Tuesday, 15 November 2011


For those of you who don' t know my partner of 20 years - Janine has successfully ran club nights and parties for over 23 years! We pretty much met in clubland and one of the regular haunts of that time was the Sunday afternoon session -  'Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Somethin' at Dingwalls. Here she recalls her memories and experiences of that time.

Left: Flyer for this years Reunion at the weekend and right: Janine as she looked way back in the eary 90's - gorgeous!

 It’s a very daunting prospect putting down the written word on something that you have been a part of past & present. Do you actually remember all the little details correctly or is it just an enhanced memory! Well wrongly remembered or not Dingwalls was for me the first proper gig I was truly involved with. I’d leafleted Gilles’ Wag club on a Monday night, the Special Branch events that he did etc, but Dingwalls was the first gig that Gilles did that was his through & through. It was also the first one he’d asked for my help in “getting it out there”, as all the flyering and religious preaching that I’d done up to this point, was purely me just wanting to spread the word. It turned my passionate hobby from basic leafleting to organising the guest lists, sorting out any problems for Gilles & Patrick, co-ordinating with the Manager and security & eventually booking the bands. I suddenly realised it had turned into a ‘proper job’ and one that I loved.
The initial promoters of “The Sunday Afternoon Brunch Club at Dingwalls”, later known as Talkin’ Loud & Saying Somethin’, was Radio London. Gilles had the last show on Tuesday night before the station went over to Radio 2 and they asked him to organise a weekly session. A sort of chill out mellow Jazzy afternoon at the end of a hectic weekend .......
Dingwalls was the venue and although had had success a decade before with live rock acts, in the 80’s become a naff dodgy pop venue, which very few people visited, so always a bit risky! Gilles had asked Bob Jones & Kevin Beadle to join him behind the decks and so it began. The boys behind the stage in this DJ Cage! And me on Camden Lock Bridge doing my fisher-wife bit and dragging people in literally.

It was a weird one, as quite quickly we were getting 200 people in and the dancers from the Wag and Electric ballroom just loved the space. It was also dark and dirty & you could dance your socks off without making a fool of yourself. So great combo really. An added bonus was that in the days of early Sunday closing, with some grey area shenanigans, people could buy a round of drinks for a plate of chips!

When Radio London were told to pull out of all external gigs, Dingwalls was bringing in just enough people for Gilles to keep it going independently and we also got a new Venue manager, Joe Strong. He was in absolute shock when he experienced his first Sunday afternoon, especially as he had sat in an empty club every night prior to our session. Joe then vowed he would make every night like Sunday and so was the start of the individual promoters specialising in the club scene at Dingwalls. Around this time Gilles had started playing along side a Kiss Fm DJ called Patrick Forge at a gig in Heaven (Charing Cross) called Babylon on a Thursday night. Not too long after this Gilles invited Patrick to join him at Dingwalls.

Although we were DJ dance floor orientated, there were some seriously talented musicians around, and very few venues that were willing to give them a go. Gilles always the visionary realised that Dingwalls was a perfect place for showcasing all this talent & so over the next 4 ½ years, bands like Snowboy, Steve Williamson, Marie Murphy, Cleveland Watkiss, Incognito, Philip Bent, Ed Jones, Rowland Sutherland, Byron Wallen, Mark Murphy, Jalal – last poets, Dave Valentine, Galliano, Mongo Santamaria, Roy Ayers, and so many more would be playing this mad dark space on a Sunday in the middle of Camden Market.

The biggest nightmare for the DJ’s in the early days was the positioning of the DJ Box. It was behind the stage, with a dirty Perspex window and metal grill, and the only entrance was from a small room behind the stage. Not what you call user friendly and so after loads of moaning about the “cage”, Joe Strong finally managed to get some money together and had a new DJ/sound/lighting platform built between the stage and the bar. This was a massive improvement for Gilles & Patrick and the fact that we could also control a few dance floor lights meant that we could also achieve the occasional total black out before a big tune. A feature that has been a part of our nights ever since.

