Bring your gum-shield, tomorrow at Rota’s gonna be a scrum. 

For seven years, Rough Trade Records have been previewing bands at the Notting Hill
Arts Club with music that ties into the ethos of the shop. 

“An independent spirit, pushing musical boundaries and valuing community over commerce,” says one of the Rota team, Matt Jacobsen. 

With Cats in Paris, Johnny Foreigner and Good Books all on Saturday’s bill for free, it looks like they’re putting their money where their mouth is. Good Books’ MySpace is clocking in at around 400,000 hits even after a year off the scene to record their second album. 

‘Jofo’ are officially supporting the Futureheads on their 2009 tour and Cats in Paris’s self-recorded and self-produced album Courcase 2000 – to be released in August – promises to be the pyjamas. 

Past performers include Razorlight, Young Knives, Jamie T and Hot Chip, so if Nu Cool’s your bag, Rota’s a sure bet. 

Rota Presents The Clash Magazine Saturday Social is at the Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow, Saturday, December 13, from 4-8pm. Free. First come, first in. See myspace.com/rotaclub! or write to Matt courtesanx@yahoo.com if you’d like to play or host a showcase. 

Chorus concert
Loud and proud, The London Gay Men’s Chorus will be belting out a Christmas concert next Saturday. 

Equally at home on Top of the Pops, So Graham Norton or Comic Relief as they are selling out the Barbican or Royal Albert Hall, next up is the intimate Cadogan Hall. 

Founded in 1991 by six gay men singing at Angel tube station, the incredible success story has taken their members to 190 and counting. 

But it’s no mafia – anyone can join and auditions are purely based on your voice.

Hosted by Gaby Roslin and Emma Noble on Friday and Saturday night respectively, grab your ticket before it’s too late. 

The London Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at the Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, Chelsea, on Friday and Saturday, December 19/20 at 7.30pm. Sat mat at 3pm. £15-35. Call 020 7730 4500. See www.cadoganhall.com

Festival Fun
 
Portobello is reclaiming its roots. Always a reference point for culture as well as counter-culture, the Portobello Winter Festival is back to prove the area’s lost none of its spontaneous and ingenious talents. 

All of next weekend if you walk under the Westway, don’t freak out if you’re caught up in an Alice in Wonderland-style transformation – it’s all part of the plan. 

Bring a mask for Ebony Bones’s gig and plenty of cash to rustle through Rough Trade Records’ stall, world
foods and The Notting Hill Arts Club-run bar. 

Subway Gallery will be on hand with the art; graffiti spray will fill the air and DJ Dub will lay down the bass. There’s really too much to mention, just come and see for yourself.
 
The Portobello Winter Festival featuring The Thirst, Ebony Bones, Riz MC Rotten Hill Gang, Rough Trade and much more is under the Westway at the end of Portobello Road from Friday-Sunday, December
19-20. Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 11am-6pm. Free 11am-7pm, £4 after.
 
Young theatre
 
It's not high-end, but it’s highly encouraging and highly entertaining. 

Core Cuts presents the best new plays from the Soho Young Writers Core Group. 

Designed to steer aspiring playwrights aged 18-25 to complete a full-length play for the stage, two of the group’s highlights will be performed next week. 

England’s Dreaming , by Natalie Mitchell, will take us to a Tory government, unemployment and recession. That’s Thatcher’s 1977 by the way, not a worrying prognostic. 

Moon River , by Seiriol Davies, instead looks at the dynamics of Glad, Sandy and Ron, when new-arrival Frank pitches up at their nursing home. 

Core Cuts is at the Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, Monday and Tuesday,
15/16 December at 7pm. £5/3. Series runs until Feb 2009. Call 08704 296 883. See www.sohotheatre.com