Half The Sky 1979 -80
Diane McLoughlin, sax; Gill Moon, drums; Helen Haigh, vocals; Izzy Postill keyboards; Nony Ardill, guitar; Vick Ryder, bass
The band took their name from the revolutionary Chinese saying popular at the time: ‘women hold up half the sky!’ Helen was lead vocalist and most of the band sang as well as played. Their gigs included benefits at Dame Colet House in Stepney which was near where some of the band members including Helen lived; a gig for Lesbian Line at Caxton House in Archway and the Women’s Monthly Event at Waterloo Action Centre. They played a mixture of soul, pop standards and some original material including one called ‘Reclaim the Night!’
A love of the sixties sounds – Motown, Stax etc – led to a one-off 1980 gig at Islington Town Hall by The Supermarkettes – Alison Rayner, bass; Angele Veltmeyer, sax; Deirdre Cartwright, guitar; Frankie Green, drums, with others – which morphed into The Happening. Musicians and singers participating included Caroline Gilfillan, Barbara Stretch, Karen Parker, Jackie Clune, Jackie Crew, Jane Haydn Rowles, Ann Day, Diane McLoughlin and others. This in turn grew into The Emma Peel Fan Club which included Alison Rayner, bass; Ann Day, drums; Annette Brown, trumpet; Deirdre Cartwright, guitar; Diane McLoughlin, sax, Issy Postill, keyboards; Jessica Palin, percussion; Laka Daisical, lead vocals; Rachel Bartlett, sax; Sarah P, Jan Haydn Rowles and Kocoa Brown, vocals. Various guest vocalists included Brenda Rattray, Carol Grimes, Jackie Clune, Lorna Gee, Sarah Jane Morris. This “… biggest, loudest women’s band currently on the club circuit” (Time Out), whose gigs became a regular major London event at such venues as Stoke Newington Town Hall, The Scala at King’s Cross, Hackney’s Ocean, and the Forum in Kentish Town, played their last event – a fundraiser for the Women’s Environmental Network and Breast Cancer Care – in 2005. Women from the band continue to gig as The Electric Landladies.
Caroline Gilfillan, Dee Orr, Dinah Jeffrey, Trudy Howson
City Limits, February 1983
The Harpies 1980 ~
Ann Day, drums; Caroline Gilfillan, keyboards; Joanna Holland, guitar; Patsy McGuire, bass; all, vocals.
Photographs courtesy the estate of Caroline Forbes
As well as the other bands in the archive, Ann Day also played in Accordions Go Crazy (1988 – 1996, folk/fusion), Go Ga Ga, (1988, fusion/world) and Hot Peaches (1990 – 94, gay/trans cabaret theatre); subsequently she has played with solo artists and bands including Sianed Jones (recording with Slant & gigging); Heather Myles, (recording & touring Europe and the US); Daffs (pop trio); Cats Cradle; Joli Blon (cajun/zydeco); The Emma Peel Fan Club; Electric Landladies; The Annie Whitehead Whitstable World Workshop, and is currently MD of Sambo Pelo Mar, Whitstable’s community Samba band.
Hi Jinx 1980 ~ 1984
Barbara Stretch, bass, vocals; Caroline Gilfillan, drums, vocals; Dee Orr, percussion, synth, vocals; Diane McLoughlin, sax; Jenny Nabone, sax, flute; Nony Ardill, guitar; Ros Davies, trombone
‘Our music was feminist and political and fun, and written by us all … and varied from rock-jazz-blues-salsa with influences of music from around the world really – heavy on the female take on life, love and our struggles to be heard as individuals by making music and singing for the joy of life itself.’ ~ Dee Orr, 2011
Spare Rib 151, 1985
Hi Jinx photos courtesy Dee Welding
The Hot Doris Band
Four woman accapella group