The Skinny: September 2014 Editions
INTERPOL, LIVERPOOL COMEDY FESTIVAL, BOB & ROBERTA SMITH, ARIKA EPISODE 6, DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979, ANTON CORBIJN, ENZO SIRAGUSA, PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI, REIMAGINING SHAKESPEARE, JO ROSE, THE VASELINES, SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO, AND MORE...
THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 18
Editor of The Skinny Northwest, Lauren Strain introduces issue no. 18:
As suspense in Scotland builds with the Referendum on Independence drawing near, the debate surrounding this momentous event puts our own dissatisfaction with the government under an even more intense spotlight. In November of last year, the artist Bob and Roberta Smith instigated his ‘Art Party Conference’ at Scarborough spa, convening WHO AND WHO to protest ex-Secretary for Education Michael Gove’s proposals to replace some GCSEs with the ‘English Baccalaureate.’ The setup of this new system would further reinforce the supremity of the ‘core’ subjects – Maths, English, a science or two, and humanities limited to History and Geography – as those that ‘matter,’ leaving arts educators, practitioners and the general creative community despairing that their subjects would be increasingly seen as less important, or indeed, not important at all. Gove was forced to renege on his proposal after uproar from these voices and more, but not before Bob and Roberta, with Tim Newton, had made a film documenting the events of the Conference and the resulting butterfly effect. The film was screened around the UK on GCSE results day, 21 August 2014, with arts institutions putting on a range of different afterparties for attendees to let off steam, gather, discuss moves for the future and generally celebrate the power of art. In a somewhat ambitious project that actually came off, our Art editor dispatched 12 writers and artists to report on parties from around the country – some of them had their faces caked in icing, others took out their frustrations on artist Karen Thompson's playfully readapted coconut shy (yes, the Goveshy), and some questioned what the event really said; whether it would reach much further than that one night of larks enjoyed by a select crowd. Decide for yourself what you think of the project on page 10 (and read the full reports online at theskinny.co.uk/art).
Also speaking out this issue are a couple of the UK’s most exciting poetic voices, in Salena Godden and Hollie McNish; while in Travel, one writer questions how we should feel about places we have visited, but are now in turmoil. In Music, we explore the visual element of the ever mind-bending Liverpool Psych Fest, bear witness to a storming return from Death from Above 1979, and hear how Interpol got their mojo back; Film takes in Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski on his surprise runaway sensation Ida and a straight-talking Anton Corbijn on A Most Wanted Man, if you can bear to see Philip Seymour Hoffman on celluloid so soon; Theatre ponders the undying allure of The Bard; Clubs is as searching as ever with the encyclopaedic knowledge of Messrs Rainer Trüby, Mosaic boss Steve O’Sullivan, and Jas Shaw and James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco; and we have a lovely bonkers Showcase for you this ish. What else? Too much else! Don’t be jealous of Scotland: you too can participate in democracy in action in our 2015 Food & Drink Survey, launching now! (Go to theskinny.co.uk/food to vote, and follow #NWFoodSurvey on Twitter.)
Finally, as the Liverpool Comedy Festival takes over, well, er, Liverpool for the end of the month and into October, we caught up with three-times Foster’s Comedy Award-nominated James Acaster a few hours before said ceremony; in a sort of poetic injustice, he didn’t win, but we love him anyway so there ya go. Meanwhile, Liverpudlian comic Adam Rowe falls under this month’s Spotlight – and while we’re talking about Spotlight, you should totally come and see it in real life! Yep, that’s right, a real life Spotlight. But what does that even mean, you ask – well, we’re putting on ten of our favourite stand-ups (and sketch group) from the Northwest circuit at The Kazimier in Liverpool as part of the Festival – thanks to partners The Comedy Trust – on Tuesday 30 September, and it’s only a fiver in. Only a fiver in! That’s 50p per act. If you don’t come, frankly, we divorce you. From self-proclaimed ‘provincial gorgepot’ Liam Pickford (who wrote that BBC Three piece wot you all loved so much) to also self-proclaimed ‘Nation’s Beefheart’ (what is it with these comedians eh) Jayne Edwards, via the gloriously awkward sketch comedy of Gein’s Family Gifsthop (nominated for Best Newcomer at the Fringe, no less!), it should be a rib-crackingly good night. Tickets are available from the liverpoolcomedyfestival.com, or you can just turn up on the night (but you might wanna reserve a seat eh). We hope to see you there.
THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 108
Editor-in-Chief Rosamund West introduces this month's Scotland edition.
September marks the end of an epic summer up here in Scotland, which kicked off with the astonishing programme of events around Culture 2014 back in June, turned Glasgow into an enormous amusement park for the duration of the Commonwealth Games in July and ended with the Biggest Edinburgh Festivals Ever as all those Games tourists spilled over into the capital to sample some of those hilarious comedy shows. Apparently there’s some golf thing happening later on, but that's not particularly cultural is it? So we’re ignoring that.
This month, of course, sees the conclusion of the will-they won’t-they debate to end them all, as we all finally get to vote on Independence. At this stage in the game the arguments pro and con have been resounding for months, demonstrating a level of engagement and consideration that makes me very proud to be Scottish, regardless of which way the vote goes. The most important thing at this stage is that everyone casts their vote – we hope you’ve registered, voter registration ends on the day this issue hits the streets.
We’re choosing to mark our referendum issue by leading with… a dance-punk duo from Toronto! Death from Above 1979 return with their sophomore effort a mere decade after their debut, and we’re pretty into it so our Music ed quizzed drummer-vocalist Sebastien Grainger about dealing with the responsibilities of audience expectation. Music continues with indie legends The Vaselines, another pair who take their sweet time over releases, as they return with their third album, V is for Vaselines, just 25 years after their debut.
Flying the flag for prolificacy, we’ve got Bristolian maverick Tricky, who gave us some time to discuss his eleventh studio album, the sort-of eponymous Adrian Thaws. ‘The rock world's most prolific wildman’ Nick Oliveri kindly allowed our Music ed to have an exclusive rifle through his adolescent record collection, and we salute debutant Mancunian songwriter Jo Rose. Stretching this productivity comparison to breaking point, we have words with the unremarkably prolific Interpol’s Daniel Kessler, introducing fifth album El Pintor.
Books this month celebrates a pair of stars from the resurgent poetry scene, namely Salena Godden and Hollie McNish. McNish discusses being called an 'ugly lesbian bitch whore' on YouTube for her beautiful, considered spoken word performances exploring experiences of motherhood, femininity and politics. Meanwhile, punk feminist Godden does her best to outrage our Books ed’s Edinburgh sensibilities to explain the role of the poet as a narrator of the times. We also touch on that there referendum with an interview with one of Scotland’s most celebrated authors, Alan Warner, who is eloquent and vocal in his support of the Yes campaign.
Art takes a look south of the border, reporting back from the Bob & Roberta Smith Art Parties! which popped up across the country in protest at Michael Gove’s frankly shit proposal to cut back art education in secondary education. We also take a closer look at Jacqueline Donachie’s New Weather Rising project, which has led to hilarious uproar in the Daily Record with outrage from Oban councilmen protesting calling a trailer 'art.' Working on the basis that anything that prompts the reaction “I like nice paintings – I don’t believe in this pile of bricks stuff and things like that,” deserves a closer look, we sent an art writer in to investigate.
We are also especially pleased to have spent some time with photographer-director Anton Corbijn over in Film, promoting third feature A Most Wanted Man, and to have had the opportunity to give some space to Albert Baxter, who follows up You’ve Been Trumped with A Dangerous Game, a further investigation into how the mega rich exploit and corrupt the resources of nations across the world.
This is another bumper issue of the magazine, so highlights are literally too numerous to mention. Read on for Clubs’ words with Enzo Siragusa ahead of his Nightvision set, La Cheetah’s fifth birthday, Film talking to Pawel Pawlikowski and Harry Treadaway, a memoir of a time spent with the Yazidis of Kurdistan, a detailed look at Arika’s Episode 6, bringing ballroom to a Tramway near you this month… And, as ever, much more besides.
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.