take me home


An emotion in motion

we are a london club night playing indie pop, northern soul, tamla motown, girl groups, and sixties heartbreak
next date: friday july 12th, the phoenix, 37 cavendish square, london w1, great big kiss soul club, 9pm-3am, more info here


We play:

Belle & Sebastian * Dusty Springfield * The Magnetic Fields * Love * Orange Juice * The Ronettes * Aztec Camera * Beach Boys * The Temptations * Velvet Underground * Felt * The Shangri-Las * Allo Darlin' * Otis Redding * The Field Mice * Dexys Midnight Runners * The Supremes * Camera Obscura * The Four Tops * The Go-Betweens * Tammi Terrell * Jens Lekman * Jonathan Richman * Le Tigre * Pat Powdrill * The Sea Urchins * Sleater-Kinney * Os Mutantes * Neutral Milk Hotel * The Left Banke * The Associates * Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

For more on the club's music policy, go here


The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1. 9pm-3am, map of the venue is here, £5 members £6 non-members. Membership is free! Register here

Saturday July 20th - Scottish pop special. While we're shaking things up with the specials, let's do another first for HDIF - a special celebrating our favourite bands and artists from Scotland, alongside our usual mix of indie pop and soul. Expect to hear Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice, The Pastels, Camera Obscura, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Associates, The Vaselines, BMX Bandits, Primal Scream, The Soup Dragons and loads more. https://www.wegottickets.com/event/618058/.
Saturday August 17th - There is no HDIF in August

About How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

How Does It Feel To Be Loved? (often abbreviated to HDIF) has been running in London since 2002. We play indie pop, northern soul, Motown, and 60s girl groups at our nights - we love pop, we love guitars that jangle, we love foot stomping melodies and huge choruses. Over the years, we've had tons of fantastic guest DJs appear at the club, including Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian, David Gedge of The Wedding Present, Kevin Rowland of Dexys, Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, Jeffrey Lewis, and lots more (full list here). We also put on live music nights (currently at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell, more info here), produce monthly podcasts (which are here), and run an all-ages family version of the club on the last Sunday afternoon of the month (info here). We've been called "legendary" by the NME, "an institution" by Time Out and The Quietus, "impeccable" by Londonist, and "the best night in the whole of the world" by The Guardian. We've been part of the line up of the End Of The Road festival since 2011, and Indietracks festival since it started in 2007. We do it because we love it.

Donate to HDIF

If you'd like to donate to HDIF and help us cover the costs of the live streams, you can do that here. The donations make a huge difference to me and they're a big help. Thank you!

Plan your travel to HDIF using this TFL journey planner.


Facebook - www.facebook.com/How-Does-It-Feel-To-Be-Loved-207520585947836/
Facebook events group - www.facebook.com/groups/203169336415304/
Twitter - @hdif
Mixcloud - https://www.mixcloud.com/hdif/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/hdiflondon/
Tik Tok - https://www.tiktok.com/@hdiflondon


We also run a family version of HDIF on a Sunday afternoon. More info here.

Sunday September 29th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/622876/
Sunday October 27th - Halloween Party - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/622878/
Sunday November 24th -
Sunday December 29th - New Year's Eve Party
- https://www.wegottickets.com/event/622882


We also run a pub hours club night called Rebel Rebel at the Greast North Wood in West Norwood. These nights run from 7pm-midnight, and they're on the first Friday of the month. More info on that here - The next dates for this are:

Friday September 6th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/620493/
Friday October 4th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/620506/

Friday November 1st - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/620538
Friday December 6th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/620539/


As well as HDIF, we put on a night called Great Big Kiss, where we play northern soul, Motown, girl groups, rock'n'roll and so on. There's more info about these nights here. The next dates are:

Friday June 14th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/610472
Friday July 12th - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/617912/

Friday August 9th - There is no GBK in August.


