Issue 106 / Dec 2019/Jan 2020


December 2019/January 2020 double issue of Bido Lito! magazine. Featuring: BEIJA FLO, ASOK, LO FIVE, SIMON HUGHES, CONVENIENCE GALLERY, BEAK>, STUDIO ELECTROPHONIQUE, ALEX TELEKO, SHE DREW THE GUN, IMTIAZ DHARKER and much more.

ISSUE 106 / DEC 2019/JAN 2020





Sat 23rd Nov

Life At The Arcade

Sat 23rd Nov

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Sam Fender

Sat 23rd Nov

The Steve Hillage


+ Gong

Sun 24th Nov

Primal Scream

Thur 28th Nov • 6.30pm

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Mac DeMarco

+ Los Bitchos

+ Phoebe Green

Fri 29th Nov

The Doors Alive

Sat 30th Nov • 6pm

The Wonder Stuff

performing ‘The

Eight Legged Groove

Machine’ & ‘HUP’

+ Jim Bob from Carter USM

Sat 30th Nov

Pearl Jam UK

Thur 5th Dec

Shed Seven

+ The Twang

Fri 6th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Happy Mondays

+ Jon Dasilva

Fri 6th Dec


Fri 6th Dec • 7.30pm

Conleth McGeary

Sat 7th Dec

Prince Tribute -


Tue 10th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students


Wed 11th Dec

D Block Europe

Thur 12th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Daniel Sloss: X

Fri 13th Dec

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Dermot Kennedy

Fri 13th Dec

The Lancashire


Fri 13th Dec

Scouting for Girls

Sat 14th Dec

The Smyths

… The Smiths 35

Sat 14th Dec

Ian Prowse &


+ The Supernaturals

+ Steve Pilgrim

Wed 18th Dec

The Darkness

+ Rews

Thur 19th Dec


All Change Album

Fri 20th Dec


Mother Nature Calls


Fri 20th Dec


at the Academy

Sat 21st Dec


Magic Hour Album

Sat 21st Dec

Limehouse Lizzy:

The Greatest Hits of

Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy

Tue 31st Dec • 10pm

Twisted Circus NYE

Sat 11th Jan 2020


Elvis Fronted Nirvana

Sat 18th Jan 2020

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students


Wed 29th Jan 2020

The Interrupters

+ Buster Shuffle

Sat 1st Feb 2020 • 6.30pm


Rocks Heat 4

Mon 3rd Feb 2020


Tue 4th Feb 2020


Wed 12th Feb 2020


Sat 22nd Feb 2020

The Fillers (The Killers

Official Tribute Band)

Tue 25th Feb 2020

The Murder Capital

Thur 27th Feb 2020

Kiefer Sutherland

Fri 28th Feb 2020

The Big Moon

Sat 29th Feb 2020

Bulsara and His


Thur 5th Mar 2020

Gabrielle Aplin

Thur 12th Mar 2020

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

The Blindboy Podcast

- Live

Thur 12th Mar 2020

Tragedy: All Metal

Tribute to the Bee

Gees & Beyond

+ Attic Theory

Sat 28th Mar 2020

AC/DC UK & Dizzy


Sat 28th Mar 2020

Becky Hill

Sun 29th Mar 2020

Cigarettes After Sex

Sat 4th Apr 2020

Mountford Hall,

Liverpool Guild of Students

Circa Waves

Sat 4th Apr 2020

808 State Live

Tue 21st Apr 2020

Darwin Deez - 10Yearz

Sat 2nd May 2020

The Southmartins

(Tribute To The Beautiful

South & The Housemartins)

Sat 9th May 2020

Fell Out Boy

& The Black Charade

+ We Aren’t Paramore

Sat 16th May 2020

Nirvana UK (Tribute)

Sat 23rd May 2020

The Bon Jovi


Fri 11th Dec 2020

Heaven 17







SAT 23RD NOV 10.30PM




































FRI 24TH JAN 2020 6.30PM


SAT 25TH JAN 2020 6.30PM


MON 27TH JAN 2020 7PM


FRI 31ST JAN 2020 6.30PM




SAT 8TH FEB 2020 7.PM


THUR 13TH FEB 2020 7PM


FRI 21ST FEB 2020 7PM


SAT 22ND FEB 2020 7PM


SUN 23RD FEB 2020 7PM




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SAT 14TH MAR 2020 7.30PM


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11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool L3 5UF

Doors 7pm unless stated

Venue box office opening hours:

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Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain, Warm Worlds and Otherwise (2018-19) and META (2018) commissioned as part of Worlds Among Us, a

collaboration between FACT, The Mechatronic Library, QUAD and Wysing Arts Centre. Installation view at FACT. Image by Rob Battersby.


at Liverpool


Elf Spirit of Christmas Awake, Arise – A Christmas Show For Our Times It’s a Wonderful Life

Connie Lush

An Audience With

Connie Lush

Plus support Satin Beige Chousmer

Friday 6 December 8pm

Music Room

Connie Lush

Plus special guest Thomas Lang

Saturday 7 December 8pm

Music Room


Elf (cert PG)

Tuesday 10 December 7.30pm

Christmas Tour


Tuesday 10 December 8pm

Music Room

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Clare Teal with

Guy Barker – In the

Christmas Mood

Wednesday 11 December 7.30pm

Family Concert

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Sing-along with Santa

Saturday 14 December 11.30am & 2.30pm

Sunday 15 December 11.30am & 2.30pm

Awake, Arise –

A Christmas Show

For Our Times

Featuring Lady Maisery, Jimmy Aldridge

and Sid Goldsmith

Monday 16 December 8pm

Music Room

Baked A La Ska:

Ska of Wonder

Monday 23 December 8pm

Music Room


It’s a Wonderful Life (cert U)

Tuesday 24 December 11am & 2pm

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Ghostbusters: Film with

Live Orchestra (cert PG)

Saturday 28 December 7.30pm

Sunday 29 December 7.30pm

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


Saturday 4 January 7pm

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Spirit of Christmas

Saturday 14 December 7.30pm

Tuesday 17 December 7.30pm

Wednesday 18 December 7.30pm

Friday 20 December 7.30pm

Saturday 21 December 7.30pm

Sunday 22 December 2.30pm

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26TH - 31ST DECEMBER 2019







Through our team of community writers, photographers, illustrators and creative minds, Bido Lito!

has chartered our city’s vibrant, do-it-together ethos for over 100 issues. You can join this dedicated

community by becoming a Bido Lito! Community Member.

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

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New Music + Creative Culture


Issue 106 / Dec 2019/Jan 2020

Second Floor

The Merchant

40-42 Slater Street

Liverpool L1 4BX

Founding Editor

Craig G Pennington -


Christopher Torpey -


Elliot Ryder -

Digital Media Manager

Brit Williams –


Mark McKellier -


Thom Isom -


Nathaniel Cramp

Cover Photography

Robin Clewley


Elliot Ryder, Cath Holland, Christopher Torpey, Julia

Johnson, Neil Grant, Simon Hughes, Sam Turner,

Paul Fitzgerald, Bethany Garrett, Laura Brown, Chris

Brown, Damon Fairclough, Rhys Buchanan, Matthew

Hogarth, Anouska Liat, Joel Durksen, Sophie Shields,

Daniel Ponzini, Georgia Turnbull, Rhys Thomas, Jennie

Macaulay, Glyn Akroyd, David Weir, Nina Franklin,

James Zaremba, Matthew Thomas Smith, Imtiaz


Photography, Illustration and Layout

Mark McKellier, Robin Clewley, Keith Ainsworth,

Antony Mo, Lo Five, Mr Marbles, Daniel Patlán, Ryan

Lee Turton, Luke Parry, Lucia Matušíková, Lauren Avery,

Lucy Roberts, Jemma Timberlake, Niloo Sharifi, Tomas

Adam, Stuart Moulding, Mook Loxley, Glyn Akroyd,

Brian Sayle, John Johnson, Nicholas Daly.


The end of the decade doesn’t feel too different to when

it began. Protest. Helplessness. Reality.

Of all the changes brought about by David

Cameron and Nick Clegg in five bitter years, raising

tuition fees is probably the least

devastating when you weigh the receipts

up against the body count. But, for me,

it was the first moment in my life where

I’d been directly affected by a democracy

I wasn’t old enough to influence. A

democracy where I’d eventually be

granted four votes on a national scale

before the decade was out. Three of

which I’d be on the losing side. The fourth

is still in the phase of protest. It’ll switch

to helplessness on the evening of 12th

December. The early hours that follow

deliver the reality.

Being told that I would be the first

cohort to pay tripled tuition fees was the

most forcible lesson I’d had of ‘getting

what you’re given’. It was a mantra that

typified much of those first five years of

the decade. Tuition fees were just the first

incision, the entry point before many vital organs of society were

removed. So many more were to get what they were given, not

what they deserved. All with much more severe consequences

than carrying inflated university debt. Many protested. We

looked on helpless. Then we saw the reality. Austerity bred the

chaos that unravelled in the five years that followed. When you

push a community to breaking point it will start to point fingers

within. Then the irreparable damage is done.


“Bravery will always

have a home in

Bido Lito! for the

decade to come”

Bravery is the key. It’s the source of power the assumes

control without reason. For 10 years, Bido Lito! has been a

chronicle of bravery, platforming/celebrating/holding up those

who choose to assert themselves through music and art. Those

who’ve taken control of their situation,

those who’ve completely lost themselves

in it. It takes an unrivalled bravery to

formulate a public facing expression of

protest, of helplessness, of reality, of


This issue, like the 105 that have

run through the decade, is packed full of

bravery. Bravery is Beija Flo’s expression

of physicality and the world that exists

beyond the limitation of form. Bravery

is ASOK following emotive intuition;

equally for Lo Five in the spiritual sense.

As noted by Simon Hughes, bravery

is taking ownership of addiction and

seeing that circumstances can be

reversed. This in particular is something

to take note of when feeling the strains

of the political climate, the world beyond

the socialist bubble of Liverpool.

Bravery is taking back control of language, of image, of

expression. Taking it away from those who’ve weaponised its

use. Bravery will always have a home in Bido Lito! for the decade

to come. This won’t change. But, on 12th December? Let’s hope

it’s a time for real change. !


Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Photo by Robin Clewley


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Bido Lito! is a living wage employer. All our staff are

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All contributions to Bido Lito! come from our city’s

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projects around the world. This more than offsets our

carbon footprint and ensures there is less CO2 in the

atmosphere as a result of our existence.

The views expressed in Bido Lito! are those of the

respective contributors and do not necessarily

reflect the opinions of the magazine, its staff or the

publishers. All rights reserved.


Beija Flo’s experimental artistry is boldly laid bare in her new

material; Cath Holland learns more about its subtle contours.

20 / ASOK

Breathless breakbeats and warped techno that drip with the

energy of club walls; ASOK on the notion of making music in the



Since opening at Birkenhead Market in June, Convenience Gallery

has been working to rub away the divide between the everyday

and the artist.


Social history writer and football journalist Simon Hughes looks

back at Liverpool’s progression over the last 10 years.


14 / NEWS




Electronicist Lo Five navigates us through the terrain of his latest

album, a world conjured from meditation and internal discovery.



A selection of Bido Lito! writers pick out some of the most

important cultural moments to have taken place in Liverpool over

the past decade.

37 / BEAK>

Constantly sharpening the edges of their three-sided setup,

these masters of sonic immersion know how to keep it sounding



“The intention for my music was to make it underthought:

straight from my brain to the machine. I wanted to do it in the






The Stomach And The Port

Rashid Johnson, The Crisis, 2019

Liverpool Biennial returns for its 11th year in 2020,

taking place between 11th July and 25th October. The

contemporary art festival will engage with Liverpool, its

history and cultural landscape in even greater depth, guided

by a theme of The Stomach and The Port. Liverpool’s

dynamic as a historic international port city – a point of

global contact and circulation – provides the perfect canvas

on which to consider the analogy of the city as an entity

similar to the body; a fluid organism that is continuously

shaped by and shaping its environment. Public spaces,

historic sites and the city’s leading art venues will ‘host’

the various artworks that will comprise the Biennial, the

UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art. New

director, Fatos Üstek, and curator, Manuela Moscoso, have

constructed this modern vison for the festival, working with

more than 50 international artists to interpret this theme in

relation to Liverpool.

A Feast Of Fests 1

Festival season never ends on Merseyside, and 2020 is already shaping

up to be plentiful in that regard, with announcements coming thick and

fast. SOUND CITY have come out of the blocks with all guns blazing

for the festival in the Baltic Triangle (1st-3rd May), headlined by goth


STEALING SHEEP are among those also joining the fray, with more

expected announcements due early in the new year. Barely a week

later (7th-9th May), FOCUS WALES gets up and running for 2020 in

Wrexham 7th-9th May. The mercurial GRUFF RHYS headlines, with

some brilliantly eclectic acts – such as FLAMINGODS and GEORGIA

RUTH – spread across a line-up that has something for everyone.

And, after a year off, Positive Vibration Festival Of Reggae returns to

the Baltic Triangle, on 12th-13th June. HOLLIE COOK and GENERAL

LEVY AND JOE ARIWA are the big-hitters leading the way, in what is a

welcome return to the gigging calendar.

Pale Waves

A Feast Of Fests 2


What, you want more festivals? OK – we can help you there, because our diary 2020 is already filling up with

unmissable dates. LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL is one of the earlier starters, taking place at Hope

University’s Capstone Theatre between 27th February and 1st March. London collective CYKADA bring the fire;

Belgians TIN MEN AND THE TELEPHONE bring the raucous fury; and saxophonist TONY KOFI brings a quartet

whose set will focus on Kofi’s work with Ornette Coleman. The 10th edition of THRESHOLD will also, sadly, be its

last. The grassroots arts and music festival has championed many emerging artists during its tenure, but will be

wrapping things up in the Baltic Triangle on 3rd and 4th April (artist announcements due in January 2020). INDIKA

has made some slight changes to its programme, moving its main festival to November (12th-22nd) across a number

of city centre venues, including St George’s Hall, Leaf and the Philharmonic Music Room. A major Diwali celebration is

also planned as part of the revamped programme, with year round taster events and showcases to keep us keen.

Read The Dots

Big Wows Treasure Hunt

Two local art organisations, The Reader and dot-art, are joining forces to

deliver a new range of activities and workshops for 2020. Based in the

recently refurbished Mansion House in Calderstones Park, The Reader is a

national charity that champions the benefits of shared reading and literature.

In teaming up with independent art gallery dot-art, The Reader will be

incorporating a visual art programme alongside a number of art classes

and community workshops within the Mansion House. dot-art has been

running a successful series of art classes with The Bluecoat for a number

of years, and their involvement with The Reader will open up exciting new

possibilities; nature photography, walking drawing, textile arts and short

story illustration courses will all take a lead from the glorious setting of

Calderstones Park.

If you haven’t yet managed to get your hands on the limited edition

STEALING SHEEP Remix Wows cassette we teamed up to release

earlier this year, you may just be in luck. A number of the special

pink cassettes – featuring versions of the tracks from the Sheep’s

third album Big Wows remixed by their friends – are dotted around

the city (and even further afield) to be picked up for free. We’ve

hidden 50 cassettes in locations specific to Stealing Sheep – places

where they’ve played, worked, recorded music, filmed videos and

created artwork. We’ve even left a number of cassettes at Liverpool

landmarks for anyone to find. If you want one for your collection,

follow the clues on our Twitter account (@BidoLito). Big wows!

Independent Venue Week

Sinead O’Brien

Anna Calvi is the ambassador of INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK 2020, the nationwide

festival that puts the spotlight on the indie music venues that are the lifeblood of the UK

music scene. In Liverpool, a whole host of establishments are taking part between 27th

January and 2nd February, bringing a slew of gigs at an otherwise downbeat time of

year. District, Grand Central Hall, The Zanzibar, Jimmy’s and Parr Street Studio2 all have

activity planned in, with many shows still to be announced at the time of going to press.

The Jacaranda venues – Phase One, EBGBS and Jacaranda Club – throw themselves

into the action once more, with BLACKWATERS’ headline show at EBGBS on 30th

January one of their highlights. Craft Taproom and Handyman have their own weekend

scheduled, featuring SILENT-K and MATT MCMANAMON (The Dead 60s) among others.

And Birkenhead Library gets in on the act, with a joint headline show from SINEAD

O’BRIEN and PUMA BLUE on 2nd February. Keep an eye out for more shows to be




Glitch-pop wizard PODGE gives us

an insight into the various layers and

sounds that inspired the treasure

trove of sonic delights that is his new

EP, Eatmore Fruit.

Walt Barr

Free Spirit

Muse Records

Am I Not A Woman And A Sister

Am I Not A Woman And A Sister is a brand new visual

installation by Manchester-based artist ELIZABETH KWANT,

co-curated with female survivors of modern day slavery in

partnership with Liverpool charity City Hearts. Situated at

the International Slavery Museum, the piece seeks to better

understand the history of the transatlantic slave trade and its

strong links with the North West region. The film on display

reflects on colonial slavery and the legacy which is still felt on

a social and tangible level here in Liverpool, Manchester and

surrounding mill towns, with further assessment of modern

day slavery and human trafficking that is rife in contemporary

first-world societies. The moving image installation is open

now, showing until 15th February 2020.

Steel A March

A new initiative aimed at 16-25 year olds looking to exhibit and develop art

works is set to host its first event this coming January. ANTISTEEL will be a

pop-up project that moves around the city and seeks to platform a wide mix of

creatives, offering access to those who do not have formal training or in higher

education. The first pop-up show will take place at MAKE North Docks on 9th

January, with an open call for submissions to be part of the group show running

until 12th December. Works can cover everything from music, art, fashion

and performance, with applications to be sent to for


Sweet Release(s)

In case you were wondering: yes, we get lots of music sent our way each month

and, yes, we listen to it all. If you’d like a taster of some of those morsels we’re

lucky enough to hear, try some of these on for size. THE FLOORMEN take a step

into Sketches Of Brunswick East territory with a brand new EP that’s full of woozy

ditties and meanderings. The Easy Peelers “Don’t Panic, We’re In Cannich” is a

collection of songs written and recorded by the quartet in a caravan in Scotland,

complete with the patter of rainfall on the window. Multi-instrumentalist and

former Wave Machine VIDAR NORHEIM makes a welcome return with a new EP

of squelchy synths and immersive pop on X-Ray Eyes (check out The Pink Echo,

too, for a Bido nod!). And, fresh from his track 4F3D63 Hex being included on

the new Future Bubblers 3.0 release, WILROY has interpreted Dutch producer

Stephen Emmer’s 2017 album as Home Ground (The Wilroy Remixes). A touch

of progressive hip hop is added to the soulful originals, which feature Chaka Khan

and Leon Ware. Keep the music coming!

