Issue 110 / October 2022




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ISSUE <strong>110</strong> / OCTOBER 2020<br />













& THE JINX<br />



BY THE SEA<br />







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Illustration by Hannah Blackman-Kurz

DIX<br />

GOYA<br />









DÜRER<br />

MUNCH<br />


GERMAN<br />


Expressionist prints<br />

2 <strong>October</strong> 2020 to<br />

28 February 2021<br />




In Liverpool<br />

2-year degrees<br />

and 1-year diplomas<br />

Last<br />

places<br />

available for<br />

September<br />

2020<br />

Study in January, May or September<br />

SAE Liverpool<br />

38 Pall Mall<br />

Liverpool<br />

L3 6AL<br />

03330 112 315<br />

enquiries@sae.edu<br />


New Music + Creative Culture<br />

Liverpool<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>110</strong> / <strong>October</strong> 2020<br />

bidolito.co.uk<br />

Second Floor<br />

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40-42 Slater Street<br />

Liverpool L1 4BX<br />

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

Editor<br />

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

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Branding<br />

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Proofreader<br />

Nathaniel Cramp<br />

Cover Photography<br />

Robin Clewley<br />

Words<br />

Elliot Ryder, Danni King, Sam Turner, Marnie Holleron-<br />

Silk, Lily Blakeney-Edwards, Laura Brown, Will Whitby,<br />

Mike Stanton, Mary Olive, Charly Reed, Paul Fitzgerald,<br />

Leah Binns, Remy Greasley, Sam Batley, Emma Murray.<br />

Photography, Illustration and Layout<br />

Mark McKellier, Robin Clewley, Esmée Finlay, Michael<br />

Driffill, Connor O’Mara, Eimear Kavanagh, Michael<br />

Kirkham, Natalie Lissenden, Billy Vitch, Jacob<br />

Davenport, Daniel De La Bastide, Chloe Brover, nil00,<br />

Rob Battersby, Sam Batley, Sophie Green.<br />

Distribution<br />

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

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


Back in March I was starting to worry about my hearing.<br />

A couple of weeks before lockdown, following on from<br />

a Friday night watching south London post-punks<br />

Dry Cleaning at The Shipping Forecast, I was at the<br />

Invisible Wind Factory to watch emo shoegazers DIIV. From<br />

the moment the band’s two guitarists stomped down on their<br />

plethora of pedals, I knew it was going to be a tough night on<br />

my ears.<br />

It’s hard to pinpoint when I first started to suffer from<br />

tinnitus. It was perhaps watching post-hardcore outfit Title Fight<br />

at Manchester’s Star & Garter in 2011. It was there where I got<br />

my first taste of ringing ears that lasted days after the event.<br />

Since then, the level it’s affected me has fluctuated. Often,<br />

it’s dictated by where I stand on the night, the type of music,<br />

whether I remembered to wear ear plugs and also my levels of<br />

stress. These days, it continually plays as the dull soundtrack to<br />

silence – until further provoked.<br />

Of those back-to-back gigs just before lockdown, I was<br />

pretty untroubled by the angular riffs of Dry Cleaning. The ceiling<br />

in The Shipping Forecast is low. If you stand to the back, there’s<br />

a healthy meat blanket of audience packed between two pillars<br />

which help soak up the noise. For DIIV it was the polar opposite.<br />

Stood midway towards the front, wave after wave of distortion<br />

barrelled from the stage into the cavernous space, which<br />

was healthily populated, but far from tightly packed. Opener<br />

Horsehead was transfixing, with its lugubrious, clench-fisted<br />

angst lurching forward from each guitar, but I could already hear<br />

the raised tinnitus that I was going to wake up to. I watched on<br />

for the rest of the set knowing most of the damage was already<br />

done.<br />

That show was the last I went to. Perhaps out of fear over<br />

hearing damage, it may have been wise to take a break from<br />

watching live music for a little while. But there was never an<br />

intention to sit out for what has now been seven months. What’s<br />


transpired in that time has sadly removed the option of watching<br />

live music, as we know it, from everyone’s lives. Not just those in<br />

need of a short break.<br />

The ringing in my ears is still there. It rarely subsides beyond<br />

a monotonous hum, as though my ears are clinging to memories<br />

of the drones swirling around the Invisible Wind Factory. But<br />

that memory is being stretched out far longer than was expected<br />

of it. It remains difficult to know when it’ll be replaced, which<br />

gig can then be to blame for a new incessant ringing days after.<br />

Right now, I’d take pretty much anything. That’s if it meant being<br />

able to watch live music with a healthy blanket of audience to<br />

soak up the noise, the memories. But that incarnation of live<br />

music is still some way off. I’ll take solace, for now, in resting my<br />

ears and investing in a better pair of earplugs.<br />

Now that it’s up and running, Future Yard might very well be<br />

where I can put those very earplugs through their paces. Massive<br />

congratulations to Craig, Chris, Cath and Hoggy for getting it up<br />

and off the ground in the middle of a global pandemic. Judging<br />

by the fullness of Craig’s stupendous perm currently, it hasn’t<br />

been too stressful.<br />

But with this good news comes an all too familiar tale.<br />

At the time of going to print the sad news came through that<br />

Constellations will be closing permanently. From hosting our<br />

Liverpool Music City? event to Christmas quizzes and last year’s<br />

Bido100 celebrations, the Baltic Triangle hub has been a vital<br />

venue to Bido Lito! and Liverpool’s wider creative community.<br />

Becky and the team have been passionate activists in protecting<br />

the city’s creative nightlight culture in the face of accelerating<br />

development. The venue will be a sad loss, but we wish the team<br />

all the best for future endeavours.<br />

Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder<br />

Editor<br />

She Drew The Gun at Future Yard / Robin Clewley<br />

Advertise<br />

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

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

paid at least the living wage.<br />

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

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

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

11 / AMINA ATIQ<br />

Through her poetry, performance and activism, Amina Atiq has<br />

emerged as one of the most essential voices in Liverpool.<br />

16 / PLAYING IN<br />

In our second report with The University of Liverpool, we look at<br />

responses relating to the alternative platforms for live music and<br />

the effects of lockdown on levels of creativity.<br />


Mike Stanton goes stargazing with the producer, DJ and promoter<br />

to journey through the cosmos of his most recent release.<br />


Mary Olive explores the essence of dancing and communality, an<br />

integral aspect of our lives which is yet to return.<br />

24 / BYE LOUIS<br />

Just before lockdown, the multi-instrumentalist relinquished<br />

control of his 2019 EP The Same Boy in order for it to take on a<br />

new life.<br />



Following the recent closures of Sound and The Zanzibar, Charly<br />

Reed underscores the importance of protecting and developing<br />

more small venues.<br />

30 / DON MCCULLIN<br />

Ahead of a new retrospective at Tate Liverpool, Elliot Ryder<br />

spoke to the photojournalist about his experiences of the city, his<br />

depictions of conflict and his role as a chronicler.<br />


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

respective contributors and do not necessarily<br />

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

publishers. All rights reserved.<br />

8 / NEWS<br />

10 / HOT PINK<br />

28 / SPOTLIGHT<br />

32 / PREVIEWS<br />

34 / REVIEWS<br />



NEWS<br />

’Harmonic Generator<br />

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra<br />

As live music begins a slow return, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall<br />

has announced it is reopening its doors in <strong>October</strong>. The iconic<br />

venue is hosting a series of one-hour concerts by the ROYAL<br />

PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, with smaller orchestral forces<br />

to accommodate for social distancing measures. The orchestra<br />

kick things off on 1st <strong>October</strong> with a show featuring the music of<br />

Beethoven, Arvo Pärt and Mozart. 12th <strong>October</strong> sees Roderick<br />

Williams baritone and Christopher Glynn piano take centre-stage,<br />

followed by Ensemble 10/10 on 22nd <strong>October</strong>. The Liverpool Wind<br />

Collective feature on 24th <strong>October</strong>, with Liverpool Philharmonic<br />

brass and percussion ensemble the following day, and the Royal<br />

Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra wrap things up at the end of the<br />

month. Tickets are available now with each show limited to 240<br />

seats. For those wanting to experience live classical from their living<br />

room, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic On Demand provides a package<br />

of performances with exclusive extra including behind the scenes<br />

interviews.<br />

Birkenhead of the game<br />

it’s all happening on Argyle Street. Not only has brand<br />

new music hub Future Yard announced three more<br />

socially distanced gigs in <strong>October</strong> (see Previews section)<br />

but applications are open for a special skills programme<br />

for local young people ran by the FY team. Those looking<br />

to pursue a career creating live events can gain valuable<br />

experience, skills and a qualification courtesy of the<br />

SOUND CHECK programme. It consists of workshops<br />

focusing on technical production and live music event<br />

management, alongside opportunities to gain handson<br />

experience and skills at live events, finishing with an<br />

independent group project create a live music event.<br />

Applications close on 28th September. futureyard.org/<br />

soundcheck<br />

Future Yard<br />

How Bazaar<br />

Open Door Centre charity have launched a new mental health initiative BAZAAR<br />

to help people improve their wellbeing in what are straining times for minds across<br />

the world. The CBT and mindfulness programme offers a new, dynamic approach<br />

to tackling mental health issues in the format of eight weeks of hour-long sessions.<br />

Each session looks to develop skills that disrupt negative thinking practices, which will<br />

improve symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Bazaar is open to organisations<br />

and businesses looking to support their staff and members, with tailored packages<br />

available to suit all groups. All proceeds from the Bazaar programme will be going<br />

directly to the Open Door Centre, in order to support their continuing work.<br />

Angus And Us Only<br />

Last month’s feature artist JAMIE WEBSTER is amongst<br />

the guitar slingers performing at the newest addition to<br />

Dale Street’s food and drink offer as The Angus Tap & Grind<br />

announce a growing musical menu to accompany their<br />

impressive range of beers and coffees. Webster and a host<br />

of other artists will be playing the intimate venue after a<br />

residency from Cast man JOHN POWER earlier this month<br />

sold out in twenty seconds. Fine time. theangus.co<br />

Avant Gardener<br />

Andrea Ku<br />

Bluecoat have announced L8 gardener and artist ANDREA KU as<br />

their gardener in residence for Autumn 2020. The announcement<br />

comes after Ku’s recent collaboration with Bluecoat, which saw her<br />

develop a series of nature-related blogs during lockdown against<br />

the background of Frances Disley’s Pattern Buffer exhibition. Many<br />

projects have already been announced to take place during Ku’s<br />

residency, but most notably the creation of a map of accessible<br />

and less-visited green spaces in Liverpool, which will be in print<br />

and online. Ku will also be filming online tutorials from Bluecoat<br />

garden where she’ll be based, as well as holding in-person<br />

distanced tutorials to give support and advice.<br />

Calling Future Film Makers<br />

Storyhouse in Chester have announced the details of this<br />

year’s BFI Academy course. Each year the British Film<br />

Institute lead the course, aimed at young people who are<br />

passionate about a career in the film industry. The intensive<br />

short course spans just one week and explores the entire<br />

industry, from filmmaking to the commercial and cultural<br />

knowledge of film. The BFI Academy scheme offers an<br />

opportunity to gain valuable work experience from industry<br />

leaders and professionals in a competitive field, which<br />

will enable candidates to increase their chances of being<br />

recognised in the industry. The course is open to anyone<br />

aged 16-19 who isn’t studying at university, with no<br />

immediate level of experience needed. storyhouse.com<br />

BFI Academy course<br />


A Keychange Is Gonna Come<br />

Bido Lito! is among a number of local organisations<br />

that have taken the KEYCHANGE PLEDGE to improve<br />

gender representation in the music industry. The latest<br />

round of inductees into the Keychange network join<br />

300 festivals and organisations around the world<br />

actively taking steps towards achieving gender balance<br />

in the sector. Bido Lito! has pledged to ring fence 50<br />

per cent of places on our Bylines writer workshops<br />

programmes for female participants, as well as other<br />

underrepresented groups. We have also vowed to<br />

maintain our efforts to platform more female artists<br />

and female-led projects in the pink pages and continue<br />

to provide more opportunities to female contributors.<br />

keychange.eu<br />

Keychange Ambassador Corinne Bailey Rae<br />

Now Open<br />

With World Museum, Museum of Liverpool and the Maritime<br />

Museum already open to the public, the remaining National<br />

Museums Liverpool venues LADY LEVER ART GALLERY,<br />

SUDLEY HOUSE and SEIZED! complete the set of galleries<br />

open to visitors. From Wednesday 30th September Port<br />

Sunlight’s gallery, Lady Lever, will display a new exhibition of<br />

German Revolution expressionist prints featuring pieces by<br />

Picasso, Kollwitz and Munch. Home and Away, a show of oil<br />

paintings from the collection of former Sudley House resident<br />

George Holt opens on the same date in the Aigburth venue.<br />

The Seized! gallery in the basement of the Maritime Museum<br />

will also be back in action telling the story of smugglers and<br />

contraband in partnership with HM Revenue & Customs.<br />

liverpoolmuseums.org.uk<br />

Edward Munch<br />

Test Your Metal<br />

Culture hub Metal, located at Edge Hill train station, has an illustrious recent<br />

history of helping develop the craft of a wide gamut of local artists as well as<br />

showcasing a fabulous array of national and international talent. As of <strong>October</strong><br />

they are focussing on developing a programme of support for early career<br />

artists. The team specifically want to help those who have deferred studying<br />

for their arts degree due to Covid or generally not looking to take a university<br />

placement. The programme will be led by professional artists who will pass<br />

on their practical skills and facilitate stimulating creative challenges along with<br />

group sharings. Find out more information on Metal’s New Artist Network<br />

online. metalculture.com<br />

Metal<br />

Market Forces<br />

Community asset GRANBY STREET MARKET is looking for<br />

donations after a fire in September destroyed nearly all of their<br />

equipment. The team are in need of £30,000 to replace the market’s<br />

infrastructure - including gazebos, tables, chairs and sound system<br />

- in order to get the initiative going again. At the time of writing, the<br />

GoFund me page had achieved almost 50% of the goal but need<br />

help to hit the total before an early <strong>October</strong> deadline. Since growing<br />

from a handful of tables in 2010 to a multifaceted community<br />

enterprise, the market has become an important fixture to the L8<br />

community and beyond. gofundme.com/f/granbymarket<br />

Granby Street Market<br />

Music Community Consultation<br />

Event<br />

Following a survey of Merseyside’s musician community<br />

in August, Bido Lito! and University of Liverpool’s<br />

PLAYING IN research project will continue with an online<br />

consultation on Tuesday 27th <strong>October</strong>. Representatives<br />

from all areas of Liverpool City Region’s music industry<br />

are invited to the Zoom event which aims to take a health<br />

check of the sector. Focus group conversations looking at<br />

how areas such as live music, education, tourism and artist<br />

development will produce qualitative data to contribute<br />

to a report which will inform LCR Music Board’s path to<br />

recovery. Interested parties can register for the event at<br />

bidolito.co.uk/consultation.<br />

Music Consulatation<br />


HOT PINK!<br />

Our Hot Pink! playlist is your one-stop shop to find the newest, brightest and piping hot music pushing up<br />

the mercury on Merseyside. Featuring the latest drops from artists in the region, the mix is regularly updated<br />

with a smorgasbord of bangers from a plethora of genres reflecting the plurality of sounds emanating from<br />

the recording studios across the area. Here’s a selection of this month’s additions to give you a taste.<br />

Hannah’s Little Sister<br />

Bin Mouth<br />

Heist Or Hit<br />

Nearly two years after the release of their debut 20, it’s a pleasure to welcome back raucous indie<br />

poppers HANNAH’S LITTLE SISTER with this short stab of puerile exhortation. This wonky poppunk<br />

riot features a cathartic crash of brash vocals that bring to mind early-00s chart botherers<br />

The Ting Tings, but with much more to delve into and enjoy. Don’t leave it so long next time,<br />

please. (MHS)<br />

Crapsons<br />

Clotheslined by A Nun<br />

Society Of Losers<br />

With a genuine claim to most peculiar track of the month, Wirral punks CRAPSONS bring a real<br />

adrenaline shot in this ecumenical hammer. The track stands up to flavours of the month Shame<br />

and Life, but comes peppered with Leisure Peninsula humour and aided and abetted by The<br />

Wildcard of labelmates Salt The Snail. This one will be a real crowd-pleaser when the duo (plus<br />

one) get to perform live once again. (MHS)<br />

Sara Wolff<br />

Cotton Socks<br />

Is SARA WOLFF carving out her own niche of ‘knit-pop’? This moody and melancholy indie-folk<br />

track follows her equally lovely ode Scarf Song in using woollen wear to derive love life analogies<br />

with surrealism, poetic lyrics and dulcet tones. The sparing and simplistic instrumentation combine<br />

to make this track a listening experience to keep you as warm as luxuriant autumnal undergarms.<br />

(ST)<br />

Novelty Island<br />

Suddenly On Sea<br />

Abbey House<br />

This is an EP that doesn’t concern itself with reality. Bouncing between influences from The Beach<br />

Boys and Frank Sinatra ballads, the collection of tracks paints a picture of a surreal English seaside<br />

town. Through absurd synth melodies and creator Tom McConnell’s hypnotic vocals Suddenly On<br />

Sea invites the listener to escape to a summer holiday that never was. Definitely one to check out.<br />

(LBE)<br />

François<br />

Young N Dumb<br />

Big beats and Auto-Tune aplenty with pop auteur Francois’ latest offering. Young N Dumb is a<br />

bedroom composition which deceptively meanders via lyrics lamenting lost youth while an arsenal<br />

of processed beats keeps up the energy and has us yearning for ill-conceived nights on sticky<br />

dancefloors. (ST)<br />

Pixey<br />

Just Move<br />

Chess Club<br />

One-woman pop hurricane Pixey continues her triumphant return with an expertly executed<br />

exercise in synthesizing the best indie hooks of the last 30 years into a three-minute baggy banger.<br />

Just Move could have had the Haçienda dancefloor bouncing in 1991 as it no doubt will for a<br />

muddy Somerset field crowd in the not-to-distant future. (ST)<br />

Yammerer<br />

Boa Constrictor<br />

Restless Bear<br />

Those who are looking for Leonard Cohen-esque revelatory lyrics about life, love and the universe<br />

should not look to this serpentine post-punk slab from the ever-electric YAMMERER. However,<br />

those wanting a cathartic tonic of rollicking feedback squalls and wirey guitar licks building over a<br />

pummelling rhythm section and JC’s skeletal howls will be more than satisfied. (ST)<br />

