Aston Barrett, called ‘Family Man’ because of his 52 children, is the man who taught Bob Marley to play the guitar. He played with Bob Marley and the Wailers and also with Lee Perry’s band The Upsetters. As well as writing many of the basslines for Marley’s tracks he was involved in their production and arrangement.
Since Marley’s death in 1981 Barrett has taken on the role of musical director of the Wailers, and it was he who lead the band onto the Stylus stage in April.
The occasion was New Bohemia’s fifth birthday. To celebrate reaching primary school age Leeds’ finest hip hop, dup and broken beat night had laid on quite a spread, the cherry on the cake being the Wailers performing Exodus in its entirety.
Exodus was named the 26th greatest album of all time by VH1 in 2001, 169th of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003 and in 1998 Time magazine crowned it the greatest album of the 20th Century.
As the band took to the stage it was fairly obvious that this wasn’t the original Wailers line up that recorded the album - the drummer looked about 19. Another quite pressing concern was the question of the lead singer. Who would attempt to step into Bob Marley’s Pumas, avoiding the poisoned needles that the CIA had hidden in there?
Our front man for the night was Elan Etias, who, despite dancing a little bit like a five year old - lots of jumping up, down and around, was really quite good. He definitely did the songs justice and held the capacity crowd captive.
So the band worked their way through Exodus, playing extended versions of every song, and the crowd cheered, danced and sang along. The biggest reactions were saved for ‘Exodus’, ‘Waiting In Vain’ and Marley’s ode to brewing tasty preserves, ‘Jamming’.
Supporting the Wailers, who left the stage to well deserved rapturous applause, was a stonking line up of Leeds’ finest purveyors of reggae, dub and hip hop.
Andreya Triana has provided vocals for artists including Mr Scruff, Bonobo and Flying Lotus. Now she’s going it alone, with an album coming out soon. She was on stage before the Wailers performing her own songs, a gorgeous combination of soul, funk and jazz. This lady really does have a beautiful voice. Keep an eye out for the album.
Exodus & Iration Steppas joined the dots between the live acts. They played reggae and dub in their own inimitable ways, and generally kept the crowd on the up.
The apparently ubiquitous Gentlemen’s Dub Club continued their march to the top with a tight set. These guys seem to be playing everywhere in Leeds at the moment, but when it sounds this good, no-one’s complaining.
My personal non-Wailers highlight of the evening was the live set from Kidkanevil. The Leeds-based beatsmith is undoubtedly one of the most exciting hip hop producers in the UK at the moment. His sophomore album Back Off Man, I’m A Scientist was released last year, and he’s already got to work on the follow up. His tight, stark, bassy beats were accompanied by Laura J Martin on flute, and the two of them put on a stonking set. They played at around 11pm, providing a seamless segue from the blissed-out reggae party atmosphere the Wailers had created to a more late night, edgy vibe, setting up the smiling revellers for a long and happy night.
Nicola Collins' over-long portrait of East End hard men, specifically her Dad and his mates, doesn't manage to shed any real light on its subject. At times it comes across as a constant stream of cliche- we are informed that gangsters like violence, weapons and their families but hate prison, paedos and people that tell on them.
The only genuinely surprising moment comes at around the hour mark when the documentary pulls a massive switcheroo and briefly morphs into a piece of evangelical Christian propaganda. Cue stirring, inspirational music, shots of ducks on a pond and images of hard guys looking wistful while describing how Jesus wants them for a sunbeam.
The Burial (2008)
A mother's last wish is that her body be taken from France to the river in England where her husband died, and so her three estranged sons set off together in a hearse with the coffin loaded in the back.
Handled less skilfully the film could have been either an unimaginative madcap farce or a slushy emotional cheese fest. However, for the most part Boucher and Mills' direction manages to tread a fine line between comedy and tragedy, providing humour without stupidity and emotion without overt manipulation.
Jasmine Women (2004)
Hou Yong's visually striking film tells the generation-spanning story of three women in the same family who seem destined to keep making the same mistakes. Zhang Ziyi, best known for her work on Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House Of Flying Daggers and Memoirs of a Geisha, is impressive as the young female protagonist of three separate stories set in China in the 1930s, 50s and 80s. Early scenes set in pre-war Shanghai are particularly worthy of mention for their stunning cinematography.
So enjoy dubstep while you can, before it becomes 2009's funky house. One of the best places in the whole world to do this is in Petrcane, Croatia this summer, where Leeds scene veterans Subdub, Exodus, Vagabondz and their kooky cavalcade of freaks and geeks will be setting up a big top full of low frequency tomfoolery and christening the whole mess 'Outlook'.
There'll be Captain Eddie's boat parties, live illustration, guaranteed sunshine and a line up that'll definitely put a smile on your pretty little face. Confirmed acts so far include Rusko, Digital Mystikz, Jehst and Iration Steppas.
On Saturday 18th April they're having a bit of a launch party to get you into the swing of things. Shy Fx, Mungo's Hifi, Plastician, Joker, Ramadanman, Ruckspin, Tomb Crew and many more will be shaking the Coronet to its foundations and, as a tasty bonus, 20 free tickets to the festival itself will be given out.
In the immortal words of Tim Westwood: 'Bang! and the dirt is gone'.
So far so uninteresting, but here's where the story picks up. Wax:On and Bad Robot resident, raconteur, bon viveur and general man-about-town Doorly has made a stomping dubstep remix of the track. Within a few days of being let loose the track has had the blog world losing its mind, and it has stormed its way to the top of the Hype Machine charts. This is the same Hype Machine chart which picked up on the excitement around artists like Simian Mobile Disco, Justice and Little Boots months before the mainstream media pricked up their noses. Get on this quick because it's going to be big.
Get it here:
Luckily, if you look a bit deeper there's a lot of really good stuff going on in hip hop. Q Tip (from A Tribe Called Quest) brought out The Renaissance, one of the best albums of last year, MF Doom is back with Born Into This and a new Dre album is on the way.
New Bohemia, Leeds' finest promoters of hip hop etc, have had a hell of a year. They've been celebrating their fifth birthday in style with line ups including The Herbaliser, Bonobo, Mr Scruff, Flying Lotus, Horace Andy and the actual Wailers, as in Bob Marley and the… Pretty impressive. Now they're putting on the Soundwave festival in Petrcane, Croatia.
Soundwave is a three day shindig full of hippety hoppity goodness taking place from the 17th – 20th of July on the Adriatic Coast. The festival site has an outdoor amphitheatre for live acts, a beachside terrace, a nightclub and a party boat for maritime shenanigans. They've got a Funktion One Soundsystem (which everyone goes on about as if it's the answer to something) and a pretty stonking line up prepared. Highlights include:
Fire up good old Youtube and search for 'Wearing My Rolex Mills McCartney' to get an idea of the sort of inspired silliness Yoda brings to his Magic Cinema Show. Interestingly, he isn't named after Yoda from Star Wars. He actually he takes his name from Jeff Yoda, the man who invented chair legs.
Her recent album is the really rather good Pot Of Gold and she lent her voice to Mr Scruff for Music Takes Me Up, the big tune from Ninja Tuna. Alice is a keen fan of vintage pencil cases and spends most of her weekends at various collectors' fairs around the Tenby area.
The Ninja Tune duo are putting on an AV bonanza. Their rider demands include a selection of dressing up costumes and one of each flavour of Pot Noodle.
I love this guy. The ex Jurassic 5 roadie's first album Music for the Mature B-Boy is a classic. Have a listen to his Fabriclive mix to get a good idea of the sort of hip hop, funk and soul he plays out. Format stunned his fans recently by signing a four-year contract to be the face of Tena Lady.
