An Interview with Tambourgi Productions – Organisers of the upcoming HEROES Club Nights, Soho

By Jordan Mooney.

David Bowie.

Whenever that name is uttered, thousands of evocative memories will fill a music fan’s head. Millions will know exactly who you’re talking about. It seems utterly pointless to even attempt an explanation for how iconic the man, the music and legend of Bowie really stands in the fabulous world of alternative culture.

So I won’t.

All you need to know is that some lovely people are bringing Bowie nights to Soho at the famous Borderline. These club nights are, incredibly, the first of their kind in the area, and are bound to light London’s famous red light district in a flood of stardust.


We decided that if anybody was unsure about how these events would work, we’d have to do a character autopsy on Tambourgi’s head honcho, Tess, and her resident DJ, Martin…


COTW: Hello there, Tess – and welcome to Cat on the Wall! How are you today?

Tess: Feeling good thank you, I’ve had a wine and Franz Ferdinand sort of day, can’t argue with that can you?



COTW: So, Tambourgi productions. Bowie Club Nights. Soho. Elaborate – what is this grand plan you have in the works?

Tess: Heroes is a concept 10305065_249421278574466_7804734362462620496_nclub night, essentially to enjoy David Bowie. -There’s a costume competition, face-painting, Bowie cocktails, and an amazing playlist by Martin Waugh. We play other icons like Queen, Kate Bush, Blondie, etc – it’s a great feeling to play people music they actually like, rather than formless club stuff. I’ve noticed when you’re normally in a club it’s such a special moment when people hear an old favourite and everyone looks ecstatic and jumps up to dance. I want there to be more club nights like that.



COTW: What other projects have Tambourgi managed in the past?

Tess: We’ve done four plays. I wrote three of them, and the other was audience-written, we performed the audience’s anecdotes of their sex lives. Very popular, that one. We took one play on a fortnight run at Edinburgh Fringe last year, and we were really well received. Beyond that, we’ve done a lot of private parties and soirees, I love a good themed evening.



COTW: Soho is of course one of – if not the best place – to hold a Bowie club night. There’s a lot of music history down there…did the dark spot of London seem like a natural choice from the off?

Tess: I actually chose the venue rather than the location, though of course it’s no surprise the best place was in Soho. I started off by trawling zines like your good self looking for the best indie clubs in London, then I emailed ten who struck me as the best, and the people at The Borderline are so enthusiastic and on the ball, so I went with them.



COTW: Soho is a very ‘loud’ place – everywhere always has something going on. How do you intend to stay competitive in such an…’active’ market? Do similar nights happen elsewhere in the area?

Tess: Surprisingly there has never been another Bowie club night, that we can find – definitely conventions and parties, but never late-night dressed-up clubbing. The Borderline is a fantastic venue, Muse and Rage Against the Machine have played there, and they’re very supportive of us. They have a five foot poster of us on their door, apparently!

This is the first ever Tambourgi project that we are not flyering for, I think there’s been such a shift onto online publicity now, that it might be a waste of time, and flyering in Soho is like pissing in the ocean (which I don’t advocate either). So we’re scarily reliant on social media and word of mouth, but we always push the boat out for our events and people always have a great time.

It is risky in terms of how many people will come, but I’m confident. If you’re not confident in this business, you’ve got nothing. Just look at David when he had the guts to record The Laughing Gnome



COTW: Bowie is a legendary figure who’s transcended people whom even listen to his music. Do you think, as a result, there might be a few outsiders? Do you think it’s important to ensure newcomers can enjoy themselves as much as longstanding fans?1925999_301558546694072_8560560814096531719_o

Martin: The great thing about David Bowie is that he’s accessible by everyone. His music is powerful whether you’re hearing it for the first or the 50th time. I’ll be playing some classics that any music fan will recognize, making it accessible for the casual Bowie fan; but I’ll also be digging out some hidden gems from his record collection, things you don’t usually hear in clubs.



COTW: As an addendum to the above, does a Bowie club night consist of classics, obscurities, all-Bowie material or material that fits into the style and thematic? Did you and your DJ find it particularly difficult to put together playlists?

Tess: Er? Over to Martin..

Martin: The great thing about David Bowie is that he’s accessible by everyone. His music is powerful whether you’re hearing it for the first or the 50th time. I’ll be playing some classics that any music fan will recognize, making it accessible for the casual Bowie fan; but I’ll also be digging out some hidden gems from his record collection, things you don’t usually hear in clubs.

(we see what you did there, Martin. We like the cut of your jib.)



COTW: Do you have any particularly memorable experiences from Tambourgi’s past projects and presentations? It is said the audiences of these events can be gloriously…um…eccentric, after all..!

