Sisters are doing it for themselves

Clubs which feature female faces behind the decks are rare enough, never mind events which make the effort to incorporate woman-authored art into the clubbing environment. The List catches up with all-female collective STILETTO. Words: Jack Mottram

Let’s face facts. All clubs are the same. Admittedly the music policy will vary from night to night, but the basic set-up remains constant: a bloke (note the maleness) will play records to people dancing. And that’s your lot.

Since October last year, the 13th Note Cafe has played host to a club with a difference. Where conscientious mixing from po-faced boys keen to show off their skills, and dripping walls livened up with a couple of flyers reign supreme, the Stiletto collective has quietly set about subverting standards. As well as an off-kilter music policy that takes in anything from Billy Idol’s finer moments to electro obscurities, the grubby ’Note basement is prettified with projections, video art and curious constructions suspended from the ceiling. And, most important of

Sarah Lowndes

50 THE usr 17—24 Aug 2000

'We'll just keep going until every girl we know who wants the chance to play some records has done a set'

all, you won’t see anyone in possession of a Y chromosome behind the 12105.

‘lt’s a deliberate move,’ explains co-promoter and DJ Sarah Lowndes. ‘There are so many clubs that are male dominated. It’s not like we’re being hostile or anything like that, but I always find that boys take everything a bit too seriously, whereas we just relax and play the music, and the perfect mixing part of it doesn’t really interest us that much.’ Along with a commitment to redressing the gender balance in Clubland, Stiletto is enhanced by the artworks. ‘In Glasgow there aren’t that many places where you can go to relax and listen to music,’ Lowndes explains, ‘Having decorations and video installations adds to the atmosphere and makes the whole thing that bit more appealing. We see that as an important part of what we’re doing getting local artists along to do things, and we’re always looking for new artists to help out, as long as they’re girls.’

The combination of art showcase and lady-centric booking policy has resulted in Stiletto branching out with a second series of club ventures, Seven Sisters. ‘Whenever we’ve done nights in the past, people would say to us “I’d really like to have a go”,’ says Lowndes, ‘So we just thought it would be good to hear a bit of other people’s record collections. 1 think with the Seven Sisters thing, we’ll just keep going until every girl we know who wants the chance to play some records has done a set, because every time we play more people ask to join in.’

Stiletto, then, is a name to watch and, without getting too serious, a cause to support until there’s no need to point out the gender of a disc jockey.

Stiletto is at The 13th Note Cafe, Fri 18 Aug; the next Seven Sisters is on Thu 14 Sep at the same venue.


Kersland Sound System mix meaty, scientific beats with an energetic approach to playing live and a side order of funked-up mayhem. Leon McDermott plays against himself in a game of good cop/bad cop.

Kerlsand? As in the street in Glasgow's West End? Leafy bohemian environs in the centre of the city’s cultural heartland and with a Starbucks only round the corner? The very same, but we’re not writing a travel article, so pay attention. Kersland Sound System have been kicking around for about three years now, gigging in and around Glasgow to punters who appreciate a bit of lowdown dub action with their beats and breaks, and they’re one of the few dance acts who can cut the dry ice when it comes to performing on stage.

Yeah. yeah, everybody has an angle. Tell us something we don’t know. Oh, you’re such a cynic sometimes. What's wrong with a band - and Kersland are a band, not a dat and a singer, not a bunch of records and an effects box that want to do something a bit different once in a while? They press up their own material (their album, The Sleeper Service, was out on their own Comical Underwear label in April of this year), they're dedicated to giving this house and techno-saturated city something a bit out of the ordinary, and they’re not afraid to take things a little further than most.

What d'you mean, 'further than most'? Isn't that just another euphemism for 'stop being so damned weird and get on with the show?‘ Oh, drop it, will you. The Kersland live experience is a thing to behold: thumping beats; bass that, given the chance, would be quite adept at ripping the arse-end out of an elephant; a winning way with razor- sharp melodies; and if that isn’t enough, though God knows, it should be for someone like you we're also promised a new, improved lightshow. Happy now?

Yeah. You load up on the beer, I'll organise the hallucinogenics. I don't know if I can authorise that, you know. . Kersland Sound System, Glasgow College ofArt, Fri 78 Aug.