Elizabeth Kwant, 2019

Why can’t we do this IRL?

In November 2018, Shirrako, a YouTuber, shared a

video of his modified Red Dead Redemption 2 avatar

killing a suffragette, creating huge controversy due to

its violence against a female character. This incident,

which sparked the comment “why can’t we do this

IRL?”, is the subject of artist Megan Browdmeadow’s

piece within the you feel me_ exhibition at FACT,

which centres on restorative justice. On 7th

December, the second part of this immersive VR

experience launches, which centres on a virtual trial

of the accused video game character. Delving into the

ethical questions behind gaming, this piece engaged

with FACT’s Dungeons And Dragons gaming

community to discuss the social, ethical and moral

implications of such behaviour in a virtual space.

It’s Quizmaaaaaassssss!

Bido Lito! and Liquidation’s joint Christmas Christmas Christmas

trivia extravaganza returns on 10th December, with Constellations

once again hosting proceedings. The event looks to cap off a great

year in Liverpool music with fans, friends and colleagues pitting their

wits and arcane bits of music knowledge against one another for a

selection of fantastic prizes in Punk Rock Bingo (not Bongo). Once

again, all proceeds from the night will go to chosen charities The

Whitechapel Centre and MIND, and there will be festive live music

from some special guests. Head to to get your

tickets before we’re all booked up – and email to

reserve your table.

The Floormen

I originally found this song

when Madlib sampled it on

Freddie Gibbs’ Crime Pays.

This song and Crime Pays

were constantly being played

when I was hanging out with all my friends during this past

summer. The electric piano chords and soft vocals really

bring the whole relaxed vibe together and getting to hear

Freddie Gibbs rap about “Choppin’ up this change with

cocaine in my microwave” over the top of it totally switches

up the whole mood of the song.

Bruno Pernadas

Valley In The


Pataca Discos

This lovely song from

Portuguese jazz musician


one of those songs that I had on repeat this summer.

I love the contrast of male and female vocals and the

chord progressions keep me on my feet, never being too

predictable. The descending middle eight is one of my

favourites of all time, with the simple guitar and the rich

vocal harmonies bringing it to the next level.

Mac DeMarco


Mac’s Record Label

The newest MAC DEMARCO

album came to be my new

favourite of his over this

last summer. It’s really

helped me appreciate super

minimal arrangement and

instrumentation. Nobody in particular made me realise that

one tiny element can bring so much feeling to a song. The

warbling synth in this song changes it from a chill guitar

tune to a warm, slimy, relaxing load of goop.

Hinobu Tanaka

& Kazumi Totaka

Professor E. Gadd

Luigi’s Mansion


I straight up named one of the

songs on Eatmore Fruit after this. Me and my friends found

this by accident while going through the Luigi’s Mansion

soundtrack and it’s stuck ever since. This song shows you

the true power of a really good groove. I tried to capture

that feeling in my track Prof. E Gadd, but it came out pretty

different in the end.

Podge’s new EP, Eatmore Fruit, is out now.



Physicality and form have been at the forefront of Beija

Flo’s experimental artistry, boldly laid bare in her fervent

songwriting and zealous live showcases. Cath Holland

learns more about the subtle contours of her being.


30 minutes into interviewing BEIJA FLO, I know more intimacies

about her than women I’ve known all my adult life. We’re in a

slightly different scenario than a naturally developing friendship

gradually built; every word and pause is recorded, as we talk in

a Liverpool city centre bar in late afternoon. But my point still stands: Beija

likes to share.

I first heard of Beija via a review of one of her shows. The writer wrote

at length about the singer, poet and artist’s medical history, namely her

diagnosis of MRKH syndrome – more of that later. In the accompanying

photographs she looked witchy, wild and sexy, in fishnets and leotard with

everywhere hair and much drama. Seeing her perform myself, I witnessed

a minimalist yet theatrical performance – she and a laptop, but on a stage

decorated like a burlesque club in Berlin. Most of all, she was a woman

comfortable in her own skin. Weeks later, a nervous daytime show at

Birkenhead Library away from her usual crowd showed the vulnerability of

a fledgling artist.

I’ve since learnt a lot more about Beija Flo the artist: she’s a life model,

standing and reclining naked in front of complete strangers for a living. On

one hand we have Beija the bold siren, with a microphone and great one

line put-downs. And on the other, a young woman still trying to find her


Beija’s MRKH syndrome means she has no womb or sexual organs.

She talks frankly about that and her poor health at her gigs and in

interviews, via social media, wherever she can. I sure as hell didn’t know

what it was the first time, so I Googled madly for information on the

subject. It’d be rude not to.

“I’m an enigma to the NHS,” she tells me of it, and her seven-year

experience with the cyclical vomiting syndrome which leads to constant

nausea and daily bouts of being sick. “The amount of time I’ve been in

[hospital], it’s like, ‘Do you mind just talking to a team of junior doctors,

because you know way more than we do’.”

So yes, we think we know all about Beija Flo. How wrong we can be?

We’re to learn a heck of a lot more, revealed in a forthcoming exhibition

at Output Gallery incorporating her different creative strands. Somewhat

tellingly, the collection of drawings, poems – she cites eccentric oddballs

like Viv Stanshall and Ivor Cutler as influences – and photographic selfportraits,

is called Nudes, along with the recent single of the same name.

This is the sharing of her most secret self and experiences yet, an insight

into an 18-month period some time ago when she suffered a series of

scarring events. “I gave trust to the wrong people and received scars in

return,” says the press release.

“Over this period I was with a very abusive partner emotionally and

slightly physically,” she explains quickly. “Sort of had a lot of sex when I

didn’t really want to.”

Er, having sex you don’t want is much more than ‘slight’ abuse. It’s the

real deal. Abuse is abuse.

“Yes. No, not slightly, really.” She smiles, sadly…

In the song Nudes, with its bleak narrative and static electronic musical

bed, she sings of the relationship: “I’ve been the fool…” But any blame

needs to be firmly on the abuser’s shoulders.

“Yes. Yeh… I was with someone who wasn’t very good for me. And left

me feeling very small and very angry. But also very un-listened to and very


Abusive relationships have emotional and physical effects and this

exhibition is about your relationship with your body. I’m guessing this

experience had an effect on your body, and how you viewed it?

“After that, sex really wasn’t fun anymore for a while, quite a while.

And it affected me with later partners. Maybe half a year after being with

him, I met this really wonderful girl and I know that I was very challenging

to be in a relationship with. It was more to do with what I’d been left with.

[I] didn’t want to be hurt or revisit emotions.”

The issue of body confidence is part of the exhibition as well, I take it?

“The exhibition is an insight into the journey I’ve been on with my own

body; the good bits and the bad bits. I still have days where I’m, like, ‘I hate

this’. Sometimes if I eat a really big meal I get a bit bloated and I hate that

because my biggest, biggest nightmare is, and I know it’s silly, but, erm, I

get very insecure someone might think that I’m pregnant. Because I can

never ever be pregnant.”

And that upsets you?

“It’s a really, really big concern. My weight has always been up and

down I have some days where I put on a bit of weight and I feel really

good about where all of that weight is.”

As long as it’s evenly distributed?

“Yeh! It’s not like I’ve ever stood naked in front of anyone and they’ve

gone, ‘Oh, no, you’ve had too much ice cream, put your T-shirt back on’.

No one’s ever said that and I think I almost have a few little tricks I use on

myself to make myself feel good about my body.”

The photos in the exhibition were taken during her ‘lost weekend’

that lasted four or five months after the bad relationship ended. She won’t

reveal when this took place “because people can’t figure out how old Beija

is. All I can tell you it happened in a window on Bold Street”.

And which window is that? I ask.

“Can’t tell you.”

But she can tell me it was warm, so when

indoors she was naked much of the time,

purposely isolating herself.

“I remember having a lot of fun but also

feeling very lonely. But almost being grateful for

the loneliness, ’cos it meant I really discovered

my body. I took lots of walks and did lots of

drawing and wrote lots and spent a lot of time

with myself.

“That man I was with, the horrible one, was

quite abusive. Abusive,” she corrects herself. “I

lost a lot of myself in that experience and I’m

still gaining that back. Or maybe I will never

quite get her back.”

The eventual need to be with people led her

to go on a series of dates, but again with men

who took advantage of her vulnerable state.

“I don’t fully remember all of it. It was a

very dark period of time where I look back and I

think, ‘Who was that woman in my body?’ I did not like her.”

She thinks it happened because she feels more ‘normal’ when she’s

in a relationship with “someone not totally emotionally understanding or

won’t just hear ‘I don’t have a vagina’ and… [will] let you explain how you

can have a normal… a great sex life.

“That’s when I feel the most confident in my body and my issues

because, even though I’m very confident about my MRKH syndrome, and

know that if any future partner would have an issue with the syndrome

that they’re in the wrong, not me.

“I’m intrigued by sex and how people do it,” she continues. “I’ve

always, always been interested in what other people are doing in sex and

I remember being in the earlier stage in my life when sex was a lot more

blurry and I didn’t really know what it was. When I first started discovering

my body I was ahead of the other girls, really. I was with the boys in terms

of experimenting with masturbation.”

It’s not that teenage girls don’t masturbate, I don’t think. It’s more that

it’s taboo. They don’t talk about it.

She nods. “I remember asking boys how it felt and how do you do it

and I was very intrigued. It wasn’t in a sense of let me see it or anything, I

was very interested in how other people saw their bodies.”

Beija and I meet again a couple of weeks later, in the same place on

the same sofa, but this time I ask her to bring some of the photos from

“I have always aimed

to never lose the

confidence and the

innocence and the

freedom of being a child”



her Nude months. A fan of the late American photographer

Francesca Woodman, who specialised in experimental photos

of herself and other women, Beija’s images are true to her

inspiration. There are lots, all of Beija at this mysterious place

on Bold Street. Taken at different times of the day and night, in

some she’s naked, others wearing underwear. Her mood varies,

too: she’s in distress in one picture, the next peaceful and happy.

Some are natural and stark, others posed and a little contrived.

In one she’s in a bath dyed red with food dye and bath bombs.

A few show her body only, no face. She knew from the get-go,

she says, which images out of the incredible 500 taken were to

be used for the exhibition. From different times of the day, when

newly woken or late at night, and in earlier images she has no

body hair. In ones taken later, armpit and pubic hair is growing

back as her confidence and sense of self makes a return.

She flicks through them and recalls each one with surprising

clarity. It’s not like looking at photos on your phone of a night out

with friends, holiday snaps or shots photographers take of her

at gigs. So what did she think of her body laid out in such a way

when she saw them for the first time? A camera taking a still of

you like this and alone, no audience to pander to or entertain,

how did she feel? It’s difficult to get an answer out of Beija on

this one – I ask her three times. “They’re sad in places and hard to

look at,” she concedes eventually. “I captured how I was feeling.

It was more, ‘This is what we’ve got’. It wasn’t a negative or a


She points out one of her laying down with a peaceful

expression on her face, her upper body at ease and content.

There are visible love bites on her neck. “This one is after quite a

nice one night stand. I quite liked him and never heard from him


You look very girlish there: pink skin, slightly flushed.

“Yeh, it’s partly the lighting. After you’ve had a nice time with

somebody you feel… it looks a little bit like I’m glowing.”

In a remarkably beautiful photograph, Beija somehow

resembles a pre-Raphaelite painting, her hair cascading around her

shoulders in waves. She’s often booked for life modelling precisely

due to that look. Hylas And The Nymphs, the 1896 oil painting by

John William Waterhouse, springs to mind, removed temporarily

and controversially from public view from Manchester Art Gallery

last year, leading to accusations of censorship. The irony being,

if you wish to take the subversive view, it features females

surrounding and luring a young man into the water for their own

pleasures. The nymphs are calling the shots.

Beija’s hair changes in the images as we go through them, in

itself reflecting her state of mind, she reckons. In some she’s cut it,

obviously and dramatically.

“I don’t really get my hair cut often. It’s almost as if I have to cut

something off myself, [so] I’ll cut off my hair. It’s quite cleansing.”

On the plus side, it grows back.

“It grows back newer and stronger, which I like.”

Beija points out exhibition photos she calls “the sunburnt

drunk ones”. “It was on a really hot day,” she says of them,

“and I’d been out with lots of my male friends and I sat there

frustrated, [thinking] ‘Why aren’t I allowed to take my top off and

sit here? Why is it I was allowed to do that when I was six, but

not now I’m a woman. How come boys are allowed to become

men and lots of rules don’t change, especially with how they

present their body?’”

It’s the women should exist in private space only and men

alone own the public arena scenario, as old as time itself. “Being a

woman is challenging.”

Beija goes on to share stories, of being told by men and boys

when she’s not wearing a bra and the male inability to pass a

woman in a crowded space without placing his hands on her

hips, shoulders or back.

“There are people out there who don’t understand personal

space,” she laughs at the ridiculousness of the last example.

Going back to the subject of the

exhibition, I can’t help but wonder if

revisiting such a strange period in her

life is an entirely positive experience?

Most people don’t enjoy dredging up

bad stuff.

“It’s been emotional. It’s like,” she

pauses to take a breath. “Do you ever

feel sorry for your younger self?”

All the bloody time, my dear.

“If only you knew then what you

know now? I felt so horrible for that

period of time and I look back and I’m

so proud of myself for getting to where

I am now. Although I’ve still bloody

miles to go, the universe loves playing

games with me. I get lots of shit

thrown in my garden.”

Do you think woman relate to you,

because of the openness around your vulnerabilities? Women

are restricted by our biology and physical weakness compared

to men. Your limits may be different from most women but the

common bonds remain.

“[With] the openness and honesty of it,” she speculates. “I

don’t think I particularly dress up or glamourise my struggles. I

think a lot of women don’t realise that we all have something to

say. We’ve all had bad experiences and some people think, ‘Oh,

I’m a woman and that’s just the way unfortunately society is’, and

I’m like, ‘Sod that for a bunch of bananas’.

“Some women at first hate me ‘cos they think I’m being really

cocky: ‘Look at this girl, she knows she’s really thin’ and whatever.

Then they watch the show and find out all of these things and I

haven’t had the easiest time. A large amount of the time the way

women dress is for other women. I feel for women that dress for

other women and are so self-conscious that they maybe don’t

wear something they like and feel comfortable in.”

Being part of a group is a human need, though. Everyone

feels that, even outsiders.

“What I mean is, a lot of women feel really under pressure to

act a certain way and look a certain way. When people see what

I do and the confidence and the fact I feel sexy onstage… still

people ask me why I wear leotards, where I get the confidence

running around in the nip. Essentially I have always aimed to

never lose the confidence and the innocence and the freedom of

“Being told that

there was so much

my body can’t do, I

asked myself, ‘What

can my body do?’”

being a four-year-old running around in your knickers around a

paddling pool in the middle of the town park.”

This exhibition explores the relationship between you and

your body, yet you must ultimately feel let down by yours?

“You know, men can shout all they want at me. I don’t have a

vagina. You can’t have sex with me even if you tried. It’d hurt you

a lot more than it would hurt me because it’s essentially shoving

your dick into a brick wall. That’s not going to feel good. I feel in

particular with that side of things, me being told that there was

so much my body can’t do, I’m like, ‘OK, what can my body do?’

You can look but you can’t touch because of my situation.”

Incels – men who think they are entitled to sex and resent

women when they can’t get it – get

very angry. You as a woman can be

hurt in other ways by them.

“Yes,” she nods. “Yes. Been there.”

So you’re aware of your


“Yes, I am. When I’m not at a venue

and travelling to or from I’ve had men

think I’m a prostitute just because

I’m in knee-high boots and a leotard.

That’s a very strange position to be

in but, also, unless we go for it in the

places that are safe then it will never

get to the point where we want it be.”

When planning the photo

session to go with this article, the

first thing she asked herself and the

photographer, Robin Clewley, was,

‘What am I allowed to do?’ Speaking

shortly after the session, she confesses to being “a bit nervous”

on the run up to the day.

But I want to know, how different did it feel, being

photographed by someone else?

“It was obviously different to posing for myself.”

Many photos for the Nudes exhibition were taken by

candlelight, a contrast with the professional lighting draped

across the shoot.

“Because I’m a life model subject so often, I trust people

to get me to position my body in a way that works from their

angle. The paintings and drawings I see of myself are always so

beautiful. That’s how I felt after this shoot.

“Robin made me look like a Renaissance painting. Everyone

should feel like a Renaissance painting.” !

Words: Cath Holland / @cathholland01

Photography: Robin Clewley /


Inside The Walls: Nudes, Anxieties And Other Content runs at

Output Gallery from 17th January to 2nd February 2020. The

single Nudes is out now via Eggy Records.






Breathless breakbeats and warped techno that drip with the energy of club walls; ASOK sets new

parameters for making music in the moment.

“It all changed for me in 2013.” Stuart Robinson,

producer and DJ, AKA ASOK, isn’t recalling his

breakthrough moment in music here. By this point,

he’d been DJing for over 15 years. And by the moment

he’s about to recollect, he’d been touring the world as Cosmic

Boogie, a project set up with Merseyside’s premier loop digger

Greg Wilson. At the height of its success his lightbulb moment in

music was about to flash before his eyes.

“I was playing at a party in Montenegro on a beach, a private

party,” he begins, essentially

alluding to the first steps towards

this conversation we’re now having

today in his home studio, one

centred on his jagged breakbeat,

“You’ve got to

connect with the

music the way you’d

want others to”

warped techno and jungle-infused

productions. “There was probably

around 2,000 people there. About

1,500 were probably the most

beautiful women I’ve seen in my

life.” In the world of the jet-setting

DJ, the picture he’s painting doesn’t

seem like the crux for change, but he

continues. “There was DJ Robinson,

sweating behind the decks in 40

degree heat. People doing lines of

coke from the decks. It was wild. It

was going off.”

Starting out as a DJ in the mid 1990s, picking up a pair of

Vestax PDX-2000s in exchange for designing a website for

Manchester record purveyors Eastern Bloc, Robinson came up

through raves in Manchester and Liverpool. He cites escaping

to musical scenes thriving beyond post coal mining Newton-le-

Willows as the gateway to dance music. “The best way to go

somewhere new was to get absolutely twatted and go to dance

music clubs,” he colourfully illustrates. Attending his first rave

at 14, his first forays as a DJ came later in the world of drum

and bass, jungle and hardcore. Though, he says, there was little

change in approach whether in front of the decks of behind;

always unadulterated release.

