The Skinny: January 2015 Editions
BELLE & SEBASTIAN, BEYOND CLUELESS, MANIPULATE, ALVVAYS, KELLY DAWN RIOT, THE BRONTË SISTERS, WHIPLASH, PANDA BEAR, D-RIBEIRO, GOTHENBURG BOOK FAIR, PONTE CITY, HELEN WHEELER, AND MORE...
THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 22
Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces issue no. 22:
So here we are, in 2015, except it's not, it's the 18th of December and I'm filing this before we shut up shop for the holidays and do nothing but get wonky on that mulled Old Rosie the pub's been doing and chain-read Knausgaard. Let's not shatter the illusion, though, eh? It's a fresh-minted and indeed minty fresh new annum, and this issue engages in more than a bit of baseless speculation— ehhh, sorry, 100% accurate crystal ball-gazing to acknowledge it: e.g. in Comedy, last year's runaway champs, sketch troupe Gein's Family Giftshop, delightedly step into the shoes of god and select the acts they predict – or at least, hope – will do well in 2015, while in Art, our section editor surveys the upcoming season's programme, highlighting shows you'd be a dilly to miss. (Hell, we even have some predictions as to the hottest new trends in Scandinavian fiction! Apparently Nordic noir is out and it's all about the feelgood factor this year. Hmmm, perhaps I’ll reconsider my Christmas literary itinerary...)
But in all seriousness, as Sacha's exhibition preview evidences, it is genuinely set to be a pretty big few months for arts and culture in the Northwest, with not one but two major organisations either reopening (the Whitworth) or being reborn entirely (HOME). The prelude to the latter – the coming-together of the Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse in a new multimillion dolla development housing five cinemas and three theatre spaces – manifests itself in Re:play Festival, where the best of regional fringe theatre over the past 12 months is given a new lease of life (and audiences a second chance to see it). Before the eight-show strong portfolio pitches up at Number One First Street, our Theatre ed chatted to some of those whose productions may now enjoy both a bigger stage and acclaim as a result of being included.
All that being said, elsewhere we're in a reflective mood: taking the cover are the results of our second annual Food and Drink Survey, offering a view of where your favourite places to grab a bite, have a tipple (before the aforementioned hot spicy cider took over) and woo your potential other halves over the past year were – turn to p10 and marvel at how your friendly local Food and Drink editor has converted your voting forms into actual stories, spanning what your nominated local brewers are expecting from the craft beer scene in 2015 to a reminiscence of a romantic encounter at one of your top places for a first date. In Film, director Charlie Lyne celebrates the legacy of the teen movie with his paean to the oft-undervalued genre, Beyond Clueless; in Clubs, Gregory Darsa aka Point G recalls the unique feel of French Touch; in Music, indie originals Belle and Sebastian look back on a two-decade career (but, with a new disco sheen, seem keen to shimmy into the future); and over in Books, the 160th anniversary of the death of Charlotte Brontë – to be marked by Liverpool University in a course of events starting this month – inspired a look at the feminist legacy of the Jane Eyre author and her two remarkable sisters, Anne and Emily. Finally, American comedian Will Franken offers a lightly sketched remembrance of Robin Williams, describing, in brief vignettes, how the sadly missed comic actor left a contrastingly indelible mark on his life – and on his perception of their shared profession.
There’s too much else to list besides, and really all that’s left for you to know at this point before just diving right on in is that we interviewed Jon Snow. Jon Snow! You know, Jon Snooerrh. (OK: Kit Harington.) And he knows not nothing, but some things about his upcoming film, the First World War love story and London Film Festival success Testament of Youth. Lovely.
Chin chin, hip hip, three cheers, santé.
THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 111
Happy New Year! She says, in mid December, over the strains of the Boney M Christmas album. Yes, due to the intricacies of our publishing schedule and communal desire for a Christmas break, this edition of The Skinny was created for you way back in darkest mid-December, before [insert celebrity name here] did that totally scandalous thing, and before the Queen rocked the nation by announcing [insert thing here]. Crazy eh?
As is traditional, we kick off the New Year with the results of that Food and Drink Survey we’ve been badgering you to vote in since way back in that long-lost summer. Thankfully for us, you heeded our calls in your droves. The thousands of votes have now been counted and tallied, and we present a special food and boozy supplement celebrating the best that Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer, from p10. As well as learning all about your favourite beers, bars, restaurants and food shops, this year’s survey also reveals our Food editor’s deep and abiding hatred for sharing his meals. So that’s interesting.
In Music, we managed to round up nearly a full complement of Belle and Sebastian band members for breakfast and a chat about their latest opus Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, which reveals an as yet unexplored house influence for the tweecore originators. Former cover star Panda Bear is also back with fifth solo album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, for which he gave us some time to discuss death and Suzanne Vega. In a similarly uplifting vein, Philadelphian musician BC Camplight releases the cheerily titled How To Die In The North this month. He tells us about depression, substance abuse and musical redemption in Manchester on p21. We also have some words with Alvvays singer Molly Rankin, who is remarkably positive about life on the road, and Korn's James 'Munky' Shaffer, who shares ten of the albums that have most influenced him.
