Monthly Archives: April 2015

Do you think I should have added more blood splatters to this poster?

WAttingers flyer.inddMy first foray into music promoting is fast coming up on 2 May. The Wattingers and their very visual and distinctive brand of Steampunk slaughterhouse blues and murderously funny songs from Miss Von Trapp on cello.

Our local Crouch End celebrity Robin Stephenson aka artist @Raliel with be DJing so there’s a chance to dance.

And I am, at the last minute, trying to find a suitable local support act….so watch this space…

There’s no dress code, come as you are for some great music, dark comedic vaudeville and lots of fun.

Book tickets at:


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Steampunk comes to Crouch End! Saturday 2 May 2015

Minx presents banner

Minx presents…The Wattingers and Miss Von Trapp
8pm to 11pm, Saturday 2 May 2015, Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre

A mix of dark vaudeville folk and Steampunk slaughterhouse blues from The Wattingers and Miss Von Trapp in the newly restored modernist beauty of the Hornsey Town Hall. Think ‘Deliverance’ meets ‘The Sound of Music’ with added moonshine!

Wattingers colourThe Wattingers black humour and southern gothic sensibilities shine through toe-tapping tracks like ‘The …Arkansas Beardstalker’, ‘The Ballad of Jedediah’s Goat’ (one mans love for another’s goat) and the grim twist in the tale of ‘Hanging Man’.  If you like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, classic westerns, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and western Steampunk – you’ll be right at home with their dark backwoods style. Yee Haa!

With them will be possibly the world’s most outrageous cellist – Miss Von Trapp – who will be adding to the evening’s alternative theme with her blend of dark vaudeville songs and twisted, blackly comic murder cabaret.

The event will be taking place in a fabulous restored art-deco building – which has only recently re-opened to the public – Hornsey Town Hall. It is not a new venue however, having hosted Queen’s first gig in 1971 as well as local hero Ray Davies and The Kinks.

An eclectic and alternative night out for Steampunk aficionados as well as blues and folk fans and darkly curious minds!

Book tickets at the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre website.

Win a pair if free tickets

I still have a number pairs of complimentary tickets left for the night – if you’d like to come along just leave a comment below.

There’s also free entry to this event to all DecoDanse ticketholders too. Just bring your ticket along (as print out or on your mobile).


And Miss Von Trapp will return to Crouch End for DecoDanse, the Crouch End Festival’s retro-future cabaret on Saturday 13 June 2015.


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Steampunk bands, Electroswing and Goth DJs: Sharon Robinson’s vision for Crouch End Festival

A great post about the forthcoming cabaret event I’m organising for the Crouch End Festival from Gourmet Gigs

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Clock Tower Desert Island Books 2015

Clocktower desert Island book choice  2015 logo

Tuesday 9 June, 7.30pm for a 8pm start. Ends 9.30pm
Harris+Hoole, 9 The Broadway, Crouch End  N8 8DU 


Imagine a not too distant future where climate change has taken it’s toll and all of North London now is submerged under water. The only bit of land left is a desert island that has formed around the Crouch End Clock Tower where you are stranded! What would you miss about Crouch End the most? And more importantly, what books would you choose to have with you and why?

There’s Murder, Mystery and Mayhem this year as we welcome onto the Island local writers of thrillers, mysteries and dark fantasies Matthew Baylis, Angela Elliott, Joan Ellis, Daniel Whelan and Callum Jacobs, as well as Jennifer Cairns from Crouch End-based Peirene Press. They’ll be discussing what they like about Crouch End, picking their Clock Tower Desert Island Book Choice and reading from their latest books.

Come prepared to talk about your own choice of Desert Island books too!

There will also be an opportunity to have a drink (or three!), mingle with fellow North London book-lovers, talk to the authors and purchase signed copies of their books from Big Green Bookshop.

And if you feel like tweeting about it the hashtag is #clocktowerdesertisland15


Matt BaylissMatt Baylis

Matt Baylis (aka M.H. Baylis) is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter and TV critic. He lives in Highgate with his wife and son.

 Day at the Bhosperous cafeMatt is back with us for another year. The author of the Rex Tracey crime thrillers Death at the Palace and the Tottenham Outrage, he be giving us a taste of both the books as well as a preview the new addition to the series – Black Day at the Bospherous Café  published on 2 June 2015 by Old Street.

When Mina, a Kurdish student, plunges in flames from the top floor of Wood Green Shopping City, it is widely assumed to be a political protest. But local reporter Rex Tracey, who knew the dead girl, doesn’t buy it. Mina was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime, she’d mysteriously vanished only a week before her death, and she’d been in contact with a whistle-blowing local government officer – who pretty soon ends up dead himself.

