Istanbul is a city of culture, with loads of venues, ranging from the Hagia Irene in the grounds of Aya Sofia, to Rumeli Hisar castle on the banks of the Bosphorus, to the Istanbul modern, the new art venue. Plus the open- air theatre and the jazz ferry boats. The bienniale is a series of cultural events spread over 6 weeks; starts soon. There are events all over Istanbul; if you miss it you have to wait 2 years.
Spillers Records in the Hayes is the world’s oldest record shop, founded in 1894 when it sold phonographs and sheet music. It’s still going strong despite the decline of vinyl, the growth of the CD market and the HMV and Virgin Megastores which have taken over the high street. It’s the best place to get less mainstream, more independent music and worth going into the tiny shop just for a look. Staff are friendly and more than willing to help you find that rare record or obscure title. Make sure you get one of the famous red biodegradable plastic bags, which the shop has been using as long as anyone can remember.
It's a bar in Central Oslo. Best music and a cool crowd. It's also one of the few places in Oslo that has a fair few people drinking midweek. Stuffed at weekends and loads of talent. Get the beers in!
Café Mono C/o Mail Boxes Etc. Pløensgt. 4 Youngstorget 0028 Oslo
Get up early enough on 1 May and you're in for a riot of English tradition at its best. Revellers from the previous night's balls join city folk, morris dancers and tourists to listen to the eerie Hymnus Eucharisticus that echoes from the choirboys who ascend Magdalen Tower for the occasion. Meanwhile, the drunker and more foolhardy of the students (often dressed in black tie) leap from Magdalen bridge into the murky waters of the river Cherwell below.
Outside Magdalen college tower, High Street near the Plain roundabout.
In its day one of the most painfully trendy bars in London, set-up by the record label of the same name. A great upstairs with intimate booths that you need to grab early to nab; a downstairs with very eclectic DJs and bands. All this plus fantastic White Russians and one of the best juke boxes in town.
Little Portland Street: tube to Oxford Cricus - head to Tottenham Ct Rd, take the 1st road on the leftm then Little Portland is on the left.
Tavern on Camac is a gay bar and nightclub in Center City that serves great cocktails, and transforms into a live piano bar several nights a week. The pianist always takes requests and has a huge selection of sheet music to choose from, plus mikes for anyone intrepid enough to join him - it starts slow, but by the end of the night everyone's up and singing! This is where we drowned our sorrows the night GW won again, despite our best efforts. As I wrote at the time: "We let it all out at one of Philadelphia's wonderful piano bars, with a pianist who was slightly surprised when fifteen drunken tearful Brits and their American friends settled in for a night of Cosmopolitans and howling along with country music."
www.tavernoncamac.com/ 243 Camac Street, Philadelphia, 19107
Otherwise known as 'The Welsh Club' it eschews the commercialism and loutishness that blights the club scene in city centres around Britain, going instead for an eclectic range of musical styles and ambiences on its rather different three floors.
11 Womanby Street Tel: 02920 232199
Mother is a grimy basement bar in Kabuchicho which has space for at most 12 svelte people. It has a CD menu (that's right menu!!) that anyone with a love of alternative music or metal would crawl over glass to look at and request from. Which figuratively you may have to, to find it. It's a great place to chat to Tokyoites (between songs obviously) about shared musical loves.
Exit JR Shinjuku Station's East Exit and pass Alta then cross Yasukuni Dori, go down the narrow street which has a Scottish Pub on the right about a third of the way down. At the end of the block on the right is a great bar, Shuffle Beat (also worth a visit), Mother is on the street to the left and almost right in front of you, look out for a small sign and plunge down those darkened stairs.
Great venue for interesting, challenging and creative music in the East Village. John Zorn, Jim O'Rourke, Thurstom Moore, Bill Frisell, Will Oldham, Peter Brotzmann, Marilyn Crispell....
107 Norfolk Street;
tel: 212 358 7501;
By day, a tapas restaurant; by night, a bar/club. A lively mix of French and Spanish influences in music, food and drink. The young crowd here can be relied upon to dance with a passion and energy that is quite uplifting for a visitor from the UK.
This excitement is partly due to the live trumpet player at weekends, who, to disguise the DJ's average mixing skills, blasts out the south of France fanfare heard at rugby games and all over the region. This works the crowd into a frenzy, tempered only when the trumpeter slows things down for the Spanish national anthem. Then another fanfare, and the crowd go wild again. It's like this every weekend.
1 Rue Gabriel Peri, Toulouse. Nearest station: Gare Matabiau
Really great CD store. From 60s French pop to free jazz to New York indie to hip hop to free folk to electronica to new weird americana in all its wonderful weirdness. The staff have a rep for attitude, but in many years of shopping there, I have yet to experience anything other than pleasant helpfulness. And if it's good enough for Thurston Moore... (Kims on St Marks place is worth a visit for those odd items which might be out of stock at OM (want to complete that Jandeck collection?) - OM was established by breakaway staff from Kims).
15 East 4th Street
An average Belgian bar might have a couple of dozen beers available. A good Belgian bar might have a couple of hundred. The Delirium Cafe has over TWO THOUSAND beers available at any one time. Not only a terrific range of Belgian beers but also beers from over 60 other countries. The menu actually lists about 2500 beers, but they restrict their claimed selection to "over 2000" as not all are available 100% of the time, though I've never ordered anything they couldn't find. One thing to be aware of, the beer price goes up during live music gigs, which happen twice a week. It's in the maze of alleyways that make up the Ilot Sacre, so can be hard to find at first.
Impasse de la Fidélité, 4A, Brussels. About 100m from the Grand Place and not far from Brussels Central Station. Website: www.deliriumcafe.be/ Tel: 32/2.514.44.34
Electronic media and music festival in Barcelona every June. It has two elements, Sonar by day is centred on MACBA and is a perfect way to spend time in between eating and drinking. Sonar by night is not for the faint-hearted, situated out in the suburbs, its an all-night party on a grand scale.
Not a name that really sticks out, but this is the hive of the Kreuzburg area. On a cold day in February its numerous cafes and geek shoppers are a welcome from the intense cold. In the summer walk down and see numerous musical acts. Not a place to be seen but a place to just be.
U-Bahn Moritz Platz right slap bang in the middle
Friendly, cool, laid-back bar for arty, student types with electronic music. Grab the centre wooden platform to lounge on low-seating with your friends. Open 23 - 2.30 (closed Mondays)
Olmo 31, Antón Martin metro, Info 91 521 48 54
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