ISSUE 01 APRIL â€˜18 F R E E
T H E
T E A M
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AMELIA JONES CREATIVE DESIGNER ALEX DOCHERTY SUB-EDITOR CARA HOUSTON THEATRE REPORTER MUSIC REPORTER LITERACY REPORTER VISUAL ARTS REPORTER INTERNATIONAL REPORTER FASHION REPORTER
AMELIA JONES CARA HOUSTON ALEX DOCHERTY ALEX DOCHERTY ANAIS MAMPUYA YASMIN BRAY
FB.com/PureCulture @PureCulture @PureCulture
OOR PURE EDITOR Hello you, welcome to the very first issue of Pure Culture. What a journey it has been bringing this magazine to you.
Last month I went to see a play in London’s West End, the theme of the play? ‘What is art?’ And I’ll be honest, after I left the theatre, I felt more uncertain of the answer than when I’d arrived. So, I did as any fellow generation-Z would, I turned to my most knowledgable and trustworthy pal, Siri, to help me understand. He replied: Art [mass noun]: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Woah. It hit me; art is everywhere. And Scotland is filled to the brim with it - art, culture, talent and sheer imaginative genius. The more places you visit in Scotland, the more you realise that every nook and cranny is filled with something completely unprecedented and wonderfully artistic. However, as playwright Kenny Boyle explains (on page 11), Scotland seems to have a problem when it comes to showing off its talents. Sometimes a modest tribe gives off an unaccomplished vibe. Well Pure Culture is here to make some noise, and provide that platform all creatives are crying out for. We cannot wait to go on this journey with you as we discover all those hidden Scottish gems and celebrate them together. For our first issue, we wanted to delve right into the heart of the artistic scene and bring back the rawest talent on offer. We have news and exclusives from the worlds of theatre, music, literature, visual art, fashion and our international connections, from Malawi to Japan. Plus we’ve compiled all of the best events and our top recommendations for where you should be, and when you should be there this Spring. I hope you enjoy this issue, and remember that culture and art belong to everyone - there are no boundaries, no restrictions and no one can tell you that you’re not a part of the story. So indulge and enjoy. Until next time.....
Amelia Jones Editor-in-Chief
CONTENTS PURE THEATRE Citizens Theatre Theatre’s Innovators Scotland’s Shakespeare PURE MUSIC The Playlist Losing Ground The Festivals Lewis Capalidi PURE LITERATURE Liam McCormick Speculative Books PURE INTERNATIONAL Rising Star Lake of Stars Anime PURE FASHION Our Picks The Pics Trakke Interview WE PURE RECOMMEND
T H E AT R E
BY AMELIA JONES
Change is happening at 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow. The building that’s home to the Citizens Theatre is celebrating its 140th birthday - and it’s doing it in style.
I sit in the dark, tired foyer of the glorious (although slightly battered) Victorian theatre with Kirstie Cusick (Head of Communications), a mug of English Breakfast in hand. Kirstie tells me all about the history of this building, as well as its exciting and re-invigorating future. The theatre opened its doors in 1878 as
‘Her Majesty’s Theatre’, making it the oldest operational theatre in Scotland. In 1945, when Harry McKelvie inherited the theatre, he leased the building to the Citizens Theatre Company, who subsequently renamed the theatre to what we all know and love today. Kirstie tells me that the name has carried the theatre’s ethos for the past 73 years - “open to all” - and owned by the citizens. Back when the theatre opened, there were seven theatres in the Gorbals, now, five of those seven buildings are no longer standing; just the Citizens Theatre and Carling Academy remain. In those 140 years, the theatre has never had a comprehensive redevelopment - “when it rains, the rain comes in to the foyer roof, it comes through to the actors on the stage. The car park is restricted because of scaffolding holding up the walls. Water comes in under the stage. When it’s meant to be hot it’s cold, when it’s meant to be cold it’s hot.” Kirstie explains that it was in 2012 into 2013, during discussions with Glasgow City Council (who own the building) about all the remedial work that needed to be done, that this transformational idea started to take shape. The decision was made: “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it properly.” From 2012, architects were appointed to start designing ideas, and by 2014, the project became a reality: “the hard work of choosing the designs and starting to raise the money” began. It’s a £19.4 million project, but I’m told there is only £1.6 million left to raise, which is now part of the public fundraising campaign. So what will we see change? And what pieces of Scottish heritage will remain? In Summer 2018 the theatre will close. “For the first time in our history we will go dark in this building, and move out.” And if all goes to plan, they’ll move back in in late 2020. The foyer we are sitting in, along with all the offices and the two studio theatres will be completely demolished, leaving the beautiful Victorian auditorium firmly intact. Kirstie admits
is looking at plans to put in a window, so that the public can see the art as it’s being created. Kirstie can’t help but hide her excitement at this prospect, as she tells me that the likes of John Byrne (The Slab Boys Trilogy) and Alistair Gray (Lanark) were giving their advice on backdrops during the runs - and now this is something that can be shared with the theatre’s citizens (pun intended).
De Bergerac - a co-production with Eden Court and National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Dominic Hill.
As well as this, under the stage will become accessible to the public for the first time. Visitors will be able to see all the preserved Victorian theatre machinery, as well as the seven original trap doors to the stage. Beyond this the theatre have identified 12 heritage activities, from digital hubs, to archives, to productions linked to the heritage, that will ensure that the magic of the building will not be lost during the modernisation.
Their learning work will move into Scotland Street School Museum with the help of Glasgow Life. This includes drama classes, play readings, playwriting, community groups, as well as all of the back office staff. Whilst their workshops will move to The Skills Academy.
The last show directed by Dominic Hill (Citz Artist Director) before the refurb will be ‘Last Days Journey into Night’, running from the 13th of April to the 5th of May. However, the very last show will be a community project called ‘A Night to Remember.’ Where 60 members of the Gorbal’s community will work together to create an exciting piece of theatre, on from the 23rd to the 26th of May. But do not fret. Theatre waits for no man, and the Citizens Theatre Co will march on between Summer 2018 and Winter 2020. Working alongside Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life, the majority of the Citz performances will be put on at Tramway. Their first being a Scottish twist on Cyrano that currently “the whole building is inaccessible”. The refurbishment will mean that from the pavement at the front of the building all the way through to the stage at the back, everything will be one level. This will allow a much wider audience to be able to get into the auditorium in order to see the shows - vital to any theatre trip, I’m sure you’ll agree. As well as this the rake of the stage will change. Currently the Citz struggle to have dancers due to the harsh gradient, and touring shows are also limited. With a better rake comes a better sightline, which allows the upper circle of the theatre to be open more frequently, with an improved experience. At present, the stall theatre cannot be used as it’s been deemed unsafe, whilst the 60 seater studio theatre is up a set of stairs that prevents access for those with mobility problems. The renovation plans to turns those two studios into one 150 seat studio, that is both accessible, and allows for larger audience numbers. Kirstie tells me that the theatre received £5.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, who are keen to preserve some of the theatre’s hidden gems. “We’re not a museum; we’re a work theatre,” she explains, “it’s about finding the balance between that working theatre and sharing the amazing heritage story.” The Citz is working with the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to “make some of [these] hidden activities more open.” Behind the stage is a Victorian paint frame which is where the backdrops for in-house productions are painted. Now the theatre
Kirstie tells me that moving out of 119 Gorbals Street provides them with an opportunity to take work on tour in Scotland, England and potentially abroad! After all, the Citz was known for taking its show overseas - especially in the 70’s.