Terry Venomous<br />

Sentient<br />

Eggy Records<br />

Slurring a croon like a lobotomised Mark E Smith over de rigueur lounge guitar lines, this debut<br />

from the newest Eggy Records signee is a fine tone-setter for EP Video Game Dog Barking. 8 Bit<br />

flourishes surface above a laid-back bedroom beat which will reanimate disenchanted fans of Mac<br />

DeMarco. (ST)<br />

Red Rum Club<br />

Ballerino<br />

Modern Sky UK<br />

“It’s time to move your feet,” according to Red Rum Club in their newest catchy, feel-good single.<br />

Complete with trademark trumpet flourishes and ear-worm chorus, Ballerino implores hands to<br />

hold proseccos in the air and forget about any Covid cares. Let’s hope it’s prophetic. (ST)<br />

Words: Marnie Holleron-Silk, Lily Blakeney-Edwards, Sam Turner<br />

Follow Hot Pink! on Spotify: bit.ly/bidohotpink<br />

Photography (from left to right): HLS (Beebo Boobin), Crapsons, Sara Wolff, Pixey (Zac Mahrouche)<br />


ARE YOU<br />


Through her poetry, performance and activism, Amina Atiq has emerged as one of<br />

the most essential voices in Liverpool. With a stature continuing to grow through a<br />

range of ongoing commissions and projects, Laura Brown speaks to the artist/activist<br />

about the expectations of identity and the radicalness of using your own voice.<br />



AMINA<br />

ATI Q<br />

“I’m writing for<br />

myself, for my<br />

ancestors, my<br />

sisters and my<br />

children to say<br />

‘We do exist’”<br />

AMINA ATIQ is in a reflective mood. On a Friday<br />

morning, in this strange waiting room between life<br />

being open and closed, she pauses and takes a<br />

moment before she speaks.<br />

“This is the battle,” she says, her voice calm, measured, the lilt<br />

of Scouse in her glottal stop.<br />

“We are a generation born or emigrated to the UK with a<br />

strong attachment to our home countries,” she explains. “I’m<br />

writing for myself, for my ancestors, my sisters and my children to<br />

say, ‘We do exist’.”<br />

To be Arab in Britain in 2020 is complicated. Loving Mohamed<br />

Salah doesn’t prove anyone knows a lot about modern Arab<br />

culture as much as assuming every woman in the Middle East is<br />

oppressed. As a female, Muslim, Yemeni Scouse poet, Amina is an<br />

artist, but we also ask her to be a trailblazer. It’s a lot to expect a<br />

25-year-old to be.<br />

As well as being a writer and performance artist, Amina is<br />

also a facilitator and an activist. Award-winning for her work<br />

on community engagement, she has featured on BBC Radio 5<br />

Live, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Radio 4, Bitesize, Arab News, The<br />

Independent and many more. She has campaigned with Change.<br />

org, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and Oxfam<br />

since the war began in Yemen when she was 19. Over the past<br />

six years, she has collaborated with artists and writers to connect<br />

directly with Yemeni youth creatives to build a global community<br />

outside Yemen and on the ground. In 2018 she was involved in<br />

a project curated by local Yemeni American social entrepreneur<br />

Hanan Ali Yahya in partnership with Arab American National<br />

Museum. The project, Stories Never Told was of 24 Yemeni artists<br />

across the world sharing their work as part of Yemen’s crises and<br />

renaissance.<br />

Her recent work involves a poem commissioned for the<br />

Yemen in Conflict project, part of a multimedia exhibition at the<br />

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, and a series of newly commissioned<br />

‘poemfilms’ connecting Yemeni poets with filmmakers exploring<br />

how the country’s rich tradition of poetry and language can<br />

be preserved and passed onto younger generations. Amina is<br />

currently developing a spoken word monologue with DadaFest,<br />

inviting the audience to a 1970s Yemeni-British household,<br />

untangling what it means to belong.<br />

If you have never heard Amina perform, she has the power<br />

to spellbind an audience. Personal, honest, unapologetic, she can<br />

connect with those listening to her like few can. She is unafraid<br />

of speaking her truth. A poem, Shamin’ on the Train, comes from<br />

the incident on a train between Liverpool and London when she<br />

was abused for speaking Arabic. The video she shared on social<br />

media had thousands of likes and made national headlines, but it is<br />

through her own poetry that she regains control of the story.<br />

“You will hear a voice right behind you and it is muttering<br />

hate/…when she practices her freedom of speech she is told to<br />

leave this country/…why choose hate if you are unsure/ And if you<br />

are unsure why don’t you ask?” the poem recalls.<br />

There is a responsibility that comes with being a trailblazer of<br />

using one’s voice and it can be challenging, she says.<br />

“You’re trying to tell the community, ‘It’s OK, I’ll be the first to<br />

do it’, while [asking] the other side, ‘Are you OK to accept me?’<br />





It’s a lot, and I think it’s not just as Arab women, but as Arab artists and creatives,” says Amina. We<br />

don’t want to have conversations about identity any more. It’s so apparent that we have very clear<br />

identities, we don’t blend in with the crowd, we stick out. Our identity walks with us. We don’t have<br />

to claim it, we don’t have to state it, it’s there. Those who are very, very exposed or it’s very apparent<br />

where they come from, they’re the ones who have to convince people they belong and that they’re<br />

British enough.”<br />

It’s strange, Amina thinks, that, as an Arab woman wearing a hijab, for some audiences it was<br />

putting on the Scouse accent in her performances that made her acceptable.<br />

“How much do we have to integrate until we’re accepted?” she replies. “Acceptance isn’t an issue.<br />

In human life you don’t have to accept everything, but it’s the idea of trying to convince people that<br />

you exist, that your country exists.”<br />

Her accent itself has been shifted in her performance and work. Amina was through to the final<br />

of the BBC Words First development scheme and she describes how, during a workshop, she began<br />

to perform how she usually did, with an American accent. “What are you doing?” the facilitator asked,<br />

“what’s that voice?” When you search for spoken word poetry you’ll often hear this mid-Atlantic,<br />

slightly American style performance (let us not forget, plenty of bands have done the same thing,<br />

singing in an American accent because they think that’s what the audience wants). Why, he asked,<br />

was she writing about Liverpool but not speaking in her own voice? Who was she trying to convince?<br />

She was, as you’d imagine, mortified. But it was a turning point. In came her own voice, complete with<br />

Scouse accent. Using your own voice can feel like a radical act.<br />

There is a long line and tradition of radical female Arab poets and writers; from Iraq’s Nazik<br />

al-Malaika to Egypt’s Nawal El Saadawi, women have a unique role in using their voices to articulate<br />

societal change, whether it is happening or whether it is needed. When Amina meets other modern<br />

Arab women poets, there is something that binds them to each other and their heritage. “We are<br />

constantly convincing our readers that we exist,” she outlines.<br />

Poetry is well placed to do this. It conveys the language of protest, activism, emotion, charting<br />

change as easily as the artist steps up to speak to a crowd. It demands a vulnerability that has to be<br />

embedded with honesty. And proving that you exist, that you have to be seen, means you have to, at<br />

some stage, recognise the way you’re seen by others.<br />

Let’s not pretend honesty is anything other than hard. The perception loop of being an Arab in the<br />

21st century is that you can find yourself fulfilling an outside expectation, of being the construct that<br />

people expect you to be before you even show up, before you open your<br />

mouth, and then that construct begins to inform how you see yourself.<br />

Lockdown has had another huge impact on Amina for how she<br />

sees herself and reflecting on her work. Explore the pictures of her<br />

Culture Liverpool project, Lockdown, where she takes a series of pictures<br />

capturing different aspects of her life during lockdown. She talks about<br />

how it made her reconnect with her faith, her wellbeing and her health.<br />

Like those of us who celebrated a birthday in the months of semiisolation,<br />

she captures the sweet melancholy of being apart from people<br />

you love – knowing that not marking the occasion feels like surrender. “I<br />

wore my birthday outfit and painted my face,” she tells me. “We danced,<br />

FaceTiming my mother who is currently stuck in Yemen. A birthday I will<br />

not forget.”<br />

Development is all part of being an artist as much as our identity. In<br />

Amina’s one woman show, Broken Biscuits, she talks about how, as an<br />

immigrant writer, the words themselves that she is using are changing.<br />

“It’s interesting how subconsciously you come to believe the image<br />

or perspective of those who tell you who you are, who you look like and<br />

where you come from,” she begins. “In my old work there’s so many western clichés in there: ‘I carry<br />

my suitcase on my back’. I didn’t carry my suitcase on my back, I came [to Britain] on a first-class<br />

plane ticket.”<br />

The title, Broken Biscuits, comes from how she talks about her grandad who came to the UK in<br />

the 1960s and set up his corner shop “selling broken biscuits, meat and bread” in the post-war era.<br />

“When my grandad came, people were travelling from the UK to other places, especially after<br />

the war, to grow their businesses. That’s celebrated and seen as a good move. When I speak about<br />

my grandad,” she continues, “I’ve started to say I’m the granddaughter of an economic migrant and<br />

businessman. My grandad was an economic immigrant, he wanted to make more money. If I were to<br />

travel to France, to study French to start a business, I’m making certain choices to be successful. But<br />

yet, if you’re brown or black, or don’t fit into the white majority, you’re seen as…”<br />

She tails off. Many see the Middle East from the outside. They see it as a red apple, but it isn’t a<br />

red apple, Amina says, it’s an onion. It has layers and layers to be unpicked. So many of us are here<br />

because of something violent, something unexplainable, something out of our hands that happened in<br />

our homelands. Our Arab heritage, our communities are as layered as how we see ourselves.<br />

“What confuses people of Arab identity is very, very complex. I don’t even think the Arab<br />

community even knows it yet. I don’t think the Arab community has yet understood the confusion, the<br />

trauma, in the 80s, things were transitioning in the Middle East,” says Amina.<br />

The history of Yemen, like the history of many countries, is complicated. It changes generation<br />

by generation, so in a single household you can have three generations who were born at a time of<br />

revolution. From a Yemen Arab Republic in the 60s, the Yemenite War in the 70s, and unification talks,<br />

civil war in the 90s and revolution in the 00s. Even this removes depth, discussion, reflection. History<br />

is never a single timeline. In Amina’s family, her mum encountered one political upheaval, different<br />

from that of her own mother, Amina’s grandmother. Her father was born in Britain.<br />

“My teenage life was born in the Arab spring and my sisters don’t speak Arabic. Then you’ve got<br />

Scouseness. It’s this bowl of Scouse,” she illustrates.<br />

When she recognised those different generations in her British Yemeni household it became<br />

a significant shift in the way she writes. Amina writes a lot about her mother and grandmother.<br />

She sees herself documenting the small conversations at home that are then reflected in her work.<br />

Amina’s A Letter to my Mother encapsulates both the tension of the mother daughter relationship.<br />

“For I do not want to live in regret<br />

and when a thousand voices cheer me on<br />

from the audience, perhaps the only<br />

Voice<br />

I really want to hear, is always you.<br />

‘You’ll never understand me,’ I slam the door<br />

breaking your heart over and over again,<br />

but my mother, she waits up all night waiting for the key to turn through the door<br />

for our bones are made from Yemeni mould and when we fight, I sneak back into her chest<br />

when she is not looking”<br />

“What does home look like in a Yemeni household in Britain?” Amina asks. “I’m trying to<br />

acknowledge that in different layers. My dad being born here provides a different layer with a strong<br />

British identity, but I always look at him and think how surprising it is, how connected he is to Arab<br />

culture. It’s taught me about the strength of Yemen and Arab identity. My sisters, I recognise they<br />

should speak Arabic so they can connect. I teach them out of love for Yemeni culture, in case they<br />

forget it. That’s why we should celebrate it. I strongly believe in Arab culture, with its different dialects,<br />

different types of history, whether you speak French, broken Arabic.”<br />

Arab communities, the one I am in, the one Amina is in, struggle frequently to talk about their<br />

British identities. I have never described myself as Arab British. My father, who was born in Palestine<br />

and came to Britain in 1956, certainly didn’t. Yet our identities were a blend. And in denying this<br />

“My poetry should do<br />

something, it should<br />

move something,<br />

it should change<br />

minds, it should<br />

challenge people”<br />

aspect of ourselves, our British side, have we allowed others to step in and define what Britishness is?<br />

Crucially, what our Britishness is?<br />

“If you ask Yemeni people, ‘How do you identify?’ they say Yemeni. If you’re Palestinian, it’s<br />

Palestinian. Would you ever say Yemeni British? No. But you live here, and you pay taxes here. The<br />

Asian Britains I know are much more connected with their British identity. What does your Britishness<br />

mean?”<br />

We have a right to talk about our own identities and heritage, allowing them to be fluid and<br />

figuring out how we want to talk about them. It is something that many on the left struggle with,<br />

especially in Liverpool. How many of us say Scouse not English, for example? We are determined to<br />

have the right to define what our identity is, perhaps rejecting one side of it because we don’t like it,<br />

or we don’t feel it’s ours. The risk there is that leaves our other identity, the one we don’t like, getting<br />

further and further away from us. Our identities are pulled into two different directions. Why can’t we<br />

be patriotic too, in our own complicated, mixed heritage, broken Arabic ways?<br />

There’s a poem of Amina’s called Backbencher that was commissioned by Speaking Volumes.<br />

“I saw my father cry for the first time<br />

he cradled this city<br />

in his arms<br />

waiting to be loved<br />

but all he knew this glory<br />

does not belong<br />

to people like him.”<br />

Patriotism is complicated when you feel like you might not be allowed to belong. And yet it feels<br />

as though, if not everything is changing, then the grounds are shifting significantly. And with that it<br />

feels like things might be up for grabs. Sometimes, it feels like everything we said 20 years ago has<br />

been thrown in the air and we’re waiting for it to fall to the ground. Amina herself is like someone who<br />

is plucking those words out of the atmosphere around her and fitting them in a new shape, and a new<br />

place. It’s a process and it’s having a profound impact on the work she is writing.<br />

“I am the first person to put my hand up and say the work I used to write in the first five years<br />

[were] the most clichéd things,” she admits. “My western perspective sometimes hijacks my identity<br />

and the one I want to connect with. I think it’s a process of healing, of<br />

getting to know yourself a little bit better every single day.”<br />

This is, she believes, part of the artistic process.<br />

“You need to be reflective in poetry,” she adds, “you need to be<br />

in transition all the time. I see poetry as a moment, it’s like taking a<br />

photograph. It’s very, very rare you’ll ever get the same photograph. It’s<br />

got a different mood, tone, it’s a moment. Tomorrow it’ll be something<br />

different. I’ve changed, it’s not drastic but from that poem I wrote<br />

yesterday my mood is different today. Writers and artists should do that.<br />

Contradicting yourself is about the writer in you, there’s some change<br />

going on in your work. Any type of transition can sometimes overwhelm<br />

you, you start to ask questions you’ve never asked before and you start to<br />

answer them in a way you’ve never done before, so what you try to do is<br />

put yourself all together. We’re constantly renewing those questions.”<br />

And we return to activism and identity, of the expectation that we<br />

have to be something, representing something, somewhere, someone.<br />

“I used to separate Amina the activist and Amina the poet. What’s<br />

happening now is they’re becoming intact. I thought poetry should heal,<br />

sing a song, but I’m recognising my poetry should do something, it should move something, it should<br />

change minds, it should challenge people,” she asserts. “To do that I should bring topics to people and<br />

shouldn’t lie.”<br />

There is a phrase Amina uses frequently: “You can’t separate the writer from the writing”. Writing<br />

about your heritage and exploring this battle of who you and where you come from is imperative and<br />

there is more interest in it. Yet no battle comes without risk.<br />

“A lot of brown/black activists talk about this, you’re always going to be paranoid, you’re thinking<br />

I want to live as a normal human being, but when you confront a situation because you want it to be<br />

better and they treat you differently you don’t know whether it’s because they don’t like you or is it<br />

because I challenged something? It’s daunting.”<br />

The balance is always how you see yourself, how others perceive you, and in the arts this comes<br />

with an added frisson. You want to control how you’re seen, but any whiff of marketing or – shock!<br />

– a business plan comes with it the question of authenticity. Artists have to make a living, have to<br />

balance the books as much as the next self-employed creative. Artists always used to hide this side<br />

of their work – better to be seen as the struggling artist than be accused of being a Tory – but no<br />

more, says Amina.<br />

“You are the business, you’re self-employed,” she explains. “I don’t understand why someone<br />

who has a shop can call themselves a business, but an artist can’t see themselves as a business.<br />

I think people are scared to start seeing themselves as a business because they think it will take<br />

away from their authenticity. That work will take over your life. You can still create and do the admin<br />

work.”<br />

Enthusiastically, as an 18-year-old, Amina would go to business networking meetings, figuring<br />

out how she would have to make being an artist pay. Once, she sat in a workshop listening to a<br />

writer who kept apologising for her writing. Why, she asked herself, do we keep apologising for<br />

not just what we write, but the fact that we can? It needs to stop, she thought. We can’t keep<br />

constantly justifying this. Any artform, writing included, has its part in the world and art seeps into<br />

commercial corners all the time. Why should it only be the artist that’s apologising for that?<br />

As a Young Associate for Curious Minds, taking a 12-month intensive training programme,<br />

specialising in delivering Arts Awards, strategic development and supporting young artists find<br />

their voice has deepened her interest. We need to inspire young people and young artists to think<br />

that a career in the arts doesn’t mean apologising for making money or, crucially, asking for it.<br />

“It’s allowed me to think more logically about my two-year goal, five-year goal. The idea is<br />

not about giving up on your art, I’ve understood what I want to do with my art and what I want<br />

to head towards,” she replies. “The business mind has given me the freedom to do that. I always<br />

championed this idea of leadership. The goal is to be an advocate for the creative world, but to do<br />

that I have to have experienced the creative world in all formats, why people need it and what its<br />

effective to build social cohesion.”<br />

Change is a constant. Amina sees herself as a changemaker. Probably the first Yemeni Muslim<br />

woman in the city’s art scene, she knows that many relate to her as a Scouser first and are<br />

increasingly curious about her Yemeni heritage. She’s forcing change and a shift. It takes courage<br />

to both embrace change and to write about it. It is perhaps easy in the West to look to the East and<br />

question how and why things are done from a perceived lofty position, but perhaps it is those who<br />

have a foot in both camps to be able to plot a course to the future. Amina Atiq isn’t waiting for you<br />

to liberate her; she’s already done it herself. !<br />

Words: Laura Brown / @MsLaura_Brown<br />

Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk – shot at @vesselstudios<br />

