Good night, for the last time, Velvet

There are places that have a spirit of their own, brought to life by the energy of the people who go there. Velvet is, or sadly was, one of those places. Watching parents dance with their children, I realized how this place had played a role in shaping a generation;  a place where relationships were sparked; memories were made; and I'd hazard a guess, a few children were conceived. Sadly, they've been robbed of a Velvet youth.

"Well, at least we can say we partied at Velvet once in our lives" GoodByeVelvet-2GoodByeVelvet-3GoodByeVelvet-4

"Hold still and let me take your picture!"

"No, I'm only 3 years old and already take better pictures than you!"


"Let's play squash the dots!"


"Viva Velvet!"


Meanwhile, down by the lake, things are heating up. Captain Chico and his motley crew have stolen a pedal boat. Expecting the worst I decided to stay on the safety of land. Unfortunatley there were no swimming incidents.


Some guys will do anything for a hot girl, wearing goggles and playing with fire...


Like this guy, smash up a few bottles...


Lie down slowly...


Have your mate put a block of nails on your belly...


Then let hot girl stand on top of the block of must be the goth look and the goggles.


And for the pain, pop a fire pill. If you're still not feeling well (in the head) in the morning, seek professional help.


Honestly, these two could actually feel his pain.


And perhaps this guy as well...


Velvet on the brain...


Three days, thousands of photos later...


Look girls, this is how we used to take selfies when Velvet first opened...


Meanwhile, backstage, Chico has one final trick up his sleeve...


This guy, Vinicio Caposella.


Capossela's style is generally reputed to have been strongly influenced by Tom Waits, but I didn't feel that on first meeting him. In fact, when I walked into the dressing room, I found a man dressed something like a cross between Johnny Cash and Colonel Sanders waving about a thurible. My first thought was: 'sweet Jesus, Chico must have drunk bad gin and decided to conduct some kind of weird religious ritual.'

But it was all preparation for Capossela's performance. He truly is a unique act, and while he draws from the traditions of Italian folk music (especially those of Irpinia, the part of Campania where his family moved in the 1950s), his style changes with every new album.

Each album is a new project, a collaboration with new musicians to create something uniquely Capossela. As we sit in the studio, me writing this post and Chico post producing photographs, we listen to Capossela's new album. Every now and then Chico burst out laughter at some Italian phrase, which I might never understand, evidence of close connection to traditional Italian folk music.



Goodnight, buonanotte, good bye Velvet... thank you Lucia, Chico and the whole Velvet family for making me feel welcome, it has been an experience.