As he investigates, the sleuthing journalist with a sad past and weakness for Polish lager is sucked into a world of honour killings, corrupt officials, and clashing traditions.

Here’s a little more about the first two Rex Tracey novels:

A Death at the Palace
Reporter Rex Tracey has just recovered from his affair with Lithuanian artist Milda Majauskas when she disappears. He’s got other concerns, not least an anti-immigration group spreading hate across Tottenham, and a string of attacks on young women at the local beauty spot, Alexandra Palace. But when Rex himself becomes a suspect, he is forced to seek answers. Amongst the tea-houses and squats, the yam shops and tower blocks of this little-glimpsed, forever changing London, Rex unearths a trail of secrets and falsehoods, from corrupt police to illegal factories. But the truth behind Milda’s fate evades him until the final twist, when Rex, and the last people to see her, must all account for their guilt.

The Tottenham Outrage
A family of Hasidic Jews dies suddenly while picnicking in Finsbury Park, and the finger is quickly pointed at a gang of Islamist youths. Too quickly, thinks local reporter Rex Tracey. Rex starts to investigate. But when his long-time colleague and friend is also accused of murder, the sleuthing journalist with a fondness for Polish lager and dry one-liners is catapulted out of his depth, into a disturbing world of religious fanaticism, false prophets and century-old secrets.

“I lapped up THE TOTTENHAM OUTRAGE: jam-packed both with characters and with character: funny, vivacious and enthralling. It’s written with skill, observation, understanding and a relish for contemporary life in a teeming part of London that will, I hope, provide many more stories for Rex to tell. Read and enjoy.” Lynn Harvey, Euro-Crime

Twitter: @MattBaylis2


Angela Elliott





Angela Elliott

Angela has lived in Crouch End for twenty years, despite being born in Derby, and growing up in Reading and Stratford on Avon. She studied Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic. Her first job was as a layout and paste-up artist on journals and magazines. Her first piece of writing was for the BBC World Service programme Global Concerns.

Actor Stewart Bevan taught Angela how to write scripts and introduced her to Stanley Kubrick’s assistant, Producer Norrie Maclaren. She went on to write with Hollywood Producer Bernie Williams, Director Lewis Gilbert’s son, John Gilbert, and with maritime historian, Stephen Walters, who had worked with David Lean.

The novel Some Strange Scent of Death was published by Whittles Publishing in 2005. It tells the story of the disappearance of the Flannan lighthouse keepers in 1900. In May 2014 Angela was interviewed for a Discovery Channel documentary on the Flannan Isles mystery. It was first aired in the States on 19th August and in the UK on 16th September 2014.

The Finish book cover

The Finish
The Finish, the progress of a murder uncovered, is book one in the Venus Squared series.

Digitally published by Crux Publishing Ltd, it tells the story of 18th century Covent Garden prostitute Kitty Ives, who is must solve a murder or face death on the gallows.

You can read more about the ideas behind the book and it’s characters on the Finish blog.

Twitter: @anjgi 


Joan EllisJoan Ellis

Advertising copywriter, comedy writer, performer, lecturer  – Joan Ellis has been them all.  As a lecturer, Joan taught comedian Noel Fielding all he knows about advertising before encouraging him to showcase his creative talents on a wider stage. Working for The Press Association, she tutored Wordsworth’s  great-grandson in the art of copywriting: Buy a host of golden daffodils and get a blue one, free!

A former crouch Ender, whose books I am Ella.Buy Me (which you can hear her talk about at the Arthouse on 3 June), The Killing of Mummy’s Boy, and The Things You Missed While You Were Away have all been partially set in Crouch End, Muswell Hill or Highgate. Joan has since moved from London to the Isle of Wight where she lives on cream teas with her beloved husband, daughter and two cats.

Joan will be reading from:

The Kinning of Mummy's Boy book cover

The Killing of Mummy’s Boy
Two strangers. One shared interest. Murder. Ben slit a man’s throat. Sandra’s son is on a Witness Protection Programme. When Sandra discovers she is being stalked, she turns to the least likely person for help, with horrifying consequences. Partially set in Muswell Hill Joan’s first first psychological thriller promises to terrify.

‘Chills your bones and boils your blood.’ Tome Tender


and also talking about:

Guilt book coverGuilt

Seven-year-old Susan is alone with her younger brother, Mark when he dies. Susan blames herself, her guilt informing the rest of her life. However, when it prevents her from bonding with her baby, she must discover the truth. What she finds is as horrific as it is hopeful. The novel explores guilt and its corrosive properties. Childhood memories are revived, their reliability  questioned. When the worst happens,everyone has their version,desperate to justify themselves and shift the blame. For these people, truth is the enemy, something to be buried.