By 2003, he’d moved away from breaks and studiously

delved into learning about dance music and its history. “I just

started reading books and learning a lot. I met Greg Wilson, and

we started the Cosmic Boogie project, playing disco all over the

world for about five or six years.” Robinson was an in-demand

DJ and label owner, doing his thing at headlining shows across

the world with a slick mix of house, funk, boogie and disco. Then

came that day on the beach Montenegro. The turning point, as

2,000 dancers waited for the cues of his next selection.

“I looked up and I just thought, ‘I’m not enjoying this. I’m

playing the same set everywhere I go. I’m painting by numbers.

I’m not learning anything’. I came home that night and ended

Cosmic Boogie. One million plays on SoundCloud, 15,000

Facebook followers – I just wiped it out that night. Finished.”

The very next day ASOK was ushered into life. Initially a

name adopted in his drum and bass days, the moniker served as

internal resurrection. The restrictions of disco were forcibly pulled

from the record bag, erasing a world of beach parties, four-figure

attendances and indulgent hedonism. Robinson was to stop

playing for everyone else. From 2013, the focus became creating

something of his own. “I felt free. And as soon as that freedom

came, I told myself to buy some equipment and make a tune. I

bought a Juno 6 and Roland 707, opened up Ableton for the first

time and realised I had no idea what to do.”

The baby steps into production quickly turned to strides after

perseverance. The incessant reading and research soon developed

into a knack for songcraft, energised by a sweat drenched

empirical understanding of the dancefloor garnered in his youth.

Six years down the line, Robinson now has an enviable

release discography. A slew of EPs and singles on revered labels

Lobster Theremin and Mistress have arrived since that day in

Montengro. Releases that meld acerbic acid house, twitchy jungle

breaks, hissed atmosphere, blissful piano and pounding kicks.

It is music written from the heart. Quite literally. It feels its way

through like a heart rate rapidly powering the necessary bodily

movement the track demands; rising, hurtling and, in moments,

resting in the euphoria – if given the chance.

“For me, producing has been about recreating the feelings

I had on the dancefloor, as a dancer, as a fan. It’s all about

capturing that raw emotion in the moment.” The commitment to

recreating the momentary euphoria is reflected in his producing

style. Rather than piece together his tracks in arrangement view,

everything is mixed live. The visual accompaniment is forgotten

about, essentially. It’s as though Robinson could shut his eyes

and completely let go of the walls that surround him once the

music begins to rumble from his

studio monitors. It becomes personal.

Attached to the now, the moment,

the happening. The mix has to be led

by intuitive feeling, rather than the

precision that can come to rule when

gradually knitting small pockets of

music together.

He further underscores the

dancefloor DNA in his production when

asked about the motives to produce

in such a way. “I make a track as

though I’m dancing to it in the club,”

he says with an energetic animation.

“I’ll be playing certain tracks through,

feeling when parts get repetitive, when

aspects need to breathe, when more

urgency is needed. I’m always thinking of the rhythm of a room,

feeling as if I was a dancer and wanting the break to drop out at

that moment – when the body expects it.”

The process is like buying a set of paints, preparing them in

front of an easel and allowing emotive drive to take its course.

There’s no set plan. Rather than follow the paint-by-numbers

DJing of Cosmic Boogie, his own music allows the heart to pluck

random numbers form the sky a fill the space with energetic reds

and yellows, all washed with a bright white flash of energy. It’s all

about catching the spark, making the most of that high you know

can’t last forever. “You can sit there and sift through so many hihat

samples. By the time you get one, that raw feeling you had is

gone and you’re no longer feeling it. You can over engineer it. You

lose the part that made you excited about the track. You’ve got to

connect with the music the way you’d want others to.”

He loads up Ableton and plays a track formed from in a

recent rush of energy. The process seems even more urgent

when he informs me that most of his tracks have been made in

less than an hour. He continues to explain as he presses play. A

breakbeat immediately serrates through the room. This is one

he’s aiming to release on Lobster Theremin. He starts to talk me

through its foundations, but shouting has become necessary,

such is the decibel level. “I get a load of channels up. Hit record,

then start to bring everything in.” The shouted conversation

tapers off as the syncopated drum patters take hold of his

attention. The music has already caught him in just over one bar.

As he later informs, music has to be cautiously rationed to avoid

it stealing the abundance of his days. “I become totally lost,” he

informs me, once the stop button is found. “If I put some dance

music on when trying to work at home, I can’t do it. I’m in it, part

of it, thinking over the incidental notes, any parts I’d change. It

grabs me so much. My brain is triggered by dance music.”

Robinson has severe ADHD. It’s something which he has

lived with all his life, yet remarkably has only been recently

diagnosed. It’s highly evident as we talk; conversation regularly

trails off into new topics. His voice is breathless at times, taking

draws on a cigarette in the moments he pauses. His mercurial

nature embodies the title of his 2016 album, A Mind Forever

Voyaging. “You can see where the name comes from just

watching me. It never stops,” he says with shades of humour.

Above his monitors and computer sits a sign reading

the words ‘Don’t Make Techno’. It’s a mantra subtly rooted in

his ADHD. Something which, in a musical sense, he’s taken

ownership of, using the condition as a vessel to journey through

worlds that require more than a 4/4 stride. It’s a jovial swipe

in reality, knowing he does incorporate the genre into his

productions. However, it speaks more of his unwillingness, or

inability, to remain in one place. To endlessly look beyond the

steady pace; running, sprinting pausing and quickly changing

direction. “When playing, I have to change direction every three

tracks. I get bored,” he attests. “The sign is just a little reminder

to try and make something that’s not continually the same.

Ultimately, I’m always voyaging, always drifting around.” !

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder

Photography: Keith Ainsworth /

Mistress 14 by ASOK is available via Mistress Recordings in

January 2020.





Since opening in Birkenhead Market in June, Convenience Gallery has been working to rub away the divide

between the everyday and the artist. Julia Johnson meets its curators to learn more about their programme

of exhibitions, tutorials and workshops.


Is it perhaps easy, especially in a city perceived to be as creative as Liverpool is, to take the

flourishing of the arts scene for granted. But having a city filled with people driving to create

work is only half the story: the conditions must also exist for these talents to mature. This is

why spaces are crucial; places where artists can develop ideas by putting them into practice,

and where they can find audiences receptive to their talents.

Enter CONVENIENCE GALLERY. Based in Birkenhead Market since June 2019, the project –

led by artists Ryan Gauge and Andrew Shaw – is a space for artists to grow through practice and

exhibition. Affiliated with the socially engaged Small Steps Events, Convenience developed as its

own project from the desire to put art and artists in the spotlight as a main event in their own right.

Acting as facilitators rather than selective curators, Convenience’s format is optimistic and trusting.

They believe in the fundamental talent of individuals and its ability to blossom with the right


As artists, Ryan and Andy know that having confidence in the strength of your own work can

sometimes be a challenge in itself. “One of the barriers is that you just sit in your own head for

hours,” explains Ryan. “The point with Convenience was to be able to get a load of artists to sit and

to say, ‘What do you want to do? No barriers – what would be beneficial?’ And a lot of it was just

people getting to have conversations about their work, because they don’t get to do that.”

From these conversations, several strands of programming and interaction have emerged.

Exhibiting is one, of course: giving artists a space in which visitors can view their work. It’s another

question which maybe isn’t addressed enough in public conversation: where are the spaces for

artists to emerge for an audience? And the location and layout of

Convenience make it a unique venue.

Located on both sides of an aisle in the centre of Birkenhead

Market, their units open out directly into the path. There are no

physical or psychological boundaries that an audience needs to cross

in order to engage with what’s being shown. Ryan and Andy have

understood the importance of tapping into the potential of this setup

to spark curiosity since the first exhibition. “It was a lot of wall-based

work, so it was immediately relatable, even if you were just walking

through,” says Andy.

This has had a significant effect, not just on how people

are accessing the work, but what happens in the subsequent

interactions. Convenience’s approach, once again, is openness:

they’re aware of their place as a point of connection between the arts

scene and the everyday, and want to be as open to all as they can be.

There’s plenty of space to sit and chat in their units, and many visitors

do, including those who are less art conscious than your regular

gallery frequenter. “The big question we get asked is, ‘What’s actually going on?’” says Andy.

“People are excited about the ‘weirdness’ that we’re situated here. We find there’s a lot of people

here getting a watch fixed, who say ‘I do art!’ and they get their phone out and start showing us all

the work that they do.” It is in these moments the gallery reveals itself as not only a proving ground

for young, new artists, but a bridge to those who’ve casually practised away from the four walls

of local and national institutions. It subtly brings the two together thanks to its irregular home in a

once bustling heart of Birkenhead commerce.

Importantly, these passing conversations are increasingly able to continue beyond a brief visit,

by attending the workshops Convenience facilitate. Our conversation returns time and again to the

gallery’s programme, which is growing in collaboration with the artists they work with – indeed, at

their request. Ryan says how, at those early meetings, “there was quite a lot of artists saying ‘I’d

quite like to teach a class about what I’m doing’. It’s a chance to sit down for two hours with people,

it’s more interactive than just viewing art”. “And it becomes a regular social thing,” adds Andy. “We

do a lot of them that are more affordable, because we don’t want people to feel like they’re priced

out of something.”

“Convenience’s ideal

is to have a space

with no boundary

between the viewer

and the art or artist”

As well as evenings focusing on particular skills, Convenience are also collaborating with LJMU

and Bloom Building to bring the Thinking Out Loud lecture series to Birkenhead. Open to anyone,

the evenings are comprised of an accessible lecture, followed by an artist-led workshop inspired

by the subject. As a way of introducing audiences to new creative concepts and activities, it’s an

interactive and engaging format.

As for the question of ‘why Birkenhead?’, the answer is less about establishing space

specifically for Wirral as it is about broadening opportunity in a way which happens to be

geographical as well as philosophical. Convenience very clearly see themselves as part of the

Merseyside arts scene. They were participants in October’s Studio Shuffle, when studios and

groups – including Dorothy, Antisteel, Arena, Road and The Royal Standard – opened up in the

Baltic Triangle to exhibit what their artists have been working on. Talk is already of one taking place

in Birkenhead. They’ve also hosted an exhibition of work by this year’s LJMU graduates, BURST Our

Bubble. But they’re again keen to point out that this isn’t just overflow from across the water – it’s

an expanding of the conversation. “If you live over here and you’re an artist, you can’t always get

into Liverpool. There’s always been the question of ‘how do you get people to come over?’ Well,

there are people who live here as well! So you’ve gotta be for them, too.”

Until 21st December, Convenience are working with the international LOOK Photo Biennial to

exhibit work by Hong Kong-born artist Dinu Li. The Anatomy Of Place takes over all three of their

units and explores the ideologies and rituals that bind people and places together. Rather than

this being a project forced into its venue, the exhibition was established through a mutual feeling

that the space was right for the work. Andy explains how this came

about. “Dinu was really into the market. It’s a big part of the work,

where he grew up was a big market place. So he liked the space, and

so we started chatting to him about his work. I think we just had a

really good conversation about it. It grew very quickly from one piece

to this collection, spread across all of the units. All the work in this

show has entwined narratives which he’d never been able to show all

together, and he was really excited to be able to do that.”

A major international programme LOOK may be, but this story

centres on the same qualities as have been found in every aspect of

Convenience’s work: relationship with the community and support

for the artist to realise their vision. It’s an ethos that spreads across

collaborations with international artists such as Dinu, or those who

stumble upon the space when looking for a watch repair. Ultimately,

it’s a space that looks to mix institutionally taught art with experience

of the real world, all blended together through exhibitions and wide

array of tutorials and workshops.

Our changing shopping habits, and the need for the purpose of traditionally commercial spaces

to change with them to survive, has seen projects akin to Convenience emerge up around the

country. The example of Convenience shows how such spaces can become symbols of the kind

of society we want to exist. The team describe their ideal as having a space with “no boundary

between the viewer and the art or artist”. After just a few months they’re well on their way to

making this an interactive reality. !

Words: Julia Johnson / @messylines_

Photography: Antony Mo / @antonymo

Convenience Gallery can be found on Brassey Aisle within Birkenhead Market. The Anatomy Of

Place, part of LOOK Photo Biennial, continues at Convenience until 21st December.




Electronic artist Lo Five

navigates us through the

terrain of his latest album

Geography Of The Abyss – a

world conjured from meditative

states and internal discovery.

Illustrated through adjoining

artwork made specifically

for the record, the Wirralbased

producer touches

on the hurtling potential

to travel even when in the

most static of states.

Geography Of The Abyss travels across the terrain

of the inner self. It’s a continuation of a theme I’ve

explored and tried to make sense of through pretty

much all of my music.

I’m endlessly fascinated with the nature of consciousness

and memory, how one colours and shapes the other. I’ve been

practising meditation on and off for around 15 years now,

and I guess that sort of inner journey of self-inquiry has been

expressed in some form on this album. I see the record as a kind

of a mirror image of my own experiences of meditation.

The album is made up of a series of live jams rather than

piecing it together on a computer; building these repetitive

loops that I could get lost in late at night, just by focusing in on

the music and tuning into feeling, or as close as possible. Taking

this approach, the album and its production is pretty much the

same as meditating; focusing your attention on an object that’s

not your thoughts until your ‘self’ falls away. This happens

naturally with any activity that requires long periods of simple

concentration, like painting or knitting for example. It’s like a

mini holiday from your mind. Therefore, the album has ended

up a more contented and intuitive record, rather than something

cerebral or wholly conceptual.

For me, meditation is about suspending that inner judge

we all have inside of us, the one that forms opinions of

situations, others and ourselves. In theory, it’s the perfect

vessel for severing the ties with contemporary capitalism

and the continual drive towards individuality. But we live in a



world of increasing levels of judgement and opinion. Just look

at Twitter. Capturing attention is the name of the game and

we’re increasingly giving our attention away to causes that

don’t necessarily help our mental well-being. It comes at a

price to ourselves. Binary opinions on social media have been

effectively gamified, offering rewards to extreme views that

stir up negative feelings, rather than rewarding open-minded

attempts at understanding and compassion. This direction

society has taken has real-world consequences which may

appear harmless and trivial on the surface. In reality, they are

quite subtle and insidious, especially when amped up by the

people in charge. Narrow-minded judgement and opinions are

obviously divisive and isolating, so it stands to reason that a

practice that offers the dropping of this act of judgement could

be something that offers some sort of exit strategy from the

current state of affairs.

In my view, there is a strong relationship between the

tangible and the mental. They share a similar geography and

are often bound by the same contours. What are we but the

sum total of our experiences and memories, which are formed

in real-world environments? There is a contrast with the

familiar and the unknown within the album’s artwork [pictured],

as there are nods to local landscapes, as well as places I’ve

never been. I liked the idea of framing the album as a journey

through the familiar/unfamiliar, both of which can be just as

familiar to one another when the context of the self is removed.

Beyond the glitchy silhouettes of places and spaces, and

their abundant energy, the realities of their origin are quite

lame, really. They’re merely screenshots from Google Earth,

edited and manipulated to appear as though visual discoveries

of my own internal Mars Rover. However, the source material

shouldn’t stand in the way of the conceptual journey they

represent. I like firing up Google Earth and picking random faraway

places to wander around. Places I’ll probably never visit.

They all come together to form a virtual exploration that the

record encapsulates.

As with the recurring theme of the record and my previous

releases, making music is about discovery. That exciting

eye-opening feeling of experiencing something new for the

very first time. That’s absolutely the attraction for me. That’s

where the record tries to position itself. I guess travelling holds

the same attraction, not that I actually do much of that in the

tangible form. Nonetheless, we’re all on a journey, and anything

we make or do is a reflection of that journey. There’s always an

element of escapism to the music and especially this record.

Not just escaping my current environment and situation, but

escaping myself. !

Words and design: Lo Five / @EM0TI0NWAVE

Geography Of The Abyss is out now via Castles In Space.

“There is a strong

relationship between

the tangible and the

mental. They share a

similar geography”





Following the release of his latest book, There She Goes – Liverpool, A City On Its Own: The Long Decade:

1979-1993, social history writer and football journalist Simon Hughes looks back at Liverpool’s progression

through the last 10 years, and the challenges still to come in the decade before us.

Three years out of 50. It’s a small figure, and one I can’t

stop thinking about, especially when it’s essentially just

one year – when you really think about it.

In 1970, back when Liverpool was still a

Conservative city, its political interests aligned with the rest of

the country until 1972 – when Edward Heath reigned as Prime

Minister, a role he would lose in 1974.

Since then, there has just been one short period when

Liverpool has not been a place in opposition. That was under

Frank Prendergast from 1997 until 1998 when the city rejected

New Labour and stood with the Liberal Democrats for the next

12 years.

It is said repeatedly now that Liverpool is an undisputed

Labour stronghold but that wasn’t the case until 2010. It feels

like much has changed since the start of the decade, though

– not least in terms of feeling among the younger generation

of Liverpudlians who seem more socially aware than ever and

certainly more politically conscious than they were before.

There are reasons for this change, starting with the 20th

anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in 2009 when those too

young to remember or even understand what happened 20 years

earlier started to ask questions after Andy Burnham’s public vow

to help seek justice in front of a packed Anfield.

There was a shift that day, a generation who had grown up

with the consequences of the 1980s finally emboldened. In 2011,

there was the lifting of the 30-year rule on government papers

and what many had suspected for decades was as good as

being confirmed as true – that Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative

government in 1981 had at least discussed the possibility of

allowing Liverpool to slide. Considering what happened to the

city throughout the rest of the decade, you can only assume

Geoffrey Howe’s memo about “managed decline” was put into


The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s findings came next,

this amid the austerity of the latest Tory government. It has

surprised many who were growing up in the 1980s the way the

“Scouse not English” mantra of this era has accelerated because

the sentiment didn’t exist with the same appetite when things

were even worse than they are now. But are they better? Are

they just as bad but in a different way?

Liverpool is a more cosmopolitan city than ever. Its economy

has boomed through tourism, which, whether we like it or not,

serves to benefit the drugs barons whose finances are washed

through the hotels and restaurants that so many visitors like

to sleep and eat in. Liverpool looks smarter and, unlike other

Northern cities, it is not made of glass. It feels like it is built to

last. The development of the Baltic Triangle has been spectacular

and I hope that extends into other parts of the city that require

investment at its southern end, albeit without it endangering the

identities of the communities that live there.

Stray outside the centre, indeed, and the struggle is arguably

greater than it has ever been in the boroughs that have long

struggled anyway. Homelessness was not the scourge of the

1980s like it is now. It may be a national issue but the figures

prove it is worse in the cities where the government has no

council control. Foodbank collections in Liverpool are a reflection

of the spectacular generosity that exists here but it is also a

reflection of how genuinely

desperate so many people have


Perhaps change will come.

The Brexit vote in Liverpool

was closer than many people

in Liverpool expected. Yet it is

worth remembering that while

Liverpool suffered because of

the increase in trade with the

European Economic Community

in place of the British Empire,

when Liverpool was at its lowest

in 1993, the European Union

dedicated more money than any

British government in history to

help start some form of recovery.

A fortnight after the murder of

James Bulger – just at the point

where it felt like Liverpool couldn’t

slump any further – funding was allocated to Merseyside, along

with parts of the old East Germany and the poorest regions of

Southern Italy. If parts of Liverpool feel left behind, it is mainly

because of the lack of care from successive governments which

have run along too similar lines rather than necessarily the EU.

In writing There She Goes, I was told coldly by Professor Patrick

Minford, whose economic policies defined Thatcherism and

impacted so gravely on Liverpool, despite the fact he worked

in the city, that the EU repulsed him because it was “a socialist

machine” in so many different ways.

I wonder where Liverpool will be 10 years from now. It is a

city which will always be in the news because of its association

with music and the council will have to challenge the interests

of property developers to ensure classic venues remain open

even if the land they stand on is potentially profitable. It is a city

“Liverpool is a city which

will always be in the news

because of its association

with music, crime and

football. But where will it

be 10 years from now?”

which will always be in the news because of its association with

crime, and the threat of gangsterism largely goes unreported

even though there is a cocaine epidemic which goes a long way

towards explaining knife crime. It is also a city which will always

be in the news because of its football, and changes are necessary

if the grassroots game is to survive.

Supporters of Liverpool FC should be proud of the way

they mobilised themselves and pushed out greedy owners at

the start of this decade, as well as the way they challenge the

New England venture capitalists who are currently in charge. If

Liverpool manage to win the league for the first time in 30 years,

maybe the greatest challenge

for fan culture will arrive. What

tricks will Fenway Sports Group

try then?

The ecosystem at Anfield is a

fragile one but when it feels like

everyone is pulling in the same

direction, the club can seem like

it is unstoppable both on and off

the pitch. So long as no decisions

are made that jeopardise the

interests of local supporters, then

Liverpool have a better chance.

Other than winning football

matches, the club’s priority should

be to find a way to get more

young Liverpudlians inside the


An even more significant

period feels like it is ahead for

Everton whose move to Bramley-Moore Dock will potentially

make Liverpool’s waterfront more stunning than it is. In theory, it

will re-energise a part of north Liverpool which has never really

recovered from the period which sets the scene for There She

Goes in the years before 1979. Ultimately, I hope the book makes

younger readers particularly understand better where the city has

been and where it is now coming from. !

Words: Simon Hughes / @Simon_Hughes__

Illustration: Mr Marbles / @mrmarblesart

There She Goes – Liverpool, A City On Its Own: The Long

Decade: 1979-1993 is out now, published by deCoubertin Books.



This extract, taken from There She Goes, looks at how the owner of one of Liverpool’s most recognisable

shops was forged by the city’s 1980s heroin epidemic.

When a Pakistani ship carrying heroin with

a street value of £1million was seized in

Ellesmere Port, customs officers admitted

to reporters they were losing control. It was

April 1983, roughly around the time Brendan Wyatt went

back to a Birkenhead flat following a night out in Liverpool.

He was accompanied by a friend and two girls. What

happened next surprised him. One of the girls reached into

her purse and brought out some foil. “Then the smack... it

was dead casual, as if they were just smoking a spliff,” he

remembered, through the fug. “Don’t worry, it’s just smack –

you don’t get addicted to it…”

Wyatt returned to his side of the Mersey without having

tried ‘this new drug’ but within a few years, it had taken

him – just as it had already gripped Birkenhead by that point,

where nine per cent of 16- to 24 year-olds were users.

Research in the 1980s found that if you lived on the Wirral

estates, particularly in the Noctorum area – which, like those in

Liverpool, were hastily built in the post-war years – you were

16 times more likely than the average person to die.

There was one theory that smack penetrated Birkenhead’s

estates just before Liverpool’s, because Liverpool’s gangsters

wanted to use it as a testing ground as nobody was quite sure

of heroin’s capabilities. It had been around London’s bohemian

community in Soho for almost a century, but researchers

believed its availability only began to spread after 1979 when

revolution in Iran led to a refugee crisis across Europe. In

Liverpool, smugglers marketed it as a non-addictive, smokable

high; but, uncut and 90 per cent pure, it would leave users

like Brendan Wyatt “off your head for hours – rather than

withdrawing quickly”. It would feed off boredom, alienation and


Howard Parker, whose 1985 book, Living With Heroin,

dealt with case studies from the Ford Estate, believed that what

happened in Liverpool and Birkenhead was a part of a cycle

that began in the US in the 1960s, explaining that epidemics

like these have lifespans of 10 to 15 years before the demand

retreats because the next generation “won’t go near it – they’ve

seen the impact”. Smack, therefore, only became ‘dirty’ and the

drug of ‘losers’ when the lower orders in big numbers were


Wyatt was one of them. He had grown up amongst the

terraced streets of Kirkdale, a fiercely strong-willed district

and working class to its core. He had a vivid memory of his

childhood and could envisage being in a classroom in 1979.

“Thatcher was elected in May 1979 and I remember the

morning after clearly: a 12-year-old devastated by politics –

can you imagine?” He had learned about the realities of life

early, after his mother died when he was just four. By the time

Thatcher got in, his father had already been made redundant

from his job on the docks because of containerisation. “You’re

suddenly finding yourself on free school dinners, which was a

label to carry. I’d rather not eat than have the stigma.”

He left school in 1982 and went straight into one of the

dreaded Youth Training Schemes, promoted by the Tories

– earning just £23.50 a week as a painter and a plumber.

There had been just 11 apprenticeships and more than 3,000

applicants. “We were bread to be thrown on the scrap heap,”

he believed. “I went to a secondary modern school and there

was never any discussion whatsoever about university options.

I thought university was what you saw on University Challenge.

The expectation for decades before was you’d follow your dad

into the docks but when that came to a stop, there was nothing


Wyatt’s father died in 1984 and it turned his life upside

down. He started taking heroin because of the dulling effect

of the hit and his naivety to the consequences. “There were

no skeletons walking around or people sleeping in doorways

because the long-term impact wasn’t visible. It was still early

days with heroin. You’d see big, strong, well-dressed lads in pub

corners smoking it. It’s hard to explain how it makes you feel.

It’s not a high like charlie, it sends you the other way quickly.

It separates you from the world’s problems and your own

problems; it numbs any pain. Then comes the rebound where

you feel worse than you did before you took it.”

Wyatt did not really stand a chance. No mother, no

father, entering adulthood living in a city overwhelmed by

unemployment and a drug epidemic. He was exactly the wrong

age at exactly the wrong time – or the right time if you were a

drug dealer. He was not the only target in this market. He and

an entire generation would grow up with an ingrained drug

culture – a black economy that sustained the city more than any

government initiative.

“For a while, the routine is great: you’re chasing the dragon

and riding a wave. You’ve got all the jewellery, you’ve got a car

and a lovely looking girlfriend. Anyone looking at me would

have thought I was smashing it. It takes eight or nine months

for it to unravel. You wake up one day and you’re skint. You

think you’ve got the flu and you haven’t. You need gear to make

yourself feel normal. The jewellery starts getting pawned, the

car goes – you can’t afford the MOT. The girlfriend goes and

then your friends go. I lost all of my friends. Not because of

anything I did but because you alienate yourself. You become

very selfish and all you’re interested in is that next fix. There

are weddings, christenings – there’s funerals to go to. You stop

going. You pull away from society. It gets around then that

you’re on the gear. I’d get people coming up to me saying how

disgusted they were because before, I’d been a good lad. By

1988, it was really noticeable. People started swerving me

completely and rightly so. I’m a mad Liverpool fan and I’ve been

to 35 countries to watch them. But I can’t remember Liverpool

winning the league in 1990. I didn’t give a fuck about anything

else by then. That’s how much it depletes your interest in

anything. The FA Cup final after Hillsborough was my last game

until 1996.”

Wyatt returned from Sheffield after the Hillsborough

disaster and headed to the State nightclub to try and find out

information about what had happened.

“Everyone was crying and hugging but I didn’t cry for three

weeks,” he admitted. “The only solution for me was to selfmedicate.

I went right on the rollercoaster. All sorts of drugs

came into play. My only memories from the early 1990s was

the Sunday mornings because it was harder to get gear then.

The drug dealers had their day off – just like the dockers used

to on a Sunday. I was out at nine o’clock trying to score with the

street dealers. I’d look at fellas walking their dogs and I’d think,

‘What I’d do just to be like him.’’’

“Morality flies out of the window – when you’re hooked, you

get whatever you can to feed the addiction,” admitted Wyatt,

who served three prison sentences in foreign countries, two

in Germany, another in Switzerland – each time for shoplifting,

“to feed what I needed”, which also led to him getting nicked

in Liverpool several times. On one occasion, he was eligible for

bail but only if he paid a long-standing £18 parking fine. “When

I told the copper I was skint, he said, ‘You must have someone

who can pay it…’ But I didn’t have a person in the world who

could pay that fine. So, I had to do two days in Walton. The

copper was saying, ‘I’d pay it myself, but I can’t’. That’s how

isolated I’d made myself. I’d outrun all of my favours.”

Wyatt suffered a heart attack and needed chemotherapy

to treat liver damage related to his addiction. 25 years clean,

he told me his story quietly in the back of the shop he now

owns in Liverpool’s city centre where he sells deadstock

Adidas training shoes. The name, Transalpino, refers to the

sleeper he took across France, Switzerland and Italy to the

1984 European Cup final in Rome, just before heroin really

came into his life. He took ‘absolute’ responsibility for all of his

actions as a drug user but wondered whether it would have

been different for him had conditions in Liverpool been better.

Wyatt, known more commonly as ‘Jockey’, estimated that

more than 100 friends had died because of smack – “if you

became an adult in the 1980s and you were from workingclass

Liverpool, I’d imagine you have at least one family

member who is still addicted, in treatment or in recovery”.

“I’m one of Maggie’s children,” he concluded. “Smack

made a lot of fellas my age desensitised and it has impacted

the generations after us. Kids were brought up in crack dens

and because of that, there’s a lot of sociopaths knocking about

today. Nobody has shown them any respect so why should

they show respect back?”



Wow. It hardly feels like 10 years since we started

on this journey – how time flies when you’re in

the middle of great social and political upheaval,

soundtracked by music that’s as angst-ridden as

it is fearless. As is common when times are tough, music acts as

a salve and spark; and we can perhaps look back at the 2010s

with a little more affection knowing that its soundtrack is one

for the ages.

The first issue of Bido Lito! came out in May 2010, shortly

after the general election which saw the beginning of a punitive

decade of Tory rule. Softened as it was by the coalition with

the Lib Dems (think: being punched repeated by a boxing glove

rather than bare knuckle), things maybe didn’t seem quite so

bleak back then. Little did we know what impact austerity would

have on our society, wearing away at the cultural bonds that

unite us all. We arrive, jaded, at the end of the second decade of

the millennium, desperate for a fresh beginning.

We’ll all have our own memories that stand out from the past

10 years, moments that have affected us deeply or have proven

to be turning points in our own lives. For our look back at the

decade just gone, we’ve asked some of our core team of writers

to pick out a selection of key cultural moments that they believe

have had the greatest impact on our collective consciousness.

We could quite easily have filled a book on dozens more

memories – indeed, we’ve filled 106 magazines with them – so

our selection is far from definitive, merely a snapshot. Therefore,

if anything comes to mind, we’d like you to send us your own

cultural moments from the past decade that you feel are worthy

of mention.

The collection of tribes and scenes that make up our music

community is undoubtedly much changed: healthier and more

diverse in many ways; but lacking greatly in others, not least in

the infrastructure around the music venues that are the lifeblood

of a community of inter-dependent independents. From Static to

the Baltic Triangle, noise has been a constant issue, making us

face up to what kind of place we want our city centre to be. The

coming decade will see that battle continue, and it is up to us to

work out how we create an environment that is equal parts music

city, party city and destination city.

We also need to encourage, or make space for, more

collectives to add their voices to the hubbub, especially those

from the worlds of jazz, grime/trap and hip hop. The underground

dance, electronic and experimental purveyors that have coalesced

around 24 Kitchen Street in the Baltic Triangle, for example,

is surely one of the biggest, warmest successes of culture-led

regeneration in the past decade – although there are fears it’s

now in reverse. And we should look beyond the confines of the

city centre – much like the seeds of growth around Smithdown

Road – if we’re to find further fertile places for our noisy artists to


I’ve enjoyed seeing some of these tribes develop in a musical

context over the years, not least those underground scenes that

gathered around Strange Collective’s and Eggy Records’ DIY

events. Queen Zee provided a momentous moment for queer

visibility when they headlined Pride in 2018, which has also

been buoyed by the work of Sonic Yootha and Preach. Stealing

Sheep gathered their whole scene around them for a brilliant

representation of their varied world when they filmed a video

with Jack Whiteley and Joe Wills in the Kazimier Garden; which

was just as exciting to witness as was XamVolo’s entrance to the

GIT Awards in 2015, when a new sense of possibility descended

the stairs onto the Kazimier stage with him. The re-emergence of

Mick Head has also been particularly warming to see, with long

overdue recognition rightfully coming his way.

It is a great tragedy that some people haven’t been able to

see this all play out, not least Alan Wills and Tony Butler, two

pillars of Liverpool music in the prior decade. The respect that

both men commanded has been carried on by new torch-bearers,

and their impact will still be felt as we embark on a new decade.

We must also remember the memories of the talented young

musicians from the groups Viola Beach and Her’s, who tragically

passed away. The best way we can honour their memories is

to make sure that the great work they started gets completed,

and that their stories are remembered for future generations to


It’s easy to get side-tracked by the flashy, large-scale events

that we’ve become used to and forget about the more basic,

grassroots cultural institutions that we need to encourage. Yet,

we also shouldn’t play down the impact of great communal

moments – giants, parades, fireworks – in bringing the city

together and restoring some much-needed collective pride.

Whether you agree with the fence or not, LIMF is a massive

upgrade on the Mathew Street festival, and is a far more

progressive way of celebrating music for a city with a reputation

on a global scale; and Sound City has re-discovered its heart,

after a brief sojourn down on the docks. Watching together,

dancing together, celebrating; that’s the very essence of culture.

This was our culture – what was yours? !

God Save The Florrie

Community action in Liverpool is a powerful force. The

changes that can be brought about by collaboration, by the

bringing together of people from diverse backgrounds for the

benefit of all, is something this city does well. By necessity

more than desire, more often than not.

A fine example of this is the Florence Institute, or The

Florrie. A beautiful, Grade II late Victorian former boys’ club

at the heart of Liverpool 8, The Florrie was in a perilous

state of decay until a group of impassioned individuals with

community ties to the building formed a trust to restore it to

its former glory, and open it as a wholly inclusive community

centre for all. Eight years and over £6 million later, The Florrie

opened its doors to the community in 2012. Later, with the

arrival of director Anne Lundon, The Florrie moved towards a

programme of culture and creativity as a way of supporting

the community and building cohesion.

Today, The Florrie is both proactive and reactive in

responding to the needs of the community and provides a

wealth of activities, from belly dancing lessons to reading

groups, art sessions to yoga and circus skills. Plus, of course,

the now legendary guitar group run by the Tea Street Band’s


Placing one final exclamation mark at the

end of the 2010s, a selection of Bido Lito!

writers pick out some of the most important

cultural moments to have taken place in

Liverpool over the course of the past decade.

Resurrecting The Everyman

Demolishing a theatre is a dangerous thing. Once it’s gone, what

happens to all the ghosts?

When the elderly Everyman Theatre was knocked down in 2011,

efforts were made to encourage its theatrical spirits to stick around. Its

bricks were saved, its site was preserved, and when the regenerated

Everyman finally opened on 2nd March 2014 – complete with its

startling façade featuring 105 life-size Liverpudlians – it was a relief

to find that the box-fresh new venue somehow felt as if it had always

been there.

Not all its ghosts came back. The reinvented Everyman Bistro never

recaptured the magic that had made its previous incarnation into one

of Liverpool’s most energised cultural hubs. But with its youth theatre

space and its writers’ room, and its homely auditorium performing the

trick of pretending it never went away, the Everyman remains a piece

of Hope Street heaven – a resting place for old ghosts and for spectres

yet to come.

Damon Fairclough

Timo Tierney. With happenings and exhibitions from notables

such as Jamie Reid and Jimmy Cauty, The KLF, Michael

Head, The La’s and Greg Wilson’s 14-hour Super Weird

Happening in the mix, The Florrie has firmly established itself

in the cultural beat of the city. By the community, for the

community. #GodSaveTheFlorrie.

Paul Fitzgerald

Jemma Timberlake /

Words: Christopher Torpey / @CATorp




Community Assemble

It was 2006 when Laurence Westgaph said to me that FACT should have been

built in Toxteth. Liverpool was in peak city centre regeneration at that point and

there was still an assumption that to have good art it needs to be in the centre, and

in a building.

The night of the Turner Prize in 2015, Granby CLT hired out Liverpool Small

Cinema. No one expected the Four Streets and Assemble to win the coveted arts

prize. The pictures of when they win remind me of Liverpool in Istanbul in 2005. The

underdogs become the obvious choice.

Just a handful of years before, the residents of Granby were still convincing the

council they deserved to keep their homes. After the win, they’re fielding calls from

all over the world.

Before then, community was a thing many arts organisations used to tick boxes.

You’d get a few gems, but we’re talking top down, not bottom up.

Post 2015, you can’t get away with pretending. Liverpool needed a kick up the

arse. It needed art that was by its people if it wanted to be for its people. It needed

reminding its art scene always works when it’s a bit punk; a bit less curated for a

CV. It’s not there yet, but it’s a shift in power. Liverpool’s art scene needed a punk

moment, and this was quite punk.

Laura Brown

Niloo Sharifi

K Is For Kazimier

A spaceship being hoisted over Wolstenholme Square, sparks flying off its

base, following a symbolic battle between the evil Monotopia developers and

Captain Kronos, astride a giant ostrich. You couldn’t have imagined a better sendoff

for The Kazimier, the venue that was the creative, madcap, maverick focal point

of artistic possibility in Liverpool.

The night that the Kaz closed, New Year’s Eve 2015, was a momentous,

ambitious celebration of all that the venue-cum-club had come to stand for. By the

time the great burning K sign lit up the night sky, the writing had already long been

daubed on the wall: Wolstenholme Square had already been shorn of MelloMello

and Wolstenholme Creative Space – fellow outsider, independent spaces run by

artists, for artists. Prior to their arrival, it was a part of town where people wouldn’t

dare venture; since their departure, the square has succumbed to the endless

sprawl of Liverpool ONE and premium city centre living apartments. Only the

Kazimier Garden and Penelope light installation remain, towered over by flats and

hemmed in by ‘vertical drinking establishments’ and ‘retail opportunities’.

The escape to Planet Kronos ultimately only took the remaining Kazimier team

as far as the Invisible Wind Factory in the North Docks – but the metaphorical

flight of the city’s creative heart outside of the city centre still hasn’t materialised.

The Baltic Triangle and Ten Streets projects aren’t quite the promised lands they

first seemed, and a gaping, K-shaped hole still remains at the heart of Liverpool’s

creative scene.

Christopher Torpey

Diggin’ Your Selections

The vinyl boom hit Liverpool city centre after a lengthy period of

slim pickings for those preferring the physical product in its traditional

format, the omnipresent Probe aside. Dig Vinyl launching on Bold

Street five years ago was a game changer, a second-hand record shop

with knowledgeable staff well-armed with picky good tastes and

attuned to customers’ wants.

As a lifelong collector, Manchester was a common destination

before Dig’s arrival, but the record-buying community here is now able

to indulge in a wider tour of record shops on home turf thanks to the

opening of Dig: Phase One/Jacaranda, 81 Renshaw and Pop Boutique.

There’s a marked difference between a record shop and a space which

simply has records for sale. Dig is securely in the former category – as

is now the case with stores that followed – supporting new releases

from new local artists and signposting rarities, but equally open to tips

from those they sell to.

Cath Holland



Robin Clewley /

Lucy Roberts /

Small Space For The Big Screen

I’ll let you into a secret about Liverpool Small Cinema, which was open between 2015

and 2017 in Liverpool city centre. If the audience were laughing, or recoiling in horror, the wall

of the projection booth would bulge, reacting to the force of the reaction. I first noticed it at

a screening of John Waters’ Female Trouble, which managed to get the 56-seat crowd to do


The space, on Victoria Street, was willed into existence by Sam Meech, arts project Re-

Dock and a gang of volunteers. The place was built entirely through donations and offcuts and

screened a huge variety of films. From a 24-hour Groundhog Day marathon, to championing

female directors, offering LBGTQ+ screenings and somewhere for local film-makers to screen,

it offered a home to many unable to use spaces like Odeon.

It was completely its own thing and open to all. Now it’s a hotel bar, as the developers

moved in. But, for a couple of years, it was ours and it felt we could do anything in the city.

Chris Brown

Dividing Wall

The repeated destruction of Banu Cennetoğlu’s posters along Great George Street,

which acted as a collection of records about refugee and migrant deaths, was an unsettling


It dented the city’s sense of self-identity as giving welcome to all, where fascists and

anyone who would exclude minorities is quickly sent packing. But it also forced us to

answer to the previously-hypothetical question of how such an attack is responded to. And

the final decision to leave the work in shreds felt, to many, unsatisfactory. This was already

a work which had been criticised for “aestheticising” tragedy. To stop repairing it felt like a

confirmation that The List was more focused on violence than on advocating for the rights

of the most vulnerable.

The List’s fate has left its scars, but its real legacy should be a deep questioning of

culture’s role in visualising and platforming empathy.

Julia Johnson

No Festival Today

If we’re honest, Liverpool’s music community can be quite a hostile place to outsiders. Outsiders bringing what seemed to be a festival

themed around British colonialism with a line-up consisting solely of Britpop also-rans were duly met with scepticism in 2017. Hope

And Glory Festival came from nowhere and no one seemed to know who was behind the garishly-branded shindig. That would change,


Ticket sales went well. There was clearly an appetite to see Embrace rub shoulders with The Pigeon Detectives on the Amritsar

Massacre stage before the lad from Keane presented a screening of Zulu in the main room at St George’s Hall. However, when the

weekend came, like the empire it looked to celebrate, things started to fall apart.

I happened to walk past the festival site shortly before midday on the opening day. As I peered through the Heras fencing, past the

B&M Bargains plastic flamingo garden ornament, I thought it unusual that the build seemed only three-quarters finished so close to doors.

The bulldog spirit would no doubt prevail though. Later that day social media was rife with discontent. Queues stretching up London

Road, not enough bars or toilets and timings running so far behind schedule bands had to find alternative venues to play. And it got worse.

The words ‘no festival today’ have rightly been etched into Liverpool music folklore. This is how the Hope And Glory communications

team (or most likely, the man in charge) chose to break the news that the event, which had been promoted for over a year and had Ocean

Colour Scene fans sleeplessly anticipating all summer, would not be going into its second day. And the drama did not finish there.

Predictably there was a mixture of horror, mockery and anger on social media. The organiser, outed as Lee O’Hanlon, was digitally

hung, drawn and quartered. O’Hanlon didn’t help his case by responding to many social media missives with flippancy and truculence.

A more expansive (and bizarre) statement was released in the week after the festival, pointing the blame at a Liverpool City Council

employee who briefly became a cult hero and talking at length about where they stored the sandwiches and milk.

Hope And Glory was a trailblazer in glorious festival fuck-ups. Unfortunately, there is no slick Netflix documentary and fly-by-night

events do keep happening, but what it did provide Liverpool with is a cautionary tale and some of the funniest moments of the past

decade. Outsiders are very welcome. Just don’t bring jingoism, please. Or Razorlight.

Sam Turner


John Johnson / @John.johno

Giant Steps?

When the Giants found their way their way back to Liverpool in 2018, it was

a moment of celebration, but one to reflect on.

Liverpool changed in 2008. The year as European Capital of Culture

established the city on the world stage as a destination. A place to be. The

figures say that growth has increased by £1.6 billion year-on-year since the

end of 2008. Perceptions outside the city have certainly changed. Liverpool is a

modern, forward-facing city, not only proud of its contribution to the arts, culture

and sport, but dependent, more than ever before, on that contribution for its

future. Maybe the full legacy will only be known in years to come, when we have

the true bigger picture.

The city mandarins talk of growth, of investment. From street level,

however, that growth looks to be more about the Blade Runner claustrophobia

of Wolstenholme Square, or the sheer whatthefuckery of the Lime Street

development, a prestigious entry point to the city with the grand opulence of

William Brown Street to one side and a grim metal box showcasing a new

branch of Lidl to the other. Maybe this is the legacy for some. Culture comes

from people, though, and that means the grassroots. Art needs space. It needs

support and nourishment. So, while it’s no doubt an achievement for the city

council, in the face of central government cuts, to protect the Biennial, or Sound

City, Africa Oyé and LightNight, there is still a glaring need for the council to

better support grassroots culture. That should be the true legacy.

Paul Fitzgerald

Haring at Tate

Keith Haring’s presence in Liverpool was palpable all summer and into the

winter of 2019. Emblazoned on buses and T-shirts and collectables, with DJs in

every other venue paying homage.

Tate Liverpool housing the first major UK exhibition of Haring’s work felt

like the North Star in a widening sky of constellations that are reorientating the

city’s pull as a cultural destination. Vibrant, urgent and playful, Haring’s output

has a humanity to it that resonated with the city. What’s more joy-inducing than

Shazam-ing the shit out of the tracks played in a curtained room where his Day

Glo works sit under UV light? What’s more sobering than understanding that his

work was made in the face of a wilfully ignorant Reagan administration during

the AIDS crisis? The exhibition was attractive and important.

It can be all too easy for the face of the city to rely on certain tropes while

its underbelly swells with a cutting edge not necessarily seen by those outside

of Liverpool. Haring didn’t put Liverpool on the map, but his work has helped to

broaden our horizons, and others’ perception of the city as a cultural destination.

Bethany Garrett

Streets Ahead

My first visit to 24 Kitchen Street saw dust tumbling

from the ceiling, such was the size of the sound system

drafted in to celebrate Less Effect hosting Objekt. Since

then, the music policy of the club has followed a similar

track. Although now it’s likely small-scale debris drifting

down from the ceiling can be attributed to the army of drills

burrowing in the foundations of luxury apartments next


The rise of the Baltic Triangle was one of the most

positive in the slew of recent city centre developments. The

work of Baltic CIC set the foundations for a new chapter

in Liverpool’s electronic music scene, giving rise to 24

Kitchen Street, Constellations, Camp and Furnace, Haus,

Baltic Weekender and microclimate tastemakers Melodic

Distraction Radio. A pared back answer to Detroit and

Berlin’s repurposing of defunct industrial spaces, these

homes to artistic endeavour and escapism are now ever

more surrounded by simply homes, short term rentals and

aspirational studio flats with necessary balcony to take in

your achievements. Such apartments stand ever taller over

Kitchen Street; Constellations is to be swept aside; the

remaining venues in the district do their best to rattle the

double glazing of local professionals.

For a moment Liverpool had a thriving creative district

and night time scene that was its own, free from large scale

residential intrusion. Crane your neck on Jamaica Street now

and it’ll be hard to see how a sound system large enough to

rattle a building to its core will ever be able to feature again.

Elliot Ryder

Robin Clewley /

If you’d like a soundtrack to these cultural moments, head

to to listen to our Decade Dansette — a selection of

tracks that stood out to us as memorable markers along the way.





“Songwriting can

be so selfish at

times, especially

when you’re

dealing with your

own emotions”

Leaping from synth wave to

the digital age, ALEX TELEKO

drinks in addictive 80s melody

and convulses to the maddening

beats and bleeps of the

contemporary era.

A by-product, birthed in the ceaseless surge of an intense

digital labyrinth, 22-year-old ALEX TELEKO coolly steps onto the

scene breathing words radiating a reluctant truth we flinch from.

But it’s not entirely confrontational. His artistry also possesses a

narcissistically relatable demur that we can’t help but concede to.

Based in Liverpool, this modern innovator takes his selfdesigned

concepts and manipulates them in a way that reveals

his lust for digital emotion: “I’ve written music in many styles for

a long time, but recently I’ve been trying to draw human emotion

out of a computer instead.”

A self-proclaimed crooner who produces “midi ballads in

synthesis”, Teleko is not one to sugar-coat the reality we share. A

realist who strives towards challenging the general perception of

contemporary music, while also keeping his feet on the ground,

he tells us that his creative intellect hasn’t always resided in

music. “I much preferred the idea of becoming a train driver

or a firefighter. However, some aspirations are unobtainable,

so creating music seemed like a stable fallback plan.” Big

aspirations steered his path, noting a wish to support the fondlyremembered

Europop of Steps, because, “Why not?”

As far as inspiration goes, he is his own muse. That is not to

say further musical influence is obsolete. “My head has always

been very scatterbrain, so I would absorb anything that had a

strong melody or hook,” he explains. “That could be anything from

police sirens echoing outside to chart-topping singles on the radio,

so I don’t think I could pinpoint one piece of music, purely because

everything with a musical nature acts as a form of inspiration.”

Spurred on by an inwardly pleasing writing style, he goes on

to explain how “songwriting can be so selfish at times, especially

when you’re dealing with your own emotions and experiences,

which I regularly interject into what I create”. It’s this strong sense

of narcissism that some believe makes Teleko so delightfully

appropriate for listeners nowadays: he accommodates them

with a real human voice they can associate with, all the while still

serving hard-hitting, bassy synths.

That being said, Teleko admits to enjoying the more

mischievous side of production: “I like to use my writing as a form

of people watching, too, stalking the odd habits and tendencies of

others, it provides some sense of entertainment.” Not just a theme

in his writing, this also makes an appearance in performance: “I very

much enjoy playing Call Me Digital. I like how, despite its upbeat

exterior, there is a tormented and sick meaning at the centre of the

song. It’s a good juxtaposition to me, to have something abrasive

and visceral mixed with what is a seemingly pleasant surroundings.

It probably says a lot about me subliminally.”

Having performed mainly in Liverpool – with the exception

of the odd anomaly – Moon Duo at the Invisible Wind Factory

and Future Yard Festival have been notable highlights. Ultimately

his favourite would be the former, despite the fact that it was

“bordering on temperatures parallel with the Arctic Circle, but

it’s an amazing space”. It’ll take more than temperature to halt

Teleko’s infatuation with live performance, however, as he has a

number of shows lined up to round off 2019, beginning with the

Merseyrail Sound Station showcase at Liverpool Central on 30th


Which other artists does Teleko think others should be made

aware of? “Die Orangen are one of the great acts coming out on

Malka Tuti, an experimental label based across Europe with its

roots in Tel Aviv. Khidja and Tapan are others on their roster that

are worth checking out.”

It’s safe to say that, with taste this eclectic, there are inspiring

things to come from this young emerging artist. !

Words: Anouska Liat

Photography: Luke Parry


Alex Teleko support Natalie McCool on 14th December at Arts

Club, and appears at the Eggy Records NYE show at Sound.




Arresting lyricism and delicate

instrumentation are gently weaved

together by this Seattle native

quietly causing a stir.

“Songwriting has

proven to be the

most cathartic

communication of

what I am feeling

and thinking”

If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you


Lyrically driven indie-folkrockpop.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

When I was 14 I had the opportunity to see one of my favourite

bands at the time (The Head And The Heart) play in an old

theatre in Seattle, where I’m originally from. I had waited in the

queue for three hours and ended up in the front row. It was

the band’s first hometown show in a long time and I remember

witnessing their collective energy, as well as their gratitude

towards the crowd and the city, and immediately wanting nothing

more than to be in a band.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

What does it say about you?

I really enjoy performing unreleased songs. They’re often new

and fresh to myself and the band and bringing them outside the

practice room is a lot of fun.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what

makes it special?

A few days before I moved to the UK, I played a farewell/EP

release show with my old band in the violinist’s backyard. We

hung lights and made lanterns, our friends sat on lawn chairs and

blankets, and my mom baked cookies. It was super wholesome.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

Definitely emotions and experiences. I tend to wear my heart on

my sleeve, but songwriting/performing has proven to be the most

cathartic communication of what I am feeling and thinking.

Have you always wanted to create music?

I’ve always loved performing, whether it be ‘talent shows’ at my

family gatherings, school plays, or covering songs on YouTube

with my friends. I attended an arts-oriented high school and it

was there that I began to take songwriting more seriously.

If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?

Phoebe Bridgers or Lucy Dacus, probably. Both of them have

been big inspirations to my own music, although I get a pit in my

stomach just imagining what I’d say in the green room.

Why is music important to you?

I think music is a great platform for individuals to communicate

their complex thoughts, feelings and experiences. Often, I’ve

found the words I’ve been looking for to explain myself in

someone else’s lyrics. That makes me feel a whole lot less alone

in the world.

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito!

readers might not have heard?

There’s a whole lot more to the Seattle music scene than grunge

and there are a lot of fantastic artists in that area right now.

Cataldo and OK Sweetheart are a couple of my favourites.

Photography: Lucia Matušíková

Abby Meysenburg plays the Merseyrail Sound Station showcase

at Liverpool Central Station on Saturday 30th November.


Building their sound around the dull

fuzz of an unearthed £50 1960s Tiesco

guitar, MINCEMEAT come out all guns

blazing with pummelling, bone-shaking

controlled chaos.


happened after

coming across a

terrible cheap guitar

with a fantastically

nasty sound”

If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would

you say?

Fast/slow garage punk rock clatter with a bit of motorik and some

other oddities thrown in.

Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get

into it?

We’ve all played in bands for a while, but MINCEMEAT happened

after coming across a terrible cheap guitar with a fantastically

nasty sound. It became an interesting project to try to write

songs around its sound.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?

What does it say about you?

Probably one of the ones we’ve played least. Suck In from the

new EP is a good, screamy glam guy which isn’t too exhausting

to play, so possibly that one. What does that one say about us?

That we get bored easily and we’re out of shape.

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially

inspired you?

Our first show was supporting Detroit garage gods The Gories.

It was so much fun and really exciting to be playing on the same

stage. Their stripped-down, ‘just smash through it’ approach to

rock ’n’ roll informed the way we created songs. They’ve done

loads of more ‘complex’ music in different outfits since their first

recordings. We asked Danny the guitarist if it was hard to forget

how to play the guitar for The Gories shows and he just acted like

he had no idea what we were on about. It was kind of great that

he didn’t understand how he was channelling all this primitivist


Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what

makes it special?

Drop The Dumbulls Gallery. It’s got a great atmosphere and

the shows are usually carnage. Plus, Jake and the staff are all


If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?


What do you think is the overriding influence on your

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture

of all of these?

Our lyrics tend to sound like blurred string of undiscernible barks,

but there are actual words. They often materialise from a variety

of different areas. Sometimes the visual arts, literature, cinema,

experiences, mental health, politics and the general flotsam and

jetsam of the human condition.

Photography: Lauren Avery

Mincemeat’s EP Aroma is out now.



Bristol electronic three-piece BEAK> have been a

creative force for a decade now – and they continue

to reach new heights on nothing but their own terms.

Considering the immersive and compelling musical

landscapes they’ve become known for, the concept behind the

band is actually relatively simple: it’s about creating explorative

music free from any bullshit or expectations.

An outlet for the three to experiment and innovate away

from their other musical endeavours, the band is in healthier

shape than ever before (although you can be sure Geoff

Barrow would have a self-deprecating joke to hand about that


Following another ambitious year on the road and in the

studio, they’re hitting the Arts Club as part of their December

UK tour. As Rhys Buchanan picked up the phone to bassist Billy

Fuller to chat about their last 12 months, the ever-present sense

of drive and community behind the band remains palpable.


So, two glorious releases in the last few years, how’s it all

been in your world?