@AminaAtiqpoetry<br />

Amina Atiq is a young associate at Curious Minds and currently a resident artist at Metal Culture<br />

UK. Amina continues to work with activists and organisations calling for an end to the war in Yemen<br />

and further global conflicts.<br />



16<br />


In this second report, detailing the findings of our musicians’ survey carried out in partnership with The<br />

University of Liverpool, we look at responses relating to the alternative platforms for live music and the<br />

effects of lockdown on levels of creativity. The findings illustrate a willingness to adapt to new digitised<br />

parameters, but a landscape where streaming is a financially viable rival to live shows is yet to materialise.<br />

As lockdown shut the doors of music venues across<br />

the city region, musicians turned to online streaming<br />

as the new way of broadcasting their gigs to<br />

audiences also confined to their homes. What<br />

used to be packed out rooms cathartically singing along, with<br />

crowdsurfers and pints of beer flying overhead, turned into<br />

sitting at home watching all the action on a screen in the hope of<br />

replicating some of the former experiences.<br />

Bands and artists setting up intimately in their own homes<br />

became the norm. Virtual promoters pushed the boundaries of<br />

live possibilities with digital events to help curb the impact of a<br />

festival summer that never happened.<br />

As always, musicians soldiered on learning new skills and<br />

innovating themselves to stream their artistic visions online.<br />

Of the 175 respondents to this study’s survey, 48 per cent of<br />

those were involved in some type of live-streamed performance<br />

during lockdown. The reaction from those involved was widely<br />

positive, with 68 per cent of them seeing lockdown live streams<br />

as beneficial to their development as a musician both creatively<br />

and connecting to fans.<br />

From our results (of which data ends at the start of August),<br />

the artists asked took part in 506 virtual shows involving 402<br />

performers and reached a collective 203,445 people online.<br />

One major positive we saw was that the potential reach of an<br />

online performance can often go far beyond the capacities of<br />

conventional venues.<br />

With the majority stuck at home, millions of people turned<br />

to music to reconnect with the life they had before. Streaming<br />

became a positive means for artists to build up fan numbers and<br />

increase awareness of their music. Where once bands could<br />

gain new fans from enthusiastic live slots and playlists to attach<br />

themselves to keen ears, now the great wall of noise on social<br />

media was a further incentivised platform.<br />

The temporary transition to streaming gigs split opinion, as<br />

some saw it as a crucial medium of connection with fans and<br />

increasing listeners. One responded saying: “While not being<br />

able to play in real life, it still gives people who are interested in<br />

my music a chance to hear it in a live format. The internet offers<br />

a much larger audience than a venue, so it’s an opportunity for<br />

more people to discover you.”<br />

For many, lockdown will have been characterised by learning<br />

new skills in between Zoom pub quizzes, banana bread baking<br />

and daily binges of Tiger King. For others, lockdown forced<br />

people into being creative. Yet this wasn’t a consistent feeling;<br />

as always, the creative block can be hard to beat with around<br />

a third (34 per cent) of respondents feeling uninspired during<br />

lockdown. Alternatively, nearly half (46 per cent) of musicians<br />

surveyed felt an increased inspiration as there was more time to<br />

spend being creative.<br />

These bursts and drives of motivation were seen to<br />

fluctuate across the lockdown period. Some musicians were<br />

initially impacted negatively as the sudden change to lifestyle<br />

halted creativity with around 12 per cent finding the setback<br />

hard to deal with. “I need a positive headspace to write, and<br />

with so much negativity in the world right now, it damaged<br />

my motivation to write new songs,” one respondent said, with<br />

another more optimistically adding: “I went out of my way to find<br />

ways to be creative and to encourage those around me to do the<br />

same.”<br />

The closure of practice spaces affected the ability for<br />

musicians to work together as over half (53 per cent) were<br />

completely locked out of practicing with their bandmates during<br />

lockdown with an unfortunate sense of regression apparent in<br />

those asked.<br />

For musicians, live streaming offered a unique opportunity<br />

to develop digital skills as 36 per cent of our respondents<br />

learnt how to stream a live show, 12 per cent gained new<br />

understanding of video production and, finally, 10 per cent went<br />

deeper into their creativity focusing on painting and creative<br />

writing.<br />

To delve into the methods and digital platforms used, 76<br />

per cent of respondents used Facebook, 40 per cent broadcast<br />

on YouTube and 36 per cent streamed over Instagram Live.<br />

The popularity and ease of working with these platforms was<br />

highlighted by the musicians. Endlessly scrolling through memes<br />

and corona hot takes from your uncles could be interrupted by a<br />

band eager to connect with fans again.<br />

With disruption comes innovation, but also collaboration.<br />

With musicians having more free time due to furlough and<br />

lack of real-life gig opportunities, 61 per cent of those asked<br />

worked and collaborated with other musicians during lockdown.<br />

But these collaborations didn’t come without their drawbacks<br />

as many preferred working in person. Large portions of the<br />

musicians (88 per cent) preferred face to face discussions as it<br />

was easier to gain instant feedback and bounce ideas between<br />

people. They found a certain disconnectedness and loss from the<br />

shared experience of practicing that isn’t obtained with people<br />

working online; 20 per cent described that the lack of direct reallife<br />

collaboration completely inhibited their activities.<br />

Ben Roberts was an organiser of Liverpool Digital Music<br />

Festival which saw two live-stream events take place in<br />

recent months. The first event took place in May and saw 100<br />

Merseyside based artists performing from home. The second<br />

took place over the August bank holiday weekend and saw<br />

venues like the M&S Bank Arena open their doors to host artists<br />

like Zuzu in a cavernous, empty auditorium to an audience in its<br />

thousands watching from home.<br />

“It’s a pale stop-gap for<br />

live performance which<br />

is socially and culturally<br />

important and cannot be<br />

replicated online”<br />

The project was born out of the lack of gigs taking place,<br />

says Roberts, and an appetite from both fans and performers for<br />

the return of live music in some capacity. Creating the second<br />

event saw the production take place in venues across the city<br />

which brought in new health and safety concerns as around<br />

50 people working across four venues required its own robust<br />

Covid-19 measures. Venue mapping, one-way systems, cleaning<br />

down areas in between sets, PPE for staff and a track and trace<br />

system were all in place – even without any fans in the building.<br />

This level of organisation stresses the logistical difficulties that<br />

Covid-19 has brought to the live music industry. “Live streaming<br />

is so new and not a lot people were doing it last year,” says<br />

Roberts, “but people and venues are now seeing the value in<br />

streaming. There is tremendous potential.”<br />

But as the sun came out, lockdown loosened and society<br />

wanted to get back to the beer garden, the live streaming<br />

revolution gained renewed competition from people wanting to<br />

go outdoors.<br />

For some fans, however, a live stream, although is nice to<br />

watch and support, does not equate to the live experience. The<br />

collective unison of a packed room brought together by a love<br />

of music struggles to be replicated sitting on your sofa with<br />

some cans looking at a screen. Although the innovation and new<br />

fanbase gains were a positive, the overriding feeling from artists<br />

towards online gigs was one of frustration. Performing in front of<br />

people and playing live was seen as a fundamental need for both<br />

fans and performers.<br />

“It’s a pale stop-gap for live performance which is socially<br />

and culturally important and cannot be replicated online,” one<br />

respondent put simply. Another added: “While they can be OK<br />

to watch, they don’t have the atmosphere and magic of real live<br />

performances.” Another responded outlined how it felt like they<br />

were just “providing content rather than me giving people an<br />

experience”.<br />

More damningly, the financial viability of live streaming<br />

becoming the new normal, for touring bands especially, is more<br />

doubtful. Of all the live-streamed shows that the musicians in<br />

the survey were involved in, only 16 of these musicians actually<br />

got paid and they contributed to 118 of the 506 shows recorded.<br />

Of these 16 musicians, only five of them got paid over £100 for<br />

their performance as they took part in 24 shows. This means<br />

that 81 per cent of musicians did not get paid for performing<br />

a streamed set. These statistics reflect that only select and<br />

established musicians have been benefitting from live streaming<br />

shows, suggesting that the emerging acts are not getting paid<br />

enough and are being left behind.<br />

Drawing on findings from the last article in the series, we<br />

saw that £1.75million was lost in performance revenue for<br />

cancelled shows up to the beginning of August amongst the<br />

artists asked. With very few gigs to the end of September and<br />

onwards looking to go ahead, we estimate that figure to grow to<br />

with a further £700,000 potentially being lost.<br />

The live streams that our respondents were involved in as a<br />

replacement for the lost shows brought total projected earnings<br />

of only £68,000. The figure has potential to drop to a grim<br />

£21,000 if you remove free gigs from the calculations and just<br />

focus on the performers who actually got paid. This remains a<br />

drop in the ocean compared to the money lost due to lack of live<br />

opportunities with streaming shows only recouping 1.2-3.6 per<br />

cent of the money lost.<br />

“They are great for pushing monetised things like merch,<br />

accepting donations in lieu of gig performance fees,” one<br />

respondent shared, “however there is no way to directly<br />

monetise the live streams within the platforms themselves,<br />

making income very uncertain.”<br />

Where the processes of a band or artist getting paid for<br />

a live show vary from via agents or direct from promoters, the<br />

payment systems for online performances are yet to be ironed<br />

out and proven. Where the purchase of a gig ticket grants you<br />

access into the room and a knowledge that the artists you’re<br />

seeing will be getting a portion of that fee, there is no one<br />

“watching the door” for most live streams.<br />

Pay-for-view live streams are a much harder sell in an age<br />

of getting media online for free; the concept of paying to watch<br />

a performance on a screen without leaving your house is a<br />

tough sell. Even well-established artists are already proving<br />

the hardship. Mercury Prize-nominated Laura Marling saw her<br />

professionally produced live stream show at London’s Union<br />

Chapel garner 4,000 viewers from across the globe at £12 a<br />

ticket. However, the show still failed to make financial returns<br />

that would make this type of performance a viable solution going<br />

forward.<br />

There isn’t one rule that fits all in the industry as with<br />

different demographics and audiences comes different attitudes<br />

to. Some smaller artists may see the greater potential reach of<br />

streaming as enough to warrant not getting paid as much. In the<br />

long run, however, that could have negative effects as it grants<br />

the audience an expectation to get live music for free and for<br />

artists to lose out.<br />

As the lockdown hit, Sound City set up Guest House Live<br />

which saw emerging and established artists perform streamed<br />

gigs on a pay-for-view platform. Fans were able to buy tickets,<br />

donate money to the artists directly, engage in a Q&A and<br />

purchase unique merchandise created specifically for that show.<br />

“We saw that streaming was going to be integral for artists,<br />

but there had to be a way to monetise it. We felt it was really<br />

important to us as a festival and an organisation that works<br />

with so many artists that we address that,” said Sound City MD,<br />

Becky Ayres.<br />

“The emerging artists who don’t have a big profile but do<br />

interact and have some dedicated fans have done really well<br />

from it. We’re trying to learn from those emerging artists that<br />

have done well on the platform to see where and how we can<br />

make that a level playing field for other artists,” she added.<br />

“We do believe that streaming performances are something<br />

that fans should be paying for, whatever that amount might be.<br />

Streamed gigs will never be the same as a real show, but it’s<br />

about giving the fan an experience that will engage them with<br />

artists and ultimately create more of a relationship with them<br />

which in turn will generate more income.”<br />

As the industry continues to adapt, the structuring and<br />

potential of live stream events will no doubt flourish in the<br />

coming months. Musicians will further evolve with limitations<br />

leading to new, beneficial opportunities. For now, though,<br />

Liverpool and the international music communities have to wait<br />

for a potential vaccine to be created and distributed before the<br />

doors of venues can reopen. It sadly remains a continually bleak<br />

outlook for the future of live music, but it is reassuring to find<br />

that the city region and its musicians are evolving and finding<br />

ways to adapt to these enforced changes. !<br />

Words: Will Whitby / @WillyWhitby<br />

Lead researchers and data analysis: Richard Anderson and Dr<br />

Mathew Flynn, University of Liverpool<br />

Illustration: Esmée Finlay / @efinlayillustration<br />

The next stage of this research will take place via a consultation<br />

event led by Bido Lito!, University of Liverpool and other<br />

musician support organisations on Tuesday 27th <strong>October</strong> via<br />

Zoom. The event will consider the wider impacts across the<br />

sector with venues, promoters, educators and other industry<br />

professionals encouraged to take part.<br />

To register head to bidolito.co.uk/consultation<br />






Mike Stanton goes stargazing with the producer, DJ and promoter to journey through the cosmos of his<br />

most recent release, joining the dots between constellations of influences along the way.<br />

I’ve been aware of JACQUES MALCHANCE and Upitup<br />

Records for a few years now. It’s nearly impossible to be<br />

part of the fabric of the electronic music scene in Liverpool<br />

without crossing paths with the Upitup boys, Jacques and<br />

Paolo Elmo. I, like many others, have enjoyed nights as guests of<br />

these chaps and their merry band.<br />

Jacques Malchance is a musical polymath; adept in so many<br />

different disciplines it seems almost unfair. He is a classically<br />

trained pianist, an electronic producer, a DJ, a radio show host,<br />

label owner, promoter. He’s an all-round lovely guy, too.<br />

Having relocated from his home city of Rome to a pre-capital<br />

of culture Liverpool in 2005, the intention was to stay a year and<br />

take a music diploma at the Liverpool Institute for Performing<br />

Arts. Fifteen years later and he is still here, has settled down and<br />

is the proud father of two children<br />

In that time Jacques’ musical pedigree has risen, having<br />

performed with amazing artists such as Broadcast, James Taylor<br />

Quartet, Manu Delago, Luke Vibert and Mark Pritchard. Having<br />

co-founded Upitup back in Italy in 2003 with fellow electronic<br />

producer Isocore (Paolo), he has been recording and releasing<br />

music steadily while hosting events, DJing and broadcasting on<br />

Liverpool’s independent radio station, Melodic Distraction.<br />

As the current environment dictates, we meet virtually<br />

through Zoom to talk about his latest haul of creative projects.<br />

After a brief round of hellos, how you doings and messing with<br />

settings, we’re ready.<br />

Jacques is very demonstrative, he talks quickly and<br />

enthusiastically, gesticulating and punctuating his answers with<br />

airy flourishes. His huge mane of hair has been chopped back,<br />

but the beard and his twinkling eyes are still in evidence. There<br />

are tangents and asides throughout the interview punctuated by<br />

Jacques’ infectious laugh and hugely<br />

engaging character. It is impossible<br />

not to be charmed by this most<br />

companionable of men. The hour we<br />

chat for flies by.<br />

Jacques has fully integrated into<br />

the Liverpool culture and is now a bone<br />

fide adopted Scouser, very much one<br />

of our own; transitioning from the man<br />

who arrived on these shores as a green<br />

20-year-old looking for adventure.<br />

“My mum actually encouraged me [to<br />

come to Liverpool],” he says, thinking<br />

back to his days in Italy over 15 years<br />

ago. “She found this course [at LIPA]. I<br />

didn’t know anything about Liverpool,<br />

you know, like no contact whatsoever<br />

and my mum thought this might be an exciting thing.”<br />

Jacques is honest in outlining that he didn’t see himself<br />

sticking around on the Mersey shores for the length of time he<br />

has. But there was a subtle magnetism that drew him and so<br />

many adopted Scousers to the city: “It’s one of those places,”<br />

he points out, “I’m not the only one because I’ve met so many<br />

people that come for what they think is a short amount of time. I<br />

don’t know,” he pauses and ponders with an abstract expression,<br />

“It has got that weird time bubble, kind of warp thing. [Time]<br />

flies. It doesn’t stop. That’s the thing, it actually speeds up.”<br />

In Liverpool, the majority of Jacques’ projects gravitate<br />

towards the electronic, club scene. But there is a subtle<br />

underlayer of classical composition that forms the basis of his<br />

musical exploration. Growing up, Jacques absorbed the music<br />

his parents listened to. “Erik Satie, for sure, was one of the best<br />

ones because I remember hearing Trois Gymnopédies like, really<br />

young,” he recalls. “Still today, it’s an incredible piece of music,<br />

pioneering in so many ways. I went on to do recitals of Satie and<br />

similar stuff.”<br />

Along with a solid basis of passion and poise delivered<br />

“Hearing Squarepusher<br />

changed everything.<br />

It was an instant<br />

moment of ‘whoa’”<br />

by Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon,<br />

it was as a teenager where the most discernible influences of<br />

Jacques productions took root. It was hearing Squarepusher<br />

that flicked on a light in Jacques’ head. “A brother of a friend of<br />

mine played us it,” he explains. “Before I even heard Come To<br />

Daddy by Aphex Twin, I heard Tundra on Feed Me Weird Things<br />

by Squarepusher. This changed everything. It was an instant<br />

[moment] of ‘whoa’.”<br />

As Jacques eludes to, Aphex Twin’s Come To Daddy was an<br />

essential record and made a strong impression. “I saw the video<br />

late at night on MTV. Again, massively mind blown, like instantly.”<br />

Expanding his horizons followed. Having been grounded<br />

in rock it was only natural he would seek out harder and<br />

harder music, getting into bands like Korn and Slipknot and<br />

exploring the early 2000s phenomenon nu metal. However,<br />

through Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, beats held a particular<br />

fascination, something Jacques would carry with him throughout<br />

his musical career. “[On Come To Daddy] the beats were just<br />

more than a nu metal band could do. It felt like the sound was<br />

massive,” Jacques recounts. “I’ve always been in bands, I’ve<br />

always liked bands, you know, but there was definitely this kind<br />

of love for electronic music that was so different. That was my<br />

first introduction to it.”<br />

His musical tastes took time to flourish, firstly absorbing,<br />

as Jacques puts it, “golden-era” (mid 90s) Warp Records and<br />

Rephlex Records, discovering Autechre, Boards of Canada, Cylob<br />

and Bogdan Raczynski. “I wasn’t into house and techno at all<br />

growing up, so yeah, that type of electronic music,” he adds.<br />

The urge to move beyond standard 120 bpm-like rhythms was<br />

obviously strong. “It kind of felt like four-four at the time to me<br />

was cheating,” he considers. “Now, I tend to do mostly, well not<br />

four-four, but you know, straight<br />

beat kind of stuff.” As time went<br />

on, he discovered the joys of late<br />

80s techno, electro and acid house.<br />

“It still blows my mind,” he says<br />

passionately. “Most acid stuff I like is<br />

from around 1988. It still seems like I<br />

can’t really beat that kind of rawness<br />

and mad riffs.”<br />

As a DJ Jacques, is a true musical<br />

democrat, playing a wide range of<br />

genres including techno, electro,<br />

acid, disco, funk, jungle and music<br />

from beyond westernised genres; he<br />

recently performed a set for Liverpool<br />

Arab Arts Festival. Experience of<br />

putting on the now famous Upitup<br />

nights around the city has honed Jacques’ instincts for what<br />

works, which combinations engage and how artists and DJs can<br />

create a night. “Upitup nights, you know, have always been quite<br />

varied, I think in terms of line-up, there’s always been room for<br />

quite experimental, kind of odd, really non-danceable stuff,” he<br />

explains. “But that’s also part of what we’ve always really loved. If<br />

I have a really long DJ set it will never be the same type of music,”<br />

he continues “My favourite type of night will start with ambient<br />

and downtempo chill and then it picks up a bit and becomes<br />

banging electro, techno and acid working its way up to jungle<br />

and then end with a bang, sort of really heavy like gabber and<br />

breakcore. I mean that, for me, is the ideal club night. That’s what<br />

keeps me interested and on the dancefloor all the time.”<br />

His latest release is Arpeologie, a beautiful and melodic trip<br />

through ambient techno. Think Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient<br />