Thomas Middleton (baptized April 18, 1580, died 1627) was a playwright and poet. His best-known plays are the tragedies The Changeling and the cynically satirical city comedy A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. It is also widely believed that he collaborated with Shakespeare on various scenes in Macbeth.
The LA based beat fiend hasn't been confirmed yet, but rest assured the Soundwave team are trying their very hardest to get him. Fun fact: His name is inspired by the Back to the Future film series. After seeing Doc Brown's time-travelling Delorean, he decided he'd rather have a flying Lotus.
Is currently working on a collaboration with the Jonas Brothers, tentatively entitled BonoboJoBro.
The Glaswegian munchkin is one of the most hotly tipped new producers at the moment, check his remix of Zomby's Spliff Dub for further evidence. He said in a recent interview that he didn't think the internet 'would catch on as a concept'.
Vadim is a youthful looking fellow, and he actually got to the last five in the auditions to play Harry Potter in the film series.
Like his father, Evel, KidK is allergic to that silver stuff you scratch off on instant win lottery tickets.
This is a mere taste of the full line up, which is set to include The Bays, Daedalus, Trojan Sound System, Lizzie Parks, Natural Self, Jon Kennedy, DJ Cheeba and loads more. Be there or be somewhere else.
Other monster-lit titles are planned, including alternate versions of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, where the voluminous petticoats and gentle chamber music of the originals will be matched by copious amounts of gore and blood-curdling screams.
Inspired by monster-lit and also by Howard McCain's recent film Outlander (essentially Vikings v space monsters) we decided to create a few more film mash-ups to try and predict the next big thing before it has even begun.
A Spoonful Of Lava
The Banks family's new nanny floats down from the sky and sets about teaching the children how to live a joyful life. After an enjoyable day spent in an animated world full of dancing penguins, flying kites and staircases made of clouds the group return home to find that a previously undetected volcano has erupted, destroying London and killing everybody they love. Contains the classic song 'SupercalifragilisticexpialidOH SHIT!'
He Met Her By A Corpse
In the wake of the seventh grisly killing by the Overkill killer, Archie Townsend of the FBI and Tania Hill of the CIA are forced together to work on the case. After initially disliking one another, the two get closer and closer as they find they have more in common than they first thought. As the body count keeps rising, will the pair be able to stop the killer before he carries out his most brutal threat to date, and will Archie be able to get over his stubbornness and commit To Tania before it's too late?
Pimp My Carriage
The year, 1588, the place, London. As the threat posed by the Spanish Armada looms, William Gilray (Vin Diesel) looks to make a name for himself on the illegal street racing circuit. After beating Colonel Alfred Plunderson in an epic race that took the competitors across three counties, Gilray is starting to earn some respect from the other racers. He has to avoid being put in the stocks and contend with Baron John Smertin, the father of his intended bride, challenging him to a duel. How will he cope when his beloved racing horse Catriona is killed the day before the biggest race of the year?
I Want To Sing A Song
Two strangers wake up on opposite sides of a deserted warehouse room. Each is chained by their ankle to a pipe and they have a hacksaw and a tape. When they play the tape music starts and suddenly the room is filled with creepy dancing puppets singing 'We kidnapped your daughter and your wife, they're being held by a nutter with a knife, if you don't kill each other, it is them who will suffer, and you'll have no more family in your life'. This musical psychological thriller will have you singing along from the edge of your seat.
When terrorists capture an office building on Christmas Eve, it is up to New York cop John McClane and his wisecracking Jack Russell terrier Demi to free the hostages and make sure everyone gets home safe for Christmas. There's vintage action as McClane battles the bad guys in his bare feet while his mischievous canine pal spouts witticisms about how dogs are too tough to wear shoes. You'll roar with laughter as cheeky Demi humps the leg of a terrorist, prompting him to chase her around the room and slip in a puddle of dog wee.
I expect that at some point in your life you will have had one of those vintage hypothetical conversations about who would beat who in a fight. You know the sort of thing, James Bond v Jack Bauer, a lion v a gorilla, Ashley Cole v Dame Thora Hird, and so on. In Outlander Howard McCain has set out to answer one such question. His chosen battle? Who would win in a fight between some Vikings and an alien monster?
Kainan (Jim Caviezel aka Jesus from The Passion Of The Christ) crashes his spaceship into Norway circa 709 AD. A handy gadget blasts his brain full of the Old Norse language, he swears, vomits and before too long is captured by a posse of Vikings lead by Wulfric (Jack Huston). Cue monster.
Our monster is called a Moorwen and it managed to stow away on Kainan's ship and follow him to earth. On arrival it quickly sets about trying to kill everybody in sight and so two Viking tribes unite with their new space buddy to try and kill the beastie before it destroys everything.
Ron Pearlman, best known for his work on Hellboy, leads one of the tribes. So you've got Jesus, Hellboy and their Viking mates teaming up to fight a big cool monster. There's also John Hurt, lending a touch of gravitas to proceedings and cementing his reputation as the poor man's Sir Ian McKellan. So what's not to like?
Two things in particular. Firstly, the story and characters go way beyond cliché. You've got the wise old king, the rash young warrior, the feisty girl, the brave and noble hero with the tragic past and a drunk Scottish guy. Guess who gets the girl? Secondly, there's the monster itself. For some inexplicable reason the designers came up with the insane idea to light the thing up like a dodgy wedding disco. It's all flashing red and blue LEDs and neon green blood. Very strange.
If the thought of some Vikings fighting a monster from space fills you with child-like glee then this is the film for you. If not, it's probably best avoided.
Recently we were sent a copy of Wax Works, a new album by Madame Pamita, the singer, musician and fortune teller. The beautiful package contained a copy of the album, a paper fortune teller, a tarot card (the seven of cups), a small, wax-sealed envelope containing a lucky penny and our handwritten fortune ('Many choices lie before you. Do not be hasty. Gather information before making your decision').
The album was recorded on wax cylinder equipment from 1898 using a recording horn once owned by Thomas Edison and no changes were made to the finished pieces. The result is a sometimes haunting, sometimes warm, but always original sound complete with plentiful portions of crackle.
While the music is great, it is completely overshadowed by the truly inspired liner notes, where Madame P gives a short synopsis of the plot of each song. For example, Willie The Chimney Sweeper (an alternate version of Cab Callaway's Minnie The Moocher) is described as follows: "Enticed into a shop of dubious repute, our heroine embarks on adventures therein". Her track Do Whatever You Please is "A minute digression of great import directing the reader to the secret font of unfettered happiness".
Madame Pamita is bringing her Parlor of Wonders show to The Cricketer's Arms, Keighley, on May 19th. She promises "the most tantalizing, most mesmerizing, most edifying experience of augury and prognostication the world has ever known". Sounds good, right?
During the show she invites audience members up to the stage for a tarot reading then sings a song relating to the meaning of the card. As well as her trusty ukulele she uses an array of vintage instruments including an Imperial banjeaurine, a banjolele, a ukelin, a Marxophone, a Polka-Lay-Lee, and a Tiple.
As the lady herself eloquently says, "Step right up, ladies and gents, and be prepared to be dumbfounded and delighted by Madame Pamita's prodigious powers of prognostication and melodic merriment!"
Skibadee - Tika Toc
Fatboy Slim - Gangster Tripping
Busta Rhymes - Touch It (PeeWee's Incorrect Funk mix)
Belleruche - Minor Swing
Danny Breaks - Duck Rock
Mr Scruff - Limbic Funk
Marlena Shaw - California Soul (Diplo mix)
Stetsasonic - Talkin' All That Jazz
Jurassic 5 - Swing Set
The Herbaliser - You're Not All That
Cymande - Brothers On The Slide
Aphrodite - Woman That Rolls
Download from: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=37OIVN0V
The Hot 8 Brass Band - Jisten To Me (Hint mix)
HK119 - C'est La Vie (Rusko mix)
Machines Don't Care - Beat Bang (Trevor Loveys mix)
The Young Lovers - Love You Madly
Speaker Junk - Run The Track (Switch remix)
Matt Helders - Dreamer
Capleton & Mr Oizo - Flat Tour
Remi Nicole - Rock N Roll (Lee Mortimer mix)
Dillinja - Twist Em Out (Proper Villains mix)
Minuit - Room Full Of Cute (Rico Tubbs mix)
Benga - 26 Basslines
Chase & Status - Eastern Jam (Riz MC version)
Chase & Status - Saxon
DJ Donna Summer - Sweet Assed Child O Mine
Klaxons - Atlantis To Interzone (Tapedeck mix)
Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle (Drums Of Death mix)
Bassnectar - Roustabout (Bassnectar mix)
The Ganja Kru - Super Sharp Shooter
Download from: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=OHQ33UZJ
Marvel was born when a comics company named ‘Timely’ was hitting the skids. A team of writers and artists including Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko decided to just go for it, and put out mad stuff that was unlike anything people had seen before. What they came up with were titles like Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk - characters that had real things going on in their lives that readers could relate to (and, obviously, the added bonus of superpowers).
At the end of the nineties Marvel were in a lot of trouble. They had no money and readers were abandoning their titles in droves so they decided to pull the trick they had got away with when the company was first started.
They had nothing to lose so they recruited a bunch of artists and writers who would never normally write about superheroes, and gave them free reign to do as they pleased with their characters.
One of these artists was Peter Bagge and his Marvel comic ‘The Megalomaniacal Spiderman’ was released in 2002. In his story Peter Parker gets sick of the whole ‘saving the world’ biz and packs it all in to become the CEO of Spiderman Inc. If you look really hard you must be able to get an actual copy of the comic somewhere, but for now you can download it from http://rapidshare.com/files/17376457/2002-06_-_startling_stories_-_the_megalomanical_spiderman__peter_bagge_.cbr.
So the Spidey comic did well and a plan was hatched that Bagge would write stories about each of Marvel’s key players.
He had completed ‘The Incorrigible Hulk’, when the first Spiderman film came out and suddenly Marvel was big business again. Overnight the characters became valuable commodities and the company was bought out. The new owners didn’t want to take any chances and were quick to sever any links with anyone who could screw with the brand, and this included Bagge. His Hulk comic was completed and Bagge was paid in full, but to this day it remains locked away in some secret vault somewhere. Marvel won’t rule out publishing it, so hopefully one day it will be set free. Fingers crossed.
In 2003 DC Comics put out Bagge’s next project, ‘Sweatshop’.
It’s about the team who put out a daily syndicated strip. There’s the “genius” behind the strip, who lately has become more concerned with thinking up wacky catchphrases than actually doing anything useful, and his band of writers, artists and designers.
Sweatshop deals with subjects like comic conventions, cheesy gags and troublesome family members. In my opinion it’s some of Bagge’s best and funniest work and I strongly recommend you try and hunt it down.
Because of time constraints, many of the stories were only written by Bagge, with others including Bill Wray and Johnny Ryan on art duties.
I recently read Sweatshop and I think it's great. I got the impression that it was quite personal for you, that you were bringing out some personal annoyances. Is this true? was it a cathartic experience?
Ha! Well, it wasn't nearly as gut-spillingly cathartic as some of the work of my youth, but I certainly enjoyed working on it, and yes, I did use it to air some of my pet peeves.
In issue 2 one of the artists, Carrie, puts out with a successful comic of her own. The comic is optioned for TV and she finds herself stuck in the development hell it seems you've spent a lot of time in. That must have been fun to write.
That entire series was fun to write! But yes, that story not only closely reflected my own experiences but the experiences of people I know who were even less prepared for the ways of Hollywood than I was.
I've read numbers 1-6 of Sweatshop. Are there any more? Will there be?
No, DC pulled the rug out from under that project after only 2 issues were in print (and selling fairly decently as well, I'm told). Because of the lead time, we were already working on issue 6, so they released the first 6 issues before killing it. It made me wonder why they agreed to publish it in the first place!
It's not exactly what people think of when they think of DC, how did it come about?
It was a pet project of one of their staff editors, named Joey Cavilieri. He had recently edited a book collection called Bizarro that was a surprise hit, so they threw him a bone by letting him do something like Sweatshop. At least that's how I recall it coming about.
In your opinion how is the comics scene at the moment?
There seems to be more alternative comics and cartoonists than ever, which is good. It's also great that bookstores are so open to selling graphic novels these days, though I personally mourn the death of the traditional comic book format.
I must add, though, that the future of comics (as well as everything else) will be on the internet. For better or worse!
Do you think the internet will ever completely take over from physical comics? I think that would be a shame. I like having physical comics and books.
Not completely, since like you most people will always want physical copies of their favourite works. But as is the case with music and film, the internet will eventually be HOW we discover and keep up with new comic work, and comic books (as well as ALL books) will be published "on demand", where if you conclude you want a hard copy of something you'll order it online, Cafe Press style. Both comic and book stores and their distribution system will cease to exist as we know it, as will the publishing industry in general.
This is actually a good thing, as far as the environment and costs to the consumer are concerned.
You've said before that no current alternative comics really grab you. Is this still the case or have you made any hot new discoveries?
I'm always coming across newer younger artists whose work I like. I just haven't experienced the "shock of the New" and been floored by anyone in quite a while. It may simply be that I'm hopelessly jaded at this point. Who knows!
Peter Bagge’s next project ‘Apocalypse Nerd’ tells the story of Perry and Gordo, two normal chaps who happen to be on a camping trip as Seattle is nuked. They have no choice but to get on with it and try their very hardest not to die.
For a few years Bagge contributed satirical strips to ‘Reason’ magazine on subjects from Christian rock to homelessness, via fascism and libertarians. There’s an archive of these at: http://www.reason.com/staff/show/137.html
He had a foray into animation with the excellent ‘Murry Wilson - Rock ‘n’ Roll Dad’, a series of short episodes chronicling the life and times of Murry, the constantly choleric father of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Episode one is here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=GDNM7dy2Wj
And so to the future…
Are there any projects in the pipeline?
I'm doing a graphic novel for DC/Vertigo called ‘Second Lives’. It's very time consuming! I also just started doing a monthly strip for ‘Discover’ Magazine, and a book collection of all the strips I've done for ‘Reason’ Magazine will be out sometime this year. It's called ‘Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me’.
Tell me about this graphic novel, it sounds interesting.
It's called ‘Second Lives’, though it is partially inspired by the online community Second Life. It's about 4 people who's imaginary and/or virtual lives start to dominate their real lives, and also clash with each other's real and imaginary lives. It's a hoot! No release date is set - I'm guessing late '09.
And the Discover magazine strip - will it be the same sort of thing as your Reason strips? Discover seems to have a science slant while Reason had a political slant. Will the strips reflect this?
They're just one page strips, where we pick a scientist from the past and tell a joke or story that also reveals not only his or her achievements but also any personality quirks they make have had. A tall order, actually! And like my Reason strips, they involve a LOT of research. I hate homework!
The world of science is usually pretty dull. However, in the last few weeks a couple of things happened which are nothing short of fucking awesome.
First up, they found an animal that lives forever.
It’s a type of jellyfish called a Turritopsis Nutricula, and after it reaches sexual maturity it just turns back into a little jellyfish foetus. Basically, it does reincarnation without bothering to die. Pretty cool.
As if that wasn’t good enough, Jurassic Park is going to be very real, very soon. Sort of.
Basically some sciencey chaps cloned an extinct animal from frozen cells. It was a Triceratops and it’s currently roaming the streets of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Not true. Actually it was a Pyrenean Ibex and it died. But still! It’s a good start! It sort of worked! Once they perfect the technology we will all be able to have our very own pet sabre-toothed Tigers.
If dinosaurs went clubbing they would probably go to Bad Sneakers. It’s held every Saturday at the lovely Faversham and it’s put on ‘before they were massive’ gigs by acts including Klaxons, Hot Chip, Lily Allen, The Gossip and the Arctic Monkeys.
Every now and then they take a break from all the guitar-based shenanigans and put on DJs. Last Saturday was one of those nights.
Opening the show were the seemingly ubiquitous house party hell raisers the Heads Up DJs. These three very busy guys seem to be getting booked for everything these days, and very good they are too, playing a very tasteful blend of techy electro.
Our headliner for the night was Surkin, a young whippersnapper from Paris.
A few years ago he released ‘Radio Fireworks’ in the epicentre of the whole ravey sounding French house craze, and the track was as popular as Pokemon. Guys like Erol Alkan, Mylo, Boys Noize and Justice could not get enough of it.
Since then he’s been playing gigs, putting out new tracks and remixing the likes of DJ Mehdi, Chromeo, Foals and more.
So Surkin rocked the packed room with some crunchy electro, dropping a couple of cheeky crowd-pleasers every now and then - stuff like Rikkalicious, the Soulwax mix of Tiga’s Mind Dimension 2 and his own remix of Klaxons.
Youth Attack tidied things up nicely after Surkin had done his thing, playing some quality fidget house and general banging shit. Bit of Fake Blood, bit of Dada Life, bit of Herve - spot on.
So far all very good, but Bad Sneakers had an ace up its sleeve. If the relentless duf-duf-duf of the main room got a bit overpowering, there was room 2, where Jonny Strangeways offered a delightful change of pace.
He played all those songs you love, forget about for a while, then randomly hear and remember why you loved them in the first place. There was some Iggy and the Stooges, a bit of the 5, 6, 7, 8s and my personal highlight of the night, ‘Raspberry Beret’ by Prince. Classic.
Bad Sneakers have some sizably stonking events lined up for the next couple of months. Highlights include Sway on March 5th, Filthy Dukes on March 21st, and the queen of (totally deserved) hype, Little Boots, on March 14th. Get on down to these and you’ll enjoy yourself, promise.
Straight after a Cardinals touchdown with less than three minutes to go, the feed was cut out and replaced with something rather different. A very short but really rather moving film of a particularly well endowed young man standing up, pulling down his trousers and shaking his penis about as a disembodied voice explained "You can shake a little air into it". Nice. Makes Janet Jackson look pretty tame.
Anyway, the slightly inappropriately named Insomnia (would you call a sex toy company “Parkinson’s”?) happened the other night. They brought us Eric Prydz, Kissy Sell Out, and a bunch more super sexy DJs.
Eric Prydz stepped up to the decks early on to play us a song or two. An awful lot of people seemed to really like him. Personally I’m not convinced. I think he makes sort of the dance music equivalent of the TV show ‘My Family’, you know what I mean? Kind of watered down, lowest common denominator stuff that everyone sort of doesn’t mind, but no one really loves unless they don’t know any better.
Kissy Sell Out was up next. He’s a guy who really should be crap. He has a stupid Hoxton mullet, he used to be a graphic designer and he seems to be allergic to sleeves. He comes across as the kind of guy who’s all style and no substance and maybe just a bit of an arse.
In fact Kissy Sell Out is awesome and there’s a fairly simple explanation as to why. Firstly, he loves Alan Partridge. So much so that he remixed Gary Numan’s ‘Music For Chameleons’, the Partridge air-bass anthem. That scores him a lot of points.
Last year Kissy released an album, and lately he’s been touring a live show which consists of him dancing around in his PE kit wielding a keytar. Despite these glorious ingredients by all accounts the show was slightly underwhelming. But at Insomnia he returned to what he does best, hopping around like a loon behind the decks and putting on a proper party. It is during his DJ sets that Mr Sell Out proves once and for all that he is unequivocally not crap.
A Kissy Sell Out DJ set is fun. Simple as that. His sets are completely unpretentious and he tears through all sorts of mad tracks making it impossible not to crack a smile. He’s a bit like a more ravey DJ Yoda. Music snobs may turn their noses up and deplore all the silliness (“How dare he play that? Good lord!”), but people that realise going clubbing is really just about having a good time quite rightly love him. Life’s too short for Ricardo Villalobos.
So Mr Sell Out rocked the stage, playing all sorts of mad shit and making sure everyone had a jolly lovely time. Heroic.
In conclusion, call on meeeeeee, Valerie. Good day to you all.
In my first year at Uni I went on the Leeds Snowriders trip to Val D’Isere. I had never snowboarded in my life before but my friend is a qualified snowboard teacher so he said he’d get me up to speed. Big mistake.
By ‘get me up to speed’ he meant show me what which end was which, and then take me with him and a group of other people he knew from his ski and snowboard instructors course.
At first it was fine, I got the hand of it pretty quickly and got to the bottom of my first red run in a couple of hours on the first day (despite a slightly hairy moment involving the edge of a cliff).
So I started getting a bit cocky and threw myself down everything in sight, taking a few nice chunky falls on the way. At one point I had a particularly surreal experience when I crashed into a midget.
Anyways, on day three I got down my first ever black run and I was quite proud of myself. Later that day I took one too many hits on the head and gave myself concussion and pretty serious amnesia. Despite the fact that I had been wearing a helmet the whole time.
For the rest of that day I had about a 20 second short term memory. I knew who I was and sort of had a vague idea of where we were but couldn’t remember much of anything that had happened in the last three weeks. I kept saying the same thing over and over as I forgot what I had just said. I also kept going on about the film ‘Memento’, which I’ve still never seen.
It was in these three weeks that my girlfriend and I had taken the plunge from being ‘just friends’ to the uncharted waters of ‘more than just friends’.
So in my damaged little mind we were still in the friend zone and I was pretty effusive to this effect, laughing in the face of anyone who told me things were otherwise.
As you can imagine the dear young lady in question was none to pleased to hear about this, especially as the tale was regaled to her thusly: “Jon got amnesia and forgot you were going out then he got off with a girl”. While the former claim may be true, the latter was nothing but calumny. Luckily she didn’t believe the cad who told her and all was well.
On Valentine’s Day it is important that you do not forget you have a girlfriend or she may well get a bit cross.
This is really weird, but Valentine’s Day was originally a celebration of chicken intercourse. Seriously. There was a conventional belief in England and France in the Middle Ages that on 14th February the birds began to pair off and mate. There’s a bit in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules that says “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate”. Humans noticed this trend and decided to make it their own. Very peculiar.
Valentine’s is a pretty grim night to be going out. Most venues put an awful lot of pressure on people either to really get into it or to very conspicuously ignore it. You have to pick between either embracing the day and being all keen about trying to have sex with someone or participating in a sulky ‘Anti-Valentine’ and trying to have sex with someone to show how little you care about having sex with people.
It’s usually pretty easy to avoid, just stay in, but this year it’s on a Saturday. And there’s no reason why some dead guy (actually there were three St Valentines, and all of them were martyrs) should spoil a perfectly good night out.
So avoid any of this silliness and go to the utterly indifferent party put on by Mystic Brew at the lovely Smokestack club.
There will be the usual concoction of quality resident DJs from Asylum and Hang The DJ, there will be cheap drinks and this month entry is only £4 before 11 and £5 after. As usual they will be welcoming a high calibre guest, and in February your designated driver will be James Holroyd.
James is a proper legend. In 1992 he became one of the original residents at Back to Basics and a year later he joined forces with the Jockey Slut Magazine team to create the legendary night Bugged Out!
As in Bugged Out!, the guys who put on parties in places like Milan, Japan and Matter in London, and put out those quality mixes by guys like Simian Mobile Disco, Erol Alkan and Klaxons. He’s still a resident at Bugged Out! nights in Manchester.
A few years later Holroyd’s DJ style impressed Tom and Ed from the Chemical Brothers so much that he became their tour DJ. He’s played across the world in countries as diverse as Croatia, China, Malaysia and Australia.
On the 14th he will be in Leeds and he’ll be digging deep in his record box to play a set of disco, funk and rare house. Should be a good one.
Happy Chicken Sex Day everybody xxxx
I asked Bagge a bunch of questions about his work, from the ‘Hate’ days through ‘Sweat Shop’ and into the future. This part focuses on ‘Hate’, while in part 2 we cover everything else from Spiderman to Second Lives, his latest project.
Hate is one of my favourite comics of all time. In ‘Neat Stuff’ Bagge introduced us to the Bradleys who represent that staple of American comedy, the dysfunctional family. Hate follows the continuing misadventures of Buddy, the son of the family.
Over the course of Hate, we watched Buddy as he settled away from his family in Seattle, somehow got a girlfriend, traded her in for her (completely insane) roommate, managed a grunge band, quit this job half way through the band’s first tour, moved back to New Jersey, opened his own store selling over-priced 'collectables', got his crazy girlfriend pregnant, married her, and eventually became a crazy guy with an eye patch and an odd hat who lives at the dump.
In a way, Hate is the ‘Frasier’ of the comics world. They’re both largely set in Seattle, they both began as spin offs, they both star men who think they know it all but in so many ways are clueless idiots, and they’re both properly hilarious. On the other hand, no one in ‘Hate’ puts on a dodgy English accent (I’m looking at you, Daphne’s cousin form Manchester). One-nil Bagge.
“I hope so, but I simply can't afford the time to put another issue together these days! The Annuals don't sell anywhere close to what HATE did in the '90s, and since Fantagraphics pays me a percentage of the sales it winds up being a lot of work for little money. I still intend to do another one, though.”
Hate has become synonymous with the Seattle grunge scene which you were never particularly into. Do you think it helps to write about something with the perspective of an outsider?
“I think it's important to maintain some sort of objectivity, whether it's as an outsider looking in or (more importantly) putting some distance, time and circumstances-wise, between yourself and powerful first hand experiences you've had.”
Every interview I've read with you you seem to have a Buddy Bradley TV show in the early stages of development. Have you had any luck yet? If not, you should try Adult Swim - I think a Buddy show would fit nicely with what they do.
“It's actually been a year or two since Buddy and/or HATE has been optioned, for the first time in 15 years! I'll gladly talk to anyone who wants to do anything with one of my projects, but I'm not going to go chasing after them. For one thing, a place like The Cartoon Network pays so poorly that I'd be taking a huge financial hit to develop a show with them! And the fees keep getting worse and worse. I'm much better off where I am, doing what I'm doing now.”
I found this on Youtube: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zqK9e3EkWX8&feature=related
“That was made as a lead in to a grunge documentary called HYPE, and while I THINK it was included with the DVD it was dropped from the theatrical release. It was directed and animated by some Ren & Stimpy alumni, and I agree that it looks great. I'm disappointed by the voice direction, though (which is absolutely VITAL to making a cartoon work), and the casting of Buddy Bradley's voice was dreadful. It really killed the cartoon.”
“Ideally I like to be as involved as possible -- I want to be in total charge, in fact! Though my lack of experience in animation and television forces me to rely on others. Because of that you're at the other people's mercy to a large degree, and if they're smart and talented you've got it made! If not, you're fucked.”
You really should read Hate. Seriously, it’s brilliant. It might even change your life, you never know.
And you can find out more about Peter Bagge at http://www.peterbagge.com/
Another Leeds alum is Victoria Hesketh. She got a first in Cultural Studies (is that even a thing?) and wrote her dissertation about Jamie Cullum. Lately she’s been writing music as Little Boots, and came to the Cockpit to play some of it for us on the last night of the Automatic Lovers tour.
Blog darlings and Leeds locals Heads We Dance open the show. They make a lovely disco-synthy-drummy sort of noise that warms the expanding crowd to their collective cockles. These guys are well worth a look, if only so that in 6 or so months time you can act all blasé and say “Oh yeah, I’ve known about those guys for a while. I think I liked them better before they got big.” You will sound like a twat, but it will feel so good.
Co-headliners Heartbreak prefer their disco slightly more italo-flavoured, combining rippling synths, proudly worn 80s inspirations and New Order-esque basslines. As Ali Renault nods intently behind an impressive bank of keyboards, samplers and other assorted technical hillclappery, Argentine front man Sebastian Muravchix flails around like a man possessed, bringing the crowd to the boil nicely and completely freaking out the fairly conspicuous characters in the audience who were only there because they saw Little Boots on Jools Holland.
And so to Little Boots, obviously the act most anticipated by the Cockpit crowd. After parting ways with her old band Dead Disco, she began to carve a solo path, and tented many a pair of skinny jeans with the Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) produced dancey pop peach ‘Stuck On Repeat’. If you haven’t heard the remix of this track by elusive genius Fake Blood, I strongly recommend you change that sharpish. Also worth a look are her acoustic covers of happy hardcore songs on YouTube.
Highlights of her magnificent set are ‘Maths’, ‘Stuck on Repeat’ and a cover of disco innovator Georgio Moroder’s ‘Love Kills’ which features a proper Brian May style solo from Miss Boots on “one of those keyboards you hold like a guitar”.
This disco revival thing looks set to be 2009’s very own new rave. Erol Alkan has already given it his seal of approval, and he doesn’t tend to get things wrong. Expect Primark to come out with a range of sparkly stuff and t-shirts with prints of wolves howling at the moon and whatnot. By this time next year at least one of tonight’s bands will be huge. My money’s on Little Boots, and I reckon ‘Click’ will be her ‘I bet you look good on the dance floor’. Only time will tell…
This disappointed Steven and his chums, so they decided to make their feelings felt through the medium of dance. And punching.
I would happily kill a stranger if it meant I never had to hear ‘Take A Bow’ by Rihanna again. I would maim a passer-by if the master tapes of Peter Kay’s version of ‘Amarillo’ would be destroyed and I would even go so far as to give a vicious Chinese burn to an acquaintance to ensure that all past and future recordings by Usher would never again rape my poor sobbing external acoustic meatus (one for all you doctors out there).
Anyways, Wax:On happened last week and as far as I know none of the DJs were beaten up by professional footballers. The Waxy crew played a strong team with Mylo and Sinden up front, Matt Walsh storming up and down the wing and Doorly in the holding position.
Despite the team being strong on paper there are no easy games in this competition and it was all to play for. At the end of the day the boys literally have to pull it out of the hat and give 110% week in week out and that’s a big ask. Obviously it’s always hard to come here and get a result, y’know?
So Mylo. You’d be surprised, for a big lad he’s good with his feet. When he came on it was still early doors but all eyes were on him. Probably because everyone’s getting a bit sick of waiting for him to release a new album. Allegedly he’s working on it, but I reckon he’s probably quite happy getting paid loads of money for fairly uninspiring DJ sets.
Sinden is an absolute hero. Definitely the man of the match. He stepped up after Mylo and played a glorious mix of fidget, dubstep, electro and all sorts that left the Wax:On crowd all weak at the knees like Stan Collymore in a busy carpark. He did a Fabriclive mix CD recently which you should definitely get as it’s awesome. Also, if you haven’t already, you should get your hands on the Machines Don’t Care album. It came out last year and it was a collaborative effort between Sinden, Hervé, Trevor Loveys, Affie Yusef, Toddla T, Fake Blood, Detboi & Drop The Lime. Unsurprisingly, given that dream team, it was one of the strongest records of the last twelve months.
After Sinden had done his magic, Doorly stepped up to the plate and sent everyone home with a smile on their face. He’s good isn’t he? Vintage summer signing from the Wax:On bosses.
One more thing though. I just saw the line up for the next Wax:On on 28th February and it made me do a little bit of wee in my pants. Yes. Headlining will be the incredible Hervé, who about 9 people witnessed tearing Bad Robot a new one back in October (tickets were £5 but no one went. Whoops). Also playing are Fake Blood, Jack Beats, DIM and Beardyman. Wow. I’m already quite excited about this one.
Bad Sneakers presents New Year’s Balls - The Faversham
Brighton Beach - Leeds Town Hall
I miss the good old days when the turning of the year would be marked by a Quality Street assortment of nutcases hollering about how the world was going to end. I loved seeing their little embarrassed faces on January 1st as they crawled sheepishly (can sheep crawl?) out of their bunkers into a world which still existed.
Remember the Millennium bug? It was supposed to cause a worldwide catastrophe, with planes dropping out of the sky, nuclear weapons firing of their own accord, and Jesus rising from the grave like a sort of Godzilla-King Kong-T Rex hybrid to wreak revenge on the world which spurned him.
In 2012 the crazies will have sufficiently got over their embarrassment to have another go at the whole ‘the end of the world is nigh’ thing. Some New Age guys (those bastions of good sense) have decided that 2012 will herald either a year of great spiritual transformation or, alternately, an apocalypse.
Now surely that’s something you need to be quite sure about. You can’t march around saying “Huzzah! A magical year of emotional transformation is upon us! In 2012 we shall transcend the physical limitations imposed on us by earthly attachments and become as one with the god-head! … or … we might all die.” Like the small print on a cosmic personal loan advert.
If anything is going to provoke an apocalypse in 2009 it is the film ‘Dead Man Running’. Starring Danny ‘fackin’ Dyer and 50 ‘the worst human ever’ Cent and financed in part by Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, Dyer’s character has to get the Fiddster a hundred grand in 24 hours. The only chance it has is if it somehow flips over into that noble category ‘so bad it’s good’. It may be too early to tell, but I’ve got a feeling this film could be the one to perform the unprecedented ‘it’s so bad it’s good, but actually, it’s worse than that so it flips back into bad again’. The potential effects of this happening could be more catastrophic than if they had entrusted the safe running of the Large Hadron Collider to Lindsay Lohan.
A lot of people hate New Year’s Eve. It’s the whole ‘mandatory fun’ thing, the idea that everyone is here to have fun together and if you aren’t having fun in this particular place on this particular night then there must be something incurably wrong with you. If that rings a bell with you and you don’t want to get a reputation as a grumpy old git but you really can’t be arsed with the whole “ooh look, the date just changed” thing, you should peer pressure your less discerning friends into going to one of these events, where only a token gesture will be made towards the demise of 2008.
First up is the shindig taking place in our beloved (to an appropriate extent) Student’s Union. Last year Wax:On and Metropolis took over with the help of Annie Mac, Pendulum, Speakerjunk and a bunch of other reprobates then promptly broadcast most of the ensuing silliness on Radio 1. There’s no Radio 1 this year, but that’s probably a good thing. Like inviting your Mum to the losing of your virginity, the presence of the BBC was a bit off-putting, looking over your shoulder, saying things like “Ooh, is that what you young people are into now? We didn’t do it like that in my day” “Make sure you clean that up afterwards” and “Ah yes, your Dad and I used to like that one”. You banish them to the corner of the room, but you still know they’re there and you can never manage to fully lose yourself in the moment.
Anyways, Wax:On and Metropolis will each have a room in the union this NYE. Wax:On’s performing seals will be Erol Alkan, the Plump DJs, Leeds boy Paul Woolford and more. Metropolis have got, among others, Marky, Hype and Shy FX. That’s a pretty solid line up.
In the last year or two dubstep has risen from peculiar new sub-genre to heavyweight club filler. Both Wax:On and Metropolis have hopped eagerly onto this particular bandwagon and at New Year’s there will be a dubstep room (the flyers call it an arena but I think this probably pushing it a bit, bearing in mind that it’s probably going to be Mine). They’ve lined up the legendary (a nicer way of saying ‘a bit old’) Mary Anne Hobbs, Caspa, Hatcha, Youngsta and a few more DJs whose stage names all end with -a.
If you like your music direct from the source rather than relayed by a disinterested looking chap pressing play on a CD then you might want to consider welcoming in the year of natural fibres (I’m not kidding) at the Faversham where Bad Sneakers will be stepping up to offer forth their New Year’s Balls. They’ve got Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile Up, Wintermute and These Monsters playing live.
I’ve never heard of any of these bands before, and I doubt I’m the only one. HOWEVER! Bad Sneakers have an outstanding pedigree for picking out amazing acts just before they strike it big. In 2005 their New Year’s gig featured a slot from the Sunshine Underground. They’ve also put on ‘before they were massive’ shows by Klaxons, Hot Chip, Arctic Monkeys and more. It seems they are entirely to be trusted.
In Ecuador on New Year’s people wear yellow underwear and carry suitcases, in order to attract ‘positive energy’ and ensure that during the next year they will go on the journey of their dreams. In the Philippines they wear clothes with circular patterns to attract money and, peculiarly, they jump up and down to make them grow taller in the coming year. I suggest that you do all these things this December, and what better place to do them than in Leeds town hall?
Brighton Beach are holding the party there with DJs playing Indie, Britpop, 60s Soul, Motown and R'n'B (but not the shitty type with Usher). Also, in the basement of the building is a room which was a jail in olden times. This room will be lit with psychedelic oil wheels (I don’t know what these are) and 60s slide projections (hopefully there will be no slides of my grandparents holiday to Bournemouth or everyone might just kill themselves with boredom). Sounds kinda kooky.
Tickets are available from ticket shops. Here’s to an apocalypse-free 2009.
In April this year a NZ couple, Pat and Sheena Wheaton, were told by a court that there was no way they would be allowed to call their son ‘4real’. After taking a moment to consider their options, they decided on a new moniker: ‘Superman’. Magnificent work.
It turns out this is hardly the first time something like this has happened in Australia’s afterbirth. Kiwi officials have banned moronic parents from calling children Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy, Sex Fruit, Fat Boy, Cinderella Beauty Blossom, and Fish and Chips (twins).
Don’t worry though, Violence, Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay, and Benson and Hedges (twins) all got past the courts and are currently being bullied in New Zealand primary schools.
Bang Bang Eche come off very poorly by comparison. They are T'Nealle Worsley (Bass / Guitar / Synth), Charlie Ryder (Guitar / Synth), James Sullivan (Drums), Josh Burgess (Synth / Guitar / Bass) and Zach Doney (Vocals).
Apparently ‘Eche’ is a Maori word meaning something along the lines of ‘awesome partytimes’. Their self titled EP (nab it for free from myspace.com/bangbangeche) has been described by the band as “a five-track foray into the 'Land Before Time', but in this case the dinosaurs play sixteenths while the T-Rexes bust rhymes.”
Basically, they make nice, chuggy, dancey sounding guitar music. The sort of thing you get from guys like Does It Offend You Yeah, Shitdisco and maybe Hadouken (but without the crappy attempts at metal).
Currently the band are on tour in Germany, something I asked Zach about.
“The tour has been really great! The best place in Germany is Neumarkt in Bavaria. We played at this bar called Twister. Have you ever been in the ocean? Imagine if you were in the ocean with the swirling kelp and the little sea critters but then the water was screaming Germans and the sea critters were bottles of beer that kept upending themselves on the crowd. After the show they chased the van down the road.”
Now apparently T’Nealle Worsley was headhunted for the band as a direct result of her notoriety in underground fighting circles. Rumour has it that after most shows she will disappear into the night, only to return a few hours later wearing one of those huge gold belts wrestlers win. Also, I heard she has eight pairs of grills that all say “CRUNQ”.
Obviously, I was equally fascinated and terrified by this formidable example of womanhood, and needed to know more. Apparently she could easily beat up Madonna, Barack Obama (“She wouldn't, though, because she considers herself too underground to do celebrity matches”) but not a T-Rex (“T'Nealle couldn't beat up a dinosaur. Those things are really big”).
Jack Bauer caused a bit of confusion: “I don't know who Jack Bauer is. Ok. I just wikipedia'd him. Apparently he is the guy from 24. I have never seen 24 but I assume it is one of those modelling programmes like that one that Tyra Banks is the MC of. So... I guess if Tyra Banks could beat up Mr. Bauer then T'Nealle could beat him up too.”
I asked Zach some other stuff too, just trying to sort out some of the big issues of our time.
Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?
“When I was younger I did heaps and heaps of swimming. I trained eight times a week or something. Now it seems really stupid that I spent heaps and heaps of time in a tepid pool of sweat looking at a black line for 3 hours a day. Anyway, I quit that when my coach said to my parents: "Zach is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. He puts in the time, he puts in the effort. Really the only thing that I could ever ask from him is that he was one or two feet taller." That was when I quit but I think this is the answer to your question. A shark is much bigger than a boy no matter how many hours a week a boy spends in the swimming pool.”
Why is there something rather than nothing? (I have to write an essay about this)
“What kind of course do you take? Man, if my lecturer was all, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" I would probably walk to this dude called Patrick Evans who is HOD of Arts where I (used) to go to Uni and start ranting about how stupid it is that the people outside are ripping up the grass and trees so they can plant trees and grass. Is it Philosophy 107? Psychology 209?” (It’s a philosophy course)
Why do people care about Paris Hilton?
What is the best thing ever? (I think maybe cake)
“The best thing ever is when you are reading a book that makes you feel like life is a lamer place than the book makes it out to be. This is a good thing because you feel that art is greater than life. A modernist would be proud.”
What's the point?
“This is not even a question.”
Nestled snugly amongst the Nazis and mentally incapacitated simpletons was a Mr John Horner.
That was rather freaky. Luckily this impostor lives far away, in Glasgow, and I’m pretty sure we aren’t actually related. I’m currently considering suing him for defamation.
Here’s a fun fact for everyone. You know Mark Collett, the BNP guy who was charged, alongside the charming Nick Griffin, with inciting racial hatred a little while ago? He went to Leeds Uni. He got a 2.2 in economics. I hope your bosom is swollen with pride, mine certainly is.
Russell Brand made a program about him a few years ago, an episode of his show Re:Brand called ‘Nazi boy’. This was back in the days when Brand made a habit of taking industrial quantities of heroin (I’m not sure exactly which industries require heroin), dressing like he’s on his way to a boy band audition, and making good TV. In the Re:Brand episode ‘Wanky wanky’ he tugs off a stranger in a pub toilet, with hilarious consequences!
At the time Collett was the head of the Young BNP (hereafter referred to as the Hitler Youth). He revealed himself to be quite the arsehole, bringing out the classy phrase ‘Aids monkeys’ and almost crying after two nice chaps at in the Original Oak suggested it might not be the best idea to be completely racist. He’s also, adorably, a fairly blatant closeted gayer.
The BNP don’t quite know what to think about Zane Lowe. On the one hand he is lovely and white, and they’re all for that. But on the other hand, he’s a foreigner (or “UNCLEAN!!!!!” as I believe they’re referred to within the party) from New Zealand, the land of sheep and rings. Also, his radio show often features uppity negroes, joyous homosexuals and assorted other people who aren’t quite the same as everyone else. This just won’t do.
For me, Zane has acted a bit like a gateway drug. Back when I was a poor unfortunate A level doing fool I listened to his show most nights while I was supposed to be working. During those heady evenings I was introduced to countless artists I’ve grown to love, and only a few I pretend I was never into. DJ Format, Gogol Bordello, the Arctic Monkeys, Pendulum, Gnarls Barkley and so many more. I was presented with new and exciting genres of music which filled my head with glorious confusion and my dancing feet with animalistic joy. Like a toddler enjoying his first delicious puff of marijuana I wanted more. Since then I have slipped into a blissfully sedated coma of good music, from which I hope to never be roused.
The Zipper was Djing in Amnesia in Ibiza a while ago and Kate Moss was in the crowd. Croydon’s finest decided it would be a glorious demonstration of the fragility of human nature and the ultimate futility of the pursuit of celebrity (or she just wanted some attention or something) if she was to go and dance in the DJ booth with Zane. Hilariously, Zane was having none of it and had security chuck her out.
It was probably for her own good. A Zane Lowe DJ set is a constant blur of activity, like a 10 year old who’s had one too many blue Smarties. He tore around his two CD decks, one DVD deck and mission control size mixer with wild abandon, barely pausing during his set. His set was exactly what you’d expect if you’ve ever heard his show or seen him on TV - music from across all genres with a uniting theme of ‘you can dance to it’ mixed and scratched (yes, scratched!) faster than a really fast thing being chased down a steep hill by something equally fast (and scary).
In conclusion, very good job Zane. One gold star.
The reason for all this madness is fairly obvious, and predictably it came from the good old U S of motherfuckin’ A. A little while ago Fox had a show called ‘Gimme My Reality Show’. It featured Cindy Brady, an American Idol loser and that lady with the boobs who was on Baywatch and Celebrity Big Brother. It is a reality show where the big prize is ... A reality show. As a result of this program existing the world began to consume itself. Essentially this show crossed the streams, but instead of getting rid of the scary giant marshmallow guy, everything just started going horribly wrong.
