Babyslave’s first video: The Great Serge

May 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm (Babyslave Music, Babyslave shows, videos) (, , , )

We’ve just uploaded our first ever video to t’interweb:

“The Great Serge” is live footage taken from a show in November 2007 at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester at a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg all-dayer. This is our version of “Evelyn (Song of Slurs)”.
Note 1: See how Charlie Machine is taken over by the evil drunken spirit of Gainsbourg.
Note 2: Spot the continuity error re: ladies clothing.

More to come we do hope, and maybe some more adventurous choreography in future live shows.

Big thanks to Phaedra Bell & gang for filming and editing it all so splendidly.


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Babyslave’s post-ATP nightmare gig

January 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm (Babyslave shows, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

So inspired were the ‘slave by the musical delights of ATP, we tried to recreate it back home. Quite literally, by staging a full scale gig in the (damp) wine cellar of chez Ms Hypnotique in her abode next to a windmill in Nottingham.

Nightmare before Xmas flyer

Billed as ‘The Nightmare before Christmas: a post-ATP gig for goths, gouls and fools‘, in addition to a Victorian/gothic dress code and absinthe cocktails, we were joined by:

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin plays (photo copyright Pieter Last)

A visitor from Belgium, Bejamin Franklin enthralled with a sit down (necessary as ceiling was only 5′ 10) zone out set of spacey guitars, minature keyboards and tape delays.

John Callaghan

John Callaghan is a Christmas treeJohn callaghan christ knows what he's doing

John Callaghan and his glowing pants
(photos above: Pieter Last)

John Callaghan in neon
(photos above by Laura Partridge)

Good friend of the ‘slave Mr John Callaghan, resplendant in glow sticks, neon net curtains, half-suit/half-nude and union jack g-string to give a taste of tracks from his new album ‘It Might Never Happen‘.


‘Slave photos by Pieter Last:

babslave masked Charlie machine plays violin

Slave photos by Laura Partridge:

Joe Ladyboy takes charge

Charlie machine plays violin

Joe Ladyboy masked

Charlie machine plays violin masked

Joe Ladyboy takes charge

Hypnotique did a number but not enough time/willpower for a full set, and the ‘Slave concluded with a one-off rendition of the entire debut album (“Babyslave”), top to tail. Kind of therapeutic, ‘getting it out of the system’ to move onto the next phase.

Trying out a very different look featuring ball gowns and masks, the minimalism of a damp basement was quite possible the perfect place for it – though jesus knows what some of the guests/neighbours/visiting cats made of it – Nottingham hasn’t seen the likes of this subversion before.

Little of interest seems to happen in Nottingham nowadays, but if you can’t become a member of ‘the club’ then start your own – and tonight we did. The first of many self-initated ‘slave based ‘happenings’.But after seven years playing in rock n roll bands, I still find myself humping gear up three flights of stairs (but this time in my own home).

Thanks to those who came, and thanks to those who didn’t for making the night exclusively legendary.

Happy new year – and remember – only the critic can critique.

Ms Hypnotique

the critic cat

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Lacking Discipline in Cologne and Manchester

December 2, 2007 at 9:14 pm (Babyslave shows, Hypnotique, Rebellious Jukebox) (, )

Babyslave rocked in a French pop style on Nov 11 at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester for the Genius: Serge Gainsbourg night where the city’s finest young upstarts paid tribute to the great French philanderer. We played the obscure tune “Song of Slurs” (more “Fairytale of New York” than “Tears On My Pillow”) with a touch of choreography. Berets off also to Caro Snatch and Shirokuma who made a lovely musical pair with their version of “Harley David Son Of A Bitch” (en Francais, magnifique!) amongst others. Anyway, more musings coming soon from Charlie Machine on the day he became overtaken by the ghost of Serge Gainsbourg.

In the meantime, a few vignettes…

Dave Fox (aka Joe Ladyboy), the architect behind former stable of Babyslave Valentine Records, has launched a new Label 2.0 which is an un-label. The idea behind Rebellious Jukebox is to create a new netlabel where interesting experimenting (my prefered term to experimental) artists from Manchester and far beyond can colletively promote, debate, blog and rant under a cosier shared banner. Kicking off a series of monthly live night in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in Dec 07, the new year will see a series of free digital download EPs by its new roster which will include Caro Snatch, Shirokuma, Babyslave. and many more. It’s more of a bottom-up community than a top-down commissioning label, and quite probably the way forward for the localised music biz. For more news, watch this space.

On Sept 28th I hit a landmark birthday (21. Again) so decided to celebrate it by doing a crazy show in Club Tsunami in Cologne with my good friend and Valentine Records friend John Callaghan. Well, really it was John’s gig I crashed. After a bit of sightseeing by the Rhone and a visit to Saturn, the world’s largest CD store, we headed to Club Tsunami. The promoters from Club Tsunami and the Golden Pudel from Hamburg were lovely and put on a night of funky tunes suitable for a scarlet bunker, including a spiffing techno version of Gershon Kingsley’s “Popcorn“.

John entertained the Kolners with his usual nine costume changes auto-karaoke show featuring dresses, glow sticks, hats with dead dolls and other fun stuff. To give John a bit of a break, I did a number we wrote together called “You Lacked Discipline” while he got changed into another dress creation inside a box on stage. It’s a little heavy hardcore ditty with three magic words. John dared me to do it, it was a tough game but I think the leatherette police woman’s outfit helped pull it off.

