Issue 104 / October 2019




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ISSUE <strong>104</strong> / OCTOBER <strong>2019</strong><br />





Sun 22nd Sep<br />

Rodrigo y Gabriela<br />

Sat 28th Sep<br />

Guns 2 Roses<br />

+ Dizzy Lizzy<br />

Sat 28th Sep<br />

Red Rum Club<br />

+ The Mysterines<br />

Mon 30th Sep<br />

Gary Numan<br />

+ Kanga<br />

Fri 4th Oct • 10.30pm<br />

Bring It All Back<br />

High School Musical Party<br />

Sat 5th Oct<br />

Definitely Mightbe<br />

(Oasis tribute)<br />

Sat 5th Oct • 11pm<br />

Disco Wonderland:<br />

Liverpool<br />

(The ABBA Tribute Club Night)<br />

Tue 8th Oct<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of Students<br />

Richard Hawley<br />

Fri 11th Oct<br />

Fleetwood Bac<br />

Sat 12th Oct<br />

The Marley Revival<br />

+ UB40 Tribute Set<br />

Sun 13th Oct<br />

New Hope Club<br />

Sun 13th Oct<br />

Easy Life<br />

Fri 18th Oct<br />

Sea Girls<br />

Sat 19th Oct • 10pm<br />

Psychedelic Carnival<br />

Thur 24th Oct<br />

Jake Clemons<br />

+ Ben McKelvey<br />

Fri 25th Oct<br />

Keywest<br />

Fri 25th Oct • 7.30pm<br />

Hang Massive<br />

Wed 30th Oct<br />

MoStack<br />

Sat 2nd Nov<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of Students<br />

Rival Sons<br />

+ The Record Company<br />

Sat 2nd Nov<br />

The Cheap Thrills<br />

Sat 2nd Nov • 9pm<br />

Jo Whiley’s<br />

90s Anthems<br />

ticketmaster.co.uk<br />

Sun 3rd Nov<br />

Loyle Carner<br />

Fri 8th Nov<br />

MONKS<br />

Fri 8th Nov<br />

Bear’s Den<br />

Sat 9th Nov<br />

She Drew The Gun<br />

Sat 9th Nov<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of Students<br />

Greta Van Fleet<br />

+ Yola<br />

Sat 9th Nov<br />

Antarctic Monkeys<br />

+ The Alleys + The Patriots<br />

Fri 15th Nov<br />

Boston Manor<br />

+ Modern Error<br />

Sat 16th Nov<br />

The Macc Lads<br />

+ Dirt Box Disco<br />

Sat 16th Nov<br />

UK Foo Fighters<br />

(Tribute)<br />

Wed 20th Nov<br />

Fontaines D.C.<br />

Fri 22nd Nov<br />

Airbourne<br />

+ Tyler Bryant & The<br />

Shakedown<br />

Fri 22nd Nov<br />

Absolute Bowie -<br />

Legacy Tour<br />

Sat 23rd Nov<br />

Life At The Arcade<br />

Sat 23rd Nov<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of Students<br />

Sam Fender<br />

Sat 23rd Nov<br />

o2academyliverpool.co.uk<br />

11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF<br />

Doors 7pm unless stated<br />

facebook.com/o2academyliverpool<br />

twitter.com/o2academylpool<br />

instagram.com/o2academyliverpool<br />

youtube.com/o2academytv<br />

An Evening with<br />

Sat 21st Dec<br />

The Steve Hillage Band<br />

Cast...<br />

+ Gong<br />

Magic Hour Album<br />

Sun 24th Nov<br />

Primal Scream<br />

Fri 29th Nov<br />

The Doors Alive<br />

Sat 30th Nov • 6pm<br />

The Wonder Stuff<br />

performing ‘The<br />

Eight Legged Groove<br />

Machine’ & ‘HUP’<br />

in full<br />

+ Jim Bob from Carter USM<br />

Sat 30th Nov<br />

Pearl Jam UK<br />

Thur 5th Dec<br />

Shed Seven<br />

+ The Twang<br />

Fri Fri 6th Dec<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of of Students<br />

Happy Mondays<br />

Greatest Hits Tour<br />

Fri Fri 6th Dec<br />

SPINN<br />

Sat 7th Dec<br />

Prince Tribute - -<br />

Endorphinmachine<br />

Thur 12th Dec<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of of Students<br />

Daniel Sloss: X<br />

Fri Fri 13th Dec<br />

Mountford Hall,<br />

Liverpool Guild of of Students<br />

Dermot Kennedy<br />

Fri Fri 13th Dec<br />

The Lancashire<br />

Hotpots<br />

Fri Fri 13th Dec<br />

Scouting for Girls<br />

Sat 14th Dec<br />

The Smyths…<br />

The Smiths 35<br />

Sat 14th Dec<br />

Ian Prowse<br />

& Amsterdam<br />

Wed 18th Dec<br />

The Darkness<br />

Thur 19th Dec<br />

Cast...<br />

All Change Album<br />

Fri Fri 20th Dec<br />

Cast...<br />

Mother Nature Calls<br />

Album<br />

Sat 21st Dec<br />

Limehouse Lizzy:<br />

The Greatest Hits of of<br />

Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy<br />

Wed 29th Jan Jan 2020<br />

The Interrupters<br />

+ Buster Shuffle<br />

Tue 4th Feb 2020<br />

Mabel<br />

Mon 3rd Feb 2020<br />

Kano<br />

Sun 29th Mar 2020<br />

Cigarettes After Sex<br />

Venue box box office opening hours:<br />

Mon - Sat - Sat 10.30am - 5.30pm - ticketmaster.co.uk • seetickets.com<br />

• gigantic.com • ticketweb.co.uk<br />

• WED WED 11TH 11TH SEP SEP 7PM 7PM<br />



RATS<br />


+ ALAN + TRIGGS<br />









+ WED WED 25TH 25TH SEP SEP 7PM 7PM<br />


SIGALA<br />
















WE WE WERE<br />

















+ APRE + APRE<br />



90 SUN SUN 27TH 27TH OCTS OCTS 7PM 7PM<br />
























SLADE<br />

SAT SAT 30TH 30TH NOV NOV 6.30PM 6.30PM<br />







BEAK><br />


IAN IAN MCNABB & &<br />




SUN SUN 23RD 23RD FEB FEB 2020 2020 7PM 7PM<br />



plus plus support support QUEEN KWONG<br />

FRIDAY 22 22 NOVEMBER <strong>2019</strong><br />




What’s On<br />

<strong>October</strong> –<br />

December<br />

Wednesday 2 <strong>October</strong> 6.30pm<br />

Music Room<br />

BlackFest <strong>2019</strong><br />

Celebration Night<br />

Saturday 19 <strong>October</strong> 8pm<br />

Music Room<br />

Rising Up: Peterloo <strong>2019</strong><br />

Wednesday 23 <strong>October</strong> 8pm<br />

Music Room<br />

Liverpool Irish Festival:<br />

Visible Women<br />

Wednesday 30 <strong>October</strong> 8pm<br />

Music Room<br />

Baked A La Ska: Skalloween<br />

Thursday 19 December 7.30pm<br />

Kate Rusby at Christmas<br />

Saturday 28 December 7.30pm<br />

Sunday 29 December 7.30pm<br />

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra<br />

Ghostbusters: Film with<br />

Live Orchestra (cert PG)<br />

Box Office<br />

0151 709 3789<br />

liverpoolphil.com<br />

LiverpoolPhilharmonic<br />

liverpoolphil<br />

liverpool_philharmonic<br />

Image Kate Rusby













26 OCTOBER<br />



30 OCTOBER<br />




10 NOVEMBER<br />


STUDIO 2<br />

23 NOVEMBER<br />




8 DECEMBER<br />

FLYING<br />



20 DECEMBER<br />



20 DECEMBER<br />

THE 1975<br />


26 FEBRUARY 2020<br />

ticketquarter.co.uk<br />




Through our team of community writers, photographers, illustrators and creative minds, Bido Lito! has<br />

chartered our city’s vibrant, do-it-together ethos for 100 issues. You can join this dedicated community<br />

by becoming a Bido Lito! Community Member.<br />

As well as receiving the latest edition of the magazine in the post before anyone else each month,<br />

Community Members get a plethora of sweet rewards. Upon signing up you’ll receive a Bido Lito! Tote<br />

Bag with your first magazine, at the end of the year you’ll get the premium Bido Lito! Journal and you’ll<br />

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As well as the monthly magazine, the Bido Lito! TOTE BAG will be<br />

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JOURNAL each December.<br />

Join the community media revolution and sign up today at bidolito.co.uk/membership

New Music + Creative Culture<br />

Liverpool<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>104</strong> / <strong>October</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

bidolito.co.uk<br />

Second Floor<br />

The Merchant<br />

40-42 Slater Street<br />

Liverpool L1 4BX<br />

Publisher/Founder<br />

Craig G Pennington - info@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Editor-in-Chief<br />

Christopher Torpey - chris@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Media Partnerships and Projects Manager<br />

Sam Turner - sam@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Features Editor<br />

Niloo Sharifi - niloo@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Live Editor<br />

Elliot Ryder - elliot@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Digital and Social Media Officer<br />

Lucy Atkins – lucy@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Community Manager<br />

Brit Williams – brit@bidolito.co.uk<br />

Design<br />

Mark McKellier - mark@andmark.co.uk<br />

Branding<br />

Thom Isom - hello@thomisom.com<br />

Proofreader<br />

Nathaniel Cramp<br />

Cover Artwork and Photography<br />

Kate Davies<br />

Words<br />

Elliot Ryder, Christopher Torpey, Ed Haynes, Vahid<br />

Davar, Matt Hogarth, Sam Turner, Ian R Abraham,<br />

Mike Stanton, Frankie Muslin, Conal Cunningham,<br />

Joel Durksen, David Weir, Jennie Macaulay, Georgia<br />

Turnbull, Christopher Carr, Natalie McCool, Nina<br />

Franklin, Beija Flo.<br />


Further justification of this city’s blackout of The<br />

Sun newspaper was found recently (as if any more<br />

were even needed) with a report into its effect on<br />

Euroscepticism rates in Merseyside. Two political<br />

science academics – Florian Foos and Daniel Bischof – showed<br />

that Liverpool people gradually, but definitively, swayed away<br />

from a Eurosceptic outlook in the years since the Hillsborough<br />

disaster, largely (but not solely) because of the boycott of<br />

the publication and its anti-Europe<br />

propaganda. Without it, Foos and<br />

Bischof estimate that Merseyside would<br />

have voted to Leave in the 2015 EU<br />

referendum by a margin of 60 to 40<br />

(Merseyside voted overall to Remain in<br />

the referendum, by 51 to 49; Liverpool’s<br />

Remain vote was at 58 per cent). There<br />

were, naturally, many other factors at<br />

play in this decades-long switching of<br />

attitudes, such as The Sun being largely<br />

replaced by the Europhile Mirror, and<br />

European Union funding in the area that<br />

helped rebuild it after a post-industrial<br />

slump – a fact that culminated gloriously<br />

in the 2008 European Capital of Culture year.<br />

These findings help to prove what we’d already come to<br />

understand instinctively: that quality matters. The quality of what<br />

news you’re served, the quality of the discourse you’re involved<br />

in. Just like we care about the provenance of the food we eat<br />

and the goods we buy, this report shows that we should take<br />

as much care with the news and information we ingest. As we<br />

head inexorably towards another election cycle – one that looks<br />

set to be at least as divisive as the 2016 referendum – we need<br />

to be aware of these factors so that we can equip ourselves<br />


“The power of what<br />

can be achieved<br />

when unity is<br />

allowed to flourish is<br />

abundantly clear”<br />

accordingly. The power of what can be achieved when unity is<br />

allowed to flourish, rather than divisions deepened, is abundantly<br />

clear. When Liverpool boomed in the years of the last Labour<br />

government, it did so on a wave of enthusiasm and positivity<br />

that facilitated a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s hard to see how another<br />

viewpoint can be easily reached.<br />

Of course, all media has its own agenda – even ourselves.<br />

I hope it’s obvious where Bido Lito!’s vested interests lie:<br />

supporting and encouraging; selecting<br />

what we write about based purely on<br />

taste; giving a platform to stories that<br />

we feel need to be heard. I sometimes<br />

see Bido’s role as that of a looking<br />

glass, reflecting back the best of our<br />

collective community. But it’s not always<br />

that; sometimes it takes on the role of a<br />

megaphone, an amplifier or a soap-box.<br />

When you see us out at gigs, hosting<br />

our own events, doing our own releases,<br />

championing local artists and spreading<br />

the word about how amazing this place<br />

is – we hope that it’s obvious where our<br />

intentions lie.<br />

As we continue on in this same vein, it’s a real shame that<br />

we won’t be doing so with three massively valuable members of<br />

the Bido family. We’re gutted that Sam, Niloo and Lucy will not<br />

be with us as we move on to our next chapter. All three of them<br />

leave Bido in a lot more interesting and healthy place than when<br />

they joined, and for that we say a massive, heartfelt THANK<br />

YOU!x<br />

Christopher Torpey / @CATorp<br />

Editor-in-Chief<br />

Future Yard (Michael Driffill)<br />

Photography, Illustration and Layout<br />

Mark McKellier, Kate Davies, Vahid Davar, Anna<br />

Benson, Ian Skelly, Ross Davidson, GCH Photography,<br />

Michael Driffill, Keith Ainsworth, Michael Kirkham,<br />

Tomas Adam, Brian Sayle, Darren Aston.<br />

Distribution<br />

Our magazine is distributed as far as possible through<br />

pedal power, courtesy of our Bido Bikes. If you would<br />

like to find out more, please email chris@bidolito.co.uk.<br />

Advertise<br />

If you are interested in adverting in Bido Lito!, or finding<br />

out about how we can work together, please email<br />

ads@bidolito.co.uk.<br />

Bido Lito! is a living wage employer. All our staff are<br />

paid at least the living wage.<br />

All contributions to Bido Lito! come from our city’s<br />

amazing creative community. If you would like to join<br />

the fold visit bidolito.co.uk/contribute.<br />

We are contributing one per cent of our advertising<br />

review to WeForest.org to fund afforestation projects<br />

around the world. This more than offsets our carbon<br />

footprint and ensures there is less CO2 in the<br />

atmosphere as a result of our existence.<br />

The views expressed in Bido Lito! are those of the<br />

respective contributors and do not necessarily<br />

reflect the opinions of the magazine, its staff or the<br />

publishers. All rights reserved.<br />


This affecting songwriter’s bathtub melancholia has connected<br />

with a swarm of online fans who’ve found solace in his lilting<br />

dreamadelica.<br />



Comics Youth has been helping young people write their own<br />

stories for the past four years, with the next chapter focusing on<br />

the lives of the marginalised.<br />


Iranian poet Vahid Davar considers the inherent sacrifice that<br />

migration demands in an extract taken from his dissertation that<br />

looks at language and belonging.<br />


10 / NEWS<br />

26 / SPOTLIGHT<br />

31 / PREVIEWS<br />

18 / MARVIN POWELL<br />

Classic Americana storytelling baked into the soul of a Mersey<br />

wanderer.<br />


Matt Hogarth of Eggy Records reflects on a cultural exchange<br />

that saw a bit of Liverpool transplanted to a creative community<br />

on the banks of the Volga.<br />


The Podfather opens up about the art of subversiveness in<br />

podcasting, and how far he might yet go with the medium he’s<br />

helped to define.<br />


Britain’s most decorated Olympian opens up about the roots of<br />

his cycling obsession and how it has helped him find new roads<br />

in the sport.<br />

36 / REVIEWS<br />


NEWS<br />

Let Us Tell You A Story<br />

Laura Duff<br />

A week of Irish stories arrives in Liverpool as the<br />

city’s LIVERPOOL IRISH FESTIVAL returns, running<br />

between 17th and 27th <strong>October</strong>. The theme of the<br />

festival this year is unique stories, creatively told,<br />

and the 10-day arts and culture festival welcomes<br />

musicians, artists, performers, writers, dancers,<br />

historians and more to tell the tales. Folk singer and<br />

guitarist CHRISTY MOORE gives a special festival<br />

preview performance at the Philharmonic Hall to<br />

get the festival started. IN:VISIBLE WOMEN is an<br />

annual strand of the festival programme which gives a<br />

platform to stories about Irish women from all different<br />

circumstances. This will be accompanied by VISIBLE<br />

WOMEN, a live show featuring three contemporary<br />

Irish songwriters: LAURA DUFF, MAZ O’CONNOR<br />

and headliner LISA O’NEILL. See full details at<br />

liverpoolirishfestival.com.<br />

Toxteth Day Of The Dead<br />

Messrs Drummond and Cauty (AKA The Timelords, The<br />

JAMS, The KLF) reprise the Toxteth Day Of The Dead<br />

celebrations on 23rd November. Now that they are<br />

undertakers observing the rites of MuMufication – where<br />

you can choose to have 23g of your ashes fired into a<br />

brick, which will be used to assemble the People’s Pyramid<br />

(discounts apply to resident of L8) – they will be returning<br />

to Toxteth for this annual Beating of the Bounds procession<br />

and ceremonial laying of the new Bricks of Mu. Whether<br />

you’re observing the ceremony or not, you may like to<br />

indulge in the Hereafter Party, hosted by Liverpool Arts Lab<br />

at District. Featuring live performances from PADDY STEER<br />

and KERMIT LEVERIDGE (performing a Super Weird<br />

Soundsystem), it will be a fitting end to a MuMentous day.<br />

Toxteth Day Of The Dead (Tim Collins)<br />

Resist! Resist!<br />

Nightclubbing<br />

Over the past 15 years, HOMOTOPIA has become a platform for LGBTQ+ art with a message. The<br />

UK’s longest running LGBTQ+ arts festival was borne from a passion for social justice, and provides<br />

artists with a place to explore ideas to challenge societal norms and champion inclusivity. Acclaimed<br />

performer, writer and theatre maker TRAVIS ALABANZA returns to the festival for a talk on queer<br />

identity, and another returning artist, RACHAEL YOUNG, brings her touring play Nightclubbing<br />

(where Afrofuturism and Grace Jones meet) to the Unity Theatre. London’s night czar and LGTBQ+<br />

campaigner, AMY LAMÉ, comes to Tate Liverpool for a conversation on LGBTQ+ activism and art from<br />

the 1980s to today, celebrating the final week of the Keith Haring exhibition. Homotopia runs from 1st<br />

to 10th November, with full listings details found at homotopia.net.<br />

20/20 Vision For Sound City<br />

Next summer might seem like a far off fantasy, but you can bet on<br />

some things being there for you when the Mercury starts to rise<br />

again. SOUND CITY will be in its usual slot, taking place over the<br />

early May bank holiday (1st to 3rd) in its now familiar setting of<br />

the Baltic Triangle. We’ll have to wait a while for a line-up to be<br />

served up, but we can block out the days in the calendar already.<br />

If you’re a musician and you fancy getting your name on the<br />

Sound City bill alongside what will doubtless be another stellar<br />

line-up, applications are open now via Gigmit. Weekend early<br />

bird tickets are also selling rapidly now, so swoop now if you<br />

want to guarantee your presence. soundcity.uk.com<br />

SAE Hello To My Little Friend<br />

If you’re an aspiring Erin Tonkon or Mark Ronson and fancy<br />

starting the next decade learning the cutting edge tricks of the<br />

production trade with state of the art technology SAE Institute<br />

has the course for you. Ableton, Logic X and Pro Tools are<br />

all on the agenda at the Pall Mall campus and you’ll have the<br />

chance to follow in the footsteps of SAE’s illustrious alumni<br />

the awards cabinet of whom includes Grammys, Oscars, and<br />

BAFTAs. SAE courses take a project-based hands-on ethos so<br />

students get real experience in both studio and live settings.<br />

For more information go along to the next open day at the<br />

campus on Thursday 17th <strong>October</strong>.<br />

The Cassette Played Pop Tunes<br />

Remix Wows<br />

The smaller, scrappier younger sibling of Record Store Day, INTERNATIONAL<br />

CASSETTE STORE DAY has gone from strength to strength since launching in<br />

2013. Now running in the UK, China, USA, France, Australia and Japan, CSD is<br />

more than just a celebration of a retro format – it’s a chance for artists to release<br />

amazing music in innovative ways direct to their fans. On 12th <strong>October</strong>, we’ll be<br />

joining the fun alongside STEALING SHEEP, as we team up with them to bring<br />

the remix version of their recent LP Big Wows to crowds. Keep your eyes peeled<br />

for clues to a rather nifty treasure hunt for special copies of the release, which will<br />

be dotted around some special locations in the city. Liverpool’s PSYCHO COMEDY<br />

and YAMMERER are also preparing releases for the day, and will both play at the<br />

Shacklewell Arms in London on 12th <strong>October</strong> as part of the official celebrations.<br />

cassettestoredayuk.com<br />



Future-pop auteur NATALIE MCCOOL<br />

gives us a peek inside her record<br />

bag to reveal some of the tracks and<br />

sounds that inspired her new single,<br />

Someone Nue.<br />

Ayelle<br />

Parts<br />

Self-released<br />

Alexis Teplin<br />

Californian-born artist ALEXIS TEPLIN<br />

presents her first major UK exhibition<br />

at Bluecoat in <strong>October</strong>, a real coup<br />

for the gallery’s winter programme<br />

(running from 26th <strong>October</strong> to 23rd<br />

February). Teplin works across painting,<br />

performance and film, drawing parallels<br />

between the processes of each of these<br />

art forms. This new showing at Bluecoat<br />

is a premiere of new material, which<br />

ranges from abstract painted figures to a<br />

collage of quotes and gestures in her film<br />

and performance work, taking inspiration<br />

as much from the Labour Manifesto as<br />

the films of Federico Fellini.<br />

Rock The Jazz Bar<br />

Frederiks are continuing their mission to give Liverpool’s jazzing community the good<br />

stuff with a run of gigs each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month. Hope Street<br />

Jazz present free gigs in the venue twice weekly with some of the region’s best jazz<br />

outfits. <strong>October</strong>’s listings open with local young guns BALLROOM DAN who deal in<br />

their own take on the genre classics as well as fresh originals. You’ll also find the hotly<br />

tipped GREEN TANGERINES showcasing their uniquely funky blend of soul-infused<br />

jazz on 3rd <strong>October</strong>. The excellently monikered HEAVY LEMO take a slot towards<br />

the end of the month and there’s a jazzy Halloween special to help you forget about<br />

impending Brexit doom or celebrate another sweet, sweet extension.<br />

Sweet Release(s)<br />

OMD<br />

Big Blues Up<br />

You can’t be expected to keep track of all the comings and goings<br />

among our region’s prolific musicians, which is why we do it for<br />

you, right here. PIXEY makes a welcome return with a fresh EP,<br />

Colours, which features the kind of bracing sunshine guitar pop<br />

that caught the attention first time around; TIËRNY embarks<br />

on a soulful new chapter with the single Solid Ground, the first<br />

hint of a full EP of brooding electronica to come later in <strong>2019</strong>;<br />

BONNACONS OF DOOM’s epic new opus Esus (included on an<br />

EP that also features remixes of two tracks from their 2018 selftitled<br />

album) is another reminder that the dark side of the force<br />

isn’t without its plus points; and NUTRIBE signal their imminent<br />

rise as their interplanetary hip hop is featured on the new Future<br />

Bubblers release (alongside fellow Merseysider WILROY).<br />

Painted Costumes (Alexis Teplin)<br />

The Atkinson’s annual rhythm and blues riot<br />

returns for a fifth year, with a host of blues<br />

virtuosos lighting up the Southport venue’s stage<br />

over the weekend of 11th and 12th <strong>October</strong>. The<br />

BUSHMAN BROTHERS – born and raised in Cape<br />

Town, but now residents of Brighton – head up<br />

Friday night’s offering, with support from TREVOR<br />

BABAJACK STEGER. The Bushman Brothers (Brian<br />

and Steve Kellner) specialise in hard-edged rock<br />

that veers slightly towards the indie side. Saturday<br />

sees a full day of activity, starting at 12.30pm<br />

with HIDING MAGPIES and finishing with Atlanta,<br />

Georgia swamp blues outfit DELTA MOON as<br />

headliners. For full details and tickets, head to<br />

theatkinson.co.uk.<br />

Souvenirs<br />

Pitch yourself into the impressive legacy of ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE<br />

DARK in the year of their 40th anniversary, with an exhibition that celebrates the<br />

Wirral synth pop legends’ singular image. Running between 11th <strong>October</strong> and<br />

5th January at the British Music Experience, the exhibition features artefacts and<br />

items that have played a part in OMD’s journey from two-piece experimental band<br />

with a borrowed tape recorder to a world-renowned act with 13 albums under<br />

their belt. Items on display include clothing, prints and Andy McCluskey’s binders<br />

full of ideas, photos and press cuttings, as well as some notable instruments that<br />

have played their part in the OMD story: the Vox Jaguar Organ played by Paul<br />

Humphreys on Electricity, Messages and Enola Gay, and the 1974 Fender Jazz<br />

Bass played by McCluskey on Enola Gay, Souvenir, Joan Of Arc and Tesla Girls.<br />

NuTribe<br />

I’m in love with intimate<br />

sounding vocals so this track<br />

is perfect for me. This girl is<br />

really something. The music’s<br />

like a really soulful early<br />

Grimes, and her voice is so emotive: it’s the same in all of<br />

her material, but especially so in this track. The way the<br />

beat drops in the chorus is so subtle but so very satisfying.<br />

Lots of space, too, which I’m always conscious about<br />

because it’s really important.<br />

Big Thief<br />

Not<br />

4AD<br />

This isn’t really an influence<br />

on the production or recording<br />

process, but I recently<br />

discovered this band and<br />

think they are amazing. I<br />

watched one of their NPR Tiny Desk Concerts and the<br />

chemistry between singer Adrianne Lenker and guitarist<br />

Buck Meek was so strong, and they play with such feeling.<br />

Lenker’s voice on this is something else: it tonally reminds<br />

me a bit of Ezra Furman. Can’t wait to see them live.<br />

David Bowie<br />

Ashes To Ashes<br />

RCA<br />

I was hugely inspired by the<br />

drums on this when we were<br />

recording one of my new<br />

tracks, Better. The start-stop<br />

feel is really interesting and<br />

I think makes this track. I always like to experiment with<br />

drums and finding beats that aren’t conventional. For me,<br />

it’s something that actually can drive the songwriting and<br />

the rest when you’re building the song. So this was a big<br />

reference point.<br />

St. Vincent<br />

Oh My God<br />

4AD<br />

I’m a sucker for her album,<br />

Actor. This one’s on the<br />

deluxe version of the album. I<br />

love the orchestral flourishes<br />

throughout the whole<br />

album and I think she is such an interesting, wonderful<br />

songwriter. This track for me is absolute heaven, though<br />

– vocally it’s just epic. I’m big into operatic-sounding vocal<br />

lines at the moment and so I’ve been hammering this.<br />

Kinda feels like it should be in a David Lynch version of The<br />

Wizard of Oz; I can just imagine it fading in where Dorothy<br />

falls asleep in the field of poppies. Beautiful.<br />

nataliemccool.co.uk<br />

Someone Nue is out now via Modern Sky UK. Head to<br />

bidolito.co.uk now for a full list of song choices on Natalie<br />

McCool’s Dansette.<br />


This affecting songwriter’s bathtub melancholia has<br />

connected with a swarm of online fans who’ve found<br />

solace in his lilting dreamadelica.<br />

“Strawberry Guy is close to<br />

my personality, but it’s also<br />

a form of escapism. When I<br />

sit down to write, it can be<br />

such a release for sadness”<br />

We’re overlooking the city from one its highest points. We’re in luck today; there’s a<br />

clear view as far as North Wales, maybe further. It’s bright, humid atop multiple<br />

layers. But this feels like something of a seasonal encore given the drabness of this<br />

September.<br />

The park leaning over Everton Brow is the premier vantage point for taking in Liverpool’s<br />

skyline. The array of parked cars meeting for a lunch hour escape tell you this much. It’s also a<br />

space reserved for unregulated natural beauty. In between the walkways and treelines, roughly<br />

sketched formations of wildflowers interrupt a backdrop of high-rise flats with flecks of red and<br />

yellow. However, only their last reserves remain. Summer is no longer in session. Alex Stephens,<br />

the face and feelings behind STRAWBERRY GUY, is resting his head among a wilting patch as<br />

he has his photo taken. The rolls of film capturing the scene paint a picture of dreamlike stillness.<br />

Landscape and subject are currently resting in unison. A symbiosis between two forlorn entities:<br />

the draining colour in the summer landscape; an artist whose music bathes in the slow fade of<br />

autumn.<br />

In between each click of film, Alex is much more vibrant. He’s the brightest hue on the<br />

hillside, both in character and appearance. The full force of the midday sun, intensified by the<br />

photographer’s light reflector, is bringing this out in abundance. Though, as he protests, it’s coming<br />

at a cost of his eyesight. And so the eyes remain shut, for the most part, matching the blissful aura<br />

that permeates Strawberry Guy’s keyboard-led arrangements.<br />

Back inside his flat, there’s an abundance of reference points that point to where Alex’s<br />

penchant for luscious melody derives from. Records by The Beach Boys are strewn on the couch;<br />


a strung-up picture of The Smiths is softly illuminated by a pair of searching Georgian windows.<br />

Perhaps the most telling of all, though, is a photo of Mac DeMarco hunched at the waterside, an<br />

image that accompanied his 2015 LP, Another One. These are a good entry point for the palette of<br />

Strawberry Guy, but by no means a full reflection.<br />

Beyond the impressive collection of strawberry-themed bric-a-brac dotted around his home<br />

space, there’s a particular sincerity that’s present as we take shots in his bedroom turned studio.<br />

Alex insists his keyboards are turned on as we take his picture. It’s a small detail, and one I suggest<br />

won’t draw much attention. Yet, he ensures the power light is visible, and proceeds to play a run of<br />

muted notes. The only sound present is of the keys clunking in their chord shapes. There’s no desire<br />

for pretence, only a cautious honesty – one that’s offered in comforting spoonfuls across his new<br />

EP, Taking My Time To Be.<br />

While Strawberry Guy might still be a relatively fresh creative vessel (only playing his first<br />

gig under the moniker at the turn of the year), Alex isn’t overly new to the scene. He’s had a stint<br />

in Trudy And The Romance, but, most recently, you’ll have likely seen him tending to the keys on<br />

behalf of The Orielles. However, there’s a distinct change in direction for Strawberry Guy, he insists,<br />

one that’s clearly more of a personal endeavour and cathartic experiment.<br />

“My work with Trudy and The Orielles has always been quite separate to what I was writing<br />

myself,” he starts, when asked if the two projects served as a precursor to his own music. “The<br />

Orielles make the most fun music. When we write together, because there are four of us in a room,<br />

it leads us to write quite uplifting music. It’s quite the opposite for my own.” As noted during the<br />

latter stages of today’s photoshoot, the bedroom set-up is made for one. A singular chair stands in<br />

the middle of a wealth of keyboards, synths and a guitar. It’s a space programmed to pen dateless<br />

diary entries and their dreamy soundtracks. “I write and record almost everything on my own in my<br />

bedroom. Because I’m alone, it gives me the freedom to be a lot more emotional, or at least explore<br />

a broader range,” he explains.<br />

A self-proclaimed “chord geek”, Alex has poured his classical piano training into sepia-tinted<br />

songs, rubberstamped with meandering vocals that match the expanse of his blanketing organ<br />

use. It’s heavily romanticised but not hopeless. It’s music that circles the swirling halo of Beach<br />

House, with the aforementioned melodic deftness of Mac DeMarco and The Beach Boys. Yet, he<br />

plays down the formula in which the songs are produced. “A lot of them start off as mistakes,” he<br />

confesses. “Sometimes I’ll play a chord wrong and it’ll sound interesting and I’ll take it from there.”<br />

It’s a process that helps break with the formulaic nature of classical training; a similar pattern to the<br />

poet, moulding and interchanging between patterns of metre and syllable structure.<br />

In little more than a year, play counts of over two million have been amassed on YouTube. Fans<br />

have even gone as far to edit their own videos for his music. One daintily pairs Without You with<br />

scenes and edits of Kukolka, a 1988 Russian film about a gymnast. Another, pieces What Would I<br />

Do? with clips from 1971 film Minnie And Moskowitz. Comments in each video include: “I want to<br />

play this song next to someone I care about”, “these feels” and “this makes me miss a love I never<br />

had”. “I’m crying” is a regular feature also. It’s clearly a shared space for outpourings, both in the<br />

music and the reactions it generates – irrespective of the sterilised, internet domain in which it<br />

exists.<br />

I ask Alex what it’s like to see his music mushroom in the wider world before it’s been properly<br />

unfurled in its local surroundings; whether this allows for a greater depth to explore. “The increased<br />

popularity in the last year has been a little bit strange,” he admits. “The way all this started was just<br />

through putting the songs on SoundCloud. Because I’d written and produced them, I thought they<br />

should be somewhere if people wanted to listen. I wasn’t deliberately trying to make it a thing.”<br />

By luck, the songs were picked up by the right listeners, including proactive fan video makers<br />

specialising in bathtub melancholia. But there remains an obvious draw for compelling, personable<br />

connection with the audience, another signifier of his romantic endeavour. Strawberry Guy isn’t a<br />

blissed-out veneer. Each piano stab cuts close to the body playing the notes. “The online world can<br />

be hard to resonate with. It’s weird to think that some guy who’s had his heart broken in Brazil is<br />

listening to my songs as a means of making it through.”<br />

“You know, why is it all sad people that listen to my music?” he jokes, ironically. But he’s not<br />

blind to its emotive qualities, and his own similar experiences as a listener. “Some of the best songs<br />

are uplifting but are able to incorporate a range of emotion, and I think that can be so healing.<br />

If I listen back to The Beach Boys, you sense how emotional their songs are, but they’re no less<br />

uplifting than an out and out happy song.”<br />

We’ve been speaking for a couple of hours now. The rain has come and shifted our interview<br />



“The EP is just<br />

about learning to<br />

be comfortable<br />

with myself…<br />

just summarising<br />

those feelings and<br />

changes in myself”<br />

undercover. So far, Alex is pretty upfront about how he wants<br />

his music to be perceived as an honest portrayal. He underlines<br />

that experience and occasion are the biggest influence on his<br />

subject matter – both happy and sad. Importantly, though,<br />

always uplifting. As for the name choice, it’s not a derivative<br />

of the blonde locks that frame his face. It was branded by his<br />

friends in Her’s who noticed his taste for strawberry milkshake.<br />

“It just really stuck,” he tells me, as we shift seats until the rain<br />

passes overhead. “I like to think it’s fitting for my music, anyway.<br />

Strawberries are quite sweet, and so is my music,” he adds.<br />

There’s also a frankness that Strawberry Guy isn’t a new<br />

entity, despite only being revealed to the world in the previous<br />

two years. The heart-aching happiness is something that’s<br />

been channelled from a young age, now transferred in to song<br />

form. But, as with any expression, there’s a process of journey;<br />

a change in state and feeling. “Strawberry Guy is close to my<br />

personality, but it’s also a form of escapism. When I sit down to<br />

write, it can be such a release for sadness.”<br />

“When I was a kid I was always composing. I would just<br />

come up with little melodies, never quite full songs. I was<br />

really into film scores. The first one I got into was the Coraline<br />

soundtrack. I heard that and thought that was the best thing; I<br />

even bought the CD. I then wrote my first song at 14, but I would<br />

keep it to myself.”<br />

In Alex’s press shots to date, and accompanying illustrations,<br />

there’s a recurring floral influence. In relation to his music, it<br />

appears symbolic of his progression and product. An organism<br />

that will flower, but in its own time, and only if tended to<br />

correctly. “Well, I didn’t think taking the shots in an industrial<br />

estate would be so romantic,” he adds with sarcasm. Taking My<br />

Time To Be feeds into the narrative, alluding to the steps taken<br />

to arrive at the record. Acceptance also of an environment, and<br />

one’s position in it.<br />

Since his teenage years, Alex has been crossdressing,<br />

something which he says helps him release an alter-ego. It’s<br />

something he now embraces, after initial worries and fears. It’s<br />

another offshoot that ties into the unrushed feel of the record.<br />

“Taking My Time To Be is just about learning to be comfortable<br />

with myself. I was crossdressing for years and then I finally came<br />

out to my mum about it when I was 18. The album title focuses<br />


on worrying whether I’ll be loved, by anyone. I shouldn’t, it’s<br />

<strong>2019</strong>, isn’t it? But that captures the feeling I had growing up,<br />

unsure if people would understand why I was doing it. I’m a<br />

hopeless romantic. There’s always a dominant feeling of wanting<br />

to be loved. That’s what the EP is about really, just summarising<br />

those feelings and changes in myself. Being comfortable being<br />

myself. Generally not caring so much.”<br />

The more we talk, the more the ease and lack of worry seeps<br />

in. You can sense there’s been a full acceptance of self in terms<br />

of former anxieties. Everything else on the exterior is dealt with<br />

in his musical confession. He’s clear on not wanting to overtly<br />

draw the crossdressing into his music. It bears no explicit relation<br />

to feel or its sonic character. It’s merely another form of release;<br />

a second layer of skin. And with every song he arguably sheds a<br />

new layer of himself as Alex, and adorns another as Strawberry<br />

Guy. As unadorned entities, the wig and clothes choices don’t<br />

arrange the glistening synths and sticky drums that you hear. “A<br />

lot of the music is centred on escape. Escape from feelings. I think<br />

there are a lot of internal things that were going on when I was<br />

growing up. You know, I’d be going into a shop to buy a dress.<br />

It was terrifying,” he explains, touching on how crossdressing<br />

is a medium for comfort, not an overarching theme for him as<br />

an artist. “Being a heterosexual guy who enjoys crossdressing<br />

brings a lot of questions. It’s something that I’ve wanted to write<br />

about, but not something I’m actively looking to make a part of<br />

anything. I’d never want to get on stage in a dress. When I dress<br />

up, it’s a form of escapism. And because it isn’t me, I don’t really<br />

want to take that personality too close to the music.”<br />

Where the inward comfort has in fact found a way into<br />

the music is the efficiency. It seems easier than ever for Alex<br />

to be able to write and compose. Freer in self-restriction and<br />

confidence. “It’s something that I feel I have to do. It’s like a<br />

compulsion, something I have to release from myself,” he says,<br />

with his face lost in thought. “Sometimes I just have to run home<br />

and start writing on the keyboard when I have an idea in my<br />

head.” Even now, as he tells me this, there’s a twitchiness as<br />

though the train of thought is dreaming up ideas to be worked on<br />

in his bedroom studio.<br />

It’s this very bedroom studio plays a huge part in his freedom,<br />

his escape. The imaginary world abundant with an emotive<br />

oxygen. As he says himself, “when you’re in a studio, time is<br />

money,” and there’s undoubtedly added pressure when expected<br />

to be creative on a restricted timescale. Why leave a realm<br />

entirely of your own design? “In my room, I can record whenever<br />

I want. I can just leave a song, come back to it in a month, maybe<br />

two months, even a year.” The floral aspect of his music and its<br />

iconography seeps in again; the timely flowering of the EP and<br />

the growing impression of himself as something that should<br />

now be celebrated internally. Time is of the essence, but not<br />

in shortage. For Strawberry Guy, there’s no knowing when his<br />

music is going to be. It’s growing, changing and feeling, chord by<br />

chord, day by day. !<br />

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder<br />

Photography: Kate Davies / @k.dvi<br />

soundcloud.com/strawberryguy<br />

Strawberry Guy’s debut EP, Taking My Time To Be, is out on 27th<br />

September via Melodic Records.<br />





For the last four years, Comics Youth, a Liverpool City Region social enterprise, has been helping young<br />

people write their own stories, with the next chapter focusing on the lives of the marginalised.<br />

Our youth is defined by flux and change. They’re<br />

dramatic. They shape the adults we become. There<br />

is no end of stories about young people; it’s a time of<br />

everyone’s life that has a lot of juice for storytelling.<br />

But it’s rare that those stories are told by people currently in the<br />

weeds of their youth. And it’s even rarer that stories about young<br />

people come from places other than white, and straight, and<br />

wealthy.<br />

This rarity comes from the kind of people who are involved<br />

in telling stories, both on the business and creative sides. The<br />

British publishing industry, for example, is overwhelmingly white,<br />

wealthy and southern. A comprehensive survey of the industry<br />

from the start of this year revealed that a majority of the people<br />

in publishing come from the South East, London or the East of<br />

England, while just under five per cent come from the North<br />

West. Similarly, the same survey showed that just 11.6 per cent<br />

of the industry is BAME. Class is also a big divide: an analysis<br />

of the 2014 Labour Force Survey showed that just 12 per cent<br />

of people in the publishing industry come from working-class<br />

backgrounds.<br />

This creates a default type of person in stories – a default<br />

that doesn’t reflect the reality of people’s lived experiences, a<br />

default that leaves people out. Resisting that default is necessary<br />

in the fight for liberating marginalised groups. It’s a default that<br />

comes from who has access to resources, so fighting it means<br />

giving resources to marginalised people to tell and mediate their<br />

own stories.<br />

This is where something like COMICS YOUTH comes in.<br />

The four-year-old charity, founded in response to cuts to youth<br />

services, works through a variety of programmes to give young<br />

people from marginalised communities a safe space for creative<br />

exploration and expression. Working across BAME, LGBT,<br />

low income and disabled communities, they aim to create a<br />

community of solidarity, openness and acceptance based around<br />

creating and reading comics.<br />

I went to their fourth floor space on Lord Street in the<br />

heart of the city to chat about Comic Youth’s latest initiative,<br />

MARGINAL, a publisher led by under 25s that pulls together<br />

all elements of what they have been doing with, in their words,<br />

the goal of changing “the landscape of UK culture”. Their space<br />

is open and loving, with room for working on art, reading from<br />

their gorgeous library of comics, zines and graphic novels, or<br />

just playing on the Switch and hanging out. Through Marginal,<br />

20 eight to 25 year olds will create and release their own<br />

stories. “It’s about giving visibility to young people who don’t<br />

have a platform,” Amy Roberts, Comics Youth’s marketing and<br />

communications officer, tells me. “Helping young people to feel<br />

recognised and a part of a community, when so often they’re<br />

being pushed out and being told their opinions don’t matter, their<br />

identities don’t matter, that whatever challenges they’ve been<br />

through aren’t valid.”<br />

Marginal is a very open programme, possibly taking Comics<br />

Youth away from strictly dealing with sequential art. “We have<br />

found that quite a few of our young people are interested in<br />

exploring avenues of poetry or fiction or memoir that aren’t just<br />

artwork based or word based,” Amy adds. “We’re just gonna<br />

see where their ideas take them and support them in fulfilling<br />

that.” The idea is that the young people involved know what their<br />

stories are, and the best ways to tell them. Marginal, and Comics<br />

Youth more broadly, sits just as a way to facilitate and resource<br />

their goals.<br />

The fluid, member-led direction of the project means that<br />

these young people can find solidarity in shared experiences:<br />

“They’re able to lead with those experiences, help out and give<br />

advice,” confirms Amy. This is a key part of Comics Youth’s ethos,<br />

across the wide eight to 25 age range. “It’s not just going to<br />

somewhere and the people that run the space be involved with<br />

you and support you, but also having peers that are a little bit<br />

older and also able to take you under their wing, show you that it<br />

gets better, and keep going.”<br />

Teenage years can be quite<br />

isolating, which is perhaps<br />

exacerbated by the constant<br />

presence of the internet in all of our<br />

lives. We’re always being looked<br />

at, scrutinised. Amy comments that<br />

“everything’s become very insular,<br />

but very global, and that can be so<br />

overwhelming for young people,<br />

especially if you do have mental<br />

health issues like so many young<br />

people do, like so many of us do.<br />

Technology can be so overwhelming”.<br />

But, through this communal act of<br />

creation, young people can explore<br />

their identities in a safe space, away<br />

from the gaze and judgement of online spaces. In this, it becomes<br />

vital that what they create is physical. “To take those narratives<br />

away from digital spaces, by handing out a limited-run zine in a<br />

community that you feel a part of, is massive,” says Amy. “That’s<br />

the thing when you publish physical media, you don’t have to<br />

look at comments, you don’t have to be following hashtags to see<br />

backlash, or people having a go, it can just be enjoyed on its own<br />

terms.”<br />

This puts Comics Youth, and Marginal, in a punk tradition of<br />

people on the edges doing it themselves, making their own art,<br />

telling their own stories, outside of the mediation of institutions.<br />

A tradition that birthed the kind of zines they still make at Comics<br />

Youth, the kind of zines that led to these very pages.<br />

Amy sees this as a natural socio-political cycle. “I think at the<br />

moment we’ve gone back to a scene that you saw growing in the<br />

late 70s and 80s, where, similar to right now, the economy and<br />

the government was failing marginalised people and marginalised<br />

voices. During that time, a lot of comics and zine culture started<br />

coming into fruition, because people got sick of not being heard<br />

and not having their stories told. We’re coming back around to<br />

this idea.” But this is only meaningful if it remains accessible,<br />

affordable and grassroots based. Things that may have started<br />

as a part of a DIY culture have, over the years, shifted into more<br />

corporate, branded entities. “It isn’t just zines, it’s [evident in] the<br />

“We want to connect<br />

communities and reach<br />

out to people who<br />

don’t see themselves<br />

in a lot of stories”<br />

whole DIY culture, like Thrasher. Maybe skateboarding wasn’t<br />

the most inclusive of scenes, but it stood for something, and it<br />

was a community where a lot of young men – who were maybe<br />

disadvantaged – came together and created a network and<br />

community to support one another, during a time where a lot of<br />

men experienced mental health hardships. But then you see how<br />

that’s become so corporate, it’s become a brand, and it’s what<br />

girls on Instagram use to get more likes, or whatever.”<br />

This dilution of DIY culture has meant that while the style<br />

and signifiers of the scene have become mainstream, the actual<br />

creation of new work has become more insular and gatekept,<br />

mirroring the mainstream publishing culture that too often<br />

excludes new voices. Commenting on the scene as it is in London<br />

(“where it’s £10 for a booklet from Goldsmiths”), Amy points out<br />

that “they’re beautiful but no one can<br />

afford them”.<br />

Liverpool isn’t London, though,<br />

and our city has a history of standing<br />

up for communities that have been<br />

forgotten by the powerful. “I think<br />

we have a real culture for making<br />

our own shit, being punk rock and<br />

rebellious,” asserts Amy. “I think it<br />

does come from the music scenes<br />

we have, and the arts scenes,<br />

where everything is very DIY,<br />

because people don’t have the same<br />

resources; you have to make your<br />

own scene.” It makes Liverpool a<br />

perfect place to begin an injection<br />

of new energy, new voices and<br />

new authenticity into the DIY zine space. Amy adds that “the<br />

scene definitely needs a fresh injection of voices, which is kind<br />

of what we want Marginal to be: to encourage people to have<br />

the confidence, as well as the skills, to feel like they deserve to<br />

be writing, that their stories are interesting and their creativity is<br />

wonderful”.<br />

While Comics Youth currently gives space and resources for<br />

young people’s expression, they’re ambitious and always on the<br />

lookout for new directions to expand and collaborate. “We believe<br />

that LGBT young people deserve a voice, and BAME young<br />

people deserve a voice, that the young shouldn’t be marginalised<br />

and should be given a platform. That’s why we’re just pushing for<br />

bigger and better. We want to make it accessible, affordable, and<br />

we want to connect communities and reach out to people who<br />

haven’t been heard and don’t see themselves in a lot of stories.”<br />

Their ambition doesn’t cloud their purpose; they are only driven<br />

by the goal of facilitating accessible, radical expression by young<br />

people with stories to tell but whose voices are left unheard. !<br />

Words: Edward Haynes / @teddyhaynes<br />

For more information on Comics Youth membership and further<br />

involvement, visit comicsyouth.co.uk.<br />


Image: Liv Free, Crow's Eye Productions<br />

25 <strong>October</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

to 1 March 2020<br />

Members go free<br />

Buy tickets online<br />



MARVIN<br />

POWELL<br />

Classic Americana songwriting is baked into the soul of this Mersey wanderer, which results in a satisfying<br />

payoff for an album that’s been more than three years in the making.<br />

Classic songwriting has this lingering, timeless quality to it, as though it’s always existed;<br />

built on melodies that chime with something deep in your soul, and lyrics that feel so<br />

disarmingly simple and direct that it’s a marvel that they haven’t been uttered before.<br />

As a student of classic songwriting, MARVIN POWELL knows this well. A selftaught<br />

guitarist and an impulsive, organic songwriter, he filters his flighty thoughts of nature, travel<br />

and discovery through a classic strain of Americana that feels as natural as anything that’s gone<br />

before.<br />

Since emerging onto the scene in 2015 with the Nick Drake-like Buried, Powell has been<br />

chasing that elusive unicorn that is the lot of all songwriters – the album. That it’s taken Powell and<br />

his label, Skeleton Key Records, over three years to piece together a record that does justice to the<br />

songs, tells you as much about the desire to get it right as it does about the nature of the tinkering<br />

songwriter. What started out as a full band has since been pared back to a trio, with Powell on<br />

acoustic guitar, Matt Gray on 12-string guitar and Fiona Skelly on djembe.<br />

Dust Of The Day is the product of their tinkering, an LP that has a deft feel for the shifting of<br />

the seasons that makes it ideally suited to this Indian summer that we’re having. As with any classic<br />

songwriter, Powell knows how to take you on a journey, leading you through the spider’s web of<br />

stories and ideas that are, somehow, all linked together.<br />

Upon the long-awaited release of the album, we caught up with Marvin Powell to find out more<br />

about the agonising journey from nervous open mic songwriter to Dust Of The Day. Here, he tells<br />

us of the journey his own album has been on, and what he has learnt<br />

from it.<br />

“The album was made over a period of about a year, starting back<br />

in 2016. It started off as a full band, with drums and bass; we were<br />

throwing the kitchen sink at it trying to see what sound we could get.<br />

Then James Skelly suggested we take all the extra stuff off and do it<br />

acoustically, so that delayed everything a bit. Buried and Samsara still<br />

have drums and additional bits on, but the other tunes haven’t. It was<br />

just acoustic, 12-string and a bit of percussion. They’re really natural –<br />

and it works, the music works.<br />

“Because I’m always writing songs, the order started moving around<br />

as we took songs out and added new ones in. And that all had to fit as<br />

one whole, which took a little bit longer. It can be frustrating working like<br />

that. It sounds dead clichéd, that you have the angst as an artist. But I<br />

just wanted to put it out.<br />

“I’ve gigged this material for years – I mean, Buried originally came<br />

out in 2015. It got radio play straight away, then I did another tune – but<br />

then things got a bit stagnant and flat. Some of the tunes on the record<br />

I wrote back in 2009. Travelling On and Above The Portuguese Café are<br />

from 2010; Wind Before The Train is from 2011; and Dust Of The Day is from 2009. They were the<br />

songs I was gigging with when I started playing the open mic nights around town.<br />

“Opulent Heart is one of the newer songs on there, only about two years old. Samsara is a<br />

good one to play live, and Move Through Me. But Buried sets the tone for the whole album – it<br />

opens with this drone that blends into the opening chords on the 12-string. That’s a Raagini Digital<br />

Eelctronic Tanpura machine that we nicked off The Coral!<br />

“The only thing that did my head in was that I was constantly writing tunes, so my style was<br />

changing. I was getting better as a songwriter, so I wanted to play them rather than the older, more<br />

well-known stuff. I’ve already written nine songs for the next album! That’s why I’m so glad this<br />

album is finally out. I wouldn’t say I’m over this music – I still really like it, and I hope other people do<br />

too – but you can’t help moving on as an artist, keeping things fresh. That’s just the flow.<br />

“The songs always change; I play them differently every time. It depends on the gig atmosphere<br />

and the band. At first I had double bass and drums and guitars… I think I prefer it now, stripped<br />

back, compared to all that. It just fits more with the vibe that the tunes should have. One day I<br />

wouldn’t mind having the drums and bass back again, but for now I’m happy doing it more sparse.<br />

“I like songwriting, writing tunes – that’s the pure version of me. I do like gigging, but I get dead<br />

nervous, and that can take over. When I know I’ve made 20 mistakes in a gig, I can beat myself up<br />

about it. I’m alright in the studio until that red light comes on and I have to play to a click. When<br />

I’m playing at home, just messing about writing tunes, it feels really fluid; but when you get to the<br />

studio it feels like work, so I tense up with the pressure. The work aspect does take the shine off<br />

things a bit. But you’ve got to do it if you want to make a record – that’s the compromise. It can’t<br />

sound like you’ve done it in your bedroom, it has to sound professional. At least with my music,<br />

anyway.<br />

“I don’t write to anything in particular – I just write because I have to. I don’t know what it is<br />

that drives me, but I know that my head is full of loads of mad shit, so it’s a good way of getting it<br />

out of my system! I’ve got books full of lyrics and bits of notes, but I don’t sit down to write song<br />

“I write because<br />

I have to. I don’t<br />

know what it is that<br />

drives me… it just<br />

kind of happens”<br />

structures – it just kind of happens. It’s a bit organic, just capturing that magic when it comes. I can’t<br />

imagine not doing that because that’s always been the way I’ve done things, it’s my natural release.<br />

I don’t even know if my music means anything, to be honest, it just is what it is.<br />

“My music is a lot about feelings. I don’t always set out to write a specific tune, a lot of the time<br />

it just comes to me. Like Buried and Samsara – where did they come from? But Wind Before The<br />

Train is really to the point: it’s about going on a day out, having a bit of trouble, going away to sort it<br />

out then coming back and everything was OK. Sometimes it surprises me what comes out, because<br />

of where it’s come from. You have to be in this… magic space. I do think it’s very me, though: only<br />

I could write those tunes. Like, when you hear a Nick Drake or a Joni Mitchell record and you think<br />

that only they could have produced those songs, it’s the same thing. Even though I don’t know<br />

where half of it has come from!<br />

“This album is just the start for me, though. I’ll always, always keep writing – it’s just what I<br />

know. There were loads of tunes that didn’t make this album that ended up on EPs, which I think<br />

makes for a strong album. There were songs written that I’d have liked to have been on there – like<br />

Enigma Girl – but when we broke it down and made it acoustic, I think the songs that are on there<br />

now fit quite well together.<br />

“The idea is to keep building this world and mood around my music, from album to album. It’d<br />

be nice to change and mix it up a little bit in the future – like maybe try a bit of electric guitar. It’s<br />

something that I’ve always said I wouldn’t do, but it might be nice to try one day. Maybe even some<br />

mad synth tunes!<br />

“I wouldn’t even say that what I do is folk music, but other people<br />

often describe it like that. Probably just down to the acoustic guitar.<br />

It’s just music, isn’t it? It’s good to keep changing – that’s what I like in<br />

other artists. It shows tenacity. Like Dylan when he went electric, or<br />

Joni Mitchell when she made all those jazz albums. They’re just staying<br />

true to themselves, which is all you can do. The stuff I’m working on<br />

now, for what might be the second record, is very much in the same<br />

acoustic vein. But if I’m lucky enough to keep making records, I’d like to<br />

do something a bit different – a bit mad! – after that. You’re always on a<br />

learning curve as a songwriter, so things have to develop.<br />

“Because I know so many musicians, I love listening to all their stuff,<br />

so I don’t tend to listen to loads and loads of new music. Maybe Aldous<br />

Harding – The Barrel is a serious tune. I like a bit of Courtney Marie<br />

Andrews, too. Obviously I love all the classic stuff: Neil Young, Dylan,<br />

Joni Michell, James Taylor and Nick Drake. Those songwriters of that<br />

era who set the bar for all of us now. Those five people are the root of<br />

what’s going on now, and you still can’t really look past them.<br />

“I love lyrics, that’s what I get from music. You can be the best<br />

guitarists and musicians and have an amazing stage presence, but when<br />

you open your mouth and nothing meaningful comes out… it’s such a waste.<br />

“I started playing guitar when I was 15. I was lucky because I worked at Urban Coffee, on<br />

Smithdown Road, and I got to watch all the acts who’d come in for the open mic night on a<br />

Wednesday. I learned guitar by watching people play. Then I used to get up myself, and it all<br />

started from there. They’re the kind of places where you get the bug – even though I was always<br />

really nervous about playing! I still get nervous now about playing live. The more gigs you play, the<br />

more comfortable you feel – but it doesn’t necessarily get easier.<br />

“There have been loads of times where I’ve felt like I don’t wanna do it any more. It can be<br />

frustrating. But I’ve always had loads of support. I got a message from someone on Instagram the<br />

other day, saying, ‘Your music spurs me on’. That’s the reason why you keep doing it. If you can<br />

make one person say, ‘Ah, your tunes really made me feel something,’ then it’s worthwhile. I was<br />

buzzing when I read that, it’s such a nice thing for someone to say. That’s the plus side to it that<br />

balances out against the nerves.<br />

“Putting this album out is a bit of a release. I wouldn’t say it’s, like, one chapter closing and<br />

another one opening. It’s out, it’s done, I can sleep now! I can move on to the next one now, and<br />

focus on writing more tunes. That’s a nice thing to have as a cycle, I’m quite looking forward to that,<br />

if I’m lucky enough to be able to keep on doing it. I’m always writing songs – and for as long as<br />

people wanna hear what I’ve got, I’ll keep doing it.” !<br />

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp<br />

Photography: Anna Benson and Ian Skelly<br />

soundcloud.com/marvinpowellofficial<br />

Dust Of The Day is out now via Skeleton Key Records. Marvin Powell plays Leaf on 27th<br />