Kirstie teaches me a lot about Citz: “[the] ethos of the theatre is always about reaching that wider audience.” She explains you can still come to see shows here for just 50p! Those who are unemployed, or indeed local, can attend any show for £2. The renovation will allow opportunity to “reinvigorate” the community about what’s on offer and make it a “much more inviting” space. Here at Pure Culture we cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Citizens Theatre, but we can promise it will be spectacular. If you would like to join the Citizen’s community and donate in order to help raise that much needed £1.6 million required to complete the renovation, visit https://wearecitizens.citz.co.uk and join the conversation using the hashtag #wearecitizens
MEET THEATRE’ ZOE KATSILEROU - PHYSICAL THEARE You know those people you meet in life that can just kinda do it all? Well Zoe Katsilerou is one of them. Originally from Greece she moved to Scotland in order to undertake a Masters at the University of Glasgow, and ever since she has taken the city’s performing arts scene by storm - exploring the unknown and questioning everything along the way. PC: What training have you had? Back in Greece I studied classical music, I was a classical pianist and singer, and after that I studied folk music. From that I got involved in theatre - physical theatre and dance. It was much more exciting than being stuck in a studio studying the piano. I never dropped out of uni, but I stopped wanting to be a soloist and I moved department to music education. I then moved to Scotland to do a masters at the University of Glasgow: research on the relationship between movement and voice in performance. PC: Who influences and inspires you? Ohh lots of people! Pina Bausch, William Forsythe and Akram Khan. Also Brecht, he has such rhythmical language. What inspires me at the moment is case studies for my research. Working with others as well as teaching others. It satisfies my curiosities. I use words as inspiration for movement - not only their meaning but
also their sound and musicality. PC: What differences do you notice between Greek and Scottish culture? I see a lot of common elements between Greek and Scottish culture, especially an openness and inclusivity. [Similar to] Greece, I can see a lot of experimental theatre starting [to arise] in Scotland - especially Glasgow. It’s about being bold. In Greece there is no funding, that’s a very very big difference because people here could apply for funding, but in Greece that doesn’t exist. You have to manage without any money. People [in Greece] have come to terms with the fact you won’t get paid unless you’re in a big production, which undermines the profession. PC: ing
What are you workon at the moment?
I’m working on a piece with my partner, who is a musician and actor. It’s a duet about a fetus in a womb - and that’s me. And then there’s the drummer who’s on stage too. And the fetus has been preparing his whole evening because it’s time to be born. And it’s excited, its read books about the earth and how amazing it is. Then the story melts into the fetus coming out of the womb, but also a child coming out of the rubble in a warzone. PC: Wow
BY AMELIA JONES
The idea came from [what happened] when I was born. I was separated from my mum for quite a while, without any particular reason. That inspired the idea of children being separated from their mothers, or even people. It’s the insanity of some situations, that there’s no logical explanation. My situation was quite simple - I was separated from my mum for a couple of months, [or] a month, and then we were brought back together. But that’s not the deal for everybody. PC: What’s your biggest achievement in terms of the arts? I decided to leave my country and do what I wanted to do. If I’d stayed there I’m not sure if I would have been able to do what I do here. I left in 2014, [I’d] been thinking about it for quite a long time and I hadn’t told anybody. So in my brain I was really sad that I was going to leave them - I was going through it alone, and then when I told them everyone was shocked and I was fine. The difficult thing was I had a life there. I had set up NoVan [Theatre Company] with friends and our director, and we were working together for something like four years. We weren’t huge but we’d just got space, and we’d had a few good gigs and we were touring around Greece. It was going somewhere. PC: So what was NoVan all about? NoVan came out of the school we studied at. It was five girls, myself and my friends and our director. Then the school decided to close down and we wanted to keep going. We did a lot of street theatre; a lot of activist street theatre, and then we started going into theatres with productions but we never did a conventional play. They’re still going! And often when I go back I work with them and it’s amazing. It’s like having a little family. PC: Do you think theatre is evolving? Yeah, it’s always evolving. It never stops one way or the other. I’m not sure whether we agree with how it’s evolving always. I don’t have such a global view at the moment but Glasgow has so much to offer that I’m very much focused on what’s happening in Glasgow.
’S INNOVATORS DAVID O’RORKE - DEAF THEATRE
David O’Rorke, Managing Director of Historical Adventures theatre company is on a mission to bring the deaf community into the heart of the Scottish theatre scene. At Pure Culture we love anything that makes art and culture more accessible and this is something extra special. PC: When and how did you first get involved in the arts and culture scene? I started drama classes in first year at high school. My teacher, Mrs. McIntosh inspired me to try and push myself in drama. At age 14 I started at Paisley Youth Theatre, where I took part in one of their short film summer projects. From there I was accepted into the youth theatre. PC: to
inspired you sign language?
It was something that I had always wanted to try. A friend of mine had done level two and I was always fascinated by it. I was on a job and there were some deaf children involved in the workshop. I gave the same lesson to the whole class but the deaf and hearing children ended up doing different things as the communication wasn’t there. I started [sign language] 6 years ago and I’m now halfway through my level 6 qualification. PC: Would you say the deaf community are often overlooked in theatre and in the arts as a whole? Absolutely. Accessibility is not great at all. There seems to be a long way to go. PC: Is accessibility changing for the the deaf community? Again [it] is still an issue, although there are many talented theatre companies that have been working hard to achieve that accessibility goal. Glasgow is very fortunate to have a good few companies whose aims are to make it as easy as possible for the deaf community to perform and create. PC: What do you think the future has to hold for deaf theatre in Scotland? I think deaf theatre in Scotland is starting to flourish. The Deaf Bill (BSL Scotland Bill) has really made
people stand up and pay attention. I think the journey has only just ￼ begun, but it looks like an exciting adventure. PC: What is Historical Adventures? Historical Adventures is a fully inclusive theatre company, that strives to bring drama and the arts to everyone that we can. We run youth theatres, school tours and run many workshops on various different topics for councils, schools and theatres. PC: Last year Historical Adventures worked on a production called ‘Communication’ with St Catherine’s Primary School. What was that about? It was about pointing out that we are all the same. Communication can open many doors and connect many people. PC: What does the future have to hold for you within the arts and culture scene in Scotland?
The future for Historical Adventures is to continue to make theatre and the arts accessible to as many people as we can reach. For myself, I plan to study to become an interpreter for theatre and television and to continue to put together productions . PC: Where can people go to learn sign language? There are many fine places to learn the language. I have been at BSL Scotland from the very start so I am slightly biased! Interested in getting involved in deaf theatre? We pure recommend: Deaf Performance Skills - Weekly Classes for Adults - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Deaf Youth Theatre - Solar Bear - Glasgow Deaf Theatre Club - Citizens Theatre
BY AMELIA JONES
“I didn’t decide to do it; I wa and studied law for three years. Then in fourth year I decided to totally drop law, I completely abandoned it and took theatre studies instead... and my parents were raging! We produced a whole play between the five of us, it was like a year of just working on this one play. It turned out pretty good. And then after that I went to the Conservatoire (RSAMD). PC: Wow, that’s crazy that you studied three years of law! KB: Yeah, I was on track to be a bloody lawyer, and then I was like ‘this isn’t for me, this is nonsense.’ PC: So after you got your degree in acting, what made you write more plays?
Kenny Boyle, Scottish playwright and actor, speaks to Pure Culture all about his entry into the world of theatre, his busy workload and his thoughts on Scottish culture... PC: Hey Kenny. KB: Hey! PC: As a playwright, when did you write your very first play? KB: The first play that I wrote that was actually performed, was a play called ‘No Time Has Past in Hippo Land’, performed in the Ramshorn Theatre in 2007. And it was about euthanasia... and it was a comedy. How long [ago] was that? Oh my god, like 11 years ago. PC: How did it come about? Why did you decide to write a play? KB: Well basically this is the ridiculous thing about me being a playwright, I
kinda didn’t decide to write a play. There was someone on my course at university that really really wanted to perform a strong female character. She was like “hey, you write things don’t you?” and I was like “yeah”, and she was like “do you want to write a play that’s got a good part for me?” and I was like “yeah f*ck it, why not?” So I wrote this play as a thing to do when I was avoiding studying. When I finished it I thought ‘oh that was really fun’, almost as fun as performing theatre. I didn’t decide to do it; I was kinda just asked. PC: You mention university, what has been your training? KB: Auch everything! So first of all I went to the Nautical College in Glasgow (City of Glasgow College), to studying Acting and Performance for HNC and HND. Then after that my parents were like, “aww you really need to get yourself a proper degree, something to support yourself with.” So I went to Strathclyde University
KB: After the Conservatoire we had it drummed into us that in this economy and this day and age, it’s not enough to just be an actor, you’ve got to have lots of different strings to your bow, and I can’t sing and I can’t dance, so I was like - I’ll stick to the writing. So that’s when I seriously started using writing to make money, with Murder Mysteries and getting plays produced by actual production houses. So yeah, basically because I decided I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I just wanted to perform sh*t that I liked rather than sh*t other people wrote. PC: Is there anyone that you would say inspires your writing or anyone’s work that inspires you? KB: Yes, I like Rob Drummond. I think he’s amazing, he’s been my mentor for a few years since I shot him in the Slow Bullet Catch. I went to see Rob in ‘Bullet Catch’, and in that show he gets an audience member up to shoot him in the face, and he catches the bullet in his teeth. I’d never met him before and I got brought up on stage to do that; to sort of be in his show, and after I shot him I was like, “hey can you just like, teach me how to be a playwright?” So he inspires me in a very hands on kind of a way, he literally looks at my plays and tells me what’s bad about them and inspires me that way, as well as inspiring me by just being a really good playwright.
as kinda just asked”
and whatever Tam Fest wants this year as well. PC: Do you think that arts and culture are spoken about and exhibited enough in Scotland? KB: No, absolutely not! I think that Scotland - this is so controversial - I think that Scotland has a problem that everything needs to be, to my mind at least, sort of degrading to Scotland. It always sort of celebrates the fact that we’re sort of downtrodden, and it seems to aggrandises bad working class traits. ‘Still Game’ for example, ‘Burnistoun’ and ‘Limmy’s Show’. They’re funny, but I think we should have more than that, because really what that is is just being like “aww look Glasgow has neds, isn’t that funny.” I feel like there’s so much more to Scotland. We’ve got beautiful scenery, we’ve got wonderful people, we’ve got so much culture, so much art. All that I feel the world really sees of Scotland is this sort of self degrading comedy, that focuses on that bad parts and tries to make a joke out of it rather than being proud of Scotland, and making the art that I think we could make. PC: You make a strong point. Well then, if you had an unlimited budget, what piece of theatre would you like to create?
I really like Jo Clifford, she writes the saddest plays y’know? She just writes plays that make you cry in horrible, terrible ways but I think they’re good. Then inspiration for the things I actually write, it’s mostly comic books and robots and zombies and sh*t like that - because I’m a big kid. PC: So you’ve done play writing. Would you ever think about trying to transition into writing TV and film? KB: Absolutely yeah! I would happily write TV, film and all that stuff if anyone would let me. *He chuckles* I think that writing a play is in many ways very similar to writing a movie or writing a TV show. Your imagination just has more free rein; you can do more stuff in theory in a film than you can on stage, so I’d love to do that. I’d love to write for radio as well, because in radio there’s no limits at all - you just say that someone’s in space and suddenly they’re in space, you can do it with your imagination.
PC: What are you currently working on? KB: So I’m working on two things, one of them is called Play Through and it’s with Borderline Theatre Company, and that’s in development with Creative Scotland. It’s totally the kinda sh*t you’d be expecting me to be doing, it’s about video games and ghosts. [It’s] a hox, and it tricks the audience into wondering whether or not they’re actually being haunted by ghosts during the course of the play. Obviously everyone’s going to know deep down that this is just a performance (and obviously we’re perfectly safe), but I just wanna create moments where people think for just a second that actually it might be real. I think that’s the kind of thing that sticks with people. Also I’ve just finished writing a play called ‘Lonely Hearts’, and I don’t really know what that’s for yet. I know that it’s written, I know that it works as a theatre show, but I think it would be a bloody amazing TV show. Amongst that, a bundle of Murder Mysteries
KB: Oh my god. I mean it would probably be something absolutely batsh*t crazy to be fair. I think I’d like to do something site-specific, somewhere unusual. Like get a derelict building in Scotland that’s safe but isn’t used and make it an experience. Like a walk through theatre that would be open all year round: a tourist attraction theatre that could employ actors a lot. A bit like the dungeons but maybe less history based and more theatrical. Or alternatively just tour through all the rural places that never get any theatre, like Orkney and Shetland. With an unlimited budget I’d probably just do unlimited things. PC: Away from theatre, what’s your favourite thing about Scottish culture? KB: I think probably the history. I really dig castles and the stories of how Scotland became what it is, and all of the incredible beautiful historical sites that we have all around Scotland. I think part of being Scottish is a niceness, and sort of commoradary and ability to get on with fellow human being. Because even though there’s lots of different things that people say “that’s pure Scottish, or that’s not pure Scottish,” I think everyone agrees that Scotland is friendly. I think Scotland is a very friendly country and I guess that’s one of my favourite parts of Scottish culture.
