Artwork by Jamie Q - detail of artwork from the artist’s book The Possibilities are Endless, 2012.

Folking About in London with the London Irish Dance Céilí & Graham Nicholas

While out and folking about in London on Saturday evening, I stopped in at the London Irish Club’s Dance Céilí. There were loads of people obviously having a great time taking part in the various types of dances: long and circle dances which involve “as many as will” and are great for singles as partners aren’t necessary. They are also great for beginners as they are generally easy to follow and often walked through before getting going. There are also set dances for 4 couples, resembling square dances but with Irish steps. These are more demanding and can be learned at the club’s regular sessions on Thursday evenings. The caller, Maureen Mulvey O’Leary, is very much in demand such that people follow her to wherever she is engaged.

The live music was provided by Traddicted comprised of well known local fiddler Mary Ashton and button box accordionist Rob Hoffman, and their guests Beth Beech and Alison Lupton, both regulars with their own bands at folk events and festivals.

The Irish Club also holds a couple of monthly Music Céilís. (For details enquire at )  One of these is held at the London Music Club on the last Friday of the month - which is where I was headed next!

As I entered the Cellar Lounge at LMC, I was greeted by my host, Graham Nicholas whose EP Ruby, and Other Bed Time Stories was being released that night. He was taking money at the door and hugging old friends (he lives in TO but spent five years here until recently), some of them local musicians.

This is one of the great things about London, our musicians support each other in a tradition that goes back at least as far as the ‘70’s at Smale’s Pace Coffee House when the likes of Stan Rogers and Willie P. Bennett were trading licks and learning from each other as they honed their craft as song writers and performers. It’s great to see this is still the case. Olenka Krakus of the Autumn Lovers fame was there and one of her songs was done by the opening act, Mack Edwards of The Allens - very cool!!

Edwards brought many of his supporters and was joined on several numbers by fellow band mate, Mary-Kate Smith. They did a mix of covers (eg. Springsteen) and originals in a fairly hard driving percussive style – even using a “stomp box” of his own devising which really got the crowd roaring approval. He also did some nice finger picking on a few gentler songs. He closed with a terrific, very different arrangement of the traditional Man of Constant Sorrow, made popular in the film Oh Brother Where Art Thou. He was a good foil to Graham.

Graham Nicholas’ more subdued, laid back style was augmented very ably by Adrian Cook on electric guitar and pedal steel which he made sound like an additional voice. Raven Shields sings with Graham on the EP.  They both sing in an old-timey country style with beautiful sliding harmonies and interesting catches in the vocal phrasing, always tight and together. His acoustic guitar techniques covered some very tasty finger picking and flat picking. He seems quite at home with himself and his audience –including trading comments with some good natured hecklers.

Graham will be at Toronto’s prestigious folk podium, The Tranzac Club, next week in support of the EP release. Watch for a planned full length album: Sometimes Chickens, Sometimes Feathers.

Contact him at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled Bob Cunningham, originally from England, has been involved in the Canadian folk music scene since the early 60's as performer, guitar teacher and music school owner. His recordings with various groups have been played on CBC and as far away as Australia. Bob has performed coast to coast from coffee house to festival stage, schools to retirement homes - and more pubs than is decent! London has been home for many years where he sings with his newest group, Scallywag.

Art Gallery of Lambeth introduces Step-by-Step painting nights

A night out on the town in London often means a movie and a dinner, bowling, or the same old club scene.

Vivian Tserotas of the Art Gallery of Lambeth wants to change all that.

"What London really needs is a place where people can get together, have some fun, and create some art and a whole lot of memories," says Tserotas. "The Art Gallery of Lambeth is proud to be the first gallery in London to introduce step-by-step social painting nights for adults, children, and families."

Participants not only enjoy a night of culture and fun, but they also get to take home a personal piece of art created under the instruction of one of the gallery's professional artists, adds Tserotas.


The Godfather kicks off Hyland's 2013 Retromania schedule

The Hyland Cinema starts off its 2013 Retromania schedule with one of the great movies, The Godfather (1972).

There may not be another movie as universally beloved that I can think of but then, whether or not gangsters intrigue you, The Godfather is an amazingly universal film. It is intriguing for a film that romanticizes the life of a crime kingpin to be so beloved, but it’s about nostalgia and stands as a classical intergenerational tragedy. It’s also quite long, but there’s never been a three-hour film that feels shorter than this one. Considering director Francis Ford Coppola’s later effort Apocalypse Now (1979) may be the longest three-hour film, in terms of how it feels to watch it, this is quite a compelling case for the entertainment value and pacing of the film.


DISH Awards 2013: New Judges


The DISH Awards adds two new judges for year five!


Rust and Bone one of the best films of 2012

Before 2009’s A Prophet, I hadn’t seen a film by Jacques Audiard. After seeing his Palme D’Or competitor Rust and Bone at the Hyland Cinema, I will be sure to look back at his body of work. Both of these pictures are absolutely terrific and Audiard has a gloriously stylized pulpy noir grit to his filmmaking sense. Here he has Marion Cotillard as Stephanie, going all out in a bravura performance as a young woman who has to have her legs amputated as a result of an accident at her job as a whale trainer at Marineland. Apparently, they have those in France as well.

Her story is paired with the arrival of Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) in Antibes, a big hulking man-brute, who shows up broke and carrying along his young son (Armand Verdure). He crashes with his sister and uses his background as a kickboxer to get work as a bouncer. Later he works his way into the local street-fighting ring to feed his need to get out his aggression, break the monotony of life, and make a little coin.

The Arts Project - Theatre