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A great review of HDIF from the Big Issue:

How Does it Feel to be Loved? The Buffalo Bar, Islington

Once a month, the Buffalo Bar in Islington becomes a speakeasy for anyone who suspects that their life is one big Smiths song. A good night out requires a touch of heartache, melodrama and equal measures of shimmering guitar and yearning soul. Welcome to HDIF, help yourself to a pin badge.

This, it would seem, is where young librarians go to let off steam. Jangle pop from the halcyon days of fanzines and festive fifties floats around the room, whilst a discreetly passionate melee of corduroy, horn-rimmed glasses and tasteful fringes convalesce on the dance floor. Don’t assume that the fey don’t know how to have fun mind – the glee that follows anything by Belle & Sebastian, Otis Redding or Dexy’s Midnight Runners is infectious, and if singing to no one but yourself when dancing is a crime, then no one seems to care.

Numbers of HDIF devotees have been growing of late. Two years have seen the night blossom from a sporadic and slightly shambling affair, to bi-monthly sell outs at venues either side of the river. Tonight, punters from as far a field as Glasgow have shown up to bop along to Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice and The Pastels (a little like selling coal to Geordies perhaps, but hey…).

But what elevates HDIF far above thousands of other ‘indie discos’? A healthy bit of revisionism certainly helps. To the HDIF regular, the golden age of guitar pop wasn’t forged by the bolshy Britpop boys club of the ‘90’s, but by a shy and retiring spate of bands that fell under the broad umbrella of “C86” pop during the 80’s. This, lest we forget, was a genre reviled by some as un-sexy and painfully amateurish, reserved for teenage anoraks who couldn’t get a shag.

In an age of electoclash and trucker caps, it might seem a little odd that such a dedicated audience exists. Still, in the basement room of the Buffalo bar, teens giddily jostle for space with thirtysomething veterans of a dozen Felt gigs. A lovely sense of communality between promoter, club members and “celebrity” DJ’s (tonight it’s The Wedding Present’s David Gedge) marks the atmosphere, and even if you do leave on your own, it’s unlikely you’ll cry and want to die – there’ll be another in a fortnight.

Ben Machell


take me home