EVENT 1001 Nights Club ICA, London
Friday 17 January 1997
Marks and Edgecombe were both there to read from their books: in Marks's case his best-selling autobiography, though which bit he hadn't yet decided; in Edgecombe's his unpublished manuscript Calypso Train, recounting his progress from Antigua to late-Fifties Notting Hill, where he ran a shebeen in Colville Terrace. Musically this boded well - vintage blue beat, maybe - especially when reinforced by an early reggae track and the presence in the audience of Gaz Mayall, ska connoisseur and proprietor of the long- running blues club that 1001 Nights is related to. Jazz was more Edge's scene, though, and to prove it he'd brought a young tenor saxophonist, David Angol, to read his work and inject a bit of bebop swing.
For all the Sixties London ambience - Anita Pallenberg was a guest DJ, playing a mixture of Stones, Keith Richard bootlegs, Gram Parsons, classic NY punk and Peggy Lee - Morocco is the key destination in the mix. 1001 Nights was the name of the old Tangier palace converted into a restaurant by appointment to the Tangier beat coterie by Brion Gysan, and the spirit of Gysan, Burroughs, Ginsberg, sundry Rolling Stones and so forth was a key element in the concept of the club's organisers - a pair of Irish film-makers, Frank Rynne and Joe Ambrose. They also have a severe penchant for the wild pipe and drum music of the Musicians of Jajouka, houseband to the old 1001 Nights restaurant and subsequently much sought after by everyone from Brian Jones to Ornette Coleman. Thus the guttural twang of the Moroccan hajuj bass and clash of the karkabou iron castanets vied with some rather agreeable trance-ish, techno-ish music by an outfit called the Islamic Diggers during the early part of the evening.
The readings got off to a shaky start, with an inaudible contribution by the writer Kirk Lake, and a scarcely more audible follow-up by Johnny Edge's jazz spokesperson, but the buzz of conversation was such that it didn't seem to matter. The formula is clearly a promising one. Indeed, judging by the unusually crammed state of the ICA bar, it may be in danger of eventual mass popularity. Get along to the 1001 Nights now before the big breweries latch on and start stripping out their Mexican-Irish canteena decor and installing a djellaba-clad house band, mint tea machines and spittoons.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Photographer fights ginger discrimination with vivid portraits of redheads
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up