It’s been super productive since we’ve done our third album

[>>>] and the last EP [Life Goes On]. We’ve been going to new

places as well which is always refreshing. This year Mexico has

been really good for us – we never thought anything like that

would ever happen, but we played a festival there and it seemed

to just land, the crowd went crazy for it. So the organisers of the

festival had us back for a show in Mexico City and Guadalajara

a few weeks ago. Both shows sold out and they want us back

again next year. When we first started to do Beak>, I never

expected anything like that to happen. It’s crazy reaching such

heavy heights. We’re just buzzing now and really excited for the

upcoming UK tour.

You’ve been a band for a long time now, do those moments

keep you motivated?

That’s always a massive motivation for us, getting to play all

of these great places and seeing all of the happy faces. The

other motivation is to make tunes that excite us away from the

other bands that we’ve been in, which is the reason why we

got together. It’s still a totally different experience; it’s the most

interesting band that I’ve ever been in and long may it last. We

wouldn’t do it if we weren’t having fun. It’s all about enjoying

ourselves and making good music.

Do you think that element of freedom is a massive part of

Beak> for you guys?

Yeh, sometimes it’s not even very serious. I don’t know if you’ve

seen our live shows, but sometimes we just take the piss out

of each other onstage. A friend of mine said the other day they

heard someone saying we’re like a comedy act with songs inbetween.

It’s mostly about when we get in the room together,

we don’t discuss much, we just fire things around, some things

land and some things don’t. We all come up with stuff, bring

ideas in and other times we do it on the fly in the studio. There’s

not much discussion about it, we’re just trying to push for

something we haven’t done before. We don’t want to repeat

ourselves from here on in.

That seems true of your live schedule, as well: earlier in the

year you played on a bridge in Bristol for Extinction Rebellion

which felt quite spontaneous...

That came about because I had to go into town for some

shopping – I didn’t even know that was happening. I walked past

Bristol Bridge and I was like, ‘Hang on a second what’s going

on here?’ I was there for about an hour chatting to people and

thought it would be cool if they were up for us doing it. We went

to play some tunes there and played a different set to bring some

attention to it all. It worked out really well, we did a couple of

Gary Numan tunes like Cars because everyone was frustrated

with the traffic, then we did a cover of Pigbag which went down

great. I think there’s a good video of that online.

This year you’ve got another Christmas charity event lined up

helping the homeless in Bristol.

Do you feel like it’s important to

be engaged with the community

as a band?

You’ve always got to be active and

look out for other people. We’ve

always believed in that and will

always do it. The ‘Give A Shit

Christmas’ thing is something that

we’ll do every December as long

as we’re together. I don’t know

what it’s like in Liverpool, but the

scale of the homeless problem is

the worst it’s ever been in Bristol.

I don’t want to get too political,

but I put a lot of blame on the Tory

government and austerity for that.

There should always be money available for a human being.

Everybody is someone’s son or daughter out there and people

are dying. It’s disgusting and we’re not up for it. That’s the

reason why we do this event for local charities every year. Last

year we raised £9,000 and, with a bigger venue, this year we’re

hoping to get five times that.



EVOL @ Arts Club – 05/12

“I don’t want to

be responsible for

boring anyone. I think

it’s best to keep it

interesting and keep

the hooks coming”

Constantly sharpening the edges of their three-sided setup, these

masters of sonic immersion know better than most how to keep it

sounding fresh.

Speaking of that sense of community, to what extent does

having Invada Studios at your disposal help the band’s fluidity?

The fact that it’s there for us is invaluable to be honest. It’s like

a miniature Motown. When you go in, it’s like the label. All the

records are there ready for mailorder;

the releases are everywhere,

filed away. We rehearse in the

same room that we record in.

When it first started we could

pick and choose when we went in.

Now we have to book a lot further

in advance. It’s great when we’re

in because we have it and can do

some serious damage. It’s deluxe,

really. We’re spoilt.

Your songs are quite sprawling

and immersive. How disciplined

do you need to be when it comes

to playing live?

As a live thing, we never do any jamming; there’s never any

heads-down, doing a Hawkwind kind of thing. People are

always surprised by that. Otherwise, if there was anything more

to get out of it then we would do it on track. I’m not putting

anyone down, but I find that when a band’s head goes down

they just starting whacking on the wah-wah and the fuzz pedal

and they’ve had one too many goes on the bong. It just bores

me. I don’t want to be responsible for boring anyone. I think it’s

best to keep it interesting and keep the hooks coming.

They’ve been coming for some time now and it seems it will be

that way long into the future?

Yeh, it’s all a discipline because, ultimately, we go through a lot

of pain to make an album. The first album was the easiest thing

we’d ever done because we didn’t properly know each other back

then. So, we went into the studio, had a cup of tea, set our gear

up and just started playing. The first song on the first album is

us playing for the very first time in the studio. That all came very

quick and easy because it was so natural. Then you go on tour

and find out who you are, then once you’re involved then you’re

working within parameters from there on in. Album four, which

we’re starting work on in the new year, will be another adventure/

headache/brilliant experience. If we’re up, then hopefully we’ll

carry on making good and interesting music. That’s where it lies

really. It’s not that difficult to think about, if we’re happy then the

music will come out the back of it. !

Words: Rhys Buchanan / @Rhys_Buchanan

Photography: Daniel Patlán-Desde


Beak> play Arts Club on Thursday 5th December. Life Goes On is

available now via Invada Records.



STUDIO ELECTROPHONIQUE is the new project of

former High Hazels frontman James Leesley. The

first signing to Violette Records which isn’t a Micheal

Head project, the debut Electrophonique EP Buxton

Palace Hotel sees Leesley and his ‘imaginary band’ create a

microcosm which lies somewhere between kitchen sink drama

and The Velvet Underground. Balancing love and its inevitable

pitfalls with a raw yet delicate sound, the Steel City balladeer’s

first output has already captured the imaginations of the likes of

Richard Hawley and Pete Paphides.

On a cold Friday night, Matthew Hogarth caught him on the

other end of the line shortly after a winter evening kick-a-bout.


Sonically, the songs sound a bit like The Velvet Underground

if they’d recorded in the North of England. Who and what

influenced you to start Studio Electrophonique?

I’ve been listening to music all my life, a lot of different varied

things. The Velvets kind of got me into music properly, but

growing up I listened to Oasis and Coldplay on the radio. They

were on the radio, but obviously you kind of get into the darker

and more obscured side in your own time. I’ve been playing

music for a long time with a band but that kind of ran its course,

quite naturally, and I just had a lot of ideas in my head that

weren’t complicated enough that they’d need a band. In a way

they were almost on a four-track up there, in my head. I felt like

my head only had enough space for the melodies and a bigger

accompaniment in mind. I’ve always wanted a four-track. I’ve

never been a technical wizard by any stretch of the imagination

and always stayed away from the likes of Logic and all that. I’ve

always focused on writing the songs and left the recording to

someone who knew what they were doing.

So what attracted you to recording on four-track?

It was only after I stepped away from being in the band that I

thought I could do with an easy bit of equipment to record on.

A lot of my favourite bands have used both four-tracks and

eight-tracks over the years, and some of them recordings I love.

I thought it must be a good enough place to start. So I just got

myself a knackered old Fostex X-15 just to play around with and

work it out. I’ve never worked with cassette before, and I thought

if I can get ’em down on tape it’ll feel quite nice, push me down a

route that I may not have gone down if I’d gone into the studio.

I recorded the tracks in the spare room in me house which made

it naturally a lot more hushed and quiet, because I couldn’t be

blaring the place down. So I got ’em down without having any

intentions of anyone hearing them; I know that’s a cliché, but I

genuinely just thought I’ve got to clear some space out. It were

just a bit of fun that I’d go upstairs in mine after work and just

get a few songs down. I’ve got a couple of little old Casio organs,

80s ones with only one or two good sounds on ’em. I just used

those and an old Philicorda organ which I picked up for about a

hundred quid, which provided a table for everything. I wanted to

limit myself to just that and record it to tape. Luckily, I got a few

tunes down and it echoed the old 60s recordings and modern

bands demos that I loved. It had a really nice warmth.

Lyrically, Buxton Palace Hotel seems to be a pretty personal

EP. Would you agree with this?

I’ve never been someone to overthink how it’s going to be

received. Through practising, over the years I’ve come upon a

style whereby it’s more the thoughts that people are having

that they would never say. It can be very exposing. It’s all about

putting your thoughts out there. If you look at the approach of

the likes of Morrissey, Stuart Murdoch of Belle And Sebastian

and Lou Reed, the thing they’ve all got is a really sensitive side.

I wanted it to feel like it was just one person listening to it. I

wanted it to feel very real. The fact that I was in a collaborative

band meant that occasionally I would maybe doctor a few lyrics

to make it more acceptable. There’s no reason for a filter, which

makes everything a lot easier.

When you’re on your own, there’s no one to stop it. The speed

I could work at was so much

quicker. It’s the first time I’ve used

characters in my work; a lot of the

stuff is personal but I’ve managed

to put it into characters and the

lyrics could be about anyone.

The atmosphere of some of the

tracks often feels quite isolated,

lyrically blending romance with

darker tones. Would you agree?

Subconsciously, I was always

trying to keep the balance between

the two. I was basically trying to

take you to a place for a moment,

however long that may be. If I’m in

the mood for a band I can create a

little world which I can just access. I wanted to take people away

for a little while.

The intention was to make it underthought. I wanted to get it

straight from my brain to the machine. I wanted to do it in the

now. It is quite warm sounding but when it gets quite bleak, I try

to bring it back. I wanted it to be so intimate it could fall apart at

any point. All my friends who were into stuff were really into it. I

didn’t have any idea if it was any good.


“The intention for my

music was to make it

underthought: straight

from my brain to the

machine. I wanted

to do it in the now”



La Violette Società @ Studio2 – 20/12

Hushed, attentive tones crafted in the dead of night - James Leesley’s

new solo endeavour captures an honest, moonlit reflection of solitude.

You’re the first artist to release on

Violette Records who’s not Mick

Head. How does that feel?

I was a bit apprehensive because

they hadn’t released anyone else.

But I sent it to them because I

really liked what they stood for,

and obviously I’m a big fan of Mick

Head. I thought, ‘May as well, and

they might like it’. I don’t think they

planned to put it out to be honest,

but they just went, ‘This is alright

and we haven’t really got anything

else coming out,’ and it was doable.

I think I was quite quick and easy to

work with so it wasn’t a matter of

waiting around. It moved really quickly and I think that helped.

Matty [Lockett, Violette Records] said he just wanted to put out

good records that they like.

With High Hazels you’ve already got a decent fan base, but sell

out-shows are no mean feat in Liverpool and you obviously did

really well across the country and Paris. How does this feel?

We couldn’t buy a gig at times, it was really difficult. But with this

I kind of didn’t even plan to play live. The first gigs I did were with

Richard Hawley. My first gig was in Holmfirth supporting him,

and two gigs in London. Both were over a thousand capacity

each. Luckily, I had a bit of live experience but I had to play

quick and learn fast. If it went wrong I’d look the biggest fool in

the world. I think a lot of [the success] has been [down to] the

venues that have been dressed up nice. I wanted to do stuff

that was a little bit different. Luckily the Violette guys sorted the

Scandinavian Church in Liverpool and I managed to sort out the

Lantern Theatre in Sheffield. It took a good couple of months to

even get in touch with them. In the end, I went to this strange

gig on a Thursday night just to see a human who worked there.

I got chatting about Sheffield Utd and he passed me a number

and I eventually got in. Roy, who runs the live side of things for

Violette, played the show with me and did spoken word and

people loved it. It was more of an experience and people loved it

as a night. I think it was a bit of pot luck to be fair.

Paris was daft. They were so nice. There was a massive spread

and a bath of beer. I felt like this is how it should be. !

Words: Matthew Hogarth

Photography: Ryan Lee Turton

Buxton Palace Hotel is available now on Violette Records.

Studio Electrophonique plays La Violette Società’s Christmas

Special on Friday 20th December, with Toria Garbutt, Daisy Gill

and Roy.







Various venues – 21/12 and 31/12

Circus Christmas Special

Circus and Chibuku have your festive party season covered with two heavyweight shows that will give you every

reason to get off the couch and escape the TV repeats.

YOUSEF presents a special Circus Christmas party at Bramley-Moore Dock on 21st December, with house

music superstar SOLOMUN helming what will be a huge show down on the docks. The Bosnian-born DJ has been

a titan of house and techno music for almost a decade, regularly scooping industry awards while running successful labels

(Diynamic, 2DIY4), clubs (Ego) and multiple Ibiza residencies (Pacha, Ushuaïa). Solomun’s emotional take on European house

music is characterised by ultra funky basslines and euphoric melodies, reflective of his love of hip hop, soul and funk.

Circus have re-tooled the vast warehouse space at Bramley-Moore as an ideal venue for raving and partying, and the

location will add a new dimension to their famed Christmas party blowout. Leeds’ globetrotting deep house technician HOT

SINCE 82 brings an element of energy and dram to proceedings. “King Of Space” DJ STEVE LAWLER also joins the party,

hosted by Circus maestro Yousef and also featuring ENZO SIRAGUSA.

And if that wasn’t enough for you, Chibuku come up trumps with a New Year’s Eve party to cap off the year in fine style.

Chart-topping big beat duo GROOVE ARMADA return to Liverpool for the first time in a decade, with a DJ set at Invisible

Wind Factory that dwarfs that 2009 set at Barfly for a Circus Easter special. The global stars have since played Creamfields

on numerous occasions, but their mix of electronic, house and trip hop is equally suited to more intimate clubs.

Having picked up a Grammy nomination (Superstylin’), soundtracked entire advert breaks, worked with artists as diverse

as Neneh Cherry and Richie Havens, and set up the popular Lovebox festival, the duo have very little still to achieve in the

game. Through decks and FX shows and a series of dancefloor EPs, Groove Armada have marked a return to the DIY spirit of

the warehouse turntables where the project first began. Go on, sign off the year in style.




Tate Liverpool – 13/12/19-03/05/2020

Chicago-based artist THEASTER GATES is one of the world’s most influential living artists,

working across social and urban issues that speak to the same ethos of community

fracturing that has been highlighted by the work around Granby in Liverpool. Having studied

urban planning – alongside a joint masters in religion, ceramics and city design – Gates’ work

shows how art can transform places and improve the lives of the people who live there. He is best

known for his projects in the South Side of Chicago, where he has redeveloped abandoned buildings

for community use.

Gates also worked as a potter for 15 years, which taught him the power of making something from

only bare materials. “I feel like as a potter you also start to learn how to shape the world,” he commented

in a TED talk he gave, titled How To Revive A Neighbourhood: With Imagination, Beauty and Art.

In Amalgam, Gates explores the complex and interweaving issues of race, territory and inequality in

the United States, from the slightly curious starting point of Malaga. Not that Malaga, however. During the

19th Century, this small island off the coast of Maine, USA, was home to an ethnically mixed community.

In 1912, on the orders of the state governor, Malaga’s inhabitants were forcibly removed to the mainland.

They were offered no housing, jobs or support.

The exhibition uses sculpture, installation, film and dance to highlight this history. A new film, Dance

Of Malaga 2019, features the choreography of acclaimed American dancer, Kyle Abraham, while Gates’

musical collective, The Black Monks, provide the score. Their blues and gospel-inspired sound can be

heard throughout the exhibition, continuing into an immersive ‘forest’ installation.

Launching at the same time in Tate’s neighbouring Wolfson Gallery, a new exhibition of work by

VIVIAN SUTER provides an immersive installation of tropical landscapes of Guatemala. A maze of Suter’s

large-scale hanging paintings brings to life the organic elements – such as volcanic and botanical matter –

that the Argentinian artist is surrounded by during her everyday life.

Theaster Gates




Aldous Harding

Arts Club – 04/12

Aldous Harding

Returning with her third record in April, for many, ALDOUS

HARDING’s Designer is an understated contender for album of

the year. The New Zeland-born, Cardiff-based singer-songwriter

has crafted a varied selection of wonky folk since arriving with her

eponymous debut in 2014, but Designer sees Harding achieve new

levels of eccentricity and panache. From start to finish the record

is assured in its oddness and comfortably blends the abstract

with her winsome songwriting formula. Rather than force its point

home, the record beckons you into its world, one that remains often

indecipherable but aboundingly charming. Taking centre stage at Arts

Club, Harding will offer a hazy, sun-kissed escape from the winter chill.


Miracle On 34th Street: The Musical

The Playhouse – 07/12/19-04/01/20

Miracle On 34th Street has been spreading festive cheer, in various guises,

since the 1947 feature film that picked up three Oscars. Via a novel,

TV series and the much-celebrated 1994 feature film starring Richard

Attenborough, it has become a Christmas staple. Meredith Wilson’s lyrical

rendering of the story of six-year-old Susan, a Christmas sceptic, and Kris

Kringle, is brought to sparkling life on stage as a musical, which gives

centre stage to the famed seasonal song, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like

Christmas. The set of Macy’s is brought to the Playhouse stage, with a

story specially tweaked for a Liverpool audience, which will get Christmas

lovers of all ages in the mood for festive magic.

Miracle On 34th Street


Judy Collins

Grand Central Hall – 11/01/20

JUDY COLLINS has been an omnipresent force in music for the best part of five decades. In

that time she’s featured on 55 records and inspired millions with her contributions to folk

music and Americana. As well as performing to countless audiences since the 1960s, the

American singer songwriter as drawn in praises from Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin,

Dolly Parton, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen, who all honoured her legacy by featuring on

the album Born To The Breed: A Tribute To Judy Collins. An artist of such stature deserves

a stage to match, and the opulent backdrop of Grand Central Hall will be the perfect fit

when she arrives in Liverpool for an exhibition of vulnerable songwriting littered with social

activism and determination.


Crazy P Soundsystem

Constellations – 31/12

The final New Year’s Eve party at Constellations takes on epic proportions under the

stewardship of Melodic Distraction. No holds will be barred for this grand celebration of the

Greenland Street venue, which will be winding down operations in 2020. Cosmic disco dons

CRAZY P are charged with piloting this closing party (of sorts) to another dimension, which

will make for the perfect kind of celebration. Shimmering with pop, throbbing with electronica

and slinking with disco, revellers will prepared to blast off into 2020 in the highest of spirits.

The Soundsystem is a club variation on Crazy P’s live setup, and will feature live vocals from

Danielle Moore. Melodic Distraction DJs will be joined by a host of the region’s finest selectors

in getting things primed for this huge signing off party.


