round the country over the summer.
Nick Hollywood on the decks

White Mink: Black Cotton, the cd that kick-started a more mainstream knowledge of electroswing, brought together the finest of the then emerging genre and the original tunes from the '30s and '40s that inspired the contemporary artists. I've been to White Mink in various venues around Brighton, but I think my favourite was the opening of the Brighton Festival a few years ago when the Correspondents played and I was one of a few dancers that did a little display beforehand.
Interviewing Nick Hollywood
Anyway, that's enough background, onto White Mink's homecoming to the Brighton Ballroom.  To those of you familiar with the Brighton Ballroom (especially dancers) it was a pleasant surprise that the supper club that usually precedes club nights had been scrapped - I think owing to the popularity of White Mink.


We were fortunate enough to be able to interview all of the performers as well as the director of Freshly Squeezed records and head honcho of White Mink, Nick Hollywood.  Oh and did I mention he's a brilliant DJ too?

As we entered the Brighton Ballroom, the self-proclaimed World's tallest DJ Will, was on the decks.  He later joined us for an interview - when I say 'us' I mean Kieren, because I couldn't fit in the same camera shot as Will!


We were immediately drawn to Bart and Baker - well they were both in tailcoats and top hats (white and red respectively).  They are a producer/DJ duo from France and seemed very excited to be back in Brighton (in the balmy summers of the mid-90s, Bart studied at Sussex University).
Swingrowers performing
We conducted our first ever interview in Italian (via Giulio the translator) with the duo Swingrowers. All three of our Italian interviewees were rather excitable as you can see in the footage.


 I was wearing my fail-safe '20s style black lace dress that seems to be making an appearance more and more.  Prohibition Speakeasies are all well and good, but I really don't have enough 1920s dresses!  I have one original flapper dress, but it's pale pink with cream lace and very delicate - more for reclining on a chaise longue than dancing! 

I didn't have time to wave my hair, so I went for a strange structural, exaggerated kiss-curl style.  Also, apologies for the picture - it wasn't posed for, I just turned round and Les took my picture!

We had a really good time, especially with the quality of the acts that appeared that night.  We'll definitely be back to White Mink and hopefully we'll be interviewing Nick Hollywood in the near future. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Stop killing the Jazz Man, an Exclusive interview with the Swing Ninjas

As any Lindy dancer in Brighton knows, there is only one place to be on a Wednesday night.  That place is the Mesmerist, a wonderful 'absinthe inspired wonderland of the weird and burlesque' only a couple of minutes walk from the seafront.  The main reason Wednesday evenings draw such a crowd is the weekly residence of the Swing Ninjas, a three-piece gypsy swing band.

The Kandinsky-esque Album cover
We've known the Swing Ninjas for a while, being regulars at the Wednesday shindig and Kieren and I were also dancers in their music video for their imminent single 'Three Blind Mice' (some exclusive clips are featured in our interview below) - I'm the one in the red dress!

In anticipation of their forthcoming album release (Stop Killing the Jazz Man - avialable at all reputable retailers on March 14th), we set up an interview with 'Dirty Horn Trio' at the aformentioned watering hole.

The Swing Ninjas are made up (from left to right)of Bruce - Helicon/Tuba & vocals, Will - Alto Saxophone & Vocals and Jamie - Guitar & Vocals.

The interview took some rather interesting turns, with childhood tuba trauma, Kevin Costner and George Bushisms making more of an appearance than you would expect.

Rather than describe the interview in full, I will put a link below so you can enjoy it for yourselves.

I will just end on a quote from the Swing Ninjas facebook:

"...these Three will sing you into swoonage with sugared ballads, make you wiggle to back-room jive and get you swinging harder than a monkey overdosing on bananas".

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Swing Ninjas Interview-

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Where the underworld can meet the elite, 42nd Street (well 43rd)

I may have mentioned it occasionally (well, more than that I fear), but I went to New York last week.  I went for a little holiday with my cousin Sally and we spent five days 'On the Town'  in Manhattan.  Five days may not seem like much but we packed so much into those few days that I'm going to split my travel tales into two blog posts.  This post details the first two days of our trip.  I've included rather a few pictures - I took over 500 in total, but don't worry, they aren't all going up here!

We spent the first afternoon just ambling around and enjoying being in America.  We commenced our tourist extravaganza the next day by taking ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Although Lady Liberty was closed, we did get some lovely views from the ferry and enjoyed looking round the infamous immigration centre at Ellis Island.


America (and New York in particular) is famous for many foods (including bagels and the bacon/pancakes breakfast combo, both of which we tried) but something I was anxious to try was some famous New York Cheesecake.  When doing a bit of research beforehand, I discovered Junior's Restaurant in Brooklyn.  We went for dinner and in the end could only manage a small slice of plain cheesecake, but even that was amazing.  It's no wonder they are world famous for this particular type of confection. 


 It had been recommended to us to walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge as they views are spectacular.  Thank you to all those that recommended it - they were not wrong about the views.  I need not say more as I think the photos will do themselves justice.


Despite being rather scared of heights, I promised Sally I would go up the Empire State Building with her (and the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre).  The night-time photos are from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and the daytime photos are taken by Sally (silly me didn't charge my camera) and are from the 70th floor of the GE building (30 Rock if you will).





We had the New York Pass which got us free entry to Madame Tussaud's, so obviously we had to go and spend some time with our waxy friends.  Here are a few of my favourite pictures.



That’s it for part one.  Part two to come in two shakes of a monkey’s uncle.