Works 85-92 and you get the idea. The music spirals throughout<br />

cascading waves of deep-groove-filled journeys. I had a brilliant<br />

theory that it was titled Arpeologie because ARP synths were<br />

used throughout, but it turns out I was wrong. “It was mainly<br />

because there are a lot of arpeggiators in it, no ARPs were used,”<br />

he says, bringing an end to my assumptions. “All of the sounds<br />

are hardware with sequencers, but kind of limited in a way, that’s<br />

the thing with hardware, it’s like a limitation that you set yourself<br />

[to work with].”<br />

Recorded and mastered in his home studio, Arpeologie<br />

sounds lush with enough movement, patterns, textures and<br />

depth to fill your head with all those lovely endorphin-lit pulses.<br />

However, despite its release in May, the recordings are as much<br />

as 10 years old. So how has it only just been released? Jacques<br />

takes up the story.<br />

“I was supporting Legowelt and he came up after me<br />

afterwards to say how much he liked the set,” he outlines.<br />

Legowelt asked Jacques to record an album for his label at the<br />

time, Strange Life Records, a small independent. “It was cool, he<br />

was putting out amazing stuff, especially at that time. There was<br />

Polysick, and DMX Krew. It was a really nice label.”<br />

After being set the task and deadline, the label then sadly<br />

folded. “That was obviously a bit of a blow,” Jacques concedes.<br />

“He was cool about it, saying, ‘I’m really sorry. I really love the<br />

album. I really like it. Please send it to other labels and, you know,<br />

good luck.’ And that’s how it became this wait.”<br />

Labels were showing the love but nothing came of it. “They<br />

were always like, ‘I really like it, but I’m not sure if it fits the<br />

label’, so that’s been the story of it for years. It became this long<br />

journey. Finally, I was like, ‘No, fuck it’, I’m going to put it out on<br />

vinyl under Upitup later in the autumn.”<br />

The advent of Bandcamp Friday in May prompted Jacques to<br />

release Arpeologie as a digital-only download with the intention<br />

of a proper vinyl release later in the year. The reaction so far<br />

has taken him by surprise, both in its number of plays and the<br />

generosity of those purchasing it for higher than normal fees via<br />

pay-what-you-feel. It’s well worth the adulation it’s receiving in<br />

pockets of the internet.<br />

Along with the release of the record, things remain busy<br />

and exciting for Jacques. Juggling so many different projects and<br />

interests must be exhausting but he seems happy and focused.<br />

His and Paolo’s Melodic Distraction show broadcasts every<br />

month featuring Upitup acts plus a selection of the best music<br />

in the area. These guys really know their stuff and the love just<br />

pours out of the speakers.<br />

Once the current crisis has passed and we all return to<br />

some form of normality, live performance can return and these<br />

nights can once again grace Liverpool. It’s with great hope that<br />

I’ll bump into Jacques or Paolo and experience another one of<br />

their magical nights. Maybe, somewhere down the line he’ll even<br />

achieve his dream of bringing Aphex Twin to Liverpool to play<br />

at Upitup. It’s a dream he views as “complicated”, not to mention<br />

finically challenging. “But you never know,” he teasingly adds,<br />

leaving us with a slither of hope – the kind that would pull us<br />

through the long months ahead with no events on the horizon.<br />

Yet, even without the events, Jacques and his productions<br />

continue to embody the spirit and drive of Liverpool, contributing<br />

to the rich cultural heritage of this great city. It’s fair to say<br />

Jacques Malchance and Upitup will be remembered for years to<br />

come. And those nights with him behind the decks will resonate<br />

with ageing ravers and keep us all warm in our twilight years. !<br />

Words: Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss<br />

Photography: Michael Driffill / @Driffysphotos<br />

Arpeologie is available now via Upitup records.<br />

Special thanks to Bidston Observatory Artistic<br />

Research Centre for providing access for photography.<br />

For information on the centre’s work and rates for<br />

day visits and overnight stays for artistic projects<br />

and development please visit bidstonobservatory.<br />

org or email enquiries@bidstonobservatory.org<br />





UP<br />

UP<br />

’<br />

EFOR<br />

PEOPLE<br />

FOR<br />

’<br />

E<br />

PEOPLE<br />








Cheryl Martin, Ashleigh Owen,<br />

Mooncup Theatre, EAT ME,<br />

Queer Bodies, Transcend Theatre,<br />

ROOT-ed Zine, Sophie Green<br />

and many more.<br />

FOR<br />

CHANGE<br />

FOR<br />

CHANGE<br />





29 <strong>October</strong> - 15 November 2020<br />

@LGBT.festival.liverpool<br />

@HomotopiaFest<br />


Box office:<br />

theatkinson.co.uk<br />

01704 533 333<br />

(Booking fees apply)<br />

The Atkinson<br />

Lord Street<br />

Southport<br />

PR8 1DB<br />

Cats on<br />

the Page<br />

Free<br />

Entry<br />

12 September — 9 January 2021<br />

Reacquaint yourself with the captivating<br />

cats who come to life in books, manuscripts<br />

and artworks. Featuring music by The Stray<br />

Cats, The Cure and deadmau5.<br />

Exhibition partner:

This year’s August bank holiday carnival weekend was stripped of its usual freedom, colour and movement.<br />

With a handful of live events filling the void in Liverpool, Mary Olive explores the essence of dancing and<br />

communality, an integral aspect of our lives which is yet to return.<br />

Fairy lights dance along wooden beams hanging<br />

overhead. Green plants and hand gel fill tables as<br />

bar staff begin to vogue while they serve drinks.<br />

Laughter bubbles as friends rekindle, catching up after<br />

quarantine in the fading summer sun. On the decks, current<br />

selector PapuRaf plays a euphoric mix of afrobeat and dancehall<br />

for the early birds bouncing steadily to the beat. All sat socially<br />

distanced and six to a table, we are all so close yet so far from<br />

the separation that’s punctuated much of 2020.<br />

24 Kitchen Street has changed since I was last here back<br />

in February. The days of strangers’ sweaty bodies dancing<br />

together, packed beneath an enormous disco ball, feel a lifetime<br />

ago. And yet, the sparkling excitement of a Kitchen Street gig<br />

feels as bright as ever. Maybe even more so now, given the long<br />

separation between live audience and live music. Anticipation<br />

crackles in the spaces between separated people and bottles of<br />

anti-bac. Tonight, the outdoor garden terrace at the Baltic Tringle<br />

venue is hosting dancehall and hip-hop collective Nutribe, back<br />

for their first live performance since March.<br />

The love and joy within the audience is palpable. It feels like<br />

remembering something I’d forgotten to miss. The feeling is not<br />

easily defined. It lies somewhere between grounding and flying.<br />

Strangers smiling, sharing singing, slightly swaying. Live music<br />

feels sacred. The performance from Nutribe is rooted in collective<br />

harmony. It is a work of art; an explosion of energy and light.<br />

Speaking to one third of Nutribe, Sticky Dub, just after he steps<br />

off stage, he reflects on the humbling satisfaction of performing<br />

again. “The view from up [on stage],” he says, beaming with<br />

happiness, “it was beautiful, man.”<br />

A room filled with people dancing together is a special<br />

thing to be a part of. Impossible to replicate, each music event<br />

is distinctly unique. It is a collision of causes and effects which<br />

lead every single person to that exact moment. Decisions both<br />

unconscious and conscious bring a collection of strangers<br />

together to share in the healing that is experiencing live music<br />

together. Tonight may have seen more controlled loss of<br />

inhibitions, people keeping their distance and retaining space,<br />

but it was an alluring refraction of<br />

spirit raising compulsion we’re drawn<br />

to. But what exactly is it about music,<br />

particularly sharing music with people,<br />

that makes us crave shared movement<br />

so intensely? Is it simply the social<br />

pleasure of seeing friends and moving<br />

to melodies, or do we share a deeper<br />

connection to it?<br />

Music and dance is embedded<br />

within us, laced within our DNA,<br />

no less than breathing or smiling.<br />

We just feel music, and there is no<br />

training or education needed to simply<br />

understand it. People have been<br />

dancing in groups since humanity<br />

began, and still to this day music and<br />

dance remain spiritually healing. Perhaps this is why we have<br />

been missing it so intensely, and why we will continue to crave it<br />

until it is safe once again to freely dance together.<br />

Live music crystallises so much of this feeling for people.<br />

It’s the instigator, the dynamic force. The energy that exists<br />

between performer and audience makes the music shared attain<br />

“We are universally<br />

bonded through<br />

our need to love,<br />

to be free and to<br />

connect. Music<br />

and dance is our<br />

vehicle to do this”<br />

a new level of power. It’s living. Tonight’s performers are well<br />

versed in both roles as dancer and orchestrators of the dance.<br />

“Whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re thinking, you just<br />

have to surrender to it in that moment in time,” Nutribe’s Onyx<br />

shares. “I feel like freestyling [rapping] is very healing because<br />

of that.” When freestyling, all three members are at one with<br />

the music, allowing lyrics and movement to flow out of them<br />

as they perform. This is a spiritually<br />

healing process for not only them<br />

performing, but for the audience,<br />

too, who are sharing this moment<br />

of vulnerability and openness with<br />

them.<br />

While in conversation with the<br />

trio, they bounce off one another yet<br />

remain grounded in their originality<br />

as individuals. “What we are in<br />

the moment is what we reflect<br />

in our music,” Doopsman shares.<br />

Remaining in constant motion means<br />

that Nutribe are ever-changing,<br />

flowing and growing as musicians<br />

and as people. As a result, every<br />

performance is a new experience for<br />

both performer and audience member.<br />

Influenced by Caribbean dancehall, throughout their<br />

performance Nutribe celebrate sharing culture, music and art<br />

with an entire room, something their manager Tekla tells me<br />

about. “The interactions [they] have on stage, and the content of<br />

the music, is all Caribbean.”<br />


Dancehall was born in Jamaica during the late 70s, famous<br />

for its reggae influence, the genre is built upon fast rhythms and<br />

regarded as one of the most versatile genres today. “You can’t<br />

understand [dancehall] just through observation. You have to<br />

engage in it and feel the energy of it,” says Tekla. Dance is an<br />

incredibly important aspect of dancehall, and it is through the<br />

celebration of dance where this music comes to life.<br />

Nutribe not only have a flow to their words, but also their<br />

bodies. Movement and dance is threaded within their music. All<br />

three members of Nutribe, are trained contemporary and ballet<br />

dancers and use dance as a means to express themselves. “It’s<br />

a slice of freedom,” Stickydub says talking about performing<br />

on stage. “You share that with the crowd. All the experiences<br />

are just slices of freedom that you all feel together.” Onyx adds:<br />

“When you’re in that dance with just those people, you’re locked<br />

in. You’re not thinking about anything else.”<br />

Sharing music and dancing with others helps us to understand<br />

ourselves deeply, passionately and openly. Music physically<br />

stimulates our brain’s reward centres creating a euphoric feeling.<br />

Dance improves our intuition with our bodies, it reduces our<br />

dementia risk and improves self-esteem and sexual health.<br />

The relationship between bodily understanding and music is<br />

shared by Go Off, Sis podcast host and model, Rachel Duncan.<br />

She explains her relationship between the self and dancing,<br />

specifically celebrating dancehall music. “Because I grew up in<br />

Trinidad, dancehall and owning your sexuality has always been<br />

something quite close to my heart,” she tells me. “But beyond<br />

sexuality and feeling sexual, listening to music makes me feel<br />

in charge and empowered. Especially when I’m listening to a<br />

woman playing dancehall.”<br />

Duncan is an ambassador for self-love, self-care and<br />

self-expression. She lifts others through her example of lifting<br />

herself. “It’s like being in a euphoric state,” she illustrates.<br />

Duncan outlines how so much of her confidence stems from her<br />

experiences with Caribbean carnival. “I feel like I’m in an out of<br />

body experience. The music makes me feel like I can do whatever<br />

I want. I just don’t care. Everybody is just having so much fun<br />

dancing together,” she says. Dancing places us in a state of<br />

transcendence, as we let go of control and let our bodies just<br />

flow with a rhythm.<br />

There is no such thing as a bad dancer, only people too<br />

in control to let go. Dancing is for us all, it is pure, and it is<br />

instinctual. “I love dancing in front of the mirror,” Duncan laughs<br />

freely, “that is my vibe!” Duncan shares how self-loving dancing<br />

can be, as well as a shared experience, something we can<br />

practice as a means to care for ourselves. Although we crave<br />

collectively sharing music, perhaps there are other ways we can<br />

access this feeling of euphoria. Perhaps dancing on our own, for<br />

ourselves, for the enjoyment, is the balm for this itch.<br />

A few days prior to Nutribe’s performance, a slice of Carnival<br />

arrived in Liverpool over August bank holiday weekend in a sea of<br />

colours and music with LIME scheduling two consecutive parties<br />

in two local venues. The promoters and party starters of LIME<br />

collective bring dancehall and afrobeat to the city, quite literally<br />

handing out fresh limes and tropical rhythms in unison. Although<br />

the crowd are wrapped in jackets and hoodies, LIME brings the<br />

Caribbean sunshine to the north. Here, a celebration of music,<br />

dance and people takes place. A place where all bodies and<br />

beings are accepted and welcomed.<br />

Catching up with radio host and co-founder of LIME, Babylon<br />

Fox, she reinforces the value of dance and self-expression through<br />

the carnival and dancehall events. “[Lime] is about sharing a part<br />

of me with other people,” she explains. “I like to give a bit of myself<br />

to the space.” There is a specific beauty in creating a space where<br />

in which people come together and dance. “Dancehall is never<br />

aggressive,” Babylon tells me. “[LIME] brings in such a nice mix of<br />

people. It takes us back to that primal movement and rhythm; it<br />

engages all of your senses.”<br />

LIME empowers, celebrating sexuality, self-expression and<br />

connection to others. It is a space where in which everyone has<br />

room to move freely, with respect and community woven into its<br />

foundations. “I like looking after people,” Babylon smiles, “I like<br />

making sure everyone has a good time when they come to our<br />

events.”<br />

As people, we are universally bonded through our need<br />

to love, to be free and to connect. Music and dance is our<br />

vehicle to do this. Whether it’s accessed through organising<br />

events, performing or simply just being a part of the dance,<br />

music is a magic within humanity. Dancing reminds us we’re<br />

here to enjoy life, reconnecting us to our inner child and living<br />

presently. We are born understanding music, and when we<br />

dance, our bodies, spirit and self align in a way which can<br />

never be exactly replicated. It is a fleeting, swelling moment of<br />

complete joy to fully allow us to let go of ego and surrender to<br />

the music.<br />

The craving for live music and dancing is understandably<br />

deep in the current moment. We have a primal need to share<br />

music and to physically express our relationship with it. It is<br />

written within us. The impact on our mental health can be<br />

detrimental without it. Currently, we are living during a time<br />

where we are told to fear strangers, to keep distance and<br />

reduce human connection as much as possible. Ironically,<br />

now is when we emotionally need each other the most. How<br />

do we ensure we are connecting as people, sharing love and<br />

engaging in a shared understanding of one existence, while<br />

simultaneously abiding by strict social distancing regulations?<br />

Perhaps music is the answer. We must embrace our<br />

instinctual want for music, whether that be supporting local<br />

artists at socially distanced events, dancing in our bedrooms<br />

or filling our days with uplifting, euphoric symphonies.<br />

Tonight’s performance at Kitchen Street, as well as LIME’s<br />

colourful festival of rhythms and dancehall, gives us hope. It<br />

gives us something to hold on to, while we continue to reach<br />

out for one another. Hope that we will dance together again<br />

one day. That we will experience those “slices of freedom”<br />

again. And in the meantime, although the world may feel<br />

unfair, unstable and even painful some days, we still have so<br />

much to smile about. Listen to the musicians. Listen to the<br />

events organisers, the radio hosts, and live-streaming DJs. Let<br />

their music soothe you. Let it uplift you. For now, just let the<br />

music play. !<br />

Words: Mary Olive / @maryolivepoet<br />

Photography: (Nutribe) Michael Kirkham / @MrKirks<br />



BYE<br />

LOUIS<br />

Just before the months of lockdown, the multi-instrumentalist relinquished control of his 2019 EP The Same<br />

Boy for it to take on a new life through a series of open source remixes. With the remix EP now released, Kieran<br />

Callaghan considers the importance of ownership and the unique characteristics of every piece of music.<br />