Talkin’ Loud and Saying Somethin’ which would nearly always be referred to as Dingwalls, was like this huge bubble of inspiration for so many, from the record sellers in the foyer, the artists that performed to the future promoters that used to come & take notes, but ultimately the most important element of Dingwalls apart of course from the amazing tunes that Gilles & Patrick were dropping week after week, were and still is the people. The connection between the boys behind the decks and the people on the dance floor was tangible, it was/is a living breathing physical thing & for me the reason why it is still such a magical gig.
An example of the passion that Dingwalls invoked, was at the end of the afternoon we would stagger out from this black cavern into bright daylight and this incredibly bustling busy Market. We always had to park miles away & it used to take us ages to walk to our cars, but it never stopped numerous Dingwallers from coming with us. Gilles & Patrick would be carrying these ridiculously huge and heavy record boxes and they would have to answer question after question on tune names or why a certain track had been dropped when it had. The  obsessive desperation, the passion, god I loved it.

When the “reunion” happened in 2007, it was because a little record label influenced by the legendary Dingwalls status, wanted to put out a record reflecting all that was good. What it did was make Gilles, myself and Patrick realise that it was time for a second helping of Dingwalls. Yes it was a different space, yes you should never go back, especially on something that was so special. But experiencing the incredible energy and the feeling of amazement amongst people of old alongside people that quite frankly would have been children at the original, was just too hard to resist. After that first session in 2007, I don’t call them reunions , I call them Parties because they are, bloody fantastic parties, where everyone is on the same tip, where everyone is smiling, where happiness is leaking from every sweaty pore. That is why it is still SPECIAL.  Yes it’s a bit evangelical but then Dingwalls was and still is the only religion that I’ve ever preached. See you all on the dance floor my friends.

Janine xx

Monday, 27 June 2011


Not long after we'd moved into unit 65 Pall Mall Deposit I started these pieces entitled 'Digital Nightmares'. It was a gut reaction to the continued problems we were having with digital technology in general and in some ways almost an emotional cry for help ! Back in Coronet St from 1989 onwards we'd stored all our data on 3.5 inch floppy disks. Well before photoshop and scanning you could literally fit a complete magazine and several record sleeves designs in 1.4 megs of data! yes true. I had a plastic box full of the things, even font disks, back up disks, software everything came on a floppy! After a year or two after one fate full day popping the floppy in the drive waiting for it it to mount onto the desktop and hey presto - nothing ! yes it turns out floppy's only have a life span of about 2 years. Consequently I had tons of these things with much valued back up on - as good as ready for the bin! As the technology got better and the advent of Photoshop and scanners (about '93/'94) jobs where sent off on 44mb and 88mb Syquest Disks. Again we used them as back up and again realized some time later that they too had a limited life span and they cost a bloody fortune. My frustration with all this led me to do these pieces - now I wouldn't really call them 'Art' but in a funny kinda way looking back they are. Moving swiftly to 2011-  maybe my next pieces will feature Lacie Hard drives as I've had two of 'em collapse on me in the last year ! my complete back up for the year 2006 completely gone - The Digital nightmares continue!

'Digital Nightmares Part 1' 3.5inch Floppy Disks (with data!) and spraypaint mounted on wood 

'Digital Nightmares Part 2' - 44mb and 88mb Syquest Disks and spraypaint mounted on wood

'Digital Nightmares Part 3' 3My old Quadra 700 Apple Macintosh, which was stolen in a burglary at 41 Coronet St, and dropped from the third floor by the burglar - it smashed through a skylight on the ground floor next door .
The hard drive and data were recovered but alas the mac was done for!  These 3 pieces where shown at the TypoBerlin conference 1996 were I lectured too! the theme for the lecture was the same 'Digital nightmares' 

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

FUTURA 2000 Live Paint for fosters Ice 1995

As part of the fosters Ice 'Street Art' campaign we secured NYC legend Futura 2000 to paint his billboard live at the event. At the time live painting was unheard of apart from Graffiti jams and again the concept broke new ground in the advertising world and the brand community.  Along with this event and his frequent work for Mo' Wax the interest in Futura's style and work went ballistic in the UK!


