Oh, alright then. For those of you who’ve asked to see our Desert Island Discs playlist from ‘our set’ at L.T.D at The Social this week, here goes…
1. A Message To You Rudy, Dandy Livingstone
An homage to my grandma Venus. She was renowned for her parties where she’d sprinkle sawdust on the floor (to make dancing to tracks like this even easier) and allowing her grand kids to sip Cherry B and Babycham – we thought we were sooo grown up.
2. ABC, Jackson 5
My first pop concert was the Jackson 5 at Hammersmith. I was too young and too high on the experience to need alcohol but this is a moment that will stay with me. Always.
3. Hold Me Close, David Essex
I went to an all-girls school and all of us fancied David Essex like mad. We were allowed to have ‘pop sessions’ every month where we pretended we were in a disco. Lemonade was the designated tipple (but not necessarily through choice.)
4. Caught You In A Lie, Louisa Marks
This was a killer track in my teenage ‘soul’ and Lovers Rock phase. My taste for drinks hadn’t moved on much but the music had. By now I was frequenting clubs like Lacy Ladies in Ilford and the amazing Friday lunchtime sessions at Crackers, just off Oxford Street.
5. Chant No. 1, Spandau Ballet
My first taste of a real swanky bar was the member’s club Zanzibar in Covent Garden. My palate wasn’t as refined as the setting though and not knowing what to order, I’d go for something simple like Jack Daniels and coke.
6. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
One of the key records of the New Romantic era. Me and my sister June went out every night of the week, frequenting places like Club For Heroes and the Mudd Club. We dyed our hair every colour of the rainbow, dressed up like drag queens and danced like mechanical dolls. Drinks-wise, it was all about gin, lime cordial and lemonade.
7. Club Tropicana, Wham
When we weren’t clubbing, June and I would treat ourselves to cocktails at Coconut Grove and Peppermint Park in Covent Garden. We didn’t have much money so we’d go for banana daiquiris or Pina Coladas and make one last all night. This track captures the feel and look of the time perfectly.
8. Groove Is In The Heart, Dee-Lite
I was singing backing vocals around this time and Pils lager was always on our Rider. This track got us dancing around and in a good mood before going on stage.
9. Tear Drops, Womack & Womack
This was released the year my fabulous daughter Lauryn was born. The title has nothing to do with my state of mind at the time – in fact, I couldn’t have been happier and it’s still one of my fave feelgood records. As for drinks, I’ll always associate this record with the moment when I discovered that port wasn’t for old folk and my sisters and I would have a few cheeky glasses before going out.
10. Get Off, Prince
A massive shout-out to my parents who would look after Lauryn so I could go out every few weekends. And when I did, I wanted to party. This one always got me moving something or other. Drinkswise, nothing more complex than white wine…
11. Relight My Fire, Take That
Around the same time that Oliver Peyton’s Atlantic Bar & Grill emerged on the scene this came out, what a track! Dick Bradsell was doing great things with cocktails in Dick’s Bar but shamefully, I was still drinking wine and champagne.
12. Independent Women, Destiny’s Child
Chooooooooon! The irony is I’d met Mr G by this time but the sentiment will always remain. One of our favourite bars was the Rockwell at The Trafalgar where we’d always order Vanilla Martinis, courtesy of the fabulous Davide who actually inspired us to start The Cocktail Lovers.
13. It’s Not Unusual, Tom Jones
The one track I absolutely insisted was on our wedding playlist. Instead of the bog standard champagne toast we asked the venue to create a London-inspired cocktail: they came up with the London Cosmo, using gin instead of vodka, garnished with an orange rose petal instead of orange peel.
14. Valerie, Amy Winehouse
A fabulous track from a great talent. This one still gets me bopping around Cocktail Towers, whether I have a cup of coffee or martini in hand.
15. Bandelero, Pinchers
And it’s family parties again, this time with my nephew Miles on the decks every Christmas, with my bro-in-law Dave Dorrell on standby. This one gets all the generations going and always reminds me of my friends Paul and Tamara, and sisters, June, Sharon and Debbie. I’ll never have cocktails at these parties though – it’s strictly spirits and mixers.
1. Only Want To Be With You, Dusty Springfield
My mum’s family were always a lot of fun. Aunt Cass and Uncle George ran The Hammers pub in the East End and had great parties. The ladies all dressed up and drank Babycham and the men would have been drinking Watneys Red Barrel. Us kids would have Coca Cola, lemonade, Tizer or cream soda – I used to like mixing them up.