The Same Boy started its life as an idea straight after<br />

my first gig, back in early 2018. I had sent Neil Grant<br />

(Lo Five) some songs a few months earlier, and he<br />

kindly gave me my first opportunity to perform them<br />

at a really welcoming and friendly Emotion Wave night at 81<br />

Renshaw Street.<br />

Some of the songs I played that night were really old, as<br />

was some of the equipment I was using. One song in particular<br />

I wrote when I first got my sampler<br />

in about 2006. It’s developed a little<br />

over time, but that song is basically<br />

just a looped piano phrase with me<br />

chanting about friendship over the top.<br />

I still triggered that same loop I made<br />

12 years before, and still chanted the<br />

same words I came up with all those<br />

years ago.<br />

After the show, a then very new<br />

friend, Sean Fearon (Foxen Cyn), asked<br />

if I’d like to record some songs and<br />

release them on what would become<br />

the Emotion Wave label. Eighteen<br />

months later, The Same Boy came out.<br />

The record reflects the story of<br />

that aforementioned old song. Regardless of which song I’m<br />

thinking about, it’s the journey that song has taken that feels<br />

consistent. The songs more or less just appeared in my head at<br />

some point in time, and if they made it to the record it means<br />

that they didn’t disappear. They transitioned into the physical<br />

world through the recording process, I guess.<br />

The Same Boy is personal on as many levels as I could make<br />

it. I played every recorded part you can hear (except for one bit<br />

on a balalaika that Sean insisted he had to play). I was there a<br />

lot when Sean was mixing the record and then another friend,<br />

Charlie Foy (produces as Lack – Cong Burn, Blank Mind, Livity<br />

Sound), mastered it all.<br />

I burned all 50 of the CDs in my then living room. My rabbit<br />

friend ate one of the disc burners I used. I wrote on all of the<br />

CD cases. Each CD case had a photo print and a negative of me<br />

inside. I cut and pasted all the little bits you can find inside the<br />

CD packs. I hand painted the posters for the launch event at the<br />

Kazimier Stockroom with my partner Natalie.<br />

The promotional work for the The Same Boy was like a form<br />

of self-parody – I usually hate drawing attention to myself or<br />

sharing pictures. I guess the whole thing is supposed to be a<br />

piece of or a reflection of me – that was the only way any of this<br />

could feel normal. I felt I should have the music wear its deep<br />

personal feelings on its sleeve. To me, back then, it would feel<br />

inauthentic any other way.<br />

A year on from its release, The Same Boy took on a new,<br />

“The remixes<br />

represent a<br />

comfortable loss<br />

of ownership”<br />

open source form, allowing producers to remould and remix the<br />

recordings in whatever way they wanted to. The idea actually<br />

came about through a discussion with Chris (of Bido Lito!<br />

superfame). He mentioned a collection of remixes of Goat songs<br />

(Run To Your Mama Remixes), and I started thinking about what<br />

having my music remixed would feel like. Would I hate hearing<br />

my music repurposed and mixed up and moved around? What<br />

would it all mean to me?<br />

I think, in a lot of ways, all songs<br />

never really exist in their truest form<br />

in the physical world, or beyond<br />

the confines of the songwriter’s (or<br />

songwriters’) head(s). All songs exist<br />

as an idea that will never actually<br />

come into physical existence. This<br />

perfect rendition of the song is never<br />

attainable. Whenever a song is<br />

performed or recorded, it’s always<br />

just a version.<br />

This idea really clicked in my<br />

head a few years ago. The language<br />

I find that I use to describe it kind of<br />

comes from dub music, where there<br />

are lots of different versions of songs<br />

that are mixed by different producers. The songs are titled that<br />

way. So you have stuff like ‘King Tubby & Prince Jammy – Living<br />

Version’ and things like that. And so basically, to me, every song<br />

you’ve ever heard is a version.<br />

I also latched onto the idea of trying to let the songs go<br />

completely, as an attempt to let the feelings that I have whenever<br />

I perform them or think about them change into something else.<br />

It’s a strange experience revisiting the emotions that you attach to<br />

a certain song every time you perform it, because you might have<br />

moved away from that part of your life or whatever it was that<br />

you were trying to better understand through writing the song.<br />

With all of this in mind, I made it all as open as possible and<br />

decided to put every part of every song from The Same Boy<br />

into a publicly accessible Google Drive, and posted a link to it in<br />

messages to friends, and my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I really<br />

liked the idea that you could have a chain of reinterpretations<br />

as well, so you could get more distance between the original<br />

idea and a new piece of work. To get further than one stage<br />

removed from my idea as part of this project, I asked my friend<br />

Alice Lapworth (Wives’ Tales) if she’d be interested in creating<br />

something in response to one of the remixes.<br />

When I asked her the question for the first time, I actually<br />

didn’t know what any of the remixes were going to sound like.<br />

In the end, Alice was really into Steve Amadeo’s strings-heavy<br />

re-imagining of Between The Hedges and she came up with<br />

this really singular, beautiful piece of visual work, Between<br />

The Walls. I stayed away from every element of it as it came<br />

together. It’s wholly the work of Alice, Jack Ehlen (filming and<br />

editing) and all of the performers on the day.<br />

In many ways the remixes represent a comfortable loss of<br />

ownership. I think the most important idea sparks either come<br />

fully formed in one’s own head, or fully unexpectedly as part of<br />

a communal experience. I don’t think music should be ‘owned’ in<br />

a lot of ways, although I recognise the importance of ownership<br />

when it comes to trying to make a living from music. But really,<br />

these concepts aren’t where the beauty of and interest in music<br />

lie for me. I think it’s all about the joy of the idea, and then where<br />

that initial idea goes and how it changes and impacts differently<br />

on different people. In quite a literal way, the same song sounds<br />

different to different people. The idea of ownership seems so far<br />

from what makes all of this so special.<br />

The strangest thing about this process was hearing Steve<br />

Amadeo’s remix of Between The Hedges, which ended up being<br />

the piece that was responded to by Alice. Every remix was<br />

totally unguided, and beyond asking people if they would like<br />

to be a part of this, I have had no hand in any of the production.<br />

But Steve’s version of Between The Hedges sounds closer to<br />

the idea of this song that I have in my head than the version<br />

that ended up on The Same Boy. It was initially written while<br />

on a very long cycle through the countryside. I realised I was<br />

surrounded by fields full of animals whose existence was<br />

predicated on their slaughter for meat. Almost as a way of<br />

working through how I felt about this fact that should be obvious<br />

to me more often, I started repeating phrases and thoughts in<br />

my head.<br />

I heard very organic sounds in my head as well, and the words<br />

and tune felt like they should be bellowed out, in a very raw way.<br />

I kind of heard this idea as if it were in the style of The Incredible<br />

String Band. And so Steve’s reworking of the song for strings<br />

– even though it isn’t in the style of The Incredible String Band –<br />

gets much closer to this original idea than my own version.<br />

The whole project, truly, is not my work. And that’s the point<br />

of it, really. It’s about what new things can be made from the old.<br />

Personally, I can’t imagine making work that isn’t personal. But<br />

this project has taught me a lot about the possibilities of new<br />

things appearing in unexpected ways. With the current situation<br />

where we can’t be physically present together in most settings,<br />

this way of working could become a lot more important. !<br />

Words: Kieran Callaghan / @bye_louis<br />

Photography: Connor O’Mara (left) & Natalie Lissenden (right)<br />

Illustration: Eimear Kavanagh / eimear-art.co.uk<br />

The Same Boy and A Different Boy are available now via<br />

Emotion Wave<br />




Following the recent closures of Sound, The Zanzibar, and now<br />

Constelations, Charly Reed underscores the importance of protecting<br />

and developing more small venues and their artistic communities.<br />

Small venues across the UK have been struggling for many years. With the effects of the<br />

current pandemic, this has become a crisis. In Liverpool alone, The Zanzibar, Sound and<br />

Studio 2 have all closed in recent months, with Constelations recently added to the list.<br />

Many others nationally, and locally, are in need of saving.<br />

These venues were essential to my personal development as an artist, promoter and creative.<br />

I played my first ever gig at The Zanzibar and regularly played Eggy Records’ events at Sound<br />

and promoted my own gigs there with Samurai Kip. What ties these venues together are the<br />

communities that surround them and the social function these spaces provide. This can be<br />

recognised by anyone entering a well-run small space; the palpable energy, the near tangible<br />

creativity being manifested.<br />

Small music venues form a sometimes forgotten section of our music ecosystem, yet they’re<br />

arguably the most important aspect. Without these spaces there would be no major acts to<br />

headline large venues and festivals. Too often it’s only the main stages and legendary venues that<br />

seem to be highlighted in an artist’s journey, but their first is just as important as their biggest.<br />

Small venues are vital for new and upcoming acts to cut their teeth and organically build their<br />

audience. They are the lifeblood of most music scenes and act as social spaces for the development<br />

of artists, fellow creatives, events and communities. This social and cultural importance can often be<br />

overlooked, but in the long term it is vital for a healthy and creative UK music industry.<br />

Many people who use these spaces do value their social power and sense of community.<br />

However, in the wider context of the UK music industry, local governance and financial issues<br />

cannot be ignored. Venues such as 24 Kitchen Street remain under threat from overzealous<br />

development. In many cases, such development has been approved by Liverpool City Council. But<br />

it’s not just the small venues feeling the strain. Even well-established venues are struggling for<br />

money as funding for the arts is funnelled off and the economic climate worsens.<br />

According to the Music Venue Trust, even though 140 grassroots music venues have been<br />

taken off their critical list, over 400 are still at imminent risk of being closed permanently. The<br />

government support package during the pandemic has proven insufficient to stop a number of<br />

small venues going out of business. Manchester’s Gorilla and Deaf Institute were saved when on<br />

the brink, but the fate isn’t the same for The Welly and Polar Bear in Hull. The pandemic was the<br />

writing on the wall for the integral hub that Sound had become here in Liverpool.<br />

Although Liverpool’s music tourism industry brings in millions of pounds every year, very little<br />

comes into grass roots music venues. In ‘Developing a Liverpool City of Music Stratergy’, Culture<br />

Liverpool estimated that £200 million is gained by the Liverpool economy each year from music<br />

related spending. However, only £3 million actually relates to grassroots shows. This squeeze<br />

points to the vital issue of how our society is structured and how it views the arts. Monetary value is<br />

promoted over social cohesion, community and creative output. Even though organisations like the<br />

Music Venue Trust and Liverpool City Region Music Board are doing good work for small venues,<br />

major players in the music industry often give too little support. The millions of pounds at the top<br />

end of the industry remains with the biggest companies with little reinvestment in grassroots<br />

venues.<br />

Small venues are the foundation of UK music, and they’re also integral to local scenes. Eggy<br />

Records fostered a new phase of DIY music community from the tight confines of Sound Basement,<br />

with the label’s artists and extended bands playing their regular showcases – including an event<br />

for the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival fringe. Sam Warren, co-founder of Eggy Records, says that<br />

“without small music venues, the wider music industry as a whole would be in danger of collapsing.<br />

Artists do not start off playing shows in larger venues, with larger bands, this just does not<br />

happen”.<br />

Small venues provide performance and social spaces for acts to develop and are important<br />

in defining the local cultural character. Liverpool is perhaps stuck in its 60s cultural character, not<br />

appreciating the musical progression the city has made and the current scenes and movements that<br />

are happening. This is hindering positive progression in the present and future for Liverpool and the<br />

wider UK.<br />

The performers and the audience are obviously the lifeblood of any venue. For a venue to work<br />

these two groups have to be attracted to a venue and invest in it over time. This is what builds a<br />

community around these spaces. It is not just the band up on stage or the sounds that come out of<br />

the speakers that is important, it is everyone involved – from the audience to the photographers,<br />

writers, bar staff, promoters and the cleaners afterwards. In small venues the performers enter and<br />

leave through the same doors as everyone else and there is often no backstage. This makes the<br />

performer feel part of the audience and vice versa. It also means the performers can be found in<br />

the crowd watching other bands and sticking around after the show, leading to a greater sense of<br />

connection and community.<br />

In a previous article in Bido Lito!, Rebecca Frankland talked about the community that has<br />

been created around the Wavertree Worldwide events held at Smithdown Social Club. This DIY<br />

community brings lots of different people together to enjoy themselves and dance. Inspired by other<br />

communities and spaces, such as London’s Total Refreshment Centre, they have sought to create<br />

their own south Liverpool version of a democratised party community. Audiences and performers<br />

connect with the authenticity that they see in promoters and venues that care about what they’re<br />

doing, that care about the community they are creating. International DJs who have played at the<br />


Wavertree Worldwide events have praised the no frills space and how they feel connected to the<br />

audience. Even small things like security can make a difference to how people feel and perceive the<br />

venue. At venues such as Sound and Smithdown Social Club, there was little security other than<br />

the venue staff. These spaces are safe and open places to visit, which enhances their community<br />

vibe.<br />

Sound Basement was a good example of a venue which hosted a community of people who<br />

came together to create something that people really cared about. This was a community of people<br />

who hadn’t come to listen to any one genre; there was an emphasis on creativity, good times and<br />

dancing. Music genres are a hard thing to define and can mean different things to different people.<br />

More important are the social groups that we create along with our listening. This means that the<br />

social and community spaces these venues provide are invaluable. It is not just about what music<br />

we like; it’s the associated groups that can define us as people.<br />

Emma Warren, music journalist and DJ, notes in her book Make Some<br />

Space that “nightclubs are vastly underestimated as motors of social<br />

change because of the social mixing that happens within them… we<br />

underestimate them as places of personal transformation or even as a<br />

coping mechanism to deal with the struggles of life. Dancing in the dark<br />

is a human need”. So much is covered in these three sentences. These<br />

places give such a strong social connection between people that they<br />

can affect social change. The power of being in a room and listening and<br />

moving to music with others can change society and yourself. It breeds<br />

tolerance, openness and communal values. This personal development<br />

is also important as in these spaces people can gain comfort within their<br />

identities. The last line of Warren’s quote is a powerful statement. This<br />

need and desire to listen to music, socialise and dance is an innate human<br />

characteristic.<br />

Some people feel the need to take matters into their own hands.<br />

The promoters at Sound and Smithdown Social Club have often been<br />

musicians and DJs who started off promoting to get the music they wanted to hear played, but<br />

have progressed to running regular nights. This unseen hand guiding an event is underappreciated.<br />

Without this planning, problem-solving and pushing, nights would be shaky, error prone, and<br />

never even get off the ground. Promoters can have a big part in shaping what a venue is about.<br />

Sound was known as the home of Eggy Records, and the Eggy showcase nights were often sold<br />

out and filled with local and touring talent. Smithdown Social Club and Wavertree Worldwide have<br />

become so synonymous that some people refer to them interchangeably. This power to craft the<br />

creative image of the venue is a powerful tool and a role that needs more acknowledgment at the<br />

grassroots level.<br />

Another group of people who are important to venues but who rarely get mentioned are<br />

wider creatives, those not in the binary on stage and audience roles. Lee Fleming, co-founder<br />

“What is important<br />

is not the physical<br />

space itself, but<br />

the people and<br />

culture that are<br />

occupying it”<br />

of Wavertree Worldwide and Anti Social Jazz Club says that “small music venues are often<br />

underestimated in their contribution to the community. Whether it’s a purpose-built space or a back<br />

room of the local pub, hosting underground and emerging popular culture is both necessary and<br />

influential. Beyond the musicians who play there, these small venues also play host to communities<br />

of fans, employees, volunteers, promoters and other enthusiasts”.<br />

These other creatives can play important functions in venues and scenes, and Liverpool’s small<br />

venues give as much support to these creatives as to the musicians and promoters. Photographers,<br />

who are often at the heart of developing scenes, can hone their talents in these often challenging<br />

spaces. Other artists will also be involved in designing posters, decorations, artwork and<br />

merchandise, linking the music more closely with the wider arts. Without this wider community,<br />

these very pages of Bido Lito! would not exist.<br />

While Liverpool is home to so many interesting musicians,<br />

creatives, promoters and audiences, there are lots of performance<br />

spaces in bars, clubs and pubs which are not promoting original<br />

music or trying to develop a sense of community. This weakness of<br />

programming can be infuriating to musicians looking to develop their<br />

own original sound, stifling creativity and damaging the progression<br />

of the wider music scene. However, there are also venues positively<br />

pushing music forward, with owners seeing the social and cultural<br />

importance of their venue. These spaces are important for audiences<br />

to come and have new cultural experiences and to nurture first time<br />

performers and up and coming talent. The idea that putting on music is<br />

an important public service can be overlooked by local government and<br />

developers. Bringing people together and having the funding to do so<br />

and engage local communities is vital for the health of our society.<br />

As we lose more and more small venues, the damage to the<br />

musical ecosystem is evident. Small venues provide a space for young,<br />

new and leftfield artists to grow, express themselves and build their<br />

musical culture. They provide safe spaces for audiences to experience new culture and connect<br />

with like-minded fellow audience members and performers. These social spaces create something<br />

unique and important. The venues are more than just the performers and audience; they are a<br />

network of groups and individuals, who work together both in the limelight and behind the scenes<br />

to make space for people to be themselves. We can make this community and social interaction<br />

happen anywhere. What is important is not the physical space itself, but the people and culture<br />

that are occupying it. This is where the future of Liverpool’s musical heritage lies and it needs<br />

protecting. !<br />

Words: Charly Reed<br />

Photography: Billy Vitch / @billy_vitch_rock_photography<br />





“I’m challenging<br />

gender equality<br />

in today’s music<br />

industry by<br />

entering into a<br />

male-dominated<br />

genre of drill”<br />


Embodying an historical Chinese<br />

empress and recontextualising the<br />

Silk Road, Queen Yue is here to<br />

turn heads in UK drill.<br />

QUEEN YUE has a clear goal: to make her mark on the UK<br />

drill scene, and be the first scouse female to do so.<br />

Yue’s inspirations lean heavily on Chinese history and<br />

philosophy, referencing an age and dynasty where equality was<br />

at the forefront of culture. “Through my music I’m going back<br />

in time to explore the characters on the Silk Roads during the<br />

reign of the Wu Zetian, China’s first female ruler and empress in<br />

700AD,” she explains. “Wu Zetian [presided over] a time in China<br />

where females were equal to men,” she adds. Drawing on this<br />

inspiration, Yue is attempting to embody this historical context in<br />

her own journey into drill, challenging the societal norms of the<br />

male-dominated genre.<br />

Extending these themes further in her music, an upcoming<br />

EP centres on the Silk Road initiative from China and Europe,<br />

and how the historical circumstances remain relevant today. Her<br />

debut single, Silky Robes, explores how it would feel to be a<br />

merchant on the Silk Road “and how this is alludes to the selling<br />

of drugs and tales of violence that we experience through drill<br />

personas in today’s music”. Silky Robes zeros in on those working<br />

as contemporary ‘merchants’, while still remaining focused on<br />

her fight for gender equality. The single mixes drill sensibilities<br />

with Sino instrumentation, topped with a defining Scouse vocal<br />

delivery.<br />

While the influences of Chinese history and culture play a<br />

pivotal role in her music, Queen Yue’s influences don’t stop there.<br />

She cites Sean Paul and Talk Talk as early influences, being<br />

some of the first singles and albums she ever owned. However,<br />

Gwen Stefani is marked out as the significant driving force in<br />

her early years. While Stefani remained a musical influence, she<br />

also influenced Yue in terms of visual identity. Gwen Stefani’s<br />

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was named after her Japanese back-up<br />

