Friday, 29 May 2015
Songs of life No 5
After art college I returned to live in London, sharing a dank and fungus-filled house in West Norwood, (mentioned in songs of life No 4, I think). Needing to escape the house and West Norwood generally, we would explore musically-more interesting regions and clubs of London - The Fridge in Brixton, a place in Camden I can't now remember the name of but where I saw Alien Sex Fiend play, The Hundred club and Ronnie Scotts amongst others. One night we ended up in a pub in Holborn (now sadly gone) and stumbled across a smokey room crammed with people dancing to what I discovered later to be Salsa.
How had I got to be twenty or so without ever being aware of such nerve-tingling, heart-heating music: Salsa, Mambo, Rumba . . . That was it: I scoured second-hand shops for any record with a cover of someone in a ruffly shirt holding clave sticks, and concocted new tapes to play on photo shoots, in my Morris Traveller and anywhere else really.
How to choose one song? Impossible, but here is the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz singing one of my favourites. And what a great piece of film - the guy on the left, and his ears . . . fantastic!