The Skinny: July 2014 Editions
REMEMBER REMEMBER, LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL, FROM SCOTLAND WITH LOVE, PHIL JUPITUS, MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI, DEATHCATS, JULIUS STEINHOFF, BARNABY BARFORD, GSA DEGREE SHOW AND MORE...
THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 16
Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces issue no. 16:
We're pretty spoilt in the Northwest to have two major international festivals on rotation – for every year there isn't a Manchester International Festival, there's a Liverpool Biennial. This year, the four month long event adopts the phrase 'A Needle Walks into a Haystack' as its catch-all, and offers an appropriately tightly thatched programme – your best bet is to just jump in and scrabble around. We were torn between which of Berlin-based artist Judith Hopf's simple but characterful creatures to use on the cover – but you can catch her flock of concrete sheep on twiggy legs and more as part of the festival's main group show at the repurposed Trade Union hall (The Old Blind School) from 5 July, and read our interview with her just as she was starting to hatch plans for the exhibition on page 11. Our Art editor will be steering continued coverage throughout the duration of the festival, with more online – so why not make theskinny.co.uk/art your homepage for the summer?
As the season finally comes into bloom around us, so does the fringe scene, with theatre, comedy and more galore. We've dedicated a good chunk of the middle of the mag to many of the self-starting events and fests that are helping make the region's name as a place for innovation and individuality within the arts – Liverpool's Shiny New Festival organisers are explicit about their desire to inspire others in the city to set up similarly energetic, eccentric events, while Manchester's 24:7 theatre festival has gone from the ultimate in lo-fi to a nationally recognised platform for new writing in its ten-year history. The Greater Manchester Fringe, meanwhile, is its usual, sprawling and frankly baffling self (though that's part of its charm) – ahead of his appearance as Porky the Poet, and before he heads on up to Edinburgh, Phill Jupitus has done us the kindness of answering one extra-dedicated interviewer's questions in rhyming couplets.
With quite literally hundreds upon hundreds of shows in most of the available spaces IRL and online, maybe there's some sort of fantasy fringe league to be devised for a) overly committed bloggers and b) those who keep reading tweets about how this is the most exciting and unpredictable World Cup ever but never actually get around to watching it, instead glancing quizzically at their little paper slips reading 'Honduras' and 'Iran.' For those who give neither a hoot for the footie nor for a raw script run-through in the back of a pub – we think there might be a small demographic somewhere in the middle there – other things are happening. Like tennis.
Just kidding: in Music, Joey Santiago of The Pixies has a lot to say in defence of the band's latest, variably received album Indie Cindy, which to be fair to Black Francis and co is a lot better than that Hadouken! track from 2007. The pointillist pastorals of Glasgow's Remember Remember get a fresh airing on new record Forgetting the Present, elevating them to the gorgeously illustrated cover of our sister edition (go have a ganders on Issuu); meanwhile, soundtrack composer Brian Reitzell, of Lost in Translation fame, gives us an impression of what it's like to compose for a videogame (Watch Dogs). Elsewhere, House of Leaves visionary Mark Z. Danielewski checks in midway through writing a long-form serial, his exacting style turning the idea that e-reading is the future of fiction on its head: in fact, “the reality is that... electronic forms... are not really up to speed with what I'm doing.” Clubs takes in the welcoming shapes of Julius Steinhoff's first full-length, Flocking Behaviour; Fashion finds Manchester School of Art grad Jessica Campbell receiving rave reviews for her double-denim menswear at Graduate Fashion Week in London; and if you've just gotten back from Glastonbury and never want to see a three-quid litre carton of thin maroon liquid sapped from the 'Red' grape (region: Booze) ever again, our Food dude has hired someone who like, deals in wine and stuff, to select some affordable bottles that pack oomph without the ooh-la-la.
Speaking of; we'd better crack one of 'em open and finish putting together this magazine. Until next time...
THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 106
Editor-in-Chief Rosamund West introduces this month's Scotland edition.
This month marks the jumping-off point for that summer of grand cultural programming we’ve been looking forward to for pure ages here in Scotland. There’s some sort of sporting event happening in Glasgow soon, to follow those other sporting events that everyone’s so excited about right now, and it has an enormous pile of culture running alongside it. Previous issues have covered the GENERATION art shows currently happening across the country, and Scottish PEN’s series of literary events. We also look at Africa in Motion’s touring programme of sport-related films from the African Commonwealth (turns out there’s loads of them), popping up in a string of imaginative events from this point onwards.
After all that Commonwealth excitement we’ll be running into the Edinburgh Festivals (and then afterwards there’s some sort of vote happening that hardly anyone’s been talking about). As is now traditional, we dip our toe gingerly into the August waters this month with the exclusive release of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s late night programme, Jura Unbound. The centre of the magazine has a special pull-out-and-keep supplement detailing all of their exciting live literary performance events for 2014.
Our cover stars for July are multi-instrumental sextet Remember Remember, celebrating the release of album number three, Forgetting the Present. Ringmaster Graeme Ronald pops up in Google Hangouts with ‘synth wizard’ Tommy Stuart and percussionist Joanne Murtagh to tell us all about the evolution of the group, the genesis of the album and the wonder of e-cigarettes.
Elsewhere in Music, the Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde marks the long-awaited reissue of seminal albums Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas, offering an insight into life in the band during their commercial heyday. One-time Red Kross drummer Brian Reitzell talks to our Games editor about scoring video game Watch Dogs, while Glasgow’s Deathcats preview their appearance at that T in the Park by refuting all rumours of feline murder. Speaking of T, we offer a rundown of the prospective highlights from its last year of operation in a field in Balado. Finally, the precocious Kiran Leonard drops by to discuss his disarmingly straighforward creative process ahead of a gig in Edinburgh this month.
Film has a look at those sports stories, and also has words with King Creosote and director Virginia Heath about From Scotland With Love, a narrative of the country’s history compiled of hundreds of hours of archival footage. Director David Gordon Green talks about liking weirdos and Nicolas Cage, and tells us about new film Joe, arriving on a screen near you this month.
Outside of Unbound, Books talks to cult author Mark Z. Danielewski about his visionary writing and experiments on the cutting edge of printing techniques. Art rounds off the degree show season with a trip to Glasgow and introduces the first of four graduate artists being shown in our Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition come August (on which much, much more next issue – brace yourselves). There are also some words with artist Barnaby Barford, who makes work commenting on contemporary life by messing about with porcelain figurines.
This issue ends, as is now traditional, with Fred Fletch pretending to be sympathetic to the world’s problems and screaming about 80s movies. This month he tackles the environment, fielding questions from one B.O. and a polar bear. Turn to p71 to have all your problems solved.