We can offer discounted entry to our nights for birthday groups. More info about that here


These nights are currently on hold. There's more info on these nights here

What the ladies and gentlemen of the press have said about the club:

"Tortured soul convention. Unusual but it works" - The Guardian Guide (number four club of the week), 15/6/02
"Emotional and sincere songwriting from across the board gets the treatment it deserves" - The Guardian Guide (number five club of the week), 17/8/02
"London's premier indie pop Motown club" - Dotmusic
"Highly recommended club night this - especially if like me, you're hurtling at 100 miles an hour towards 30 years of age and can remember when there were club nights around for sensitive boys and girls who liked their indie music a bit jangly and want to hear it mixed with the best of Motown" - myislington.co.uk
"Digging deep into a 60s to 70s selection with the Temptations, Beach Boys, The Shangri Las and into the 80s with The Smiths, Belle And Sebastian - 'a celebration of an emotion in motion'. Deeeep." - Time Out London
"Who said clubbing's dead? Pah! It's just fractioned back into smaller parties where it's all about the music and the vibes (maan!) This is rockin' its stockin's off!...No dollar sign aspirations in sight!" - Time Out London (15/1/03)
"Resolution 52. I will dance to the Beach Boys and The Smiths again." - Time Out London Critics' Choice (14/1/04)
"A success that surprised even the promoters. No bank note rolling intentions, just a rockin' party!" - Time Out London (14/1/04)
"Absolutely the best night in the whole of the world!" - Laura Barton, The Guardian (19/7/04)
"Rediscover your sensitive indie side at this fabby, intimate party" - The Times, critic's pick (9/4/05)
"Legendary indie club" - NME.com (17/8/05)
"Smack bang in the middle of town, this extra special party really knows how to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step (ie it feels good!)" - Time Out London (13/12/05)

"With a music policy to die for ... expect a night of indiepop, sixties girl groups, Northern Soul and Motown, all enhanced by the awkward, exuberant dancing of the city’s twee brigade, as once a month the skinny ties come out in force to pick their vintageheeled way towards the Jericho Tavern. The DJing is normally spot on, second-guessing what the crowd wants to hear before the crowd really know themselves. Good times then, this is the closest you will come to being loved by a club night." - The Oxford Student (25/5/06) Read the full review here
"Sensitive types are devotional about this lesser known indiepop night that wears its heart (ache) on its sleeve. Everything from The Beach Boys and Dusty Springfield to Belle and Sebastian and, of course, The Smiths gets played, with the overriding theme being unbridled emotion. Bowl haircuts, rim glasses and anoraks are preferable but not essential. A tortured soul, on the other hand, is a must." The London Paper, Sept 2006

"How Does It Feel To Be Loved? is a twice a month extavanganza of northern soul, revelling in the lush sound of pop from The Supremes to Orange Juice and Dexys Midnight Runners." - Uncut website, Nov 2006
"Northern Soul has always enjoyed a strong following in the capital, and now it's not just loved by scary vintage-wearing types obsessed with re-enacting the Sixties to the last detail. This Brixton party offers up Motown, Northern Soul and other Sixties favourites alongside a smattering of indie pop" Evening Standard (4/5/07)
"Sensitive indie anthems, girl-group classics, great lost singles and the pick of the Sarah and Postcard imprints." - Top Five Clubs Of The Week, Ed Potton The Times (16/8/08)
"HDIF's Ian Watson delivers a wonderful mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown, girl groups and '60s heartbreak." - Time Out London (Sept 2008)
"The venue reminds of the birthday parties I used to attend when I was a child; in dimly lit halls with naff décor and a little too much space to dance – but I soon realise that this is its charm. It gives the night its character; it’s quaint and the sparkling fairy-lights circling the ceiling give it a certain home-made feel. It has a sense of exclusivity to it, everything seems to have been thought out and cared for; from its hand-crafted membership cards and badges to the stamp on my hand as I walk in which tell me in well-thought out letters that I am ‘LOVED’. How Does It Feel To Be Loved fulfilled everything that I hoped it would be; it was refreshing and fun and its personal touches went a very long way to making it stand out from the crowd. It certainly felt wonderful to be ‘LOVED’." - Pennyblack Music (Nov 2008)
"Bedsit indie, girl-group classics, great lost singles and the pick of the Sarah and Postcard labels, plus live turns by the Ballet, Help Stamp Out Loneliness and Pocketbooks." - Top Five Clubs Of The Week, Ed Potton The Times (3/1/09)
"We wouldn't really know how it feels. Best ask Ian Watson, who once more
rounds up smitten indie and girl group classics at HDIFTBL?" Top Five Clubs Of The Week, The Guardian (3/1/09)

