Freelance writer, artist and editor based in Crouch End, London
Published January 23rd 2013
Banter, blues and barmy jokes
If you're struggling for something to do on a quiet Monday night in or around Southampton (as I often am), allow me to recommend the Talking Heads pub in Portswood. Serving a range of real ales, and near-enough guaranteed to be frequented by some of the finest musical/comedic/poetic talent Southampton has to offer, it's open until 1am. With regulars such as Techno-Kim, a psychedelic, beat-dropping, opinionated old hippy, Johnny B, Southampton Ukelele Jam and Alec the evil sex poet, this is not your standard acoustic pub open mic night.
Whenever I think of Southampton, I think of the many relaxed and inspiring evenings I have spent sipping a G&T amongst the candles and enjoying the eccentric, eclectic entertainment. As well as the Monday night sessions, the Talking Heads hosts pantos, an Irish acoustic session on a Sunday, Saturday reggae as well as regular big artists such as Juliette Lewis, Sandi Thom, The Script, The New York Dolls and Band Of Skulls.
The Candle Club regularly hosts talented singer-songwriters
The pub closed down due to the recession in early 2012 but was subsequently taken over by businessmen Guy Benfield and Martin White. In March last year during a refurbishment the building mysteriously caught ablaze. But an army of 4,000 loyal supporters stepped up to help save it,
If there's one thing Southampton does well, it's music. And if there's a venue that showcases the best and most original Southampton artists, it's the Talking Heads. If you're a talented individual yourself, I couldn't think of a finer venue in which to make your musical debut. Turn up at around 8.30pm and you'll be given a 10 minute slot during which traffic lights will indicate how long you have left. As the longest-running weekly open mic night in Southampton, the Candle Club is one of Southampton's best kept secrets. Until now.