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St Harmonica's Blues Club is moving to a new venue in the new year.  Starting on 11th January, the weekly club will relocate from St Monica's parish centre to the Southgate Club in Crown Lane, a stone's throw from the tube station.

As well as changing venue, there will be a change in the scheduling.  As now, St Harmonica's will operate on Friday nights from 8.30pm - except for the first Friday of the month, when the Southgate Club hosts a monthly comedy club.  So instead of the first Friday of the month, the club will be held on the Sunday after the first Friday (which in some months will be the second Sunday).  These new Sunday St Harmonica's events will all be blues jam sessions.

This week at St Harmonica's

odyssey blues and soul band at st harmonicas

Click on the picture for details of gigs up to Christmas

Dave Thomas, one of the team behind St Harmonica's, says that leaving St Monica's parish centre, their home for the last nine years, will be "a real shame".  The grade II listed building, also known as Cannon House, has, he says, "been the quirkiest of venues, reminiscent of the blues clubs of old, which has enabled us to establish a real community-centred blues club".  The Southgate Club too, however, "has a proud tradition of serving the community going back over 150 years".

Dave says that the new venue is "a terrific space with great bar, a stage and comfortable seating as well as some space to get down and boogie".  The arrangements will be as now:  free admission to holders of a St Harmonica's membership card (possibly the cheapest membership card in London, by the way) plus donations into the hat to pay for the musicians.

The club's name, of course, makes clever use of the association with St Monica's church.  The church has announced its decision to sell Cannon House and build a new parish centre and flats on the site of the Intimate Theatre, which, if the plan goes ahead, will be demolished.  The likely loss of the Intimate is keenly regretted both by those who treasure its unique history and by the theatrical companies who use it still as a venue. 

At this month's Winchmore Hill ward forum Warren McWilliams of St Monica's Players described the alternative concept developed by the well known local theatrical group.  Their proposals would, according to Warren, retain the present Large Hall (the church's designation for the theatre) while bringing it up to date for use as both parish centre and theatre.  Instead of building a small number of flats for retired priests on the site of the Intimate, which would exacerbate car parking problems in Stonard Road, Cannon House could be converted into a larger number of flats, which would overlook the garden and have ample car parking. However, the church management had declined to consider the alternative concept.

The Home of the Blues

I couldn't resist using "Home of the Blues" in the title, because it gives me an excuse to mention this atmospheric early recording by Johnny Cash.

Does that really count as Blues?  Some might say not, but I think it does.  However, this next one definitely does - "Mad Dog" Dave Barnes playing a medley of songs from the Blues canon on Cannon Hill.

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