May 2005: A Good Month
The night after its grand opening, I went to check out the new Vortex premises. Although only located about a mile south of Stoke Newington, Dalston has a very different vibe. The Dalston Culture House is part of a larger programme to regenerate the area.
Thanks largely to its indefatigable proprietor David Mossman, the new Vortex has successfully transferred much of the atmosphere and ambience of the old club. The new space is a similar size to the old, but rather better laid out, with the bar and toilets at the back rather than alongside the stage, leading to less disturbance. Although it has installed all of the legally essential facilities (very important, as it was the lack of these that led to the license being refused on the old club), so far the budget has not stretched to such luxuries as a raised stage, a means of playing recorded music before the show & in the interval, or acoustic curtains for the large picture window. As ever with The Vortex, all offers of help - financial or in kind - will be gratefully received. You can even buy lifetime membership for £1000, surely a bargain!
As for the music, Claude Deppa's Five Funky Fellas lived up to their name, with the ubiquitous tuba player Oren Marshall (in this context a.k.a. Dr. Funk) being the funkiest of the five. (More on Oren Marshall soon in London Calling, as he has just released an excellent album.)
Saturday 21st: Cardiff
After a tedious goalless match, Arsenal beat Manchester United on penalties to win the FA Cup for the third time in four years. Cue dancing on the streets of north London.
Wednesday 25th: Istanbul
In an amazing match, Liverpool come back from three-nil down to beat AC Milan on penalties and win the Champions League for the fifth time, giving them the right to keep the trophy. Cue dancing on the streets of Merseyside.
Monday 30th: Cardiff
West Ham United won the play-off final against Preston, to be promoted back to the Premiership after two years away. Cue dancing on the streets of east London.
Jack Johnson with live soundtrack.
A rare screening of Jack Johnson by William Cayton, a film which is far more famous for its soundtrack than for the actual film. Consisting exclusively of archive footage of Johnson, particularly his fights, it relates his amazing life, complete with walk-on parts for Rasputin, Pancho Villa and King George V. The live soundtrack was provided by Jack DeJohnette, Byron Wallen, Jason Yarde, David Okumu and Neville Malcolm. Based on Miles's original soundtrack - and certainly in keeping with its fiery spirit - their music crackled with electricity and aggression. Wallen, in particular, as the trumpeter, summoned up the feel of Miles, spitting out volleys of staccato phrases; true to the memory both of Miles and of Jack Johnson.