The Skinny: October 2014 Editions




THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 19


Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces issue no. 19:

 First things first: if you’re reading this on the day of publication, we’re gonna blag yers to come to our own lovely, brilliant, wicked event that you’d be a fewl to miss – yes, that’s right, on Tuesday 30 September it is finally time for The Skinny Spotlight, a showcase of some of our favourite young comics on the Northwest circuit being reight funny an’ stuff, all on the same stage, for just five of your good pounds. That stage is The Kazimier in Liverpool; and it’s a part of Liverpool Comedy Festival, so you can find out more either at or by searching for ‘The Skinny Spotlight’ on Facebook. The acts’ll be on from 8pm, so make sure you get down around 7.30 to grab a drink, have a natter and settle into your seats. 

Next up, it’s Halloween, and besides bringing us a headline interview with Yann Demange about his Jack O’Connell-staring ‘71, our Film editor has been possessed by the undead spirit of, er, someone who’s like, proper into Halloween, and brings us a host of ghoulish features from an interview with Parks and Rec darling Aubrey Plaza about zom-com Life after Beth to a preview of the North’s premier horror festival Grimmfest – and even a special horror edition of the DVD section. Music, Food and Drink and Theatre dig their pointy hats and motheaten cloaks out of the cupboard under the stairs, too, as Rick Anthony of The Phantom Band selects his scary desert island (haunted house?) discs, Food serves up a questionable menu for All Hallows’ Eve (it’s smelly. Oh, it’s smelly), and Theatre meets the director of a new production of Frankenstein in Liverpool. 

All those shenanigans aside, we’ve – *serious face* – interviews with two of Manchester Literature Festival’s young voices leading the issue this month: southeast London rapper and poet Kate Tempest has been making waves for a few years but now, it seems, is truly her time, with her first full-length collection for Picador, Hold Your Own, on the way, and she’s selling out gigs right, left and centre; musician Bill Ryder- Jones, meanwhile, presents his debut album If… – inspired by Italo Calvino’s cult novel If on a winter’s night a traveler – with the Manchester Camerata in one of the festival’s more unexpected bits of progamming. Other festivals to command centre stage this month are Liverpool Music Week, the director of which we catch up with on page 16 as well as get a bit hot under the collar about the lineup; and Asia Triennial, the only Asian art triennial outside the Asia Pacific region and taking over a huge array of galleries, museums and spaces for eight weeks. 

Music also brings us up-close-and-personals with film composer Clint Mansell, noisy Baltimore lot Dope Body, and Mancunian newcomers Horsebeach; the charming, stylish Seven Davis Jr. woos us wobbly in Clubs; Fashion goes on one of its biannual jollies to London Fashion Week that we’re totally not really jealous of at all; Comedy meets the eccentric Bob Blackman Appreciation Society and laments the loss of the true variety show; Deviance catches up with last month’s writer to debunk more myths surrounding femininity and motherhood; Travel takes in a trip to Hamburg for Reeperbahn Festival, and our newly burgeoning Tech section has a report on just why it’s so much fun to get stuck in to game development in the Northwest. 

We go to print in 16 minutes. There is no novelty sign-off. 







THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 108


Editor-in-Chief Rosamund West introduces this month's Scotland edition.

Now that it’s officially autumn / winter, an eye cast back at this year’s Scottish summer reveals a series of joys bookended by twin traumas. The season kicked off with the burning of the Mack building, a disaster whose recovery in the form of Phoenix fund, global support network and the astonishing preservation plans of the Glasgow fire department reveal the best of the community spirit and civic pride that this country can offer.

At the other end of the spectrum, after the Commie Games and the festivals are spent, lies the referendum, tumultuous weeks culminating in abrasive days revealing the best and worst of Scotland and the UK. The worst as exemplified by the twists and turns of the politicians, the frustrating misrepresentations by the national media painting a nuanced debate on nationhood as something inward-looking and borderline racist, the subsequent clashes which revealed the dark fact that bits of that were partially true. The best being the grassroots organisations that have sprung up to imagine and argue, passionately, for a better society, and are currently finding the means to carry on after that decisive no thanks. Here’s to their continued endeavours, to remain hopeful, idealistic and inclusive in building that vision, and keeping this newly enfranchised generation active and engaged.

Signs remain positive for Scotland’s creative communities bouncing back, which is good because that’s mainly what we write about. On our cover you will see local boys Birdhead, a noisy Krautrock-inspired duo who’ll be playing at our Pleasance Sessions gig this month alongside long-standing favourites the Phantom Band and Remember Remember. They tell us about honing their line-up and why they enjoy their sound being dubbed radgecore. Phantoms' mainman Rick Anthony (aka Redbeard) also shares an insight into his favourite horror scores (tis witching season after all).

This month also sees the return of the Twilight Sad, back with their fourth album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave and on traditionally dour form in our interview on p12. Music also has some words with film composer Clint Mansell on coming to terms with his career path, Baltimore’s Dope Body on new release Lifer, which, oddly, also sees them coming to terms with their career path, and veteran hired gun Page Hamilton of NYC brusiers Helmet. We squeeze the last gasps out of the summer festival season with reports from End of the Road and Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival.

Getting further into the Halloween spirit, Film speaks to Aubrey Plaza, aka April from Parks and Recreation, about her new zombie comedy Life After Beth. Director Yann Demange and writer Gregory Burke discuss new film ‘71, set during the Troubles in Belfast. Autumn film festival season rumbles on with Play Poland, and Africa in Motion’s inspiring programme bringing film from across the African continent to Scottish screens.

Books has a look at new dystopian Scottish graphic novel IDP:2043, created collaboratively by an array of writers and artists and depicting a climate change-addled nation of vertical farms and societal division 30 years hence. It also peruses the spoken word strand of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. In Art, we introduce a brand new events column to make sure you don’t miss out on any of that free wine *ahem* I mean art. We also speak to Berlin-based painter Jonathan Meese, popping up in the Glue Factory with an eagerly-anticipated and imaginatively-titled exhibition, Pump Up the Vampire, Pump Up the Vampire, Pump Up the Vampire, Smell! Fashion has taken its biannual jaunt to London to suss out the trends on display at Fashion Week. Find out your future spring / summer 2015 style in our special report.

As per usual, much more happens besides – read on. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in Malawi.






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.





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