dancers, chosen due to her own love of Harajuku and fashion.<br />

Yue recognises the influence this had on her own identity, now<br />

reflected in her chosen stage persona – an ode to her love of<br />

Chinese culture and fashion. It’s an alluring combination, both<br />

in the historical context that props up the persona and how Yue<br />

executes it as an artist.<br />

Her love of music was apparent from an early age, and her<br />

determination to succeed in the industry remains paramount. She<br />

acknowledges how creating music enables her to further explore<br />

identity. “It allows you to access experiences to act out your<br />

desired identity and it’s a great cathartic release when you’re<br />

actively creating music,” she notes. Yue’s admiration for music<br />

looks past the usual reasonings, however, explaining how it<br />

enables her to practice self-love, while enhancing confidence and<br />

self-esteem, allowing us to see how music isn’t just a getaway to<br />

success and attention. Yet, just like every other artist she has her<br />

individual dreams for her career. She notes desires to eventually<br />

support local hip-hop artists such as Lee Scott or Tony Broke, but<br />

“on a worldwide scale I’d just love to support Slime Dollaz, Yung<br />

Nudy or Young Thug”, she adds.<br />

As she continues to make waves in the drill scene, unfazed<br />

by any mainstream expectations, Queen Yue has her eyes set on<br />

making it big, all the while knocking down any gender barriers<br />

that stand in her way. With her unique identity, determined<br />

attitude and signature sound – “a slimey mix of UK drill, trap,<br />

trillwave and cloud rap” – it appears Queen Yue’s found her forte.<br />

Words: Danni King / @dannikingg<br />

Photography: Jacob Davenport / @jacobdavs<br />

Artwork design: Elliott Harosh / @leftyvisuals<br />

@queenyue_<br />

Silky Robes and Dojo are available now.<br />



Dipping into wonky, head nodding<br />

pop, the five-piece strut out ready<br />

to test neck muscles with their<br />

charming groove.<br />

“Music gives us a<br />

creative outlet and<br />

gets us away from<br />

the day to day grind”<br />

If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what<br />

would you say?<br />

Will M (vocals): ‘Synth-easy speak-pop’, but obviously that’s<br />

ludicrous. So it’ll have to be a Pulp/Nick Cave/B-52’s love child.<br />

Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?<br />

Will M: I was a bit of a late bloomer. I only started writing music<br />

from about 20. Before that I was quite happy being the rhythm<br />

guitar man creeping about at the back of the stage<br />

Leo (guitar): I used to make little demos and recordings in my<br />

bedroom as a teenager, which taught me about production and<br />

overall sound. I had a performance lecturer at uni who told me to<br />

write parts to serve the song rather than to serve yourself.<br />

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially<br />

inspired you?<br />

Stuart (drums): Seeing Metronomy in 2015 set a high benchmark<br />

for how tight and energetic a band can be live. It was a special<br />

gig and they’re a big influence on our music.<br />

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?<br />

What does it say about you?<br />

Leo: I love playing Perfect Family. That was our first tune to come<br />

out of nothing in a practice, almost by accident. It was amazing to<br />

be in that room where a single note developed into a whole song.<br />

What do you think is the overriding influence on your<br />

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture<br />

of all of these?<br />

Will M: A lot of the songs have a sentimental quality about them,<br />

I like to write about things that we all experience. They can be<br />

quite abstract, though, and sometimes I don’t really know what<br />

the song’s about until it’s finished.<br />

If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?<br />

Will B (bass): Yoko Ono. We’d probably get a decent crowd.<br />

Lydia (sax/keys): Big Thief would be amazing. Adrianne Lenker’s<br />

voice does things to me.<br />

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what<br />

makes it special?<br />

Stuart: Our last gig before lockdown was at Quarry. Great space,<br />

amazing sound and really nice people running it.<br />

Lydia: We went to Germany last year to play at a beer festival.<br />

Not our best performance, but probably the coolest venue.<br />

Will M: A special mention to The Zanzibar, too. We were<br />

saddened to hear the news that it’s closing down. It was vital for<br />

new artists in the city.<br />

Why is music important to you?<br />

Will M: Music brought us all together as a group – we’ve been to<br />

some lovely places and met lovely people. It gives us a creative<br />

outlet and gets us away from the day to day grind, especially<br />

when we gig. It gives you that freedom to express yourself and<br />

let loose a little, and that’s pretty special.<br />

Photography: Danny De La Bastide / @danieldelabastide<br />

facebook.com/ostrichband<br />

Inside Out (Got No Doubt) and One Man Band are available now.<br />



Shaped by the sounds emitting from the Big Apple, Anna Kunz’s<br />

creative vessel is carving a fresh edge into Liverpool’s DIY punk scene.<br />

If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what<br />

would you say?<br />

Punk/garage rock ’n’ roll deeply rooted in traditional melodic<br />

songwriting.<br />

Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get<br />

into it?<br />

I grew up surrounded by the New York rock scene, my mom<br />

being one of the fundamental characters there in the 80s/90s<br />

as a talent buyer/venue booker. Making music came out of a<br />

necessity to express myself and then grew into something more<br />

identifiable (by art/sound, etc) as I worked on different mediums<br />

of art (be it graphic design, live performance, theatre, etc).<br />

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially<br />

inspired you?<br />

Paolo Nutini at the Troc in Philly – somewhere falling on the edge<br />

of soul and gritty rock ’n’ roll with a pop melodic twist, all while<br />

holding the audience hostage in a ‘moment’. It was something to<br />

aspire to with certainty.<br />

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform?<br />

What does it say about you?<br />

When The Horse Will Run. The track was one of the first I wrote<br />

without a band in mind, so it really can be played with just me<br />

and a kick drum and people will still dance, which I like. The track<br />

is derived from a poem I wrote about some past trauma and I<br />

think it is really incredible to see people dance/fight in a mosh pit/<br />

sing along to words that kinda haunted me for a while. It is a bit<br />

beyond catharsis – I’d say it’s some weird artistic release that I<br />

can’t quite describe.<br />

What do you think is the overriding influence on your<br />

songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture<br />

of all of these?<br />

I just pull from whatever is around me. I like to spin stories<br />

based on titbits of information or things I’ve heard. I think if I try<br />

to write a song about what is happening in the world it will be<br />

disingenuous, so instead I try to speak my own truth and write<br />

using other peoples’ words when necessary. I don’t really write<br />

to perform, or perform at all really; I just get onstage and am a<br />

bit more present than usual. Stylistically, I am really influenced by<br />

blues musicians because I’ve always had a fondness for honest<br />

poetry and a good hook.<br />

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what<br />

makes it special?<br />

Probably 24 Kitchen Street. Playing there was kinda my first<br />

experience with something that felt like a DIY community in<br />

Liverpool, but it was still really well put together. Great sound,<br />

amazing space and it is so conducive to having a boogie or<br />

throwing yer mates to the ground.<br />

Why is music important to you?<br />

For me, music has always been more of a necessity. I need it to<br />

function. I used to say that some people feel natural speaking<br />

and I felt natural singing – it is my first language. I consider<br />

music to be the common ground between most people and<br />

to be a fundamental medium for expression. With it, I can be<br />

articulate and multi-dimensional in my responses. Without<br />

it, I feel disadvantaged in conversation. I consider the writing<br />

process to be somewhere between sacred and communal; it is<br />

the point between sublime art-making and absolutely ridiculous<br />

collaborative work.<br />

Photography: Chloe Brover<br />

tortureandthedesertspiders.bandcamp.com<br />

Money is available from 26th September with the band’s debut<br />

EP, Field Recordings Of A Social Athlete, released in November.<br />




Liverpool © Don McCullin<br />



Tate Liverpool – until 09/05<br />

The North West of England has long been a point<br />

of fascination. This isn’t solely the case for its own<br />

inhabitants, stirred in the dense melting pot of<br />

cultures stretching across an Orion’s belt of Liverpool,<br />

Manchester and, eventually, Leeds. Many eyes looking in have<br />

been equally attracted to its charming realism.<br />

Of these outsiders, it’s perhaps George Orwell’s The Road<br />

To Wigan Pier that pressed its nose closest to the glass in an<br />

attempt to underpin a sense of ‘northernness’. His account does<br />

its best to paint a fair picture, with the Etonian slumming his<br />

way from mill town to mill town in the mid 30s. But it’s difficult<br />

not feel a cold, thick layer of dirt on your hands as you turn<br />

through pages punctuated by sooty skylines and slag heaps.<br />

The landscape would appear uninhabitable if it wasn’t for the<br />

warmth of the people depicted.<br />

30 years on from Orwell’s account, the scene had begun<br />

to change. It’s one captured and displayed in acclaimed<br />

photojournalist DON MCCULLIN’s new retrospective showing at<br />

Tate Liverpool.<br />

In frequent trips up north, McCullin turned his camera<br />

on a landscape no longer bearing a thick layer of soot, but<br />

one covered ever more so in the darker colours of poverty. A<br />

landscape where industry departed but its people remained. In a<br />

career defined by pictures of war, his attention to social conflict<br />

is no less compelling.<br />

With the retrospective featuring a newly added collection<br />

of images taken in Liverpool in the 60s and 70s, Elliot Ryder<br />

spoke to the photojournalist about his experiences of the city, his<br />

depictions of conflicts and his role as a chronicler.<br />

As your retrospective heads north, there’ll be specially<br />

added section of photographs depicting industrial northern<br />

locations, such as Liverpool and surrounding mill towns and<br />

cities. A lot of your career has been a built on war reportage,<br />

but what was your initial draw to documenting this side of<br />

Britain in the 60s and 70s?<br />

I’ve always had an interest in Liverpool. I went there many<br />

years ago with Jonathan Miller, the playwright, and met the poet<br />

Adrian Henri who was the key to so much of what we’d see<br />

across the city. But I’d been coming to Liverpool long before the<br />

60s and 70s.<br />

When I was a 15-year-old boy<br />

I worked on a train that would set<br />

off from Euston Station and head to<br />

Liverpool. I worked in the dining car,<br />

washing up dishes. I’d sleep in Edge<br />

Hill, where they had a dormitory. I’d<br />

do the journey three or four times a<br />

week.<br />

The city has therefore always<br />

been familiar to me. I felt I knew it.<br />

I loved it there, really. Then, when I<br />

returned in the 1960s with Jonathan<br />

Miller, I never stopped coming back.<br />

I met Adrian and he became a friend.<br />

I really loved Adrian. He was the life<br />

and soul of Huskisson Street, and<br />

around that area, the Ye Cracke Pub and the Philharmonic. I was<br />

amazed by the culture, so I returned frequently.<br />

What were your first impressions of the city in an era<br />

when the industry had declined and its former shipping wealth<br />

had departed to the south? What was the main draw for what<br />

you were wanting to capture?<br />

I wanted to show Liverpool that it was once a great city. It<br />

still is, of course, but it was once a great city based on its docks;<br />

“I’ve learnt my way<br />

through this life by<br />

walking amongst the<br />

truth of things, the<br />

poverty, the pain of<br />

people’s unhappiness”<br />

the liners that took people across the Atlantic. It was a very<br />

important place. I wanted to show in a way, without disrespect,<br />

the slight decline when those ships stopped departing from<br />

Liverpool.<br />

It was a very proud city, Liverpool. I found Liverpool people<br />

to be challenging and uplifting, full of laughter and wit. It was<br />

a city that was compelling, really. What drew me to it most of<br />

all was how little it had changed.<br />

You expect cities to grow, but there’s<br />

always been a divide between the<br />

north and the south of England. The<br />

lion’s share of wealth and growth is<br />

in the south. Liverpool in a way was a<br />

backwater place, yet it had all of these<br />

amazing people that were trying to<br />

make the city go in a future direction. It<br />

wasn’t totally working, I don’t think.<br />

The thing that interested me was<br />

the slum clearance programme, which<br />

was a huge mistake. They flattened<br />

them all, when they could have served<br />

as the first houses young people<br />

bought. It created a wilderness in the<br />

Toxteth area, which looked more like I<br />

was in Berlin after the war. It was a compelling image to see this<br />

tragic landscape. And it wasn’t helping Liverpool, because that<br />

landscape stayed there for quite a while until it was redeveloped.<br />

I haven’t even seen that part of Liverpool ever since I took those<br />

pictures.<br />

Much of Liverpool’s centre has had a capitalist makeover,<br />

but in many ways Liverpool back then characterised the social<br />

aspect of the conflicts you’ve become renowned for. A lot of<br />


the poverty you captured in the north will have been echoed<br />

in your own upbringing in Finsbury Park in north London, a<br />

part of your life you regarded as an embarrassment given the<br />

nature of your situation. When training your lens on scenes<br />

further up north, was it somewhat easier to pick out these<br />

subjects as you had a sense of solidarity with their situation?<br />

I think what you’re saying is quite interesting, really,<br />

because when you come from a poorer background it doesn’t<br />

take you five seconds to recognise a group of people who<br />

are living in that background. Even though I was learning my<br />

photojournalistic photography, I didn’t have to learn about life<br />

and poverty – I grew up in it. In a way, I wasn’t one of those<br />

snotty-nosed southerners looking into the birdcage; I was fully<br />

aware of the social differences in the country, and the class<br />

levels which I detest. As I walked amongst Liverpool and felt<br />

the warmth and the friendliness of the people, I slightly took<br />

advantage of it, really. As a photographer, not everybody likes<br />

you photographing them.<br />

Do you think it’s important for the documenter and social<br />

narrator to have a sense of solidarity and shared experience<br />

with their subject? Does it affect the authenticity of the<br />

photograph in any way? For instance, The Last Resort, shot<br />

in Merseyside by Martin Parr in the early 90s, was accused by<br />

some of fetishization of the working class. Do you think the<br />

level of agency is important for a photojournalist?<br />

I’m very honest in what I do. I wouldn’t want to do anything<br />

dishonest that I would have to account for later on in life. My<br />

work is in black and white. Martin does colour, which can take<br />

away poverty in some respects. I don’t want to cover anything<br />

up. I work in black and white and I’m there to tell the truth.<br />

There are no lies involved in the things I’ve shown, not only in<br />

Liverpool. Some of the most wicked pictures in my exhibition<br />

are pictures I’ve taken in Bradford, which [was] one of the most<br />

impoverished cities in England. I don’t pull my punches when I<br />

photograph poverty. Mainly because I understand it.<br />

To what extent do you think the photojournalist plays a<br />

part in the shaping of a narrative? Would you regard yourself<br />

as a mirror, or more of a narrator when shooting?<br />

I saw myself as a chronicler. I chronicle the injustice of what<br />

I see through my eyes and what I know through my personal<br />

experience. I’ve learnt my way through this life by walking<br />

amongst the truth of things, the poverty, the pain of people’s<br />

unhappiness. I see it and I recognise it. Not everybody does. A<br />

lot of people would close their eyes to it and want to walk past<br />

it. I will press the button on my camera and say, “This is not<br />

right. This is not the way people should be living their lives, in<br />

this squalor and poverty.” I am no Sir Galahad, by the way. I’m no<br />

knight in shining armour speaking up for the people, I’m not that<br />

kind of person. I’m a person who journeys through life and sees<br />

with his eyes and presses the button on the camera. That’s what<br />

I do. I’m not a hero.<br />

It’s important, nonetheless, to capture and show these<br />

moments?<br />

I’ve been doing it for years, and I’ll tell you something, I’ve<br />

only made the slightest bit of difference. I could probably come<br />

up to the north and you will still find millions of people living<br />

in unfair, unjust, deep and dark poverty. All those pictures I’ve<br />

taken in the past haven’t made much of a difference, if any at all.<br />

Much of your iconic work focuses on military conflicts<br />

and intra-state wars, and you’ve stated you’re still affected by<br />

some of the images you captured. How do the scenes of social<br />

conflict compare to the stark realities of militarised violence in,<br />

say, Vietnam?<br />

In Vietnam and Cambodia, many were<br />

farming people. People who had part of the<br />

Cold War dumped on them. One million North<br />

Vietnamese soldiers paid with their lives, and<br />

another one million down in the South. War<br />

had nothing to do with their culture. It was<br />

dumped on them by the Americans, Russians<br />

and Chinese. Sometimes, if you live a simple<br />

life in the country, with a thatched house,<br />

in the darkness of night and brightness<br />

of dawn and you go out and exercise<br />

your rice growing, it’s a lot purer and a<br />

simpler life than somebody trapped in a<br />

city with thousands of other people, and<br />

the squalor that goes with it. The two<br />

cultures don’t match up. At one moment<br />

you have this paradise situation in<br />

Vietnam and Cambodia, next thing<br />

they know they’ve got people bombing<br />

them, killing them, burning them and<br />

their children. There’s no comparison.<br />

It’s totally different environment. And<br />

yet, as a photographer, I managed to<br />

harness both of those situations and<br />

funnel them through the lens of my<br />

camera. And it can only be done<br />

with a person behind that camera<br />

who is emotionally tuned in to<br />

these two wrongs.<br />

Looking towards the<br />

retrospective moving up north,<br />

is it strange to see your work<br />

in a gallery rather than in a<br />

newspaper? Is it stranger to think of yourself as an artist, too?<br />

It’s always at the back of my mind: is it right to have these<br />

photographs in an art gallery? Who are you, a photographer<br />

or are you an artist? I totally disclaim myself as an artist. I am a<br />

photographer and very happy with that title. But at the same<br />

time, since I cannot get my work published to the degree it used<br />

to be in The Sunday Times, there’s no outlet for people like me<br />

anymore. I’d put the pictures on the underground subways in<br />

London if I had to, rather than let them rot away in their boxes<br />

in my house. It’s better to get the voice out there, even if it<br />

means intruding into an art gallery.<br />

How does the context of the photographs change<br />

once on gallery walls? Is there then a greater emphasis<br />

on aesthetic rather their socio-political content?<br />

At Tate Britain, they had 180,000 people go through<br />

my exhibition. Some of my friends went to see it and<br />

they said you could have heard a pin drop in the most<br />

crowded of spaces [pre-Covid]. One noted how the<br />

silence in there said a lot about the exhibition and its<br />

power; people were so moved by the awful things<br />

they were seeing that they shouldn’t be seeing. It’s a<br />

strange place to have that feeling, in famous gallery<br />

like Tate Britain. I must have done something right.<br />

As for more contemporary photojournalism,<br />

what are your hopes for the medium? Is it able to<br />

compete with the instantaneous live feeds and<br />

videos on social media? For example, after the<br />

explosion in Beirut, many people across the<br />

world had already seen a multitude of images.<br />

The word photojournalism is dead in a way.<br />

Newspapers don’t want that kind of image<br />

in their newspapers anymore. Newspapers<br />

aren’t interested in the photographs that I did,<br />

and other photographers like me. It’s about<br />

celebrity, it’s about footballers. When [Harry<br />

Maguire] did something wrong in Greece, it<br />

got total saturation, because here’s a guy<br />

who earns £190,000 a week. [Apparently],<br />

he’s much more important than the poor<br />

starving on the other side of the world,<br />

being bombed at the same time.<br />

Finally, Don, do you have any<br />

concerns about the truth and<br />

authenticity of photojournalism as<br />

we move deeper into a digital era?<br />

As media becomes less institutional<br />

and more open source, does it open<br />

the door to a world of post-truth<br />

imagery?<br />

I’ve done my best to tell the<br />

truth and to go to places which<br />

I know not many people want<br />

to look at. But now ‘fake news’<br />

has upset the balance. It’s made<br />

people reconsider what they’re<br />

looking at, what they’re reading in a newspaper. Is it true or<br />

false? There are people who would say they believe nothing<br />

they read in newspapers, and it would be wise to not believe<br />

everything in newspapers, but a lot of it will be quite truthful.<br />

It’s a personal choice. It’s a personal responsibility. It’s up to you<br />

to make that decision. I’m a photographer and not an orator. My<br />

opinions don’t count for much. My photography is my voice.<br />

Words: Elliot Ryder / @elliot_ryder<br />

Photography: © Don McCullin<br />

Liverpool in the seventies © Don McCullin<br />

Don McCullin retrospective is showing at Tate Liverpool until<br />

21st May 2021. Visit tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool for<br />

tickets.<br />

Liverpool 8, 1961 © Don McCullin<br />







Various venues + online – 15/10-25/10<br />

Patrick Kielty<br />

<strong>October</strong> sees the return of the annual LIVERPOOL IRISH FESTIVAL,<br />

celebrating the connections between Liverpool and Ireland<br />

through art, conversation, music, and history. This year the 10-day<br />

festival will run a virtual programme headlined by Irish comedian<br />

and TV presenter PATRICK KIELTY, who kicks things off by hosting the<br />

discursive event Hard Histories, Positive Futures, in which he will interview<br />

representatives from Northern Ireland’s Commission for Victims and<br />

Survivors.<br />

Following on from this, award-winning CNN correspondent MIKE CHINOY<br />

is discussing his new biography Are You With Me? Kevin Boyle and the Rise of<br />

the Human Rights Movement. Focused upon co-founder of the Northern Ireland<br />

Civil Rights Association Kevin Boyle, the biography explores Kevin’s role in the<br />

curation of the Good Friday Agreement, while delving into Northern Ireland’s<br />

