BY TOBY PORTER
Halloween is normally the favoured time of year these days for breaking bands.
They favour dusty, unwashed, recycled black clothing, tons of black eyeliner and cuddling up to their pet bats.
Throwing TV sets out of hotel windows is too much like hard work, so instead there is a tendency to commune with the dark side on a ouija board. Or just mope.
And if you’re rehearsing songs about austerity, bad bedsits, death, decay and drawn drapes in a windmill near Brixton Prison, at Christmas time the temptation must be to shriek into the microphone “Bah – humbug”.
A collection of cutting-edge artists from Brixton Hill have defied the nihilistic tradition by recording a Yuletide mixtape, and called it Brixmaaaaas. Still – and almost reassuringly – the final track reverts to stereotype.
It’s called Christmas in Prison, by the ever-optimistic Hot Sauce Pony (biggest YouTube hit so far, Fenced In, 1,000 hits) South London’s underground musicians have – possibly temporarily – otherwise scraped aside their floppy fringes to create a mini-album of original Christmas songs, to raise cash for Brixton’s Soup Kitchen.
It also features songs from bands with the following names: Ham Legion (biggest hit so far, Georgie Porgie – 600 YouTube hits), Scud FM (Love Industrial Complex – whose combined hits have gained 246 views), Black Midi & Jerskin Fendrix (with Ice Cream), Alessi’s Ark, with Winter’s Grace (their most successful song, with 26,000 hits, is The Horse).
Try finding the other track, Christmas Present by Bad Parents, on YouTube and all you get is pictures of crying kids with crap gifts. Apparently, though, it’s a cheery ditty.
The album, released on the Brixton Hillbilly label on December 7, is the brainchild of Stephen Gilchrist, a seasoned session drummer for the likes of Graham Coxon and The Damned, bassist with Hot Sauce Pony and owner of Brixton Hill Studios, where all the bands rehearse or record.
Stephen felt it was time for local musicians to support the work of the Brixton Soup Kitchen, which has been helping the area’s homeless since 2003.
He said: “Considering this is becoming one of the richest boroughs in the country, it’s very upsetting to think that we still need soup kitchens and food banks.”
It must have been very hard to embrace their inner Santa. But the borough’s homeless will certainly applaud their valiant attempts to cheer up.