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THE

FEARLESS ISSUE

UND FO S HA HO W ER V LO IC US M OR N IA IC A MUS UL IN AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO BE SUCCESSF . MUSIC OR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES


EDITOR’S LETTER THE ALT-MU TEAM IS GROWING AND WE ARE GOING TO BE TAKING THINGS UP A NOTCH IN 2017!

ALT-MU TEAM Founder / Editor

Deputy Editor

Jennifer Le Roux

Ruby Rebelle

Lead Photographer

Lead Designer

Scott Chalmers

Simon Potter

Music Editor

Illustrator

Tuala Kiernan

Suzanne Greenwood

Multimedia MGR

Sub Editor

Harry Williams

Bex Cole

Marketing MGR

Online Editor

Zelda Zemzare

Joe Harris

Community MGR

Feature Writer

Sarah Kiernan

Edward Couzens-Lake

ISSUE CONTRIBUTORS Eris Eveiller, Hannah Mesquitta, Helen L Lowe, Josh Humphrey, Steve Young, Daniel Bateman, Philip Milburn, Tracy Jane Sullivan

t last we are here with another issue for you to feast your eyes on and it’s all about being FEARLESS. By that we mean going for what you want full throttle without fear of what could go wrong. In fact, any successful musician or creative professional will tell you making mistakes is often the best way to learn.

A

freed up some time for me to build up a team of ALT-MU soldiers in the Brighton office. Now that we have more creatives in the mix we have so many exciting plans ahead for ALT-MU. Including the launch of ALT-MU Brighton next year.

W

e are the only magazine that produces educational content in an entertaining lot has hapand visually compelpened in the ling way and we inlast year. I have tend to take this up a finally had the notch in 2017. Watch balls to be fearless this space! myself and go freelance. This has also

A

jennifer le roux Founder, Editor & Creative Director

COVER PAGE Photo: Scott Chalmers Subject: Shelly D’Inferno Design: Jennifer Le Roux

T: @altmumagazine | www.altmu.co.uk All rights reserved © ALT-MU Magazine


FEATURES 10: FEATURED ALT-MU: SHELLY D’INFERNO 20: ARTIST FEATURE: FACE IT ALL AND RE COVER, BY DANIEL FROM PISTOLHEAD 28: FASHION: NOT FROM THIS WORLD 40: FICTION: HARTMANN MALICIOUS RULES, THRILLER WRITING EXTRACT 62: PJ HARVEY: AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE

CON INTERVIEWS

24: BARNABY OAKLEY: MUSICIAN / MODEL / GRAPHIC DESIGNER 44: MEET THE AUTHOR: HELEN L LOWE 46: DIANA ROWAN: AWARD WINNING HARPIST & TEACHER 34: FASHION DESIGNER: FASHION SPREAD DESIGNER, MONICA GRIFFIN.


TENTS ALTMU.CO.UK

TOP TIPS

06: CAREER PATHWAYS: MUSIC NETWORK MANAGER, LAURENCE MALPASS 38: MUSIC DOCTOR’S SURGERY: HOW TO BE FEARLESS WITH YOUR MUSIC 60: MUSIC TIPS: HOW TO BE SMART WITH YOUR MUSIC 66: JUST ONE QUESTION: FEARLESS MOMENTS FROM ALT-MU READERS

COLUMNS

16: MAKE-UP TIPS: HOW TO BE FIERCE BY BURLESQUE VIXEN, ERIS EVELLIER 18: 5 INSPIRING ALT-MUS: FAMOUS MULTI TALENTED MUSICIANS & MUSIC LOVERS 50: LIVE MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY: SOUTHSEA FEST 2016 IN PICS BY HANNAH 58: THE WEDDING SINGER: INSIGHT FROM SESSION PLAYER, STEVE YOUNG


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8 0 20 righton

1 9 0 20

bimm, b g n i t i r w g son

drama / theatre arts degree

2009

starte d prod u ci n g b r i g ht while on uni versit at y

2012

Invincible Media internship

2013

inc Urban, & ic s u M d a o l n Dow Awards

MN2S - research assistant

2013

Point Blank (pr

oduction schoo

2014

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eative r c e r t n e Orpheus C nt for a t s is s a g learnin dults a g n u o y d e disabl

network manager, music gateway


[7]

PRODUCER & NETWORK MANAGER

MUSIC CAREER PATHWAYS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE I WISH I HAD WAS JUST KEEP GOING, PERSISTENCE IS KEY...

In this issue we delve into the career pathway of Laurence Malpass, Network Manager at Music Gateway. Tell our readers what it is you do in your own words...

The cherry on top is coming up with new ideas for how the site can work off the back of conversations with potential clients, and speaking with Jon and our IT team on how we can build tools that the industry can use! Where did your interest in music come from?

Basically I head up the Private Network department in Music Gateway, working closely with our CEO Jon Skinner. This includes marketing, sales, and account management for paying clients. There’s a lot of writing content for the website, and for user guides & one sheets explaining how it all works. I also jet set around the world to a bunch of conferences to meet music companies & explain how the system works, and how it can make their lives easier (one of my favourite perks of the job).

That’s a big question. I’ve always loved music...

APPARENTLY WHEN I WAS A TODDLER I WOULD ONLY FALL ASLEEP IF BOB MARLEY WAS PLAYING... ...so I guess from then? But it’s developed and


evolved, I’ve been involved from the production side of things as well as a composer and an artist, and my appreciation for the art has grown deeper the more I learn about it. I’m fascinated with it from a physics perspective, and from a psychological perspective, but also...

WRITING MUSIC HAS BEEN A REALLY USEFUL FORM OF THERAPY, I GO A LITTLE STIR-CRAZY IF I HAVEN’T WRITTEN SOMETHING IN A WHILE!

You studied theatre / arts at university, what is it about the stage that you love?

one, but after a few days, once I really understood what it was and where it was going I couldn’t pull myself away. It’s an amazing company and we’re going to be This was kind of a red herring in doing some really incredible my life. I thought I wanted to get into Theatre when I was at school, things in the near future. (And I’m not just saying that because I but found myself less interested work there). when I actually got to University, by then my music was far more I can give you the whole spiel, important to me, and I spent most of my time teaching myself but honestly, if you’re an artist, or making music in any way, or production and making beats. even just in the industry, I’d really recommend looking into it. I did enjoy the directing module at Uni, as I can relate it to music Briefly though... production, in the sense you’re kind of taking a back seat and looking at the bigger picture of the song / show, that felt much more natural for me, rather than performing or acting. What caused you to move in Media in 2012? Was it solely to have a side-line to earn the pennies or was it something else that inspired you?

WE BASICALLY CONNECT UP ALL THE DOTS IN THE INDUSTRY THROUGH PROJECTS & WORK OPPORTUNITIES ...

Honestly, I was just doing anything I could to get into the industry, and be able to support myself. I felt like it was a sideline to production, but it meant I could live and write in my free time.

But it’s a two way street! So as well as receiving licensing & work for hire opportunities, you can also post your own project and connect to different areas of the industry on your own terms (worldwide).

It was a really valuable experience for me though as I saw the industry from the inside for the first time, and even as an intern I had a lot of responsibility and learnt a lot.

There’s also a whole bunch of digital music tools for the modern day musician to use, I won’t go into too much detail, just go have a look for yourself, trust me.

As I moved away from Bristol, the band naturally fell apart due to distance. I started to learn production as a means to record my own music, but at the same time I was going out a lot more, and listening to dance music, specifically old school dubstep and drum and bass.

How did you get involved with Music Gateway and how can it help any aspiring readers?

What is the one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?

I had been bouncing around from internship to internship for maybe a year and a half, and found a posting on UK-Music Jobs for a position there.

The one piece of advice I really wish I had, I kind of did already have, and that’s just keep going. Persistence is key. But you guys already know this, it’s the music industry, it’s crazy.

The nights I would go to in Bristol, London and Birmingham definitely influenced my sound.

It’s quite close to where I lived, so I jumped at the opportunity. It seemed interesting from day

When you started studying songwriting in 2008, what instruments were you able to play? I mostly played guitar back then, and sang as well but I have a terrible voice (in my opinion). I worked with a lot of musicians at BIMM in Bristol, and played with a band for a year or so, which was definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. We understand you started producing in 2009, how has your sound evolved over time. What influenced you?

Discover more at musicgateway.net

INTERVIEW BY JENNIFER LE ROUX


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t e e M

y l l e h S IN HER OWN WORDS, AN OLD SOUL IN A YOUNG BODY WITH THE MIND OF A CHILD AND THE HEART OF A MOTHER, SHELLY D’INFERNO IS A SELF PROCLAIMED WOMAN OF MANY TRADES.

From fashion designer, to modelling, fire performance and photography - she’s as ALT-MU as it gets and by the sounds of it, there’s still more to come! Aside from running her own clothing brand Heavenly Inferno, Shelly is kept busy with her fire-group Pyrohex who have performed at Download and Hellfest along with tattoo conventions the world over. We caught up with the multi-talented firestarter, Shelly d’Inferno to find out what her average day consists of as a self-employed creative and to see if we could learn a thing or two from one of the Alt-scene’s busiest musos...


Hi Shelly! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us at ALT-MU! Let’s start with you! Can you sum up Shelly d’Inferno in a couple of sentences...

c i s u M

Well hello hello, to keep it short and sweet I’d describe myself as washing machine full of distressed textiles, a good mix of different CDs, vegetarian food and camera equipment, mixed with some crazy makeup and outfits. The washing powder I use is black eyeshadow and the softener is fuel.

Out of your many talents, what came first?