Four To The Floor

Invisible Wind Factory – 22/01-25/01/20

Four To The Floor

A history of dance music is rendered in this off-site performance from the Unity Theatre and production company Turntable

Theatre, which is also your invitation to the closing part of the century. Inspired by Earl Young’s 4/4 beat that revolutionised

music for dancing, this immersive theatre show with an electronic heartbeat charts dance music’s progression from the disco

to the underground rave scene, via youth culture, political movements and superstar DJs. The action takes place wherever it

needs to rather than be confined to the stage: the audience is placed at the heart of the narrative, blurring the lines between

theatre and a rave. Real dancefloor stories are told in thrilling fashion, touching on the effects of gentrification, ‘luxury living’

and city growth on rave culture.


The Flying Luttenbachers

Kazimier Stockroom – 20/12

Weasel Walter’s shape-shifting collective THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS have been in existence,

in various forms, since 1991. Taking in prog, punk jazz and no waves elements (among many

others), the outfit has deconstructed music and reality via a multitude of seminal releases. Anyone

trying to keep up with Walter and his Luttenbachers – or the constant line-up changes – will attest

to the group’s commitment to exploring extremities in music. The current line-up will see a quartet

of guitar, bass, drums and saxophone, under Walter’s tutelage, engage in the kind of explosive

free jazz improvisations that feature on the group’s recently released album Imminent Death.

Liverpool’s own DIY pop experimenter CLAIRE WELLES offers support, alongside Manchester’s

sonic adventurers YOSSARIANS and no wave goth soundscape artists JEZEBEL. Tickets available

now from

The Flying Luttenbachers




Daughters (Tomas Adam)

“The entire

experience is

anxiety-inducing and

downright unnerving,

like watching a

good horror film”


+ Jeromes Dream

Harvest Sun @ Arts Club – 01/11

DAUGHTERS triumphantly returned after an eight-year-long

hiatus with one of the most twisted and harrowing albums of

the past decade, You Won’t Get What You Want. The album is

a surprising and rewarding continuation of their earlier work;

Daughters embrace the sounds of no wave and industrial music,

without sacrificing the hectic noise-rock edge they perfected over

their short, yet lasting, discography.

Tonight’s support, JEROMES DREAM, are something of

hardcore legends in their home state of Connecticut. The shortlived

outfit were together for a mere four years in the late 90s,

releasing two albums, both of which were one of the first to be

recorded by seminal producer Kurt Ballou, essentially the Nile

Rodgers of heavy music. They return after nearly two decades

of silence without skipping a beat. During their original stint, the

band refused to use microphones and even play on the stage,

often setting up on the floor. Rejecting convention, the music is

often angular and inharmonious, favouring screeching guitars

and violent screams. Cuts from their new untitled record like

Drone Before Parlor Violence are more melodic, and hark back to

the nostalgic emo and post-hardcore of the late 90s, yet hardly

sound dated in the slightest. Long droning sections in Half-In

A Bantam Canopy see the band embracing post-rock in a way

they previously haven’t. Everything about them serves as a big

middle finger to the mainstream. Frontman and bassist Jeff Smith

screams into a microphone with his back to the audience and

doesn’t say a single word in between songs. The message is loud

and clear, but he could at least turn around and give the kids who

are to see him a wave?

There is an air of anticipation as Daughters take to the

stage. The music dies out and a familiar tune plays over the

loudspeakers; the beautiful post-punk classic Goodbye Horses

by Q Lazzarus. The walk on reference is two-fold: firstly, as a

nod to Daughters’ embrace of the new wave sounds of the 70s

and 80s; secondly, and more notably, the song’s legacy is forever

intertwined with its iconic use in the classic film The Silence Of

The Lambs. In the spine-chilling scene, serial killer Buffalo Bill

gets all dolled up and films himself singing along to the song with

his penis tucked between his legs. All the while his latest victim

tries to escape becoming a part of his “woman suit”. Sleazy,

depraved and sex-obsessed, Daughters take to the stage.

Given the introspective nature of You Won’t Get What You

Want, one might expect the audience to be awestruck and

inward during their performance. We quickly realise this is not

the case as they begin The Reason They Hate Me. Frontman

Alexis S.F. Marshall assumes control with a bloody forehead and

brings all the energy of The Dillinger Escape Plan to Arts Club.

He stage dives, climbs on top of speakers, wraps the mic cable

around his neck. A man after GG Allin’s heart, he puts his fingers

down his throat, spews an ungodly amount of saliva onto his

hand and wipes is all over his face. The band have clearly not lost

their roots on The Lords Song, which is the closest they sound on

their latest record to their earlier days.

There is a healthy mix of old and new, squeezing in blistering

songs like The Virgin and Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are

One) from 2010’s self-titled album, with the common thread

being the wild and shrieking guitar sounds that only Daughters

can make. Songs like the crooner Less Sex and Satan In The Wait

are where the band steps into new territory. The beautiful synth

lines in the latter sound like they could be right out of a Peter

Gabriel song, giving the audience a well needed breather before

returning to the punishing, throbbing latter half of the song as

Marshall screams “This world is opening up”.

Marshall’s lyrics transport you right into the twisted mind of

a mad man. There’s something deeply unsettling and apocalyptic

about the poetry of the closer, Ocean Song, the story of a man

overcome with paranoia at the banality of everyday life, who

simply begins to run from his home. “The shadow haunts him

for several yards/The ghosts of what he was, desperate to keep

up until gone”. Seeing the song performed live verges on an

exorcism, for Marshall and for the audience. The entire experience

is anxiety-inducing and downright unnerving, like watching a

good horror film. For those who can stomach them, Daughters

have become one of the most compelling bands in recent

memory. !

Joel Durksen / @joeldurksen

Daughters (Tomas Adam)


She Drew The Gun

+ Peaness

+ Mamatung

EVOL @ O2 Academy – 09/11

I’ve been lucky enough to see SHE DREW THE GUN a

few times over the years. From the Buyers Club loft in 2016 to

Glastonbury’s Park Stage in 2017, The John Peel Stage in 2019,

to a slot on this year’s BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at Liverpool’s

Olympia. Their stages keep getting larger and their audiences

greater. But there is something about a headline hometown gig

in the main room of the O2 that feels bigger than all of these

previous gigs. After all, there’s no place like home. A home crowd

is special. No other city will get to experience this night.

It might feel like She Drew The Gun appeared out of nowhere

and grabbed a headline tour and slots on some of the most

famous stages in the world, but it’s been a long and eventful

road. After winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition

in 2016, Louisa Roach has been splashed all over the radio,

been to Texas for SXSW and toured around Europe spreading

the message of her revolution. If anyone is going to bring people

together for a cause and a dance it’s these guys.

They’re known for their part gig, part political rallies. Their

music aids their message with a beat, not relentless shouting

like we’re used to seeing on the TV. If you’ve listened before, you

know this is what to expect at these shows. Roach encourages

sisters and brothers of the audience and her revolution to come

together in Sweet Harmony – as one of their songs suggest. It

works. We’re pretty used to coming together here in Liverpool.

This tour is to support She Drew The Gun’s second

album, Revolution Of Mind. It’s an album of the times we

are living in; a critique of the systems we are living in. Roach

comments on everything from

personal relationships, capitalism,

depression, global war, politics,

feminism. The list goes on. But she

doesn’t preach, she raises current,

everyday issues for us to think about

and act upon – politically charged

track Poem reminds us of this.

It’s a wet and windy Saturday

night but that doesn’t stop people

turning up for tonight’s show.

Psychedelic trio MAMATUNG fill the

stage with a range of instruments

to kick off the festivities, with vocals

and tracks reminiscent of Kate Bush

and Haim. It’s fitting for tonight’s allfemale


Chester’s PEANESS fit right into the second support slot with

their sun-soaked indie-pop that once again touches on politics,

Brexit and breakfast. The room is near full to bursting for their set

and it’s nice to see people turning up to support the support. The

contagiously charming trio are a joy to watch.

By the time the lights dim for She Drew The Gun, fists

are already in the air, deep bass rumbles through the floor, a

shredding guitar cuts through the anticipation and they delve

“Roach encourages

sisters and brothers

of the audience

and her revolution

to come together

in Sweet Harmony”

right into Resister, the first track off Revolution Of Mind. It’s one

of their most recognised songs and a perfect crowd-pleaser

to kick off the evening. Carrying on with Something For The

Pain and Wolf And Bird, each song carries a different theme

and style. From the ethereal chillness of Since You Were Not

Mine to the grungy bass of Paradise,

the setlist tells a story of Roach’s

thoughts and feelings about all

aspects of the world today. Some

tracks like Arm Yourself, which

Roach claims we should do against

the Tory government, inspire fists

of solidarity in the air, while others,

like Pit Pony, just encourage a bit

of a dance. There’s spoken word,

rapping, singing and moments

where the music speaks for itself.

It’s a show that keeps on giving.

Roach ends with a list of thank

yous. She thanks her mum, friends

and the audience for spending a

rainy Saturday night with them with

closer Thank You. It’s an ode to all the great female musicians

who have come before her, from Aretha Franklin to Joni Mitchell,

PJ Harvey and Tracy Chapman. If She Drew The Gun keep

performing like they did tonight, it won’t be long until we can add

Louisa Roach to aforementioned group of influential women. !

Sophie Shields

She Drew The Gun (Keith Ainsworth /


+ Courting

I Love Live Events @ Sound – 03/11

COURTING’s sound is the future. A very near future, but

a future nonetheless. Whether you like their staggered drum

patterns or harsh vocals, it doesn’t matter. They conspire to drag

you into their own vision of the 21st Century. Following similar

sonic patterns as 2019 breakouts Black Midi, as well as sharing

anthemic choruses with Shame, debut single Not Yr Man is as

punk as it is rock. Tonight they’re sharing a stage with band who

are similar but more mature. FEET, with their leather jacket look

and determined presence on stage, are brutally honest in the

type of music they produce. They’ve chopped between band

members before finally settling on a group they feel most capable

of producing their debut album – something they successfully did

at the beginning of October, just a few weeks before they take

centre stage here in Liverpool.

Courting strike first, hurling blankets of riffs across the

cold concrete walls in the Sound basement. Tonight they are

without a bass player, yet they still manage to create a bespoke

atmosphere of “meandering sonic mess”. This self-prescribed

genre tag is printed on their first batch of merchandise and they

seem to deliver an ironic sensibility to the sentiment; the music

is tight and they are captivating to watch. Courting catch their

best moments when they feel visceral rather than cerebral; the

panting and screaming on unreleased tracks leave breadcrumbs

of multiple genres and it is up to the crowd tonight to follow them

on their march. Luckily, they’re there every step of the way.

Four songs in and lead singer Sean Murphy-O’Neill has

stepped into the crowd, (something he looks to have flirted with

for a while, but finally plucked up the courage to do). He parades

a cowbell and proceeds to hand it out to spectators as they try

to keep the rhythm of the song intact. Coincidentally, it is in the

fleeting manner that Courting attain the most telling moments of

melodic cohesion. Equally, it is these moments that most resonate

through with listeners.

Key to this connection is their stroke of lyrical humour: “I

kinda wanna take the lads on tour and go to Pontins” Murphy-

O’Neill chants. It is in these brief instances where he has the

crowd in the palm of his hand, and the cowbell in the other.

Feet are here tonight in support of their new debut album

What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham. Despite the comical title,

there is a dramatic sense of seriousness about this band; they

sing with purpose. Each drum beat wraps around the stage and

demands total involvement as they sway on the stand-out Good

Richard’s Crash Landing. Even before they manage to whisper

the first lyric, the crowd are primed to jump the gun and are

hanging on every word.

There is plenty to admire here. Almost romantic red lights

shine across the room, and it’s hard to tell whether they convey a

feeling of love and lust, or resentment and anger. Perhaps both.

Feet are a band that reside in the empowered juxtaposition. It’s

their ability to dance effortlessly between a plethora of emotions

makes their live shows so in demand, so enthralling.

Feet are definitely building momentum. Even for a handful of

people gathered on a freezing Sunday night, it’s easy to see why.

For now, it is their best kept secret.

Daniel Ponzini / @daniel_ponzini



Black Lips (Stuart Moulding / @Oohshootstu)

Black Lips

+ Yammerer

+ Ohmns

EVOL @ Arts Club – 13/11

With a status as revered and prolific as Atlantan garage punks BLACK

LIPS, they’re a band you have to see to believe. Rewind eight years and

they were well known (or extremely notorious) at venues around the

world. Gigs would descend into urinating and nudity on stage, just a

small sample of their reputation. In the years that followed, they became

somewhat controversial figures within the punk scene.

It’s 2019 now. Have Black Lips mellowed with age? Has craziness

stirred through the years? With a full supporting cast of Liverpool’s own

punks in tow, the scene is set to see if the notoriety still rings true.

As has been said a thousand times before – even by myself – but no

less true: OHMNS know how to put on a show. They smash out classics

from 2015 EP The Rice Tape. But what’s noticeable, particularly with the

seven-minute version of Keshi Heads dedicated to Craig Charles, is how

Ohmns elongate their riffs and a punk classic transforms into a sludgy jam

that you can’t take your eyes off.

Next on stage are Chester’s YAMMERER. With a lead singer who is

wrapping himself in his microphone lead and has sunglasses on the back

Snapped Ankles

Harvest Sun @ Invisible Wind Factory Substation – 25/10

of his head, Yammerer feel more like a performance art piece rather than

a punk band. You don’t have to know which songs are which, which is

probably a good thing. You can’t take home a coherent sentence from the

microphone. But it matters little. You want to participate in the madness

yourself. The entire set fluctuates between simmering anticipation to full

blown pandemonium. What’s more punk than that?

Black Lips immediately go for the jugular as they hit the stage, with

only an hour until curfew. They start off with Arabia Mountain classic

Family Tree. The crowd, which is hitherto relatively tame, splits into

madness and fear of madness. People begin to spin and bump into each

other, and some are courageous enough to crowd surf. You’re holding

someone up by their boot, but it’s definitely all part of the fun of being in a

crowd that energetic.

They play a varied selection of songs, including tracks from 2015’s

seminal album Let It Bloom and of course, their biggest hit O Katrina! The

songs begin to mellow as they turn towards their album Sing In A World

That’s Falling Apart, their forthcoming country-infused record.

For the more hardcore garage punk fans, this might not be what

they’ve come for, but it’s still captivating to witness a band’s sound

evolving in this way. Line-up changes aside, Black Lips appear to have

finally gelled together for the long term. They’ve matured and found

comfort in the country, but they haven’t completely forgotten to give fans

what they want.

Georgia Turnbull / @GeorgiaRTbull

Snapped Ankles (Mook Loxley / @MookLoxley)


The Wonder Pot @ 24 Kitchen

Street – 16/11

24 Kitchen Street has remained a bastion

in Liverpool’s underground electronic music

scene over the years. It’s become a citadel for

electronic music culture to grow and expand,

break new ground and test its audience. It’s

been six years since its inception, but it didn’t

take long for it to emerge as one of Liverpool’s

leading mixed-use independent music

venues and arts spaces. Hosting regular club

nights, performance art events and various

workshops, it’s now renowned among the

city’s creative community. Notably, Kitchen

Street has allowed the electronic scene to grow

at an unprecedented level, hosting hard-hitting

DJs from Berlin to Detroit. But it hasn’t been a

solo effort. Kitchen Street is the centre point

of collaboration, working with innovative

promoters such as The Wonderpot, Watt Hz??

and Meine Nacht to introduce Liverpool to

some of the most electrifying nights the city

has witnessed in recent memory.

To celebrate their sixth birthday, who

better to take the reins than the Derryborn

OR:LA. Starting her musical journey

in Liverpool and a much-loved frequenter

of Kitchen Street, Or:la has constantly been

progressing since the start of her career.

Originally DJing with Liverpool based nights

such as Meine Nacht, she has moved onto

become a resident at Manchester club monolith

The Warehouse Project, as well as producing

her own tracks for Hotflush, Deep Sea

Frequencies and, more recently, her own label


Walking into Kitchen Street, there is an

immediate sense of warmth and a feeling of

elevated spirits. A gathering of party people

and electronic enthusiasts, creating the sort

of vibe a birthday truly deserves. Immediately,

as Or:la jumps behind the decks, she brings in

her kaleidoscopic mix of genres, which varies

from bass, breaks, techno and everything in

between; ready to sway the people of Kitchen

Street whichever direction she pleases.

Through her guidance, the wide array of

sounds fit snugly under one umbrella held aloft

high above the decks, moving the crowd in a

way that most DJs can’t achieve.

A birthday occasion requires energy, and

there is little shortage with the Kitchen Street

native at the helm.

Rhys Thomas


Matisse: Drawing With Scissors

Lady Lever Art Gallery – until March 2020

Henri Matisse’s famous cut-out images can be found on

postcards, fridge magnets and bookmarks worldwide. They’re as

ubiquitous as they are well-loved, so it’s pleasing to see the Lady

Lever Art Gallery host this touring exhibition from the Southbank

Centre in London.

This exhibition consists of 35 colourful lithographic

reproductions made posthumously for the French art magazine

Verve in 1958, based on the original cut-outs produced in the

later years of Matisse’s life. As the viewer goes through the

Nu bleu II (Blue Nude II), 1952 (lithographic reproduction, 1958). © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2019

galleries, they are enticed into worlds of

mermaids and dancing figures.

The cut-outs, which include the

renowned L’Escargot and Nu Bleu (I-IV),

were produced between 1951 to 1953 by

Matisse when he was rendered immobile

as a result of chronic illness. Each work was

completed with the aid of assistants, but

very much under the watchful eye of Matisse,

who was such a perfectionist that one of the

assistants was near to physical exhaustion

by the end of her time with him. His eye for

perfection means that the works are beautiful

and the figures fluid: the vivid pictures jump

out at you across the room. There’s

a sense of movement and vitality

to the figures and the places they

depict, referencing dance and

Matisse’s travels to Tahiti, which he

had visited in 1930.

One of the astounding things

about the originals is their size –

L’Escargot is nearly three metres

by three metres. The only clue

to the scale of the originals is a

small black and white photograph

of Matisse directing an assistant

from his wheelchair, pointing

imperiously with a cane with the

massive parakeet from 1952’s La

Perruche et la Sirène looming large

in the background. You can only imagine the effect

these originals would have had – a charming detail

is that Matisse’s doctor advised that he wear dark

glasses to protect him from the visual assault – as even

the smaller reproductions brighten up the galleries.