September.<br />



My friend, Alireza Nassimi was a swan, a black swan.<br />

He lived a hermitic life and died a death of absolute<br />

loneliness. Alireza and I were in an unrequited love<br />

for Shiraz, that behemoth Narcissus. Shiraz did<br />

not like its admirers, its poets. It was a Jerusalem who stoned<br />

its messengers. So, we pined away until all that remained of us<br />

were our voices, our poems. Alireza went west, and I went to the<br />

West. He went to Qalat,<br />

a village near Shiraz,<br />

and in a sleety night<br />

overdosed, after he gave<br />

his manuscripts to fire.<br />

For seven years<br />

after my friend’s death<br />

in a ravine in Qalat, a<br />

village near Shiraz, my<br />

throat was occluded<br />

with a morsel of grief,<br />

but all my efforts to<br />

make him a garland<br />

with my words were<br />

doomed to failure. My<br />

overpowering grief was<br />

intermingled with a<br />

fear that what I would<br />

produce might well be<br />

prone to become, in Tennyson’s words, a “sad mechanic exercise<br />

in measured language” (In Memoriam).<br />

My migration to England took place some six years after<br />

Alireza’s translation into the netherworld. Maybe I was like H.<br />

D.’s Helen, who “need[ed] peace and<br />

time to reconstruct the legend” (Helen in<br />

Egypt). I finally found the peace, time, and<br />

breath I needed, in Liverpool, where my<br />

prenatal silence of travelling in the dark of<br />

a shipping container ended, and I opened<br />

my eyes to a different world.<br />

In September 2018, a wooden wall<br />

which separates a construction site from<br />

a pavement at Great George Street in<br />

Liverpool was covered with a long list of<br />

34,361 documented deaths of asylum<br />

seekers, refugees and migrants who had<br />

lost their lives within or on the borders of<br />

Europe since 1993 “due to the restrictive<br />

policies of ‘Fortress Europe’” I found<br />

myself several times standing in front of<br />

that list of many fates, gawping at the<br />

names, ages, regions of origin and causes<br />

of deaths. The list was a frame containing<br />

a myriad of stories; stories of us,<br />

stowaways and steerage passengers of<br />

the world. It was a memorial to poverty,<br />

as opposed to “a memorial to money”<br />

which is what Robert Hampson calls St<br />

George’s Hall in Seaport.<br />

It did not take someone more than<br />

a week to come and daub ‘INVADERS<br />

NOT REFUGEES!’ on the list. I<br />

could not thank the unknown<br />

hatemonger enough, for they<br />

made me rethink a key concept in<br />

an epiphanous moment. I loosely<br />

translated the three English words<br />

in my mind and came up with a<br />

slogan in Persian: “MOHAJEM<br />

NA MOHAJER!”. I told myself, “let<br />

me see things through their eyes.<br />

They are the ghost defenders of<br />

the city. Their monolithicity is at<br />

stake. What if I, a man of colour,<br />

a writer of scripts that look like<br />

scribbles in their eyes, am an<br />

invader in effect?” that epiphany<br />

broke a seal, and I could see my<br />

work’s ethos in a new light.<br />

The two main speakers of<br />

Nassim’s Testament, Nassim and<br />

Vahid, abandon their village and<br />

the ruined poetry they once built<br />

on its riverbank, in search of a<br />

Kingdom. That Kingdom, we soon<br />

find out, is the United Kingdom.<br />

Unlike the heroes of the traditional<br />

epic, who demonise the Others,<br />

Nassim and Vahid are able to see themselves as demons through<br />

the eyes of the Others. This is how their flesh is translated at the<br />

very outset of their entrance by their hosts.<br />

Vahid has a Persian poem named The Letters, about the<br />

migration of Persian scripts. In that short poem, the calligraphed<br />

scripts desert a manuscript, going to the blank banks of “the<br />

rivers flowing from the left to the right”, and reside there on the<br />

margins forever. Persian is written from the right to the left. Vahid<br />

sees that poem as an autobiography of himself and Nassim. They<br />

migrated to the UK clandestinely, in fear for their lives. They spent<br />

days and nights in shipping containers to get to somewhere safe.<br />

Once in the UK, they were sent to Liverpool, the city wherein<br />

they had to wait for their turn on the day of judgment, to be<br />

interviewed by UKBA (UK Border Agency).<br />

It was in an evening when Nassim and Vahid arrived at<br />

Liverpool. There was nothing sinister in the air. Year 2013 was<br />

before the time when one needed to answer a sphinx’s riddle<br />

correctly in order to be let into a city. They were unaware,<br />

nonetheless, that modern cities also have their own sphinxes,<br />

planted not necessarily at their entrances, but in every corner of<br />

them – on the thresholds of every micro-territory. They realised<br />

that only after they encountered the frowning Liver birds. What<br />

did that emblem mean? It was a<br />

scowling heron-like bird holding three leaves with its beak.<br />

A ritual was needed to appease the bird’s wrath: a sacrifice,<br />

or an offering was obliged to the Liver bird. Vahid and Nassim<br />

were Iranian poets; before then, they had composed poetry only<br />

from the right to the left, and not the other way around; they<br />

were disarmed now, and empty-handed. They knew that only<br />

through writing a tribute to the city, could they cajole the bird into<br />

having them in its nest. A poem written and read aloud only in<br />

Persian would probably infuriate the bird. Therefore, Vahid and<br />

Nassim’s poem had to be forced out of its natal language in order<br />

to be accepted as an offering.<br />

On Alireza Nassimi’s burial day, ISNA, The Iranian Students<br />

News Agency, published a lie that is the established account of<br />

his death to the day. As long as I was in Shiraz after that – that is,<br />

for six years – I conformed with the misleading narrative with my<br />

smothering silence. But, eventually, there came a time to write a<br />

palinode, a rebuttal.<br />

The lie to I was going to respond to even quoted another one<br />

of Nassimi’s friends to prove its own forged authenticity: “I will<br />

say very clearly what the cause of Alireza Nassimi’s death was.<br />

Nassimi, who spent his nights with the homeless to write a little<br />

of their reality, was sad because of the coldness we had caused<br />

him. He had gone to take refuge in nature’s arms. He went to<br />

Qalat to visit his poet friend, Vahid Davar. It was on his way to<br />

Davar’s house that he slipped on the snow, [fainted] and froze”.<br />

That account, with its melodramatic transparency, banalised the<br />

untranslatable opacity of my<br />

friend’s death. He had phoned<br />

“I finally found the peace,<br />

time, and breath I needed,<br />

in Liverpool, where<br />

my prenatal silence of<br />

travelling in the dark<br />

of a shipping container<br />

ended, and I opened my<br />

eyes to a different world”<br />

NASSIM’S<br />


Iranian poet Vahid Davar considers the inherent<br />

sacrifice that migration demands, after living<br />

in Liverpool for a period after fleeing Qalat, a<br />

town near Shiraz. The following extracts are<br />

taken from his dissertation, which discusses<br />

whether a new language can be a resurrection.<br />

me from a pay phone a few hours<br />

before he went to a ravine in<br />

close vicinity of where I used to<br />

live, unbeknownst to me. He had<br />

told his siblings he was going<br />

to my place. And it was a sleety<br />

night.<br />

Mehdi Hamidi’s allegorical<br />

ghazal, the Beautiful Swan, in<br />

its depiction of the death of the<br />

swan, shows how the bird seeks<br />

seclusion, sits on a wave and<br />

goes to a distant corner to sing<br />

until she dies among her own<br />

songs. My ghazal-writer friend<br />

sang his swan song when he was<br />

in the 33rd year of his life. They<br />

say when a scorpion is encircled<br />

within a ring of fire, it stings itself. Beckoned by the eidolon of<br />

his mother, I suppose, who was stabbed in her youth by Alireza’s<br />

father, consumed by addiction and poverty, that “lost angel of a<br />

ruined Paradise” stung himself, when self-murder seemed to be<br />

his last resort.<br />

I was a frail cygnet when I<br />

stepped out of the dark with six other<br />

heterogeneous litters of the same<br />

womb, the same shipping container. I<br />

was too frail to stand in dole queues; I<br />

was too frail to endure the Liver bird’s<br />

frowning stare; I was not strong enough<br />

to see ‘NO REFUGEES’ daubed by the<br />

night host on Jamaica Street’s walls. I<br />

was in dire need of Nassim, because<br />

“one swan and one cygnet / were<br />

stronger than all the host / assembled<br />

upon the slopes”.<br />

Nassim and Vahid could have<br />

been two more names on the list of the<br />

documented deaths. There were names<br />

on the list as unspecified as “N.N.” and<br />

regions of origin as unsure as “Somalia,<br />

Iran”. The descriptions were as sharp as<br />

“stowaway, found frozen in landing gear<br />

of airplane in Brussels” and “drowned<br />

after boat capsized, found on beach<br />

near Kenitra”. The list was an artwork by<br />

Banu Cennetoğlu, presented as part of<br />

Liverpool Biennial 2018. I do not know<br />

if Cennetoğlu has ever faced ethical<br />

questions concerning her cenotaph,<br />

since in her craftless work, art<br />

is reduced to naked concept.<br />

It is not only modern<br />

elegists who question elegising<br />

ethically. Jahan Ramazani<br />

highlights Hardy’s berating<br />

“himself for fashioning<br />

numerous poems out of<br />

his wife’s death”, Owen’s<br />

uneasiness “about profiting<br />

artistically from carnage on the<br />

battlefield”, and Hill’s worry<br />

“that his elegiac poetry, like<br />

other artistic, commercial, and<br />

historical memorials, helps<br />

to make their [the victims of<br />

Nazi genocide’s] long death<br />

documented and safe” – “the<br />

transfiguration of the dead<br />

into consolatory art”. Masud<br />

Sa’d Salman, the medieval<br />

Persian prisoner poet, after his<br />

friend’s death briefly wrote:<br />

“On Mohammad Alavi’s death<br />

/ I wanted to breathe a couple<br />

of poems out || Methinks,<br />

however, that in the world<br />

/ It is vulgar of one to write a poem henceforth” (my verbatim<br />

translation).<br />

Neither Masud Sa’d’s anti-elegy nor its Western counterparts<br />

can make me feel ashamed for having composed an elegiac epic.<br />

Had I not written Nassim’s Testament, all that would remain<br />

about Alireza’s demise would probably be a number of watery<br />

posts in the blogosphere, a lie on ISNA, and even worse, a<br />

manipulative report on an anti-regime website which attributes<br />

his mysterious death to agents of the regime. News headlines<br />

mask bodies with scraps. They read: “Two cars badly damaged as<br />

skip truck overturns near Walsall Academy” or “Russian warplane<br />

shot down by rebels in Syria”. It is as if the press laments the<br />

destruction of vehicles. Maybe this provides adequate grounds<br />

for elegising. !<br />

Words and Illustrations: Vahid Davar<br />


Box office:<br />

theatkinson.co.uk<br />

01704 533 333<br />

(Booking fees apply)<br />

The Atkinson<br />

Lord Street<br />

Southport<br />

PR8 1DB<br />

Westwood<br />

21 Sep <strong>2019</strong> – 28 Mar 2020<br />

Free entry<br />

—<br />

Mon – Sat<br />

10am – 4pm<br />

A thought provoking exhibition about The Grand<br />

Dame of fashion, Vivienne Westwood.


Matt Hogarth of Eggy Records reflects on a cultural exchange<br />

that saw a bit of Liverpool transplanted to Russia and a creative<br />

community on the banks of the Volga.<br />

If you told me last year that I would have accompanied three<br />

bands for a state-sponsored trip to Russia, I would’ve said<br />

that you were deluded. For almost two years I had been<br />

trying to convince my previous girlfriend to go to Moscow<br />

for a week of Communist history, ogling brutalist architecture<br />

and visiting the resting place of Lenin, arguing how this was<br />

time better spent than on a beach holiday. This was, somewhat<br />

unsurprisingly, to no avail. So when I got a call out of the blue<br />

from Kevin McManus (one of Liverpool’s soundest people and<br />

mastermind of the Capital of Culture bid back in 2008) asking<br />

if I wanted to pick some bands from my label, Eggy Records, to<br />

go and play in Russia, I bit his hand off.<br />

The thought of some of Eggy’s finest left unsupervised in<br />

Russia was enough to fill my heart with dread – which is why<br />

my presence as chaperone was justified. Having managed to<br />

stow away with EYESORE & THE JINX, STORES (formed from<br />

the ashes of Jo Mary and Hannah & The Wick Effect) and friend<br />

of the eggs, ALI HORN, I’m soon lost in a swirl of forms and<br />

passport details. The trip has been organised under the banner<br />

of the UNESCO Creative Cities network. As a UNESCO City of<br />

Music, Liverpool is committed to helping expand the reach of<br />

the city’s musical identity around the world, showing that there’s<br />

far more to it than The Beatles et al. While in Russia, the bands<br />

will perform at two events in different cities – one of them in<br />

Ulyanovsk, a UNESCO City of Literature – as representatives of<br />

Liverpool’s current music scene.<br />

The run up to the trip feels like a surreal fever dream. Russia<br />

could perhaps be seen as one of the few enigmatic frontiers<br />

in Europe. A vast landmass so large it’s home to almost 200<br />

nationalities and races, both native and from bordering countries.<br />

The Iron Curtain may have fallen over 30 years ago but its<br />

shadow still hangs heavy, with a large number of westerners<br />

not really knowing what Russia is actually like. From the<br />

Novichok attacks, which were allegedly the work of Russian<br />

secret services, to a regressive attitude towards LGBTQ+, British<br />

perceptions of the country are still mixed.<br />

The mood in the group is a little giddy. As our Aeroflot flight<br />

touches down in Moscow, the hammer and sickle badges on the<br />

stewards’ brilliant red blazers flicker golden in the light. We are<br />

met at the airport by Alex, without whom we would probably<br />

still be there today, lost among commemorative Vladimir Putin<br />

plates and surviving on a diet harvested exclusively from vending<br />

machines. “You all have such beautiful names,” Alex says once<br />

we’ve introduced ourselves to him. “Samuel Paul Warren: it’s<br />

perhaps the most beautiful name I’ve heard.”<br />

Having educated Alex on how Liverpool is far better<br />


than Manchester (using the analogy of Moscow versus Saint<br />

Petersburg) we settle down for the night before we fly to our final<br />

destination: Ulyanovsk. Most famously known as the birthplace<br />

of Lenin, it’s another hour and a half away on a plane and not a<br />

place that tourists visit too often. We arrive in the city, which sits<br />

on the banks of the Volga river, and are met by the friendly face<br />

of our host Svetlana (who will become known more affectionately<br />

as Svetti for most of the trip).<br />

The culture shock doesn’t immediately hit until we tuck in<br />

to what we think is a trifle (it turns out to be a herring salad<br />

with beetroot and creamed potatoes), but Svetlana brings us<br />

firmly back to ground. A quick walk down the road and we’re<br />

plunged straight into jam sessions with local musicians. Despite<br />

our initial awkward British stiffness, barriers are quickly broken<br />

down as songs twist wildly from Marilyn Manson’s version of<br />

Sweet Dreams through to Sweet Jane. Later, after a bottle of gin<br />

poured between five glasses of some red version of 7 Up has<br />

firmly broken down any remaining<br />

barriers, we’re sat in front of an<br />

English-speaking class, smoking<br />

apple and blackcurrant ciggies and<br />

feeling slightly in the spotlight.<br />

Most of the people here haven’t<br />

heard someone with a British<br />

accent in the flesh before, let alone<br />

encountered the kind of North<br />

Liverpool drawl that is Josh from<br />

Eyesore’s stock in trade. It’s our<br />

first real chance to chat properly<br />

with groups of young Russians,<br />

and conversation soon turns to<br />

the semantic differences between<br />

Russian and English swearing.<br />

The rest of the night is a lilting haze of booze, conversation and<br />

serenading cats. Even a rather tense 3am street fight can’t quell<br />

the mood.<br />

After a breakfast of spicy sausages and cheese, we head<br />

out to see the city and visit a few museums. The 19th Century<br />

home of famous novelist Goncharov is juxtaposed with the<br />

brutalist architecture we find ourselves immersed in. We<br />

wander from warm period rooms to wet squares where metal<br />

sculptures of Lenin and Marx sprout from the ground. After<br />

a stop-gap tour of the region’s natural history by one of the<br />

most enthusiastic women I’ve ever met, it’s time for a press<br />

scrum. We’re surrounded by cameras and lights and someone<br />

translates our every word as I deliver a talk about Eggy Records.<br />

It’s disorientating, wondrous and slightly surreal. Sitting outside<br />

on a bench painted like a piano adorned with Nickelback lyrics,<br />

my head explodes as I start to ponder that thriving music<br />

communities exist worldwide from Birkenhead to Ulyanovsk.<br />

“We’re surrounded by<br />

cameras and lights and<br />

someone translates<br />

our every word… It’s<br />

disorientating, wondrous<br />

and slightly surreal”<br />

Our email adorns the chalk wall in the Records Music Bar in<br />

Ulyanovsk and one day we (Eggy) want to sign a band from<br />

there – maybe from one of the people gathered in that room. One<br />

question that also resonates strongly is “How many shows get<br />

cancelled in the UK?”. Aside from illegal raves and isolated high<br />

profile cases (Tyler, The Creator), this isn’t something we’re used<br />

to, but is something that’s prevalent in Russia. It rings true that<br />

the feeling of censorship isn’t one that is supported in this room,<br />

with fans of music spread throughout citing love of everyone<br />

from The Exploited to Brockhampton. This is highlighted when<br />

Svetti takes us to the top of one of the highest buildings in the<br />

city for a fancy dress rave that has us dancing wildly to hardcore<br />

and gabber.<br />

The following day finds us walking past the home of FC<br />

Volga Ulyanovsk and murals depicting Putin and leaders from the<br />

Russian Orthodox Church on our way to the city’s Intersection<br />

Of Music festival. Today is Day Of Youth, a national holiday for<br />

the young people of Russia, and<br />

the city’s local residents (as well<br />

as neighbouring Dimitrovgrad and<br />

Cheboksary) are being introduced<br />

to modern British music culture –<br />

through us. The press events and<br />

‘masterclass’ meetings are all part<br />

of this initiative, with the aim of<br />

promoting and developing the proto<br />

music industry that exists locally.<br />

A street has been closed off<br />

for the festival, and a rather angry<br />

old woman comes out shouting<br />

as we soundcheck. Sam takes a<br />

picture of a group of locals gathered<br />

nearby, saying “cheerski” as he<br />

does (a phrase not too dissimilar to ‘tits’), much to the group’s<br />

amusement. The performances go down well throughout the<br />

day, culminating with Eyesore’s performance which features a<br />

punter continually hoisting his five-year-old son onstage, who<br />

claps furiously as Josh attempts his hardest to not smack him in<br />

the head with his bass. My paranoia leads me to panic the rest<br />

of the group into thinking that we’re being followed by a spy, but<br />

it’s a little more than a rather curious middle-aged man (to our<br />

knowledge).<br />

That night we end up in an iron forge at three in the morning<br />

with a blacksmith making a bottle opener in flip flops. One of the<br />

group samples the sound of the forge and starts to make it into a<br />

dance tune. It’s a surreal experience which again shows just how<br />

open and inviting our hosts are. Having wandered back to their<br />

version of Ye Cracke, it’s time to call it a night.<br />

Our last day in Russia sees us split into two groups, with<br />

Stores, Ali Horn and myself heading to nearby town Cherdakly,<br />

and Eyesore heading to Dimitrovgrad with their manager, Cath.<br />

As we wave off our mates on a minibus to the ‘concrete city’, we<br />

jump into another one. “We’re going to a beehive,” Svetti lets<br />

us know. We bounce down the road to Cherdakly (population<br />

11,000) and bond with Svetti over a love of dark British comedy,<br />

like Peep Show and The Mighty Boosh.<br />

We arrive, to an exceptionally warm welcome, at the house of<br />

Gennadiy, a spacious place in the middle of nowhere. Gennadiy’s<br />

passion breaks all language barriers as he tells us about the bees<br />

he keeps, their politics and fighting wasps. We stand entranced in<br />

our beekeeping mesh headwear, eating raw honey from the hive<br />

as Gennadiy keeps us entertained. We sit and drink homemade<br />

honey mead with him, downing shot after shot of the sweet, high<br />

strength alcohol, Svetti’s face becoming more and more worried<br />

at the amount we’re drinking at midday prior to the show.<br />

“This one is alcohol free,” Gennadiy says. We down the shot.<br />

“I lied, ha ha ha!”<br />

Gennadiy seems to have life sorted, enjoying the simple<br />

pleasures of homegrown food, the peace and quiet of nature and<br />

a close family. It’s something I often look back on and envy. We<br />

take a picture with Gennadiy and his wife in front of a Pushkin<br />

quote, honey in hand, and receive the strongest hug ever received<br />

as we part ways.<br />

The show in Cherdakly is a slightly more rough and ready<br />

affair with us arriving at what feels a bit like a glorified summer<br />

fair. Stores – preceded by a prepubescent dance troupe – stand<br />

on stage like some scene in a strange arthouse film, as Sam is<br />

plagued by electric shocks and the soundman attempting to add<br />

flanger to his guitar. Ali goes down better, being asked to play<br />

more and more Springsteen covers.<br />

It’s an odder situation for Eyesore, who perform inside a<br />

behemoth of a brutalist building, with police stood either side<br />

of the stage and a massive area in front of the stage roped off,<br />

where only a handful of toddlers dance and cartwheel – in front<br />

of a huge bust of Lenin.<br />

With a four o’clock shuttle to the airport we decide to stay<br />

up and enjoy the pleasures of late night Russian TV. As I watch<br />

two scantily clad women wrestle in oil on the telly, I reflect on my<br />

time here. It’s perhaps one of the maddest trips I’ve ever been on.<br />

British media is often quick to display Russia as overly serious<br />

and restrictive, but the people we have met here are among the<br />

kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. From the eccentric Max<br />