Styling, photography and modelling came first; I was about 13 and did photoshoots like our idols. We wanted to look cool and have photos like they did so we styled each other, invented studio backgrounds and took each other’s photos. Before that I also took dance classes. But I think the whole photoshoot thing really sparked that up for me as it continued to grow with us and we started doing more and more fun creative stuff as we grew up! You obviously appreciate art in many forms, have you always been creative? Oh yes, when I was little I went to a Waldorf school, which are smaller schools that focus a lot more on individual creative learning for each pupil. So there was always lots of dancing, singing, painting and making. The fact my school was small got me very close to my class and I felt very comfortable to express myself during my childhood. We love your look, who/what are your influences? Thank you! Well I can’t really decide to stick to one look can I, so I guess that means I don’t get influenced by anyone/ anything specific. It comes from all over the place and gets stored on the archive which is my mind. Then at the right time I’ll dig out some sorta mix of things I have seen/heard


of and put something together. What has been your biggest achievement? Going self-employed over 2 years ago. Being able to be my own boss has been and still is something I’m extremely happy and proud of! When did your brand Heavenly Inferno start trading? What inspired your fashion? I started Heavenly Inferno back in 2008/2009 before I moved to London and when I had discovered my passion for upcycling. I was just loving the whole thing of turning something unuseful and ugly into something badass. I started rummaging through second hand stores and re-designing things and eventually I started selling it on sites like eBay and etsy. Today I sometimes go a bit more crazy on some pieces for my ‘Rummagers’ collection which is my post apocalyptic range. That’s basically more of an odd MadMax recycled look. One of my favourites is the Mickey Mouse ears I make from speaker drums! You must have met some incredible people on your journey, what is your best piece of advice? To listen to what I want to do. Never get stuck in a job just because it’s safe for example. Always work towards something you love and take chances. What is an average day like for you? The average day is pretty chilled out. A big percentage of doing all the things I do is actually admin/network/design work. Things like doing product shoots, editing photos, designing banners/websites, making new equipment, scheduling posts, dealing with emails etc... So the typical day is actually sitting in front of the computer screen, which I’m not very happy about! That’s just things I have to take care of to keep the ball rolling, until I can afford an assistant! Have you ever been faced negativity as a result of your career? If so, how have you overcome it? Oh yes, everyday! I just delete and block and I don’t take any offense to anything they say. I always felt if you are 100% proud and happy to be who you are, and if you’re happy with your way of thinking and treating other people, then these things really don’t get to you at all - not me anyway. I sometimes reply with something nice and people change their tone and apologise. There

are so many people out there who need to be loved and taken care of. I believe in fighting hate with love; just keep doing what you’re doing, be happy with yourself and channel that energy out. Do you prefer to be behind the camera or posing in front of it? I love both, but I’ve decided to focus on being in front of the camera for now as I won’t always keep “my looks” I want to live this part of my career out fully before I can finally retire from my face and start using my hands more again! I’m sure I’ll do some shoots when I’m being an old badass too though. There’s always room for everything in the alternative world. Here, anything is possible! I can’t wait to spend more time behind the camera. I have so many ideas and so many looks and clothing I need to create. What are your future plans? Well like I said before, at the moment I’m focusing a lot on the performing, modelling and also a music project, which I’m terribly excited to release! It’s something I haven’t done yet and I’ve teamed up with my most musically talented friend Adam Lightspeed who is writing all the music. I will do some vocals but also take care of the whole art directing part of the band. I direct, style and create the look and ideas for the shoots and music videos. We wanted to make this into more of an online band, instead of a live act. Something that can just really spark a lot of inspiration to people musically and visually. Finally in true fearless fashion, can you tell us one moment in your career where you’ve had to be fearless? Definately lighting new fire equipment and performing with them for the first time especially when the equipment goes wrong front of an audience and you have to style it out as best you can! To find out more about Shelly d’Inferno visit www.shellydinferno.com or check out Pyrohex at pyrohex.co.uk. You can also follow Shelly on Twitter @shellydinferno to get her latest updates. Interview by Ruby Rebelle, edited by Bex Cole


I BELIEVE IN FIGHTING HATE WITH LOVE; JUST KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING, BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF AND CHANNEL THAT ENERGY OUT. Photography by Scott Chalmers


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BE FIERCE

COLUMN BY ERIS EVEILLER

BURLESQUE • PERFORMER • COSTUME DESIGNER • BURLESQUE TEACHER

WWW.ERISEVEILLER.CO.UK


[ 17 ]

Photography by Scott Chalmers

MAKE UP IS THE DRESSING UP BOX WE STILL If you would prefer to rock the natural GET TO PLAY WITH. WE CAN USE IT TO PRETEND ‘no effort yet photogenic’ look, then WE’RE ADULTS; PLAY AT BEING A VAMP, A find a colour close to that of your NATURAL BEAUTY OR A CLOWN. WE CAN BUILD gums. UP THE FEATURES WE LIKE AND PLAY DOWN THE ONES WE DON’T AND THE GENIUS OF IT ALL IS THAT WE CAN USE IT TO CREATE A WHOLE NEW LOOK IN AS LITTLE AS 5 MINUTES. OR WE CAN PUT IN A BIT MORE TIME AND CREATE A FIERCE CONTOURING ISN’T JUST FOR LOOK. ONE THAT STANDS OUT AND EMBRACES CHEEKBONES THE JOY OF MAKE UP. Get 2 lipliners, the shade you want as the Fierce isn’t a quick look… This is the power make up move, the ‘screw the make up rules’ move. No half measures, no “Is she, isn’t she?” Subtlety is not the name of the game here. The joy of the Fierce look is that there are so many ways you can take it and just a couple of pointers will help take it up to another level bow, then pat a little light eyeshadow powder on the skin inside the V on the upper lip. To keep everything in place during your 15 minutes, lipcote is fabulous.

WORK THAT MAKE UP BRUSH When it comes to the perfect skin illusion, there’s just one important trick. Blend, blend and then blend some more. The best blending tip is to blend it to the point you think it’s done – and then carry on for another minute. Then if you need more colour, just repeat. Watch the Drag Queens making up on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. They all know how to work a blending brush. www.victorialovesbeauty.com

GLUED TO IT Eyelash glue isn’t just for eyelashes. I’ve known performer coat the entire eyelid area or lips with a thin layer before sprinkling glitter on top. Or use it with a fine brush to create serious glitter lines wherever you want them. Ben Nye Glitter glue is also well worth a mention if you’re planning on adding glitter or sequins to large areas. www.duoadhesives.com. www. gurumakeupemporium.com

TIMING IS EVERYTHING If you’re using strong colours or glitter on the eye, then do the eye makeup first. That way you can use micellar water to clear up any fall out without disturbing your foundation Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water

main one and one a couple of shades darker. Sharpen them up and use the darkest to create a lip line before filling in with the main shade. Blend the lipstick over the top with a touch of highlighter patted in to the centre of the lips www.urbandecay.co.uk

ACCEPT THAT IT WILL GO WRONG No matter how much time you spend practising, chances are it’s occasionally going to go tits up. Luckily, when you’re feeling fierce you have a couple of options. You can either take off the make up (cotton buds soaked in olive oil should always be on standby), or just embrace it and pull it into the look. www.dhcuk.co.uk

COLOUR YOU PRETTY

Play with colours, try layering them over black eyeliner and use a damp brush to get a decent colour pay off. Using a cream shadow as a base is a great way to keep the colour where you want it. www.illamasqua.com. But the most important thing is to embrace and have fun with it! Whether you want to paint rainbows over your face, compete with Ru Paul or just ramp up your look for the stage, take your time, play your favourite music and enjoy it!


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INSPIRIRING ALT-MUS BY JOSH HUMPHREY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE FOR A CAREER IS NEVER EASY UNLESS YOU’RE TRULY PASSIONATE. IN EACH ISSUE WE HAVE OUR TOP 5 MULTITALENTED MUSOS TO HELP INSPIRE YOU. THEY ARE ALL MUSICIANS OR MUSIC LOVERS WHO HAVE FOUND AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN MUSIC OR THE CREATIVE ARTS.

BONO & THE EDGE

VANILLA ICE

Many people know U2 are more than just a rock band. Each member of the band has collaborated individually and collectively with celebrities, politicians and other musicians to address issues of poverty.

At the peak of his popularity, Vanilla Ice had a handful of hit singles and the fastest selling hip hop album at the time with To the Extreme.

U2’s philanthropy has pushed them to perform in front of a television audience of two billion during Live Aid in 1985 and twice be part of the Band Aid charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas? Despite some criticism, when partnering up with Bob Geldolf, Bono has been a powerhouse for social activism over duration of decades. However for over a twenty year period up until 2013, the more famous half of U2 were also the directors of the Clarence Hotel in Dublin. The only members of the Brushfield Ltd board, the company that trades as the Clarence; Bono, his wife Ali Hewson and The Edge outright own the hotel and have invested millions into its running.

However, unable to sustain his music success of the 90’s, Ice went on to host reality television series The Vanilla Ice Project. Already experienced at house flipping and handy with a tool or two, Vanilla Ice went on to host over 60 episodes on the DIY network which involved him renovating different rooms in a Palm Beach house. Its moderate success resulted in Ice launching a training course for those interested in real estate investing and releasing a book for real estate success (Vanilla Ice Project – Real Estate).


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“WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC

CILLA BLACK

JIM STEINMAN

Where to begin with Alfred Matthew Yankovic? An accomplished musician on numerous instruments – most notably the accordion, “Weird Al” has parodied numerous songs in pop-culture, changing lyrics and creating satirical videos for comical effect. Parodying the likes of Michael Jackson, Nirvana and Dire Straits, half of “Weird Al’s” songs have been humorous covers which have had positive reactions from the original artists and audience alike. However, he has also appeared in numerous television shows and movies, starring in the movie UHF and has lent his voice to cartoons and video games. He has written two children books regarding career paths in his comical writing style and was the first ever guest editor for Mad Magazine. Many of his music videos have been directed by himself and he has even had time to appear on countless podcasts and web shows!

Beginning her career back in 1963, Cilla Black managed 11 Top Ten hits in the UK charts. However, the late Cilla’s musical career was relatively short in comparison to her prominent career as a television presenter which spanned over six decades.

Working with everyone from Meatloaf to Boyzone, Jim Steinman is a Grammy-Award winning record producer, writer and composer.

While many remember her most notably for presenting Surprise Surprise and Blind Date, Cilla was also a competent comedian who collaborated with writer Ronnie Taylor to star in both Cilla’s Comedy Six and Cilla’s World of Comedy. At the peak of Cilla’s comedic fame in May 1975, she was named by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain as the top female comedy star. Cilla passed away in August 2015 which cut her notable career short. However her posthumous compilation album gave her her first number one album on the UK albums chart.

Jim’s career began to take off in 1973 when he wrote the song “Happy Ending” for Yvonne Eliman. In the same year he wrote the music and lyrics for the musical More Than You Deserve, meeting Meat Loaf who was cast in the show. Despite some initial problems getting signed to a record company, the album Bat Out Of Hell sold millions, being successful in the UK, USA and Australia. Steinman’s dark lyric content and orchestral talent meant he was even approached to write lyrics for The Phantom of the Opera, which he declined and a theme song for then WWF star Hulk Hogan. While not as much of a household name as he was in the 70’s and 80’s, Steinman is still collaborating with artists and will be releasing a new album with Meat Loaf again soon.


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WE HAD JOY

ARTIST FEATURE

WE HAD FUN

FACE IT ALL AND RECOVER

Being a lead singer in a rock band is a lot of fun but comes with a bunch of challenges. Sure it’s easy to throw your hat into the ring and say ‘yeah I’ll have a go at that’, it’s quite another thing to actually go do it and be any good. That takes time and hard work. It requires a certain amount of arrogance to be a lead singer, that’s obvious and although a great voice is not a must have it is important to believe in what you’re doing. For me it started with the bliss of youthful ignorance and the bedroom desire to be just a bit like my heroes; Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Dave Gahan and so on. Like any fan, I’d spend forever watching these guys do their thing always thinking to myself, I could that….I was young. Alongside that I started writing lyrics and poems, inspired by Jim Morrison and Lou Reed, I found a real passion for it and the moment I started singing my own words I knew I’d found my place in the world. I wasn’t bothered about fame and money really, although that would be nice, I just loved doing it. Simple.

BY DANIEL BATEMAN LEAD SINGER AND LYRICIST FOR PISTOLHEAD

It’s easy forming a group, you just get together with your mates who are all like minded dreamers and form a band. It’s the learning how to be any good, how to write songs rather than play covers, it’s hard but so worthwhile. Remember that certain arrogance? That comes in handy, a lot.

IN ACTION!

And so it was that from 16 years old right through to my early 30’s I played the role as lead singer, songwriter and lyricist with a whole array of different bands. I’d gig up and down the country with different levels of success and failure but always having fun, always believing I was in the best unsigned band in the country and it was just a matter of time before something huge would happen. Naturally there was a lot of drinking, and yes drugs too as well as encounters with all types of strange, weird and wonderful people and hangers on. At times it got a little too much fun and well that’s another story, I guess.


[ 21 ]

FINDING STRENGTH TO PLAY SOBER I played sober for the first time ever and it all went perfectly. Against all the odds really, I was able to function again this time round with courage and determination and perhaps most importantly with a damn good sense of humour all of which has remained with me these 6 years later.

MY HEROES For me it started with the bliss of youthful ignorance and the bedroom desire to be just a bit like my heroes; Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Dave Gaha.


WHEN DARKNESS FALLS So what was the downside? Well, at first not much really apart from being broke most of the time which would often be the cause of arguments and in fighting with band members. Friendships would get tested to breaking point at times too as drinking and drugging took a more central part of our lifestyle. And that’s where things took a slide downward for me. Creeping up behind me had been the slow insidious dark cloud of addiction and depression. It soon became clear to me that my fellow band mates could call it a night quite easily after a gig or when killing time in a bar, they could stop and go back to their room and eat and rest. I couldn’t do that, once I started on the booze that was it I was lost to it and whatever happened thereafter was anyone’s guess and quite often what happened was, let’s say….risky. I tried to slow down but the more I tried the harder it got. Sometimes I’d go without for a week or so and instead of alcohol I’d just smoke a bit of weed and write a song or two maybe but these moments of so called sobriety were becoming fewer and shorter. And worse of all my desire to be sober eroded and that’s when addiction really had me in its grips. However, my enthusiasm for performing and writing was still very much in tact and I’d even started painting too. Creatively I was just as productive if not more so now I had finally given into the power of alcohol and casual drug use. I had also become very good at hiding this character flaw of mine as well, which meant planning ahead what I was going to take or when I was going to drink etc. Obviously this ‘planning strategy’ was not an exact science and events would still end up with painful consequences and drama but my thinking was ‘hey! I’m in a rock band. What did you expect?’ and for me, for awhile that perverse justification seemed to ease the burden of any guilt, shame or fear that I may have been the cause of.

FURTHER DOWN THE SPIRAL Inevitably I hit rock bottom, addicts always do eventually. My body and indeed my mind could no longer keep up with the pressure and strain of being basically poisoned 24/7 and so one morning waking up in a girls apartment I walked over to the fridge to grab my breakfast, a bottle of Budwieser. As I began to neck it I felt an intensely sharp pain in my side as if someone had stabbed me (this could easily have been the case

to be honest) I collapsed to the floor, screaming like a baby for help but I was alone, I hadn’t been stabbed at all and in fact as I later discovered in hospital, I had actually suffered acute-pancreatitis, a leak of deadly poison into my body that was now killing me. Coming to in the intensive care ward I noticed that my family had gathered round a very serious looking doctor. They all appeared very solemn and as I tried to hear what was being said I noticed that I was hooked up to a machine that was breathing for me and then I felt that intense pain again. I looked down under the bed covers and saw a 13inch cut going right across my middle, all stitched and bloody. I had wires coming out of me all over the place, a hole in my throat caused by an emergency tracheotomy and then I heard the words come from the serious doctor’s mouth…’I suggest you all prepare yourself because Dan will most probably not make it through the night.’ Doubting I’d heard him right, I reached out and tugged at the doctor’s long white coat and struggling to even whisper I asked him if I was going to die. He turned to me as his serious face turned to one of sadness and compassion and said ‘I’m so sorry Dan but you are very seriously ill and it is highly unlikely you’ll survive. I’m so sorry’. I looked at my family, rested my head back onto the pillow and closed my eyes. I felt angry, ashamed and frustrated but somehow not scared at all. I was calm and although I really did not want to die, I seemed to accept the news without question. So I waited.

CALL ME LAZARUS I spent the next 30 days in ITU and the next 10 months in hospital wards, sometimes being isolated to protect me from infection, sometimes in a ward with other high risk cases. Needless to say I changed a great deal over that time and in truth was forced to take a long good look at who I was and how I’d been living my life. I went down to a critical 5 stone, lost my hair and at one point was clinically dead for 7 seconds but I survived and I was determined to walk out of that hospital healthy and ready to start living again. And so it was that as winter was coming to an end I made my exit from clinical care, doctors, nurses, injections, bed baths, and so on and moved in with my parents who would for a time be on hand to provide some much needed after care. Of course, being me the desire to drink and use again did return and so the battle against addiction started in earnest. After a relapse (as they call it) that shocked everyone, I went into a programme of recovery to focus on ridding myself of those demons and how to build a bridge to a happier, more fulfilling, sober existence. But what about that desire to sing, perform and write?


Could I still sing and perform? Would the guys in the band still want to work with me after all the madness I’d caused? Happily the road back to being a singer in a band was paved with a lot of love and encouragement and that arrogance of old had now been replaced by humility and courage. The guys in the band were over the moon to start where we had left off and although cautious about my ability I jumped straight in head first. Rehearsals were like a mini reunion party every time we got together we would share stories and laugh at the darker days that were now firmly behind us. I wasn’t the only one who had gone through the mill either and so wiser and older we grouped together and started planning our return to the stage. I did have one little secret though, a potential spanner that could indeed mess up the works. I hadn’t left hospital and gotten away from all that scot free and much to my annoyance and discomfort I had been fitted with one colostomy bag and one fistula bag, one for the piss and the other one for the shit which was for now at least, leaving my body from belly. Unpleasant to say the least especially because the dressings required to attach these waste collecting sacks needed changing due to splitting and leaking at least three times a day. I was damned if I was going to let the risk of a shit leak prevent me from doing the one thing I love doing the most in this life. So I carried on regardless and didn’t tell the others in the band as they would have been twice as nervous than usual plus it would not have helped. I did certain movements and actions while wearing the bags and tested their durability and limits. On occasion I would be pleasantly surprised and even after a few lunges and jumps the bags would still hold. But as I acted out a full 30-minute set, each time one of if not both bags would unglue and begin to leak down the front of my trouser leg.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON. The gut wrenching disappointment of even entertaining the thought of cancelling had me questioning the point of my sobriety and like a petulant kid with the bit between his teeth I made a decision there and then. Fuck it!! What will be, will be and so I took a leap of faith and went on with our plans. Gig night and the nerves were for obvious reasons much more palpable than normal. I’d been sipping water and not eating much most of the day in order to minimise output but even so the bags were certainly in

use. And all of a sudden I found myself walking up the stairs with the other guys and onto the stage. We all take our positions, tuning and a quick ‘hello it’s nice to be back’ from me and our first song kicks in, there’s no turning back now. Either I leak all over myself and the stage managing to startle and disgust everybody in the venue or I don’t and the longest 30 minutes of my life goes by without a hitch. Well, I can only use one word to describe what happened and that’s a miracle. Not only did I not leak and the bags did not fill up but as a band we played the best we’ve ever played. A miracle that left me forever changed and reinforced my recovery programme’s idea of trusting in a higher power and being brave at all times. It also occurred to me sometime later that my whole focus of attention that night was on my colostomy bags which fortunately kept my mind from the awareness that I was surrounded by booze and a little drug use too in the audience. I played sober for the first time ever and it all went perfectly. Against all the odds really, I was able to function again this time round with courage and determination and perhaps most importantly with a damn good sense of humour all of which has remained with me these 6 years later. It was an awakening of fearlessness for me, a discovery of an inner strength that I truly never knew I had or could possibly gain. Alcohol and drugs soon lost their appeal and over the following years I got healthier both physically and mentally but also spiritually, as my reappraisal of life and the world around me lifted me into a calmer and more relaxed place where I could stop for awhile every so often and take in the beauty of what it is to be alive, sober and happy.


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Photo by Jodie Murray


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MUSICIAN / MODEL / GRAPHIC DESIGNER

BARNABY OAKLEY TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

after a model I was friends with requested I do a shoot with her and upon release of the shoot I had a lot of models telling me I should pursue it as a hobby. If not a career. Though for now it’s more of a fun little side-job.

I started off as a musician back when I was 15 years old, jumping in and out of various bands and trying to find something that felt right. Eventually I landed myself in a band called Dakota Ruins, we did quite well for ourselves, released a few albums, did a few tours but I decided that the music wasn’t DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE for me and the band parted ways. I then went on to MORE THAN ONE STRING TO YOUR BOW? form a different band called Elements with a few of the members from Dakota Ruins. However that It’s funny you say that! I constantly say to my died a rather quick death as various members had father that I could never just have ONE hobby or other commitments. job. I would get bored for starters and feel like other interesting exploits were being missed out Then came HUNG. This gained a small cult on. This is probably why I do so many different following and I started hearing positive feedback. things, to keep my brain entertained and prevent After I recorded the second HUNG album (Level2) me from getting bored. I decided to bring my old band mate from I don’t look down on people who only focus on Elements and Dakota Ruins in and make it a duet one aspect in their life, after all... What makes me project, partly because of how skilled he is at happy may not make someone else happy! guitar and writing and partly because he is a very close friend. HUNG released a self-titled album WHO ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES? this summer which has gathered over 10,000 downloads (just from our sources) and most I listen to a lot of jazz and progressive music but probably has a lot more, so… result! Especially recently have been quite influenced by a few since it isn’t a full band, just a project. artists in the rap scene. So consequently I can confirm the next HUNG album will be containing I also run a graphic design agency called quite a few rap influences. If I had to nail it down Crossfade Productions which specialises in logos, to four artists it would be these: Snarky Puppy, marketing materials, social media profiling, I am Periphery, Hopkin and Era. also a signed model. I started modelling last may


STOP FOCUSING ON GIRLS & START TREATING PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE, NOT OBJECTS. FOCUS ON THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT OR ONE DAY YOU’LL HAVE TO WORK VERY HARD JUST TO GET RID OF A NASTY REPUTATION. Photo by The Naked Agency


WHO ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO? I’m currently listening to two artists, a rapper called Swizzz and a project called Haunted Shores (A revival of an old band by Misha and Mark from Periphery)

YOU’VE RECENTLY SAID THAT YOU ‘DO NOT WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE WORKING TOWARDS SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAM’ HAS THIS ALWAYS BEEN YOUR OUTLOOK, IF NOT, WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR OUTLOOK? I think that subconsciously that has always been my thought process. In school I was that kid who would sit on his own and pick grass if the other kids didn’t want to play the game I wanted to play. I’m not a great team player unless it’s something I’m invested in and want to succeed in. Consequently I wasn’t too great at religious studies. *Audience Laughter*

you’ll have to work very hard just to get rid of a nasty reputation.”

YOU POST A LOT OF VIDEOS ON THE INTERNET, DO YOU THINK THAT A PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA/INTERNET IS IMPORTANT TO GET NOTICED? I completely and utterly think that social media and the web is the biggest tool for promotion, recognition and communication ever to have existed. I make videos because I want to make videos, but when I see them get a lot of views and read positive feedback, comments approving and see people enjoying my content it does make me feel very good, it makes the effort feel worth it. I would love to make videos as a kind of career/ hobby but I don’t ever expect it to become a full time job, even if it did I’d continue to make videos because I want to make them, not because I earn money from them.

Aside from that I think the internet can be a HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO OVERCOME NEGATIVITY & REJECTION IN YOUR CAREER? marvellous but also dark place. I have to say apart from the odd CV being turned down I haven’t really had to face rejection in my career too much. Whenever I’ve faced rejection I’ve looked at it as a missed opportunity on the employer’s behalf, but there is always a reason for rejection, it saddens me to think that perhaps my tattoos and piercings may have been a factor in the past.

It can show positivity and bring people together, it can be a place for laughter, and people that will never meet can share opinions and potentially become friends. Then you have the dark side… Which I’m not going to delve into because it does not deserve to be acknowledged. INTERVIEW BY RUBY REBELLE

I don’t tend to get many negative comments anymore. Though I do read every single comment on everything I post… I just don’t get the time to reply to everyone. It depends on whether the comment is spiteful and abusive or merely a differing opinion. If someone is being hateful I block them and delete their comment, they do not deserve to have their views / aggression shared on my profile, and I do not promote abuse. If it’s simply a differing opinion then I either accept it and move on or I reply and try to challenge.

IF YOU COULD GIVE SOME ADVICE TO A YOUNGER YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? I would give my advice to Barnaby from the age of 16-19 and it would be this: “Stop focusing on girls and start treating people like people, not objects. Focus on the things that are important or one day www.facebook.com/hungofficial www.youtube.com/barnabusmaximus


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H T M O R F NOT

Fashion Designer, Monica Griffin’s mission is to create unusual and obscure items which stand apart from standard run of the mill fashion which is made overseas in sweat factories. She wants to bring back to life characters from some other time, some other place and some other universe.

To present external expression of a different kind of beauty, passion and diversity.

The photographer for this shoot, Bob Kozma shoots in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, specializing in fashion and glamour photography. Bob photographs beautiful women in beautiful clothes, working with teams of fashion designers, wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, and hair stylists. Needless to say, he loves his work, a joy that is


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STORY BEHIN PIC TURES... D THE Only two peo are alive af teple planetary sh r a the vacant e if t of all around thxistence They roamedem. base stature their , whilst carr ying prote with weapon ction constant fee s - for the of ‘on guard’. lings

D L R O HIS W ium Wear Wyster

supported by his wife, Shari. He characterizes his style as high-impact, sensuous shots, with dramatic light, hair, makeup, and poses, often with brilliant color and an edgy feel. His work has been published in

numerous magazines, including two covers. Bob represents Icon Magazine at local and international fashion events and photo shoots. Check out our interview with the designer on page 34.

Photographer: Bob KozmaPhotography

Designer: Micqa Griffin, Wysterium Wear

bobkozmaphotography.com

www.wysterium.com

s re on w e e p a ot d w s e We ho an e u : s E d th OT this me se . N r r s SE ring or a ndo on A E u l e o PL d d rea ot eap e t n w us n o d o of

Hair: Gabriella Lovazzano Makeup: Melanie Leandro Models: NIck Devine & Oodie


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MEET FASHION DESIGNER & OWNER OF WYSTERIUM WEAR...

MICQA GRIFFIN

Photo: Le Mew Photography | Model: ArtemisAesthetic Hair: Donna Wood | MUA: Joel King


[ 35 ] WE TOOK A MOMENT TO CHAT TO THE WOMEN BEHIND THIS ISSUE’S FASHION SHOOT ‘NOT FROM THIS WORLD’ - MONICA GRIFFIN, AKA MICQA... TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU IN YOUR OWN WORDS... I have been sewing, designing, pattern-making, producing fashion shows and involved in many other photoshoots. I am also aiming to create my own films and luckily, I have been found and connected with many amazingly gifted and strengthened well-known human uprisings for many moons - Oh how I LOVE it all! I have been very passionate about the concepts of working on the many creations, ideas and characters within life. All of this within the existence of many forces of life walking this planet earth and what each one holds ever so strongly. Some with the overall reign of a heart holding firm, within the realm of a properly healing, feeling existence. Yay to the multidimensional characters far and wide! CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT FOR THIS PARTICULAR SHOOT? This and many other photoshoots are based on A: working with such AMAZING people and B: getting to create all the worlds I love as well something of ourselves or other than ourselves. And C: this one was a futuristic otherworldly faced paradigm - a new realm of another existence. It was about 2 characters - within the isolated version - of being the only 2 alive. After a planetary shift of the vacant existence all around them. They roamed their base stature, whilst carrying protection with weapons - for the constant feelings of on guard standings. So confined into the subdued realms surrounding them. It was as if they had been taken to a new realm. While facing and adapting on how to survive within it for their proper placement for existence. They sought out the questionings of never knowing what to face within the future or far beyond the present link. Therefore, whilst living within the unknowing moments of time, they aimed for the possibilities of strength good or bad - depending upon their purpose within the transforming of their existence there as well as the proper place to shift wisely within it all.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ROLE OF FASHION IN MUSIC DO YOU THINK? I believe there is beauty in all forms of life. We are all here for some purpose or another… and the links to open doors of uprisal for all united progressions bring much more amazing standings together - especially within those living theirs wisely and passionately. Without external control, yet merely the seeking and wise guidance of where we all belong together. It is always the question of how each of us walks upon this powerful planet earth, alone and together. What we connect with and how we share these moments of pure links for an uplifted arisal…and what comes to each of us as we strive to thrive with what it is we LOVE. Aiming strongly toward its rise of presenting, wherever it is lead properly and with the amazing links of a strongly aimed future for us all.

ODE TO ALL THE DESIRES, STRENGTHS, PASSIONS, AIMS, FOCUSES, PURPOSES, AND REALITIES OF WHAT EACH INDIVIDUAL CAN OFFER THE WORLD, ALL IS A BEAUTIFULLY FILLED COLLABORATION AND MEANING OF FOCUS. LINKED AND CONNECTED WISELY.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANY READERS ASPIRING TO BE A FASHION DESIGNER? I strangely believe we are all here for our own purposes within life. All of this a lesson to find our places amongst the large scale of “existing”. Much of the vast type of humans are quite a variance of skills,…some focused on a few and others on many.… This distinction can lead upon many life forms…which are within each individual in finding what they desire, are good at, are aimed at and are feeling like a more purposeful placement within existence. The number whom have ever been born upon planet earth is 107,602,707,791. All needing the three basics of life first and foremost; food, shelter and clothing. Even if it is ever so mind~shifting outside of the simple basics of existence, we are humans and have needs, many new realms in which have broadened far and wide to attract the multitude of life’s connections and existing. Mayhaps it means the variances within oneself and outward to the external shifts of existence upon this grounding planet as well as the outer ethers. CAN YOU REMEMBER A MOMENT WHEN YOU HAD TO BE FEARLESS IN YOUR CAREER? Fear is a large tactic to rid of as much as possible within this realm of existence. Like most, I have experienced a vast uprisal shift of it all due to not sinking. I believe we are all faced with many mixed emotions and concepts of those certain feelings of words that affect the within. A wonderful change of direction where to put them is key for me... hence sewing and designing.

WE FEEL AT TIMES THAT WE “SHOULD HAVE”… ALTHOUGH SOME OF THOSE DOWNWARD SPIRALS EXIST… WHILE TESTING THOSE CERTAIN REALITIES RANDOMLY THROUGHOUT LIFE TO ADVANCE. I ALSO BELIEVE THESE CAN LEAD TO GRANDER, UPLIFTING STANDINGS OF UPRISINGS AND CONNECTIONS, WHILST TAPPING DEEP WITHIN FOR A RISING MEANINGFUL PLACEMENT OF WHAT WE ALL LOVE. All in aim for us to find our greater purpose of our existence, bringing a link with all the amazing tribesfolk coming into relations and unions of

connecting the common correlating world…or all the main worlds of links surrounding very far and wide. WHAT’S ON THE RADAR FOR YOU OVER THE NEXT YEAR? I will always do what I love to do, like I have. I have aimed far and wide to create my own films or conjoin within others in the long run - as I have and aimed for far more to come. I love creating characters, creatures, conjoining concepts,multi-dimensional creations, cranial sacral shifts, comfortable realms of connections, linked up with communal uprising, the collaborations of color and textile combining’s and clothing concepts of shifting realms. I see this within much of my future since luckily my past has presented my desires within my aim and I hope to link up with all the wide variety of forms envisioned to arrange and create wonderful new realms of connections to come. Many deep concepts of stories I wish to display again and again… all to come in due time. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD? I would like to say that we must all have our greater purpose upon this planet earth. I love seeing the findings of collaborations with amazingly wonderful connections. I truly hope the future starts bringing all of those within their realms of skills together and lets those within this conjoin deep within it for an uprising~ minus the dominance of over empowerment. For all to bring in the combination of pure radiant collaborations of beauty within skill. Within conjoined and connected purpose for a more balanced system of union and uprisal for all involved. Find out more at www.wysterium.com


Photo: Eskaton Studio


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MUSIC DOCTOR’S SURGERY HOW TO BE FEARLESS WITH MUSIC BY PHILIP MILBURN, MULT-IINSTRUMENTALIST & MUSIC TUTOR

I have made mistakes and felt ok about it; I have kept on learning. I have faced my fears around music and continue to do so, particularly around performing my own music.

People love playing music. People can also fear it.

to get braver. And understand what’s really going on.

Fear of Music is a sad state of affairs, and like any fear, it will stop you from having fun, expressing your self, being creative, and enjoying playing, sharing and composing music. We need to address this.

I teach not because I know everything, but because I have been through the process of learning myself, over many many years.

Music is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and healers, and I hope to talk you out of your fears so that you can engage with it more.

FIND OUT WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON... I propose that fear is a crap reason to not do music. We need

I know what I know, and what I don’t know. I have made a million mistakes and felt ok about it; I have kept on learning; I have faced my fears around music and continue to do so, particularly around performing my own music. But when it comes to facing fears and pushing through them, many people fall by the wayside; they are simply not up for it – perhaps don’t have enough faith in


[ 39 ]

themselves, or don’t put in the hours and do the work, or can’t find the courage, and for all sorts of reasons. And I include myself in this. But I have found the courage to keep on keeping on. So what are we afraid of ? Humiliation ? A repeat of a traumatic childhood incident ? Rejection ? Being thrown out of the choir for singing out of tune ? Getting it wrong ? In 20 years of teaching, fear of making ‘mistakes’ is the number 1 block I have observed in students. It paralyses people. It most likely comes from school days when we were humiliated and shamed by teachers, parents or siblings. This dis-empowers us and leaves us helpless and afraid of expressing ourselves. What is it exactly ? ‘If I make a mistake… I’ll feel stupid, embarrassed and inadequate … people will laugh at me … will prove I’m not good enough .. etc. The cure is to become comfortable with not knowing what you are doing. Just become not bothered. If you play something badly, or make a ‘mistake’, so what!? Practise it until you can play it better; be patient with yourself. Learn patience. Practise patience. Learn to accept yourself. This is how well I can play right now, and that’s ok. I will get better. If you make mistakes, it means nothing. Except for the meaning you construct in your mind. And most of what our mind tells us is twaddle.

A PRACTICAL EXERCISE FOR YOU: Start to enjoy the experience of singing or playing your instrument, deliberately out of tune. Howl like a hound from hell or a strangled cat; deliberately play off key, badly, out of time and out of tune. And feel ok about it. As you do this, see the funny side of it and don’t take yourself so seriously. Be like a 3 year old wouldn’t know or care about how in or out of tune or time he/she was. Children just do it and have fun. Become more like a 3 year old than a repressed, shame-filled adult. I believe that we need to do this in order to be free from fear. So what if you’re off key !? Once you are comfortable with making mistakes, you’re on the road to freedom, and you can welcome them as a source of unexpected ideas and a route out of mundane chord progressions and predicable melodies. Once you welcome mistakes and feel excited and able to be surprised by them, instead of horrified, embarrassed, or

putting yourself down – then a door can open to inspiration, which for me is the best source of ideas. It is intuitive creativity which pops out of nowhere without any notice; it just happens spontaneously, without our conscious mind or ‘Inner Critic’ sabotaging your best endeavours.

BUILD UP YOUR SELF-ESTEEM... Also, work on your self esteem. If you have low self esteem in some area of your creative life, it will trip you up again and again and again, and make you feel utterly miserable. Do whatever it takes to build your self esteem. There are hundreds of therapies, workshops, courses, seminars, lectures and self help books available to help you to feel better about yourself. Do the work on yourself. We are all imperfect and can all learn and grow. Develop Me.app, versions 1,2,3,4 etc. You can just keep on getting better! Play and perform music firstly for yourself; make sure you enjoy it and feel satisfied that you sang your song for yourself; not to prove anything, but just as evidence that you can do it. Never mind what you imagine anyone else might be thinking; what other people think is none of your business! If you keep telling yourself you’re not good enough, then practise, practise, and keep on practising. Then, practise some more ! Apparently, John Coltrane didn’t become a great sax player because he had a great talent, but because he practised 6 hours a day for 10 years. Do you do that? If not, how can you expect to get better !? How much self discipline do you have? However much you have, acquire more. The more you practise, the better you will get, the more you will enjoy yourself, the less fearful you will become.

EMBRACE YOUR OWN UNIQUENESS... I hope these thoughts are some help to start you off with setting yourself free to enjoy yourself and become truly fearless with music. Do it. The world needs your unique approach to music, whatever it may be – singing covers, bashing out flamenco guitar, writing pop songs or composing for a string quartet. Only you can bring your music into the world. Let’s hear it. Philip runs workshops and private lessons in Hove, East Sussex, UK. To find out more go to www.lifemusic.org.uk. If you have any questions for Philip send an email to info@altmumagazine.co.uk and we can answer them in the next issue.


[ 40 ]

Book cover design by Suzanne Greenwood


[ 41 ]

WRITING EXTRACT:

HARTMANN: MALICIOUS RULES BOOK 1 OF THE ‘HARTMANN THRILLER’ SERIES SET IN LONDON IN THE SWINGING SIXTIES, IT CHRONICLES DR JULIAN HARTMANN’S SEARCH FOR HIS 16-YR-OLD SON, SAM, WHO IS MISSING AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE THAMES BUTCHER MURDERS. WARNING: THIS EXTRACT CONTAINS ADULT CONTENT.

At closing time, Julian accepted Erikson’s invitation for a drink at his flat but he was nervous as he sat in Erikson’s new Bentley. He answered the few questions he was asked, mainly with one word single syllable answers, ‘yes’, ‘no’, and an occasional ‘maybe’, knowing that the place for conversation was where the surveillance guys could hear and where he would have some

backup. By the time Erikson parked his car in the underground carpark, Julian’s nerves were wound as tight as an overwound clock spring. Erikson’s flat was big and tastefully fitted out with simple high quality leather and oak furniture. A log was smouldering in the open grate. ‘You won’t need your coat in here,’ Erikson said, holding his hand out towards Julian. Julian removed his outer coat and passed it to Erikson who took the coat and grasped Julian’s hand in one smooth movement. ‘You can relax, dear boy, nothing’s going to happen tonight. We’re just going to talk.’ He let go of Julian hand and indicated the brown leather sofa. ‘Take a seat and make yourself comfortable. What would you like to drink - Whisky, coffee?’ ‘Whisky, thank you. Could I use your bathroom?’ ‘Yes, of course - it’s off the hall.’ In the bathroom, Julian took some time to compose himself. He splashed his face with cold water and thought about

the questions he would ask Erikson. He checked the syringe in the right inside pocket of his jacket, the injection he had prepared earlier with enough diazepam to knock the man out. A spare bottle of diazepam and spare syringes and needles were in his left inside pocket. Everything was ready but in an awful self-deprecating moment he doubted he was up to the job and he had to grip the edges of the sink to stop his hands from shaking. When Julian returned to the lounge, Erikson had put another log on the fire and was preparing the drinks in a purpose built bar in the corner of the room. Julian sat on the sofa but changed his mind and moved to an armchair. Erikson came over with the drinks and he noted Julian’s change of seat and smiled. ‘No, no - that won’t do.’ He placed the drinks and a bottle of whisky on the coffee table and sat on the sofa, patting the space next to him. ‘Sit with me - please.’ Julian did as requested and sat down next to him. His thoughts randomly jumped to a children’s program from years ago . . . ‘are we sitting quite comfortably . . . then


I’ll begin’ . . . he could hear the cultured BBC voice of the “Watch with Mother” presenter when she was about to read a story . . . ‘once upon a time’ . . . ‘So, tell me about yourself?’ Erikson was sitting at an angle, turned towards Julian, observing him like a scientist watches a caged monkey during an experiment. ‘What would you like to know?’ ‘Childhood is always a good place to start.’ ‘It was pretty boring - not worth talking about.’ ‘I find that hard to believe - what about education.’ Julian hesitated. ‘I went to Pendlebury in Cambridge.’ ‘Expensive. What age did you start there?’ ‘Six.’ ‘Shit - I’m surprised they took you at that age.’ ‘It wasn’t unusual there were others the same age.’ Only one that Julian could remember and he went home every weekend. ‘Why did they send you there so young? Were they away a lot or too busy to look

after you?’

‘Boyfriends - how many boyfriends do you get through in a year?’

‘It was 1939 - my father was in the army and my mother was involved in national He smiled, his dark eyes twinkling in security. They wanted me out of London the fire light. ‘You have the wrong idea before the bombs dropped.’ about me. I prefer to be in a steady relationship rather than one night ‘Yeah, it was a tough time for the kids.’ stands.’ Erikson said, finishing his drink. ‘Was that barman at the Coleherne Julian emptied his glass and picked up one of your steady boyfriends?’ the bottle. ‘D’you mind?’ He raised an eyebrow. ‘Yes, for six ‘Help yourself.’ Erikson held his own months or so.’ glass out for a top up. ‘You know, those old boarding schools have got a hell of ‘Why did you break-up?’ a reputation for turning out young men with sexuality issues. I blame them for all ‘We didn’t actually break-up as such. these wishy-washy bisexuals that have We had some rows, fights - you know the nerve to claim they’re gay when they the kind of thing. He didn’t say he was fancy a bit of bottom, and then screw going, he just disappeared. The police every pretty girl that crosses their path.’ think he may have been a victim of the He picked up his replenished glass. ‘And Thames Butcher.’ what about you, Julian, do you know what side your bread is buttered on or ‘Is that what you think?’ is it buttered on both sides?’ ‘No, the trouble with Dave was he ‘I think it’s time I left,’ Julian said, getting liked it rough and when things got to his feet. really interesting, he changed his mind. He’ll have done a runner - gone ‘No, please don’t.’ He stood up and back to Scotland where he came caught hold of Julian’s arm. ‘I’m sorry for from.’ having a dig. We’ll change the subject.’ There was a brief silence. Julian made a point of looking down at Erikson’s hand still gripped onto his ‘You said you owned a gym - it must arm until Erikson got the message and be doing well to pay for the new removed it. Bentley and this pad.’ ‘Would you like some coffee?’ Erikson said.

John smiled. ‘It’s going well but I have my fingers in other pies.’ He looked at Julian seriously and shook his head. ‘I’ll save it for another time.’

Julian thought of the surveillance team in the flat next door listening to their conversation. All they’d heard so far was ‘Can’t you give me a clue?’ Erikson having fun at his expense. ‘Yes coffee would be good, thank you.’ He laughed. ‘You’re very inquisitive perhaps a bit too much for your own When Erikson came back, Julian had good.’ He paused for a moment. ‘I’ll psyched himself up with the intention tell you this much - it’s to do with film of getting some information that could making, nothing big that you’d see be useful. He drank some coffee before at your local cinema but big enough starting. to bring in a healthy income.’ He put his empty coffee mug down on the ‘So tell me something about you.’ coffee table and moved closer to Julian. ‘I know I said we would only talk ‘Such as?’ tonight but don’t you think it would be a shame not to take advantage of


our surroundings?’ He slid his arm along the back of the sofa, behind Julian’s shoulders. ‘A kiss wouldn’t go amiss right now.’ Julian stood up quickly and moved away from the sofa. ‘It’s late - I have to be up early.’ ‘I thought you were between jobs at the moment,’ Erikson said, as he got to his feet. ‘I am - but I’ve got a doctor’s appointment first thing.’ Erikson laughed. ‘You must have an unusual doctor to be working on Easter Monday.’ Julian went into the hall to collect his coat and Erikson followed him. ‘You know, you’re being ridiculous - it’s just a kiss - and it’s no good pretending you’re not interested that you’re shocked at my suggestion. What the fuck are you here for? Did you think we were going to play monopoly?’ During this speech, his attitude had changed from assertive to aggressive and he snatched the coat out of Julian’s hand with a sudden violent move. ‘Ok, so I’ll tell you how this is going down. Next time I want to kiss you, you’ll co-operate – and when I decide

that you’re ready to go further, you’ll do exactly what I say. If you’re not happy with the arrangement you can leave now but there’s no going back. You’re either in now or out for good.’ He waited for Julian’s response and after a few moments seemed to realise he had gone too far and said in a calmer voice, ‘do you want to leave now or do you want to stay?’

at you, hot and sweaty – panting for more. But it’s ok – I can wait.’ He stepped back, allowing Julian to move away from the wall.

Julian was frozen to the spot.

‘Come on, I’ll drive you home.’

Erikson shrugged and gave his coat back. ‘I’m going to have another drink. You can join me or leave.’ He turned his back on Julian and returned to the lounge.

‘No need, I can get a taxi.’

Julian had to wait until his breathing had responded to his inhaler before he could think clearly enough to make a decision. If he left now, it would be an end to him helping the police and possibly finding Sam. He simply didn’t have a choice. Erikson was sitting on the sofa with his feet resting on the coffee table. He looked up from a magazine as Julian walked in. ‘Whisky?’ Julian nodded and accepted the glass held out to him. He remained standing. ‘Do you want anything stronger? I’ve got hash - LSD - cocaine?’ Julian shook his head. Erikson stood up and walked over to him. He took the empty glass from Julian and placed it on a surface close by. The next move was two moves in one, and resulted in Erikson using his full weight to pin Julian against a wall while he kissed him with full mouth on mouth contact. ‘I knew you’d taste good,’ Erikson said. ‘Man, I can smell you - you’re so hot.’ He kissed him again longer and harder, and groped to undo Julian’s flies. Julian pushed him away forcefully. ‘You’re not fooling me,’ Erikson said. ‘You want me to come inside you. Look

Julian went into the bathroom where the contents of his stomach only just made it to the toilet bowl. When he came out, Erikson was standing by the flat door holding his coat.

‘You’ll have to wait for ages to get one at this time of night. I’ll drive you.’ They were down in the underground carpark walking towards his car when a black cab pulled into the entrance to drop off a passenger. Julian stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled hard to get the driver’s attention. The cab drove over to them and Julian opened the door. ‘When will I see you again?’ Erikson said. ‘I’ll come to the gym. Will it be open Easter Monday?’ ‘We’re open every day except Christmas day and Boxing day.’ ‘I’ll see you tonight, then,’ Julian said. Erikson nodded and shut the taxi door for him. As the taxi drove away Julian settled back in his seat. ‘Where to, Gov?’ The driver asked. ‘Sussex Gardens, Paddington.’ Julian caught a glimpse of Erikson with his hands deep in his pockets looking frustrated as he watched them drive away but for Julian, the arrival of the taxi had been a blessing. It meant Erikson wouldn’t see where he lived, and there was no goodnight kiss.

BY H L LOWE www.helenllowe.co.uk Photo by Scott Chalmers


[ 44 ] INTERVIEW

MEET THE AUTHOR HELEN L LOWE AUTHOR OF HARTMANN: MALICIOUS RULES

Helen may be a first time published novelist, but she has written short stories, manuscripts, articles, and screenplays throughout her life. A mean feat given that she was a mother of three children, a nurse, midwife, and a piano teacher. Being a published writer had always been an ambition for Helen that never quite materialised. However, when she retired in 2015 she finally fulfilled her lifelong ambition to write fulltime and decided to publish her own book. We take a moment to find out more about her story and how she faced her fears of a digital world and just went for it. WHEN DID YOU START WRITING? I started writing stories when I was a child, around the age of nine or ten, and I wrote about the adventures of our ‘secret club’. I loved reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven from cover to cover and adored the adventures the children were involved in. So, with my closest friend, we started our own secret club and attempted to hold serious meetings in the garden shed. We had to recruit more children into our club to make up the numbers but they soon fell by the wayside and it was left to the fanatics, The Amazing Duo, to carry out the dangerous missions on our own. School days were a trial over these formative years because my adventures spilled over into my school work when we were asked after every school holiday to write an essay about what we did in the holidays. Now, here I had a problem because we very rarely went anywhere or did anything special in the holidays. My parents stretched themselves to, and beyond, their financial limit to send me, and my older sister, to a private school. So, writing about weeding the garden, cleaning the car or helping our mother with the shopping, seemed extremely boring compared with the adventures in our secret club. So I wrote about the adventures until one day a


[ 45 ]

letter arrived from the school addressed to my parents asking them to come in to see the headmistress.The headmistress told my parents that I was telling lies at school. She meant the stories I wrote about my school holidays.  My father read some of the stories in my English book when he was at the school, and he told the headmistress that what I was doing was romanticising not lying and that he thought the grammar was of a high standard for my age. Nevertheless, I was told to write only the facts in those essays and, too scared of the headmistress to disobey and mindful of the fact that my parents were working hard to pay the school fees, I did exactly as I was told. It was paramount in stunting my creativity for the rest of my childhood and it wasn’t until I was well into adulthood at the age of thirty that I started writing down the stories that were flooding my mind and threatening my sanity.

The easiest thing is getting the first draft out of my head and down onto paper. I’ve discovered that writing by hand is best for me because if I type it straight onto my Laptop, it is too tempting to edit as I go along. So that, instead of progressing with the story, I’m continually copying and pasting and editing, with the result that I end up taking one step forward and two steps back. Once I have the first draft completed by hand, then the real editing can begin. The second draft for me is typing my hand-written story onto my laptop but at the same time I’m rewriting. The third, fourth and sometimes fifth drafts, are painstaking slow as I check for typos, spelling, grammar and any problems such as changes in point of view in the wrong place.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS, DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE?

To see the story, and the characters, that started off as an idea in my head, come alive. It’s exciting to see the characters take the story in a different direction than my original outline, and I usually let them have their way.

In the past, my writing could only be done in my spare time which, as a mother, nurse and part-time piano teacher, was in short supply. Nowadays, writing fulltime has allowed me to develop a routine of writing every day. When I’m working on the first draft of a novel, I get up early and write straight through until lunchtime. After lunch I have a break from writing and walk the dog, and later in the afternoon I work on social media and adhoc writing tasks. Of course, there are days when family commitments prevent me from doing any serious writing but even on those days I try to do something, even if it’s only to read through the previous day’s work. I’ve discovered, through trial and error, that the more days you have away from the story, the more distant the characters become, and the more difficult it is to get back into it.

HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED AND COME UP WITH IDEAS? This is a question that most writers have difficulty answering. For myself, my head is full of ideas all the time. For instance, at present I’m working on book two of the Hartmann Thriller Series, but every day and some nights, new ideas for other stories flood my brain. In the past, this used to confuse me and affect my ability to write consistently, but now I make notes of new ideas in the notebook I keep in my handbag, and the notebook beside my bed. By simply writing the ideas down, I find that I can get on with my current work without hindrance. Then I can go back to these notes when I’m planning future stories. Often, the ideas I have at night are the best ones.

WHAT DO YOU FIND EASIEST OR MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT WRITING?

WHAT IS THE GREATEST THING ABOUT WRITING FOR YOU?

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR BOOK I first thought of this story about thirty years ago and wrote several chapters at that time. Hartmann: Malicious Rules, Book 1 of the Hartmann Thriller Series, is set in London in the swinging sixties. It chronicles Dr. Julian Hartmann’s search for his 16-year-old son who is missing against the backdrop of the Thames Butcher murders. In December 1966, a dismembered body is discovered by children playing on the Thames shoreline by Execution Dock. It’s the fifth victim of the Thames Butcher, and London is gripped with fear by the horrific murders. Dr Julian Hartmann, a lonely 34-year-old bachelor with suppressed memories of childhood abuse, desperate to find his son, leaves his hospital job in Hampshire and moves up to London to search for him fulltime. Meanwhile, the growing media panic about the Thames Butcher escalates after the police disclose that all the victims are young men and that it may be a homophobic crime. During his search, Julian is drawn into London’s seedier side, a world of porn, illegal drugs, and police corruption. But he will allow nothing to deter him from finding his son, and that unrelenting desire leads him to a terrifying ordeal and into the fires of hell . . .

YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK ON SEVERAL DIGITAL PLATFORMS, INCLUDING AMAZON KINDLE.

FIND OUT MORE AT WWW.HELENLLOWE.CO.UK


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INTERVIEW WITH AWARD-WINNING HARPIST & TEACHER AT BRIGHT KNOWLEDGE ACADEMY

DR DIANA ROWAN


[ 47 ] At ALT-MU we embrace the most current and musically unique individuals to breakthrough the music industry. In this issue we interview harpist, teacher and scholar, Diana Rowan. Raised the child of an Irish diplomat, Rowan has travelled, lived and performed on six continents and offers a refreshing approach to both the harp, music and teaching. Combining her deep knowledge of global music, art and spirituality she has recently set up Bright Knowledge Academy, an online music school, which is already bringing life-changing results for many musicians. TELL US ABOUT YOUR HARP SCHOOL ‘BRIGHT KNOWLEDGE ACADEMY’ AND WHY IT’S SO UNIQUE. Bright Knowledge Academy grew out of 22 years of teaching harp, piano, and group lessons, plus loads of performing and recording. I found that musicians have a hard time maintaining motivation between lessons, or at all sometimes! Other music teachers had the same problem. Playing lots of world music, I became familiar with the Indian classical music method of teaching, which is immersion style. The students come to the teacher’s house every day, have their 1-1 lessons, listen to other lessons, do group lessons, make tea, and generally live a musical lifestyle. The results are incredible. I realised having all my students over every day wouldn’t work (partly because many live in different countries and states!), so I replicated the concept online. Now my students go into a ‘Harp Ecosystem,’ where they have 1-1 lessons with me, one group training on an important topic per month, plus two group calls a month, which are open forum to discuss what’s working for and what isn’t. Huge breakthroughs have happened as a result of this method, musically and personally. Bright Knowledge Academy also presents big online courses on harp and music topics, which are open to anyone.

THIS ISSUE OF ALT -MU FOCUSES ON THE TOPIC OF ‘FEARLESSNESS’… DURING YOUR 30 YEARS PERFORMING ACROSS THE GLOBE, HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED PERFORMANCE ANXIETY? IF SO, HOW DID YOU LEARN TO OVERCOME IT? My performance anxiety started at a young age when I was entered for classical piano competitions. The

idea of ‘beating’ other children at such a personal, sacred activity seemed like sacrilege to me. The anxiety got worse over time, finally leading me to give up music for 4 years as an adult. But I missed music so much that I clawed my way back. I tried everything you can imagine: therapy, beta blockers, mantras, Alexander technique, yoga, and a lot more. In the end I found just 3 principles (centring, preparation, and exposure) coupled with understanding your true purpose for making music were the real, sustainable cure and I now I teach these principles in depth in my Performance Mastery courses. This is to help others not so much overcome or conquer their performance anxiety, but instead help Ifthem to reframe it to as rock a powerful, you would prefer the natural essential force to be managed. You actually need ‘no effort yet photogenic’ look, thento access a different state when performing in order find a colour close to that of your to be magnetic andgums. focused, and performance energy can absolutely be your ally in this.

YOUR FIRST INSTRUMENT WAS THE PIANO, NOW YOU PLAY AND TEACH MAINLY LEVER HARP. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE HARP THAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL TO YOU? With the harp I find I can be more creative. It has a less specific, modern sound. It’s a sound that is both timeless and magical with an ability to communicate the deepest, most mysterious feelings. I also love the profound effect the harp has on people, not matter what age they are or where they’re from. People are always amazed at how much the harp moves them. I have a lot of powerful stories about that, one day I’d like to put them in a book.

IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES MUSICIANS FACE TODAY? I believe the biggest challenge is two-fold: musicians don’t value themselves enough and as a result they don’t communicate their value to society. Today I think musicians feel really beaten down by the economy and the collapse of the previous music industry, and many of my musician friends have taken on day jobs. We’re in a new music industry now, and it’s our opportunity to communicate the immense value music brings to society. I’m sitting in a café right now and music is playing – it would be a totally different experience if there were no music.

WE MUSICIANS HAVE TO CHANGE WITH THE TIMES AND LEARN NEW WAYS OF


CONNECTING WITH OUR AUDIENCES AND MOVING THEM. In many ways, it’s easier than ever to connect with people and have intense relationships with them versus being part of a record label in the past, really far from your fans. Because we have more contact, we can have a small but mighty group of “super fans” who support us substantially. Cultivating your particular audience is critical, and by definition that means you are also going to turn some people off but that’s O.K. For example, lately I’m being much more outspoken about my mystical spiritual views, and rather than losing people, I find my fans feel closer to me.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR MUSICIANS TO EMBRACE THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY TODAY? Using technology is crucial at this point for musicians and I’ve had to seriously invest in learning about it and implementing it. I don’t

consider myself ‘techie’ at all, but as I say, it’s crucial now, like having a phone was in the past. Using technology helps me to be able teach 80% online, both 1-1 classes, groups, and in September I launched the first virtual harp summit, which is a 100% online harp festival/ conference. For musicians I can reach a much wider audience, and control my time better.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN A NURTURED COMMUNITY AND COLLABORATION BENEFIT MUSICIANS? Community is another crucial pillar for musicians. We need to support each other, be inspired by each other, and learn from each other in this rapidly changing field. Isolation is deadly. Derek Sivers of CD Baby says “obscurity is your enemy,” and that means obscurity from your peers as well. I’m a big fan of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ and if we come together and strongly communicate the value of music, we’ll see improvement in how others perceive us musicians. If we as musicians communicate a starving artist mentality, that’s exactly what we’ll end up living.


I COACH MY STUDENTS TO PROUDLY QUOTE SUSTAINABLE RATES FOR THEIR SERVICES AND TO SPEAK WELL OF OTHER HARPISTS IN PUBLIC, AND THESE ARE ALL LEARNT THROUGH COMMUNITY. Most work still comes from word-of-mouth, so community is essential for that. Community can keep you up to date about the ever-changing musical landscape. Most deeply, making music is a very spiritual path, and having a community, a refuge and sanctuary, is key to weathering the ups and downs.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OUR READERS TO HELP THEM PLAY WITH MORE EXPRESSION AND COLOUR?

Yes indeed! Playing with expression is an extension of communicating verbally, either speaking or singing. Notice how you shape your sung and spoken phrases. Where do you get softer, where louder? What’s your speed of talking? Do you have long or short sentences? In what context do all of these happen? Then, simply apply these observations to your piece of music an immediately this will greatly increase your expressiveness and breadth of colour.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYBODY WANTING TO LEARN THE HARP? I’d say go for it! There’s never been a better time. We have the best-constructed and variety of harps, access to amazing teachers worldwide online, and a growing harp repertoire and community. Find a teacher you really connect with, rent a harp so you can try out different models, and go for it! Whether you are interested in playing the harp or just curious to know more about Diana and the Bright Knowledge Academy. You can find out more on her website at brightknowledgeacademy.com INTERVIEW BY TRACY JANE SULLIVAN


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THE REAL WEDDING SINGER SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO BE A LITTLE FEARLESS IN MUSIC.

ONE NIGHT BOB HARRIS AND I CHATTED OVER A GLASS OF WINE. A WEEK LATER HE PLAYED ONE OF MY SONGS ON BBC RADIO 2. SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO BE A LITTLE FEARLESS IN MUSIC. I THINK IT’S SOMETHING THAT GETS HARDER WHEN YOU GET A LITTLE OLDER. MAYBE YOU ARE MORE AWARE OF YOUR REPUTATION OR SIMPLY FEAR THAT EMBARKING ON ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE COULD END IN DISASTER. I KNOW THE YOUNG MUSIC STUDENTS I TEACH SEEM TO BE TOTALLY FEARLESS AND THIS ALWAYS AMAZES ME – AND MAKES ME SLIGHTLY ENVIOUS!!

I WAS CERTAINLY NOT FEARLESS WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD…

BUSKING ON THE STREETS AT EDINBURGH FRINGE So in Aug 2015 I ended up busking on the streets of The Edinburgh Fringe which, in itself was great fun and a rewarding experience. But I also made friends with another performer from Norfolk called Johnny.

After a few late night beers by the campfire, and our stories of life and music told, Johnny offered his help with getting me involved in a song writing retreat ran by Chris Difford – best known for his hits with the band Squeeze (Up The Junction, Cool for Cats, Tempted By The Fruit Of Another) and so on. I had heard of these retreats as they had been running 26 years but getting on one was an altogether different matter.


[ 59 ] I left Scotland with the thought to “not get excited” as campfire talk rarely leaves the campsite.

BUDDY HOLLY EDUCATION FOUNDATION True to his word a few weeks passed and I received an email from the Buddy Holly Education Foundation asking for all my recordings and information I had available. Four days later I was invited to join the next Song writing Retreat in June 2016. It was around September 2015 that all this happened which left a good 9 months for this not-so-young singer/ songwriter to start imagining all the things that could go wrong. The most crucial thing for me was that Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris was heavily involved with the project and would most definitely be there during the week. Bob has been championing new music for over 50 years and more recently was the UK flagship for bringing Country Music to the UK. Country music is a genre, which, though not traditionally my style, it serves to help my career move alongside the narrow minded and bigoted UK industry controlled by X Factor & Radio 1. Indeed my performance at the Country To Country Festival in 2015 gave me so much confidence I am still riding on it now.

COUNTRY HOUSE IN GLASTONBURY Fast forward to June 2016 and the fear set in. All the guests, some from Nashville, but also from all over the UK had arrived at the country house in Glastonbury on the Sunday evening, This was so they could settle in, get to know each other before the intensity that followed. I had a gig in London that night so arrived in the early hours of Monday morning. Approx 2am in fact. The house was in silence, all were asleep. I found my room and after spending a good while trying to free an enormous bat that had found it’s

way into the room, I settled down to out. This was surely a movie, a an uneasy sleep. YouTube clip that required not my inclusion? I woke up to the sound of a house full of life. Many voices, laughter, After breakfast each morning a list clinking of plates, cups, spoons and was put on the wall and young artists all the other noises that go with were paired off with two songwriters. the hustle and bustle of enjoying The day was spent intensely writing, breakfast with those that have with only a break for a short lunch already bonded and relaxed with the and then 20 mins in a make shift night before. recording studio to immortalise the effort of the day. After dinner we all The knot in my stomach was so convened to the stable house for intense I almost doubled over. I ‘The Show”. It was not enough to stepped out of my bedroom door write with a stranger, surrounded to the smell of bacon. Hunger by legends, record in the studio so was gripping me but came a the powers that be could analyse poor second to the anxiety that the song after we had left - Oh no! dominated me. I went back in to the we had to perform live in front of room and shut the door. everyone. Breathing deeply I again opened the door. More sounds of laughter. I had the attendee list on my email and I knew that anyone of those clinks or chirps could belong to a multi national hit selling songwriter or a new artist full of hope and intrigue. Again I paused by the door and then slowly and deliberately forced myself to the top of the stairs.

COLLABORATING WITH TOP NOTCH MUSICIANS An eternity of paranoid delusions passed and I found myself at the bottom of the stairs and being ushered into a large dining room by Trudie Harris (Bob’s wife) and voice of authority. Sat round the table were many faces I didn’t recognise but also many I did...

The spectrum was broad – those who had never sang live to those who couldn’t remember a gig with less than 10,000+ in the audience.

FEAR TURNED INTO DETERMINATION AND DRIVE This happened for four days, the fear went, inspiration took over, determination, competition and drive became the force. Legends became friends, songs were traded like Pokemon chips in the dark over beers and cocktails. Artists huddled in circles ignoring the chill wind and rain as music warmed us like an invisible bonfire.

Fear is good, to be fearless may create the wrong impression. My fear gave me the chance to stand back and survey they uncertain ground Nik Kershaw – 80’s pop star and before me. Sometimes guilty of my beautiful songwriter. Graham own ego and the need to control Gouldman from 10CC who I I was in check and ready to learn had very recently watched on a documentary explaining how ‘I’m make connections and impress those Not In Love’ was formed of 250 that really count. One night Bob recorded voices. At the time, genius, Harris and I chatted over a glass of unheard and ground breaking. wine. A week later he played one Dave Stewert from The Eurythmics, of my songs on BBC Radio 2 – an audience of 10 Million + (far greater Crispin Hunt from the Long Pigs than Radio 1 or X Factor) (one of my all time favourite bands of the 90’s). Robert Montgomery Fear hurt and paralysed, but (son of Bob who wrote all the big hits with Buddy Holly) and on and on ultimately, it worked just fine. it went round the table... I sat down and my mouth refused to COLUMN BY STEVE YOUNG work as morning greetings mumbled WWW.STEVEYOUNGUK.COM


[ 60 ]

3 WAYS TO BE SMART WITH MUSIC By Steve Young

Photo by Scott Chalmers


[ 61 ] HAVING EXPERIENCED HIS OWN MISHAPS OVER THE YEARS, REGULAR ALT-MU COLUMNIST AND PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN STEVEN YOUNG, SHARES A FEW WORDS OF WISDOM. HERE ARE THREE WAYS HE THINKS ARE ESSENTIAL TO BEING SMART WITH MUSIC...

1 . Music Equipement IS your responsibly If you look after it - then it will look after you. Always keep Mics in the bag they came in and coil leads the same way every time, preventing stress on the metal inside. Also when you are packing up, be careful not to knock ‘knobs’ on your equipment. This sounds like an obvious one, but keep drinks away from mixing desks and don’t feel awkward about telling drunk customers to move their drinks away. DON’T LET ANYONE TOUCH YOUR GEAR unless you are happy they will treat it the same as you do. TOP TIP: Mic stands break when you move them without loosening the knobs first.

2.: get music insurance There are a range of music insurance providers out there, but I find MUSICGUARD very comprehensive. It allows for 50% for your stuff to be in your car and includes worldwide cover for up

to 30 days per year with Public Liability Insurance (PLI) included. Items can be easily changed around each year. You hope your stuff never gets knicked but when that Custom Les Paul or State-of-the-art mixing desk goes wallies you’ll be glad. Most hotels & venues won’t allow you to play without PLI. Think about it, not having one is crazy - if someone trips over your PA stand and breaks a leg you are IN THE SHIT without one. The good news is that PLI is free if you join the Musicians Union and also included with a MUSICGUARD policy.

3.: Stay on top of electrical safety PAT testing is a pain in the ass as musicians only use around 10 or so pieces and most companies won’t do less than 200 items. Contact a local electrician and ask for help. However, anything NEWER than 12 months doesn’t require a PAT test. The most common failures are electric cables going into lights, so bear that in mind if there is a big rig setup. When it comes to your power adaptors etc keep an eye on them and DON’T USE TAPE to cover the problem. Put them in the bin and go to a supermarket for a new one. Don’t let venues fob you off with dangerous looking plug sockets. Ask to speak to the manager and request an extension lead from a newer safer one.


[ 62 ]

PJ HARVEY

AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE BY EDWARD COUZENS-LAKE

Her musical career now spans over a quarter of a century of songs and performances that can alternately sting or soothe an audience. If ever there was a contemporary musician who refuses to stand still then it is she.

MUSIC IS LIQUID. It reflects the times we live in, an aural, social and political river that reflects tastes, emotions and changing times like nothing else on earth. Our most effective protest is through our music and it is through music that the protest of downtrodden millions is most loudly heard. The songwriter is most certainly mightier than the sword. Yet he or she must be as fluid as the words and music that they write, able, in an instant to reflect these changing times and to reflect the hopes and fears of us all. It’s not through fad or flight of

fancy that leads so many of our most eternal yet fresh musos to constantly look to reinvent themselves, their rhythms and their song. It is because they want to remain relevant to the world. Take PJ Harvey for example. Her musical career now spans over a quarter of a century of songs and performances that can alternately sting or soothe an audience. If ever there was a contemporary musician who refuses to stand still then it is she.


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IN IT FOR THE LEARNING She spoke of this determination to continuously explore both herself and her music back in 2004 when, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Harvey insisted that, “...when I’m working on a new record, the most important thing is not to repeat myself...that’s always my aim: to try and cover new ground and really challenge myself. Because I’m in this for the learning”. Those aspiring for musical success take note. At a time in her career when Harvey had received countless nominations in both the Brit and Grammy awards as well as a Mercury Prize win for her 2001 album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, she made a very honest and public declaration that her music was all about “the learning”. Learning and discovering, mastering and moving on. That is the hallmark of PJ Harvey. Ask any devotee how they would describe her musical style and the answer you got would reflect that stage of her career when she was exploring a fresh sound or a new wave of writing.

MUSIC THAT CAN’T BE PIGEONHOLED Straight rock or alternative, punk blues, art rock, even avant-rock? Yet the list of Harvey’s conquests does not end there for she has also experimented with various other genres of music including electronic, indie rock and even traditional blues. A nod to the latter comes in her album track Down By The Water which narrates the tale of a woman drowning her daughter and, in the telling, references the traditional US folk song Salty Dog Blues which dates back to the early 1900’s and has been recorded, amongst others,

by the likes of Lead Belly and Papa Charlie Jackson.

the workaday singer who happily churns out the classics.

Harvey taking a musical journey of over a century into the past to demonstrate how she has progressed and is continually progressive.

She has also worked and exhibited as a sculptor and artist with some of her works being publicly shown for the first time in Coppola’s esteemed literary magazine Zoetrope: All Story in 2011. She is nothing less than Speaking of that first appearance remarkable. And, as Bowie sang of her artistic works, Harvey spoke about Changes, Harvey lived them; of some of her drawings, saying, an angry young woman with a “...they were drawn whilst I was snarl one moment, an elegant and writing and recording (Let England thoughtful songstress of charm Shake, 2011)...(the drawings) relate and guile the next. to the record in the way the cycle keeps happening”.

VERSATILITY

Harvey is never still, her mind as active as any in the industry. When she is not performing, she is thinking about her next performance. When she is writing, her mind is always one step ahead of the song she is working on and when she is learning, playing and mastering a new musical genre it already likely bores her and she is looking at the next one. You wouldn’t put it past her to team up with Metallica, neither would you dismiss her appearing at the staid Last Night Of The Proms. In either guise she would belong and look as if she had always been there. Such a gift. Yet it doesn’t all begin and end with the music.

A PERFORMERS LIFE As well as accepting roles in films such as The Book Of Life (1998) and A Bunny Play Girl’s Tale (1999) in which she played one of the ubiquitous bunny girls, she has also worked alongside actress Sarah Miles in the short film Amaeru Fallout 1972 (1997) during which Harvey performs a cover of the well known Three Degrees song When Will I See You Again; a song that is no stranger to the karaoke machine and which, in her performance of same, shows yet another side of her, that of

THE ETERNAL CYCLE Ever the cycle for Harvey, ever the need to discover new experiences and forge ahead. She could conform and settle into a predictable middle of the road existence but the very thought of it would be anathema for her. As devoted hobby runners feel that their day is not complete because they have to run, Harvey would doubtless feel incomplete if she did not have another hill to climb of her own, a hill to climb and new view to drink in.

HARVEY MEETS AUNTIE In late 2013 Harvey gave a public reading of World War One poetry at the British Library whilst, in January 2014, she guest edited the programme that is the very foundation of the BBC and broadcasting establishment in the UK, Radio Four’s noted Today programme. There, for three hours she had the opportunity to share her ideas and passions with much of middle England, an audience that, rightly or wrongly would, for the most part, not be the type to buy her music or listen to her work. Speaking about the programme, one that gave airtime to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; moving and very raw (especially for a breakfasting


[ 64 ]

ON THE MOVE Harvey is never still, her mind as active as any in the industry. When she is not performing, she is thinking about her next performance.

Photography by Maria Mochnacz


[ 65 ]

audience) testimonies from victims of torture and a selection of poems read by the actor and director Ralph Fiennes, Harvey said she accepted the opportunity to guest edit the programme as it gave her (and the audience?) z“...an opportunity to try to do something unusual with the format and content of the programme...(to) challenge us and move us to examine our deepest beliefs and feelings ”. Something she certainly succeeded in doing, an achievement that, in its near sixty year history had rarely, if ever been done. Today stood for conformity, familiarity and comfort, all of whom are strangers to the woefully unappreciated Ms Harvey.

PISSED OFF POLITICIANS Her most recent album, The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016), title and theme referring to the Hope IV projects in the United States, one that sees perceived run-down public housing in areas with high crime rates razed to the ground only to be replaced by the type of housing that the previous residents could not afford to buy, forcing them to leave, en-masse, the areas and communities in question. It is a policy that has been likened to social cleansing and it has clearly, and rightly, rankled with Harvey who will have seen much the same thing happen in London. One response to the album in particular may well have delighted her. It came from former Washington DC Mayor Vincent C Gray who claimed that he would “... not dignify this inane composition with a response”. That one sentence was all the vindication she would ever have needed to write and record the album. PJ Harvey. Touching us all. Before moving on again.


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n o i t s e u q e n o just CAN YOU REMEMBER A MOMENT WHEN YOU HAD TO BE FEARLESS IN YOUR CAREER? Have your say @altmumagazine #fearless #JOQ

“Stepping out on stage with Limp Bizkit at Sonisphere Festival in front of 40,000 people. We had no keyboard and had to sing acapella with the risk of being booed off stage. But you just gotta DO IT!” THE LOUNGE KITTENS

“Having to play a duet on the piano with my mum at a school I’d only just arrived at as an army brat aged 8... The ensuing stoney silence still haunts me to this day.” AMANDA ROZLER

“Definitely lighting new fire equipment and performing with them for the first time. And when rarely the equipment has “gone wrong” in front of an audience and you have to style it out best you can :D” SHELLY D’INFERNO

“Playing live on the Terry Wogan show knowing 11 million people were listening (and we rehearsed about 5 mins before we went on).” STEVE YOUNG

“Performing a very personal music poetry piece in front of 200 people. Definitely a fearless moment for a selective mute like myself, but worth it.” SARAH KIERNAN


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“I work as a software developer. In scientific and technical fields, women such as myself tend to suffer impostor syndrome... If I had to choose one particular moment that still stands out as fearless, it was the moment I chose to switch degrees. I had so much to lose, and I even moved cities. It was a risk that paid off enormously but I had no idea what I was getting into, or whether it would be worth it.” VICKY STEPEHENS

“Coming on stage in a pub full of REALLY drunk football fans. The manager turned off the big screen during the penalties so all the bands had time to play. I was first up and they were very annoyed - they warmed to me eventually though!“ TUALA KIERNAN.


? e r o want m

altmu.co.uk

ALT-MU Magazine - The Fearless Issue - Autumn 2016  

At last we are here with another issue for you to feast your eyes on and it’s all about being FEARLESS. By that we mean going for what you w...

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