Gagging for a Night Out? Step Inside The Sacred Halls of DIY Thursdays
Remember clubs? Venues have been closed since the start of Covid restrictions and, with them gone, a vital part of our cultural life has been put on hold. Many may never reopen, but a great club is more than a building – it is a community. DIY Thursdays is exactly that. The cult, monthly, live-music night, set up by session hairdresser Lyndell Mansfield, went dark in March, leaving a huge hole in the lives of its regulars. She describes it as “a world of its own”, with the crowd enthusiastically dressed up to match the monthly theme. “One girl came with a Christmas tree in her hair for our Christmas party,” recalls Mansfield, or “Mutha”, as she’s affectionately known among the Thursdays crowd.
Mansfield’s energy defines the night, which has evolved into a live platform for emerging talent. She designs the sets and props – she once transformed the east-London venue into a spaghetti western set, complete with hay bales and a jail – introduces all the bands and gives handmade badges and merch out to the crowd. “We’ve been missing each other like mad,” she says, confirming she has kept in touch with her Thursdays community on social media.
But with many live-music venues likely to remain closed until next year, DIY Thursdays has had to evolve. Mansfield has set up a Gofundme page to bankroll a book and exhibition featuring hundreds of photographs, badges and handmade bill posters for the night. “It’s a gift and a thank you to everyone who has been involved. It’s a family album,” she says. The pictures on these pages, of the infamous 2019 Halloween party, offer a taste of what to expect. They also serve as a poignant reminder of the wild energy of the night. Don’t call it a requiem: Mansfield plans to reboot DIY Thursdays and unveil both book and exhibition in March 2021. Start planning your outfit – it’s going to be the mutha of all parties.
Photography by Vianney le Caer. Taken from Issue 52 of 10 Men – COMMUNITY, BELONGING, UPLIFTING – available to purchase here.