Rock ’n’ Roll to our host Svetti, and the class dreampop group<br />

Love Fade, the people have welcomed us – a bunch of heavydrinking<br />

wools and Scousers – into their world and shown us, at<br />

full throttle, how boss their country is. We’ll be back for sure, and<br />

hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later. !<br />

Words: Matt Hogarth<br />

N OF MUSIC<br />




“Music is<br />

a pleasant<br />

distraction from<br />

life: a form of<br />

escapism”<br />


This North Wales artist has caught the ear of Merseyside label<br />

Mai 68 with his idiosyncratic, soulful dream hop.<br />

Have you always wanted to create music?<br />

Yes… then no… then yes again. I had a brief stint of wanting to<br />

be a priest, so I spent many days at the living room table offering<br />

my family the body of Christ in the form of Discos crisps. When<br />

I was about nine or 10, though, I performed Everlong by the Foo<br />

Fighters at a school assembly on an out of tune Yamaha EG112<br />

guitar and haven’t looked back since. Classic.<br />

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially<br />

inspired you?<br />

John Frusciante performing Usually Just a T-Shirt #3 on the Red<br />

Hot Chili Peppers’ Off The Map DVD. That performance hit me<br />

like a frying pan to the face. I was floored that the guitarist in<br />

one of the biggest bands on the planet had this other side (no<br />

pun intended) to him that was so vulnerable, raw, honest and<br />

beautiful.<br />

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?<br />

Not particularly, I enjoy the flow of an overall set, like how the<br />

slower pieces contrast the big thumpy joints, and vice-versa. It’s<br />

ace when your energy on that given day affects the tone of a<br />

song and evokes different feelings than you initially intended with<br />

the words. Having said that, Dungarees is fun to play ’cos there’s<br />

a dead fast rappy bit at the end.<br />

If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you<br />

say?<br />

I would say my music encapsulates sitting on the couch in comfy<br />

PJ bottoms eating homemade apple crumble and custard while<br />

wondering why you threw that baggy Fila hoodie away three<br />

years ago. But that never pops up as an option on the drop down<br />

menu when you’re applying for festivals.<br />

What do you think is the overriding influence on your<br />

songwriting: other art, emotions,<br />

current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?<br />

Food.<br />

If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?<br />

Loyle Carner.<br />

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what<br />

makes it special?<br />

St. Mary’s Creative Space in Chester was a special experience.<br />

Performing to a seated audience in an atmosphere where you<br />

could hear a pin drop was incredibly haunting and beautiful. Hold<br />

on, what am I talking about? I played a gig on a boat once. That<br />

was rad.<br />

Why is music important to you?<br />

Sometimes I feel like music is a pleasant distraction from life and<br />

stuff: a form of escapism. But I think it might actually be the other<br />

way around. What does that even mean? I don’t know… damn<br />

you, Bido Lito!, for sneaking in a serious question and making my<br />

brain do the equivalent of 25 push-ups.<br />

Image: Ross Davidson<br />

@enniothelittlebrother<br />

Ennio The Little Brother features on a split EP with Campfire<br />

Social, out now via Mai 68 Records.<br />



Caught in a loop with the inventive<br />

songwriter and guitarist who has<br />

roots in Belfast and Kingston.<br />

If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would<br />

you say?<br />

You guys once described my music as “soulful pop numbers”,<br />

which I felt was extremely accurate and I don’t think I could<br />

describe it better myself.<br />

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?<br />

I love performing my own music and my upcoming single One<br />

Day is actually my favourite to perform. It has a catchy hook to it<br />

and people always seem to engage with it the most of all of my<br />

songs, lyrically and sonically.<br />

How did you get into music?<br />

I’ve definitely always wanted to perform.<br />

Writing never used to be something<br />

I was passionate about when I was<br />

young, but different inspirations made<br />

me want to write things myself and<br />

put my own ideas on paper. Once<br />

you’ve started and you get the bug it is<br />

impossible to stop. So many silly things<br />

have made me want to write songs,<br />

such as watching 8 Mile and School<br />

Of Rock, as well as more traditional<br />

ways, like seeing live performances by<br />

virtuosos.<br />

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of<br />

music that initially inspired you?<br />

Every big gig that I’ve been to I feel has changed me as a<br />

performer and made me want to become more and more<br />

dynamic on stage. The first artist I went to see was The<br />

Darkness, I must have been 11 years old, and that just really just<br />

made me want to get on the stage.<br />

“Once you’ve started<br />

making music and<br />

you get the bug, it is<br />

impossible to stop”<br />

What do you think is the overriding<br />

influence on your songwriting: other<br />

art, emotions, current affairs – or a<br />

mixture of all of these?<br />

Inspiration always comes from a<br />

multitude of avenues for me, so<br />

definitely a mixture. Usually I write<br />

about current affairs, but also through a<br />

personal lens so that I can emotionally<br />

connect to my music too.<br />

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve<br />

performed in? If so, what makes it<br />

special?<br />

Liverpool has some incredible spaces:<br />

the Zanzibar has a thumping sound<br />

system and I have had a couple of great gigs there. Same with<br />

24 Kitchen Street. However, my favourite is probably District.<br />

One great thing about it is the height of the stage so you can get<br />

a good view of the crowd and vice-versa. Again, the sound is<br />

incredible.<br />

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito!<br />

readers might not have heard?<br />

AYA has just started releasing some singles and I couldn’t<br />

recommend an artist with soul more. His last release was called<br />

Craving You and it has a very earworm nature, but has depth too.<br />

It’s no coincidence that I selected him to support me for my single<br />

launch [20th September in EBGBs].<br />

Why is music important to you?<br />

In this day and age, everybody is really connected to music<br />

because of the vastness of availability and the wide variety of<br />

genres. For me, personally, there are certain songs that genuinely<br />

just make me feel emotions, whether that is the timbre of<br />

someone’s voice, the lyrics or sometimes a combination of the<br />

two. Music has become a part of everyday life and being able to<br />

create it is brilliant as I can completely immerse myself in writing<br />

and making something from scratch.<br />

Photography: GCH Photography<br />

@kingfast_music<br />

KingFast’s first single, One Day, is out from 20th September.<br />

Alexis Teplin<br />

At Bluecoat, Liverpool<br />

Sat 26 Oct <strong>2019</strong> – Sun 23 Feb 2020<br />

Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX<br />

thebluecoat.org.uk<br />

@thebluecoat @the_bluecoat @thebluecoat<br />

Funded by:<br />

Supported by:<br />

Arch (The Politics of Fragmentation), 2016, performance, Sydney Biennale


can put it out’, and it was just for fun, really. People were saying,<br />

‘You’re doing stuff and you’re not being paid, why are you doing<br />

it?’ But it’s worth more to me to get the ideas out there.<br />

Something like the snooker or the stone clearing, it was just, ‘Oh,<br />

I wonder what would happen if I try and do this for, you know,<br />

the rest of my life’ – ha! See if it turns out to be a fruitful idea,<br />

see if it turns out to be boring and, if so, that’s funny, see where<br />

it goes.<br />

Some people are making hundreds of millions of dollars being<br />

podcasters, so, you know, I’d like to say I was a genius and I saw<br />

that coming but that wasn’t my motivation. My motivation was<br />

to get ideas out there and on my own terms. Some of the really<br />

big ones – No Such Thing As A Fish, My Dad Wrote A Porno and<br />

The Guilty Feminist – they’re playing the Albert Hall and doing<br />

massive worldwide tours. My Dad Wrote A Porno has been<br />

going three or four years and none of them were particularly<br />

famous before it. So to go from nothing to a world tour where<br />

you’re selling thousands of tickets everywhere you go… a<br />

stand up would look at that and go, ‘What the fuck, how’s that<br />

happened?’<br />

But I think my things have always been a little bit more niche and<br />

when I was on TV it wasn’t mainstream stuff, and obviously a lot<br />

of things I’m doing online are deliberately kind of almost trying<br />

to get rid of listeners! Not so much RHLSTP, but it’s still not<br />

kowtowing to the mainstream ideal.<br />

COMEDY<br />


Everyman Theatre – 23/10<br />

The Podfather opens up about the art of subversiveness,<br />

and how far his podcasting fame might take him.<br />

Comedian and podcast stalwart RICHARD HERRING<br />

brings his live interview show RHLSTP to the<br />

Everyman in <strong>October</strong>. From his Hertfordshire home,<br />

he talks to Sam Turner about the reasons for the<br />

show’s success, the allure of podcasting and his other more<br />

esoteric projects – podcasting snooker matches against<br />

himself and clearing stones from a field while walking his<br />

dog.<br />

It’s interesting that there have been quite a few big personal<br />

revelations on RHLSTP considering it’s a live performance<br />

podcast.<br />

I think people have got their reasons. There’s something<br />

about the format, the weird<br />

[emergency] questions, which<br />

“People were saying,<br />

‘You’re doing stuff and<br />

you’re not being paid,<br />

why are you doing<br />

it?’ But it’s worth<br />

more to me to get the<br />

ideas out there”<br />

I started doing in case I ran<br />

out of things to say. It has a<br />

knock-on effect: people have to<br />

talk about something they’ve<br />

never talked about before, it<br />

opens the door and they feel<br />

like they can talk about other<br />

stuff. It’s not like a traditional<br />

interview when you’re asking<br />

the same questions and you<br />

have your standard responses.<br />

I’m not trying to find stuff<br />

out and I think therefore it<br />

relaxes people, and if they<br />

want to reveal something<br />

they reveal something. It’s just<br />

conversations and if people trust you then hopefully they’ll give<br />

you some good stuff.<br />

And I suppose you never know what to expect. It could be a<br />

light-hearted discussion, or deep, or political. I suppose that<br />

keeps it interesting for you?<br />

Yeh, I never really know and I’m quite good at adapting to who<br />

the guest is and working out what they want to do. I guess it’s<br />

just having that empathy to listen and understand when you’re<br />

pushing things too far. Certainly over an hour you can’t just keep<br />

the laughs going all that time. Maybe with Greg Davies and Bob<br />

Mortimer you can, but with most people there’ll come a point<br />

when it’s time to talk about something a little bit more seriously.<br />

There’s the occasional one where it’s harder to get stuff out of<br />

people or where it’s a bit more awkward, but people tend to like<br />

those ones more! What I like about it is we put nearly everything<br />

out. People can see how much stuff is good, how much stuff is<br />

not that interesting, or where something doesn’t work. It proves<br />

that the rest of the stuff is genuine. You<br />

don’t get that on TV shows. Chat shows,<br />

panel shows are all edited down, all the<br />

eggy bits are taken out and all the leadup<br />

bits are taken out.<br />

Do you think what you do now is<br />

a reaction against that over-edited<br />

version of a lot of media? You’ve got<br />

RHLSTP, but there’s also Me1 vs Me2<br />

Snooker podcast and the Stone Clearing<br />

podcast. Those are probably unlikely to<br />

get commissioned as TV series…<br />

Well, you never know! There was a series<br />

for Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse<br />

so there might be for Stone Clearing, give<br />

me another 10 years! What attracted<br />

me in the first place was the autonomy.<br />

When I started with Andrew Collins, just after the Russell<br />

Brand and Jonathan Ross thing, there was a crackdown on<br />

offensiveness and swearing and upsetting people. And also,<br />

you’re waiting months and years sometimes to get a project<br />

green lit on the radio or the TV. So, I thought, ‘This is great, we<br />

Do you get new podcasters asking you for advice in the same<br />

way you’ll get comedians asking you for tips?<br />

Yeh, a little bit but the advice for everyone is just, ‘Get on with it’.<br />

I think asking for advice on any of this stuff is just a delay tactic,<br />

really. If you want to be a stand-up get out and go and do some<br />

shows. And with podcasting it’s the same. You don’t need to<br />

hang around, you have this outlet and if you have an idea just<br />

crack on with it – and if it’s terrible you can delete it. You’ve got<br />

to build up an audience. I’ve been podcasting for what I think is<br />

12 years now, and that’s what people don’t want to hear, it takes<br />

a long time.<br />

But there is a sort of meritocracy to it. People can say TV doesn’t<br />

let certain people do this stuff and that’s true, it’s hard to get<br />

involved in that world, but with a podcast, if you’re good there’s<br />

no reason why you can’t go from nothing to the Albert Hall in<br />

three years.<br />

And some people might want to do it just as a way of<br />

expressing themselves, they may not want to play the Albert<br />

Hall…<br />

Absolutely. With the snooker, the express idea was to have no<br />

listeners. I think it started with about 30,000 in the first week<br />

and it went quite quickly down to 5,000 but I can’t shake those<br />

5,000 off. With Stone Clearing it’s… both of those are slightly like<br />

art projects with tongue in cheek. The idea of doing something<br />

relentlessly for a long, long time that has no end; they’re both<br />

sort of similar themes. The snooker is kind of a battle against<br />

yourself and the Stone Clearing is a sort of battle against your<br />

mortality and the environment and the kind of uselessness and<br />

the pointlessness of existing. They’re both sort of about that, but<br />

then just the stupidity of someone doing it I hope is entertaining,<br />

which I think it is. I genuinely think the Stone Clearing thing is<br />

one of the best things I’ve done.<br />

Even though the podcast is about me creating this wall [from<br />

cleared stones] I was doing it before the podcast. I was genuinely<br />

quite obsessed with it before I started doing the podcast, it’s a<br />

heightened version of that obsession and me being paranoid. But<br />

it’s weird, it gets into this transcendental thing where I’m being<br />

paranoid that I’m being observed, which I am. I kind of don’t<br />

want people in my village to know, but obviously they probably<br />

do because it’s a podcast, but you sort of are hallucinating out<br />

there and I’m seeing stuff and weird stuff is happening so it’s<br />

quite an interesting look at the human mind! But it’s mainly sort<br />

of how long can a man talk about one subject.<br />

Yes, and people will use it for different reasons – the<br />

meditative aspect being one…<br />

I think people generally use it to go to sleep. People find it boring<br />

enough that it sends them to sleep and then they’re annoyed<br />

because there’s some quite jarring music at the end, ha! But<br />

I quite like that. But when you create something you have no<br />

power over how it’s going to be interpreted or what people are<br />

going to do with it. Once you’ve put it out there it belongs to<br />

whoever is ingesting it. I don’t think Salinger thought, ‘I’ll write<br />

Catcher In The Rye and that’ll get John Lennon assassinated’.<br />

It’s not Salinger’s fault directly, but that’s what happened. So, if<br />

anyone gets assassinated because of Stone Clearing it’s not my<br />

fault is what I’m trying to get at here. I just want to get that in. !<br />

Words: Sam Turner<br />

richardherring.com<br />

RHLSTP With Richard Herring comes to the Everyman Theatre<br />

on Wednesday 23rd <strong>October</strong>.<br />



GET 50%<br />









M&S Bank Arena – 03/10<br />

Britain’s most decorated Olympian opens up about<br />

the roots of his cycling obsession and how it has<br />

helped him find new roads in the sport.<br />

In a summer of rare national unity, it was British cycling<br />

that reached the highest summit of all at the home<br />

Olympics of 2012. There was one photo in particular<br />

which encapsulated the moment cycling never had it so<br />

good. There was BRADLEY WIGGINS, clad in Team GB Lycra,<br />

sat cross-legged on a baroque throne in the centre of London,<br />

shortly after finishing a race.<br />

An undisturbed mod haircut had been released from his<br />

helmet. More sideburn than perspiration is streaming down<br />

his face. With forearms casually raised, apparel unzipped to<br />

the sternum, he satisfyingly provides a two-fingered salute of<br />

victory. It was every inch a statement of his own ability and the<br />

cultural currency cycling was ready to cash in on.<br />

The former Kilburn council estate Olympian had just taken<br />

gold in the men’s road time trial – his fourth gold since 2004.<br />

A week earlier he’d been the first Brit to wear the maillot jaune<br />

as the Tour de France crossed the finish line on the Champs<br />

Elysées. Irrespective of covering a distance of 44km in 50<br />

minutes and 39 seconds on his way to glory that day in London,<br />

Wiggins carried the composure of someone who’d drifted in from<br />

a Brighton seafront parade, proceeding to dominate the course<br />

on a Vespa wearing a freshly pressed Ben Sherman suit.<br />

Cycling had reached a new paramount point of visibility<br />

thanks to Wiggins. No longer was it to be a niche indulgence or<br />

reluctant spectacle for channel hoppers discovering Eurosport<br />

in the early hours. Wiggins was cool. Cycling was cool. Lycra<br />

was sort of cool. (At least it is now unashamedly adorned on<br />

inner city commutes.) A new, self-propelled mod had supplanted<br />

Quadrophenia. It’s a journey and endeavour Wiggins is now<br />

opening up about, from the perspective of the fan rather than<br />

the athlete. Much of which is detailed in his book, Icons, and<br />

adjoining speaking tour, something that he owes to a platform<br />

built from what he did in the sport, which, he suggests, grants an<br />

appeal to “an audience that maybe won’t always be into cycling”.<br />

In a summer of national disunity, however, British cycling<br />

and Wiggins are in separate worlds. The sideburns are now<br />

gone, the mod haircut trimmed. On stage appearances with Paul<br />

Weller are now few and far between. All these moments remain<br />

in a time capsule of 2012. Wiggins paved the way for two more<br />

British winners of the Tour de France (five wins between them<br />

since 2013), but that summer was to carry him into the ease of<br />

descent. There was no higher to<br />

climb in the sport, only blockages in<br />

the road. The 2016 parliamentary<br />

inquiry into whether he and<br />

Team Sky breached anti-doping<br />

regulations arrived at the end of his<br />

involvement in the sport. He and<br />

Sky still deny wrongdoing. However,<br />

there’s now a sepia bleed on those<br />

images from 2012; a nostalgia<br />

delivered earlier than expected. If<br />

anything, it’s brought distance and,<br />

in time, reopened the door to a<br />

spectator’s intrigue. It’s a place that’s<br />

reignited his interest and love for the<br />

sport, without having to squeeze<br />

into Lycra or suffer the ascent of the Col du Tourmalet.<br />

“A lot of sportspeople don’t always know about the culture<br />

surrounding the sport that they do, or its history. For me, that<br />

was my first passion,” he notes, touching on how cycling started<br />

as cultural obsession from within his bedroom (where he’d<br />

hang on the words of Cycling Weekly, surrounded by posters of<br />

previous Tour winners), rather than a quest for Olympic glory.<br />

“Even if I hadn’t done what I’d done in the sport, I’d still have<br />

that knowledge of the Tours, that passion for cycling and its<br />

characters.”<br />

Icons follows a more refined take on the aura of cycling;<br />

the personalities behind the time gaps, the fashion beyond the<br />

polka dot jerseys; essentially, the essence of the sport that isn’t<br />

so overtly attached to the bike frame. It’s an account that would<br />

discourteously be bound up in hipster nerdiness, if placed in<br />

parallel to cycling iconography in hip London cafés. But it’s one<br />

that focuses on the sport as more than a sport. In the same way<br />

“A lot of sportspeople<br />

don’t always know<br />

about the culture or<br />

history surrounding<br />

their sport. That was<br />