Early 1995 my missus Janine met and old friend she knew from Dingwalls and the Soul weekenders by the name of Jon Wilkins (he now is one of the founders of Naked Comms!) funnily enough in a supermarket. He knew of me (Swifty) and mentioned that the ad company he worked (BMP) had some spare cash from the Fosters Courage account and wanted to do something more edgy with it and mentioned the idea of 'Graffiti' on billboards. Push comes to shove and he visits my studio then in Coronet St, Hoxton sq with his collegue Rupert Newton and we hatch the plan ! I came up with the concept 'Street Art' as Graffiti at that time was a very dirty word in Advertising circles and we also wanted to have spray can art as the basis but also wanted the boards to be done by a range of creators from musicians to graphic designers , photographers and illustrators. Now its never been looked into but I'm 100% the word 'Street Art' had never been used in print prior to that date and this campaign broke new ground and received worldwide recognition for narrowing the gap between Graffiti and brand culture. It was radical stuff we booked 10 billboards along Kentish Town Rd from the camden lock market up to Chalk farm tube station and I set to commissioning a range of art to go on them. With the help of Paul Tully (who now runs PD3) we hired a space called the 'Arts Depot' behind St Pancras station an old victorian gym with brilliant vaulted high ceilings to do paint the art and hold the party to launch the event .

Street Art Flyer Front for launch party at the arts depot

Flyer back showing map of Chalk Farm Rd and position of artists billboards

Launch party at the Arts Depot Left: Futura 2000 Middle: Stash and Req on the right

left to right: Wack, Ian Wright, Peter Williams, Rupert Newton (BMP),  Swifty, Jon Wilkins (BMP),
Peter Harding (Courage) , David Crow,  Paul Tully and Req .

Party people! Front row, left to right: Billy, Carleen Anderson and Hassan Hajjaj
Back, left to right: Unknown, Paul Tully, Blaize and unknown

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Pas D'Quartiers / Lille / France (1997)

We all chipped in on the design for this one - event program / posters / flyers etc. The festival itself was officially mental! Highlights include: hanging out with the Wu Tang (actually quite scary!), the event staff fighting & throwing chairs at each other over lunch, Robi pushing me into a mosh pit at the Wu gig.....not to mention the amazing line-up. We barely made it home alive. This event certainly lived up to its name.

Mode 2 vs Swifty exhibition / Manchester (1997)

The Babylon crew definitely know how to put on a show (honest!). Hanging Mode's just finished pieces during the opening provided an interesting spectacle as we rushed them across a busy road from where he was working and into the gallery - navigating the crowd as they arrived - trying not to get wet paint on anyone. The gallery flooding wasn't ideal either! Here's a few pages from the exhibition catalogue.

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Parisian based Mode 2 turned up with Delta to the opening of 'Progress in Work' early December 1996, introduced himself and was soon a firm fixture at Studio Babylon. His incredible skills with a spray can and even more incredible drawing skills kept the other studio members gob smacked and also provided nuff stories and philosophy. He just fitted in perfectly to the vibe and in some ways was the guiding light at Babylon! The studio needed brightening up so Mode set to work on five 8 by 2 hardboard panels. He set up next to the lift shaft and stunk the place out for days! God knows how we never got chucked out of Pall Mall Deposit!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


On the way to Berlin for the TypoBerlin'97 I bought the Casio Q10 digital camera. At the time it was revolutionary as it was the first real affordable digital colour camera. When I say affordable it was over £300! The colour pics were a whopping 640 x 480 pixels and on reflection look bloody awfull, but at the time we thought they were fantastic. Below are some studio pics and a couple of Mode 2's cap collection which were taken at the 'Progress in Work' show at the Blue Note.


Fred secured a Saturday night down at 'Mars' (what was the Milk Bar )! We tried to do a gig but it never really happened. It lasted 4 months - Crap promotion but great line up apart from Dr Doolittle who couldnt spin for toffee!

