The Skinny: December 2013 Editions
the year in album's, Frankie boyle, war horse, ugandan arts trust, Gift guides, christmas cards and more...
THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 9
Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces issue no. 9:
For The Skinny's editors, November has been a month of grappling not with socially conscious facial hair but with Excel spreadsheets, as our teams of music and film writers have sat dutifully down to try to remember what on earth they listened to and saw this year in order to bring you their top albums and movies of 2013. You can delve into the results, lovingly collated by our Music ed, from page 10 – and as well as some surprises, it's pleasing to see many of our cover stars from The Skinny Northwest's first nine issues in the top 50 voted-for records, from Julia Holter to Daniel Avery, to our very own MONEY. And if, like me, our film squad's top 10 has made you feel deeply inadequate (does it count if you've meant to go and see all of them but stayed in with a slice of Battenberg watching Educating Yorkshire instead?), our Film editor chases it up with a look at some great UK film festivals happening early 2014, so you can finally be the buff you know is in you somewhere, just biding its time.
From foodie gift guides to a, um, 'unique' tale of gatecrashing the nativity as seen through the eyes of Fred Fletch – inhabiting Timecop (of course) – and a selection of alternative Christmas cards designed by our illustrators and Showcase artists, we've given Santa and the baby Jesus their fair shot in this issue, but it'd be hamfisted of us to just bang on about eating, drinking and making merry at a time of year that is as difficult for many as it is decadent for some. Music takes a moment to remember the life and work of Jason Molina, whose passing in March this year came as heartbreaking news to a community of musicians and fans around the world. In his work as Songs:Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co. and as a solo artist, Molina's mastery of and influence on modern songwriting cannot be underestimated – he was, as friend and collaborator Alasdair Roberts says on page 42, “a gifted raconteur.” In Books, we interview intelligent agitator Darren Cullen about his inevitably controversial Join the Army, a bitingly satirical comic skewering the promotional flyers and other materials issued by the Armed Forces to promote joining up to the young and impressionable (p.23). Finally, in Food, our editor nudges us towards maybe not chucking out all those rejected sprouts, and Deviance rounds up spaces open for members of the LGBTQ community who may not necessarily have a home to go to this Christmas Day – if you know of any other places open on the 25th, do add your suggestions to the article online.
This month we also did a lot of blubbing at War Horse (read about the manipulative – in more ways than one – geniuses behind it on p.19), a lot of shuddering at the idea of there being a giant lactating worm concealed in a quarry somewhere in the Lake District (see our Film ed's trip to the set of Jamie Shovlin's feature for Cornerhouse Artist Film, Rough Cut, on p.20), and a lot of marvelling at the work of various superhumans (hear from Rocca Gutteridge, who is working to foster the development of a contemporary art scene in Uganda, p.32, and find out why producer Gerd Janson rather unfairly doesn't consider himself a true musician, p.27).
There's also a whole host of stuff from our end and our sister paper that we weren't able to fit into print (see Online Only on p.7), so why not go and procrastinate on our site on whatever new gadget you find yourself fondling on Christmas Day? Or y'know, you could just interact with your loved ones. From all at The Skinny – sincerely – a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. [Lauren Strain]
THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 98
Editor-in-Chief Rosamund West introduces this month's Scotland edition.
Just like that, another year has passed. So long 2013, hello 2014 and the year of the Independence debate. We’re in nostalgic mood here at The Skinny as we cast an eye back over the last 12 months, drawing together opinion from the ranks of our many contributors to calculate (in a highly democratic manner, as per) what constituted the best releases in Music and Film over the last year. We’ve even made some handy lists of the highlights. The list issue, one might call it.
Our Albums of the Year special includes new interviews with many of the top ten acts. I won’t spoil the surprise by saying which ones, the sense of anticipation is key. There might be some surprises in there, is all I’m saying. Or are there? To find out where Midnight Memories ended up, see p10.
The majority of the magazine basically goes barking mad for all things Christmas. We’ve got gift guides for Fashion, Food, Books, DVD and the esoteric produce of resident stargazer Mystic Mark, which includes anti-ageing cream for your testicles. Finally! We also continue an annual Showcase tradition with specially made cards submitted by a few of our favourite visual artists. The incomparable Fred Fletch has composed a festive tale on the subject of the nativity, as seen through the eyes of Timecop. Of course he has. In Theatre, we take a look at some of the many, many pantomimes on offer this year, having given up on trying to focus on the alternative in the face of a deluge of festive camp. We also look forward to that other mainstay of the Scottish winter months, Hogmanay – our Clubs section offers an exhaustive guide to your options for the bells.
We even have some articles about non-festive things – Music catches up with Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning as he prepares to release his second solo album, quizzes Quasi drummer Janet Weiss about her ongoing quest to master rhythm, and talks to Cliff Martinez about his creative work soundtracking movies for the likes of Nicolas Winding Refn. Kid Canaveral were dispatched to London for some enlightening conversations with Edwyn Collins ahead of their Christmas Baubles annual festive gig, and the band also took the opportunity to scrutinise a round of festive singles in the Dirty Dozen. On a more sombre note, Alasdair Robert and Aidan Moffat pay tribute to the life and legacy of the late Jason Molina upon the tenth anniversary of Songs: Ohia's final LP, The Magnolia Electric Co.
Comedy talks to ‘retired comedian’ Frankie Boyle about his new book, in the process discovering that he’s just as objectionable in person as he appears on the telly. In Art, we hear what happened when MANY studio residents headed over to Lisbon to exhibit. Travel also takes on an artistic bent, as we learn about 32° East, an Arts Trust in Uganda that is spearheading the creation of an infrastructure for contemporary art practice in the capital Kampala. In Books, we talk to Darren Cullen about his new work Join the Army, a pitch black satire on the recruitment techniques used by the British Armed Forces that will inevitably spark debate and provoke vitriol. The EDL are already on the case.
This issue marks our last in double figures in the Scottish edition, and January will see our hot 100th issue hit the stands. Our Northwest sibling will be releasing its tenth issue at the same time – they grow up so fast, don’t they? We’ll be celebrating in print and in real life, i.e. There Will Be Party (rumours abound of a room full of kittens, but cannot be confirmed at this juncture); keep your eyes on the site for more info. In the meantime, from all here at The Skinny, have a happy holiday and an even happier New Year.