• Crafty Beggars House Guests

    Jane Bom-Bane

    Jane Bom-Bane was born Jane Bayley in Leek, Staffordshire. After moving to and growing up in Coventry, she became lead singer of the Two-Tone band, the Swinging Cats, who released one single, ‘Mantovani’. In the 90s, she went solo, playing the harmonium and singing her own songs, while wearing a selection of mechanical hats, which ‘light up and turn and move in various ways’. A typical hat takes the form of an animated goldfish bowl, which appears in a youtube clip from World’s Weirdest Restaurants. Presenter Bob Blumer described her hats as ‘part genius and part outsider art. What I love about the hats is that they are not highly polished, finely tuned specimens. They are more like little kinetic high school art projects that sit on your head.’

    The idea to open a café came to Bom-Bane while running a monthly musical event in Brighton with Nick Pynn. She told Brighton’s Source magazine, “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have your harmoniums and your hats in one place, and have a little venue down stairs, have a little café upstairs.’ I thought originally it’d just be me and the café, and play a few songs every now and then. It just evolved into what it is now, which is involving lots of other people playing, cinema clubs and all manner of stuff going on.”

    The café opened on 1 September 2006. Interviewed on the opening’s tenth anniversary, Bom-Bane recalled, “I’d never run an eatery before, so the first year of Bom-Bane’s was a steep learning curve. It wasn’t until the second year that I put the music part of the plan into action.”

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