"Sensitive souls who assume clubbing might not be the ideal weekend diversion for them because they'd be better off at home cataloguing Raincoats 7" records and sewing new buttons on to their cardigans should think again - cult night How Does It Feel To Be Loved is the perfect nightclubbing comfort blanket. Twee in the best possible sense, the club's staunch music policy means that your eardrums will always survive the night intact as the DJs pleasantly skip around from classic, soul-swelling indie and 1980s jangle to the dancefloor friendly sway of 60s pop, northern soul and vintage girl group giddiness - no big scary guitars or brain-bashing techno allowed. They're also more than open to requests here, so don't hold back on asking to hear your favourite Françoise Hardy number. Tonight's guest DJs have been plucked delicately from lo-fi popsicles the Wave Pictures." The Guardian (16/5/09)
"C86 is um... C09. C86 was the birth of ‘indie’ as a genre and the secret inspiration behind every guitar ever set to ‘jangle’. And now it’s back! Indie pop has come full circle, bringing with it a wide-eyed generation of soppy alt.romantics ramming clubs like Twee As Fuck and How Does It Feel To Be Loved?" NME (6/6/09)
"We were in for a treat afterwards when the How Does it Feel to be Loved night took over the onsite marquee. Spinning the finest in heart-wrenching Northern Soul, Motown, ‘60s girl groups and ‘80s miserablism, this non-conformist indie disco is prime territory to spot and observe the twee-pop dance in its glory; a sort of self-conscious pogo or half-hearted shake; horn-rimmed spectacles and record bags bopping long into the night." God Is In The TV, Indietracks review (4/8/09)
"How Does It Feel To Be Loved? is my favourite club night, and I really mean that. It caters for the unashamedly twee, with a taste for 60s girl groups (yes!), indie pop (yes!) and early soul and Motown classics (woop!). And it does all of that without a jot of pretention. Get along to this Soul and Sixties Special and, quite probably, check out my dance moves when The Shangri-Las get a play." We Got Tickets (22/8/09)
"Veteran London indie-party organisers How does it feel to be loved? take over two rooms of the legendary Brixton Windmill for a one-off '60s extravaganza. As tonight happens to be Halloween as well, expect the rock 'n roll and soul sounds to be supplemented by spooky songs from the era of beehive haircuts and horn-rimmed specs. Jon Slade from Born Bad guests on the decks and the onus is most definitely on getting up and cutting a rug to the Shirelles, Ike and Tina Turner rather than staring at your (blue suede) shoes all night long." Flavorpill London (31/10/09)
"How Does It Feel... is a renowned monthly club night for the twee at heart, playing a harmonious mix of jangly indie-pop and '60s soul and pop, the latter comprising the Motown, northern soul and girl groups traditionally beloved of cardigan-wearing types. The standard of guest DJs is really rather good, in the past including the likes of Stephen Street, Stuart Murdoch, Huw Williams and Kevin Rowland, making this perfect for a weekend shuffle." Spoonfed (7/1/11)
"With a decade of great nights under its belt How Does it Feel to Be Loved? is one of London's most enduring and influential underground indie get-togethers." Flavorpill (22/6/11)
"How Does It Feel To Be Loved? is a million miles away from student discos and the lager n'landfill nights of Camden Town, instead expect to hear a smart mix of Indie pop, Tamla motown, Northern soul, French pop, Girl groups and Sixties heartbreak." The Quietus (16/7/11)
"With one foot in Brixton and the other in Islington, How Does It feel to be Loved is an indie night for purists only. Dedicated to the people who worship twee and love the dull pangs of melodrama, this monthly night has a strict music policy that only stretches to indie pop, northern soul and '60s girl groups. Swoon." Spoonfed (2/11/11)
"Ten years is a landmark birthday for any club night so huge congrats go to head honcho Ian Watson, who throws a special celebratory version of his popular HDIFTBL night with his usual and wonderfully twee mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown, girl groups and '60s heartbreak with guest DJ tonight Bob Stanley from the recently-returned Saint Etienne." Time Out (18/4/12)
"How Does It Feel To Be Loved, a club night described by Laura Barton of the Guardian as 'Absolutely the best night in the whole of the world!', is ten years old this weekend. With a tag-line of ‘From the Smiths to the Supremes’ it’s the music policy that shapes the club; indie-pop and soul draw a quietly hip bunch of revelers. Best of all they are just so friendly; no aggro or posturing here – it’s all crooked smiles and handclaps. As well as the fortnightly events in Soho and Brixton, founder Ian Watson runs the How Does It Feel record label, which has released albums by Cats on Fire, Pocketbooks and Butcher Boy. And the HDIF website is a treasure trove of indie fun with a highly-recommended podcast, a London Gig Guide and a even a Twee Test." For Folk's Sake (20/4/12)
