Later this year Joyzine will be celebrating our 15th birthday (look out for celebration event details soon), and as such we’ve been in a nostalgic mood. There have been hundreds of people who over the years have helped shape what we do, and we’ve asked some of those who’ve been most closely involved to delve into their memory banks and look back on one of those years. Today, Caffy St Luce, Rocklands promoter, South London DIY circuit legend and our own musical fairy godmother, looks back on our very first year, 2003.
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Greetings from 2018 where music fans (of the DIY kind) have truly given half of their lives to creating a new media and industry from passion and Joy. Aptly named, Joyzine is definitely one of them. On the punky underground that never lost faith in guitar bands, over the last decade, ring leaders like R*E*P*E*A*T, God Is In The TV, Drowned In Sound and Joyzine have taken different paths to various places via a spectrum of routes but helped to underpin what happens next.
Rocklands started with a postcard. The Love Peace Music dove on one side. A load of internet addresses, including the above, on the other. Then starting a newer wave club, in that vein called Pop Of The Tops. It was a real schlep from Deptford/New Cross to Camden. Despite being South East London, it wasn’t plain sailing to the East End Libertines land or Brixton in the South West either. So, being a Love Pirate I mutineered the ship of a weekly student indie night at the Paradise Bar and along with Greenwich Pirate (art words) and many degentrified to get electrified.
Never understood the word “indie” as a genre of music. Independent labels, sure, but indie just seemed like a twee or land-filler-lazy apology for not blood, sweat and tears rocking out. So that word didn’t appear on the flyers. Instead it was all dreams of Stars. On the lighty-up stage. On the dance floor. Inspired equally by Wayne’s World and Phoenix Nights. Formed from a Corporation:Blend band meeting, Pop Of The Tops club was the chaotic fun that hopelessly romantic day dreams are made of. Noisy cheap, daft, fun and inclusive. Always inclusive. It had both Twisted Charm playing live, and a definite twisted charm.
I could be Minxy McNaughty the Love Pirate and get on with having a laugh. Basically just inviting the bands that friends wanted to see to come to our end. It caught on. Locals and students united. Launched with Corporation:Blend and friends live, £1 beers, free early entry and beloved rock n rollers Dirty Sounds DJs and Unemployable Welsh Scum DJs bringing a PARTY. Still in touch with loads of the Special Needs gang and hats off to Digital Sneakers’ Blaine Brothers, telly, movies, awards and we bumped into each other recently and realised all this was a decade early. But it had to be, to help shape now.
No trendiness needed to step through the door of Pop Of The Tops it took on legs of its own, blue tacked an art exhibition to the walls, various clubs, record labels were started those nights, people learned to DJ by having to get on the decks if the DJ was in the scrum at the bar. Ha ha, fucking hell did that really all happen. Joyzine photographing. Art and frolicks from The Fairies Band. More amazing gigs than you could shake a rhythm stick at. Friends laughing. Band members doing the door when I was late, or learning to DJ by accident (going on to start labels and clubs of their own like Young & Lost who found they were ace when Hatcham Social started flinging themselves about the dance floor).
The phrase, ‘Share The Joy’ was coined by Dickie Hammond of Leatherface and has remained the Rocklands motto. It was even recently a Disneyland campaign, ha ha, if only they knew. A “New Cross Scene” had 14 minutes of fame world wide, but I wasn’t cool enough to be part of it, but thats OK, because local instigator, Ceri James, Brockley label Angular Records, and so many musicians – mate, you missed the “chain smoking choirboy” delivery of Nebraska are part of such a big picture that the 21st century was never gonna be the same. Everybody is part of this and Joyzine has quite literally shared the joy.
Rocklands became a real place courtesy of the Digital Sneakers short films and documentary; ‘Rocklands – Live In New Cross’, that became a John Kennedy radio special in Xfm days with probably the most unreal shindig on Oxford Street to launch the screenings – Digital Sneakers also took over the National Film Theatre and The ICA, while ‘The New Cross’, Angular compilation was NME album of the year. Just got a flashback of Chris T-T being interviewed to all kinds of weird sound effects (which are actually just The Old Kent Road).
Joyzine has regularly staged events, held festivals, documented music culture and to this day, the radio show supports and promotes a mix of new and classic alternative sounds. I feel that John Peel would have approved of what Paul Maps does. It’s sure inspired me in whatever the hell I think I’m doing. But chaos is a great way to work in an independent industry that has no guarantees.
This was all ages ago, not even Arctic Monkeys O clock yet, tho they were no strangers to New Cross. like I say, half of 2018’s new thrills were still in school playgrounds. Loads of the stars that came and joined in are underpinning the new, producing, managing, consulting, promoting. We’ve been up high, down low and everywhere in between. We’re still creating, laughing, gigging, discovering, learning. Are we nearly “Showbiz” yet? Thank you Joyzine. Lotsa love from Rocklands, Costa del Thames.
Words and cover photo by Caffy St Luce: artfulmtb.wixsite.com/artbeatstars
Photography by Paul Maps