It's all in the mix: Club legend Gaz Mayall's cave of wonders

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Ten thousand records vie for space with primitive art, countless instruments and esoterica 'no one else would want'

Gaz Mayall's legendary Soho club night Gaz's Rockin Blues is 30 this year. With more than 1,560 Thursday nights danced away to reggae, R&B, rock'n'roll, ska, and soul from Mayall's collection, it's the longest-running shindig in London. Little wonder, then, that he shares his home with an estimated 10,000 records.

"Some are grouped by label, but usually it's by genre," says the 52-year-old. "I've got a really good collection of Prince Buster records, including a very rare, signed version of Fly Flying Ska. It got stolen once: some rascal took a handful of my collection. It took me a year, but I tracked him down, went round and got them all back."

Mayall's crowded home in west London's Kensal Green is packed with collections and knick-knacks. He puts his magpie ways down to an early job helping out with his mum's antiques business, from a barn in Llanddewi Brefi in south k Wales. "I've always been interested in old things. I used to wheel and deal antiques when I was a teenager. And when I was 20, I opened a shop in London selling old clothes and records. I like bargains and things no one else is interested in."

Like the rather alarming toothy skull adorning his wall? This, it turns out, was a 50th birthday gift from the artist Sam Haggerty. "It balances the plaster joker on the other side of the sofa. I'm quite sentimental if friends give me things."

Then there's an assortment of primitive art – "a good collection of bits and bobs from Borneo" – as well as a variety of animal skins, including a bearskin rug, a wild-boar skin and a wolfskin coat, which apparently starts dogs howling. "I'm a bit of a caveman, really. I love the city, but at heart I'm a real country boy."

As he is a musician – the son of British blues legend John Mayall, Gaz also fronts his own ska and reggae band, the Trojans – it is no surprise that instruments are strewn through the house, from a piano and double bass to a scattered collection of drums and percussion. At Mayall's, popping round for dinner can easily turn into a major jam session. Apparently, his rocking chair is favoured by Rudy Jones, the band's octogenarian saxophonist. The chair is made of wood that came down during the hurricane of 1987, and was Mayall's housewarming present to himself when he moved in. "It's aged with the place. And the older I get, the more time I spend in it."

He has lived in the flat for 20 years, and is joined by his Swedish girlfriend, the illustrator Elinor Fahrman, when she's in London. Their bedroom looks on to a graveyard, although Mayall insists that's never spooked him, and instead provides bird-watching opportunities: they've spied jays and woodpeckers among the headstones.

Maybe it would take more than a grave to frighten Mayall: his curios reflect his childhood love of horror comics. Mostly, though, his home is stuffed with memories: "The place is so full, I even had to get a lock-up for the extra stuff. I find it hard to get rid of things. Albums and books are all records of events, but memories are records too. If you keep some rocks from a beach, they hold that record of your memory of that day. Everything records something: it's just about finding out how to play it."

'Gaz's Rockin Blues: the First 30 Years' is published by Trolley Books, priced £19.99

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile App/IOS Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Mobile App/IOS...

Front End Developer-JavaScript, Angular J.S, HTML, CSS, ASP.NET

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front End Deve...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil