Peter Bagge (Part I)

“I can count on one hand the number of comic artists whose work is as strong... maybe on two or three fingers... It's a laff riot, what can I tell ya?” - R Crumb

R Crumb is the undisputed god of alternative comics. Only a few artist can even come close and Peter Bagge is one of them. In fact, he’s right at the front of the pack, snapping at Crumb’s heels and trying to trip him up with a long crooked stick.

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.

Hate made a hero of the misogynistic, misanthropic, misguided Buddy, and he became an icon for slackers and know-it-alls everywhere. He’s the guy who’s got all the answers and knows exactly what everyone else should be doing, but never seems to do anything himself. It also gloriously satirised Seattle in the early nineties, when the city was Mecca for anyone with a flannel shirt, a guitar, a vein full of heroin and a mind full of directionless rage.

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.

Hate ran from 1990 until 1998, and since then Bagge has put out the Hate annual, continuing the adventures of our pock-marked anti-hero as he is dragged into some semblance of adulthood. Anyways, question time!

The last Hate annual was out in December 2007, will there be any more?

“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.”

When I read Hate I was struck by how much it was like a really good TV show. The situations, action and comedy all seem like they could be part of a sitcom, whether animated or otherwise. Other people noticed this too, and it seems a Buddy Bradley show has been on the cards for ever.

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.”
What was this for? Was it a pilot or something? I think it's great. Buddy's voice is a bit weird but the animation seems perfectly matched to your drawing style.

“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.”
With TV stuff it must be weird because when you make comics everything is up to you, but with TV there's a whole bunch of other people tampering with your ideas. Do you feel comfortable handing over your characters? Do you want to be involved in everything?

“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.

There’s a mad Greek advert with Buddy Bradley at
And you can find out more about Peter Bagge at

Little Boots 28/11/08

Leeds University students always win at that game of ‘which famous people went to my uni’. While Cambridge may have Stephen Fry and Bristol have James Blunt (oh what pride) we always have something special in the bag, ready to whip out in case of emergencies. Leeds Medical School’s finest, Dr. Harold Shipman. Booya.

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…

Wax:On Leeds 24/1/09

Remember how Steven Gerrard is a big thug who got arrested after beating up a guy up in a club? The guy he beat up is called Marcus McGee (nice alliterative name) and he’s a DJ.

The fight started after Marcus was left in charge of a card thing while the regular DJ took a break. In the inimitable words of the Sun: “Marcus was left in charge of a card which allowed the music to be changed - and Gerrard is said to have asked for a different tune. But he refused to hand over the card, saying he could not alter the music policy.”

This disappointed Steven and his chums, so they decided to make their feelings felt through the medium of dance. And punching.
But ignoring the fact that the DJs job seemed to simply be looking after a magical card which controlled the music, what I really want to know is what song the guy was playing. Which song was it that so enraged Stevie G that he had to resort to letting his fists do the talking, potentially destroying the career he has worked so hard for in the process?

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.

New Year's Eve in Leeds

Wax:On & Metropolis - LUU
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.

Bang Bang Eche

Bang Bang Eche are from New Zealand, the home of seven legged lambs, homemade jetpacks and some of the craziest, cruellest, funniest parents to ever work out what exactly people mean when they say “when a man and a woman love each other very much they have a special cuddle and that’s how babies are made”.

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 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?

“I don't.”

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.”

Zane Lowe Home Taping Tour 20/11/08

The BNP membership list was leaked a little while ago, and despite being fairly dull overall, with not one premiership footballer or archbishop signed up, there was one name which caught my attention. My name.

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.

A Mystic Brew with Recloose 8/11/08

The world seems to have gone a bit mad lately. First a few silly boys spoiled capitalism for everyone and now priests have taken to kicking the shit out of each other at the place Jesus got crucified. Less of a surprise is the revelation that the Queen Mother was a massive racist. She decided that Europe as a concept would never catch on. In her words “It will never work with all those Huns, wops and dagos.” Such effortless class.

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.

S Club in Leeds 3/11/08

“I'm feeling so erratic. You're holding me down, I'm set to automatic, so loud”

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

New Bohemia with Kidkanevil 31/10/08

“The power of Christ compels you”

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.

New Bohemia is a bit too cool (or lazy) to care much about Halloween. No cheesy flyers with blood dripping down them, no booking DJs just because they have spooky names and no lame costume competitions (if there was one, the winner would have been the guy dressed as a golden shower).

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.

It’s always good when someone makes the effort to do a proper live show, rather than just hiding behind a laptop or sampler. The Kidkanevil band included the very fragrant Laura J on yazz flute, Justin Percival and Testament on the mic and a guy who looks like Huey Morgan from the Fun Loving Criminals who’s in a band I saw at HiFi the other week was on percussion (he did a bit of saxophone on one song too). During Black Bug the band were joined onstage by an extra special performer, the hobo Optimus Prime from the video (

Actually, New Bohemia did offer a cursory nod towards the anniversary of the birth of Satan. There was a very half-assed ‘mad scientist’ theme, in honour of Kidkanevil’s new album Back Off Man, I’m A Scientist. It has collaborations with Taprikk Sweezee and Bonobo on it. It’s very good and you can buy it if you want. Also, you can get his ace debut album, Problems and Solutions, for free from This one has collaborations with Yarah Bravo, Jeh5t, Lateef the truth speaker, and Andreya Triana.

Kidkanevil really is very good live, and both albums are well worth a listen. New Bohemia is also ace, much better than Hitler.