Category Archives: Music

The story so far …

Visit our new page of Exhibitions and Talks and don’t forget that ‘Mike Gray – In Black and White’ photography exhibition is at Chats Palace bar throughout the Summer 2015 as well as the ‘Photographer Unknown’ next door in Chats gallery. Have a lovely Summer!

Mike Gray - In Black and White


One Sunday Over The Lea

To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first ‘Hackney Marsh Fun Festival’ back in the summer of 1974 the Fragile Archivists will present a number of articles over the next few months celebrating aspects of the Marshes and Marsh related culture.

To kick things off Brian Walker offers a personal reminiscence… and a little song.

This short piece was submitted to the My London Film competition, held by the East End Film Festival in partnership with Time Out London and YouTube.

We just got the news that the film made the competition’s official TOP 15 list and will be screened  this Saturday afternoon at 1.30pm as part of a special programme at One Stop Film Shop, being held in partnership with Little White Lies in Old Street Station.

We hope to see you there for screenings of Top 15 short films about London!

Hollywood in Homerton

Studying the Chats Palace past programmes we were surprised to come across two dance acts with the same name. Surely some mistake, they must be the same person?

From the April 1981 Chats Palace programme:

An Evening with Will Gaines – Tap Dancer Extraordinary

Born in Detroit, Will Gaines is one of the few remaining tap dancers of the Vaudeville tradition. Himself a bill-topper at the London Palladium, Will has toured with a host of stars whose names read like a showbiz Who’s Who of the last forty years, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lenny Bruce, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holliday, Judy Garland, Charlie Watts and Ian Dury. A night not to be missed. £2.00. (80p OAPs/kids)

Brian Walker remembers…

Will Gaines was a black American Tap Dancer whose gimmick was to tap dance in a pair of heavy working boots. He appeared at Chats Palace Music Hall quite a few times, and at our shows in Victoria Park etc.

My home is my shoes:

Will Gaines

©David Corio. Tap Dancer Will Gaines performing at the Wag Club, Wardour Street, London on 21 October 1984

David Corio adds…

The Will Gaines show I photographed was at the Wag Club around the time that the new jazz scene was becoming very hip and fashionable (early 80’s). Will Gaines and Slim Gaillard were the two US veterans who had been in London on and off since the 60s and although they were now getting on in years were still full of enthusiasm and energy for the scene and their music. Will Gaines came on with baseball cap pulled down low and a rectangular piece of plywood under his arm, placed it on the floor, sat on a stool, shut his eyes and started to tap. He was accompanied by sax, guitar and double bass. As the show progressed he became more animated standing up and filling out the musical gaps with great swirls of seemingly effortless tap dancing interspersed with stories about his days with Cab Calloway and the jazz scenes of Harlem and Chicago in the 1950s. Now in his 80s he still makes occasional appearances.

A short conversation with Will Gaines:

Brian Walker again…

The mysterious Bubba Gaines was another American dancer and actor who came to Chats Palace many years ago, if my memory is correct he was on a tour of London venues, sponsored by the GLC. He was a very genial black man who charmed the about 100 people who attended. I have seen him in a few Hollywood films over the years.

Phil Sawyer remembers Bubba Gaines and Honi Coles performing at Chats Palace:

Alan Rossiter contributes…

Bubba Gaines and Honi Coles were a tap dancing duo and were sponsored by GLAA (Greater London Arts Association no longer in existence). It was one of the most magical nights at Chats as these were genuine Hollywood hoofers, the last remaining pair of the famous Copasetics. They demonstrated ‘buck and wing’ and asked if anybody in the audience had heard of this and there was a guy from Victoria Park who said he did and he had brought his tap shoes with him. Bubba Gaines invited him up on stage and they all danced together. It was brilliant and I am sure that man was totally thrilled and never forgot that amazing evening.

Cookie, Coles and Gaines 1974:

Black Tap at CP

Mike Gray concludes…

Leslie Bubba Gaines died in 1997 and had an obituary in the New York Times

He was part of a tap dancing group called Copasetics. That was the name which we used for publicity for his appearance in Chats. The two Gaines must be related in some way. Hope I am still dancing at 82!!

Glad we asked! Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. Or as Lena Horne is quoted in the ‘The Class Act of Tap’ short film: “Honi made butterflies look clumsy”.

It was a good time to be in and around Hackney

Tonight Chats Palace hosts reggae extravaganza celebrating some of the best Queens of Reggae. The Fragile Archivists talked to David Corio about the reggae and blues club scene in the 1970s/80s Hackney.

© David Corio - The Four Aces Club, London 1986

© David Corio – The Four Aces Club, London 1986

David Corio began his professional career in 1978 taking photographs for New Musical Express, followed by The Face, Time Out, and Black Echoes. After a stint as a music writer at City Limits, he worked as a freelance photographer for the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Q, Theatre Royal Stratford, and Greensleeves Records, among others.

“The years since have robbed David’s photos of none of their urgency or elegance and in the instance of fallen stars like Marley, Simone, Fela and Dury, lent them poignancy. The unusual candour of the portraits he produced were a tribute to David’s easy way around people, celebrities or otherwise.”  Neil Spencer, former editor of the NME

Fan at Misty In Roots concert Stockwell, London 1977

© David Corio – Reggae fans, London 1977

You can see David Corio’s photograph of London Reggae fans as part of the current photography exhibition of young people from the Photochats archive at Chats Palace.

for more details and opening hours see “You’re only young once”.

Played at Chats

Here is a list of many well known music and cabaret artists who have performed down the years at Chats Palace. Can you tell us if we have missed anybody out or if there is an act you think should have been included?