Troubles and the legacies.<br />

As always, music plays a large role in the make-up of the festival, and this<br />

year sees independent Cork-based label Unemployable Promotions present a<br />

showcase of their roster of artists. The event will provide a taster of the music<br />

scene over in the Munster city and instigate a future exchange for talent in the<br />

respective ports.<br />

Despite the novel delivery of the majority of this years’s festival programme,<br />

exploring the city’s Irish heritage continues to be a key aspect of the event, and<br />

this year is no different. A walking tour of Scotland Road will take place, as well<br />

as the South Liverpool Walk. A third tour, City of Hunger, City of Gold marks the<br />

Irish Famine and will lead from the Irish Famine memorial at St Luke’s Gardens<br />

and finish at Central Library. These tour routes see walkers learn about Irish<br />

history through churches, pubs, statues and architecture across the city.<br />

Also original for the festival’s 2020 edition, the Meet the Maker series seeks<br />

to introduce online audiences to artists, creators and crafters of both Liverpool<br />

and Irish heritage. The one-off online events are set to explore and celebrate<br />

their art, through knowledge exchanges and Q&A sessions. The series will<br />

feature the likes of biographer CARMEN CULLEN, musician TERRY CLARKE-<br />

COYNE and historian GREG QUIERY, among others. liverpoolirishfestival.com<br />

Unemployable Records<br />



Homotopia<br />

Various – 29/10-15/11<br />

FILM<br />

<strong>October</strong> Cinema Events<br />

Picturehouse at FACT<br />

Fox Fisher<br />

The UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts and culture fest returns<br />

at the end of <strong>October</strong> with a typically vibrant programme of<br />

activity. Homotopia’s artist in residence for the 2020 event is<br />

polymath FOX FISHER. Fisher rose to fame via the C4 series My<br />

Transexual Summer and played a huge role in making the trans<br />

conversation mainstream. A key part of this year’s Homotopia<br />

will be assessing how that conversation is playing out and<br />

progressing. Fisher will be coordinating and hosting a range of<br />

activity throughout the two-week festival, including discursive<br />

events, screen printing get togethers and more. There will also<br />

be cabaret and much more to be announced.<br />

Riz Ahmed’s Mogul Mowgli is among the top choices for cinemagoers<br />

this month now we’re re-accustomed to attending the<br />

big screen. The film, hailed by critics, tells the story of a British-<br />

Pakistani rapper struck down by disease and is directed by the<br />

highly-regarded Bassam Tariq. Also coming to Picturehouse<br />

in <strong>October</strong> is the Jordan Peele-penned ‘spiritual sequel’ to the<br />

original, Candyman, based on Liverpool author Clive Barker’s<br />

chilling novel. And if that’s not enough to tickle your popcorn, the<br />

studio responsible for fright fests Midsommar and Hereditary are<br />

back for Halloween with St Maude.<br />

GIG<br />

A Lovely Word<br />

Online – 01/10<br />

The Singh Twins (2008)<br />

Everyman Theatre are kicking off <strong>October</strong> with the return<br />

of their monthly instalments of A Lovely Word, this time<br />

showcased online. The poetry night will be presented in the<br />

same format as the usual in-person version, but available to<br />

stream via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube. This month sees<br />

poet DEAN ATTA take the headline slot, alongside 20 open mic<br />

performers. Atta is known for his prose on race, gender and<br />

sexuality, alongside his regular column in Attitude magazine.<br />

Open mic performers are allocated four-minute performance<br />

slots, and sign-ups are available from 21st-25th September.<br />

Dean Atta<br />


The Making Of Liverpool<br />

OUTPUT Gallery – 1/10-25/10<br />


The Triumph of Art<br />

The Atkinson, Southport – 09/10-12/12<br />

OUTPUT Gallery is welcoming the work of local legends THE SINGH TWINS this <strong>October</strong>. The artists<br />

are well-known for their extremely detailed work, centred around political and cultural issues in the<br />

format of paintings, illustration and film. Their exhibition The Making Of Liverpool (2008) explores<br />

800 years of the city’s achievements and history. The 13-minute animation also explores one of<br />

the duo’s paintings, Liverpool 800: The Changing Face of Liverpool, which was originally unveiled<br />

for Liverpool’s 800th anniversary in 2007. The works feature narration by Mark McGann, animation<br />

by Andy Cooper and track written and performed by Wirral artist Steve Mason. The exhibit can be<br />

enjoyed during the gallery’s new post-lockdown opening hours of Thurs-Sun 11-5pm.<br />

New exhibition THE TRIUMPH OF ART is coming to The Atkinson in <strong>October</strong>. The showcase<br />

celebrates the restoration of the painting The Triumph Of Art, which hasn’t been exhibited<br />

in over a century due to its poor condition. Artist Nicolas Pierre Loir painted the piece in the<br />

1600s, which features classical figures of the visual arts paying homage to Jean-Baptiste<br />

Colbert, a major patron of the arts. Highlights from The Atkinson’s collection are also featured<br />

throughout the exhibition, such as portraiture, sculpture, music and paintings which all reflect<br />

the art forms presented in The Triumph of Art. The painting was able to be restored through<br />

funding from the Chateau de Sceaux and The Art Society Southport.<br />

GIGS<br />

Near Normal<br />

Future Yard, Birkenhead – 15-17/10<br />

After raising the curtain with She Drew The Gun in September, the team at Future Yard have announced a run of<br />

three more socially distanced live shows for <strong>October</strong>. Piping hot locals SEATBELTS (15th <strong>October</strong>), and EYESORE &<br />

THE JINX (16th <strong>October</strong>) get things started at the Argyle Street venue before BY THE SEA make their triumphant<br />

return on 17th <strong>October</strong> to give more cause for optimism amongst music fans either side of the water. With a<br />

thoroughly specced out safe space, complete with 20 changes of clean air per hour and distanced pods for bubbled<br />

groups and individuals, as well as host of other special measures, the shows are designed for the gig goer to relax in<br />

the knowledge that the utmost is being done for their safety. So all that’s left is to enjoy some of the cream of local<br />

crop doing what they do best.<br />

Seatbelts (@MrKirks)<br />

GIG<br />

Liverpool Disco Festival 8<br />

Camp and Furnace – 31/10<br />


Southport Comedy Festival<br />

Victoria Park – 08/10-18/10<br />

Liverpool Disco Festival are doing all in their funky powers to ensure the show<br />

goes on having rescheduled and repurposed their Easter weekend event to this, a<br />

huge Halloween jamboree featuring NYC disco deliverers ODYSSEY. With Covid<br />

measures in place, a 3000 cap room is taking 1000 people and outdoor contingency<br />

plans are ready to go. Odyssey will be playing a one hour set with a seven piece<br />

band and ably supporting will be DJs MR SCRUFF, JOHN MORALES and more. If for<br />

any reason this event cannot go ahead ticket holder are entitled to refund or rolling<br />

over for admittance to LDF’s Boxing Day event where the majority of the line-up<br />

will be performing.<br />

There’s an all-star bill for this comedy extravaganza taking place in Southport’s<br />

Victoria Park. All taking place under a big top marquee, TV faces including<br />

REGINALD D HUNTER, PAUL SINHA and RUSSELL KANE will be performing to<br />

Sefton crowds ready for some belly laughs after what’s been a largely unfunny<br />

year. Organisers are doing their utmost to follow Covid-safe guidelines to protect<br />

ticket holders and have thanked sponsors for ensuring this years event can go<br />

ahead against pretty strong odds. Elsewhere on the bill there is ANDY PARSONS,<br />

CARL HUTCHINSON and JO CAULFIELD for 10 days of big name comedy.<br />




Linda McCartney Retrospective<br />

Walker Art Gallery – until 01/11<br />

Paul McCartney often joked that he ruined the photographic career of his first<br />

wife, Linda. OK, it wasn’t his greatest joke – that disreputable honour must surely go<br />

to The Frog Chorus – but that’s mainly because it was true. Her marriage to the Beatle<br />

certainly curtailed her time as a working music photographer.<br />

In the few years leading up to meeting her husband in 1967, she’d attracted much<br />

acclaim for her intimate, intuitive and personal images of the US rock scene. Images<br />

characterised by their candidness, off the cuff moments, icons in their glittering ascent.<br />

Dylan, Joplin, Zappa, the Stones and Aretha Franklin, to name but a few that were the<br />

subjects of her lens.<br />

She was the first woman to photograph a cover for Rolling Stone magazine, with a<br />

portrait of Eric Clapton. Musicians fascinated her. She was house photographer for Bill<br />

Graham’s legendary Fillmore East venue in New York, stalking the musicians in their private<br />

moments for a shot nobody else could get, a moment nobody else had noticed, with two<br />

Nikons strapped across her shoulders like pistols. Ready.<br />

What she might not have been ready for, certainly artistically, was the difference<br />

marrying someone at the very epicentre of the 60s cultural bubble would bring. Within a<br />

short time as their family grew, her work became more personal and she moved towards<br />

capturing the beautiful mundanity of the things she loved. Family life, nature, animals and a<br />

Beatle. She worked instinctively, revelling in passing moments and different perspectives, from<br />

a car window on the inside of the Beatle bubble, or the freedom of exposed isolation, life away<br />

from it all in the wiry mists and standing stones of their remote Scottish farm. Many of the finer<br />

moments of this LINDA McCARTNEY Retrospective come from those perspectives.<br />

The exhibition has received minor criticism in some quarters for being a little Paul-heavy, and<br />

yes, it is. Let’s face it, even Paul McCartney can be a bit Paul-heavy at times. He was her husband,<br />

though. She loved him. She left all her belongings and archives to him, and so it’s hardly surprising<br />

that he does feature so prominently. The show is curated by the thumbs-up king together with their<br />

daughters Mary and Stella. Some of the most interesting images feature them all.<br />

In My Love, from 1978, we see an anonymous, everyday London street scene taken from the<br />

back seat of a car, dated only by the London bus and the cars in view. As your gaze moves upwards<br />

through the pink-blue sky in front, in the rear-view mirror we see an eye. The unmistakable eye of<br />

the artist’s husband. He seems to glow from the mirror, lit by some unseen light source, a reflection<br />

perhaps of the setting sun. It is these moments, and her ability to play with the light through different<br />

perspectives that bring such a perfect stillness to so much of her work.<br />

An image of celebrity 60s model Twiggy strikes with the same sense of stillness. She sits alone,<br />

staring at the floor, her arm draped across herself; she’s introverted and defensive. She seems posed,<br />

almost Renaissance-looking in a green top, the light falling across her head and shoulders casting<br />

a shadow across her vacant stare. While she may seem lonely and sorry, she could just be drifting,<br />

wondering. It is such a simply observed quiet moment, and the simplicity is just beautiful.<br />

Linda McCartney enjoyed playing with colour and form, seeking new perspectives on the most mundane<br />

daily life occurrences. Her ‘sun printing’ images, or cyanotypes, are a real highlight of this collection. Using<br />

a technique developed in the 1840s in which the paper is brushed with a mineral solution, the image is<br />

then developed by natural daylight rather than in a darkroom. This is some of the most striking work in the<br />

exhibition. The process giving a textured, etched feel such as with Stella, taken in Arizona in 1994, where her<br />

daughter’s face is held in such intimate detail, the rich cyan colour enhancing the image, simultaneously stark<br />

and graceful.<br />

The photos of rock stars mingle with images of wild Scottish horses in the snow. Jimi Hendrix yawns.<br />

Lennon looks mightily pissed off during the Abbey Road sessions. Janis Joplin celebrates another empty bottle<br />

of Southern Comfort. Allen Ginsberg hypothesises at the kitchen table. Gilbert and George pose in a Victorian<br />

backyard. A man on a Portuguese train in 1968 looks back from his seat, staring intently at the photographer. He<br />

carries a fearful look, but seems attracted to the camera, or maybe to the artist. Maybe he just knows she’s married<br />

to a Beatle. These worlds were all part of Linda McCartney’s world, and they represent the dichotomy both of her<br />

subjects and every aspect of her life.<br />

The shame of this exhibition is, of course, that our world today allows us such limited access to culture, and<br />

while it is obviously no less a show because of smaller audiences, it’s nonetheless a pity that this wonderful exhibition<br />

won’t attract anywhere near the numbers of something like Tate’s Keith Haring show last summer. These images<br />