BY AMELIA JONES
Nina Nesbit ‘Someone Special’ The Liquid Room Edinburgh, 22nd May
JAkal Trades ‘Marilyn Monroe’ Barrowlands Glasgow, 29th September
Josephine Sillars & The Manic Pixie Dreams ‘The Sun and the Moon’ The Eden Festival, 7-10 June
Loki ‘Lit’ Kelburn Garden Party Ayrshire, 29th June
Chvrches ‘My Enemy’ ft Matt Berninger TRNSMT, Glasgow, 8th July
Mickey 9s ‘Ghosts’ The Art School, Glasgow, 12th May
Lewis Capaldi ‘Lost on You’ Barrowlands, Glasgow, 11th November
The Girobabies ‘Late Night Stetchy’ Audio Soup, Dumfries, 20th July
Here at Pure Culture we love supporting our local bands. We spoke to Losing Ground, a band from Kilmarnock in Ayrshire to find out more about them. Meet the band: Jack on vocals and guitar, Connor who plays bass, Blair on the drums and Andrew vocals and mandolin. They play across the whole of Scotland and took some time out of their crazy schedule to speak PC – Where did the name The Clash - I love The Clash. to us about Losing Ground. come from? I think bands like The Menzingers and Gaslight Anthem. Blair – Our actual name came We listen to a lot of Arab PC - How did you meet? from an ep called lost ground, Strap as well, it [inspires] so then we just got Losing the way we write I suppose. Jack - Well me and Blair Ground. There wasn’t a di- I’ll come out with something have been friends for ages, rect cut, it wasn’t good, there that probably sounds a wee too long. Connor and Blair was nothing inspired about bit Clash-y or even Gaslight are brothers. And honest- it. I always wished there was Anthem and then the guys ly? Someone said to me in something inspired but there will all put their bits to it. the pub, ‘that wee guy plays was nothing at all. mandolin’, and I was like that ‘I’m f*cking speaking to him.’ PC – What has been your It [took] like 45 of those con- PC – So what musicians are biggest challenge as a band? versations of us saying ‘aw you influenced by? we should start a band man, Jack – I guess actually the we should start a band’ and Connor – I don’t even know if biggest challenge is that we then eventually someone bands we listen to sound like all work full time and we’re was like let’s do it. us. all interested in loads of different stuff at the same time Jack – The Clash, well I like as well. So getting this time
losing ground Pure Culture’s Ba
dandgain ground of the Month BY CARA HOUSTON
to get together and always doing that is hard. The thing that our manager asks us all the time is ‘are you still 100% committed’, and we all are, but it’s not as rock n roll as quitting your job for a fortnight or a week or a month and getting to just do this obviously there’s a lot of real life that gets in the way. That’s the hardest thing about it.
will come in with a raw idea of a song with some words and chords. We then just play through it a few times, come up with different ideas of what we could do at different bits, then we just try and put it into a real song...somehow.
and busy and we were buzzing. Connor – Last time we played tuts (King Tuts) I think was my favourite. I think it was after the single was launched in November. A lot of people came to that, it was just crazy. Andrew – Yeah I’m the same,
King Tuts was my favourite. PC – What’s next for Losing Ground?
Jack – We’re playing a nice wee gig at my Mum and Dad’s 30t h anniversary, which is about the most rock n roll thing anybody could imagine. Then the next proper one is supporting Ferocious Dog again at Saint Luke’s on the PC – What’s your favourite 6t h April, so that will hopefully be a good one again and gig you’ve ever played? live up to the last one. PC – What’s your song writing process like? Blair – Mine was the second time we supported Ferocious Connor – We kind of touched Dog, it was the biggest stage, To keep up-to-date with Loson that earlier. Usually Jack the place was full when we ing Ground you can follow played it and it was really big them on Facebook @losin-
Festival season is fast approaching, and Scotland ’ s festival scene is never-ending. Pure Culture is here to guide you in the right direction and keep you updated with all the most popular festivals this summer. No matter your taste, Scotland doesn ’ t discriminate: there ’ s something for everyone. T R N S M T Of course we have to include what is arguably the most popular Scottish festival. TRNSMT ’ s first year in 2017 went down as one to remember, replacing Scotland ’ s most famous festival ‘ T in the Park ’ . Many people were uncertain if it could even come close to T in the Park, however, TRNSMT exceeded all expectations. This year, the festival hasn ’ t held back and includes artists from every genre of music. The festival in the centre of Glasgow goes across two weekends this year and has bigger and better acts than ever before. The first weekend consists of 3 days beginning on Friday 29t h June with headliners such as The Stereophonics, The Script, James Bay and Kodaline (and that ’ s only the first day... I know right?!).
Saturday 30t h June ness and The Temperincludes Liam Gal- ance Movement with lagher, the Courteen- more to be announced. ers and Wolf Alice. The last and final day Sunday 1st July in- of the 5-day festival cludes artists such as is one that you won ’ t the Arctic Monkeys forget, it includes artmaking their big come- ists like The Killers, back, Interpol, Blos- Chvrches, Franz Fersoms and Nothing but dinand, Friendly Fires Thieves. That will be and Lewis Capaldi. a day to remember. This festival is going to Friday 6t h July has be massive and they massive acts including, have pulled out all the Queen and Adam Lam- stops this year, you bert, Texas, The Dark- won ’ t want to miss out.
Eden Festival Eden Festival stretches across four days from the 7t h to the 10t h June and is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! The festival is an independent boutique festival showcasing ‘ fresh music and electrifying performances ’. The main stage, named the ‘ Devorgilla’ is hand built in the shape of a tortoise shell and hosts the headline acts of the festival. These headline
acts include performers such as Groove Armada, Mr Motivator, Zion Train, Son of Dave and many more. Eden Festival has something for everyone and is like no other. Set in the Raehills Meadows in Scotland it has 12 different stages, a kid ’ s arena, circus tent, drive in cinema, comedy workshops and much more. Perfect for days out with family and friends.
Kelburn Garden Party Kelburn Garden Party is being held from the 29t h June to the 2n d July. The festival, situated only 50 minutes outside Glasgow is perfect for techno, house and hip-hop lovers. This year the festival is expanding and creating a bigger dance arena which will give the festival a new high-end audio electronic music experience. Because of this big expansion they have got bigger and better acts than ever before, including Goldie, A Guy Called Gerald, Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts, The 2 Bears and Auntie Flo with many more alongside them. The festival is different to any other as you are surrounded completely by the wilderness. Ibibio Sound Machine will bring their afro-funk vibes to the crowd, whilst Macka B will deliver the ‘ voice of reggae ’ for the first time to the festival. This one is certainly not to be missed. Be sure to pick up next month ’ s copy of Pure Culture to get some more of our top festival picks of 2018. BY CARA HOUSTON
LEWIS CAPALDI BY CARA HOUSTON
Glasgow gigs never disappoint, but Glasgow gigs with a Scottish artist always stand out. Lewis Capaldi, Glasgow born singer and songwriter is selling out shows across the country and overseas. Following his first single released in March 2017 he became the fastest ever unsigned artist to reach 25 million plays on Spotify, and shortly after that got signed to Virgin Records and Capitol Records. Since then Capaldi has had a whirlwind of a year, he has supported artists such as Rag N Bone Man, Sam Smith and Niall Horan on their tours. He has sold out every Scottish venue he has played, including St Luke’s and the O2 ABC, and has recently announced his show at the Barrowlands in November (which sold out in less than 20 minutes). His show in February was his biggest solo show to date, and considering Capaldi only has four singles out, it made a sell out like the ABC even more impressive...