Adamski Alan Elsdon Alan Weeks Alexi Sayle Ali Bongo Alias Ron Kavana Alison Moyet (Screaming Abdabs) Alternative TV Amazulu Andrew Lawrence Andy de la Tour Annie Whitehead Arlenes Asian Dub Foundation Attila the Stockbroker Au Pairs

Bad Manners Band of Holy Joy Barb Jungr Benjamin Zephaniah Bheki Mseluku Black Slate Blaggers ITA Blyth Power Boot Hill Foot Tappers Boy Blue Bronski Beat

Carol Grimes Cast of the Muppet Show (Inc Jim Henson) Chats Arkestra Chris Lynham Christine Pilgrim Chumbawumba Citizen Fish Clea and McLoud Clifford Jarvis and the Jazz Prophets Clive Dunn Club Dog Colin Sell Cornershop Cravats Crayfish Five Crazy World of Arthur Brown Cropdusters Cunning Stunts Curtis Walker

Dangerous Designs David Rappaport Deltones Derek Bailey Desmond O’Connor Desree Dolly Mixture Drug Barons Dudu Pukwana

Eddie Nestor Eddie Tan Tan Thornton Electric Landladies Elton Dean Quintet Energy Orchard Evan Parker Evelyn Chronicle

Felix Dexter Floyd Lloyd and Potato 5 Flying Pickets Foghorn Leghorn Fran Landesman Frank Chickens Frank Sidebottom Fun-Da-Mental

Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band Geoff Bradford Gertrude Gina Yashire Gordon Giltrap Grand Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Gretchen Hoffner Gymslips

Hackney Musicians Collective Hackney-Five O Harry Becket Quartet Harry Enfield (Dusty & Dick) Heart and Soul Henning Wehn Howling Wilf and the Vee Jays (James Hunter)

Ian Cognito Ian Saville Ian Shaw IDJ Dancers Ivor Dembina Ivory Coasters

Jackie Leven Jah Bunny Jah Globe Jan Allain and Ilse Desire Jenny Lecoat Jim Dvorjak John Agard John Butcher John Cleary John Cooper Clark John Dowie John Hegley (& the Popticians) John Otway John Stevens Johnny Crescendo Juice on the Loose Julie Felix June Tabor Justin Hinds

Kaliber 44 Keith Allen Ken Campbell Kim Noble King Blues King Prawn

Labi Siffre Larry Stabbins Leona Lewis Leyton Buzzards Lol Coxhill London Swingphonia Lookout Lorraine Bowen Experience Louis Moholo Louise Rutkowski Lucy Ray Luddy Samms and the Deliverers Luke Wright

Mark Steel Mark Thomas Maroon Town Mat Fraser Maxine Daniels Men in Coats Mekons Mick Hutton Mike Osborne Mike Westbrook Miles Crawford Milton Jones Miniscule of Sound Mint Juleps Miss Behave Monkey Business Muckers

Nerves Newtown Neurotics Nick Revel

Omar One Style MDV Orchestre Jazira Oxy and the Morons

Panic Brothers Patrick Fitzgerald Pippa Evans Poison Girls Porky the Poet (Phil Jupitus) Prag Vec

Radical Dance Faction Ray Presto Red Beans and Rice Renees Restarts Rob Newman Robert Wyatt Roberto Pla’s Latin Jazz Ensemble Rory McLeod Rudi Lickwood Rudimental Ruff Ruff and Ready

Sarah Jane Morris and Happy End Seddik Zebiri and the Seeds of Creation  See You In Vegas Sierra Maestra Simon Munnery (Alan Parker Urban Warrior) Sin Dios Skint Video Soho Southlanders Spare Tyre Steve Ignorant (Crass) Steve Murray Steve Williamson Quartet Subhumans Sunshine Boys

T. Rextasy The XX Thompson Twins Thrum Tippa Irie Tofu Love Frogs Tofu Twins (Stir Fry Club) Tony Allen Topcats Tottenham AK47’s Tragedy Trans Global Underground Trojans TV Personalities Tymon Dogg

UK Subs

Vincent Hayes

Walking Wounded Well Oiled Sisters Wes McGhee Will Gaines Willie Garnett Big Band Woody Bop Muddy


See here for some of those posters 

Cabaret and theme nights posters-9076

Forgotten photocopies

From the Chats Palace archive here are a selection of A3 photocopies, a sometimes overlooked or forgotten aspect of pre-digital communication and technology.

Publicising events from the late 70’s to the early 90’s they are rich with local echoes of the not so distant past…Oxy And The Morons…081…Free For All…Belt and Braces…Buses 35, 22a, 22b…crèche facilities…Exploring Black Arts…Chats Arkestra…silly games nite…The Crayfish Five…Double Edge Theatre Company…darts knockout…Music Hall…

Click below ‘Continue reading’ for more posters and stories.




Continue reading

Steve Latner on art in Hackney

Hackney born artist and teacher Steve Latner discusses the development of local arts facilities over the last 30 years:

Steve Latner on art in Hackney:

Steve Latner by Peter Young, 2012

From his early experience of attending Punk gigs in the Chats bar in 1976/77, Steve immersed himself in the youth and adult drama groups of Hoxton Hall run by Margret Shepherd in the 1980’s, then returned to Chats Palace in the 90’s to study batik and silk screen printing with Kim Bennett.

Steve Latner on Citizen Smith and fax machine printing:

Steve went on to run the Cinestasia short film festival and was a founder member of Photo Studio East who celebrate their 10th anniversary early next year with an exhibition of Hackney portraiture at Chats Palace.

Wayne Campbell – Long term voluntary cleaner at Chats Palace and part of an ‘A to Z of Hackney Portraits’ by Photo Studio East