"If I could live my life at a How Does It Feel To Be Loved night, I would. It’s (usually) held in a lovely pub in central London. It’s full of friendly people who enjoy listening to indie pop and Motown, having a lovely drink, having a lovely dance, and smiling at each other. The organiser, Ian, has the air and DJ manner of somebody who knows more about music than John Peel did, sends wonderful reminder emails, and does some pretty special dancing come the end of the night. Their tenth birthday sees Bob Stanley (out of Saint Etienne) as guest DJ, and a band T-shirt dress code. Best of all, their imaginative re-entry hand stamp means you’ll go home branded with the message ‘LOVED’. Book a ticket immediately. Unless it’s your mum’s birthday or you only like dubstep, in which case you’re excused." Le Cool (21/4/12)
"Ian Watson's unusual and wonderfully twee mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown, girl groups and '60s heartbreak - now in its tenth year - always makes for a great night out." - Time Out (22/9/12)
"Swoon along to The Smiths and excitedly twiddle hair slides to a selection of indie pop, northern soul, Motown and 60s girl groups at Brixton’s longest running indie club." - Brixton Buzz/Lambeth Weekender (5/10/12)
"How Does It Feel To Be Loved has, since 2002, easily been one of London’s best club nights. Its unpretentious and welcoming nature, often fuelled with everything from Belle & Sebastian and Orange Juice to Tamla Motown and Dusty Springfield, swipes away any negative connotations our capital has for being a cold, brutal and rather heartless place." - Music OMH (31/3/13)
"If you’re looking for something raw and soulful on a night out in London, an antidote perhaps to the blood and thunder of trend-obsessed hipster hangouts, then a humble eleven year-old club night by the name of How Does it Feel to be Loved? might well set you on fire. The clubnight is run by ex-Melody Maker writer Ian Watson, and rings with the poetry of outsider pop music, affectionately merging Motown classics and obscurities with the classics of popular indiepop and the kind of awkward, often shambling guitar-based indiepop music that’s been left in the shadows by the market-driven mainstream music media." - Roar (18/9/13)
"Much-loved indie-pop institution, a club night which shuns britpop and shoegaze in favour of the fey and bittersweet, making for a readymade school disco vibe which is readily swallowed up by its followers" - The Quietus (7/1/14)
"HDIF's Ian Watson delivers a wonderfully twee mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown, girl groups and '60s heartbreak with guest DJs for each date. The night has now moved back to its original home, the Buffalo Bar, and you can expect the basement bar's dancefloor to be packed with bearded guys and cardiganned gals dancing as if their vinyl collection depended on it." - Time Out (17/7/14)
"Ian Watson and guest DJs deliver a wonderfully nostalgic mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown and '60s heartbreak at this much-loved club night. After the closure of the Buffalo Bar, where HDIFTBL was located, the night has moved to a new home, Dalston's Shacklewell Arms. As ever, the dancefloor should be packed with bearded guys and cardiganned gals dancing as if their vinyl collection depended on it." - Time Out (5/1/15)
"David Gedge of The Wedding Present DJs at this popular club, which supplies the loyal crowd with indie, Motown and northern soul." - Time Out, Critic's Choice (14/1/15)
"Impeccable indie club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved? relocates to The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston tonight, with David Gedge from the Wedding Present on the decks. Expect tracks from the likes of The Smiths, The Shangri-Las, Hefner, Jonathan Richman and Aztec Camera." - Londonist (16/1/15)
"This much-loved club night was re-homed after the closure of indie haven the Buffalo Bar, where it spent a good few years. Now in Dalston's Shacklewell Arms, the dancefloor is still packed with dapper crowds who dig grooving to the wonderfully nostalgic soundtracks on offer. Dance as if your vintage vinyl collection depended on it." - London's Best Indie Clubs, Time Out (29/1/15)
"This Friday night, dress up in your hippest vintage threads and head to the most legendary indie club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved at The Shackewell Arms. Playing the soundtrack to your soul (indiepop jams, northern soul tunes and throwback 60s music) you’ll dance the night away without a care in the world. There’ll be plenty of love going around with special guest DJ Bill Botting of All Darlin’, a performance by dancers The Britpopettes, and it being HDIF 13th birthday party celebration." - Le Bonbon London (17/4/15)