It almost goes without saying that the prints are

beautiful, and the trajectory through the exhibition,

whichever direction you come in from, makes sense.

The lighting levels mean the exhibition mercifully lacks

the glare on the glass which hinders viewing other

works in some galleries in the Lady Lever.

Pieces have been metaphorically reframed for

2019. The curation is caught between letting the art

speak for itself and intervening and placing them in

their cultural context and explaining, quite heavyhandedly

at points, how and why the cultural context

has changed.

Undoubtedly, it’s good to reappraise art in light

of new and welcomed cultural and societal norms

L’Escargot (The Snail) 1952-53 (lithographic reproduction, 1958). © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2019)

and use pieces as a vehicle to discuss values and raise issues of

inequality. At points, however, it seems unsure whether this is an

exhibition where emphasis is on the art or whether the pieces are

used as a vehicle to discuss society. This was particularly evident

from the picture of Danseuse Créole where the accompanying

description gives biographical information about the dancer

Katherine Dunham on whom the picture was based. A 1963

quotation from the dancer Josephine Baker, another of Matisse’s

muses, about the horrendous effects of segregation, is painted

across one of the galleries and could potentially have been better

used or linked.

The ‘pay what you think’ scheme for admission means the

works will hopefully be seen by people whose purses don’t

quite stretch to the £10-plus admission fees of the blockbuster

exhibitions – which, let’s be honest, are most people in the

current climate. It’s definitely worth a visit and will lift your spirits

through the dark winter months.

Jennie Macaulay

To celebrate our first year in The Baltic, Liverpool,

Dallas Prints is running a charity art auction with

all proceeds going to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

We have 4 exclusive framed giclee prints up for

grabs - all signed by the artists and limited to an

edition of ONE.

Artwork is provided kindly by world renowned

artists The Singh Twins, Carne Griffiths

(@carnegriff), Jason Hollis (@jsn_hollis) and

Mike Badger (@mikebadgerart)

The prints will feature

Hahnemuhle’s new Natural

Line of fine art papers

which use unique raw

materials: Bamboo,

Hemp and Agave. The 4

framed works will also be

on display at The Tusk Bar

until the auction’s closing

date of 30 December 2019.


BOOK NOW: 0161 832 1111

























































































































+ Kiko Bun

+ DJ Oxman and MC Magoo

Positive Vibration @ District – 02/11

Despite taking a year out from their annual festival offering,

the Positive Vibration crew have certainly not been resting

on their laurels. A series of high profile shows throughout the

year, including Horseman, King Yellowman and Mad Professor,

have kept the reggae chalice blazing in Liverpool and tonight

is arguably the jewel in the crown as acclaimed dub pioneer

SCIENTIST brings his seminal 1981 album Scientist Rids The

World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires to the ever welcoming

environs of District (not for the first time a District first-timer

comments on its inclusive coolness).

District is pretty packed from the off and the crowd are soon

dancing to DJ OXMAN, aided and abetted by MC MAGOO, whose

selection of rarities and classics is pure quality and leads us

skanking into KIKO BUN’s support set. The versatile Bun, a member

of the current South London scene that includes collaborators Loyle

Carner and Tom Misch, seems equally at home delivering a lovers

rock vibrato or a dancehall flow and mixes songs from his relatively

modest recorded output, such as the bouncy Sticky Situation, with

new material from his forthcoming debut album which sounds

very promising indeed. The UPPER CUT BAND take no time at

all to hit their stride, the rhythm section of Bob Pearce (drums)

and Ross Erlam (bass) are immediately locked into the tightest of

irresistible grooves, offbeat cymbal crashes sending the crowd

dipping in unison. Marcin Bobkowski’s choppy guitar riffs and Cyrus

Richards’s swirling keys blend exquisitely with the punchy horn riffs

of Adam Webb (sax) and Jake Jacas (trombone).

Frankly, if the crowd had just come for the Oxman DJ set and to

see Kiko Bun and the Upper Cut Band they would have gone home

handsomely rewarded. But yet, the main event is still to come; it is

approaching Day Of The Dead midnight when Scientist appears

at the mixing desk as quietly as one of the ghouls he is about to


Visible Women

Liverpool Irish Festival @ Philharmonic

Music Room – 23/10

“What do they call me? My name is sweet thing,” sings LISA

O’NEILL with a biting intensity. The County Cavan songwriter

admits she’d been unsure whether it would be appropriate to

cover Nina Simone’s Four Women for tonight’s Liverpool Irish

Festival showcase; none of the song’s narrators are white, and

they’re either subjects of slavery or live in its cruel wake.

However, its themes of oppression, inequality and resilience

will surely have a universal resonance for many listeners tonight.

Her voice peaking, she drives down her heels one final time and

lets out a chilling bawl of “Peaches!”. A battle cry signalling the

strength found in sisterhood, it’s an incredible note to finish the

evening on. Yet, O’Neill is only one of the four performers that

make the Visible Women showcase so memorable this evening.

Bilingual spoken-word artist CIARA NÍ É hosts. Having been

assured that Liverpudlians are famously “a great craic”, her blend

of Irish Gaelic with fierce, proudly feminist poetry immediately

appeals. The rattle of Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life backdrops her spin

on Irvine Welsh’s “choose life” Trainspotting monologue. It’s a

powerful take, pitching provocative humour against hard-hitting

naked truths.

Captivating English songwriter MAZ O’CONNOR is the

first singer to take centre stage. Drawing from her fourth album

Chosen Daughter, which was influenced by the trials and

torments of various female relatives, her timely and evocative

set is steered by her pristine, delicately nuanced voice. Mary’s

lyrics linger long after she takes her leave, whereas the direct

thrust of Loved Me Better hears O’Connor take aim at dominant

patriarchy. Limerick’s LAURA DUFF then follows, her sultry pop

DJ Oxman (Glyn Akroyd / @glyn_akroyd)

Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires is

an epic and playful comic book title for an album that is generally

regarded as a dub classic, taking previously released (and, in 1981,

contemporary rather than established) material from the likes of

Michael Prophet and The Wailing Souls, adding judicious twists of

echo and reverb but never draining the originals of their integrity.

The sound quality, which has been superb all night, is

somehow taken up a notch. A fuller, brighter sound drawn out by

Scientist’s sleight of hand (promoter Rory Taylor later comments,

“We’ve used that PA thousands of times but I’ve never heard it

sound like that before”).

No self-indulgence here, or 20-minute dub outs – just the

songs delivered in relatively concise form. The performance

takes not much longer than the original album, the unassuming

controller hunkered down behind the decks – situated off-stage to

the right of the dancefloor – are all that separates Scientist from

an audience who are facing away from him towards the stage. As

the performance progresses more and more people are sneaking

a wondering look over their right shoulders to try to get a clue as

to how Scientist is conjuring up this sound. Who knows? He is a

picture of unadulterated concentration, probably the only person in

the building not dancing.

Prophet’s Love And Unity becomes Your Teeth In My Neck;

Wailing Souls’ Fire House Rock morphs into The Mummy’s Shroud,

its memorable horn motif echoing long into night. Bun strides

across the stage, arms aloft as the crowd sing every word of Blood

On His Lips (Wayne Jarrett’s Love In My Heart). The Upper Cut

Band prove equally adept at soloing as they do nailing down a

groove: horns, guitar, and keys all stepping out of the shadows to

be transformed by Scientist’s sound-shifting searchlight.

From the sea of bobbing heads audience members shout

out their praise – “Thank you, thank you, massive tune that was”,

“Sick album, fucking wicked man” – smiling faces and cheers

signalling universal agreement until Scientist, his exorcism

complete, smiles at last and disappears.

It has been a night of understated brilliance, a mixture of

science, alchemy and magic to rid us of our demons.

Glyn Akroyd / @glynakroyd

Lisa O’Neill (Tomas Adam)

inflections bringing more groove to proceedings. Humbled, she

talks about how empowered she feels to be part of this bill.

Still reeling from the last time we caught her, it’s a joy to

see O’Neill make her grand return to Liverpool. A powerhouse,

like Simone, Björk and Karen Dalton rolled into one, she’s a

storyteller and songwriter of remarkable depth. Opener What

A Voice says it all. Backdropped by the Liver bird, tales of

cormorants, wrens and blackbirds circle overhead. “It’s good

to shine a little light on madness, it’s in us all,” she grins before

Violet Gibson; its daring chorus, “I moved in silence, for the love

o’ truth, not violence” feeling particularly apt as we look back

over the showcase.

David Weir / @Betweenseeds

ADD TO PLAYLIST is the monthly

column brought to you by MELODIC

DISTRACTION RADIO, delving into the

fold of the newest releases on the dance

music spectrum. If you’re into 808s,

sample pads, DJ tools and everything in

between, then you’re in good company.


NH Vol. 3

Nervous Horizon

Nervous Horizon have swiftly

established themselves as

one of the most potent labels

in the game. Nominated for

Best Breakthrough Label in the DJ Mag awards this very

year, they’ve become synonymous with experimental yet

club-ready sounds and the new, percussion-driven London

style. Drawing on a global palette of reggaeton, taraxxo,

gqom and dabke, as well as techno and bass, old favourites

DJ Plead and label co-head TSVI join newcomers Tzusing,

Object Blue and hard drum prodigy, Ehua, who plays in

Liverpool on the 6th December.

Bella Boo

Once Upon

A Passion

Studio Barnhus

Studio Barnhus’ latest

release features LA producer

Bella Boo with a debut full-length. Following on from a

smattering of EP releases and guest appearances, the LP

oozes with signature Barnhus pop sensibility. Born out of

a desire to capture the fullness of a creative era following

the news that her studio building would be repossessed,

Bella Boo craftily dives between melodic house, Balearic,

post-dubstep and ambient while even finding the time to

squeeze in a sultry R&B jam. Head to She’s Back for the

standout track.




The boys’ club of UK bass

’n’ breaks ’n’ techno is in a

healthy place, and a number

of the month’s releases have

been stellar (shout out to Facta, Desert Sound Colony, Yak

and 96 Back). However, in the interest of platforming only

one white man per month, the crown’s gotta go to Jabes.

Quietly perfecting his hyperactive melodies over the last

few years, he’s becoming one of the tightest producers of

the neonate scene. More importantly, you get a fetching

yellow techwear cap if you buy the record.

Words: Nina Franklin and James Zaremba

Melodic Distraction Radio is an independent internet radio

station based in the Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, platforming

artists, DJs and producers from across the North West.

Head to to listen in.



LIVERPOOL - 17/19 BOLD STREET (1st Floor) · L1 4DN


25 Parr St, Liverpool L1 4JN


table theatre


four to the floor

A history of house




0151 709 4988

Beans on Toast

FRIDAY 20th December

Phase One, Liverpool

The Local Honeys

Wednesday 22nd January

Gulliver, Manchester

King Creosote

Performing a live accompaniment to the film

From Scotland with Love

Monday 16th March

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Peggy Seeger

Monday 18th May

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

@Ceremonyconcert / /



This month’s selection of poetry is taken from Matthew Thomas Smith’s

debut book, Songs - a collection of tales pulled from the most surreal

colours of the day to day.

When and where did you start writing poetry?

1994. Bootle, Merseyside. (They started out as nursery rhymes/

lullabies but I could not get the hang of the guitar.)

To what extent have local surroundings shaped your poetic

voice and written vernacular?

I do feel rooted in Bootle and Liverpool but through that same

language I also feel like a citizen of the earth.

The atmosphere and visual landscape of the poems featured

in Songs ranges from the desperately real to the sarcastic and

abstract. What is it that draws you to the themes featured

throughout the collection?

All of the poems are part autobiographical. I have lived these

poems. The poems are me and the world around me.

Would regard your poetry as a product of political upheaval, or

an answer to it? Can poetry be a vessel for change?

Both. It can, and I hope these poems can help to show that.

The day I went to the Job Centre

Out of place next to the well-used under

threat library

and not 300 yards from the block of flats

where some middle-aged fella threw

himself off

perhaps in response to the bedroom tax

or a recent smack drought

part-time vacancy notices still hang

next to the always-open automatic doors

they promise flexible hours and competitive


it seems that nobody wants to be a

window-cleaner’s apprentice

or a courier for an ‘ever-expanding’ criminal

law firm

I shuffle from one foot to the other in the

falling queue

conscious of empty desks and out of use

signs on printers

You won’t find anything here son

jibes the well-dressed woman to my left

this is more of a ‘keeping up appearances’


If this collection of poetry is, as your press release states, to be

the last you will ever write, what statement do you wish the

collection to convey?

Nifty Records approached me to release a Poetry Collection. I had

never planned to. Songs feels likes a natural ending – 30 years of

me within one object. I feel I need to move on. I need to see what

else there is. I am not a messenger, as such. Not really. Ultimately,

I would like it if more people started to engage with poetry. That

has always been the aim.

Words: Matthew Thomas Smith / @mtsmith2605

Photography: John Johnson / @John.Johno

Songs is available to pre-order now via Nifty Records and is

officially released on Friday 6 th December at The Royal Standard.

Idea for a British film that would probably

win an Academy Award

A rich fella with a plummy voice

has a cob on because

his mother just won’t die

and he can’t bear his wife

countless infidelities later

his mother dies

and he inherits a fortune

but he still isn’t happy

For the Mountaineers

climb the shale and slate

while it is still able

to take the burden

the daytripper-favouring path

only goes so far

leave the camera in the house

not everything is photo-worthy

use your eyes

kneel down

get closer

don’t take a tent

fold your flag into your pocket

be mindful of the summit

look out for kestrels or a search-party

headed by a bloodhound or a helicopter

and beware of robin redbreasts











Writer and artist in residence at Chester Literature Festival,

Imtiaz Dharker, looks to the connective power of words and subtly

poetic voices as an antidote to the ‘bullies of language’

“Words are there

to be used with

pleasure, not to

be squandered; to

remind us what it is

to be human”

These are strident times and it is too easy for subtleties

and nuances to be lost in the noise of devalued words.

When we stop and really listen to each other’s voices,

we make a still space in the world, and that is a space

for poetry, where each word is carefully weighed. I think it is

needed now more than ever. Poetry may whisper or rage, but it

can say things the heart knows before the world has a chance to

catch up.

When I was asked to be artist in residence at Storyhouse, I

knew I wanted to fill it with words and images that would make

it a living book for the whole community, for all the

people who step through its doors into its

welcoming spaces.

All the time I was writing the poem

Storyhouse, I was thinking about the

weight and power of the words we

say to each other, how we greet a

stranger, how we draw a map of the

heart in the language we use and

how poetry can travel without a


A while ago I wrote a poem

called The Right Word. In it there

are words like ‘terrorist’ but it is

not about terrorism. It is more

to do with how a single image

can be dressed in new words

to make it mean something

quite different, how words

can be used to stir fear

and suspicion. I work with

film, too, and I know I can

take the same shots and

edit them to make totally

contradictory stories. But

that is what is happening

around us all the time: so

many channels, so many

people’s versions of the

truth depending on the

agenda of the person who

tells it.

I had intended to stop

with the revelation that the

person at the door is a child,

but sometimes a poem takes

on a life of its own and this is

what happened at the end. The

‘I’ in the poem opens the door and

offers unexpected hospitality. The

child takes off his shoes. After all the

terrible loaded words and suspicion, the two

acts of courtesy are a kind of healing.

Perhaps because of its ability to say the

unsayable, more and more people are turning to poetry now, but

it has always been there, under the world’s skin, working away

to say things that needed to be said. It is part of everyday life

and speech, in every language, in Urdu or Farsi or in English. We

speak Shakespeare’s poetry without even realising it, in phrases

that are used every day. It is in the language of ancient songs, of

anonymous women working in the fields, in the words spoken

between lovers, between parents and children, in holy books

and unholy curses from 2,000 years ago to two minutes ago.

I eavesdrop shamelessly on conversations in cafes, stations,

on trains, on the street. I see it as part of my job as a poet to

listen to the words around me, in everyday life, not just what

people say, but how they say it, the spaces between the words,

the hesitations, the accent and odd usage. For me it’s like mining

treasure and some of it finds its way into poems.

There’s eavesdropping at all kinds of levels: listening to

human voices of course, but also listening in on the world,

nature, social shifts, the heart’s secrets. I suppose

there is a furtive element to it. It does mean being

undetected, having an ear to a keyhole, lying

in wait for things people don’t even know

they are hiding or aren’t ready to tell.

So I don’t think of poetry as some

rarefied thing. I see it as being

involved with the world, not afraid

to get its hands dirty, because

it has always been about

making sense of the everyday,

examining the soiled

underside of things, the mess

of life, seeing, understanding

it at an odd angle and

putting words to it all.

In a chaotic world,

where language is brutalised

daily, it is needed more than

ever. With the explosion of

media, there are platforms

for all kinds of poetry and

whole continents of new

listeners. That is something

to celebrate, because it is a

wide and generous space

and can accommodate all

kinds of voices.

Most of all, words

are there to be used

with pleasure, not to be

squandered, but to be

savoured; to remind us

what it is to be human,

with this great gift of


It is the way to

answer back and stand up

to the bullies of language, an

act of subversion, and is far

too powerful to be controlled

or contained. !

Words: Imtiaz Dharker

Illustration: Nick Daly / @nickdalyart

Imtiaz Dharker is artist in residence at Chester Literature

Festival, which takes place across Storyhouse until Saturday

30th November. Imtiaz Dharker’s work will remain in situ at

Storyhouse throughout 2020.

The Right Word

Outside the door,

lurking in the shadows,

is a terrorist.

Is that the wrong description?

Outside that door,

taking shelter in the shadows,

is a freedom fighter.

I haven’t got this right.

Outside, waiting in the shadows,

is a hostile militant.

Are words no more

than waving, wavering flags?

Outside your door,

watchful in the shadows,

is a guerrilla warrior.

God help me.

Outside, defying every shadow,

stands a martyr.

I saw his face.

No words can help me now.

Just outside the door,

lost in shadows,

is a child who looks like mine.

One word for you.

Outside my door,

his hand too steady,

his eyes too hard

is a boy who looks like your son, too.

I open the door.

Come in, I say.

Come in and eat with us.

The child steps in

and carefully, at my door,

takes off his shoes.


Blow 3.0

Tin Men and The


Tony Kofi Quartet


Sarathy Korwar

Martin Archer’s

Anthropology Band



Beyond Albedo

Blind Monk Theory?




Day 2020

27 Feb - 1 Mar 2020

Festival tickets and tickets

to individual events available

For full details and box office please visit:











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