My thanks to Crispin Parry and the British Underground team for the invitation to their pre-Christmas drinks this evening, upstairs at The Angel in St Giles High St. It was a pleasure to catch up with Tom Bridgewater of Loose Music and Will Hodgkinson of The Times and to meet several other industry luminaries, especially those from the homegrown jazz and Americana music circuits.
A subject of discussion was the history of The Angel itself. The site is famous for being one of the stopping-points where men of the cloth would give condemned men a final drink on their horse-drawn journey from Newgate Prison to the Tyburn Tree. This is how the phrases ‘one for the road’ and ‘falling off the wagon’ originated. The hangings – and burnings – stopped at Tyburn in 1783.
British Underground (BU) is a creative production company that produces international showcases and strategic development projects in music and the arts that focus on international success. The company works with artists outside the mainstream who are selected to perform at industry facing showcases such as SXSW (Austin), Folk Alliance (Kansas City) and WOMEX (Europe). It also runs special projects like Jazz Re:freshed’s Outernational programme with Afropunk and Arts Council England’s art and tech mission to SXSW Interactive. BU offers support for costs at any industry showcasing event through the PRSF International Showcase Fund. Its special projects also include funding artists’ costs.
BU is an Arts Council England NPO and part of the PRSF Talent Development network and its London office is provided by the Musicians’ Union in the Oval. BU has relationships across the cultural sector in the UK and overseas, produces new music radio shows for British Airways in-flight entertainment system and is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation.