Welcome to Napoli

By Piers Thompson
Welcome to Napoli. Napoli is what Colin McInnes’ Absolute Beginner called the Neighbourhood at the start of the ‘whole teenage epic’. Those 1958 Race Riots in Notting Dale changed the dynamic of Britain forever, and Notting Hill became the epicentre of London’s counter-culture. 
The spirits of Bob Marley, Brian Jones, Joe Strummer, Syd Barrett and Jimi Hendrix are here. Right here, in Powis Square. When butterflies flap their wings round here, they whip up a storm all over the globe. London Calling to the rest of the world.

Nic Roeg shot Performance with Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in the house over the road. Chris Blackwell recorded The Wailers in Basing Street. The Clash exploded onto these streets. Pink Floyd played their first gigs here, Muhammed Ali paraded his Heavyweight tiltle through the market with Michael X. Lily Allen made her stage debut aged 7 at The Tab in the Panto and Damon Albarn rehearses his latest project here.
Since Hugh Grant walked through the seasons in Portobello Market, people sometimes forget these things.
It was the Squatters and Situationists who demanded the doors of the Tabernacle be opened. They occupied the place, assisted by some Italian Anarchists. It became the beating heart of Bohemia, the home of Carnival, and a space for things to happen. 
That was then and this is now, I hear you say. What’s new, David Starkie?
Pink Cigar is what’s new. Three teenagers who come on like The New York Dolls. They used to go by the name of Delinquents, and honed their live act playing over 100 gigs in the last year, mentored by Steve Dior (ex London Cowboys). They’ve ruthlessly dumped the old guy and are just about to play a grimy gig near you. Be first for once.
Or try The Rotten Hill Gang, Gary Stonage’s Victorian Grime collective, with an occasional  Mick Jones on guitar, who offer an authentic West London mix of humour and beats. It’s Oliver gone Wrong. Go listen at Rough Trade.
And don’t miss Dario’s sumptuous graffiti all over the skatebowl on Meanwhile Gardens
Gotta chip. Keep in Constant Touch.
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