Chatting with the Catweazle

Art & Lit

Artsy People, Places, and Publications within the good ol’ Oxford bubble. 

This week we chat to the delightful Oxford resident Matt Sage – musician, troubadour, founder of The Catweazle Club. 

This club, which recently starred in a BBC Radio 4 documentary, is “a forum for musicians, poets, storytellers, creative and performance artists of every imaginable hue to come and share their genius“. My questions to the Catweazle’s founder Matt were met by an avalanche of essay-style, emotive, and passionate replies. And no wonder – this is an exciting time for The Catweazle. At nearly twenty years old it is still developing and Matt’s newest ventures include The Catweazle Magazine (set up by Phoebe Nicholson and Sam Taplin) and the newly-launched sister night Hatweazleevery Monday at The Mad Hatter, Iffley Road.

The East Oxford Community Centre in Cowley has been the home of The Catweazle Club for the past seven years. Every Tuesday at 8pm, performers and audience gather in what Matt says is “the real centre of Oxford – not Broad Street or wherever“. For him “this is where LIFE happens, where many of the more interesting people of Oxford live, and where many different cultures meet, and the Community Centre is at the very heart of all that“.

The importance of the Club for Matt is evident and when I ask how he came to live in Oxford the answer is tied withThe Catweazle. “I first came to Oxford from London as a travelling musician in the late summer of 1994, and instantly fell in love … I was amazed to discover that there was no kind of open mic or communal performing scene of any kind. It was all about Radiohead and Supergrass and being cool and getting signed. So within three weeks of being here, I realised that if I wanted to find a home, I’d just have to build it myself”. The Catweazle became this home and regardless of whether the performers are Oxford residents, students, or the nomadic troubadour that the Club itself resembles, to all it is an “inspiring, communal, uplifting, open, warming, heart space”. In this, Oxford lays claim to a truly magical weekly event thanks to Matt and the fabulous family that is The Catweazle Club.

Read more about the club and Matt’s interview at www.oxfordstudent.com/category/arts/.