In 1996 the UK's cabaret scene received a kick up the backside. Over the past 12 months, a select band of London nightclubs have encouraged a loose-knit grouping of cabaret performers to entertain their clientele. Whether the scene's main protagonists appreciate the "neo-cabaret" tag is difficult to ascertain. "Alternative" comedy was once a strong enough marketing term to thrust the likes of Ben Elton into the mainstream. Neo- cabaret acts like Phil Dirtbox and Mindless Drug Hoover may now go the same way.
Proof of this burgeoning circuit comes with the release of Misfits, a CD showcasing 18 of the best acts at London nightclubs like Club Indigo and The Velveeta Rooms. The compilation unearths several gems, notably 95-year-old rapping granny Georgina Dobson waxing lyrical about pensioner problems to Grandmaster Flash's "The Message".
Susan Babchick, who runs Club Ya Ya at London's Baubushka bar on Sunday afternoons, expounds on the philosophy of neo-cabaret. "What we're trying to do is take the spirit of lounge bar, but introduce a more down-to-earth, pub type spirit."
EYE ON THE NEW
In Manchester the irreverent but hilarious clubbers' magazine "Jockey Slut" takes over one floor of the "Swanky Soap" club on Saturday night. DJs include Billy Nasty, Kris Needs and members of rock/dance band Primal Scream.
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