2. Theme from The Avengers, Laurie Johnson
I grew up watching Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart movies along with The Avengers and The Saint on TV. The heroes were good looking, well dressed, went to smart nightclubs and were surrounded by glamorous women. They also drank exotic drinks. Even though the only strong drink I had would have been an occasional lager and lime I knew that one day I’d be drinking cocktails.
3. Both Ends Burning, Roxy Music
I wasn’t like the other kids round our way. I liked 1930’s clothes and music. My friend Zoe who was also a bit odd (she was a hippy) gave me a cocktail shaker for my 17th birthday – it was a glass with a white plastic top and I still have it. I made my first cocktail – a Singapore Sling – based on what my parents had left over from Christmas. Bryan Ferry’s style promised there was a glamorous world out there somewhere.
4. Poison Arrow, ABC
I left London to go to art school in the Midlands where I wore second-hand suits every day and an original 1920’s dinner suit when we went clubbing to the Rum Runner in Birmingham. We used to sneak in miniatures of brandy to put in the soft drinks because we couldn’t afford the cocktails.
5. One Nation Under A Groove, Funkadelic
Back in London I was going to obscure little clubs like one that was somewhere off Charlotte Street (I can’t remember what it was called and it burned down in mysterious circumstances). It sold Red Stripe and rum, nothing else.
6. Temptation, Heaven 17
When I got my first job I went out a lot and always seemed to end up at a party somewhere. We’d concoct atrocious punches from whatever drinks people were bringing. This track was on my Walkman dance compilation cassette and got played to death.
7. Edge of Heaven, Wham
The first real cocktail venue I went to was Coconut Grove where I drank things with umbrellas like Pina Coladas. This was the ultimate good time dance track.
8. Shout To The Top, Style Council
I loved the Style Council – their music felt soulful, energetic and sophisticated and they looked so damned cool. I was making my first dry martinis at home which didn’t taste too great and wearing too many white clothes like Mr Weller which probably didn’t look too good either.
9. Addicted To Love, Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer was another music and style hero. Influenced by his look I always wore suits when my friends were wearing jeans. I’d discovered the best places to get decent cocktail were smart hotels and I used give my credit card a right bashing just so that I could go to The American Bar at The Savoy and enjoy a Dry Martini.
10. Pull Up To The Bumper, Grace Jones
I was working as an advertising creative and going to clubs like the Zanzibar and Fred’s where I first encountered Dick Bradsell. I started to try out all sort of cocktails. I was having great nights – I just wish I could I could remember them. This track reminds me of those late, great nights.
11. It’s A Sin, Pet Shop Boys
The Pet Shop Boys made a dramatic sound that seemed to make life feel like a big, sexy opera and it was perfect music to play just before going out while mixing champagne cocktails.
12. Sex Bomb, Tom Jones
Suddenly there was a whole new raft of cocktail bars springing up – Player, Detroit, Matchbar, Abigail’s Party… I loved the Vodka Espresso, it helped fuel many a long night. I liked the way Tom Jones was both classic and contemporary and this track reminds me of venues that were like that too.
13. Goldfinger (Propellerheads mix), Shirley Bassey
When I met Ms S (The other Cocktail Lover not Dame Shirley) a big part of our dating was dressing up and trying out new bars and revisiting favourites. Our taste was eclectic – liking everything from classic West End hotel bars to whatever was new in Hoxton. We liked the ways styles could be mixed up to create the best of the old and the new. This track does the same thing and was a favourite of ours.
14. For Once In My Life, Stevie Wonder
Ms S and I got married in 2010. We had a lot of fantastic music and this track is one that always reminds me of the day. We also served a bespoke cocktail, The London Cosmo, instead of Champagne for the toast.
15. We Are London, Madness
London for me is the most fantastic place to live. We are lucky enough to have it all – music, fashion, food, art, creativity, architecture, open spaces, history, culture all mixed up in a fantastic, big old cocktail. Madness epitomises this – especially this track. Now we’re drinking everything from 17th Century punch through American Bar classics to molecular mixology, retro Pina Coladas and of course my favourite, the Dry Martini. That’s why I love it, my family, my new family, my friends and all of the people – we are London.
Thanks to those who came along and a big thank you to Dre Masso for mixing some quality cocktails – particularly his rendition of The London Cosmo and the Pina Colada to accompany Club Tropicana!
L.T.D at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, W1W 7JD. T: 020 7636 4992. thesocial.com.