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Sunday, 1 July 2018

London Voices - A chat with Stu Deabill

London Voices is quickly approaching and we got the chance to catch up with its main curator and all round top fella Stu Deabill. Here's what he had to say about the event...

MOU: This is the fifth event of its kind that you've orchestrated, why did you choose this topic? 

SD: London Voices came about after various conversations with Mark Baxter about maybe doing something that can break a few of the myths of getting involved in writing, film-making, promoting, being in a band etc. He's always asked how do you get into PR, getting books out, how to become an extra in a movie and all the rest of what Bax gets up to.  
He suggested a few names that were dotted around the country so I said, lets just use Londoners and celebrate the city at the same time. Part of me feels that the London accent is dying in the media and we're reclaiming the streets!

MOU: Why did you choose these people in particular? 

SD: Rhoda Dakar's track record speaks for itself, as a singer she came to the fore with the all-girl Two Tone band The Bodysnatchers (a statement in itself) and has worked with many artists since, so will have many stories to tell. She's a seasoned speaker on many subjects from equality to racism and certainly ain't backwards in coming forwards!

Geoff Deane is another major character who's career path has taken him from one hit wonders, The Leighton Buzzards though to  salsa influenced Modern Romance before it became the pop monster that he left halfway through their cycle. Also script writing for Birds of a Feather amongst other TV programmes through to devising the film and now stage musical Kinky Boots. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! There won't be many awkward silences when Geoff's about.

Mark Baxter is someone I knew before I knew him. I first came across Bax when seeing an early video trailer for the Mumper,   (which became Outside Bet), a book he co-wrote with Paolo Hewitt, which was semi-autobiographical about his life in SE London. Then when putting The Jam book, Thick As Thieves together, Snowy introduced me to him, got us the Weller foreword and subsequently carried out the PR on the best seller. Since then we've worked on a couple of projects together and always encourage each other on whatever we do. Again like all our guests, a diff take on the city, its influence and how to try and get stuff done.

Paul Canoville was Bax's suggestion and man did I jump on that! Being Chelsea and watching many of Paul's games for us in the  seasons from 1982-85, I knew that the journey for him was one of the toughest any player had to make. As being the first black player for CFC, well, i'll let Paul explain on the day. His book Black and Blue is one of the best sport tome's I've read and tells you that London can be your own heaven and hell, and at times for Paul, he was certainly dancing with the devil. Very pleased Paul's come aboard.

Gary Crowley, believe it or not would much rather ask the questions than be asked, so we've had a right result getting GC! Gary for me is only second behind John Peel in breaking new artists over the course of the last 40 years, and for me, the voice of London. For as long as I've taken an interest in 'alternative' music, GC's been there, commentating on what's hot. Gary lived literally over the road from The Cockpit, and will regale the audience tales of growing up in Lisson Grove to becoming immersed in Punk and New Wave and where that journey has taken him. 

MOU: Do you think this event will give an insight like no other? 

SD: Without a shadow. The live Q&A medium always throws up something unheard of or new that even the most knowledgeable of guest wouldn't have heard before. Someone might have bought a ticket to hear Gary talk about his early life in London and how he got into radio or how Paul lost his way after being forced to retire at the brutal age of 27, but not know much about Geoff or myself. It's a great way of hearing stories told in a way that would have to be censored for radio or television.

MOU: What sort of punter are you aiming this at? 

SD: Anyone who wants to hear and see these characters of a certain age, talk candidly about how they started in their chosen paths and what it takes to try and succeed. As anyone knows who's been to a previous event, on paper 6 people talking over the course of 5 hours sounds tough but the time really does fly. and with breaks inbetween the speakers for a beer or chat, they become a real intimate, inclusive affair.

MOU: Your last interview with me contained some colourful language, can we expect more of the same?

SD: No! Well I hope not! Got hit by the Tourette's stick that day. After I spoke Bax came into the dressing room and said "Boy, your language!" and I thought, if he's pulled me up on it, then it was probably a tad strong.

MOU: You're a proper mover and shaker can you see these events ever going on tour to other cities? 

SD: Only if a decent promoter came in and gave me a budget to work with. Like all independent events, your relying solely on what you and your guests can do through socials and contacts which is a job in itself.

MOU: Out of all the cities in the world, why London? 

SD: As hinted at, I feel working class Londoners are being heard less and less in the media. I watched a programme with Stacey Dooley a while back and thought great to hear an accent like that, as it's so rare. Then found out she was from Luton! So to get 6 genuine London-born people together to talk about their experiences was unique in itself. And for many, London is still a city that fascinates those from further climbs. Whether it's the music, the football, the start of many fashion cults. Plus its the greatest fucking city in the world!

MOU: What can punters who are new to these events expect on the day? 

SD: 30/40 minutes with each interviewee in a Q&A style. We've got great interviewees who know their shit - writer Simon Wells, writer/musician Ian Snowball, writer Jason Brummell, boy about town Ginger Mick Robinson and of course yourself. The floor will also be opened up to the audience to ask the guests questions and the theatre is a great space to make everyone feel involved.

MOU: What do you think your chosen guests will provide the audience with? 

SD: Educational insights and probably some colourful language.

MOU: Sum this wonderful city up in one sentence... (London) 

SD: London, it just is - make it yours.

MOU: Stella or Carslberg? 

SD: Carlsberg - mainly due to the fact Stella makes me go a bit silly and provides shocking hangovers.

The event is sponsored by Charles Caine Shirts and the charity Tonic Music for Mental Health will have a stall in the foyer on the day. Charles Caine Shirts
Buy tickets here!


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger