The Kaje (October Issue)
The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 6 takes a look at: Imelda May, Sarah Blasko, Oloaf Arnalds, Woman E, Delta Maid, Josh Ritter, Chris Aliano (Stages of Dan), Absynthe Minded, Fyfe Dangerfield, Alexis Houston, Sirens and Jon McGovern. Our 'Forgotten Gems' this month are: Aaliyah "Aaliyah", John Lennon "In His Own Write" and "The Italian Job".
www.thekaje.com 1 The Kaje is all about the arts; from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. If it has creativity at its core, we want to know all about it. Autumn is most definitely upon us but that is no reason to feel glum. The autumn is my eyes a great period for the arts. People no longer wish to bask in the sunshine and instead spend their time seeking alternative indoor activities. What better than a bit of culture to fill that gap? This month, as you will notice, we have focused heavily on music. Ok, so I slipped up and let Jon McGovern get in - but then I just couldn't resist his stunning landscape work - and I though his summer's day might brighten a breezy autumn breeze! Apart from that one aside, everyone else you see in this issue belongs the world of music. As you will see the industry is as diverse as it has ever been - something which excites me no end. I am bored to death of hearing friends ramble on about the fact that now that we are mid-20s there is nothing new and exciting out there for us to discover. How wrong they are! The breadth of artists we cover is only a slight insight into what we here believe to be the tops. If you think we have missed anyone - do definitely let me know! Jeremy Williams Editor needs YOU! We are currently recruiting contributors from diverse geographical locations. Writers, photographers and creatives are all needed! If you woul like to be considered please do send along your details to email@example.com We would love to hear your thoughts about this issue. If you like, or even do not like what you find, then please do let us know! Feature and Review suggestions are also welcomed. firstname.lastname@example.org The Kaje Crew....well, a couple of them anyway! Susan Cummins is Irish grown but, reside in Essex. An actress of reputable note so I am told and who am I to disagree! Passionate about anything creative, couldn't live without music! You will find me at the theatre, the movies, a gig or with headphones on late at night and never without a book. A woman with an eclectic taste in all things. Christopher Hall graduated from Laban this summer. His theatre credits include national tours with Struan Leslie, Sebastian Rex and Matteo Fargion. TV credits include working with Nike in their Nike Town commercials. Christopher is passionate about music and has remixed tracks for several artists. 2 The Kaje Contents... 4. Sarah Blasko. "It was time to be inspired and challenged by new things." 6. Woman E. "We like to put things together than don't necessarily match." 8. �l�f Arnalds. "My music is kind of the only output I could have." 10. Alexis Houston. "I just sing the way I sing." 12. Chris Aliano. "We were comfortable in each other's company, so we said let's just give this band a go." 16. Delta Maid. "It's important to me to be original." 18. Absynthe Minded. "Our minds are always somewhere different to our bodies." 20. Jon McGovern. "There are so many landscape photos out there that look almost identical." 22. Josh Ritter. "You don't need grace to push." 24. Fyfe Dangerfield. "It is all about sounds making you feel something." 26. Sirens. "I'd say we were living the dream now." 29. WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! 30. Imelda May. "I didn't want to lose the charm it had last time through the need for flashy production." 34. A Word Of Advice. 35. Forgotten Gems. Album: Aaliyah "Aaliyah" Book: John Lennon "In His Own Write" Film: The Italian Job 42. Designer of the Month. Exquisite 44. Reviews. www.thekaje.com 3 I've been playing music in Australia for about ten years and it was time for a change. There are lots of great musicians and songwriters in Australia, but it was time to be inspired by new things and be challenged. How has it been to start from more or less scratch over here? It can be difficult, but it's exciting at the same time. It just takes time for people to see you play and to get to know what you're doing, but the feeling is nice when people discover your music for the first time. What differences do you see between our music industry and the Australian? They're fairly similar in a lot of ways, but it's just a whole lot bigger over here. There is so much music and so many people that it's staggering sometimes. There is always something good to see music or film wise, and to me it's exciting to be in a city that is a major touring centre. We're just so far away in Australia, we're isolated, but that can be the nice thing about it too. Having experienced success as the singer of Sydney based band Acquiesce in the mid-90s, Sarah Blasko took a risk and decided to go solo. Her gamble paid off, with Blasko winning `Best Female Artist' at the 2009 ARIAs. Yet, as someone who likes a fresh challenge, Blasko uprooted herself from her homeland and moved the UK to start a new. The Kaje found out why... You have had quite a lucrative career back home, but are a relatively new face on our music scene. Can you give us a brief history... Many Australian artists have tried their luck in Europe - who hasn't made it over here that you think people should check out? Sally Seltmann, Holly Throsby, Augie March. They've all played over here but not "made" it as such. There's a great band from Perth who live over here now, they're called Snowman. I also really love Melbourne band The Drones. Whilst speaking to an Australian actor a few issues back, he told us that he thought Australia was a talent drain. Would you agree? Hmmm.... not sure what he means by that. I think like any smaller country it can be tough to make your mark in certain fields, and the opportunities aren't always there. I think for such a small population, we do pretty well in the arts. There are lots of well known Australian actors for instance. Unfortunately I don't think artistic people get as much support from the government as they should though. I think this can make a big difference. There's more funding for sport in Australia! If people lack support it can be difficult, but then great stuff can come out of that too. Sarah 4 Blasko I've released three records and one EP, I'm from Sydney, Australia and I moved to England about nine months ago. "It was time to be inspired by new things and be challenged." What made you decide to relocate and try your luck over here? The Kaje Words & Images: Jeremy Williams With the UK as your current base, what is your plan of attack? That sounds like I'm going to hurt somebody! I'm going to stay here for a while, do some touring and hopefully write a new album over here next year. At the start of your solo career you recorded several cover versions, what made you decide to explore other people's work as opposed to your own? I'll be playing my new album, I've got a great band (double bass, piano, drums, banjo, guitar, percussion). We've been playing together a while now and it's sounding great. Do you prefer to work live or in the studio? I like both for different reasons, but live is the most freeing. There's not as much self-analysis going on and you can follow the moment and unexpected things happen. There's something about the stage that just I was asked to record some covers - one was for heightens the music and takes it to wilder placa tribute to the songs of Neil and Tim Finn and es. the other was for an Australian film called "Little Fish" with Cate Blanchett. It comes up every now "It's kind of like a hopeful and then, and I enjoy the challenge of working on someone else's material. It sheds light on the heartbreak album." process. How have audiences differed in the UK to Is there a cover version you are most proud Australia? of? Probably my cover "Seems Like Old Times". I recorded songs from films that I liked as a bonus disc with my latest album and that was one of them. It was fun to do. Who would you love to have covering one of your songs? David Byrne. He's a bit of a hero of mine. Can you tell us a little bit about your current album "As Day Follows Night"... I recorded it in Stockholm last year with Bjorn Yttling (Peter, Bjorn & John), it's kind of like a hopeful heartbreak album. It fuses plenty of styles folk, jazz, showtunes, and makes it into a certain type of pop music. You are currently working on a follow up, how is that going? I've only just begun and it's going to be broken up with two months of touring! I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it when I get back. What can be expected of your upcoming tour? www.thekaje.com 55 www.thekaje.com Much the same in lots of ways... like Australians, people in the UK like to yell things out and get pretty boozy. This is so different from French or German audiences - they are so quiet. For November tour dates see www.sarahblasko.com The music industry may often be viewed as staid and boring, churning out mass--produced hit after hit. But here at The Kaje we feel that issue after issue we find those who break the mould. London based Woman E are such an act. Drawing more on the poptastic 90s, their debut single "Few And Far Between" is colourfully charismatic but be warned it will get stuck in your head. After a sunny day in Dulwich Park, the duo told us more about their intentions... Woman E is a very topical name, what made you settle on the name? We were following the scandal of Max Mosley allegedly having had Nazi themed sex with a dominatrix, known throughout the case as Woman E. The tabloids were persecuting him with the full force of their double standard morality and we found it fascinating how Mosley turned the whole chase around and ultimately inflicted a humiliating defeat on the tabloids. We thought it had a lot to do with our times: the obsession with sex, Nazis and the almost Victorian moral code the tabloids lay claim name choices. to but never live up to themselves. We wanted to name the band after Do you think the Mox Mosley incident is reflected within something current and liked this sto- your sound? ry because it has so many layers. No, not really, I think this would be quite difficult to translate. But he had guts and was honest, so we give him a lot of kudos "We like to put things for that. W together that don't necessarily match." How would you describe your sound? We like the term `melancholy disco', we like to put things together that don't necessarily match. How did you form Woman E? It was a natural transition from a previous band we played in, we just kept working together and had less and less people around us. What do you each bring to the table? We keep each other in check first of all and take a few things Were there any close runners? There were certainly many suggestions, but we can't really remember them. A quick check on MySpace proved every time that others had had the same idea before us. It took ages to come up with this, naming a band isn't a talent of either of us. When we play gigs we always envy other bands for their creative band 6 The Kaje Words: Dani Miller Image: Jeremy Williams Both of you have quite busy CVs to date - can you maybe pick out a few highlights? Oover: I worked as musical director for fashion label Comme des Gar�ons for may years, which is one of the most creative and also challenging environments I've ever worked in. Ria: Probably playing a song very important to me for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall. Ria - what prompted the move from acting to singing? As with anything, but I think more so in the entertainment business, you have to fight tooth and nail to gain success in your field, you have to love it and put your all into it. I simply didn't love acting as much as I loved playing music. WOMAN E off the table that the other one has put there. "Musically we don't make any conscious decisions, we just follow our tastes." Image seems pretty important to the group - what would you say are "Few and Far Between" is your debut single - can you your aims imagewise? tell us a bit about it.. We find it much harder than others to It's a song about going on dates as a routine, even if you do the whole visual thing. I think that know that they are going to be mediocre. Little bits of shared the images has to make a promise interests and common ground flare up and whither though which the music keeps. So we would the course of the evening. But you are still rather out with like to be able to translate our slightly someone who is most probably not `the one' than staying in different take on things with our imon your own. It's kind of the opposite of a starry eyed roman- age. tic love song. But it is also an appreciation of the fact that a deep connection with someone is rare and precious. How do you hope the rest of 2010 will play out? Your sound is quite different to what the eighties synth heavy sound of the charts - was this intentional? The single is out on the 27th September, so we see how this goes. We will Musically we don't really make any conscious decisions, we release the second single in January, just follow our tastes. Our influences come from all kinds of so mentally we are kind of already in eras and styles, so the eighties sound on its own would not 2011. be enough for us. We do love the fact that there are more synth bands coming up right now, it means that it's easier for www.myspace.com/womanetheband us to get gigs! www.thekaje.com 7 LEVI MILLER 8 The Kaje 8 The Kaje �l�f Arnalds �l�f Arnalds may be a name you are unfamiliar with. But were I to mention M�m, celandic musical maestros with whom Arnalds has played since 2003, such a blank would not be drawn. On the dawn of her second solo album "Innundir Skinni", which feaures a much talke about duet with Bj�rk, Arnalds may soon see herself lifted from indie queen to global superstar. Words: Dani Miller Image: Jeremy Williams For such a small country, Iceland has a major came clear. At that point I thought the record with impact on the global music industry. Why do everyone's hard work behind it deserved a name that was less of a joke. So I just chose one of the you think this is? song titles, which I find fits really well with the I think the most influential musicians from Ice- record as a whole. land have worked hard and developed their own sound and aesthetic. I think their art has very lit- Can you tell us a little more about the record tle to do with them being Icelandic, and in some as a whole? ways I find it a bit limiting to have their output The thing that unifies the songs on the record narrowed down to where they come from. is that the core of the tracks is always a whole take me singing and playing an instrument, ac"My music is kind of the only companied by 1-5 people. The whole takes were output that I could have." very important, even though some overdubs followed. Your own recordings also appear to be at one with nature, where do you find your influenc- On the whole you record in Icelandic, what es? prompted the decision to start recording in My influences are more through friendship and understanding between my closest people. Musically I feel that the major influence on what kind of music I make are my limitations as a musician. My music is kind of the only output that I could have. English on this record? The reason I started writing in English was that my live shows are a lot about story telling and I love experiencing different connection with the audience, depending on whether I tell people what I'm singing about or not. I had always enjoyed singing other people's songs in English so Though you are only on album number two, I thought why not write my own in English too? you have alongside some amazing musicians - what has been your favourite collaboration to date? Do you have a favourite song on the record? I think my most musically inspiring collaborators have been Skuli Sverrisson and my producer/ road buddy David Thor Jonsson. Is there anyone you would still really like to work alongside? I'm starting to work on a project with old Icelandic music from manuscripts with Hogni Egilsson, from the band Hjaltalin. Another Icelandic musician that I'm very curious to do something with is Unnsteinn Manuel Stefansson, lead singer of Retro Stefson. You changed the title of your current album from "�k�d�k�" to "Innundir Skinni" - what prompted the change? When the album was still in working process, I had a lot of very diverse ideas of songs, and felt like it was going to become a kind of a funny chaotic record. But then in the editing process, a lot of things came together and the picture beYes, "Vinur Minn", because I wrote it 10 years ago and recorded it much later, and it's got a friends and family choir, including my son shouting. "I had always enjoyed singing other people's songs in English so I thought why not write my own in English too?" You are about to set out on a European tour. How does your sound translate to a live setting? I never play my songs the same way. David Thor and I are constantly changing our set, keeping things open. Do you prefer to record or perform? I enjoy both. My favourite is to write songs and playi them when they are fresh. www.olofarnalds.com www.thekaje.com 9 Alexis Houston 10 The Kaje 10 The Kaje Words and Images: Jeremy Williams As I prepared myself to meet Alexis Houston, the younger half-sister of international superstar diva Whitney Houston, I found that everyone was wishing me luck. For it appears that Alexis has automatically been tarred with the same brush that her sister has, in much the same way as younger sibling struggles to escape an elder siblings shadow at school. Yet upon arriving about five minutes late to our meeting point, London's ICA, I found that all my worries were needless for Alexis is as charming and down to earth as they come. However, it is not long before I put my foot in it and compare her new single "Change" to Whitney. Yet even this doesn't cause a flare. "I just sing the way I sing. But I do have to say honestly that credit has to be given where credit is due. Whitney has been influence for every female singer that is out there nowadays. She has been at the top for nearly thirty years and so it is impossible to not be exposed to such a bright, strong star. I would not lie and say I had not in any way been influenced by her." Her refreshingly upfront response is proof enough that Alexis is not an artist trying to replicate what has gone before, though she will concede to a couple of influences. "When I was growing up in Forest Hill, London I would always listen to Mariah Carey's "Visions of Love". She is such a phenomenal songwriter, poet and producer. I wanted to be like her. Also, Sarah Vaughan, whose deep, raspy voice is similar to mine really helped define my sound. through line of Alexis' debut album "Speak LoveLife Lessons". In many ways the record could be termed a musical autobiography as it travels through a complicated journey of love and loss, both romantic and non. From the long-distance love letter "Speak Love" to "Life Lessons", a note to her recently passed father. "He was very afraid knowing that he was about to die. But I just wanted to let him know about all the times we'd shared but also that I am aware that in life I still have many lessons to learn. This past year has been pretty challenging, but I wanted him to know that the time we had together was so valuable." It appears that Alexis holds a lot of stake in honesty, yet just a google search will prove that the rising starlet has had far from an easy ride on home turf. With questions about her true identity, birth gender and controversial love life it appears that there may be more to her than meets the eye. However, Alexis was unafraid to place her heart on the line. "The truth is the truth. Nobody can deny that. I feel that through my writing I am communicating with people, that I am able to create a bond." "I just hope that people give me the chance to be myself." "You know, I am not conceited about it. Though I am writing about my experiences, they are not just my experiences. I hope that when people Having got the awkward, but inevitable Whit- hear them, they will be able to relate." Far from ney question out the way early on, Alexis and I using her family connection to take her places, relax on the step in the sunshine and focus in- Alexis would rather that her honest, open lyrical stead on her already credible career to date and approach speaks louder than any famous sibling. "I just hope that people give me the chance the change from songwriter to performer."I am essentially an introvert, so it was slightly oxy- to be myself. I know I will make mistakes, I will moronic for me to become a performer. But then make lots of them but I can just hope that I will I had written these songs and I felt strongly that get support in what I do and that I can share the I could perform them, perhaps not vocally but celebrations with everyone." emotionally, better than anyone else as they are Having spent much of the last few years self-proessentially about me." Boasting an unexpected modesty the dexterous vocalist considers herself ducing and penning her debut album, Alexis is lucky to be in the position that she finds herself now in the scary position of opening up her baby in. "It was a form of catharsis for me to be able to to criticism. "The album is like my child, but I hope that people like my children. That I can send my write these songs." songs off to school and that they will make friends. Then if I am lucky, people will invite my children "I just sing the way I sing." into their homes and they will take a life of their own." "Speak Love-Life Lessons" is out now. Catharsis and connection are without doubt the wwww.alexishouston.com www.thekaje.com 11 Chris Aliano "I did music at GCSE. I had always had piano lessons, but I took a guitar to uni. I never did any gigs or anything. That was till the last year really, when I had a lot more time as I had a lot less lectures." Stages of Dan's lead singer Chris Aliano is sat opposite me supping a white Americano near the Bull Ring in Birmingham. Given that half an hour earlier we were stressing we would not get the photo shoot done due to rain, the fact we are sat outside is an achievement in itself. Worcester born, London based Chris is reminiscing about his days at Nottingham University, where he met his current bandmates. "That was when I wrote the first few songs that would become solo songs. Then we graduated and went home to our home towns. I worked as a gardener for six months, then I revisited te songs i'd written at uni." 12 TheThe Kaje Kaje 12 Words & Image: Jeremy Williams "I was quite autonomous at the time, I was in the singer/songwriter mould. My brother and I went travelling and took the guitar with us around Australia and New Zealand. Whilst he was driving I would sit in the back and play on my guitar. I wrote a few more songs when I was travelling, Then I made the move to London. After a few months of getting settled, I thought I should do a few gigs, so I tried a few open mics." The move from the bedroom scrawling to the live forum would change Chris' ambitions. No longer was he writing for his own satisfaction but to feed the hunger to perform. again but had also realised that he enjoyed performing so much with his mates that perhaps the solo career should be side-stepped. ""It all felt so natural. We were comfortable in each other's company, so we said let's just give this band a go. We chose a name for a band, which incorporated Dan from uni, who wasn't in the band. It was definitely a nod towards Dan. We had this saying at uni the "Stages Of Dan" as at uni he had this autonomous haircut when he was growing his hair. There were many "Stages of Dan" you would see in the street, so we would point them out to annoy Dan. When we were fishing around for names it was just logical." Though a three-piece performance wise, Stages Of Dan are in every sense of the word a four piece. "Dan always comes to gigs but he is also the creative and visual side. He does all our videos. He had loads of ideas for future videos and he did the "Gary" video. He has a good pedigree. He did a few videos for me when I was solo." "I was playing heavier songs and they pointed out that they were a rhythm section. So we decided to give it a go." A fan of the late Townes Van Zandt, Chris started out by copying his finger picked folk styling before her saw "Kid Harpoon. He was big on the London circuit when I started out. I loved his energy on stage. I decided to change my set. I would start with my slower, folk finger picked numbers then halfway through I would take it all up beat and rock out." The transition was simple. Chris never felt any hesitation and though he insists that Stages Of Dan has his undivided attention. "I think there will definitely come a time when I start writing solo material again as I do enjoy it. But at the moment I am enjoying the moment I am in. Writing songs Coincidentally his old uni mates Big Chris, Guy together with the band." and Dan would always come to support him. "After coming to see me performing at Benicas- "It all felt so natural. We were sim, Guy and Big Chris had left their five-piece comfortable in each other's rock'n'roll band. They came to see me on Battersea Barge and they noticed I had plateaued a lit- company, so we said let's just tle bit. I was still doing the same gigs and I hadn't give this band a go." been signed. I wasn't really helping myself. They noticed I was playing heavier songs and they However, with the bands debut solo single "Gary" pointed out that they were a rhythm section. So about to be released, we can't leave the conwe decided to give it a go." versation without asking whether he feels more strongly about "Gary" or his own biggest hit. "I Despite having built up a solo reputation, Chris think "Gary" is very much our catchiest song. It found that he was losing heart with his career is one that everyone latched onto. That is a real trajectory. It appeared that his mates had just the moment for us as the band. It all came very eassolution the reignite his passion. "After five or six ily, lyrically and structurally. That is without doubt rehearsals we had hatched together a set, com- a happy moment. But as a solo artist, I am still prising mainly of songs I had written. We'd start very attached to "Sense A Change". It is hard the set with me doing my solo stuff, then halfway to decide between the two, but at the moment through they would walk on and we would do a "Gary" is really the gem for me. few songs as a band. We would be Chris Aliano and Dry Ice for a few gigs." "Gary" is out November 7th. The new format worked. Chris had found his feet www.myspace.com/stagesofdan www.myspace.com/chrisaliano www.thekaje.com 13 14 The Kaje www.thekaje.com 15 DELTA MAID Where are your origins from? I want to do as a career. I was in Ireland in a place called Westport on holiday for two weeks. , I had my cd player at the time and my mum and singer/songwriter, recently described by NME dad had bought this CD by a woman called Rory as "the Joni Mitchell for the new folk gener- Block who is a big time blues and country musiation" stopped off to do a set at The Flow- cian. I listened to it non-stop for the two weeks, erpot in Kentish Town Road, London. Delta absolutely infatuated by it. That was it, for whathas been on the Festival circuit throughout ever reason it just twigged in me that this is what the summer and we got a chance to catch up I wanted to do. This is exactly the music I want to with her before she went on stage. do, it did something for me. I was born in a place called Garston in Liverpool to parents who are both originally from Liverpool. My mum does have a lot of Irish in her background, her maiden name is O`Connor so that just shows you! They were both born and bred in Liverpool though so I'm completely Liverpool home-grown! "It's important to me to be original." Delta Maid, where does the name come from? It's funny that, because I did a gig when I was first starting out, I didn't want to go under the name of Katie. That's my real name Katie Foulks but, you have so many artists called Katie I wanted something different. I didn't really mean for it to stick but, it just so happens I was doing this charity gig in Liverpool and someone said what name do you go under. I was really in turmoil as to what I should do go under my own name or something else. It was strange because that day I had made up this name Delta Maid, as I'm really influenced by the Delta Blues, so it basically means I'm a maid to the Delta Blues. I never wanted it to stick but, it did and people call me Delta now. When did you first realise you had this huge love for music? I think I have always realised it, from when I was young, two or three. My mum and dad were always playing records and I'd always remember the words. I found it very easy to remember lyrics, it was only privately for them, they'd get me to sing Hank Williams or Patsy Cline songs. I have always loved music but, the turning point came when I was 14 and I thought, this is what 16 The Kaje I did the whole usual thing though, going to school and getting a degree as my mum was big on the academic side of things so I followed suit. Then I did this gig, became Delta Maid and that was the start really. I started to write songs after that, I put them on MySpace and people really liked them. That then gave me the confidence to write more and then I started doing the gig circuit in Manchester more than Liverpool. It has been a long process but, I just kept at it and kept writing songs. I don't think my career would be going as well if I had just been Words: Susan Cummins doing covers. It's important to me to be original. Who were your main influences? My mum and dad were my main influences because they brought me up on Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King and they loved country stuff like Hank Williams. We were exposed to all that from when we were very young. After I had heard Rory Block at 14 I started to look Thompson song called "Persuasion". I first heard of it from Tim Finn, but, the original version by Richard Thompson just does something to me. I can't put my finger on it but, whenever anyone asks me about a favourite song that one comes into to my head straight away. Who would you like to work with in the future? I'd love to meet Rory Block and work with her as she writes her own stuff as well. Obviously, the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. I have always been influenced by older artists. "People get to know your songs properly, they buy into you and that's what I want." Tell us about your EP `Broken Branches'... I was originally working on an album and stopped when I realised it wasn't going in the right direction. `Broken Branches' evolved from that, it could be taken to the festivals and gigs so people could hear the music I was doing. It was completely stripped down, just me with minimal percussion and another guitar. The five songs on there are quite country blues and it's going really well. It's right up my street but, I can't wait for people to hear the album as it's a lot more eclectic. Through the learning experiences I have had I would much rather classify myself as a singer/songwriter with country blues influences. The album has 15 songs and there's folk, blues, country and soul. What's next for you ? into the history of the blues, finding out why was Rory Block influenced and by whom. I discovered a whole new world of the blues and how country and blues are intertwined. It wasn't just that though because my parents had a very eclectic taste in music, they loved Van Morrison, The Beatles and Elvis. I was very lucky in that I was exposed to lots of different genres as I was growing up. Can you name me a favourite song? One that really comes to mind is a Richard Working on the album which is going to be released early next year. I'm also doing the Seth Lakeman tour through November and December which I'm really looking forward to. My biggest dream is for people buying a ticket to see `you'. It doesn't matter whether the venues are big or small but, as soon as people are willing to spend a bit of money to see you do a one and half hour set as a headline act then you know you are doing something right. People get to know your songs properly, they buy into you and that's what I want at the end of the day, I just don't think there could be anything better. www.myspace.com/deltamaid www.thekaje.com 17 Words: Jeremy Williams "It was not a decision, it was just the way it sort of happened. I was fed up with making rap music and started experimenting with other genres." When Elliot John Gleave (better known as Example) first hit the music scene in 2007, with his debut album "What We Made", he was immediately hailed as "the new Mike Skinner or the new Eminem. I am not the new anything. I am just me. My music is as electro as it is hip hop, but a song isn't just about a beat. It is about lyrics and the mood. I just want people to take my music for what it is." Despite his critical labelling, "What We Made" sunk without trace. Thus, when three years later, Example returned with the poppier "Won't Go Quietly", many critics were surprised at his new pop sound. But Example is adamant that he is far from selling out. "I think the way it works, I did my first album which was a hip hop album. But I was still trying to get on Radio 1 with it and have hits with it. They were all still pretty catchy, even though they were hip hop. So that didn't really get anywhere, so when the label ended, I started experimenting with dance music. I started working with people like Chase & Status and MJ Cole." "I just want people to take my music for what it is." By changing his collaborators, Example underwent a musical re-examination. Far from trying to change genre, the 28 year old was simply trying grow as an artist. "The more you write, the more choruses you write, the better you get at songwriting. You end up coming from an underground place to a really good place. If you spend all your time rapping then you become a really good rapper. I stopped rapping and spent all my time writing choruses. The result is coming up with big choruses, like "Kick Starts", which I wrote all by myself. There are lots of rappers in the Top 10 but pretty much all of them don't write their own choruses. So I guess that is what separates me. Then obviously you mix it to a certain standard and level to ensure it breaks the pop market. " "I never wanted to be underground, hip hop or urban. I just wanted to play big stages to big audiences and get my song on the radio." Unlike many of his contemporaries, Example freely admits that he wanted to be a commercial success. "It is about entertainment. A lot of artists make music and say it is all about the personal, that it is not to make money or entertain. That it is deep and artistic. That is fine but if you have to remember if you aren't trying to get music heard by anyone else then you shouldn't be making music for people. As soon as you play a song to someone else it becomes theirs, they relate to it in their 18 The Kaje 18 The Kaje "I started playing music when I was just nine. I always thought I wanted to perform. It is all about setting goals and achieving those goals. Life is so short that you might as well just give it a try." Bert Ostyn, lead singer of Balkan influenced quintet Absynthe Minded, knows that if you don't try then you can not succeed. It is with this in mind that he approaches the band's move from success in their home country to an attempt to break the UK. "England is really the gateway from Europe to wider releases." ductions, the situation in France allows already to do bigger tours. Though it could be said, having had a big summer hit in France, our hopes are now high." Having always played in bands as a child, Ostyn moved to the city of Gent as a late teenager. There he started writing his own songs, a lot of sonds. He started to record them at his place. Soon enough he made friends with Jan Duthoy (piano), who was in turn in a band with Renaud Ghilbert (violin). "From there things just evolved naturally." Words & Image: Jeremy Williams "We have always been the same guys, with the same band. We are at the end of the day good friends. For us it is all about the music." With Having seen their career go from strength to their success having already spread to Belgium's strength in Belgium, where they are not just com- neighbours France and Germany, the quintet mercially acclaimed but also critically lauded. "I hope that the UK takes to them in a similar fashcan not deny that it is nice to be famous at home ion. Whilst many will write them off as just anbut career wise we want to get ahead. Belgium other bog standard indie pop band, Ostyn insists is after all a small country, so the next dream and there is more to them that meets the eye. "What goal is to make it in Europe." we have is original. We are are not your average rock band. We are, and have always been, influDespite the rigid ambition, Ostyn remains real- enced poets, artists and folk music." istic. "At the moment it is just fun to play in England. We do not have anything rigid setup. We "Our minds are always somewould like to be succesful there, but if it all does not work out, then we can carry on." For Ostyn where different to our bodsuccess is only a bi-product of what Absynthe ies." Minded do. Yet part of him feels that cracking the UK is crucial to the furthering of Absynthe "Our name, Absynthe Minded" stems from a peMinded. "We need to do this. You know, I am riod when artists were getting crazy on absynnot as naive as I once was. It is not just about the. That whole period really interests me. But having songs you think are good, it takes more. the connotations with just the alcohol work well You need a strong record deal and an awful lot enough for us. That is what we are about, our of luck." minds are always somewhere different to where our bodies are. That is what absynthe does." "People say that for us to be ready to make it in the UK we have to want to do a college tour. But Though a mutual love of poetry and traditionwe are now too old for that. Whatever it is we end al arts united them, they also found they had a up doing, it will have to be very well organised." shared love of music. They decided early on that Had the quintet tried to launch their career simul- though they are Belgian, they will record songs taneously throughout Europe, Ostyn would have in English. "It is language of rock and roll. But had no problem slumming it on a hard tour, but also the through language of literature. I have having experienced success already he is less read so much in English, I do not care for transwilling to make those compromises. "In France lations. When I sing people will hear that I am the records had not come out, so we released an not English and so they will forgive any mistakes album which compiled the best of the first three I make. The power in what we do is in the music, and our new album. We wanted people to like but there is also an art to our lyrics." us, but we needed to first fill that gap. Whilst in the UK our shows will be modest, almost introwww.abysntheminded.be www.thekaje.com 19 "I can not deny that it is nice to be famous at home but career wise we want to get ahead." 20 The Kaje 20 The Kaje Words: Jeremy Williams Images: Jon McGovern The brainchild of acclaimed landscape photographer Charlie Waite, the Take a view Landscape Photographer of the Year Award has already become become one of Great Britain's most prestigious annual photographic awards. The main award (and �10,000 prize money) was awarded to Parisian born Emmanuel Coupe for capturing The Old Man Of Storr, Isle of Skye. However, the competition, which is now in its third year, also runs an equally celebrated Young Landscape Photographer of the Year Award competition. This year's prize was awarded to Jon McGovern for his vibrant image of Derby (see left). Still at school, Derby's own McGovern is a modest winner. "I didn't expect to win really -- just to be on the shortlist was a great success. I suppose maybe because it is different. There are so many landscape photos out there that look almost identical. Very nice, but not original. OK, now I'm starting to sound like a sage of photography. I've still got a lot to learn too." At just 16, McGovern realises that in terms of photography he is still very much a beginner. read every scrap of information about photography I can, and tried to soak up as much as possible." A spark of interest encouraged at school prompted a flurry of experimentation. McGovern soon learnt that practice made perfect, but admits that it is post production which defines his style (`Welcome To My Nightmare' � below). "People have to realise that it's not cheating -- even in the days of the darkroom photographers could edit their photos (although very slowly). Computers just make it easier. Having said that, it is important to get the image as best as it can be in-camera, because no amount of editing can fix a bad photo (usually)." "Even in the days of the darkroom people could edit their photos." "Photography-wise, I've noticed that a lot of photographers imitate the style of the superstar photographers. Although I'm guilty of this sometimes, I feel it's important to develop your own style instead of feeding off the popularity of others." Though McGov"There are so many ern seeks inspiration in landcscape photos the work of others, notaout there that look bly Dave Hill, Chris Clor, almost identical." Charlie Waite and Steve Coleman, he is equally As with many budding photogaware that to make a caraphers, McGovern is reliant on the internet to reer of photography in his own right, then he has seek advice and garner feedback for his work. to find and stay true to his own voice. Whilst His Flickr account is overwhelmed with imagery. it would appear that landscape photography is However, when it came to choosing those suit- something which he has already mastered in his able for entry, the elimination process was far tender years, he assures me that "he will never from complicated. "I entered the photos that I (in the foreseeable future) stop trying my hand in thought to be the most compositionally strong, other areas. My portraiture needs a lot of work, and with the highest quality of light. I tried to think so I'll be doing some of that soon. Landscapes like a judge; think which ones I would have cho- are one of the most rewarding of genres in my opinion, though, especially if a lot of planning sen, and why. It must have worked." and effort has paid off in a great shot." "I'd been taking snaps for years but only really got interested in it about two years ago, when my LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: ICT teacher, Barry Thomas (now retired, so I can COLLECTION 03 is out now. refer to him by his first name), encouraged us to take photos for our coursework. Since then I've www.thekaje.com 21 To say that Josh Ritter has proved that taking a risk has its rewards would be an understatement. When he was starting out, Ritter was unwilling to wait around for a record deal and instead launched his 1999 eponymous debut album independently. The success was not immediate, but time on the road built his reputation and enabled Ritter give up his day job. Over a decade later, Ritter has been proclaimed one of the greatest living songwriters and on the dawn of album number six... Josh Ritter 22 The Kaje 22 The Kaje "So Runs The World Away" is out now. www.joshritter.com Words: Constantinos Kypridemos 2006 saw you named by Paste magazine as big, tapestried record full of stories that include one of Top 100 Living Songwriters. How did as many details as possible. I'm very proud of that feel? it. It felt great to be included! If the music had not worked out, had you thought of any back up plans? It is a long way to come for someone who started as an independent artist. What would No plan B! you say was your secret to success? You are about to embark on a UK tour supI've always felt it's better to be persistent than ported by your wife Dawn Landes, are you a good. You don't need grace to push. fan of the touring lifestyle? How much do you think the opportunities for It's really the only one I know. I've been doing independent artists have altered since you it ten years and I love it. I get itchy feet if I stay home too long. I've learned to live with sandrelease "Josh Ritter" in 1999? wiches and strange showers, and I love seeing The world of music has become much more egal- new towns. itarian since 1999, mostly due to all the things people always talk about: the internet, the ensu- "Comparisons are only really ing fall of major labels, etc. An artist can record helpful in allowing people to a record in their bedroom in an afternoon and the entire world can hear it by dinnertime. For all the find new music." hand wringing, I feel that music is much healthier now than it was then. Anyone who wants to can Do you foresee a time when you would rather be able to just release records and not hit the jump in. road for the touring? "You don't need grace to push." "So Runs The World Away" is your sixth album � did you ever think you'd get to this Now that you are established fully in your stage? own right, do you ever get fed up that inevitaI never had a doubt in my mind! No plan B! Seri- ble comparisons with the likes of Bob Dylan ously, I never would have imagined the route I'd or Bruce Springsteen? take to making six records, but that is the reason for doing it after all. For the long strange trip it's Comparisons are only really helpful in allowing people to find new music. I take the comparisons been. to Dylan and Springsteen as great compliments, Do you remember what drove you to make but I also keep in mind that they've been doing it your debut album? If so, is the same thing thirty or forty years longer than me, and careers your driving force? can only be judged in hindsight. Whatever it is, it's deep, it's obsessive, it can With the tour taking up most of the rest of 2010 make me a real pain in the ass to be around, and � what other plans do you have for 2011? I'll never see a psychiatrist for it. I have a novel coming out in July. It's called Can you tell us a little about "So Runs The "Bright's Passage" and I'm very proud of it. I'm also planning on putting out a new record next World Away"? year, and I'd like to sit on a porch somewhere I worked on the record for over two years. It is a and drink some lemonade. www.thekaje.com 23 When that time comes, I'll know it and I won't be afraid to do it. I do hope that time comes, but I also hope that when I'm 105 and it's time to die, that I die on stage, mid-song. I am just a musician and I am out playing music, whether it is with The Guillemots or with this band. It is like asking someone what is the difference between a night out with one set of friends or another. You just have different relationships with different people. That is it really. The Guillemots are a bit like a family, we have a relationship like that. But I am having a great time on this tour though, we are good friends and it is fun." Birmimgham born Fyfe Dangerfield has come a long way from teaching music at Cranbrook College. An acclaimed classical composer, Dangerfield came to public attention as a member of eclectic and experimental indie rockiers The Guillemots. However, it was a cover of Billy Joel's classic "She's Always A Woman" on this year's John Lewis advert that has seen his debut solo album "Fly Yellow Moon" shoot back up the charts. Despite the tracks success and knockon effect, the seemingly shy Dangerfield seems unconvinced of the songs true artistic merit. "I was just asked to try it for a John Lewis ad, so I just gave it a shot. I liked the song and I thought why not, just like many of the things I have been asked to do before. It is not like something to be proud of, it is not a creative accolade. Though I am proud of bringing Billy Joel to a new audience." So, if Fyfe is not about to shout from the rooftops about his commercial and critical acclaim, what is there that he is truly proud of? "I am very proud of the first The Guillemots record, but then again I am very excited about the new one." "I am just a musician and I am out playing music, whether it is with The Guillemots or with this band." The quiet, composed Dangerfield may not be about to tell all about his solo project, but his band is clearly dear to his heart. There is little doubt that The Guillemots fans amongst us were slightly worried when Dangerfield first when solo. "Fly Yellow Moon", whilst far removed from the work of The Guillemots is tender, moving and unforgettable. Solo success 24 The Kaje Words & Images: Jeremy Williams Fyfe Dangereld was inevitable for the skilled songsman, which left an inevitable question mark over the critically acclaimed but commercially limited quartet. "It is all about sounds making you feel something." "Next year we have the album coming out, we are just finishing it off. We were never really going in one direction, this album is something in its own right." Coy about how their third album will sound, all Dangerfield will let is is that as a group they "definitely get very excited about playing around with the sounds. It is all about sounds making you feel something. That is what The Guillemots are all about." So if The Guillemots are all about creating sounds to move someone, what then is his own solo project about? How did he set out to write an album different to his bands? "I'm not sure because it just sorts of happens really. I don't really think in those terms. I just write stuff." There are clear differences of course. "Obviously with The Guillemots we write a lot of stuff together, but I bring my stuff in too." Rather than "Fly Yellow Moon" having been a preconceived notion, it appears that the musician was just wanting to experiment. "A couple of years ago I just wrote stuff which I wanted to record acoustically so I didn't need the band. I guess that is what happened. I just did it by myself." Though he just fell into the solo project, he freely admits that now he has tested the waters, he will continue to explore his own sounds as well as working with The Guillemots. However, from a man who has quietly continued to balance a career as a composer this should be no surprise. Though his loyalties lie to his `family' in The Guillemots, the musician in him craves constant creative fulfillment through as many avenues as possible. "Fly Yellow Moon" is out now. www.fyfedangerfield.com www.thekaje.com 25 Sirens 26 The Kaje 26 The Kaje Words: Jeremy Williiams "Ten years ago we were singing in our bedrooms. Now we record in top studios around the world. I guess as a band we have just matured and so has what we are doing. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves and just ask how we got here." Childhood friends Karina, Lea and Katherine spent their teenage years singing along to TLC into their hair brushes, dreaming of the day that their own girl group would take off. Having first officially formed Sirens a decade ago, the trio could be called the UK's most authentic girl group. Not for them the instant fame reality TV route of former member Michelle Heaton (reality TV pro and ex-Liberty X singer). "I guess we were just little girls dreaming back then. But I'd say we were living the dream now. We have become experienced performers." ade with little commercial success, Sirens have not lost any of the fire which initially drove them. "In this life you get what you put in. Many bands split after a few years as their hearts aren't really in it. They just want the fame, but there isn't really money in fame itself. We just do it for the love of making music. Very few girl groups are still going after ten years, but we just love what we are doing." "There is no pressure to be in the tabloids or have constant Top Ten hits." A true DIY approach has been applied to their pop ambitions. From their early home hip-hop inspired recordings to their newer slick electro Whilst Heaton may now be a household name, pop sound, it is the girls who have taken control. Sirens believe that their DIY approach has integ- They have decided who to work with and even rity. "I really forget about her having been a mem- taken charge of their own bookings. "If someber" explains Karina", "those days just seem so body wants to be a Doctor or Lawyer then there long ago. You know I love seeing how succesful is years of hard work to be put in. We kind of see she is, but our lives have just been so different. our work till now as our apprenticeship. We have She took the reality TV route, whilst we took the done our time at the `University of Popular Mulong road based on credibility and talent. Every sic' and served our dues. Now we are a lot more person wants something different and I loved shrewd, our eyes have been opened. In many when we were close when we were younger. But ways I would hate to be as naive as I was ten she is just that childhood friend you grew apart years ago." from." "In many ways we have been lucky. We are signed to an independent label, so they have "I'd say we were living spent their time developing us. There is no presthe dream now." sure to be in the tabloids or have constant Top Ten hits." Whilst aware that the majority are unaHaving only once graced the UK Top 50, it could ware of their musical journey, the girls are proud be said that Sirens have not achieved the com- that they have stood the test of time. Whilst many mercial acclaim that their former bandmate has, an X Factor has come and gone, the girls have but barely a scratch at the surface shows that maintained their workload but most importantly their goals have been different all along. Whilst kept their friendship alive. "We are more than some crave fame and fortune others just want friends, we are more like sisters. The touring and to be working. "It is odd because we have had the experience has created a strong bond." more success in Japan and the States. But the UK industry is harder to crack. If you look at it, Whilst friendship and maturity have helped them girl groups are always manufactured so we have reach the release of album number four, the girls been competing against people who have big are clear in their aims. Whilst mainstream sucbucks behind them. Whereas in the States, if cess has appeared unattainable in the past, they they like the song then they like the song regard- hope it is now just a small arms stretch away. less." "We would like Sirens to become an iconic band. "What we have always done is pop music, which is popular music. I guess to a degree in the UK it hasn't been that and so we want to make it that." Whilst many acts would have caved after a decWe have been inspired by all the icons, from Madonna to Stevie Wonder, but no girl group has ever lasted long enough to tell the tale." www.myspace.com/sirens www.thekaje.com 27 YOUR A DV E RT COULD BE HERE. E-MAIL email@example.com 28 The Kaje To e n t e r, send your name, address a n d a n s we r t o t h e k a je @ t h e k a je. c o m WIN! LOREN CDS!!! SCOTT Question: What is the name of Loren Scott's current album? MARY J BLIGE T I C K E T S ! ! (Manchester or Birmingham) Question: Who is supporting MJB on tour? SIGNED JOSH RITTER ALBUMS!!! Question: Who is Josh Ritter's wife? ABSYNTHE MINDED T-SHIRTS!!! Question: Who is the drummer in Absynthe Minded? REGGIIMENTAL FT. MATT HENDSHAW CDS!!! Question: What is Matt Henshaw's new EP called? HAUSCHKA TICKETS!!! Question: What is Hauschka's real name? www.thekaje.com 29 IMELDA MAY "I CAN TELL ME HOW MY SONGS SHOULD SOUND." DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW SOMEONE ELSE 30 The Kaje 30 The Kaje Words & Images: Jeremy Williams Some people are lucky, they experience instant success at a young age. But this often leads to an early peak with a fast decline. Others give up chasing a dream, realising that financial stability and a normal lie might just be the easier option. Then there are those artists out there who persist, balancing their passion with a flexible job to ensure that their creativity never wanes. Irish Rockabilly star Imelda May falls into the last category. Having released her debut record, No Turning Back" under her maiden name Imelda Clabby to little acclaim or public attention, Imelda May did not walk away from her true ambition. "Luckily, my husband Darrel (Higham) told me to just go for it. I spent a long time singing for other artists but I had written these songs and it got to the point where I wanted to get them out there. "No Turning Back" was just me dipping my toe in the water. It was mostly covers, with three original songs, one of which I like." You get to the point where you need to leave as you are telling your parents where they need to put their sofa. It was not fair on the band to push forward my ideas so forcefully." In many ways it appears that May sees "Love Tattoo" as having been a gamble. Having been used to the security of band life, May was not just putting a record out, but she was allowing people to hear her own writings. The home recording was released three years after "No Turning Back", under her new name Imelda May. "Weird enough it my Dad who suggested that. I was not sure if I wanted to use Clabby as Imelda was already a different enough name. Imelda Clabby was a name people were finding difficult to say. May is my middle name, so my Dad said I should use it." "Love Tattoo" despite its independent release and lack of funding found its way to the hands of Jools Holland. "It was crazy how it all happened. It was so quick. He rang our manager to say he was a fan. Our manager quickly chased it up and he got us on the radio a few times and invited us on the tour." A useful contact, Holland was doing his best to raise the profile of the till then unknown singer. Then one day fate knocked on the door and May's rise from obscurity was sealed. "He had said he would try get us on the show. Then we got the call to say that Natalie Cole was sick and that they had a slot. We jumped at the chance. We had two days to rehearse then we recorded. From there on it just grew." "The album was like leaving home for the first time." A supportive husband has proved central to Imelda's rise to success. A fellow musician, Darrel "asked a farmer in the Midlands about this old cow shed he had. He more of less gave it to us and Darrel converted it with a friend into a studio. That was where we recorded "Love Tattoo". We made the album completely on our own, we had no money to put into it. It was all done by us, I produced the record. It was my first time producing, I had all the ideas but just needed to show how to express them." "I needed to make "Love Tattoo". I had a development deal with a record company, we worked on a few tracks but they never called me back. But I had got to the point where I really wanted to record my own songs and to get to perform them. The bands had been a good grounding for me, but it is like everything in life. I guess the To say that the success of "Love Tattoo" grew is album was like leaving home for the first time. a vast under exaggeration. "Love Tattoo" not only went quadruple platinum, but has opened the door www.thekaje.com "Imelda Clabby was a name people were finding difficult to say. May is my middle name, so my Dad said I should use it." 31 to a record deal. Now signed to Decca, May is about to release her third record "Mayhem". Having developed a phenomenal following since "Love Tattoo", May insists that she has felt no more pressure to produce the album this time around. "I really didn't look at it like that. I was just delighted to my teeth into it. I had already written more songs and gigged some of them already. I truly believed and still do in the material that I had." Yet, as a signed artist, May found that perhaps the record company initially had different ideas to her own. Having been used to having total control, May was adamant that an external producer would not be brought in to work on "Mayhem". "I don't understand how someone else can tell me how my songs should sound. " "I didn't want to lose the charm it had last time through the need for flashy production." "My record label have been very supportive really. Record companies have to take a risk on people for there to be really good music out there. I knew I had to take a step up from last time, but I knew I could do that by myself. I didn't want the record to lose the charm it had last time through the need for flashy production." In a reflection of her attitude towards leaving her days as a singer in a band, it is clear that May sees being a solo artist as a move that allows control. Whilst she enjoys the benefits of being signed, she knows that the reason she got her deal in the first place was a belief in her as an artist. Her record company need not have worried. Their faith in her conviction has reaped the rewards. "I am sure they were worried whilst I was was recording because they were not very involved in the process. We went back to the studio that Darrel built and just got on with it. But when they heard it, they loved what they heard. Sometimes blind faith pays off." If her success in Ireland is anything to go by, then "Mayhem" is about to take May's career to next level. On home turf, she has just became the first female solo artist to have two albums within the album Top 5 ever. So what does May feel is the appeal? "I hope and like to think that I am seen as a contemporary artist. I don't ever want my material 32 The Kaje to be seen as nostalgic. I want to keep it exciting." "People are right that my sound is rockabilly heavy, but it is really just a mix of the stuff I love. In there you will find rockabilly, blues, jazz, country, a smidgen of ska/skiffle and even some sixties surf." She believes that having had parents grow up in the fifties, her more obvious influences have stemmed from her childhood listening experiences. However, the most surprising element to be found in her music is that of "punk. I was, and still am, a big fan of The Cramps, The Clash and The Pretenders. I take a lot from them, especially Chrissie Hynde. I just love her attitude." With a clear love of strong female front-women, the resounding stomp of her latest title track and single "Mayhem" are easily explicable. A pure demonstration of her growth as an artist, "Mayhem" is a determined effort. A distinct move from her lighter debut, "Mayhem" shows an understanding of the pop market without ever losing her true flavour. "It has to be said that it does still draw from the fifties. It is inevitable really. I can tell you that the first songs I learnt on the guitar were all fifties numbers. My sister taught me the guitar and I wrote my first song aged 15. I can still remember it now. But it was also about that age that I really loved rockabilly. My brother was always listening to Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. So my song was of course in that style too. I found it so scary yet exciting. I guess I was hooked at a young age." "I was, and still am, a big fan of The Cramps, The Clash and The Pretenders. I take a lot from them, especially Chrissie Hynde. I just love her attitude." May's inability to escape her initial influences is the music industries gain. A versatile performer, May stands out in the current sound-a-like generation. Her love more or leave me attitude, harking back to a day when the music spoke louder than the star singing the record, showing that at the the end of the day talent should be the cause of success and nothing more. "Mayhem" (Decca) is out on October 4th. www.imeldamay.com www.thekaje.com 33 You can get it if you really want... (Jimmy Cliff) `If only I had more time' is surely one of the most over-used expressions in 21st century society. It seems that people are often prevented from doing things they want to do because they don't have time. So imagine for a moment that this were you saying `if only I had more time' to do what you want to do. How much time would you need? 5 days? 5 months? 5 years? And perhaps more importantly, what would you actually do with it? If you sit down for a few minutes and break down how much time you really have and how you actually spend it, what do you notice? Do you actually have the time to do what you want to do and live the life you want to live? Are you managing your time well? Are you spending more time on things you don't want to do than on things you do want to do? If you really want to do what you want to do, then what is stopping you doing it? Are you really motivated to `find the time'? Do you want to find the time or do you just think you `should'? If you `want' to, then you are actively making a choice. Your choice. If you think you `should', then somebody or something else is making a choice for you. Which would you prefer to run your life? Some people have jobs they don't particularly like, places they don't want to live in and relationships they don't want to be in, however what if you could focus more on what you actually want as opposed to what you don't want? What do you think you could achieve if you gave yourself permission to believe that what you want to achieve is really possible? And what about the other primary reason or dare I say, `excuse' that people use to prevent them from doing things - money? Imagine for a moment that you had all the money you needed. How much money would you actually need? �500? �500k? �500m? And again, perhaps more importantly, what would you actually do with it? If you sit down for a few minutes and focus on literally how much money you would need and/or want to live the life that you want to be living, what do you notice? Are you managing your money well? If you really want to earn/get more money, then what is stopping you? Or could it be perhaps that you don't want to do what needs to be done to earn/get more money? That doesn't make you a good person. It doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you who you are. And that can only be a good thing, can't it? Maybe we can't always get what we want. And maybe we can get it if we really want. Maybe it just depends if you're a fan of the Rolling Stones or Jimmy Cliff. Either way, surely it is down to our real `selves' to make the choice and decide how to live our lives. Do you believe in fate? Destiny? In someone else's power to determine the outcome of your life? Or do you believe in your personal power to live the life that you want to and deserve to live? It may not be an easy journey. It may not be a pretty one. But it will be yours and you will have made it happen. And whatever life you have, that's the best life to live, isn't it? Jason Newton jason@thekaje,com Grove Hill Coaching www.grovehillcoaching.com Grove Hill Coaching specialises in motivating people to achieve their personal success and to be what they want to be. 34 The Kaje Sometimes things get forgotten that really deserve to be celebrated. Each month we will be taking a look at an album, a book and a film that warrant a revisit. If you have any recommendations then send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org www.thekaje.com 35 36 The Kaje Words: Christopher Hall Unlike many other artists of their day, Aaliyah was years ahead of the music industry with her third album "Aaliyah" showcasing the young star and her ever maturing sound that didn't quite fit in with her peers at the time, thanks to several collaborations on the album including Timbaland and Missy E along with her ever maturing and seraphic voice. It's hard to believe that after the somewhat sordid affair with R Kelly that by the age of 21 the young pop-star would become one of Hip Hop and R&B's finest. Some critics had been comparing the new, more mature Aaliyah to a certain Janet Jackson of the time which I can understand. Her slick sounds and productions were similar to that of Janet Jackson and even to an extent some of her music videos echo that of some of Jackson's work. But there is no denying Aaliyah's unforgettable soulful voice that seem to glide harmoniously through each verse and chorus, and the distinguished layers of voice that created the trademark Aaliyah sound. This is what set her apart from the rest and stand out as her own artist. and beat-boxing and is what you might expect to hear from an R&B or Hip Hop artist and "Extra Smooth" presents a simple repetitive sound that never becomes monotonous. Another track that seems to be right in the middle of Aaliyah's territory would be the ballad "Never No More". This track really is a hidden gem that you might skip on the first few listens, but once you give it a go you can soon pick up on a nostalgic feel to the track and it almost echoes the classic sound of Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation Of" and showcases a more sensual side to Aaliyah's voice creating a mature track that sites itself between old-school and future hip-hop, much like "Loose Rap" with it's chromatic melody throughout, again we hear the subtle yet powerful vocals pierce through the unusual beats and rhythms of the instrumental and as Aaliyah quite rightly states "It ain't just rhythm and blues." "It is all too sad that we only really appreciate what has been in front of us when it is gone." It seems as though the whole record is sprinkled with subtle electronic and de-tuning synths that seem to almost gurgle and pulsate beneath Aaliyah's distinct and trademark harmonies. One of the most futuristic and timeless tracks on the record is one of Aaliyah's biggest singles "More Than A Woman". With its polished production, nearly a decade on the track and even the video doesn't seem to have aged. Along with "More Than A Woman" another outstanding track would be "I Refuse". The entire track is smothered in melodrama with is theatrical orchestration of pianos, guitars and strings builds to a dramatic climax that is driven with a minimalist percussive backdrop that could have easily come straight out of one of Bj�rk's tracks. It is all too sad that we only really appreciate what has been right in front of us when it is gone, but this is human nature and unfortunately the early death of Aaliyah back in July 2001 is unfortunately not an exception to this rule as only now can we look back at what amazing talent was being offering to the world. "Aaliyah" really was the start of what could've been a remarkable and tremendous career for the maturing and talented pop-star, however what work she did create still inspires and excites us today.. www.thekaje.com 37 "Her slick sounds and productions were similar to that of Janet Jackson." Most albums have strong and weak tracks and when it comes to deciding which are the standout tracks on "Aaliyah" and which ones are not, it becomes very hard as there is such a variety and range of sound on the album. A personal favourite on the album would be "What If", showing the great versatility of Aaliyah. Bringing an unexpected taste of metal and rock onto the album only after the track has been drenched and covered by Aaliyah's tremendous vocals, something many R&B stars would find hard to adapt to. Then to completely juxtapose this we get the real soulful and divine tracks "Rock The Boat" and "It's Whatever" showcasing what arguably she did best, creating a sense of sincerity and simplicity, something which is definitely missing from the music industry we live in today. "We Need A Solution" yet again shows another side to Aaliyah's sound bringing an almost Middle Eastern vibe to work and also features a rap from Timbaland. The effect creates a very strong and haunting track laced with great beats 38 The Kaje Words: Jeremy Williams So it may seem that we are jumping on the bandwagon. As you will have no doubt read all over the place, the late Beatles John Lennon would have turned 70 this year. Like all other publications and Beatles fans around the world, here at The Kaje we decided it was only right to celebrate a true talent. However, we will not be looking at his music nor delving into his art. What we want to focus on is his writing. double edition with his 1965 "A Spaniard In The Works", neither of which should be so easily forgotten. What the literary Lennon did best was appeal to the child within the adult. His subject matter often veered towards to controversial, yet the innocence with which he approached his subject matter ensured that no-one could be offended. At just 72 pages long, broken down into doodles, poems, rhymes and short stories, "In His Own Write" is an easily digestable read. Though the occasional off-beat poem misses the beat, on the whole it is difficult to even describe "In His Own Write" let alone find fault. By creating his own language, which is similar enough to English to be understood, Lennon removes himself from the offbeat subject matter. His approach is not forceful, with the texts often containing lessons to be learnt but not thrust down a readers throat. "The first solo venture by any of The Beatles." In his lifetime, Lennon achieved a lot more artistically than the average superstar. Whilst many wannabes today try without talent to push boundaries in all fields, Lennon did not have a shadow writer to ensure his creation fitted the mould. In fact, as with most things that Lennon did, he set out to break the mould. Taking heed from the legendary comic and author Spike Milligan, with a slight of the head to children's novelist Roald Dahl, Lennon wrote the ridiculous and nonsensical. All work was accompanied by line sketches and bizarre doodles. His debut "In His Own Write" was released quietly in 1964. Its release marked the first solo venture by any of the Beatles, though it contain a brief foreword from band-mate Sir Paul McCartney. At the time, the publishing house were uncertain about the public demand for the product and so the original print ran short on the orders. Soon enough Lennon found himself the centre of a commercial craze. However, unlike many commercial phonomenons, the critics were also praising his efforts. It appeared that the singing sensation was also a literary genius. However, amongst all the acclaim for his political messages and songwriting capabalities, it appears that time seems to have forgotten his literary capabilities. Yet, alongside his 70th birthday album re-releases, comes the much anticipated re-packaged "In His Own Write" complete in a "By creating his own language Lennon removes himself from the offbeat subject matter." This approach allows the reader to draw their own conclusions, the lesson that they learn will come from their own experience as opposed to being inflicated by Lennon's own thought process. However, Lennon's later work for global peace is evident in an early form throughout "In His Own Write". By mentioning prejudice in a comical form, Lennon makes his reader feel uncomfortable with what at the time was a social norm. His blunt approach would be carried through to his later work, but here in its simplest form is it possibly at its strongest. "In His Own Write" (Vintage) is out now. www.thekaje.com 39 Words: Rachel Jacobs There is nothing like an original. In 2003 I went to see "The Italian Job" with my father. It was action adventure at its best. Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg and the stunning Charlize Theron. I walked out feeling all happy and bubbly inside but was crushed in one foul swoop when my father turned around and said "Wait until you see the original!" Within two weeks he had found it and sat me down to watch a film that causes the charms of even an evil Edward Norton to seem slightly pale. Michael Caine as your noble and valiant British villain, Charlie Croker, sets out to heist four million pounds from a transport vehicle in the centre of Turin. Its sly British comedy that makes Little Britain feel like watching a fish swimming in a bowl. The film tracks Charlie's adventures through, acquiring the money, the staff, the planning and then the actually heist itself, culminating in a spectacular chase involving three minis and a number of different unique locations around Turin. But it is Italy so lets not forget the involvement of the mafia. The Americans even get a feature, for once working against the English. "It is British cinema at its best and as such should be viewed by anyone who calls themselves British but also anyone who doesn't." If you're a feminist don't watch the film. Michael Caine has sex with a lot of women in this film... seven women in one afternoon and don't forget the additional one that night. What better way to spend your first afternoon out of prison. Not only that but it is with his girlfriends permission. Women in this film aren't there for any other attribute than the way they look and when something looks like it is going to go wrong the woman is shipped out. If you are not a feminist you'll over look this and enjoy the sheer intelligence of the film. I'll admit. It is ludicrous but that is what makes it such an entertaining film. It is well made, although being viewed now, watching the blue screens is entertaining but there aren't very many of them because this film is all about motion and as such the motion is spectacularly done. There is a wonderful blue screen of a vehicle driving past a group of construction workers though. Yes this film has been forgotten. The remake sparked a little bit of interest at the time but that was quickly forgotten. I have spoken to numerous people who did not even know there is an original and that's a crime in itself. (There is also an original Ocean's Eleven featuring The Rat Pack. Also a crime if you haven't seen it.) I don't know if you've worked it out yet but I really do like this film. I think it is everything that a film should be, funny, intelligent and engaging. It is British cinema at its best and as such should be viewed by anyone who calls themselves British but also any one who doesn't. I like this film so much that I'm watching it while I'm writing about it. And the ending... Pure Genius! I would like to end this review with a little quote from Mr Bridger that sums the tone of the film up nicely. "Everybody in the whole world is bent." "The Italian Job" is out now on DVD "There is nothing like an original." Mr Bridger (No�l Coward), the leading British villain who controls the British underworld from a prison is persuaded to back the adventure after Charlie has made a nuisance of himself. Buried under the sophisticated veneer of a royalist is a ruthless gentleman villain, making for a sarcastic but deeply believable performance. Of course it is No�lCoward, so one wouldn't expect anything else. By the time Michael Caine made The Italian Job he was already a household name. Although this name was created by playing the type cast of the working-class bloke with glasses and a downhome accent, that doesn't mean he isn't a pro at it. He might not have the glasses in this particular film but he definitely has the accent down to a tee. Watching him capering through England and into Italy, losing his car along the way is a sure way to enjoy 99 minutes. 40 The Kaje www.thekaje.com 41 DESIGNER OF THE MONTH 42 The Kaje The Kaje Stanmore based Helen Sterling recently decided to take a gamble. Having seen other companies thrive on the internet, she decided to get in on the game herself. Basing her company, Exquisite, around North West London and Hertfordshire, Helen brings pampering your living room. In her eyes, pampering has never been so individually designed nor accessible. On top of all this, her services are more than affordable. The pictures speak for themselves in demonstrating Helen's natural creative flair, but what really appeals to The Kaje is her natural determination and business flair. Helen is not one to sit back and wait for the offers to come rolling in, she is at fairs constantly promoting her abilities and also finding innovative ways to extend her product. One of our personal favourites are her own "Princess Make-Up Parties". The name makes it "I offer a wide range of services; Pamper Parties, sound almost as if the events are tailor made to Bridal make � up, Gift packages, Princess Make just children, but Helen will cater for any eventu� up, and mobile beauty and facial treatments." ality and has even hosted themed parties for hen By offering a nights with tailor made a twist. "You service, Helen can choose ensures that from glitter her client gets fun make� exactly what up or natural they want make�up. from her newEither way a ly found comprofessional make�up pany. "From artist will eyelash tints make your to facials at a party exparty, through clusive and to bridal makepamper all up or glitter tattoos at chilyour friends!" drens parties. I am happy to So pleased do all of it." is Helen to have been "After gaining selected nationally recas our very ognised VCTC `Designer of NVQ beauty the Month', qualifications that she has in Demologica a special ofFacials, Cosmetic Make � Up and Indian Head Massage I fer for The Kaje readers... decided to set up a business that was accessible to everyone, after all we all deserve to look and "Why not host a Pamper Party (invite seven or more guests) and just by quoting "The Kaje" on feel fabulous." booking you will receive a free treatment of your For a fledgling company, Helen appears to have choice. already made a name for herself. As pictured above, her clientele has already extended to To look up packages, special offers, book or simknown faces. Her personal highlight being mas- ply look at what Exquisite offers log onto www. sagging popular actor Ralf Little, of `Two Pints of exquisite.org.uk or e mail email@example.com. Lager (and a Packet of Crisps)" and "The Royle uk, mob:07584292196 Family" fame. 43 www.thekaje.com REVIEWS:ALBUMS Ambeson "When Colours Flow" Independent 4/5 Here at The Kaje we receive a lot of promotional material, and every now and again something completely surprises us � "When Colours Flow" is definitely one of those cases. Unsigned Ambeson a.k.a Rich Keyworth has put together an album which makes you question exactly why he isn't signed up to a label somewhere in the UK. That glimpse through the window, is only the start with "Carapace" and "Djerzinski" both cracking tracks in their own right. This isn't a hard-edged experimental album, with scrapes, bangs and friction. This is an album carefully crafted, smooth and subtle. Even the slightly more electronica elements of "Carapace" are tasteful and educated in their inclusion. "Our Blue Opel Friend" is, together with "Triptych", more developmental with those darker strands of Ambeson's psyche coming through. But the almost Moby-esque vocals hauntingly taunt the listener before sending them on a little electronic whirlwind. For the sake of �3 on Bandcamp it's difficult to see why you shouldn't buy the album. It has everything you want from a chilled, modern electronica recording. Put it on, sit back and be drawn into the world of Ambeson. Constantinos Kypridemos Eliza Doolittle "Rollerblades" EMI You may have guessed by now that Eliza Doolittle is firm favourite for us at The Kaje. Her upbeat musings may seem all summery and bright, but there is always more depth to what Doolittle says than first meets the eye. Without doubt a true star! many potential moments of true musical perfection. At nearly fourteen minutes in length, the aforementioned "The Golden Of ExploratioN" could have been spliced into far more digestable and productive snippets. When he cuts his tracks back, the results are mixed. "I Saw You Get On, Would You Like To Get Off" nearly works. The only issue is that The Avalanches would have made it ten times better. It is safe to say that the only track that works as a wole in "Al Hamdu Li Lah". Though not in any way radio friendly, the beat is simple and the vocal directed. It appears that Momo:tempo does really know exactly what to do, he just needs to find his own voice amongst the experimentation. What Momo:tempo does best is layering beats with quirky spoken word lyrics. Clearly this is not going to be to everyone's taste. Dan Bright `A Window To Look Through' opens the album in a haze of gentle futurism which sets out Ambeson's experimental stall. For near-on 90 seconds very simple melody just flows back and forth, in a relaxed manner. At that 90 second mark Ambeson adds the twist which suddenly builds the track with the odd triangle-esque twang, and a second melody moving the listener on beyond the window. Sirens "Stilettos" Kitchenware Few girl bands have lasted the distance in the same way as this Newcastle trio. Having never fully made it into the chart territory, "Stilettos" could well prove the song to break them in. A sohpisticated pop number, the trio delight with delciious vocals and something to move to. Singles Of The Month 44 The Kaje Momo:tempo "Sweetseeker" Momo Creative 3/5 Momo:tempo is `feeling the slip and feeling the slide' on his latest musical outing. The musical alter ego of Bournemouth based Timo Peach is clearly designed for fans of the dancier side to The Chemical Brothers. From opening track "Sweetseeker", Peach barely relents from seeking dance floor stardom. However, it is in the more melodic moments that he really excels. Perfeclty hidden within "The Golden Age Of Exploration" are tender moments which should have been exploited to further degree. Perhaps it is my own dislike for the try-hards that makes me dislike elements of "Sweetseeker". Momo:tempo simply throws everything in the pot and stirs in the hope that he hits gold. However in doing so, he has missed Cas Haley "Connection" Easy Star Records 4/5 Coming in second place on America's Got Talent can certainly not do anything bad for your career prospects. With Simon Cowell waiting in the wings to sign him after AGT finished, a management and record contract at his taking, Haley has gone his own way. "Connection" is something surprisingly different. The individuality of Haley is the beall-and-end-all of this album. His time on AGT showed the US, and probably those of us watching across the world, that he was a sensitive, humble and graciously talented musician. This album builds on that, word-by-word, track-by-track. Of the 13 tracks on this album, there are 3 which stand out from the rest. "Release Me (The Fear)" is the opening track, and sets the foundation of the whole album. That distinctive sound of reggae meeting the new world, is something which many people may never have been touched by. It's own smooth, soulful vibes are difficult to Louis Eliot & The Ember "Kittow's Moor" Fullfill 3/5 Former Rialto frontman Louis Embers experienced initial success at the height of the Britpop era. Yet, his second solo album "Kitow's Moor" veers away from the territory that his fans know him for best. An upbeat, folk infused effort, Eliot and his Embers are an enjoyable if not original entity. Their happy go-luck record breezes along but remains unmemorable. Imelda May "Mayhem" Decca 4/5 I have to admit to having been a bit worried when i first heard Imelda May's single "Psycho". The Irish rockabilly songstress who had won me over completely with the charming, yet seemingly effortless "Love Tattoo" had gone and got attitude with mainstream pop edge. Thus it was with slight intrepidation that i approached her latest album "Mayhem". I need not have worried. Though May appears to have developed a commercial edge, there is enough for the fan of the original recording to be satisfied. Unlike "Love Tattoo" which flowed uninterrupted, "Mayhem" is an album of two halves. This divide means that upon first listen, the record doesn't quite gel. Give it a few listens and you will be hooked. not resist. "Let It Out" confuses the listener for the split second duration of the intro � just for a moment you are expecting something a little harder sounding, but following that brief moment the listener settles into the comfort of Haley's sound. The gentle vibes taking you slowly forward, on gentle waves almost in a Marley-esque fashion. "Counting Stars" is probably one of our favourite tracks on the album, with the slightly more jazzy feel tingeing the that beautifully crafted reggae funk sound. It has been referred to as `reggae-pop' and although this may be the case, we would suggest that it is definitely Haley's sound alone. Cas Haley challenges those misconceived preconceptions about what he should sound like or look like, the music is the fundamental and Haley's brand just wont let go of you. Funk, blues, reggae, and jazz and all moulded into a sound that is warm, heart-felt and enticing. This is an album you simply have to buy. Constantinos Kypridemos Opener "Runaway Night" sets the tone perfectly. Edging but never quite reaching singalong terrain, the track gets the shoulders swaying but does not do a lot more. With folk riding high in the charts currently, "Kittow's Moor" contains more than enough radio friendly fodder to get "Kittow's Moor" noticed but it may suffer from comparisons to albums of better note. "Kittow's Moor" is worth a listen but perhaps borrow a mates copy instead of spending your own cash on it. Adam Green Fair enough the repetitive refrain of "Let Me Out" will never been top of my playlist, but when it sits aside the bashfully beautiful "Humble and Proud" and stunning whirl of "Kentish Town Waltz" its flaws are forgiven. Be warned, though unexpected, May's poppier moments have a killer edge. The demented "Mayhem" will be stuck in your head for days whilst even "Psycho" will win you over. To close with a cover of "Tainted Love" is a brave move, given that the original is still so celebrated whilst many covers have been harshly criticised. Yet May works her stuff and though she doesn't improve on the original she comes close enough. "Mayhem" is not quite as perfect as its predecessor but May has grown as an artist and displays an unexpected level of versatility. That alone is interesting enough to warrant a listen. Jeremy Williams www.thekaje.com www.thekaje.com 45 47 REVIEWS:LIVE Delta Maid Flowerpot, London 4/5 Delta Maid is a 25 year old singer/ songwriter from Liverpool. She has been likened to Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. Gina Yashere Glee Club, Birmingham 4/5 A truly excellent evening! Gina Yashere bought real life scenarios into a hilarious moment which had me laughing out loud and falling off my seat! The show was split into two sections with an interval in the middle, the second half seemed to be of made up of pre-prepared material, and even though it was funny i preferred the first half which was completed in an adhoc fashion and consisted of Yashere freestlying from audience material, this showed her at her best, revealing that actually not can she only tell a joke but she is a naturally gifted comedian. The audience was slightly flat in Birmingham but even with that Yashere definitely worked the crowd. There were a few in culture jokes however these were well received. Eleni Kypridemos felt tracks, "Livewire" and "High in the Tide" in particular, it is still hard not to feel penetrated by Fyfe's world. His voice almost haunting as it resonates throughout the room. The more upbeat "When You Walk In The Room" and "She Needs Me" get the crowd jigging along, and provide a happy contrast to the more melancholy tracks. A couple of Guillemots tracks are also sprinkled in for good measure and elicit a cheer from the crowd. The encore includes Fyfe's version of "She's Always A Woman", a track I suspect many in the crowd were waiting for. One man and a guitar make this a truly special moment. The hour and half set seems over almost as soon as it's begun. As he closes with a reprise of his first song, the audience really feel that they have come full circle. With talent like this at their helm, it with eager anticipation that we should await Fyfe's return to The Guillemots and the release of their next album! Kim Harrell Delta took to the stage with an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. Her voice has an edge to it that makes you sit up and listen. Singing from her EP `Broken Branches' demonstrates that Delta has a style all of her own. Her relaxed approach and interaction endeared her to the audience. She had heads moving, toes and fingers tapping and they were totally engaged throughout. It was a relatively