Check out the video here.


Ms Hypnotique

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Giving birth to Babyslave’s first gig

July 9, 2007 at 11:20 pm (Babyslave shows)

Subterfuge Flyer

15.06.07. 8
These numbers have such symmetry. Etched forever on our soles as the date when Babyslave came out of their back bedrooms and gave birth to a pool of kaos into the world.

Well it started like this…

I met up with the boys in Stockport for our first (and only) rehearsal. They say: ‘it’s grim up north’ and Manchester has ‘so much to answer for‘. Well Stockport, by comparison, has definitely been sent to Coventry.

After walking miles of dilapidated take-aways and industrial retail units, we finally arrive at our glamorous rehearsal studios in an imposing industrial mill. Furniture retailers and a dangerous looking gym (think: Krays personal suite). We get in the freight lift with our gear. It’s a bit erratic, jerky, never quite getting to the floor we want until….
Yep, we’re trapped in a lift waiting for the fire brigade. We have our instruments and beers so not all bad. Had ET moment peering out of the window to see men approaching in yellow helmets and what looked like atomic suits. Rescued by burly chaps with all the necessary equipment – how dramatic! I thought they’d cut us out with big chainsaws and stuff – but not so dramatic. They found the ‘security guard’ and fiddled with the leavers til out we scuttled. Bit of an anti-climax, but we lived to tell the tale. Rock and roll!

babyslave. lift in Stockportbabyslave. lift in Stockport

Above: Here we are, stuck in a lift awaiting our rescue in Stockport

The next night at the gig – repeat same. Salford Mill, an industrial mill-cum-artists hang out, this time in Salford, a similarly scenic and charming spot of the world where they are going to built the UK’s first Media City on the watery quays. On the less aquatic back streets, you’re more likely to feel the cool metallic sensation of a knife on your throat heading to the off license. A city of contrasts.

It would be fair to say Subterfuge was fairly low-key and casual. I wouldn’t say the organisation was lacking, just beyond opaque. Apparently the sound guy was having his dinner or something – we never saw him all night so we just did it ourselves. Still, it made for a nice communal vibe between the acts – and what a fun line-up.

The Matinee Orchestra enchanted the select crowd with some lovely, unexpected summery upbeat jazz-tinged numbers. Aspects of The Cardigans, but full of energy and optimism – in contrast to the sawdust-filled grimy surroundings.

Next up were two burlesque dancers. I just don’t get burlesque. Yes, it is an art, but to do art you have to be an artist, not an imitator. And to do burlesque you’ve got to be able to ‘do sexy’ even if you don’t look conventionally sexy. The men (and women) seem to look on in horror when she was undressing from a puffball party frock with a teddy bear to ‘Truly Scrumptious’. Truly excruciating. But in some ways, appropriately ‘industrial’ in its method and reaction, to ‘do sex’ and make it utterly unsexy – almost mechanistic.

Then Babyslave rocked da house. The line up being:

Hypnotique (voice, sax, theremin)
Charles Mansion (laptop, sax, violin, voice)
Joe Ladyboy (laptop, guitar and sorting the whole musical shebang out. Cheers for that).

We went for a mix of ‘hits’ and noise. Highlights being ‘To Each Their Own‘ (role-call of those beyond good and evil) and Joe’s latest ‘anthem’ ‘We Hate You Little Girls Aloud‘ – a tribute to Throbbing Gristle, 2007 style. Lots of ad-hoc madcap stuff in between featuring dualing alto saxophones, invention of a new high octane language for ‘Little Girls’ and opportunities to rock out and make a lot of pleasantly noisey feedback.

And the feedback from our small posse of pals who’d braved it to Salford was positive. Yay! We survived our first gig! Next time, hopefully we’ll dare to do a bit more of the music live, add some live visuals and be a bit more challenging – to ourselves and audience. It’s all very well doing confrontational music, but you have to know the audience is with you (helps if you’ve got an audience too), and know what you’re doing, so these low key ventures are a good thing – for now. Afterwards we were buzzing – must have been the vibe, or maybe the effects of the ‘chinese medicine’ Charles thrust in my paw before the show.

After us, there was an interesting turntablist act from Hull called Slippedisco. Kind of playing records from charity shops with bits of tape stuck to them to create lock grooves. Intriguing (unlistenable) stuff. Reminded me of Project Dark who I once gigged with, they made records out of materials (hair, sand, metal) and played them on gramophone records. Peel loved em. Apparently it was Slippedisco’s first gig outside of their hometown. Joe was keen to point how offensive I was to them to say “What you’ve never left Hull?”. I actually meant to say “you’ve never played outside Hull” but it obviously came out wrong. Apologies if any offense taken. Now it’s not often I apologise so lap it up, northern boys. I’m sure it’s very nice in Hull. Gotta be better than Salford.

The whole event, and surroundings, although skewing on Nathan Barley, was a suitably fitting place for Babyslave’s first gig. As always, I was operating on wing-and-a-prayer mode-da-operatus. Didn’t have anywhere to stay but the lovely Caro Snatch saw I wasn’t running the streets of Salford, Morrissey-style.

Today Salford, tomorrow – Salt Lake.
Or Budleigh Salterton?
Actually, we’re looking for some more shows, so even that would be OK. If you’re a promoter in Budleigh looking for a dada-inspired electro-noise act, please do get in touch…
Miss H


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