Film has some words with Jon Snow, I mean actor Kit Harington, in town in his non-Game of Thrones capacity to promote new WW1 film Testament of Youth. He breaks from the usual actorly tradition of claiming it’s all only about ‘the craft’ to openly admit he craves film stardom, which is refreshing at least. We also find out all about Kickstarter-funded release Beyond Clueless, a teen movie which is a homage to teen movies and includes bits of more than 200 teen movies (although the fact that its 90s start date means Heathers isn’t one of them is, frankly, a travesty). We’re all very excited about it, and the Cameo screening with a Q&A with startlingly young (23!) director Charlie Lyne, who was also kind enough to tell our writer all about his inspirations.
In Art, our section editor has interrogated gallerists and curators across the land to glean the information required to look forward to the exhibitions planned for Scotland in the coming year. We also take a closer look at a Portrait Gallery exhibition exploring degrading apartheid-era Johannesburg tower block Ponte City, a symbol of segregation, inequality and changing economics. In Books, we take a trip to Gothenburg Book Fair to find out what the next trend in Nordic literature is going to be – ‘feelgood,’ apparently.
In Theatre, we look forward to two exciting programmes for the new year, with a tour through the National Theatre Scotland’s plans for 2015 plus an in-depth exploration into acclaimed annual puppetry and visual theatre festival Manipulate, returning at the end of the month.
Finally (not really finally, but finally for this introduction), we celebrate the spirit of January self-improvement with a thesis on the transformative effect of solitary travel. Loneliness and boredom could improve your life – you heard it here first.
THE SKINNY NORTHWEST Student handbook
Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces The Northwest Student Handbook:
Welcome to The Skinny Student Handbook, which hasn't been put together by the characters above, but please imagine it was. We hope it'll prove an entertaining guide to the cities you have found yourselves in – and university life therein. University life! Where have all the years gone eh, said everyone older than you all summer, patting you on the head. What else was it they said? Oh yeah, that these are the best days of your life. “THEY'RE THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE!” they said, chasing you out of the countryside and quickly repainting your room.
It's perhaps more useful to observe that your uni days are the only ones in which you will live in a sort of human-sized hamster run where all your immediate needs and desires are located between one and four metres away. Friends! They are either in the same house or on the same street as you. Lovers! They are either in the same house or on the same street as you, though really you would be advised against the former. Parties! They are either in the same house or on the same street as you; sometimes it's more that the house is in the party. Intellectual stimulation! It is in the library.
Sure, you should probably work hard (and you will); but the real thrill is that you are in this specific place, with these particular people, at this exact time. Seize it. Join a society, run in an election, put on a show. Unless you're a medic. Medics will be hanging out with other medics, having medic sleepovers and running medic festivals, and generally just tearing things up in a way non-medics will never know how to and will forever envy, long and deep into adulthood.
But before all that: dive in! From tips on where to find free comedy to the tale of a gap-year trek; from the history of film to a 20-page venue directory, we hope we've got you covered. Now go explore. And best of luck.
THE SKINNY SCOTLAND student handbook
Editor Peter Simpson introduces The Scotland edition of the Student Handbook:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time that everyone has secretly been waiting for since spring. While hilariously long summer breaks are nice, the start of the new university calendar is a time of excitement and joy - there are new facts to learn, new flatmates to alienate and annoy, and new things to see and do.
While we can’t really help with the first two parts of that sentence, other than to recommend you carry a notepad at all times and wrap your smellier food in cling film before putting it in the fridge, the third part is where we come in, with our annual Student Handbook.
Over these 84 pages, we’ll bring you up to speed on cultural life across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, allowing you to jump headfirst into that whole ‘being a student’ thing you have going on.
We’ve compiled a list of the 12 of the best cult Scottish albums over the years for you to get your ears around, while in Film we’ve gone even further back in time and charted the history of film from the very beginning.
We’ve also taken a look at the theatre, comedy and club scenes across Scotland, and highlighted some of the nights and events to watch out for.
If you’re keen to spread your wings and fly (culturally speaking), we’ve got guides to the spoken word and literary scenes in Scotland, an introduction to the burgeoning tech and hacker scene, and a run-down of some of the weird and wonderful student societies to fill your weekday evenings.
If you fancy travelling we have a tale from the depths of the Thai jungle that will both inspire and terrify you, and our resident agony uncle Fred Fletch has provided his advice for the year ahead, which will also inspire and terrify you.
On top of all that, we’ve also put together a guide to well over 100 of the best places to eat, drink, dance, watch and be otherwise culturally active in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. We’ve even provided maps, so you won’t get lost.
Consider this Handbook your indispensable introduction to cultural life in Scotland’s cities. Carry it with you at all times, along with that notepad from earlier. You might need to get a bag. And a coat.