small audience but, no less appreciative. Delta was accompanied perfectly by accomplished guitarist Ian Dunn, His unobtrusive efforts lifted the set and created a fuller sound. I look forward to hearing her album which is due for release early next year. Delta is one to watch and I for one will do so with interest. Susan Cummins Fyfe Dangerfield HMV Institute, Birmingham 5/5 Fyfe Dangerfield took to the stage for the opening night of Birmingham's newest music venue. The old Sanctuary and Barfly have been revamped to become the HMV Institute in Digbeth. With a carpeted entrance adorned with chandeliers and Fyfe's gig located in the smaller rather aptly named "Library" room, the venue is definitely worth a mention. The smaller venue adds a more intimate feel to the gig, as Fyfe and co. take to the stage and hammer straight into "Faster than the Setting Sun". This is live music at it's best as Fyfe proves his frontman status. It is clear that he feels the music, and it's hard not to get drawn in as he performs a set list primarily from "Fly Yellow Moon". This self penned album, was written whilst in the midst of a relationship and then breakup. Although he may lose some of the Guillemots fans when he embraces some of the more tender and heart- 46 The Kaje 46 The Kaje REVIEWS:THEATRE Faust (Goethe) Young Vic, London 5/5 The mythical first woman and sometime demoness Lillith describes the human heart as a "fist of meat" as she dangles seductively and terrifyingly above the heads of the audience. My heart was pounding through this gripping acrobatic spectacular of Goethe's supposedly unstageable work, "Faust" - the universal story of a man selling his soul to the devil. Asmodeus erupts from beneath the stage, through a chess board into full gymnastic life. The spectacles are never ending, and yet there is no pretence of illusion, as actors frequently break the fourth wall to comment on the acting of the play, growl at the audience and generally infuse some well timed humour. It was with great surprise then, that I found the adapted script to be as beautiful and complex as the aerial romance between the two lovers. Effortlessly moving between classical verse and bawdy humour, prosaic philosophy and contemporary obscenities, one was never conscious of a change of style or tone, until it had already pushed you into an emotional reaction. And emotions did run deep - from the seemingly bland opener set in a residential care home, where the seeds of loneliness and despair are set, to the sudden and heartbreaking climax where Faust is asking his God for forgiveness. Religion aside, we were all forced to ask ourselves whether we can forgive our own sins, before shuffling off this mortal coil. Explosive, soulful, essential viewing. Tim Macavoy Turning the versatile auditorium of the Young Vic into an underworld circus playground, Icelandic theatre company Vesturport, in a co-production with the Reykjavik City Theatre, return after success with their twisted classics "Woyzeck" and "Metamorphoses". They have previously utilised Nick Cave's "Jesse James" soundtrack to great effect, and now step this up a gear with a specially composed score by the brilliantly dark musician, and his collaborator Warren Ellis. Vesturport unleash every theatrical trick in the book Mephisto emerges from the skin of an old man, a fully formed demon. Faust/Johannes hangs himself with Christmas lights as snow falls gently in the background. My Romantic History (Jackson) The Door, Birmingham 5/5 Described as "a brand new comedy about love, loss and laminating machines", DC Jackson's play brings to audience a tale of that awkward office romance. Already a 2010 Scotmans Fringe First Award Winner, and with a cast of only three, "My Romantic History" tells the tale of an "office romance" from both sides, as we watch this fledgling, bumbling relationship begin at the nightmare that is after work drinks, where workmates are forced to socialise but in reality end up only talking about the one thread that actually binds them....work! Iain Robertson's character Tom, is the office newcomer, getting that all too familiar once over from the women in the office on his first day. Alison O'Donnell plays his love interest Amy, a 33 year old singleton, who has reached the conclusion that all the good men are taken, so it's time to settle for less! Rosalind Sydney plays Sasha, the office organiser and general busybody, with a heart of gold. Rosalind also provides us with the ensemble characters from Tom's best friend Jessie to Gran, a grey haired puppet, who adds one of the many comedic touches to the play. The set revolves around a basic office, with cardboard boxes used in every way possible to provide different locations, and also store the various props used throughout the show. The projection of "Pimp my Dog" , as one of the dire tv shows watched by mom and gran, the explosion, when Amy drops her pregnancy bomb shell, and even some "Matrix" style effects, are all further touches that show the directors (Lyndsey Turner) attention to detail, and bring her interpretation to life. My Romantic History gives the audience a true insight into male and female brains, and how that first love really can impact on your view of life, love and the universe. The same tale told from both perspectives will strike a chord with every member of the audience, and is surely one not to be missed! Kim Harrell www.thekaje.com 47 47 REVIEWS:DVD The Collector (18) Icon Home Entertainment 5/5 What happens when Home Alone meets Saw? Well "The Collector" actually. Marcus Dunstan directs his first feature length film in the same manner in which Patrick Melton and he approach the writing of the multiple Saw films. "The Collector" is not the first film where home invasion, whether comedy based or not, takes up the central theme. However, the sadism of the Melton and Dunstan's 6 foot, mute masked killer is pretty intense. Between the atmospheric soundtrack, the gloom of some shots, breathiness of the sound effects and some strange psycho sexual antics is enough to maintain the tension throughout this film. The mixture of a few creative murders and Villa Amalia (15) Peccadillo Pictures 4/5 Isabelle Huppert is without doubt one of the finest actresses around. Any role she undertakes will be performed consummately. Thus it is hard to comment on her stunning performance in "Villa Amalia" without constant praise. Undertaking the role of gifted musician Ann, whose world falls apart when she witnesses her husband (the director Xavier Beauvois) kissing another woman. Ann does not hesitate in leaving her husband and her entire life behind as she dissapears to a villa on Ischia. It is here hat Ann nearly drowns in the sea but instead seeks salvation in the form of a young lady (Maya Sansa) a gay school friend (JeanWiild Target (12) Entertainment In Video 3/5 When Bill Nighy's assassin "Victor Maynard" goes after Emily Blunt's "Rose", the last thing he would have expected was a certain Rupert Grint appearing and being chased by his own employers. The story line is not something new nor something innovative - however, that does not mean it is not an enjoyable film. It has a little of John Cusack's "Grosse Point Black" about it, although the dark understated humour in Cusack's film is replaced with some very predictable and obvious laugh out loud moments. As a middle-aged, solitary assassin, who lives to please his formidable a variety of splodges of perverse humour - similar to the Saw series for obvious reasons - means that "The Collector" does something why a lot of horror films struggle. It is a credible film. Pumping the home invasion genre full of gore, suspense, slasher stylings, a little nudity and some physics-based butchery, The Collector is a worthy addition to the hallowed halls of horror and a reasonably smart entry at that. Made by horror fans for horror fans, there's little to recommend to the unconverted or the squeamish but plenty to excite those of us who like unbearably claustrophobic, high tension tales of sadistic violence. Superior low budget horror. Constantinos Kypridemos Hughes Anglade). The problem with "Villa Amalia" is that Huppert is in turn its only strength, the glue that binds together an otherwise sloppy project. Based on the Pascal Quignard novel "All The Mornings Of The World", Beauvois' interpretation lacks the subtleties and intricacies of the books enticing plot. Beauvois appears to have focused all his energies on Huppert's performance, thus neglecting his other performers. In turn their performances are lacklustre and demonstrate little focus. Thankfully Anglade is a strong enough performer in his own right to have ensured that Georges is not totally wasted within the context of the film. Jeremy Williams mother Louisa, despite his own peerless reputation for lethal efficiency, Nighy is in his element. And with his professional routine interrupted by Blunt's "Rose" when he finds himself drawn to his intended target, the normally stable life of Nighy unravels very quickly. He spares her life, unexpectedly acquiring a young apprentice in the process, Tony (Rupert Grint). Believing Victor to be a private detective, his two new companions tag along, while he attempts to thwart the murderous attentions of his unhappy client. As always Nighy does what he does best in British comedies, but Rupert Everett's gangster and Martin Freeman's second fiddle assassin, more than add to this film. Constantinos Kypridemos 48 The Kaje 48 The Kaje REVIEWS:BOOKS ZooBorns! (Constable) Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland 4/5 It's hard not to elicit a big "aaahh" when you open a copy of "ZooBorns!", a book which does exactly what it says on the tin! The book contains "the cutest baby animals from zoos around the world", and has been produced in conjunction with the ZooBorns! blog. Each page in the book has details of the baby animals name, species, home, date of birth and it's status in the wild. It also provides some facts about the species as a whole, or quirky personality traits of the "ZooBorn". This is of course accompanied by the all important pictures of the absolute cuties that the book has been produced to promote. You'll find all the usual suspects inside as well as a few surprises, Short-Beaked Enchidna anyone? Who doesn't love baby animals? And with Christmas bearing down on us, what better way to score brownie points with the girlfriend or wife? Or provide an educational gift for those animal loving kiddies in your life? "Zooborns" definitely gets a big thumbs up from this female! Kim Harrell The ZooBorns! blog was created by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland. Set up to promote the vital work carried out in breeding programs in zoos and aquariums all over the world, and demonstrate how these programs help support conservation efforts in the wild. Sister (Piaktus Books) Rosamund Lupton 4.5/5 Before I start I have to admit that I am not normally a fan of mystery books. I can not really explain what it is about the genre that puts me off so easily, but I rarely finish any book within the genre that I am presented with. As an introduction that could not have given more away about my thoughts regarding Rosamund Lupton's debut novel "Sister". As I am sure you have already guessed, "Sister" defied my expectations and broke the mould when it came to the genre. From the moment I picked up my copy to the moment of closure, I was hooked and compelled. "Sister" could be called Picoult-esque, but that would not do Lupton full justice. In a similar way to Picoult, Lupton focuses on the personal. "Sister" is a journey of discovery. A sisterly bond which can not be broken. When Beatrice gets a call to say that her little sister Tess is missing, she starts out on a frantic journey to find where she has gone with unexpected discoveries along the way. Lupton proves that there is more to people than meets the eye and even if you think you know someone then you really do not. The real art to Lupton's debut is that it is a page turner. There is not moment when the fast pace relents and gives the reader a chance to lose interest. Beatrice's constant suspicions may not always be logical, but then rationality is not central to frantic worry. Lupton has also refused to stick to safe terrain. In a risky move, her central characters are not your simple everyday likeable type. They are unusual and distinct, yet they still hold appeal. For a debut novel, "Sister" is impressive. Lupton has a distinct voice as a writer and is able to connect fully with her readers. As someone who steers clear of the genre, it is safe to say that "Sister" defies convention and is a great read for anyone who wishes to pick up a copy. Jodie Spring www.thekaje.com 49 The Album - OUT NOW! http://www.myspace.com/blamejack "softly-strung melancholia with delicate harmoni and romantic-tinged meanderings" - Maverick "Blame Jack's brand of summer-song folk brightens even the darkt day." - Zap! Bang! www.grovehillcoaching.com Would you like to make a change in your life? Would you like to achieve more than you are now? Is there something missing in your life but you're not quite sure what? Would you like to earn a living doing what you love? 50 The Kaje