my first passion”<br />

Sócrates was so much more than a towering midfielder draped<br />

in the iconic yellow, blue and white of Brazil.<br />

“I’ve been fascinated how all these old jerseys became<br />

iconic and brands like Rapha have built the image from this sort<br />

of heritage influence,” he starts, alluding to how a schoolboy<br />

bookishness towards cycling ingrained his connection to the<br />

encompassing culture. Icons serves as the shop window in<br />

which Wiggins peered into the sport, detailing his relationship<br />

with savoured memorabilia from a former era of cycling; a time<br />

frame that carries a similarly golden shimmer as that very image<br />

of him sat on the Olympic throne in 2012. “The [classic era] is<br />

coming back into popularity,” he tells me over the phone from<br />

somewhere in the middle of the Balearic sea. “I live in the North,<br />

not far from Liverpool. Transalpino on Bold Street fully captures<br />

the cultural moment of fashion and football.” The shop displays<br />

how sport can emit a magnetic force that weaves together<br />

football, footwear, fashion, music and exploration into a cohesive<br />

movement, or, for many, a day-to-day obsession. “Cycling is the<br />

same for me, really. I’ve always been massively into the culture<br />

that surrounds the sport, the aesthetics, everything down to the<br />

Adidas tracksuits that Eddy Merckx used to wear.”<br />

It can, however, be difficult to unearth the riches of cycling’s<br />

cultural pedigree. It is arguably one that is more at home on the<br />

European continent. So much of contemporary British cycling<br />

can be bound up as mid-life, expendable income pastime. Its<br />

roots are not visibly wedded to culture and social enterprise,<br />

as football is (or at least was). They exist, but perhaps as a<br />

French, Italian, Dutch or Belgian export, rather than a culture<br />

that propagates in the heart of the UK. Through spirited intruige,<br />

Wiggins was able to self-teach the rich layers of style the sport<br />

produces, the fantasy of cycling escapism, and the bravery it<br />

would entail to reign as King of the Mountains. Yet, even when<br />

Wiggins was taking gold in 2012, it was his association to mod<br />

culture that caught the most limelight – not the journey from<br />

cycling across central London to leading the peloton over the<br />

Pyrenees.<br />

Cycling may have reached new heights, but it’s still out<br />

of reach as an all-inclusive interest. The nation is still decades<br />

behind our European counterparts for cycling accessibility and<br />

proficiency and, even with a former council estate Olympic<br />

champion, cycling has remained an escape predominantly<br />

restricted to the middle classes. “It’s still quite an elitist<br />

environment. It comes with a certain kind of snobbery,” Wiggins<br />

admits, when asked if his account is aiming to bridge cycling<br />

to people from every social background. “I still don’t think it’s<br />

massively appealing to the working classes. Ultimately, you still<br />

need to have money to be a part of the elite side of it. It becomes<br />

a competition of who’s got the latest £300 jersey. I don’t think<br />

it’s very grounded or very inclusive. I think it’s quite an exclusive<br />

world, based on finance and who can afford it. It’s become the<br />

new golf.”<br />

The characteristics of elite cycling may prove limiting<br />

compared to other socially integrating sports. Yet, a £1,000<br />

bike and matching apparel isn’t required to unlock its benefits.<br />

“It was definitely a way of escaping where I grew up; the sense<br />

of freedom that it gave me. I could go out on the bike, and in<br />

five or six miles I could be in a different area. It still does that<br />

for me. That was always the attraction and beauty of cycling.”<br />

The escapist sentiment of the riders he adored was eventually<br />

delivered through a pairing of<br />

music and bike – a similar cultural<br />

symbiosis to that of football, Adidas<br />

trainers and post-punk. Ultimately, it<br />

was the arrival of northern Britpop<br />

that set the wheels rolling with<br />

intent. “Listening to someone like<br />

Liam Gallagher,” Wiggins begins,<br />

“he was someone you could look<br />

up to. It was like having someone<br />

similar to yourself singing your<br />

anthem. ‘I live my life in the city,<br />

there’s no easy way out’. I took that<br />

into my sport, all without having<br />

to be physically strong, or carry a<br />

knife.”<br />

Wiggins’ own observations clearly underline that more<br />

needs to be done to bridge cycling to the wider audience it<br />

deserves. But five Olympic gold medals and a Tour de France<br />

victory can only paint the picture for others. The escapist<br />

sentimentality of cycling has to be experienced to be realised. If<br />

his experiences tell you anything, two working wheels, the right<br />

soundtrack and confidence is all that is needed to find your feet. !<br />

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder<br />

Bradley Wiggins: An Evening With takes place at The<br />

Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena on Thursday 3rd <strong>October</strong>.<br />

Bido Lito! CC in partnership with Ryde is a bi-weekly bike ride<br />

open to all ages and abilities. The next meet is starts at Ryde in<br />

the Baltic Triangle on Wednesday 2nd <strong>October</strong>, 6.30pm.<br />


LEAP<br />


LEAP<br />

Various Venues<br />

03/10-12/10<br />

Now into its 26th year, LEAP can justifiably claim to be a<br />

pillar of Liverpool’s cultural offering. Once again the festival,<br />

programmed by Merseyside Dance Initiative, brings a wideranging<br />

bill of dance performance to venues across the city,<br />

in a landmark change to how dance is programmed in the North West.<br />

Launching on Thursday 3rd <strong>October</strong>, LEAP brings global touring<br />

production company MOTIONHOUSE to the Baltic Triangle’s Hinterlands.<br />

Known for their stunning, large-scale performances – including the<br />

opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games – Motionhouse<br />

are the perfect foot for LEAP to start on in <strong>2019</strong>, as part of their mission<br />

to provide a platform for aspiring local dance artists and internationally<br />

renowned performers in cross-artform storytelling.<br />

Integrating dynamic choreography, acrobatic movement and handto-hand<br />

partnering, the newly premiered WILD (Brighton Festival, May<br />

<strong>2019</strong>), will be staged atop an urban forest of industrial scaffolding in<br />

Constellations’ outdoor space, in a breathtaking show for audiences both<br />

inside and outside the traditional dance world.<br />

Over the following 10 days, there will be a range of further<br />

dance performances to take in, including Seke Chimutengwende and<br />

Alexandrina Hemsley’s BLACK HOLES, Rosie Kay Dance Company’s<br />

FANTASIA and Neon Dance’s PUZZLE CREATURE.<br />

“Liverpool has long been a city associated with music; from<br />

Merseybeat to today’s variety of festivals for every genre imaginable,”<br />

says Martina Murphy, MDI’s Director. “Dance isn’t possible without music,<br />

and I want LEAP to make that connection this year – bringing dance to the<br />

venues where music never stops, to a city that so clearly wants to dance!”<br />

Head to mdi.org.uk/leap-<strong>2019</strong> for the full programme of activity.<br />

The Warehouse Project @ Mayfield Depot<br />

CLUB<br />

The Warehouse Project<br />

winter season<br />

Mayfield Depot and Victoria<br />

Warehouse<br />

20/09/19-01/01/20<br />

Since 2006, The Warehouse Project has been taking over<br />

some of Manchester’s biggest spaces with a contingent<br />

of the world’s biggest electronic artists, MCs and bands.<br />

Having made its sleepless bed in the cavernous Store<br />

Street for the past few years, the September to January series will<br />

be breaking in new ground for what promises to be one of its most<br />

ambitious years to date.<br />

Setting up at Mayfield Depot, a stone’s throw from WHP’s former lair<br />

below Manchester Piccadilly, the series will run for 12 weeks, culminating<br />

with the famous New Year’s Day Closing Party.<br />

The series begins on 20th September with the small matter of<br />

welcoming Cornish IDM legend APHEX TWIN for an evening entirely<br />

of his own design. Richard D James will welcome along a challenging<br />

ensemble for the curtain raiser featuring NINA KRAVIZ and LEE GAMBLE<br />

among others, with a secondary opening party the following night<br />

featuring the sounds of DISCLOSURE, ANNIE MAC and MARIBOU<br />

STATE to name just a few.<br />

Across the full series, usual collaborators and partners will return<br />

for their own specialist nights within the Depot, including techno titans<br />

Drumcode, local party starters Kaluki and Metropolis, Balearic pace<br />

setters Paradise, and BICEP’s club focused arm Feel My Bicep. Elsewhere<br />

across the series events will be curated by SKEPTA, FOUR TET, MURA<br />


Live events within the series also include legendary duo<br />

UNDERWORLD taking over the Depot on 5th December, with Australian<br />

producer FLUME arriving in the city with a collection of special guests on<br />

13th November. The full events series will include over 20 shows in all,<br />

with Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse hosting both WHIZKID on 18th<br />

<strong>October</strong> and SONNY FODERA on 15th November.<br />

With arguably one of the most enviable line-ups of any of any WHP<br />

to date, the series looks set to comfortably welcome Mayfield Depot<br />

into the fold for <strong>2019</strong>. And it’s no wonder with JOSEPH CAPRIATI,<br />


TOPPING making up just a small handful of the talent set to descend on<br />

Manchester over the course of 12 weeks. Dancing shoes at the ready.<br />


ticketquarter.co.uk<br />



CLUB<br />

ENRG: Art’s House<br />

Invisible Wind Factory – 11/10<br />

Art’s House<br />

ARTWORK will not only be arriving in Liverpool with his<br />

esteemed collection of house and wonky acid tracks, but he’ll<br />

be packed for comfort with slippers in tow. Growing from a<br />

rave in a front room to one of the biggest touring parties on<br />

the UK circuit, the set up sees the one-time Magnetic Man<br />

member draw the drapes on his party parlour and get into<br />

the thick of his responsibilities as soundtrack navigator for<br />

the evening. As with any successful house party, there’s a<br />

strong cast of mates ready to pick up the AUX when needed,<br />

with Leeds’ hot-handed duo PBR STREET GANG also in the<br />

mix, along with GIDEON and ROSS ROBERTSON.<br />

GIG<br />

Theon Cross<br />

Storyhouse Live – 06/10<br />

One of the standout stars of the UK’s resurgent jazz scene, London<br />

based tuba player THEON CROSS arrives in Chester on musical<br />

duties for Stepping Tiger in what promises to be a night of exuberant<br />

and inventive basslines and rhythms leads. Perhaps one of the most<br />

distinctive and critically lauded albums of 2018, Sons Of Kemet’s<br />

Your Queen Is A Reptile is a life-filled example of Theon’s inimitable<br />

musicianship and feel for otherworldly arrangements. Pitching<br />

up with his own ensemble of musicians, Theon’s show provides a<br />

contemporary snapshot of the capital’s thriving jazz scene, exploring<br />

its signature collection of sounds in his own distinctive and rhythm<br />

inducing way.<br />

Theon Cross<br />


Amélie The Musical<br />

Playhouse – 14/10-19/10<br />

Nominated for five Academy Awards upon its initial<br />

cinematic release in 2001, global box office hit AMÉLIE<br />

comes to Liverpool as an all-singing, all-dancing in a<br />

musical. Focusing on the life of a young waitress living in<br />

Paris, Amélie takes in the full spectrum of sights and sounds<br />

emitting from the elevated artistic district of Montmartre,<br />

following her journey to spread joy and happiness to all that<br />

she meets. The production features Audrey Brisson as the<br />

introverted, but socially conscious Amélie.<br />

GIG<br />

Michael Chapman<br />

St Bride’s Church – 05/10<br />

St Bride’s has become a regular backdrop for promoters Nothingville’s<br />

lyrical sermons, and the latest meeting of the parish will be treated to<br />

the sounds of wandering wordsmith MICHAEL CHAPMAN. A fixture<br />

of the folk scene since as far back at the 1960s, Chapman has drawn<br />

a resounding reputation from his knack for warming tales sketched out<br />

on the open roads between Cornwall and London. His prosaic tones<br />

will be in good stead alongside Liverpool’s own lyrical diarist NICK<br />

ELLIS, with both performers well equipped to steal the hearts and<br />

minds of an audience with a sole guitar slung over their shoulder.<br />

CLUB<br />

Gerd Janson<br />

24 Kitchen Street – 05/10<br />

Gerd Janson<br />

Running Back label boss GERD JANSON has been generously spreading the soulful<br />

grooves of deep house on his travels since the turn of the millennium. A regular fixture<br />

at Frankfurt’s infamous Robert Johnson and likely your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ,<br />

the German native has curated one of the most revered record bags over the years,<br />

and is a trusted navigator of everything from the tuneful to the hard hitting. He, his<br />

wondrous beard and selections will be front and centre at Kitchen Street for three<br />

savoured hours, with SISBIS’ GIOVANNA set to play back to back with HILLAS. Don’t<br />

be surprised to go home from this one with serious Discogs envy.<br />

GIG<br />

Pom Poko<br />

Phase One – 14/10<br />

Norwegian art rockers POM POKO are one of the more colourful<br />

outfits to arrive in Liverpool in the coming month. Purveyors of<br />

imaginary sonic confetti, their sporadic blend of jittery riffs and<br />

full-hearted choruses are all tied together with a jovial charm<br />

and abundant sincerity. Since the release of their debut album,<br />

Birthday, on Bella Union, the four-piece have made a distinctive<br />

footprint in the UK scene thanks to pulsating new single Leg Day.<br />

Their performance at Phase One comes with support from fellow<br />

colour spinners and Brighton natives ORCHARDS.<br />

Pom Poko<br />


GIG<br />

Smithdown Road Festival<br />

All-Dayer<br />

Various Venues – 12/10<br />

Smithdown Road Festival is back for an all-day edition<br />

with some of the city’s finest emerging talents in<br />

some of the area’s finest bars and eateries. Taking<br />

place across its usual haunts including Kelly’s, Craft,<br />

Frank’s and Handyman Supermarket, the 12-hour<br />

shindig features previous Bido cover artists EYESORE<br />

AND THE JINX and BILL NICKSON, with fellow Eggy<br />

Records label mates BEIJA FLO and STORES. Over<br />

at Handyman COW will be using the occasion to<br />

celebrate the launch of their EP. Elsewhere at Kelly’s,<br />

new garage rock ensemble FUMAR MATA are set to<br />

appear along with the likes of THE SHIPBUILDERS<br />

and KANGAROOS. And best of all, you can go and see<br />

all 80 bands and DJs for free. Get out there and show<br />

Smithdown some love.<br />


The Strange Case of Dr<br />

Jekyll and Mr Hyde<br />

Storyhouse – 05/10-19/10<br />

Robert Louis Stephenson’s bloody tale of Victorian<br />

dualism is to feature in a new production at<br />

Chester’s Storyhouse theatre. The novel, written in<br />

1886, follows the life of Dr Jekyll and his struggles<br />

to control violent alter ego Mr Edward Hyde,<br />

leading him to commit murder on the streets of<br />

London. The story provides a chilling glimpse into<br />

Victorian society, its class system and the battles<br />

between public and private, with many of its key<br />

themes still prevalent in the contemporary era<br />

regarding psychological control. With the story<br />

still a regular feature on the school curriculum, the<br />

Storyhouse Originals production will also feature<br />

daytime viewings for schools.<br />

ADD TO<br />


ADD TO PLAYLIST is the new monthly<br />

column brought to you by MELODIC<br />

DISTRACTION RADIO, delving into the<br />

fold of the newest releases on the dance<br />

music spectrum. If you’re into 808s,<br />

sample pads, DJ tools and everything in<br />

between, then you’re in good company.<br />

Carla dal Forno<br />

Took A Long Time<br />

Kallista<br />

Studio Electrophonique<br />

GIG<br />

Studio Electrophonique<br />

Scandinavian Church – 25/10<br />

James Leesley, aka Sheffield native STUDIO<br />

ELECTROPHONIQUE, has acquired a reputation for producing<br />

hushed attentive music since arriving on the scene earlier in<br />

the year, drawing the attention and plaudits of fellow Steel<br />

City emotive crooner Richard Hawley along the way. With<br />

a debut “elp”, Buxton Palace Hotel, just released on Violette<br />

Records, the multi-talented instrumentalist and songwriter will<br />

take centre stage at the Baltic Triangle’s Scandinavian Church<br />

in what will provide a fitting backdrop for his atmospheric,<br />

luscious arrangements.<br />

CLUB<br />

Jeff Mills and Andrew Weatherall<br />

Invisible Wind Factory – 05/10<br />

GIG<br />

Musicians Against Homelessness<br />

Various Venues – 27/10-29/10<br />

Musicians across the city region are set to come together in<br />

support of homelessness charity Crisis for three days of live<br />

music. Spread across multiple venues, some of which include<br />

The Zanzibar, Sound, Outpost and Studio2, the shows have been<br />

programmed to help raise awareness and funds to help tackle<br />

homelessness in the region, with a UK-wide collection of 100<br />

artists, poets and comedians confirmed to play over the three days.<br />

All proceeds from the festival will be donated to Crisis to ensure<br />

the charity can continue and expand its life changing work across<br />

the country.<br />

Sparse, depresso post-punk<br />

mistress CARLA DAL FORNO<br />

is in business on her very<br />

own label, Kallista. Either a<br />

stoney-faced breakup album or a love letter to London<br />

– we just can’t decide – the Australian is now hitting a<br />

sense of profound confidence in her angsty songcraft.<br />

Carla’s gentle-yet-swallowed vocals and dubby percussion<br />

tempers against some knife-twisting lyrics make this an<br />

elusive, ambiguous and wholly intimate release.<br />

DJ Firmeza<br />

Intenso<br />

Príncipe<br />

Lisbon’s DJ FIRMEZA is back<br />

in snakestyle with a raw blend<br />

of bouncing kuduro, crazed<br />

batida, grimey police sirens,<br />

mutant drum loops and drifting ‘animação’ stream-ofconsciousness<br />

MCing. This latest EP follows Príncipe’s<br />

infallible run of standout releases and cements Lisbon’s<br />

output as the most distinctive musical scene today. No<br />

doubt about it, this one is for the club, but could nestle<br />

between afro-beat and gqom as happily as it could techno<br />

and breaks, as it could bashment and dancehall. Hips<br />

definitely in motion.<br />

It will be a night of full-blown four-to-the-floor as techno powerhouse JEFF<br />

MILLS takes the reins to the Invisible Wind Factory on behalf of 303. The Detroit<br />

native is one of the most dominant producers and DJs to emerge from the city’s<br />

illustrious dance music scene, and has been exporting his wizardry across the<br />

planet for the best part of four decades, putting crowds through their paces with<br />

an intoxicating live show and turntable mastery. Down in the substation, further<br />

musical royalty will be on display as revered selector ANDREW WEATHERALL<br />

digs deep into his record bag from start until finish. Rounding off one thumping<br />

line-up is local producer ASOK and JEMMA FURBANK.<br />

Jeff Mills<br />

Djrum<br />

Hard To Say /<br />

Tournesol<br />

R&S<br />

Matisse: Drawing With Scissors<br />


Matisse: Drawing With Scissors<br />

Lady Lever Art Gallery – 25/10<br />

Having produced works that cemented his position as one of the most celebrated artists of<br />

his generation alongside contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso, HENRI MATISSE was to<br />

leave one final gift to the art world despite being bed ridden in his final years. The French<br />

artist’s series of cut-outs are perhaps some of the most famous works the painter and<br />

sculptor produced throughout his career, a medium he adopted and mastered once illness<br />

had limited his manoeuvrability. Drawing With Scissors features 35 posthumous prints,<br />

including the iconic Blue Nudes series and The Snail. The display will feature alongside the<br />

Port Sunlight gallery’s regular collection, with the Matisse cut-outs on display until March.<br />

In a curveball that no one saw<br />

coming, <strong>2019</strong> was the year<br />

that really fast music became cool again. With a whole<br />

range of very severe fringes and Berlin-goth aesthetics,<br />

think of Gabber Eleganza and Gabber Modus Operandi<br />

flag-waving for the neo-gabber revival, or VTSS and SPFDJ<br />

et al encouraging hyper-speed techno. After the standout<br />

emotive-breakbeat Portrait With Firewood last year,<br />

DJRUM joins Team Go Faster offering up “ambient-gabber”<br />

(yes, really) with a palette of sounds drawn from Shangaan<br />

electro and IDM.<br />

Words: Nina Franklin<br />

melodicdistraction.com<br />


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Anna Calvi (Michael Kirkham / @Kirks09)<br />