"At any given HDIF you’re likely to be plied with juggernaut indiepop hits like ‘This Charming Man’ to lesser-known-but-nonetheless-worshipped anthems such as the Magnetic Fields’ twee romp ‘The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side’." - East End Review (20/10/15)
"The long-running indie night parks up in Peckham, supplying the kind of indie-pop, Motown and vintage grooves that we’ve all come to love it for." - 21 Amazing New Year's Parties, Time Out (27/12/15)
"This northern soul and indie pop institution welcomes Kevin Rowland, he of Dexys Midnight Runners fame, back for the fourth time to grace the Phoenix with a DJ set and - fingers crossed - another singalong. The setlist may talk heartbreak but most woes can be healed with a healthy dose of jangly guitars and soulful pop." - Time Out (28/6/16)
"This hugely popular night knows there are few better ways to enter 2017 than with a soundtrack of classic sixties soul and the most danceworthy janglepop and shimmering indie tunes. As is tradition, the first hour will be dedicated to those people who have passed away this year – so quite a few options for founder Ian Watson, who will be joined by guest DJ Darren Hayman in unleashing a nostalgic soundtrack on the assembled – and well-turned out – masses." - Time Out (14/12/16)
"Chris Stride from Sheffield's legendary Offbeat club night is behind the decks at this Saturday's How Does It Feel To Be Loved, at The Phoenix near Oxford Circus. Bop the night away to the ilk of Hefner, Beach Boys and Supremes" - Londonist (17/2/17)
"The entirety of The Smiths' album Strangeways, Here We Come peppers the set at tonight's How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club night. Dance to classics including I Started Something I Couldn't Finish and Girlfriend in a Coma. Other tracks — from indie jangle-pop to Motown — means there's more to this night than big quiffs and gladioli." - Londonist (14/7/17)
"Buzz is delighted to see Brixton indie club veterans How Does It Feel To Be Loved returning to the ‘hood. Originally based in the Canterbury Arms before the Victorian boozer was needlessly flattened, the club is hosting a special one-off at the delightful Courtesan restaurant/bar in Atlantic Road. The venue is something of an undiscovered Brixton gem, with beautiful period details, intimate lighting, a sprung wooden dance floor and an artistic, speakeasy vibe. Hosted by the indefatigable Ian Watson, guest DJs for the night will be David and Franic of The Wave Pictures. The capacity is only 120 people, so be sure to get there early!" - Brixton Buzz/Lambeth Weekender (1/10/17)
"For more than 15 years, indie disco institution How Does It Feel To Be Loved? has been uniting beret-wearing boys and girls on the dance floor to the strains of the music world's finest, with its regular nights dedicated to leading lights from across genres and ages. In March, to coincide with the band's upcoming tour, they'll be paying homage to Scotland's finest self-deprecating indie-poppers Belle & Sebastian." -Time Out (30/1/18)
How Does It Feel To Be Loved? is a central pillar of London's indie pop communities. But it's more than that. Across two decades the club night has brought together like minds, fostering friendships, marriages, and even bands in its wake. Currently based at Central London's The Phoenix, lockdown placed challenges in its path, but it also bought opportunities. Using social media in an innovative way, the team behind How Does It Feel To Be Loved? now augment their events with a live-stream on Mixlr - gaining a global audience in the process - while they've also enabled a VR recreation of the Canterbury Arms on Altspace.Yet the club still remains firmly attached to its roots. In addition to honouring the founding voices of indie pop - think Sarah Records, Orange Juice - the DJs are busy platforming new groups, and bold, fresh voices." - Clash (6/4/22)
"Club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved celebrates its 20th birthday, with lashings of indie pop, northern soul and 60s girl group music. Here's to another 20 years of this indie institution." - Londonist (10/4/22)
"We've spent a good few NYEs dancing away to Belle and Sebastian, the Ronettes, Orange Juice et al at indie/soul club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved? This year, it's spinning tunes at Signature Brew Haggerston, and the 8pm-3am opening means you get a decent go of it on the dancefloor too. Joyous stuff. (Londonist (10/11/22)

A great review of the John Peel Tribute Night on LondonNet.Com

Guardian Indie Pop feature 2004 - excellent piece about indie pop and HDIF

Hilarious piece about HDIF from the Big Issue - "This, it would seem, is where young librarians go to let off steam"

And a few kind words from Jo who attended the January night. A text message apparently sent from Jo to Chris.

"Ta again for helping me find the holy grail of nightclubs!"

Go here for some other kind words from HDIF-goers



take me home