could’ve been bringing that magical sense of stillness to far more people.<br />

(Paul and Mary, Scotland 1969. © Paul McCartney)<br />

Paul Fitzgerald / @NothingvilleM<br />

“McCartney worked<br />

instinctively, revelling in<br />

passing moments and<br />

different perspectives”<br />

(Paul, Stella and James. Scotland, 1982. © Paul McCartney)<br />


The Magic Tree<br />

Online, FACT Liverpool<br />

The Magic Tree, nil00<br />

Commissioned by FACT as part of their online<br />

programme The Living Planet, and designed by visual<br />

artist NIL00, The Magic Tree is a digital artwork that aligns<br />

the nebulousness of online space with the specificity<br />

of memory grown from Liverpudlian soil. An image of a<br />

widely-known and revered tree in Sefton Park is the work’s<br />

starting point, and visitors to the website are encouraged<br />

to intervene in its outcome, uploading images that<br />

permanently shift the work in a different direction. Each<br />

image is analysed by an algorithm and its style is adapted<br />

to the artwork; from this first interaction, and as the work<br />

evolves, the tree itself is distorted beyond recognition yet<br />

its presence scaffolds the images to come. Its significance<br />

lies not in the outcome, but in the unpredictability of the<br />

process and, for the visitor, the work equally satisfies a<br />

desire for anonymity as it does for connection.<br />

With galleries closed but parks open during lockdown,<br />

nature became a predominant space of respite and,<br />

similarly, digital art became a more significant connective<br />

tool than ever before. On The Magic Tree’s website, nil00<br />

writes that they were compelled by the idea that the tree’s<br />

role as a meeting point, or a communicatory touchstone,<br />

goes back generations. For local people, it is enmeshed<br />

in a network of formed memories. In their description of<br />

how the tree accommodates visitors by having branches<br />

arranged like a staircase that then twist into seats at the<br />

top, nil00 considers how the tree is emblematic of the<br />

hospitality of the natural world. The work’s interactive<br />

qualities replicate this way in which nature yields to human<br />

touch, signifying the tension between the natural world’s<br />

abundance and its human-induced scarcity. As much as<br />

the tree is the foundation of the work, our engagement<br />

with it is too; it prompts us to reflect inwards on our<br />

own understanding of sustainability and conservation in<br />

the digital era. During the Covid-19 lockdown, this has<br />

acquired a certain sentimental edge, as the work feels<br />

resonant with the coexistence of our connectivity and our<br />

solitude in recent months. It also extends further back than<br />

that, working with ideas of collective as well as personal<br />

memory, to reveal nostalgia as something malleable and<br />

distortive, that functions both communally and individually.<br />

Although, as much as the work speaks to our<br />

relationship with a dwindling natural world, The Magic<br />

Tree feels in dialogue with contemporary debates around<br />

the monuments in our city. The work’s consideration of<br />

the tree as a respected, almost statuesque, form allows<br />

us to question the ideologies we are embedding into our<br />

cityscape. It is overly simplistic to think of Liverpool as a<br />

bubble of progressive thought; standing outside the Sefton<br />

Park palm house is a statue of Christopher Columbus, with<br />

an inscription labelling him as the discoverer of America<br />

and the maker of Liverpool. The legacies of colonial Britain<br />

are still heralded and given power in the form of these<br />

monuments, and Liverpool’s significant role in slavery<br />

remains ingrained in street names and buildings. It is here<br />

that the work’s significance extends from the personal<br />

to the political, and through The Magic Tree, we are<br />

encouraged to think more intricately about our relationship<br />

to the city itself.<br />

Leah Binns<br />

www.fact.co.uk/artwork/the-magic-tree<br />

The Magic Tree, nil00<br />

And Say The Animal Responded?<br />

FACT, until 13/12<br />

If there’s a word to take away from this exhibition, it’s<br />

‘biomimetic’. It means, according to FACT, “the imitation of<br />

systems used in nature”. It’s fitting, as I could think of no word<br />

closer to the common thread that runs through the work on<br />

display at And Say The Animal Responded?<br />

The artists, to integrate their animal muses into the exhibition<br />

space, seem to have first integrated themselves into the space<br />

of the animal. ARIEL GUZIK’s Nereida is a prime example of this.<br />

The object, Nereida, an instrument of sorts, is so clearly humanmade<br />

that its function (to mimic the sound vibrations of whales<br />

in an effort to communicate) is both so far-fetched and yet so<br />

obvious. An animal couldn’t have created this object, and it’s<br />

remarkable how we, using an object so alien to the animal, can<br />

capture something so close to its true being.<br />

Guzik’s instrument is not the only machine in the room.<br />

Sitting beside it is KAUI SHEN’s Oh!m1gas, a piece I could<br />

best visually describe as an intricacy of clear plastic tubes, tubs<br />

and cameras, connected to two turntables. Inside, a colony of<br />

leaf cutter ants reside, whose activities control the scratching<br />

of the records on the turntables. In a way, the piece replicates<br />

the scratching of ants, a method they use to communicate, but<br />

translates it into a medium which we can receive, giving them a<br />

form of musical expression, albeit an odd one.<br />

The exhibition utilises audio and video masterfully. In the first<br />

gallery, recordings from Nereida serve as the backdrop to three<br />

video pieces, including a short film charting an expedition of<br />

Nereida’s younger brother, Holoturian.<br />

Pan troglodytes ellioti and cousins, by AMALIA PICA and<br />

RAFAEL ORETEGA, features a family of chimpanzees. It is a<br />

short, looping clip, but it captures something dignified, almost<br />

human, in the interaction of the chimps and the camera whose<br />

sensors they have triggered.<br />

DEMELZA KOOIJ’s film, Wolves From Above, sits on the<br />

floor in the corner of the room. The camera hovers above a pack<br />

of wolves, whose curiosity and attention towards the drone<br />

capturing them from above is sporadic, broken by bursts of<br />

energy directed at each other. They are more animal, more hostile<br />

than the chimps, sitting further down the spectrum which we<br />

seem to place ourselves on top of.<br />

Upstairs is dedicated to the digital work of ALEXANDRA<br />

DAISY GINSBERG. The Substitute resurrects the extinct northern<br />

white rhino. It spawns in an enclosure on screen, boxy and<br />

pixelated, becoming more real as it understands the space it is<br />

in. It exists for only a short period of time, before it disappears<br />

once more. Machine Augeries resides in an adjacent room. The<br />

10-minute sound installation is a sad conversation between the<br />

birds increasingly estranged from our urban spaces, and a chorus<br />

of artificial ‘birds’, who threaten to make the disappearance<br />

of their natural counterparts all too easy, and perhaps even<br />

unnoticed. It’s certainly a piece that chimes with the quietness of<br />

the early weeks of lockdown.<br />

My worry was that FACT’s commissioned artists would<br />

answer the exhibition’s titular question themselves. To my<br />

enjoyment this was not the case. The exhibition is a metaexhibition<br />

of sorts, with two levels of commission: first, the<br />

mandate by FACT for the artist’s to present a piece of work, and<br />

then the artist’s ‘commissioning’ of the animals, who answer the<br />

question ‘And Say The Animal Responded?’ in their own way, via<br />

the work of these artists.<br />

Through biomimicry, the artists could provide the conditions<br />

to allow the animals to do this: in none of the pieces did I feel that<br />

the animals were spoken for, this exhibition is not a zoo, yet in all<br />

they speak for themselves, in languages closest to their own.<br />

Remy Greasley / @remygreasley<br />

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, The Substitute (2019) / Rob Battersby)<br />



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This month’s selection of creative writing is by Sam Batley, a collection<br />

of work characterised by self-inquisition and honesty.<br />

My first experiences of poetry<br />

were in school, although I paid<br />

no attention to it. I felt pretty<br />

detached and was shit at<br />

concentrating. By year 10/11 I was quite cocky,<br />

disruptive; a bit of a dickhead, basically. Poetry<br />

and writing never felt like something that was<br />

meant for me – something that only happened<br />

in that class. Inside books. It was snobbish and<br />

posh. Nothing landed. It was difficult to read,<br />

and never seemed to make sense. None of it<br />

was relatable. I grew up in a pit village in the<br />

middle of Barnsley and Doncaster, it wasn’t a<br />

place inclusive of creative expression. I was a<br />

product of my surroundings and the toxicity<br />

of the masculine norm that surrounded me.<br />

Poetry wasn’t on the agenda.<br />

The positive of my schooling was Mrs<br />

Beevers, my English teacher in year 11.<br />

She spoke to me about music an art and, in<br />

hindsight, tried to make feel comfortable with<br />

who I was, not what I was pretending to be.<br />

She could see through the mask. She put me<br />

on to A Certain Romance by Arctic Monkeys<br />

who had only just come about. Sheffield was<br />

close and their voices were like mine at the<br />

time. I fuckin’ loved it. She said that it were<br />

poetry with music. An I suppose seed was<br />

planted. It didn’t have to be what I thought it<br />

was.<br />

Though the seed was planted at 16 it<br />

didn’t germinate ’til I was 23/24. My sister<br />

Hannah was and is an amazing poet, an had<br />

started sharing the stuff she had written with<br />

me. It felt different, I could feel what she were<br />

saying, and it landed in a completely different<br />

way. Our Hannah said it always helped her to<br />

get it out of her head and on to the page and<br />

that I should have a go.<br />

At this point I was in a real dark place.<br />

My addiction was all over me, oblivious to<br />

why I felt like I did. I’d worked myself into a<br />

particularly bad spot and needed to get out<br />

of what was surrounding me. Hannah took<br />

me in for a while. One day before she went to<br />

work she gave us a pad. So a had a go. I don’t<br />

really know where it came from. It was like<br />

a mad release, all this anger and frustration<br />

come flowing out. When she got back a read it<br />

her, and cried for first time in years. I’d not felt<br />

anything like it. So I carried on doing it.<br />

Since coming to Liverpool for recovery<br />

last year, I’d had a massive gap in writing,<br />

punctuated by sporadic bursts of coke-fuelled<br />

shite. Previous to the admittance I was fucked,<br />

my writing served its purpose for where I was<br />

at, but was full was of blame, anger, frustration<br />

and second-hand self-hatred. I couldn’t look at<br />

myself. It was all pointing out. No one gave a<br />

fuck as much as me, but I wasn’t willing to do<br />

fuck all about it.<br />

Today I feel at ease with me, a care much<br />

less about what I think and what folk think.<br />

No one’s arsed, really. Most of the angst has<br />

dissipated through the internal work I’ve done<br />

this year. Living in Damien John Kelly House, a<br />

recovery living centre in Wavertree, has given<br />

me an immense opportunity to reflect on why<br />

all that angst was there in first place. To hone<br />

in on who I am, drop the masks and say what I<br />

want to say.<br />

We’re all a bit fucked whether ya like it or<br />

not. So have a go, have fun with writing. We’ve<br />

all got tales to tell – they won’t tell themselves.<br />

Words & Photography:<br />

Sam Batley / @sambatley<br />

NUMBER 15<br />

Green lighter fluid and indigestion,<br />

Too much sprayed weed,<br />

Brings about lethargy.<br />

Headaches for the walk home,<br />

Eat all you can in the twilight.<br />

Piss while you walk.<br />

No one cares for the apathetic beside the pathetic.<br />

Pull out the mattress from behind the 3 seater,<br />

Set it down by the fire.<br />

Wake up and put it back again.<br />

Set it down,<br />

Wake up,<br />

Put it back again.<br />

Set it down,<br />

Wake up,<br />

Put it back again.<br />

Set it down,<br />

Wake up,<br />

Put.<br />

It.<br />

Back.<br />

A-gain.<br />

Weird arrangement,<br />

Too fearful to move on.<br />

Don’t wana stay in.<br />

Don’t wana go out.<br />

The tea tastes fucking shite,<br />

You know I don’t have sugar.<br />

Three beds too small for 4 heads,<br />

Adolescent pangs often turn red,<br />

In the unfinished kitchen.<br />

It’s shit init…<br />

Ye it is…<br />

Time’s a mystery how it drags like it does,<br />

And speed up when it doesn’t.<br />

Too much time on young hands.<br />

Too much.<br />

The football’s lost its leather.<br />

The milk bottle’s fed the cat.<br />

The neighbour’s not best pleased.<br />

Fuck off back ya Dads.<br />


Roast dinner for the chess champion in the burgundy corner.<br />

No eggs for me, I’ve had enough.<br />

Dog talk in the window sill.<br />

Chicken wing decorated pavement.<br />

Blasphemy,<br />

Horrendous.<br />

Were all phone bag heads.<br />

Blue thumbed click bait.<br />

The adverts lie all the time,<br />

It’s not your fault you feel insecure.<br />

Wrist watch time piece,<br />

Unaffordable in the pipe dream.<br />

2 minutes full power,<br />

Stir.<br />

1 minute full power,<br />

Serve.<br />

Cheap.<br />

Gaviscon.<br />

Acid Bastard.<br />

Licked lips,<br />

Coldsaw complex,<br />

Artex complexion.<br />

Long sighted twat.<br />

Shut the blinds or else they’ll see,<br />

How bad it really is.<br />

Bare walls, bare chested.<br />

Leave it all or take the fall,<br />

Wet eyes in crushed velvet.<br />

DUNGA<br />

It sunk in like a frog down the throat of realisation.<br />

Can’t be me.<br />

it is.<br />

You seemed so much better last week,<br />

Things change.<br />

I woke up with my head still in bed,<br />

An at end of day it were gone.<br />

Whose coming pity party?<br />

Me and I.<br />

Orchestrate the pieces into place,<br />

Manipulating hands unseen.<br />

Pleasantries of a forgotten tongue.<br />

Lap the finger and thumb.<br />

Puppet master pulling the lines up, up, up.<br />

Dangling in the tangle,<br />

I’m not autonomous,<br />

I’m not in control of the proper setting,<br />

Behind the console of beaded eyes.<br />

Smoke drifts in then out.<br />

Breathing lungs,<br />

Diaphragm split,<br />

Bloody nosed.<br />

Who me, who’s me?<br />

You’ve as much as him in the distant rear view,<br />

All back slouched,<br />

Glass eyed.<br />

Purgatory’s waiting room,<br />

White plastic chair table arrangement.<br />

Mannequin-esque.<br />

Magnolia,<br />

Motionless.<br />

Carpets tired from countless feet,<br />

Sat in front of ownerless bodies.<br />

Black chuddy circles,<br />

Rotten eggs from the paper mix,<br />

Pull the lost colour together.<br />

Who’s he? He’s you too.<br />

Blind to my own deficiencies.<br />

A malign witch.<br />

Beg off Peter to pay Paul.<br />

Hands in pockets,<br />

Absolutely fuck all.<br />

Living in the bit no one else sees.<br />


SAY<br />


Ahead of International Pronouns Day, Emma Stewart from LCR Pride Foundation outlines the importance of<br />

using the correct pronouns – a simple act key to self-determination and validation.<br />

Has anyone ever got your name even just a little<br />

bit wrong? Maybe your name is Stephen with<br />

a ‘ph’ and someone emails you and calls you<br />

Steven with a ‘v’? Or you’re mistakenly called<br />

Anna by someone who misheard your name, Hannah,<br />

in conversation. So, you correct them, and they correct<br />

themselves and apologise – life goes on. No one asks why<br />

it’s so important to you that someone says your name<br />

right. But you know the people going around calling you<br />

Anna, especially within your hearing, makes you feel a<br />

little bit uncomfortable because that name isn’t your name.<br />

Now apply the same logic to pronouns. It doesn’t<br />

sound hard does it? But why are pronouns so important?<br />

Let’s continue the example above. Every day you<br />

must interact with someone who insists on calling you<br />

the wrong name. They say, “But you look like an Anna to<br />

me, and I don’t really like to use the name Hannah, so I’m<br />

going to continue to call you Anna.”<br />

Every day you’re erased a little by that one person<br />

who does not respect the way you choose to identify<br />

yourself. Only pronouns hold so much more about a<br />

person’s identity within them. You can inadvertently out<br />

someone, erase part of their history or make them feel<br />

uncomfortable, unheard. That is the power of a single<br />

word when we are talking about pronouns.<br />

Before I go any further, I guess I should introduce<br />

myself properly. My name is Emma, I identify as nonbinary<br />

and my pronouns are they/ them.<br />

My ‘story’ does not have a definite beginning. I didn’t<br />

wake up one day and realise the people calling me ‘she’<br />

made my skin feel too tight around my identity. I just knew<br />

that it didn’t fit any more. Like a T-shirt with a hole or a<br />

worn pair of shoes, ‘she’ was not fit for purpose. So, at the<br />

ripe old age of 33 (and a half) I found myself coming out<br />

again.<br />

The first time I came out of the closet it was to let my<br />

family, friends and the world at large know I was a lesbian,<br />

a part of me I had kept hidden for a long time. This time it<br />

was to let people in my world see a new part of me, a part<br />

I was just learning about as well.<br />

I’ll be honest, I was terrified.<br />

Changing my pronouns publicly came with a lot of<br />

internal and external challenges for me. If I’m non-binary,<br />

can I still be a lesbian? Will I have to explain that to<br />

people? What will my wife say? What about my family?<br />

Does it really matter what people call me? Am I just<br />

making a big fuss about nothing?<br />

For me, it was pretty anticlimactic. I live in a privileged<br />

place in society and have surrounded myself with<br />

friends and family who are willing to learn new ways of<br />

describing the world around them to make sure I have a<br />

place in it. But it really is not that easy for so many people.<br />

Official governmental data on non-binary and<br />

trans people’s lives in the UK is a disheartening read.<br />

Non-binary and trans people come out at the bottom<br />

in almost every category including life satisfaction,<br />

safety, educational experience and health, according to<br />

the national LGBT survey summary report. It’s worth<br />

mentioning as well that these statistics are from 2017 and since<br />

then the reported levels of crime against trans and non-binary<br />

people has risen by an estimated 81 per cent. People from<br />

this community are also more likely to be kicked out of their<br />

childhood homes, experience transphobia, violence and abuse. If<br />

you throw race into the mix these statistics get infinitely worse.<br />

And these are just the reported cases, the people we can count.<br />

The coronavirus pandemic has seen people forced back into<br />

the closet, into dangerous situations and places where their<br />

identity is being further erased every day. But, Emma, what has<br />

this got to do with pronouns? Surely calling someone the wrong<br />

word has nothing to do with that? Except it does. Follow me<br />

once more into the hypothetical land where someone refuses to<br />

call you the right name.<br />

Now, imagine it is not one person, but every person in<br />

your life. You’ve asked them to change, to correct themselves,<br />

but they stay firmly and vocally resolute that you might ‘feel’<br />

like a Hannah, but you look like an Anna and your body is<br />

that of an Anna. This is where this world falls apart. Because<br />

this isn’t about a first name any more. It’s about a word that<br />

creates a space in the world for people. It’s about respect, about<br />

boundaries and about acknowledging that in this changing world<br />

we have some solidarity and pride. It is about self-determination<br />

and validation. Using the pronouns someone asks you to can be<br />

“Using the<br />

pronouns<br />

someone asks<br />

you to can be<br />

life-changing”<br />

life-changing, for them and for you.<br />

In this world, the one I live in, I spend my life<br />

correcting people, because it is important for me to use<br />

my privilege to normalise my difference. And some days<br />

you meet people who refuse, who tell me that there<br />

are men, and there are women and that is all there is.<br />

On days like that it is difficult, but I will always have<br />

the argument, because if I do not then it could fall to<br />

my trans and non-binary siblings with less privilege to<br />

wield. On the good days, which can outnumber the bad,<br />

I meet someone and tell them my<br />

pronoun is ‘they’, and this person<br />

doesn’t look at me like I’m strange,<br />

or insist that ‘they is a plural and<br />

not a singular’, or ask why. They<br />

just say, “OK. Sounds good. Thanks<br />

for telling me. If I mess up, feel free<br />

to correct me.” The weight of all<br />

those people misgendering and<br />

mis-pronouning me is eased in that<br />

moment. It will come back; it never<br />

really disappears.<br />

There is work being done to<br />

normalise pronouns and avoid<br />

this misgendering. In 2019,<br />

activist Imogen Christie (she/her), of Liverpool Trans<br />

Day of Visibility (TDoV), organised a campaign for<br />

International Pronouns Day, which takes place this year<br />

on Wednesday 21st <strong>October</strong>. Around 20 organisations<br />

across the city region, including Merseyside Police,<br />

LCR Pride Foundation and the Museum of Liverpool,<br />

participated in working groups and utilised slides and<br />

badges in their workplaces to allow people to clearly and<br />

openly communicate their preferred pronouns. A film by<br />

Thinking Film, commissioned to mark the day, received<br />

70,000 hits in the first 24 hours it was published. All of<br />

these small steps help trans and non-binary people to<br />

feel safer and seen as people, supporting their right to<br />

identify as they wish.<br />

There are also some structural changes being made<br />

to the way data is collected about gender by national<br />

agencies. The Census, which is due to be conducted for<br />

the whole of the UK in 2021, will for the first time have<br />

open-ended questions regarding sex and gender.<br />

But every person I correct and who uses the right<br />

pronoun, every person that learns that gender isn’t sex,<br />

doesn’t rely on the flesh on your chest or between your<br />

legs, every person that learns about pronouns and their<br />

power is another person that makes space in the world<br />

for us and another person who will stand in solidarity. !<br />

Respecting and normalising pronouns in five easy<br />

steps:<br />

1. Introduce yourself by your name and pronoun to<br />

normalise the use of pronouns<br />

2. If you’re not sure of someone’s pronouns, ask them<br />

3. If you accidentally misgender someone, apologise and<br />

continue using their correct pronoun<br />

4. Don’t use gendered language when speaking to<br />

groups, replace “ladies and gentlemen” with “everyone”, for<br />

example<br />

5. Put your pronouns on your email signature, social media<br />

profiles and business cards<br />

Words: Emma Stewart<br />

Illustration: Sophie Green / sophie-green.com<br />

lcrpride.co.uk/pronounsday<br />

Emma Stewart is Finance and Administration Director for LCR<br />

Pride Foundation and Administrator for Social Value UK.<br />




SAT 20TH MARCH 2021<br />




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