“Birkenhead is a<br />

place that hasn’t had<br />

the confidence to<br />

celebrate itself and<br />

hasn’t even bothered<br />

trying – until now”<br />

Future Yard<br />

Birkenhead – 23/08-24/08<br />

As you stand at the ferry terminal at Woodside and gaze<br />

across the water, Liverpool is mesmerising. Its iconography is<br />

laid bare; the outlines of the buildings will forever be etched on<br />

the minds of those who stare at them. It’s been the subject of a<br />

thousand memoirs, the subject of a million photographs and a<br />

billion conversations. Rightly so. The image is one of this planet’s<br />

urban glories. But there’s more to it. More in the sense of the spot<br />

in which you stand to view it, the place that allows this view to<br />

be real. This place below your feet, behind your back: Birkenhead,<br />

the downtrodden younger brother of the city. It’s a place that<br />

hasn’t had the confidence to celebrate itself and hasn’t even<br />

bothered trying – until now.<br />

So, let’s begin and start the celebrations – here, at the<br />

inaugural FUTURE YARD. Let’s provide an excuse to get<br />

down here and do something other than revere the blindingly<br />

beautiful architecture across the water. Let’s create a festival that<br />

celebrates the area, the talent and the beauty that on the surface<br />

seems to be gazing across the water and shrugging. Birkenhead<br />

has already started the slow process of hauling itself upwards<br />

with the recent run of gigs at Fresh Goods Studios, taking place<br />

among the post-industrial buildings to the north of the vague<br />

centre-point of the festival, around Hamilton Square.<br />

Yes, this weekend is very much about the bands and artists,<br />

but there is more to this fledgling gathering than meets the eye.<br />

There’s yoga to help with the first night hangover as well as<br />

screenings, talks, walks and installations. Well, one installation<br />

that is stunning, relaxing and mindful. It’s called PYLON, a<br />

collaboration between Forest Swords and The Kazimier, and<br />

focuses on the transfer of energy between place and object. It<br />

takes place in the Birkenhead Priory refectory, a stone’s throw<br />

from the Priory Green and Chapel stages, yet worlds apart in aura<br />

and atmosphere. As the sun sets, its true colours begin to show<br />

as the lighting design contorts around the building’s fixtures. The<br />

healing patterns chiming from the pylon-like structure complete<br />

the momentary sanctuary found just yards from the industrial<br />

centre of Cammell Laird, the once mighty shipyard.<br />

But, it’s the acts that take centre stage. Friday sees Wirral’s<br />

very own BILL RYDER-JONES perform an impromptu piano-only<br />

set in the crushed confines of the Priory Chapel. With a capacity<br />

of hardly anyone (and the desire of almost everyone to see it), the<br />

tech crew are beavering hard to ensure the folk outside can hear<br />

Bill do his thing, which is moan here and there and play his softly<br />

melancholic piano vignettes to a rapt throng. Bill swigs his beer,<br />

smiles, shakes his fist at God and bowls the tightly packed chapel<br />

over with his fragile talent.<br />

BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD are a wonderful, shambolic<br />

mess. Too many members are bumping into each other on the<br />

packed Priory Stage, but the crowd are won over by erratic<br />

saxophony and Black Midi-style free jazz. Props also go to the<br />

wonderful JOHANNA SAMUELS, whose beautiful Americana<br />

singer-songwriter lilt brightens up the handful of curious folk<br />

padding out the Chapel.<br />

The new Bloom Building is now packed as the anticipation<br />

and vibes of curiosity are reaching fever pitch. SQUID set up their<br />

instruments and then just start. Currently the darlings of most<br />

London A&R departments, Squid play for about 10 minutes. It’s<br />

more, obviously, but they cram so much in so quickly that it feels<br />

like they were hardly here. Perhaps they shouldn’t have changed<br />

the bonkers screaming of Houseplants to a more weary yelp, but<br />

The Cleaner is such a splendid bout of indie-pop nuttiness that<br />

no-one seems to mind. There’s a mosh pit, too, and a piece of<br />

Birkenhead bay driftwood surfing the crowd. It’s all rather nice to<br />

witness.<br />

Passing to see the end of the brilliant DIALECT in the chapel,<br />

all drones and glitch peace, the highlight is an extended play<br />

from our very own Bill Ryder-Jones in full band mode, in the<br />

Town Hall. Welcomed onto the stage like a returning war hero,<br />

this is a slightly nervous but commanding return home. Bill<br />

swigs his beer, smiles, shakes his fist at his mates and bowls the<br />

tightly packed Town Hall over with his massive talent. Opening<br />

with Mither and And Then There’s You from Yawn and ending,<br />

obviously, with Two To Birkenhead, this wonderful listed building<br />

has the roof taken off by the power and love for West Kirby’s<br />

finest. Simply a joy, and not just the performance, the whole day<br />

gets the nod of approval.<br />

At 20 past the witching hour at the aforementioned Bloom<br />

Building, the best new band in Britain amble on. SCALPING are<br />

from Bristol and they have never heard of Birkenhead until this<br />

booking, but they are quite simply incredible. Their fusion of postrock<br />

grooves, techno bass and industrial dance darkness may not<br />

be ‘nu’, but a 40-minute set of eye-bleeding visuals and machine<br />

guitar abuse is more than enough to sate the hunger after Ryder-<br />

Jones’ introspection. Scalping end on the anthemic Chamber and<br />

this writer cries a really tiny bit. What a way to end the most<br />

wonderful day.<br />

If one wakes up on the weird side, one must learn the<br />

Lo Five (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)<br />


Bill Ryder-Jones (Michael Driffill / @driffyspics)<br />

ways of the weird side. Luckily, for the unaccustomed, there’s<br />

a wholesome and accessible exploration of the pockets of<br />

Birkenhead surrounding the festival. WALK ON THE WEIRD<br />

SIDE – a tongue-in-cheek walking tour taken in the company of<br />

local historian Gavin Chappell – drinks in the history of the Priory,<br />

the docks, its merchants and the town’s journey from prosperity<br />

to near neglect, sweeping from the Bloom Building down to the<br />

River Mersey, via Hamilton Square, through Woodside Ferry<br />

Village and along the promenade. It’s a welcome break that<br />

resets the eyes and minds shaken up by Scalping.<br />

Saturday sees another collage of creativity, with the<br />

intimate Priory Chapel being taken over by the electronic music<br />

collective Emotion Wave. Their showcase of four acts is a neat<br />

representation of what they do best. First up is Emotion Wave<br />

main-man LO FIVE, performing tracks from his new album<br />

Geography Of The Abyss. Lo Five creates a calming atmosphere<br />

of lulling ambience, unfurling huge swathes of melodic resonance<br />

that perfectly suits the monastic surroundings. BYE LOUIS<br />

previews his debut album, The Same Boy, during his set, telling<br />

stories and rendering the mundane sweetly poetic with songs of<br />

everyday tribulations. Armed only with a guitar and keyboard, he<br />

holds the audience spellbound with lo-fi pop of the most delicate<br />

and intricate nature.<br />

FOXEN CYN then follows with a set of darkening electro-pop<br />

and glam theatrics. Dressed in a black lace basque, sheer black<br />

tights, make-up and false eyelashes, Foxen Cyn is avant-garde<br />

and experimental with a knack for composing witty electronic<br />

pop. Dramatic and probably supernatural, he is a proper one-off,<br />

a glitch in the matrix, who conjures tunes from the seemingly<br />

possessed realm. POLYPORES is the final act on the Emotion<br />

Wave showcase and his form of transcendental radiophonics is<br />

hypnotic and meditative. There’s something about the setting and<br />

the sonorous refrain of humming synthesizers that transports us<br />

into the welcoming void. Polypores’ sound is one of warped tape<br />

saturation and machine hum, chiming with ambient echoes of<br />

transformer coils and the static charge of a post-storm downpour.<br />

The Bloom Building reprises its role on Saturday as the home<br />

of those acts bringing renewed mystery and excitement to guitar<br />

rock. Canadian-British troupe POTTERY show us why the fuss<br />

around their angular debut LP No. 1 is so justified, while new<br />

Heavenly Recordings signings WORKING MEN’S CLUB bring the<br />

spirit of post-punk clubbing to their ferocious set. But it’s DRY<br />

CLEANING who are the most affecting of this band of resurgent<br />

beatniks, Florence Shaw’s deadpan delivery of tales about sordid<br />

hotel encounters and showbiz royalty the perfect front to the<br />

quartet’s anxiety-ridden rocking.<br />

BEIJA FLO offers a thrilling glimpse into the glam cabaret<br />

she is building around her highly affecting masterclass of pop<br />

theatrics. The planners of Birkenhead Town Hall’s Assembly<br />

Rooms would not have foreseen it playing host to entertainment<br />

quite like this when they designed it, but they weren’t to know<br />

that Beija Flo was to be one of the more astute technicians of<br />

the room’s ornate surroundings. There’s still enough time to dart<br />

over to Birkenhead Priory to catch the hugely affecting pop-rock<br />

star NILÜFER YANYA as the light fades. The crowd drink it all in<br />

from their seats on the grass, with Yanya and the tower of the<br />

Priory looming in front of them. It’s a moment of relatively relaxed<br />

enjoyment after the hectic day that’s gone before, giving time for<br />

pause before Saturday’s headliner takes us on yet another journey.<br />

ANNA CALVI is an awe-inspiring presence on stage at<br />

the Town Hall. She stands before us silhouetted against the<br />

blood red, pulsing bank of lights and, right from the off, we are<br />

pummelled with intense noise. Calvi’s voice sweeps throughout<br />

the space during her headline set and her guitar roars its approval,<br />

beckoning the now bouncing audience. It’s a two-way thing here:<br />

her guitar is seemingly weaponised, being pushed beyond its<br />

intended purpose. She channels Robert Plant and Janis Joplin<br />

with supernatural ability. It’s pure shock and awe as I’ll Be Your<br />

Man tears through the coalescing air and the audience cheer their<br />

approval, like a group hallucination or the witnessing of an alien<br />

encounter.<br />

Anna Calvi is a juggernaut, jack-knifing its way down the<br />

highway, screeching tires and shearing metal; each song is<br />

propulsive, cacophonous, crackling the air around us, seemingly<br />

punching holes in space and creating mini-wormholes. It seems<br />

something bordering on alchemy to wring so much sound from so<br />

few components.<br />

The enormity of Future Yard and its participants hangs heavy<br />

as there’s a stagger back to the Bloom Building to groove to Elliot<br />

Hutchinson of Dig Vinyl’s 7” set. He is the complete DJ and his<br />

soulful overview paints a glorious picture of The One Eyed City in<br />

the dark.<br />

The early hours have set in and Birkenhead is peaceful,<br />

beautiful and fucked up. The stillness stops that being a problem,<br />

for now. And it awaits Future Yard 2020. Coupled with the<br />

success of the Wirral Food & Drink Festival in Birkenhead Park,<br />

Skeleton Coast and the Fresh Goods events, we may just have<br />

a town that is relevant and alive – regardless of what Marks &<br />

Spencer think. !<br />

Ian R. Abraham / @scrash<br />

Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss<br />

Frankie Muslin<br />

Dry Cleaning (Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk)<br />

Stella Donnelly (Michael Driffill / @driffyspics)<br />



Skeleton Coast<br />

Leasowe Castle – 31/08<br />

Over the past few years, boutique festival SKELETON COAST<br />

has become somewhat of an exclusive retreat for festival fanatics<br />

across Merseyside, and even further afield. Taking place in the<br />

last weekend of August, the Wirral day event has secured a<br />

comfortable spot on the gig schedule; bringing an increasingly<br />

hectic festival season to a close, not to mention, in recent years,<br />

providing a timely escape from the increasingly hectic political<br />

landscape.<br />

The achingly grand Leasowe Castle – usually reserved<br />

for weddings and other such luxury events – provides the<br />

perfect setting for the day as its haunting beauty and seclusion<br />

immediately throws you into an aura of exclusivity. The<br />

location, however, is certainly not the festival’s main draw.<br />

Cherry picked by Skeleton Key Records, the day’s line-up is<br />

seriously impressive; a testament to today’s emerging talent and<br />

antithetical to perceptions that guitar music is somehow dead.<br />

The Getintothis stage – in Leasowe Castle’s Keep, where<br />

wedding vows are usually exchanged – is populated by Skeleton<br />

Coast’s more unplugged performances. Nonetheless, the stage<br />

manages to maintain its sentimental ambience as it plays hosts<br />

to the day’s most tender tunes. With a gentle vocal delivery and<br />

lolling guitar sound, LUCY GAFFNEY draws comparisons to Bill<br />

Ryder-Jones. The small but appreciative crowd are treated to her<br />

blend of soft rock, including a delightful cover of The Cranberries’<br />

Linger. MARVIN POWELL, a Skeleton Key stalwart, similarly<br />

impresses with his collection of wistful songs. Throughout the<br />

day the stage serves as a pleasant interlude between the rock ’n’<br />

roll stages.<br />

Over at the EVOL stage, THE SNUTS stamp their mark on the<br />

festival. Frontman Jack Cochrane’s cheeky confidence is backed<br />

up by his impressive vocals and energised tunes. All Your Friends<br />

is an instant crowd pleaser, with a thumping bassline running<br />

right through the spirited track. The young Scots seem a band<br />

likely to continue cropping up in the indie scene after a summer<br />

touring a throng of European festivals. Squeezing in unreleased<br />

songs along with hits Fire, Somebody and Hey Heartbreaker,<br />

DREAM WIFE continue the vigorous atmosphere on the stage.<br />

The all-female trio have made waves over the past few years<br />

with their likeable mix of rhythmic punk. They are undoubtedly<br />

passionate and even manage to instigate an artist-crowd conga<br />

(yes, really). The penultimate act on the EVOL stage, RED RUM<br />

CLUB, prove why they are one of the hottest acts on Merseyside.<br />

Frontman Fran Doran’s voice powerfully amalgamates with cool<br />

guitar licks and intermittent trumpets to create a sound that is<br />

emphatically sonorous.<br />

A personal highlight of the festival comes at the Shit Indie<br />

Disco stage with BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD. Freakishly<br />

Mick Jagger-esque, Tom Rees embodies all the characteristics a<br />

frontman needs to propel his band into stardom: cool, charismatic<br />

and unabashedly confident. Remarkably, his voice never falters<br />

as the band blast through singles Love Forever, Late Night City<br />

and Double Denim Hop, permeated with just the right amount<br />

of glam rock. Tense anticipation awaits THE MYSTERINES as<br />

they headline this stage; they amply deliver, quickly turning the<br />

small room into a sweat-box of energy. Their commanding set<br />

is stocked full of songs almost recklessly formidable, with Lia<br />

Metcalfe’s voice booming amid the bands swaggering riffs.<br />

MILES KANE brings the festival to a close in exhilarating<br />

fashion. Ensuring the energy of the day is sustained, he<br />

explodes out of the blocks with Silverscreen and fan-favourite<br />

Inhaler – encouraging the already lively crowd into pits and on<br />

to shoulders. Looking genuinely buzzing for his headline slot<br />

and first (yes, first ever) show in his native Wirral, Kane rattles<br />

through his discography; from Rearrange to Cry On My Guitar,<br />

to Don’t Forget Who You Are, knowing the crowd will lap it<br />

up. His newer songs LA Five Four (309), Can You See Me Now<br />

and Blame It On The Summertime show that Kane is not only<br />

writing songs at a terrific pace, but also evolving as a songwriter,<br />

experimenting with his lyrical delivery and beefing up a recurrent<br />

riff. Kane and his band’s blistering set, which peaks with the<br />

lovely Colour Of The Trap, rubberstamps his status as an astute<br />

and assured festival acquisition. As Kane’s songs are chanted<br />

around the room, his ecstasy is visible and infectious; and with a<br />

feeling like that, who’s going to stop you. !<br />

Conal Cunningham<br />

The Mysterines (Brian Sayle / urbansubrosa.co.uk)<br />

“The Mysterines<br />

amply deliver, quickly<br />

turning the small<br />

room into a sweatbox<br />

of energy”<br />

Red Rum Club (Brian Sayle / urbansubrosa.co.uk)<br />


Franz Ferdinand (Tomas Adam)<br />

Kings Of Leon<br />

Fusion Presents @ Sefton Park – 30/08<br />

An extra day of rock music has been tacked on to the<br />

beginning of FUSION FESTIVAL this year, following its move<br />

from Otterspool Promenade to Sefton Park. The line-up leaves<br />

you with more questions than answers; questions like: who<br />

decided it would be a good idea to put these bands on the same<br />

stage? Did JAKE BUGG do something recently? Are FRANZ<br />

FERDINAND still together? Sure, it’s a strange mix, but that<br />

doesn’t mean that we can’t have a good time.<br />

The sun is beaming down as SAM FENDER starts the day<br />

off right. Already the recipient of the Critics’ Choice award at<br />

this year’s BRITs, he is gearing up to release his debut album<br />

Hypersonic Missiles. The North Shields-born singer proudly<br />

wears his influences on his sleeve, encapsulating the youthful<br />

euphoria and nostalgia of 1980s stadium rock. His rhythm<br />

guitarist mercilessly punches a sampler during Will We Talk?<br />

blasting out triumphant bells and strings. However, with the<br />

chills-inducing Dead Boys, Fender shows us that he is not a onetrick<br />

pony. Although taking clear nods from Bruce Springsteen,<br />

Fender still puts a modern spin on the style, in the same vein as<br />

The War On Drugs. It’s early in the day, but the crowd feeds on<br />

the adrenaline of Hypersonic Missiles, and a few people jump on<br />

each other’s shoulders during the saxophone solo. Despite the<br />

unnecessary Oasis cover of Morning Glory to close, the young<br />

singer is infinitely exciting, and is definitely worth a second watch<br />

at his upcoming Liverpool show in November.<br />

There are scattered showers and, for whatever reason, all of<br />

the bars are no longer taking cards. Yet, Liverpool darlings CIRCA<br />

WAVES give a performance fit for a festival, as they march<br />

through songs from their latest record What’s It Like Over There?.<br />

The anthemic Movies and piano-smashing Times Won’t Change<br />

Me are well received by the adoring crowd, whose spirits are not<br />

dampened by the lack of booze. Circa Waves unleash a frankly<br />

shocking amount of energy during their performance of Goodbye,<br />

which should see all comparisons to The Vaccines thrown out<br />

of the window; their calls for a mosh pit are answered during<br />

the Queens of the Stone Age-esque barn burner, which is an<br />

impressive feat so early in the day.<br />

Despite Sam Fender covering<br />

Morning Glory earlier on in the day,<br />

Jake Bugg tries even harder to do<br />

an impersonation of Noel Gallagher,<br />

although it may not have been his<br />

intention. The crowd isn’t as tightly<br />

packed and sweating as they were for<br />

Circa Waves, so something is definitely<br />

amiss. Is this one Lightning Bolt? It is<br />

Seen It All. Is this one Lightning Bolt? It<br />

is Two Fingers. This is his last song. It<br />

must be Lightning Bolt? It is.<br />

For a complete change of pace,<br />

next on is essential post-punk band<br />

and pride of Liverpool, ECHO & THE<br />

BUNNYMEN. How do they fit into this<br />

line-up? The inclusion of this seminal band seems like a tone-deaf<br />

ploy to draw in an older audience. Even classics like The Cutter<br />

and The Killing Moon lose their magic in this setting, and ache to<br />

be soaked in at a more dedicated show.<br />

Franz Ferdinand are still together. In fact, they put out a<br />

new album last year called Always Ascending. Seeing Franz<br />

Ferdinand this high on a bill is a strange sight to see, like stepping<br />

into a bizarre time machine that could take you back to the years<br />

2004-2007. Sure, they are not exactly a one-hit-wonder per<br />

se, but it is clear the audience is here for Take Me Out. Still, the<br />

supressed coil, build and release section of the song continues<br />

to be exciting and even refreshing despite the fact you know full<br />

well it is coming.<br />

KINGS OF LEON are aware of their controversy. Hardcore<br />

“It’s hard not to feel<br />

a part of something<br />

greater, beyond<br />

the bickering<br />

and missteps of<br />

Kings Of Leon”<br />

fans love to talk about their early material and its ranking; Slow<br />

Night, So Long, first – and how they stopped listening after Only<br />

By The Night – Crawl second. The British resentment of their<br />

later material is a paradox: the English embraced the sound of the<br />

dirty Deep South when their own country wouldn’t, only to shout<br />

“we were there first” across the water<br />

as the Americans followed suit.<br />

Anyone who likes their later<br />

stuff; Waste A Moment, third; must<br />

be an American, or closet American.<br />

Albums like Come Around Sundown<br />

(Radioactive, fourth) aren’t even given<br />

a second thought. But, why? Because<br />

it was right around the time we’d<br />

grown sick of hearing those dreaded<br />

two songs on the radio? Sure, we can<br />

all agree that Because Of The Times<br />

was the perfect goldilocks moment<br />

between the two halves of their<br />

career. Molly’s Chambers from the<br />

first half and Supersoaker, from the<br />

second, both retain raw energy, while<br />

embracing the stadium-rock sound that propelled them into<br />

stardom.<br />

Their catalogue is deep and they play to their audience.<br />

They know that their band means more to us than it does to<br />

Americans. We’ve been there through the good times – Fans, My<br />

Party, Mary – and the bad times – Sex On Fire, Use Somebody.<br />

We want to hear it all: the songs that makes us dance (Closer)<br />

or makes us cry (Milk), or both (Pyro). As the heavens open they<br />

play Cold Desert, and it is hard not to feel a part of something<br />

greater, beyond the bickering and missteps. !<br />

Joel Durksen / @Joeldurksen<br />

Peter Broderick and Friends Play<br />

Arthur Russell<br />

+ Claire Welles<br />

+ Nick Branton & David Kelly<br />

24 Kitchen Street – 22/08<br />

Misunderstood by many during his own lifetime, cellist<br />

Arthur Russell tragically passed away in 1992 unaware of<br />

the cult status his music would one day achieve. Now, as his<br />

reputation continues to grow, artists like multi-instrumentalist<br />

PETER BRODERICK are discovering the mystique of his music.<br />

Fans, too, who never had the chance to hear these outstanding<br />

compositions live, are now reaping the benefits.<br />

Russell served a brief tenure in the 70s as musical director<br />

of The Kitchen, an NYC arts space that hosted emerging<br />

experimental acts. Tonight’s proceedings at 24 Kitchen Street<br />

appear to share something of that avant-garde spirit. NICK<br />

BRANTON & DAVID KELLY’s three-song, entirely improvised, set<br />

on saxophone and drum kit setting a fitful, atonal pace.<br />

Outlier artist CLAIRE WELLES is truly absorbing despite<br />

being on the verge of losing her voice. Opening with the<br />

contagious (hopefully not) Viral Infection, Welles appears to be<br />

Liverpool’s answer to John Maus. “Life’s a piece of piss, especially<br />

when you’ve got no kids” she taunts on Shit For Brains, before<br />

the Krautrock careen of Knowsley. Both are taken from Welles’<br />

new album Transpose; “It’s my Nevermind,” she deadpans.<br />

“You’re not meant to laugh.”<br />

If anyone is fit to handle Russell’s sprawling back catalogue<br />

it’s Peter Broderick, a prolific recording artist with an obscene<br />

collaborative track record. The one-time Efterklang man isn’t one<br />

to rest on his laurels. We get a glimpse of his virtuosic talent early<br />

on during the deconstructed intensity of Lucky Cloud, which falls<br />

always to the measured delicacy of Close My Eyes. Undeterred by<br />

a false start, Losing My Taste For The Night Life is another fragile,<br />

delay-drenched high. Eli, scaled down from cello to fiddle, shows<br />

off the uncanny vocal resemblance between the two artists, as<br />

Broderick nimbly slides between notes in Russell’s signature<br />

touching style.<br />

Broderick is later joined onstage by a backing band<br />

comprising of some of Glasgow’s finest guns for hire. Their<br />

alt-country and new wave leanings are swapped for a reggae<br />

backbeat on A Little Lost, which closes with the ecstatic<br />

repetition of “I’m so busy thinking about kissing you”. Next<br />

Broderick asks for a volunteer in lieu of Allen Ginsberg on Ballad<br />

Of The Lights. None of the fear-stricken faces around me seem<br />

game, as if his suggestion seems to insight the same state of<br />

anxiety surrounding a day of team building exercises. Claire<br />

Welles, luckily, takes the stage before the all-out mutant disco of<br />

Go Bang, Russell’s Dinosaur L dancefloor hit.<br />

Broderick’s suggestion of getting the disco ball going is<br />

shot down (“The death star has not yet been completed,” he<br />

remarks) before some unnamed hero steps in repositioning the<br />

lights. Broderick then clambers into the crowd, exuberant and<br />

uninhibited, wailing the hook. Bathed in sepia rays, for his encore<br />

he closes with the contrasting tender balladry of You Are My<br />

Love, an unreleased Arthur Russell cut and one final testament to<br />

the iconoclast’s phenomenal legacy. A wild combination, indeed.<br />

David Weir / @betweenseeds<br />



Wand (Tomas Adam)<br />

Wand<br />

+ Gang<br />

Harvest Sun @ Shipping Forecast<br />

21/08<br />

Entering The Shipping Forecast on this late August evening, you<br />

wouldn’t expect to meet the initial reception that defies all previously<br />

held expectations. WAND – a kaleidoscopic ensemble playing<br />

psychedelic-infused garage rock – are promised to us. An evening<br />

walk home accompanied by joyous tinnitus and lasting colour is,<br />

generally, the symptom of this forthcoming prescription. And yet, on<br />

arrival, the venue is silent, almost intimidating. It’s unbearably quiet.<br />

The anticipation borders on nervousness.<br />

You also wouldn’t expect this sort of atmosphere for a band like<br />

Wand. The Californian outfit have gained attention and interest of<br />

music lovers all over the world with five albums in five years, from<br />

Ganglion Reef in 2014) to this year’s Laughing Matter. To break the<br />

deafening silence, Margate band GANG take to the stage.<br />

“Sorry if this is self-indulgent,” they say before playing a fullforce,<br />

40-minute medley of songs without any breaks. It’s quite<br />

remarkable to watch, though as an audience you’re left a bit dazed<br />

and confused by which song is which; when is the end and when is<br />

the beginning? It all blends into one, like an entire novel printed on<br />

an endless scroll, no page breaks for thought or introspection. It’s<br />

a full capture of the senses. There are even a few quick notes from<br />

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, for anyone who has keen metalhead ears<br />

in the audience. The crowd, filling up throughout this 40-minute<br />

thrashing, are loving it.<br />

Initial fear dissipates. The basement is full for Wand. There’s<br />

a collective feeling restored and every sonic limb has been well<br />

stretched. Gang have set the foundations with their heavy<br />

psychedelia and Wand build on them with finesse. Their more<br />

melodic approach is instantly palpable.<br />

Their setlist borrows mainly from Laughing Matter. Even though,<br />

judging by the response, some of the audience members may be<br />

here for older songs like Melted Rope, they still put on a captivating<br />

show.<br />

Wand create a wall of noise, but with an approachable, almost<br />

pop-like sensibility. It’s more a structure that builds around your<br />

contours, rather than juggernauts right on through. While in recent<br />

years the hype for Wand might have died down, they prove in their<br />

live show that they’re wonderful masters of their craft. Perhaps more<br />

ought to celebrate their humble mastery.<br />

Georgia Turnbull / @georgiaRTbull<br />

Stephen Fry: Mythos – A Trilogy:<br />

Gods, Heroes, Men<br />

Philharmonic Hall – 04/09-06/09<br />

There is a sea of people pouring through the doors of the<br />

Philharmonic on this dreary Wednesday evening. People whose<br />

lives have all featured trials, struggles, celebrations and defeats,<br />

all of which have been woven into the fabric of their personal<br />

narratives and have made them all the more human. With the<br />

world being as strange as it currently is, there is much that can<br />

distract us and detach us from each other and the wider world.<br />

At this time the ancient art of storytelling has never been more<br />

significant. It is a tool that, for aeons, has persisted in bringing<br />

humanity together to help us restore our collective focus, our<br />

faith. So, who better to offer that service to the people of<br />

Liverpool this week than the inimitable STEPHEN FRY, with his<br />

three-day Greek trilogy MYTHOS. Our journey starts tonight, in a<br />

full to the brim auditorium, with GODS.<br />

Ever the humble and unassuming gentleman, Fry walks<br />

briskly out on stage to huge applause. He play-acts bashfulness,<br />

quieting the crowd with open palms and cries of “Oh, stop it.<br />

Stop it.” He then walks us through our role as his audience<br />

throughout the oncoming stories: to sit as though we’re gathered<br />

around a fire and revel in the narratives. The backdrop of the<br />

stage is adorned with columns of projection screens by which the<br />

stories will be illustrated and the room transformed with fitting<br />

ambience. It currently displays a panorama of stars and nebulae<br />

as a beautiful blank canvas for the cosmic stories of creation.<br />

Aside from the projection screens there are only two things on<br />

the stage; a dark leather, high-backed chair and Fry himself. And<br />

so, after brief introductions and a pleasant anecdote about his<br />

meeting with Paul McCartney and his induction into LIPA some<br />

weeks past, we’re off.<br />

It all starts with Chaos. The word refers to, according to the<br />

Greeks, the origin of everything at the beginning of time; a chasm<br />

from which everything in existence was born. And from there,<br />

Fry’s rich, sage voice carries us through the annals of history,<br />

from the birth of the first Titan, Kronos, born of Uranus (the<br />

sky) and Gaia (the Earth), all the way to the birth of the Gods.<br />

Following the war between Gods and Titans we witness the 12<br />

Gods take their place on Olympus and meet many very telling<br />

characters, such as Persephone, the Titan Prometheus – who<br />

gave Man fire – and Pandora, who disobediently opened her jar<br />

and let out many evils but unknowingly shut it before letting out<br />

the one remaining being: Elpis, the Greek personification of the<br />

spirit of Hope.<br />

We leave Gods after Zeus’ whimsical creation of Man, as he<br />

punishes Prometheus for introducing Man to fire by shackling<br />

him at the top of a mountain and leaving him to be gored by<br />

an eagle for all eternity. Fire being the epitome of illumination<br />

and enlightenment, Man now had power. Spellbinding and<br />

enthralling, night one of three conquers us all.<br />

On night two, HEROES brings faces familiar and unfamiliar<br />

back into the world of Greek myth for another two hours of rapt<br />

storytelling. As Stephen settles into his chair once again, we hear<br />

now the stories of the famous Heracles, Perseus, Medusa and<br />

the Gorgons all the way through to Theseus of Athens. Along<br />

the way, Stephen offers fascinating factoids that emphasise just<br />

how much our current culture and language owes to the Greeks.<br />

Under his charm another audience enjoys a mesmerising canon<br />

of tales.<br />

As a bookend to the working week and the series of shows,<br />

Friday night arrives and show three begins. Tonight’s tales tell the<br />

earliest adventures of MAN; of Odysseus, Troy and Helen, with<br />

Polyphemus the Cyclops, Achilles and a host of other characters.<br />

We travel to the underworld to the river Styx and follow in the<br />

wake of Odysseus’ ship as he quests for his home of Ithaca.<br />

Throughout the stories Fry humorously voices each character<br />

with different regional accents. This doesn’t detract from the<br />

narrative, but does add some sweet brevity to the proceedings.<br />

Favourites have included the Brummie Heracles, the Alan<br />

Bennett-esque Perseus and the two or three characters lent a<br />

voice by Michael Caine. It is, again, a warm, intimate, beguiling<br />

evening.<br />

As Odysseus arrives back at Ithaca and reunites with his<br />

family, so the final show draws to a close. And with Odysseus’<br />

homecoming, symbolically, as Fry puts it “Mankind came home”.<br />

At the shows end, now standing, he leaves with a touching<br />

epilogue on humanity’s greater attributes. Our capacity for love,<br />

our strength and character, community, understanding and<br />

bravery. The ending of these tales depicts humanity’s grasp<br />

of independence from the Gods. Yet all of the Gods and their<br />

characteristics, be they noble or vicious, live on in us all.<br />

Fry bows out each night to a much-deserved standing<br />

ovation. These stories captured the hearts and minds of everyone<br />

in attendance and introduced some much-needed focus to the<br />

insanity and pace of the outside world. Stephen Fry is, whether<br />

he likes it or not, one of our greatest national treasures.<br />

Christopher Carr<br />


Edwyn Collins<br />

Harvest Sun @ Arts Club – 07/09<br />

Of the many reasons there are to love EDWYN COLLINS,<br />

one that is clear tonight is his genial nature and sense of humour.<br />

Referring to us in a deadpan tone as “the audience”, throughout<br />

the night he gently directs proceedings, telling us when to be<br />

quiet and introducing his songs with an engaging warmth; his<br />

laugh is a guffaw and he has a sense of mischief. And that’s<br />

before we’ve even got to the music, or that voice.<br />

The audience is mixed, but the majority are comprised of<br />

Edwyn Collins aficionados, those of a certain vintage whose<br />

cheers are as buoyant as their quiffs. Shouts of “Go on Edwyn,<br />

lad” punctuate the night, creating a really nice atmosphere at this<br />

packed, sweaty gig.<br />

He spans the decades with a comprehensive playlist that<br />

showcases his talent. From the start of his career with the postpunk<br />

1980s Orange Juice songs, including What Presence?! and<br />

Blue Boy, to the pop perfection of 1994’s ubiquitous solo hit<br />

A Girl Like You, with the reflective songs from his most recent<br />

album Badbea dropped in through the course of the night.<br />

His accompanying band are brilliant and capture the uptempo<br />

essence of his back catalogue, as well as the more mellow<br />

yet still perfectly pitched recent songs. The upbeat, radio-friendly<br />

Outside rocks the room. As he says, it’s got an “Iggy Pop voice<br />

and Buzzcocks sound”. The playing is relaxed and fills the room<br />

without ever overpowering the vocals or rhythm section.<br />

The biggest cheers come after Collins performs In Your Eyes,<br />

from 2010’s Losing Sleep, as a duet with his son, William. And<br />

while a saccharine emotion is not always welcome at a gig, it’s a<br />

sincere reaction. What’s even sweeter is that William can be seen<br />

pogoing away to his dad’s hits from behind the merchandise stall<br />

later. Good songs just don’t date.<br />

The guitar riffs move with ease from soul to post-punk to<br />

pop, throbbing through the venue. There’s some swaying from<br />

the audience, but, William aside, it’s a rather static gig – possibly<br />

as a result of the overwhelming heat and lack of air inside, or<br />

because it’s a relatively gentle affair.<br />

The production on the album versions gives the tracks an<br />

energy and grit that is missing a little from their live counterparts,<br />

while a change in pace would help to lift the second part. Saying<br />

this, Edwyn’s voice is beautiful with a rich tone that you would be<br />

happy listening to for a good while.<br />

The more commercial material comes in a glut towards the<br />

end, with Rip It Up one of the last songs before the encore. He<br />

states towards the end of the set that he’s “exhausted”, but that<br />

doesn’t stop an encore that includes a harmonica solo, which<br />

we’re warned we must “shh” for.<br />

Edwyn’s whimsical sense of humour and mellow nature<br />

entertains as much as his sonorous voice. Using his walking cane,<br />

he directs the audience, indicating which half should sing and<br />

cheer at which point – and we adhere to his commands, possibly<br />

because he does it with a massive grin (there’s also a “behave<br />

Edwyn Collins (Darren Aston)<br />

yourselves”, accompanied by an arch smile).<br />

Plainly, it’s a really nice evening with a really nice man who<br />

so happens to have perfected the craft of catchy pop songs and<br />

poignant love songs, all slung together with an originality and a<br />

voice that should have made him millions. He’s affable, talented<br />

and unorthodox and all the better for it.<br />

Jennie Macaulay<br />


Boo Hewerdine<br />

Sunday 6th <strong>October</strong><br />

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool<br />

Kathryn Williams<br />

WEDNESDAY 16th <strong>October</strong><br />

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool<br />

Richard Dawson<br />

SATURDAY 23rd November<br />

Studio 2, Liverpool<br />

Beans on Toast<br />

FRIDAY 20th December<br />

Phase One, Liverpool<br />

@Ceremonyconcert / facebook.com/ceremonyconcerts<br />

ceremonyconcerts@gmail.com / seetickets.com

<strong>October</strong> -<br />

Tuesdays -<br />

01 / 10 - BALLROOM DAN<br />

08 / 10 - JAM SCONES<br />

15 / 10 - WEAVER COLLECTIVE<br />

22 / 10 - HARAMBE MAONI<br />

29 / 10 - HEAVY LEMO<br />

Thursdays -<br />

03 / 10 - GREEN TANGERINES<br />

10 / 10 - SIMON DALE<br />

17 / 10 - FRANK GRIFFITH TRIO<br />

24 / 10 - TBC<br />

31 / 10 -HALOWEEN SPECIAL!<br />

32 Hope Street , Liverpool L1 9BX<br />

T: 0151 708 9574<br />

E: events@frederikshopestreet.com<br />



Join us for a bi-weekly<br />

group bike ride in partnership<br />

with the Baltic Triangle’s<br />

cycling gurus, Ryde.<br />



FREE<br />

We are looking for writers,<br />

thinkers, photographers,<br />

drawers, designers and<br />

other creatives to contribute<br />

to Bido Lito!<br />

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This month’s featured writer is multifaceted artist BEIJA FLO, who is hosting an exhibition of her art, poetry<br />

and musical work at Output Gallery in January.<br />

Do You Remember Before?<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

When you could not find the daytime,<br />

Scared of the light,<br />

Scared to open eyes.<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

How I’d wake,<br />

A whole two cycles before being asked,<br />

Just for you.<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

How the anxiety was too heavy to carry,<br />

So I volunteered,<br />

For the morning shift.<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

As well as I remember now.<br />

How I asked for help,<br />

To covered ears.<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

The present tastes different.<br />

A distant flavour,<br />

I only know how to crave.<br />

The Pirates And The Cobwebs<br />

I remember the pirates.<br />

Those who so aggressively pushed me off the side of their boats without as<br />

much as a bottle cork to float on, throwing sharp objects at me as I try and<br />

swim away.<br />

I respect these pirates far more than the spiders who made the cobwebs on<br />

shore. Webs which look so pretty from a distance, like wedding decorations.<br />

These webs do not glisten up close.<br />

Webs made of razor wire, holding captive all that once lived here. Leaving<br />

very little room and safety on the shore.<br />

Trying to push me back into the sea.<br />

Unlike the pirates, determined to see me die, these cobwebs do not have the<br />

guts to cut me – they are only brave enough to watch me drown.<br />

How noble.<br />

To silently drift away.<br />

To still glisten and wave when you catch my eye.<br />

Only when the pirates are far out to sea. Fearful they may return and cut<br />

these webs as they cut me.<br />

What a strange collection of loyalty.<br />

I didn’t abandon the ship.<br />

I was pushed.<br />

There was no room on land.<br />

So you can’t be angry I own the ocean.<br />

I had to go somewhere.<br />

My darling, do you remember before?<br />

I remember before.<br />

I<br />

I’m unhappy<br />

I do stupid things<br />

I drink<br />

Like the wine<br />

Is crying to be drunk<br />

I eat<br />

Rarely<br />

I cry<br />

Often<br />

I<br />

Accidentally<br />

On purpose<br />

Risked<br />

My own<br />

Life<br />

On an<br />

Important<br />

Day<br />

For<br />

My parents<br />

I’m sorry mam<br />

Beija Flo’s new single Nudes is out now via Eggy Records. Inside The Walls is a free exhibition of “nudes, anxieties and other content”<br />

which takes place at Output Gallery, Seel Street, between 17th January and 2nd February 2020.<br />


‘<br />









BOX OFFICE: 0151 709 4776<br />


LP_AMEL10241_Advert_123x366_+3mmBleed.indd 1 12/09/<strong>2019</strong> 14:32

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