Duffo opens Croydon Underground with split personality

Posted on 13th February 2017

Jeff Duff opened the Croydon Underground Club in February 1985 in his alter ego as Cyril Trotts—as indicated in this poster for the gig (click to inspect). The poster indicates the date of the performance on February 16, which fell on a Saturday in 1985.

Duff’s Cyril Trotts EP was released in 1984. This is a 5-track album including a parody of Bowie’s "Heroes"—in mega-operatic mode—and of the songs Relax and Two Tribes by the contemporary superstars Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It’s available on itunes: Cyril Trotts to Bogna. For more about Duff’s Cyril Trotts act, see this blogpost about its track Santa is an Astronaut—an original Jeff Duff Xmas song.

Jeff Duff as Cyril Trotts (from album sleeve)

Past punters of the Club have offered reflections on the Underground Club, including in a post on the Bygone Croydon Facebook page and a CPFC forum:

Saw some memorable gigs at the Underground, devastated when it shut down. … 🙁 —jimble, 13 Nov 2006

The Underground was great :p And there was nothing quite like the friendly staff kicking you in the head if you nodded off on the stage 😀 [xab, 10 Nov 2006]

I used to go there religiously to see bands… it was a sad day when that closed down. 🙁 —Nork 1, 26 Jan 2008

my first and only stabbing in the underground / one of the door man / the guy just ran a blade over his back and quick as a flash run up the stairs / and out the doors / / in knew the door man and / the knife man—Mike Jones, 26 Jan 2014

The decor was often naff (flock wallpaper and sticky carpet), the beer sometimes watered down …, the food pretty iffy (what other club feeds you stodge like rice and French bread as soon as you walk through the door – thank you Cinatra’s), you got completely plastered on jugs of Double Diamond or Worthington E, alcopops hadn’t been invented, and if you were lucky you copped off with some bird that probably went to school with your Mum 😉 [La Bombonera, 10 Nov 2006]

Other artists who performed there included:

  • Sigue Sigue Sputnik (June-August 1985) [poster]
  • The Stone Roses (July 4 1985) [ref]
  • Rubella Ballet, and The Fur Bible (Sept 1985) [ref]
  • All About Eve (Dec 5 1985; Jan 16, Feb 20, May 2, June 22, Sept 21 1986) [ref]
  • The Fall (Thurs 11 Sept 1986) [poster, or on flickr]
  • The Stranglers (Sun 1 May 1988) [ref]
  • Gong and Tribal Hearts (Jan 1989) [ref]

The posters got somewhat more creative in the Club’s later years: a collection is here, and at songkick.com, including this. These show that, among other acts performing there, were Duff’s compatriots, the Australian band The Triffids.

Something of the feel of the club can be heared from this audio recording of a Sigue Sigue Sputnik performance at the club, six months after Duff opened it.

See the environs of the club today via Google maps here.

Cyril Trots on Spotify:

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– rodg.
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Jeff Duff’s Santa song

Posted on 24th December 2015

Santa-Rocket-Sleigh-Space-Classic-Christmas-Card-02Could this Russian Xmas card—from the US/Soviet Space Race era—have been the inspiration for Jeff Duff’s merry tune "Santa is an astronaut"?

The perfect antidote to the supermarket sound-track this season—preview via iTunes, GooglePlay or Spotify—off Duff’s "novelty" album Cyril Trotts to Bogna.

Here’s a small sample of the lyric …

Santa is an Astronaut

Intro announcement:

Hey! Look up into space, it’s a cosmonaut!
No, it’s an astronaut!
No! Oh, it’s only Santa’naut —
Hi Santa!

Chorus:

Forget what ya been taught
‘cos Santa is an Astronaut.
Don’t believe all ya hear
‘cos Santa rides a rocket not a real reindeer.

#1:

Space! — he’s got space in his head
for a turkey instead
of a brain.

Mars! — he’s a sucker for Mars Bars,
his stockings are all chocolate stained.

[…]

#3:
Bells! — he wears bells on his head
and scrap-metal instead
of a beard.

Sing! — he can’t sing, he can’t dance,
Xmas carols — fat chance! —
this guy’s weird.

There’s a swag more of these Russian space-themed Xmas cards, all copyright–free, at crazywebsite.com.

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– rodg.

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