With fantastic rockin’ clubs popping up all over the place at weekends, it’s hard to squeeze everything into the diary and still have room for all that boring but essential domestic ‘stuff’, but just sometimes fate drops one in your lap that provides something that little bit different. So it was we found ourselves deep in East London on just the afternoon that our old pal, DJ Phil Russell was rocking at Red Door Studios.


Red Door’s a thriving independent arts studio in the heart of East Ham, providing a venue for all kinds of creativity from life drawing (fortunately no naked rockabillies posing on this particular afternoon) to cake baking. Once a month they throw the Red Door open (yes, there is literally a red door) for an afternoon of eclectic music, the first couple of hours of which is curated by our Phil. It’s not a dance club, nor does it make pretensions to be “rockin'”, but equally there are no concessions in the choice of music which runs the full gamut of everything we love to hear, from late jumping swing thro’ R’n’B and classic rockabilly and rock’n’roll – all played loud enough to rise above background music and dig in all its beauty, but still leaving enough room to have a conversation, even for my knackered ears! And, of course, there’s food – lots of it, hand prepared from local produce and quality ingredients, and all delicious. On a soggy Saturday afternoon after a long haul across to do some work at the Excel, it was a delight to collapse into some comfy chairs, fill up on gourmet toasties, home made cake and mugs of proper tea, and catch up with old pals while relishing two and a half hours of the sort of sounds we love. Taking the afternoon through to tea time was Phil’s oppo Pete, moving the selection forward to a mainly 60s set, but all still very good to hear. What was particularly good to see was the wide range of folk dropping in, tucking in and tuning in – multiple generations and no-one bugging the DJ for more mainstream sounds. Clearly the locals round those parts have a wide and appreciative taste in music.

You’ll find Phil behind the decks on the last Saturday of the month, every month (but check with Phil first, just in case!), but if you’re in that part of the world, keep an eye on what else Red Door Studios has to offer on their Facebook page  and website.