The venue was packed full of fans of all ages; the music started and the stage was dark. For a moment I thought I was at the wrong concert as the music was very hip hop, but after a couple of minutes Capaldi walked on and the crowd roared. The first thing he said as he steps on stage in front of the microphone was, “awrite.” It’s unusual to hear a Scottish accent being spoken back to you from a stage like this one, but it definitely made you feel at home. Of course, he started with a song everyone knew and loved. The stage was very basic, only himself and the pianist. This reflected the visual representation of his ep as well as it’s sound - organic and undoubtedly beautiful. His voice is incredible there’s no doubt about it. If you listen to his music and then see him live there is certainly no difference.
His raw, crispy voice is one that silences a whole room as soon as he starts singing. However, in this case everyone was singing along because his songs are just as good as his voice. Capaldi liked to make the crowd feel like they were connected, and would dedicate songs to ‘anyone who has ever had their heart broken’, which really did heighten the levels of crowd euphoria. His concert wasn’t all serious, considering most of his songs are about heartbreak. In between songs he would certainly make the crowd laugh, whether it was intentionally or not: making fun of himself and say jokes, adding to the night and it made it fun and not too serious. Capaldi’s final song was ‘Bruises’, his most played song on Spotify and the one that got him signed to his labels. As soon as the music started everyone knew it would be his last song and everyone started to sing along. The song had almost finished when Capaldi stopped singing and listen to the crowd singing back his lyrics to him. It was a special moment for the crowd, who could see he was visibly moved by the overwhelming sense of love in the room, and I’m sure it’s one that he won’t forget.Capaldi made sure to thank the crowd for a ‘special night’ before walking off stage. Lewis Capaldi is on his way to being a world renowned musician, with his next gig dates taking him to Hollywood, and following that Washington DC. And here at Pure Culture, we’re huge fans.
THIS IS PURE LIT
PURE L I T R AT U R E
“Beast” is the first book by poet Liam McCormick, who is well known to the Glasgow poetry scene. His new book was published by Burning Eye. McCormick is originally from the Highlands, moving to Glasgow in 2014, McCormick says: “I got a job at the Commonwealth Games, scrubbing dishes, started writing, started going down to Inn Deep a lot, met Sam Small, did a couple of slams.” McCormick was previously part of BBC Radio 1xtra Words First Poets, he recalls how he became involved with the BBC, which involved a live performance in Hull, McCormick says: “[My then girlfriend] was moving house and I was being a total d*ck about it, I was having a strop for some reason. She had so much stuff and so I just sat down and moaned the whole time. Then it came to the end of the day and she was like, “have you applied for that BBC Words First thing”… so I sat down and did it, I sent them a poem I did. They got back to me and let me into there workshops. This was SWG3, they had a session with Louie (of Hector Bizerk). We had to write a poem about the future, the first one I pitched them was a poem called: ‘When I grow up I want to be a Terrorist’. And they were like, “oh probably don’t do that one mate, thats a bit too much ehh”.” One of the poems that came out of this time was called Beast, which is now also the title of his new book expanding on a similar theme. McCormick says: “There are five plot lines in the book, there are the visual poems, there’s the art, there’s abstract poems, narrative poems and there’s prose poetry. The narrative poems are telling the story of a woman (Zara) who has just got out of an abusive relationship and what her life is like. Then these prose poetry sections are moments where a memory is triggered, so it’s outside of the main plotline of the story, because it happened before. And then with the [visual] art I sort of imagined these as the sort of things
Highland RELEASES she’s creating as she’s going through her sort of ‘time’; it’s just a way to decorate the book. Then we’ve got the spells which were written by Catherine Smith, I managed to get her to collaborate with me on the book a wee bit.” McCormick was also involved in making a short film with the BBC called Alone Together. McCormick says: “I am really influenced by film, and when you plot out the hero’s journey in Star
Wars, it’s a really good example of what the hero’s journey is. I plotted out my book against the hero’s journey, and I realised there was only one thing missing from it to make it complete: a supernatural character, that sort of hands him something at the beginning of the book when their adventure is beginning, that helps them throughout it.” This happens in Star Wars when Luke receives his father’s lightsaber from Obi Wan Kenobi.
The character of Zara is a young woman who is trying to make the best of a bad situation. McCormick says: “[For] the stalker parts I was trying to write a prose poetry section which is a sort of technique I have not really used before. It’s where you write a story but you f*cking overwrite it, so it’s basically a poem, but you do it in paragraphs. It’s about a character, who is faceless for most of it. It’s inspired by women I have spoken to and known quite personally who have told me their experiences.”
BY ALEX DOCHERTY
McCormick says: “So to [coincide] with the moments of triggering these spells, [they] act as what Zara is saying to *McCormick clicks his fingers twice* herself. The protagonist is definitely Zara. Every single poem or piece, apart from the Stalker sections, are written with titles [such as] Zara does something or Zara has an action. So if you imagine these as the scene headers in a film script - I interpret the scene as it goes on, [but] as a poem.”
In the forward of the book, before the poetry begins, it is claimed to be an essential text for combating toxic masculinity, McCormick says: “The reason it is an essential text, and the reason I am comfortable saying that, is because in terms of poetry, which is a community that is quite affected by toxic masculinity if you look at the sort of content a lot of women produce. And if you look at the community we exist in, it’s one where a lot of people are in a lot of pain and a lot of hurt.” This is Liam McCormick’s first book, he has already built a name for himself in the Glasgow poetry scene performing live at something most weeks, McCormick says: “I wrote it for me. Anyone who reads it and thinks I’m a c*nt, is the type of person who would probably meet me and thinking I’m a c*nt. So they are probably accurately assessing me if they read it and go ‘d*ckhead’. Yeah, a lot of it is written by characters and stuff, obviously there are all sorts of people using language I wouldn’t use, and all sorts of characters having opinions I wouldn’t have. [For example] there is definitely a place in the book, where a guy talks positively about slavery, but the whole story is me going ‘this guys a d*ck, this guys a d*ck, this guys a d*ck’, so I don’t think anyone could read the story and go like ‘Liam McCormick is a racist’ so basically like, read it and if you think I’m a d*ck, you’re probably right.”
Slam Champ Sam ends the speculation - q&a BY ALEX DOCHERTY
Our interview with Scottish Slam Poetry Champion about his independent book publisher.
