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OLIVIA CHANEY @ DALSTON BOYS CLUB

No men with moustaches were hurt in the making of this article all characters are for the perpetuation of a point and do not refer to real people with the exception of the musicians. Everyone there was lovely (apart from one weird fat kid).

 

The Dalston Boys Club is hidden in a crevasse off Kingsland rd. Passing the lugubrious neon of the east's Jazz hall you must chance upon an antiquated red door. Knock upon it only if the flecks of red paint peel from it's wooden body inviting you to pick at it like burnt skin. More than likely some bald and relaxed Slovenian muscle will encourage you through the toll. Within the chamber a host of idiosyncrasies wall the nave of the old sanctum. Oil paintings and floral draperies deck out the space like the melee of Steptoe and Son's shackle box. 

 

A website about the venue describes it's beginnings: 'In 1853 the Reverend Seamus O'Mara set up the Dalston Boys' Club. With the Lord in his heart and a stick in his hand, he instructed the ill-educated urchins of his parish in the sacred art of boxing. Under his tutelage they learnt the skills they would need for life: respect, rectitude and ruthlessness. They also learnt to keep their chin up whilst taking one helluva beating. In recent times The Boys Club has moved on a bit. They'll still fight you for half a shilling and a quarter of aniseed balls, but they're more at home cracking briefs than skulls.'

 

Now home to artists, churchly Dickensian east end boxers have been replaced by androgynous beings in capes and circus-inspired curly moustaches. To wear a lip-catapiller of such an extreme nature you might think it's possessor an enigmatic and dreamy man unaware of the same social responsibilities your businessman father plagues his busy mind with. You may think him a Captain Beefheart character or a man that has travelled the world with a Baltic chamber-folk band playing a bone whistle forged from the femur of a hyena. But no this is East London - he works in a cinema peddling popcorn and white mice and is self-conscious in a way that he has obviously not realised how boundless infinity really is and by default his own insignificance.

 

Olivia Chaney balled through the old red door at about 9pm and walked straight to the grand piano that filled the belly of the hall. She gave renditions of slow and beautiful folkish songs that suited the prayerful acoustics of the atrium. She then played a harmonium and complimented its new found tuning having undergone a recent restoration by the hands of a man that my nebulous memory recalls as Usain Singh. With all this nu-folk forcing braces and online book clubs down our throats Chaney relieves us with the ointment of honest purity. I can imagine listening to Olivia Chaney  picking daisies in the dominion of Cassivellaunus in 54BC as Julius Caesar's army trundles over the salient hills. I can imagine hallucinating with Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths at the bottom of the stream proving theosophy true as Olivia plays the sweet melodies of imagination. If moustache man could imagine this he'd start relaxing a little more and start filling out that hairy yak face.

 

Alex Templeton-Ward

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