“Dark and heartening” Ajoobacats

Twitter: @JoanSusanEllis


peirene_log_sacha (1)



Jennifer Cairns,  Peirene Press Roaming Store and Book Club

Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house proudly founded and based in Crouch End. Specialising in contemporary European fiction for the first time in English translation, all our books are bestsellers and award-winners in their own countries. Peirene Pres only publish books of less than 200 pages that can be read in the same time it takes to watch a DVD. Each year they curate a new three-book series – books that belong together in terms of style and content. There’ll be a selection of their beautifully designed books for you to peruse and purchase from the Peirene Pop-Up Book Stall on the night.

Cover of The Murder of HallandJennifer will be reading from The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.

If you like Nordic Noir you’re in for a treat!

Bess and Halland live in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else. When Halland is found murdered in the main square the police encounter only riddles. For Bess bereavement marks the start of a journey that leads her to a reassessment of first friends, then family.

“Just as Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose made crime fiction appear intellectual, so Pia Juul’s The Murder of Halland dismantles the rules of an entire genre.” Dagens Nyheter

“The Murder of Halland … is cooler and more calculated than any old Killing, and wrong-foots till it reveals the real mystery.” Ali Smith in The Sunday Telegraph.

Twitter: @PeirenePress


Callum JacobsCallum Jacobs

Crouch End author Callum Jacob’s will be chairing Clock Tower Desert Island Book Choice as well as reading from his latest novel that is due to be published in August! So we feel very privileged to be getting a preview!

His second novel The Geek Manifesto which was shortlisted for The 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2013/14) by Indie Author Land. If you were at last year’s event you will know that we ran out of time for Callum to read from his book  – so we look forward to hearing from him this year.

The G eek Manifesto book coverThe Geek Manifesto

Alex Wilde, recently promoted head of the government’s Digital Future project, finds his world plunged into chaos when it appears he may be responsible for the collapse of London’s entire television network. Alex, who’d been searching for a way to inject some variety into his humdrum life, quickly finds that the crisis across the capital creates all the excitement he craves. Along with new friends, the unpredictable and charismatic American Szandor LeRoux and stunning PhD student Minal, this unlikely trio soon find themselves at the centre of a battle for control of the nation’s media. To Alex’s relief he is discretely informed by a colleague that it was not a technical error that was responsible for leaving twelve million Londoners staring at a blank screen, but the work of hackers, intent on revolutionising society’s viewing habits.

As the authorities panic, London adjusts to a world without television and some even welcome the changes as the dawn of a new Utopia. When the hackers go public with the Manifesto for Generating Evolution in Information Control (quickly to become known as the Geek Manifesto), the battle lines are drawn. The hackers gain control and the network shutdown spreads out across the entire country… but the old media elite soon respond with brutal and uncompromising force.

“Insightful and humorous; a good glimpse into our worst vices.”

Callum’s first novel “House of Dreams”  was published in June 2012. He is currently writing a novel about the murky world of hedge funds,  bad drugs and ghost chillies. When not writing Callum spends his time looking after his two children and running long distances.

You can find out more about him on his website and his blog about drinking coffee and writing!

Twitter: @SzandorLeRoux 


Daniel WhelanDaniel Whelan

Daniel Whelan was born in Cheshire, but grew up on the North Wales coast. He left for London in 2000 to study for a degree in Acting. His adaptation of Richard Adams’s Watership Down premiered at Riverside Studios in 2004 and was acclaimed by Mr Adams as one of the best he’d read. His next play, A Harlot’s Progress, after the etchings by William Hogarth, was well-received by Time Out. Alas, Mr Hogarth was too dead to give his opinion!

Daniel is much happier as a novelist than he ever was as an actor or playwright and will be reading from his debut novel, Box of Demons, which won the 2013 Write Now! Prize.

Box of Demons coverThe Box of Demons is an uproarious adventure perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Ben Robson can’t remember a time before he had the Box, with its three mischief- making demon occupants:  cantankerous hypochondriac Orff; manically destructive Kartofel; and fat, slobbering greedy-guts Djinn. When Ben was a kid it was fun, but now he’s fourteen they’re nothing but trouble. Then one day Ben has a mysterious visitor who tells him that he can be rid of the box forever if he sends it back to Hell. There’s only one catch – the Box has other plans…

Twitter: @dwhelanwriter 


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if you’re friends are going on our Facebook event page.



A minxthinx production
Part of the Crouch End Festival 2015

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09/04/2015 · 2:50 pm