Here is Pure Culture’s Q&A with Sam Small, the Scottish Poetry Slam Champion 2018. Small is also the co-founder (and Director of Poetry) of a new independent publishing company called Speculative Books. We asked him some questions to find out what #SpecBooks is all about. 1. What is Speculative Books? “Speculative Books is a publishing company first and foremost, however the thing that sets us apart is that you can subscribe for just £4.99 a month and we’ll send you one poetry collection every month. You can choose when the money comes out of your account and P&P is free.” 2. What do people get if they subscribe? “Each book comes out with a newsletter telling you about everything we are up to each month and there’s always some stickers and other nonsense in there too.”
4. What makes Speculative Books better than competitors? “We’re just starting out, we’re not looking to win any awards anytime soon, there’s lots of other publishers out there who are much better. I mean, we’ve only been going 6 months.” 5. Which book do you think has been the most notable release so far? and why? “My favourite is a toss-up between Leyla Josephine’s ‘Hopeless’ which is like a documentation of an hour long show, it was really fun to put together because there were lots of different formats, images, dialog, poetry and other mad stuff. However, David Ross Linklater is the best poet’s poet we’ve ever published I think, he’s on his fourth book or something, and it was a privilege to be the ones to publish it.” 6. What makes now the right time for Speculative Books? “We’re all
here, working hard, making lots of poetry books, that’s enough for us. You could say that old media is dying faster than new media can fill the gap and new business models are needed across the board. We don’t think that though, people just love a drama.” 7. What do you look for in books that are submitted to Speculative Books? “We’ve had a pretty varied bunch so far, if it’s good, it’s good. Try to be honest, that’s it really.” 8. What can people expect from Speculative Books in the future? “We want to put on a night in Manchester, so we’re really just getting to know some more poets and promoters from that neck of the woods. If you run a night in Manchester and you’re reading this, get in touch.” If you wish to get in contact with Speculative Books to find out more, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TEN QUESTIONS F STAR: AIDA LEVE Pure Culture interviewed Aida Leventaki, rising star of stage and screen, who is currently studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. With alumni from Grace Kelly to Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, Pure Culture is certain that Aida is next to hit the big time. 10 questions with Aida Leventaki: 1)
2) Why did you move to the USA? I moved to go to drama school (uni). I’ve always had a strong connection to the film and theatre that’s produced in the states and I was
rived I fell in love with city and the
determined to build a career here
people, and the adult independence
I played a mute, Kattrin in Berto-
and get involved in sharing my her-
sort of found its way into my lifestyle.
lt Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage’, and it
itage in a diverse city like New York.
I’ve always felt very ‘ready’ and knew
was really incredible to play a role
I wanted to move so it was quite a
where I didn’t have words to aid me
seamless experience, luckily! I also
in communication. I’m really passion-
you moved across the pond?
had a taste of moving out when I went
ate about doing plays that are edu-
to The Dance School of Scotland and
cational and current, and working on
boarded in Glasgow Monday - Friday,
this play set in a war zone in the 40s
I had just turned 18. I could finally
going back to Ayr for the weekends.
had scary amounts of relevance relat-
drink legally and then got to Amer-
So that was definitely good prep.
ing to the current state of the world.
ica where the drinking age is 21!
It was so rewarding and fulfilling.
It was definitely a daunting concept
4) What has been your favour-
to just pack up and go but once I ar-
ite role you’ve played so far?
5) What is your dream role?
FOR RISING ENTAKI
It’s the most important thing to me in the world. It can be as simple as going
BY ANAIS MAMPUYA
for a walk and soaking up the scenery or going to the cinema. Arts in the education system, exposure to the arts for young and old, accessibility, new work and of course culture is so essential. Almost everything that makes me who I am and who I want to be comes back to exposing myself to other cultures and travelling and talking to people from different walks of life. 9) What advice can you give to other young Scottish actors who are wishing to pursue a career in acting? Treat it like any other job, work hard and stay focused, then take breaks and enjoy holidays and never let it stop being enjoyable. It’s your life, and there’s no greater measure of success than how you feel in your work, not how many awards or massive credits you have. Immerse yourself in local opportunities, see as much theatre/film as you can and complicate your life! Get to know the work, the new playwrights, what’s going on, let people inspire you!
I don’t think it’s been written yet! I’d
Fresh air and long walks, tattie
love to be in an Andrea Arnold or
scones, chips, Ayr beach, Glasgow
Coen Brothers feature...a film about
a Scottish girl that moved to New York! *Aida laughs* Or if we’re talk-
7) Would you like to come back and
ing about classics then I’d love to be
perform in any of Scotland’s the-
Sophie in Mamma Mia since I’m half
atres at some point in the future?
Greek. I also loved playing Ophelia in Hamlet and would definitely like to re-
I would love to. I have a lot of respect
visit that at some point in my career.
for the theatres in Scotland and the actors and community there. All my
6) What is your favourite thing about
roots are in Scotland and I learnt
being back home in Scotland?
so much from my training there.
“Floss… and just learn how to relax.” -Tom Hanks Aida is currently in ‘Lysistrata Jones’, a musical by the Tony Award nominated duo Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn. It’s the first production of the show since it closed on Broadway in 2012 and is being produced at the Ophelia Theatre Company, NY.
Stars Malawi Festival has been held for the first time in the UK. What do Scotland and Malawi have in common? At first sight, nothing, but you couldn’t be more wrong. This surprising duo share a 150 year old partnership. Whether it’s cultural or economic, the festival shows that “the long-standing friendship between Scotland and Malawi” is still going strong.
LAKE OF B Y
A N A I S
The event is held every year on the shores of Malawi to promote Malawi arts and tourism: “It started 15 years ago, but certainly very quickly it got very big and very successful in...a year or two” says David Hope-Jones, the
“For a long time we wanted to do a Lake of Stars-Glasgow event.” David has been with the Scotland-Malawi Partnership for 9 years, almost 10. They coordinate the bicultural relationship between the two countries. “We promote Malawi culturally. We promote Malawi tourism and really with that, to coordinate, represent and support all aspects of this bicultural relationship, whether it’s individuals, school partnership, or a church link, a university connection
1200 different connections between
our #BuyMalawian campaign. So,
development work representing it.”
the two countries. That includes 150
that’s about building Scottish market
schools, hundreds of churches and
for Malawian products. We’re also
Officially launched in 2004, the SMP
hospitals. “For example, we run the
looking at how we change the nar-
has aimed to gather all the organi-
Chichewa and Chitumbuka language
rative. How do we change the way
sations and individuals engaged in
training, cultural training for groups
people talk about Malawi? How do
developing the link between Scot-
going to Malawi for the first time.”
we get Malawi into people’s mind
land and Malawi. “Through that
as a producer, an exporter of really
time, the organisation of the net-
For David, culture is a great way of
work has grown very significantly.”
bringing people together, and cel-
world class goods and cultural acts?”
