Wednesday 26 November 2014

Madame JoJo's - Fun While It Lasted

Madame JoJo's. 

I’ve been talking to a very pleasant young lady. She wants my assistance with a problem that she has. There is a feather that has become stuck in an unfortunate place. Can I help her? It would be churlish not to.

Thus my first memory of Madame JoJo’s is of the time that I followed a naked stripper across the dance floor and pulled a long ostrich feather out of her bum with my teeth. As was often the case at Madame JoJo’s, there were not many people present and those that were did not bat an eyelid.

This incident occurred between sets by The Martini HenryRifles (a brilliant band who solved the problem of having two guys who wanted to be frontmen by having both careening and shouting at the same time) and the much missed and totally out of control Terrashima, a band that could barely play without getting involved in fights between themselves or with their audience. Aside from the occasional spat on stage, it was a joyous, peaceful night – as it always was when I went to Madame JoJos.

Westminster Council have just revoked the venue’s music licence after an unsavoury incident involving a violent confrontation between bouncers and a criminal gang that was operating in the street outside. There have been claims and accusations on all sides. The Council has been accused ofusing this incident as an excuse to close down the venue as part of an ongoinggentrification programme. Other sources say that post-Olympics, Soho has been under-policed with the result that criminals had been targeting patrons and passers-by with impunity and that this brouhaha had been building for a while. In many ways, who is to blame is a moot issue – Madame JoJo’s is no more.

I prefer to think of the many great bands I saw there, mostly under the banner of White Heat, one of the longest running and most excellent club nights in London.

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