Anyways, I have a theory, and it’s conspiracy flavoured. I reckon the whole Obama thing is a big plot by white supremacists to make sure there’s a black guy at the wheel when the world slams into the thirteenth pillar in that tunnel in Paris. Think of him as a sort of political Henri Paul. So when the world does inevitably implode, all these smug racists will be saying ‘See? We told you they couldn’t be trusted, but you wanted emancipation. WELL NOW LOOK WHAT ONE OF THEM’S DONE. I hope you’re happy.’ And the Queen Mother was right all along.
Before the world goes completely I Am Legend on us, I strongly recommend you go to Mystic Brew. I went the other day and had a lovely time. Like the witches from Macbeth, every month three of Leeds’ most magical parties combine to brew up a vicious broth which they ladle out to an unsuspecting public. New Bohemia, Asylum and Hang The DJ unite in their pursuit of a shenanigan or two and, above all, a jolly good shindig.
They’ve managed to get their hands on a perfect venue as well. All secretive and out of the way, upstairs in Smokestack is like a tree house, if Jim Morrison was a tree house designer. It’s quite small and long and has a bar where you can buy ‘Mystic brew’. Downstairs is worth a peek at some point, they’ve got classic records stuck on the wall and nice sofas. Also, it was a Saturday night in Leeds city centre, yet there was not one drunken yob who wanted to kill everyone.
So the pedigree residents brought things to the boil before standing back to let the head chef work is magic. Tonight’s gastronome was Matthew Chicoine, better known as Recloose, a Detroit native who somehow found his way to New Zealand, where the natives took to him like the British public take to the mediocre turds squeezed out by Simon Cowell et al. His latest album ‘Perfect Timing’ was the best electronica/dance album at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards.
He and the residents played the sort of music that you didn’t know was an option - if you knew this music existed, you’d have it and it would be your favourite. Think soul, funk, house, hip hop and more wrapped in tasty disco pastry.
“When shall we three meet again, in thunder lightning or rain?” “When the hurly-burly’s done and the battle’s lost and won” “That will be ere the set of sun”. Or more specifically, in December, when the Mystic Brew will be mixed up once more. You should go. You’d like it.
While this may sound like the thought process of a sex attack victim, it is in fact a line from Gangsta Love, a song by S Club 7, the latest nineties pop pricks to lash themselves to the underside of the reunion bandwagon. But only three of them. The rest have better things to do. The unholy trinity are currently on a tour which began in Oldham at the Tokyo Nightclub and which will end in the Shangri-la that is Butlins, Bognor Regis.
They were brought to Leeds by the easily pleased eejits behind Happy Mondays, the wacky guys responsible for recent “performances” by the Venga Boys, Max and OB from Hollyoaks and the most desperate one out of 5ive.
So what of the syphilitic curs who thought themselves above the triumphant return to the mainstream? What the hell do they think they’re playing at? Rachel Stevens is quite fit and she did make poverty history so we’ll let her off, but what of the other scumbags? What’s their excuse?
Hannah (Emma Bunton’s special needs sister) was in ‘Snow! The Musical’. One show managed to pull in an audience of two people. Apparently she’s doing acting now. Tina (the other fit one) shagged Ross from Friends and Jon (Nazi wank fantasy) couldn’t even manage that.
But enough of the fools who spat in the face of this bejewelled opportunity. What of the chosen few, those gods among men, who made it to the Happy Mondays stage? What obstacles did they overcome on the long and arduous path to their glorious comeback?
Bradley (token black guy) first had to overcome the obstacle of having no discernable talent. Then he did that MTV show with Dane Bowers, a New Kid on the Block and one of the pikeys from 911, culminating in a number 35 single. Fine work. Since then he seems to have spent most of his time in the gym (possibly with Craig David. The two may well be lovers).
Jo (the man-faced one who did all the singing) had a bit of a go at a solo career. Her album Relentless (released by Sanctuary records, home of Megadeth) peaked at number 47 in the hit parade. Then she went on Celebrity Big Brother. Whoops.
I personally do not believe words can ever fully do justice to this colossally important time in the history of the world. It would be as futile as attempting to explain what it felt like when Diana died to Shamu the whale using only wax crayons and a small pot of Vaseline.
However, if anyone can linguistically convey the complex feelings of a nation, it is Isabel from Buckinghamshire, surely one of the finest minds of our generation.
“I cannot believe the arrogance shown by Jo. I am not keen on Jade, but hold my hat out to her for at least admitting she was wrong and apologising which cannot be said for this lady. Jo and Danielle said the worse comments whilst in the house, they should have tried to stop Jade while she was arguing with Shilpa, instead they seemed to enjoy the spectacle, giggling like little schoolgirls.”
How incredibly perspicacious. I too put my hat out to Jade and entirely agree that if anyone deserves punishing, it is little schoolgirls.
Little did Simon Fuller know when he assembled the mighty Club that he had clasped a viper to his bosom. That viper was a man. A man with the dark and brooding soul of a truly visionary artist. A man who would let his heart decide. Paul Cattermole.
It was Paul who snatched the 7 from S Club when he announced his decision to return to his “rock roots” in 2002. His artistic integrity was compromised by the Club and he returned to his band Skua (such delightful wordplay) to fulfil his vision and make the music he had always held deep within his very essence, music with “a Limp Bizkit vibe”.
Alas there was more hardship for our troubled hero to endure. Skua came to nothing and Paul was left to fester in an existential chrysalis, before erupting triumphantly as the lead singer and songwriter of Charlie Bullitt. Sadly, no one cared, and Paul soon left the group.
Since then he has been working on solo material. His EP You Make Me Happy (so simple yet so profound) contains the kind of songs Busted would reject for being “a fetid heap of the worst kind of shite”.
S Club are truly back on top. The show was a triumph. A glorious fusion of music, lyrics, dance and Bradley occasionally saying “uh huh yeah”, for that is what black people do.
But what of the audience, those privileged few who will one day tell their grandchildren of this momentous evening?
Stylus was full to the brim with excited morons, the sort of people who write ‘lol’, who will leave a room if a song they don’t know is playing and who are petrified by any trace of idiosyncrasy. These are people who go to clubs then spend more time taking photos to prove how fun they are and what a great time they had than they do actually experiencing anything.
People who can barely function in a social setting without being good and drunk, lest anyone notice the gaping chasm they have in place of a personality.
People who think ‘celebrity’ is a valid and worthwhile aspiration.
People who go to 90s and cheese nights swaddled in the protective cloak of irony, when in fact they can barely mask their terror at having to face life after childhood.
People who may as well just crawl back into the womb and vanish, for no one that bland can ever be truly missed.
This is the face of the lowest common denominator, where the stench of mediocrity can at times be overwhelming.
OMG I’m totally kidding you guys! ROFL! It was awesomeness! xoxo
Once upon a time there was a young girl called Georgina Bailie. One night while she was sleeping she was visited by the ghost of Adolf Hitler. He greeted her and told her “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son” “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” replied young Georgina, and she and Adolf laughed heartily.
Georgina travelled far from her home, to Donnington, for the Download festival was in town. And lo! She gave birth in the mosh pit while Black Sabbath were playing. And Ozzy looked, and he saw that it was good.
She named the child Satan, as Adolf had instructed her. This precious child would grow up to be the devil. And that is the story of the first Halloween.
Instead they brought us the lovely Mr. Kidkanevil, with his shiny new live show. Kidkanevil is a local boy, straight out of Tokyorkshire and he makes the sort of bouncy instrumental hip hop you get from guys like DJ Shadow, RJD2 and Bonobo. In many ways he’s a bit of a maverick. He doesn't play by the rules, but dammit he gets results.
Kidkanevil really is very good live, and both albums are well worth a listen. New Bohemia is also ace, much better than Hitler.