ebrating Malawi’s contribution is a
The campaign promotes the eco-
Now, this is the UK’s largest commu-
defining part of that cultural relation-
nomic development of Malawi and
nity-based international development
ship, particularly here in Glasgow.
support trade between the countries
network, and represents more than
“This event, specifically, is a part of
by showcasing Malawi products: cof-
F STARS M A M P U Y A
So, almost half of the country in Scotland, they know someone involved in that connection with Malawi. So, it’s one of the world’s strongest NorthSouth people-to-people connections. This really is helping to transform lives of both sides of the partnership.” But, David admits that it has become harder to help Malawians coming to the UK and denounces the injustices they often face. He explains the struggles of obtaining a visa for people from Malawi. “We’re really disappointed at how the UK treats those people from Malawi, and not just people in Malawi you know, across Africa and the developing world when they are invited to come to Scotland.” “We increasingly see even more issues, difficulties, challenges, complications in getting those visas. We’re really disappointed by that.” The SMP is actively and vocally lobbying the UK government on the issue and will be raising their voice with the Secretary of State of Scotland at the ‘Big Commonwealth Lunch’ they will be hosting at the Edinburgh City Chambers. “We’ll make very clear how frustrated we are at the current visa arrangements.”
fee, tea, nuts, rice, alcohol, visual craft and arts. “Our involvement has
In 2015, the University of Edinburgh
been supporting the event together.”
undertook some research and found that both Scotland and Malawi bene-
Despite that, he insists that this is not
fitted from the SNP’s activities. Since
a one-way partnership and that both
its creation 2 million Malawians have
sides contribute and benefit from the
directly benefited from the partner-
event. “It’s not about charity, our key
ship and 4 million indirectly. In Scot-
message [is] that it’s not about one-
land, 300,000 Scots also benefit from
way charity, but a dignified two-way
these things. “A separate study, here
in Glasgow found that 46% of Scots,
where Malawi is an equal and a dig-
that’s 46% of 500 randomly selected
nified partner of Scotland and all their
people could name a friend or family
thousands of different partnerships.”
member with a connection to Malawi.
When asked the reasons of these difficulties, his answer was: “They get
sons and so it’s about just trying to change that mindset, improve some of the system. And, more importantly, listen to the Malawians.” Lake of Stars Malawi Festival will return to the beaches of Malawi on 28-30 September to celebrate the
Rai con IS BACK “You’ve got people who know that Pokémon is an anime” This year again, Rai Con, the biggest anime and manga convention in Scotland is taking place. You know nothing about it? Don’t worry! Shaheen Savarnejad, 34, will tell you everything you need to know about the subject. It is his love for anime and manga that made Shaheen partner with Rai Con. “As a game store, we like the idea of a face-to-face connectivity, where people talk to each other. So we immediately thought that was really cool. They mentioned the idea of a sponsorship, we looked at the cost of things and from there we thought: ‘Wow, that’s great!’” he says. “We had very similar goals. They wanted a very personal Con, a convention that could get people talking to each other, playing with each other, interacting with each other rather than just a convention where people go, maybe they dress up, maybe they buy stuff but they don’t do much else.” Rai Con is an opportunity for Shareen to meet and talk to people with the same interests and love for Japanese animated cartoons and comics. “I enjoy meeting new people so it’s a really good experience, especially when you get to talk to people who are really keen about the same things that you are keen about.” His passion for anime manga started when he was 11. The first time he
ever saw an anime was on the Syfy channel. “They had these weird cartoons that I eventually found out was anime. I saw Guyver, which is really old now, Dominion Tank Police, MD Geist, Ninja Scroll. All these very old classics now.” He used to stay up late to watch theses cartoons. “That was really cool for me and it totally blew my mind. They just had all these different ideas in there, and things I’d never come across before.” Shareen was intrigued by the way “anime explores emotion and the way characters feel, and characterisation, very deeply and intimate” more so than Western comics. It was a real cultural shock for him. “Japanese are more prone to explore that side of things more readily than the Western audience, AT THIS TIME. I think it will change.” Western animation studios “only recently have started to pick up on the emotional side of things a little bit more, and I think that’s something they’ve learnt from the Eastern cartoons - the anime and the manga.” With Netflix and other TV channels coming out and just exploring that idea, making it bigger, it becomes normal to see anime on TV now compared to the situation 20, or even 10 years ago. “Glaswegians and local Scottish people just didn’t get these cartoons in the past, but now I think there is definitely an understanding [that] cartoons aren’t just for kids.”
BY ANAIS MAMPUYA Now that Scotland are getting more exposed to these things, there has been more of an acceptance toward Japanese culture. “I think everyone knows some kind of anime just like everyone know Big Bang Theory” he says. “People are starting to know what Yu-Gi-Oh is, what Pokémon is, what Dragon Ball is.” With the population being more aware of anime and manga, Rai Con’s numbers keep growing. But, this is not enough for Shareen, who would like to see the convention get bigger. “Glasgow and this area of Strathclyde has such a great following for anime and manga” he explains. “To be honest, I think we’ve got the beginning of a really big convention right now, and I think if it can get bigger that’d be amazing.” Even with the previous convention being rescheduled due to bad weather, this does not stop him from anticipating. “These things happen, but that makes me really excited to go to the next one. So I’m kinda even hungrier for this one!” How much is he anticipating the convention? “I’ve got lots of stuff packed in the back there, ready to go,” he says with excitement in the eyes, “it’s gonna be good.” Rai Con will be held at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on 29 April from 11am-5pm. An after party will takes place from 7pm-11pm
STYLIST: YASMIN BRAY PHOTOGRAPHER: CARA HOUSTON
F A S H I O N
The Beatles inspired indigo denim jeans are a stylish throwback to the 60’s, which is all the rage in menswear this season. With the wash-out blue colour and flared ankle, this comfy fit is perfect for a casual everyday look. £90. This linen, long sleeved shirt has a corozo buttoned collar and cuffs, made with breathable fabric for your comfort. The Stone colour fits perfectly into the SS18 fashion. £75.
In this issue we are featuring Hobbs women’s wear and Pretty Green men’s wear.
This blue, crisp cotton shirt is a stylish, fitted shirt that is perfect for the Spring season. With its 60’s inspired Paisley pattern and corozo buttons, this cotton poplin shirt is easy to mix and match with any outfit. £75. This hooded jacket comes in both pink and blue, both fitting for this season’s Spring fashion. With the Scottish showers, a stylish, slim fit jacket with a detachable Paisley hood-lining is perfect for every weather condition. £100.
This Alana Blouse from Hobbs has stylish, flared sleeves, slim fit cuffs, with a high neck and it is in a pastel shade of lilac, which is one of this season’s key shades. £89. The Amanda Jeans from Hobbs are red, vibrant and slim fit, designed to shape your legs. The high waist and elasticated material is perfect for uplifting and enhancing your figure. For a bright, comfortable and flattering jean we recommend the “Miracle Jeans” at £44 (down from £89). The red multi Ottilie Blouse is loose and has a wrap-style tie, enhancing your waistline and figure. The blossomed lily pattern and bright, eye catching red fabric is perfect for the Spring season. £139.
