The Skinny: March 2015 Editions




THE SKINNY northwest ISSUE 24

After Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, every Aquarian ever’s birthday and the release of Fifty Shades of Grey comes ‘March.’ No one is quite sure what happens in March, or indeed what it’s for – but it is our sincere hope that this magazine you hold in your hands will help you to more closely understand the concept of March.

So. In what surely has to be taken as a positive thing, several festival/exhibition programmes this spring demonstrate a willingness to tackle representations of sensitive social, sexual and mental health issues head-on – most notably SICK! Festival, which expands from Brighton to Manchester for the first time, bringing with it a challenging selection of theatre, spoken word and art happenings; and FACT Liverpool’s new exhibition, Group Therapy, which collects 14 artists looking at how ‘mental distress’ at the intersection of digital and IRL might manifest itself. Both sound pretty great, and are explored on p22 and 25, respectively.

Individualism is also something of a theme, not in that unpleasant free market capitalist way, but in one of those inspirational, believing-in-yourself-and-your-art-and-managing-to-make-it-work ways. There are a lot of folk doing it for themselves this issue, from comedian turned cover star Josie Long (p10) – who hasn’t let early-career hype influence her style or principles – to filmmaker Desiree Akhavan (p16), whose debut feature Appropriate Behaviour voices a little-represented viewpoint; “the many identities of what it means to be a child of immigrants, or queer, or in New York even.” Those who’ve enjoyed Akhavan’s turn in the latest series of Lena Dunham’s Girls as Hannah’s post-ironic creative writing classmate will relish the opportunity to see her steal the limelight for herself.

Elsewhere, Gang of Four’s last man standing, Andy Gill, tells us why he decided to strike out on his own after each of the other original members of the band fell away; Kaya Herstad Carney of Threshold Festival upholds the Liverpool event’s famously grassroots, DIY attitude in a chat previewing its fifth anniversary; and enfant terrible du jour Xavier Dolan is as fiercely independent as ever (“Look, with all due respect to masterful cinematographers and the tastes of other artists, I fucking hate digital… It’s just ugly, and an absolute deception. It is lifeless, flat, soulless and a lie.”) (Having just premiered his fifth movie, Mommy, at the age of just 25, we reckon he merits his say.)

Beyond that, Film gets its international on, with previews of Cornerhouse’s 21st (!) Viva Spanish & Latin American Film Festival and a one-day mini festival celebrating multilingual cinema, Beyond Babel; Travel gets in on the act, too (well you’d hope so, wouldn’t you), recommending a variety of music festivals around the world just in case you’re one of those people with money and friends. Fashion goes as far as it’s reasonable to venture in the UK at this time of year – London – and brings us all the delectable/dubious news from the catwalk. Closer to home, much-loved radical bookshop News from Nowhere tell us why independent bookstores are pivotal to politics, and vice versa; arrested pre-teens Sam & Tom fall under our Comedy Spotlight; our Food ed gets properly sloshed, and Heads Up, Listings and beyond are smattered with events that constitute the city-spanning, month-long Wonder Women Festival.

This issue of The Skinny was brought to you by… well to be honest, what with all the clementines we’ve been eating, adjustments to daylight we’ve been making and video charts of Sam Rockwell’s five best moments we’ve been watching it’s a miracle this issue of The Skinny got to you at all.

Until next time.

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THE SKINNY Scotland Issue 114

It is traditional for a cultural magazine located in the wind-battered northern reaches of Europe upon reaching March to preface every character-led column with reference to: a) winter b) how long winter’s been c) how sick of winter we all are and d) how great it is that it’s nearly spring and we can all experience joy again. In keeping with said tradition, this issue of the magazine leads with an interview with everyone’s favourite comedic pseudo adolescent, Josie Long, ahead of her appearance at Glasgow Comedy Festival this month, looking set to warm us all up with the LOLs after this long, harsh winter.

What seamless linkage from the universal experience of The Seasons to Our Content. You're welcome. We also offer a rundown of our top picks from said Comedy Festival, from Dylan Moran to Bridget Christie. Oddly no mention is made of Michelle McManus’s much-heralded comedy debut.

In Music, the big hitters for March include Lightning Bolt bassist Brian Gibson, who offered us some apology-strewn time to introduce the Rhode Island duo’s new album Fantasy Empire. We look forward to South by South West in Austin, Texas, drilling down into why the world’s biggest new music conference still offers unique opportunities to the Scottish musicians who fly out to showcase there. Elsewhere, Gang of Four guitar hero Andy Gill discusses the band’s continuation after the departure of vocalist Jon King; Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell explains their drive for slow burning success; Warpaint’s Jenny-Lee Lindberg kindly offers us an insight into the records that shaped her in our Under the Influence piece; and Sacred Paws’ Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers explain their long distance collaboration ahead of their Rock Action debut Six Songs, out this month.

Film, fresh from an intensive month producing the CineSkinny free guide to the Glasgow Film Festival, is setting its sights squarely on the GFF’s wee pal, Glasgow Short Film Festival. The obvious highlight of their programme is the debut of The Skinny / Innis & Gunn Award winner Rory Alexander Stewart’s resulting short Misery Guts, produced using the prize money he received last summer for dog drama Good Girl. We talk to the director about his new work, and stay on the GSFF programme for a chat with animation duo Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson aka Whiterobot, creators of the much-loved animated popcorn festival trailer as well as the chain-smoking pigeons of internet sensation Scroogin on a Greg. They’re here to debut their latest collaborative project Monkey Love Experiments, and give us some chat about their creative process and a life reliant on a Macbook.

Looking beyond our usual geographical boundaries, this month Books casts its eye all the way up to St Andrews, home of poetry festival StAnza. We thought the best way to explore the scene was through an insider’s guide, so we got Neu! Reekie! scribe Michael Pedersen to pen us an insight into the country’s largest dedicated poetry festival. Veteran music journalist Mark Ellen’s memoirs come out in paperback this month, and they’re peppered with anecdotes about rock 'n' roll excess in the days when a squad of naked men parachuting into Elton John’s party was a goddamn secret indulgence, not a PR exercise. He discusses the changing face of the music industry, and how it may be the agent of its own demise. We also have some words with Jon Ronson, promoting his latest book, which explores the implications of internet shaming.

In Art, it’s RSA New Contemporaries time again, as last year’s Scottish art school graduates descend upon Edinburgh to reveal what got them selected for Team Top Gun in the first place. This month’s Showcase, Grays graduate Ben Martin, is one of those artists, and he’ll be creating a work in tensioned, weighted rope especially for the occasion. His piece at the Aberdeen degree show was a bit magical, one of those rare works that is much greater than the sum of its parts and extends beyond the confines of its physical boundaries, impacting on the viewer’s experience of the room, themselves, their surrounding area. I for one am very much looking forward to what he’s going to produce this month on the Mound.

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