Tess: We’ve always been lucky to get receptive audiences. Of course we’ve had our kooks, but that’s who we aim at, really, and people come out to have a good time. The only uncomfortable audience experience I can remember is when a family brought a young girl, maybe 13, to see a play that we had marked EXPLICIT CONTENT. They made it through the homoerotic punch up and recreational drugs, but left during the suicide attempt.

Oh, and this one time, the first ever night club event we did was to promote this very seedy play, so we held this skeezy school themed night – all cocktails, school uniforms, cigars and in an underground bar. It was the first time we had ever done it, and we were about 20 years old, and all the team got trashed. There was meant to be this little piece of acting to publicise the play, but in the end the actors were just falling about drunk. Everyone enjoyed themselves though, so we got off lightly.



COTW: Tell us some more about yourself. How did you first get the idea to create Tambourgi – and what challenges have you overcome while working with the project?

Tess: I created Tambourgi with a friend, basically because we wanted to produce works on our own terms and not be beholden to other people who run art as a clique. I had written a play that kept getting turned down by people with the money and then I went “Fuck it, I’m going to do this myself” and when it got to Edinburgh Fringe, we were featured in Broadway Baby and What’s On Stage, and we got five stars, and now there are other companies popping up wanting to revive the show.

Nevertheless Edinburgh Fringe was very difficult. I have an illness that causes internal bleeding and massive nerve pain, and the experience of such intense work and cramped conditions meant that I became bedridden during the run. My PA and producer were fantastic, but I was so depressed and guilty about it. I use a wheelchair now, which has naturally hindered what I can do, and I often wonder if without Fringe it would never have happened. But, anyone who has done Fringe will know that it’s the best and worst time of your life, and I would happily do it all again. But from a wheelchair.



COTW: You knew it was coming…favourite Bowie album?!

Tess: Ah! He has about 26! I’ll be boring and say Space Oddity, because it was mired in the hippie era and on first listening it’s the typical songs full of vague protest, but even so early on he’s revealing himself to be incredibly intelligent and on tracks like Signet Committee, he critiques and rises above the crumbling and self-aggrandising hippie movement.

I love it, basically, because it’s 60s and not-60s. I have to add in that Heroes is possibly the greatest song I’ve ever heard – it never gets old, every time you hear it, the passion and anger in his voice is spine-tingling, and it’s (unusually for a pop song) genuinely profound, talking about this horrible grotty relationship but saying that when we’re in love, we all feel like we’re the only ones capable of feeling so strongly, and feel superhuman.

Martin: I get asked this a lot… I love aspects of all of them. The Heroes album has my favourite artwork, Ziggy has my favourite song (Rock and Roll Suicide), Hunky Dory was the first album I ever bought… But it has to be Aladdin Sane. It’s often described as ‘Ziggy in America’, for me it’s slightly more developed and has an edge of surprise compared to Ziggy.



COTW: Are there any other themed club nights you’d be interested in having a crack at in the future?

Tess: We’ve had requests for some Queen nights, but who else is there? Who does night club style music but is such a beloved paragon, and someone we all want to dress up as? Although, up in York we are jointly-holding Katemas on 31st July – that’s a celebration of Kate Bush’s birthday, which many of her fans keep as a religious holiday!



COTW: And what’s planned next for Tambourgi after this run of club nights?

Tess: Depends! I’m itching to get back into theatre and there’s a possible play coming up in London. I’m pretty impulsive, I get hooked on an idea and three months later, it happens. I definitely hope that we start working farther afield as well, maybe more in London.

We’re also teaming up with a fantastic tribute act called Absolute Bowie in January to bring people a big old Bowie Birthday Bash.



COTW: That’s about everything – thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us – any final words for friends, family, upcoming guests, our readers…even us?!

Tess: Yes. Get on Youtube and listen to The Laughing Gnome, by David Bowie. And as you do, realise that no-one achieves greatness without doing some terrible cringey stuff. People laugh at you when you fail, but don’t give up; David Bowie was recorded The Laughing Gnome, but he’s still one of the greatest recording artists ever.


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The Heroes Club Nights will be running on the 6th July, 20th July, 3rd Aug, 17th Aug and 31st Aug, between 11PM and 3AM at The Borderline, Soho. There’s even a grand costume competition. What more could you hope for, eh?


Tickets are available now, right here:

 And don’t forget your social media…




About the author

Compulsive hat wearer, eccentric, fan of all things audio-visual, part time Goth, historian, and railway enthusiast, Jordan is the closest you can get to everybody's weird uncle. Except he's less than 60 years old.

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