Y Y A S M IN B R A Y
It’s time to Spring your way forward into this season’s new fashion trends. With pastels to bright colours, flares to florals, there’s a clear change in the air as we say hello to the sun and goodbye to the drizzly, dreary weather. And the pastel craze doesn’t just reach as far as women’s clothing, this year pale pinks, lilacs and floral patterns are flooding menswear like a Spring shower.
The Laurelle Biker from Hobbs is a traditional black leather jacket that never seems to go out of style. It is slim fit, hugging to your figure and is perfect to wear casually with any colour, bright, pastel or dark. For a timeless look we recommend this Laurelle Biker at £329.
Left: Model: Charly Stakim Wearing: Wyldr ‘Over It’ Cold Shoulder Shift Mini Dress
Right: Model: Edoardo Piroddi Wearing: ASOS Muscle Sweatshirt in Pink
Left: Model: Elliot Linden Wearing: Jack & Jones Premium Grandad Shirt plus ASOS DESIGN Wedding Slim Mid Length Smart Shorts
Right: Model: Rosie Graham Wearing: Missguided High Neck Ombre Bodysuit
BAG MAN BEGINS
Scottish Brand Ships Bags to the States and Beyond BY YASMIN BRAY Trakke is a new outdoor brand, based in Glasgow that sells bags to over 40 countries worldwide. We managed to sneak an interview with the founder himself, Alec Farmer (29) at the store in the West End. PC: First of all, what interested you in creating Trakke in the first place? It kind of started by accident really. I was studying graphic design at the Glasgow School of Art, I was in my 3rd year when I got bored and wanted to make something with my hands. My flatmate at the time had an old sewing machine, so I used to cycle around the city at the weekends trying to find old stuff in the skip like unwanted sofas, prams, posters and [I’d] cut off all the pieces and materials which would be taken back to the flat where I’d try to make stuff. 6 months later I had made like 200 bags that were all completely different, just playing around with ideas and prototyping, trying to vaguely
learn how to sew. Before I knew it I had all these bags and didn’t know what to do with them, so I opened up a stall at the Barras Market in the East End and started selling them. A year later when I finished my degree during the recession, I was completely broke so I thought I’d give it a go. PC: What countries are being sold Trakke products other than Scotland? At the minute 45% of everything we make gets shipped overseas, we sell to about 60 different countries in the world – the biggest of which being America, as we sell a quarter of the products we make to the States. What’s really cool is the customers in those countries often send us photos of them out doing adventures, so we get these insane photos of our products next to an elephant or something which is all amazing. PC: What Scottish materials are used
to make the products and why did you choose them specifically? We make everything here so it made sense to buy as many materials from the UK as possible. So we use wax canvas for the majority of our bags, stainless steel buckles, military spec webbing, metal D rings, everything from the UK really. Buying them locally is obviously the main reason, but the second reason is having a lot of great benefits, like wax canvas can be reproofed with wax time and time again whereas with a synthetic jacket you can’t. PC: What are your main priorities in terms of designing a bag? What quality do you ensure? The idea with all our materials is that they are long lasting but also we try and make all of our products transition from workdays to weekends easily. Most of our customers live in the city,
so they go to work, commute but at the weekends they go out walking or cycling, so we try and make one product that will serve both of those needs. We make sure our bags have enough space for laptops, even have padded sleeves for them, different ways of organisation, but when you’re on the hills we make sure all the bags are waterproof, hard-wearing [and] long lasting so if it bashed or wet you know it’s going to be alright.
There’s 8 of us here in total, 7 who work here full time and one intern. So we have 4 people in the workshop who manage all of the production and 3 of us in the office who look after the business end of it all. PC: What can this brand do for the reputation of Scotland and its people?
We just launched the Bannoch Backpack which was a big change for us, we wanted to design a more premium level collection so it’s designed to be a bit smarter and urban. It’s good for organisation, it looks great, feels great, really nice size and the coolest thing of all is the fabric that we used is made from stinging nettles, so it’s made from nettle fibres that are woven into the fabric rather than just cotton fibres. This not only makes it look good, but it makes the bag more sustainable as well.
What’s interesting is that I’m not Scottish, I moved up here about 10 years ago and I really fell in love with Scotland; the place, the people, the Highlands, everything really. So now having lived here for such a long time I kind of identify with the Scottish lifestyle and I think everything about Trakke is to do with that love affair with Scotland. Everything we do, all of our photoshoots are in Scotland, always talking about Scotland, telling stories and that’s become a really core part of the brand. We have journalists come up from England to talk to us and we take them to places like Glen Coe and it blows their mind, so what we try and do is show the rest of the world just how Scotland really is.
PC: How many people work here at Trakke?
PC: What differences in style have you made for the Spring season?
PC: What is your favourite product that you’d recommend?
Initially we have the new range, based around the nettles and slightly smarter designs but we’ve also launched a line of accessories for cameras. A lot of our customers are out in the wild so everyone has a digital camera and we made this line of accessories which is quite a big change for us, and we’re really pleased with that collection. PC: How do you visualise yourself and Trakke in 5 years time? Hopefully I’ll be on a yacht somewhere, but assuming that doesn’t happen we’d maybe like to open a few stores in places like Glasgow, London and overseas. We’re growing all the time, we sold nearly twice as many bags this year as we did last year, the team is growing so I think there will become an interesting point where we will need to decide how to play it. As soon as you’re above 15/20 people it becomes a big company and then it loses some of it’s personality and small scale attention to detail. It will be an interesting time to figure out how to keep the personality and vibe but we will be making more products and trying to tell our story to more people.
WE PURE R At Pure Culture we’ve brought you out top calendar moments of this Spring season. We hope to see you there...
“Scotland’s biggest multicultural festival of music, dance, arts and food, in Glasgow’s favourite park” Sunday 24th June Kelvingrove Park
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Celebrating all forms of performing arts for an entire month! Whatever your taste, you’ll find it here 3rd-27th August Venues across Edinburgh
Scotland’s larg contemporary a local and inte 20th April Venues acro
A free family festival with live music, wine bar, beer garden performances, Burns Fair and much much more Saturday 5th May Rozelle Park, Alloway
RECOMMEND Glasgow Rum and Reggae Festival Rum from across the world accompanied by reggae in the heart of Glasgow, what more could you ask for? Saturday 5th May Glasgow Barrowlands Ballroom
gest festival for arts, showcasing ernational art l - 7th May oss Glasgow
Bin Laden: The One Man Show “The world’s most notorious terrorist tells his remarkable, provocative, multi-award-winning story.” 25th-28th April The Tron Theatre, Glasgow
FLY: Open Air A 12 hour festival of the best house and disco DJ’s brought to a 17th century stately home. Saturday 19th May Hopetoun House, Edinburgh