Thursday, 12 May 2011


At studio babylon we did like a bit of Dub and Drum 'n' Bass, especially late at nite - the Blue Room speakers took a pounding! Coming up later this month (May 20th) at The Garage in Highbury and Islington is 'Dub to Jungle' if you like heavy bass and nuff riddim then get down to this one - the sound system is by 'Noise control Audio' and features Channel One so its bound to be HEAVY! Hopefully myself and some studio Babylon members are gonna be down there shakin' our booty's. more info www.rootstours.com

Dub to Jungle Flyer designed by Swifty - promoted by Punch records and Vagabondz


This turned up one day in the post at Studio Babylon, and has stayed pinned on my wall ever since! It serves as a constant reminder of the importance of the New York Graffiti movement and the great documentation by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfont . An art form which has inspired the members of studio Babylon for years now, even when Graffiti was a dirty word in certain circles we and others like us will continue to be admired and inspired by this ever changing and progressive form of communication. Nuff said.


Still available are the new STAR WARS designs by Mitchy for Addict. There are three new tees in total and if i say so myself are stunning. The last lot were and instant success and these prove to be just as popular. Featuring AT pilot , Boba Fett and Snowtrooper full front tee prints in white and black colour tees .
Available from http://www.addict.co.uk/products/cat/addict_x_star_wars/addict_x_star_wars_icon_series_2/

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


April 1995. Just after the Fosters Ice 'Street Art' events stash was flown in from New York to paint a 21 window Samba VW campervan. It took ages to find and eventually came from Sweden I think. I was well into v dubs at the time and had a beetle (seen in the pics) and a convertible karmann Ghia which I still have. It was my idea to find a van to customize for fosters to use a promotional vehicle for the campaign. Over a cold weekend we set to with Buntlack and stencils, it had to be finished for monday morn , MOT'd,  Taxed and then off to an event. More pics coming soon of the finished van when I can find em!

L-R, Tullyman, Richard, Stash and Noah from vegetable vision
The first stencil goes on !

Tullyman perusing the progress end of day 1

Swifty adding some more Buntlack white and sporting the new Subware cap courtesy of Stash
Starting to take shape !

Old skool rims !
Stash rocked a wild style piece with POSCA for the back window

Stash applying some more paint, after the Buntlack ran out on Sunday and London Graphics was closed!  That was it I had to drive to Camden to a car shop to pick up some crap english CARPLAN paint. Stash was suitably worried about it, sorry we didint have KRYLON or RUSTOLEUM ! 

To add a few finishing touches I added some pinstriping with POSCA
We added some stencils at the end 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New Studio !

Very early studio shots of Unit 65 Pall Mall deposit. Hoxton was getting way too trendy ! and after two burglaries I decided to uproot and head West! Fred was the only other studio member at that time, he was mixing graphic design with Djing as his alter Ego 'Fred Leicester' and taking the odd day off to persue his musical ambitions later to be known as Lemon Jelly!

Contents Under Pressure at the Tramshed 1997

left is Robbie Bear with Shaun Rollings (then known as DJ Brownswood)

(L to R, Mitchy Bwoy, The Bear, Brownswood and Snafe (Galliano's vibe controller!)
Behind them are the Futura 2000 canvas' which were stunning, word has it that Eric Clapton bought the lot

Two snaps from the show "CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE" which featured Futura 2000, Lee Quinones and Stash. By the end of May 1997 Mo' Wax was in full effect and from what I remember James Lavelle was very instrumental in organizing this show. At the time this was the must see underground event featuring three of New York's finest ! The tramshed was the venue, well before pop up shows this building is still undiscovered in London's East end even today!


Mode 2 painting installed about 1997/8 ? Entitled Studio Babylon Bound ! acrylic spray paint on hardboard panels. This was erected towards the end of the tenancy of Unit 65 pall mall deposit . the studio was re-arranged to fit in more people !

Photo by Swifty approx 1997