Issue 35 Jun 2011
Public Preview: 7 July, 6-9pm
cara b = side b
Exhibition Continues: 8 - 17 July 2011
43 Hulme Street Manchester M15 6AW +44(0)161 2226164
For further information and details of special events please visit:
www.blankmediacollective.org/carabsideb Curated by:
CONTENTS GET IN TOUCH 4 WELCOME... 5 COVER ARTIST - ANDY SINGLETON 6 BLANKVERSE 12 FICTION - ROSALIND KENT 16 THIS MONTH’S MP3 - JOHN FAIRHURST 20 SPOTLIGHT - TRACY EASTHAM 30 FEATURE - MIF 34 BLANKPICKS - NATALIE BRADBURY 40 BLANK MEDIA RECCOMMENDS 42 THIS MONTH IN BLANK MEDIA COLLECTIVE 45 SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 48 CREDITS 50
YOU ARE LISTENING TO... Obnox Stomp by John Fairhurst
COVER ART Dust Clouds in the Eagle Nebula by Andy Singleton
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Welcome... Manchester’s rich industrial heritage and artistic reputation is well-known, whether it’s the designation as the world’s first nuclear free city in 1980 or the legacy created by the legendary Peter Saville and Factory records in the 70’s, the radical digital culture we’re pioneering now at festivals such as FutureEverything or the international headlining acts of this year’s Manchester International Festival – the creative and innovative momentum has never really ceased since the industrial era. The creative community has continued evolving, attracting new artists, musicians and international attentions. Whether you’re into indie-rock, literature, psychedelic folk, dub, blogging, contemporary art, performance or theatre - there’s something for everyone. It’s comforting to know that Manchester has a history and future to be proud of and one that artists can find a creative home in. The Mancunian voice can be heard confidently and proudly worldwide. That’s why we love it when you, our readers-come-artists, writers, producers and performers send in your work to us here at blankpages. It reminds us that the creative energy is still continuing strongly and determinedly out there, just like the iconic ‘busy bee’ of Manchester.
Catherine Teague blankpages Editorial Assistant
is a paper artist and illustrator based in Wakefield, England. He Studied Animation with illustration at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 2006. His work is an exploration of the natural and manmade world through intricate paper cuttings, paper sculpture and hand drawn illustrations. Andy believes a hands on, pragmatic approach to producing work is the best way to fully realise the potential of new ideas. Andrew currently works on commercial and personal projects from his studio. Left: Dust Clouds in the Eagle Nebula (detail) ‘Inspired by photography from the Hubble space telescope, Andy Singleton attempts to explore the scale, intricacy and beauty of our universe. Choosing the medium of large scale paper cuttings, he hopes to inspire the same sense of awe that we feel when we look into the deepest regions of space. This is an installation for the ‘cut paper’ exhibition at Bowery Gallery, Leeds. 8m x 1.3m Hand cut paper. 2010 Photography Panoramic: Richard Sweeny, close-up shots: Andy Singleton Right: Suspended Spirals
Personal Work. An exploration of movement and form. Hand cut Lightweight paper. 2010
Ice Caverns A Commission by the Oriel Mostyn Gallery to create a winter window installation. The work was created entirely from paper, constructing 3D icicle sculptures and combing them with 2D flowing paper cuts and icicles. Photography: Andy Singleton
Left: JellyFish (detail) Personal Illustration work. Right: They Loved what they found (detail) A Crafts Council commission for Liberty to celebrate the opening of the Liberty Stationery room. 3 site installation. Hand cut, folded and glued paper sculptures. 21 paper bird sculptures.
I Have Sold the Sunsets to the Spring
There’s That Thing You Think You Want to Hold On to But You Know That Maybe You Shouldn’t
I have sold sunsets to the spring there is no milk as sweet. I have told secrets to the trees There is no fire as free As a fire of fumbled belief.
Take me, slipping through streams and chains where I can break free, blinking. Where the skeleton of laughter, Choruses and a chorus, doesn’t make me laugh or plead, or think: “there’s less to be found here than we need.”
There. There. In the fire. Of the fire. She appears.
Blow me out and away. Out through a life led, a room with windows with no view, a cold bed.
Blackbird claws, lion’s mane, wine pouring from her eyes. Breathing.
To a wet-warm field.
She breathed into me, over me, through me. At me. With every whisper she never whispered, I felt forty versions of myself converse. In the meeting, there was only ideas. There were only lines of verse, terse volume, music, stories of swords, the teeth of bravery. That moment, When The beat Drops.
Under a fine sandy sky of dew-eyed, glittering leaves, and no more notes of apology – Let me follow that grain of destiny and ignore all the fur and oil from these sore Cherry flames, of not standing in a -group- and not knowing what to say. Please listen to that tapping sway, a heartbeat pitching its way through your mind, and stay angry.
Robert Neumark - Jones 12
The Thicker Trees The sun fractures through the weave of his wide-brimmed hat As he turns to leave the field. He brings a hairy arm to his dripping forehead, washes sweat over his face. Not for the first time, senses that impossible goldmine, another world (a plane overhead!), and turns left along the path to a metal hut of coconuts and sleep. Away from the plane and the city, away from the sun that burns. A stumble. He furrows his brow like a slammed door, And dumb, he stands alone in a quiet personal chaos of memories and unanswered questions, â€˜til like before, he Emerges lost from thoughts, yearning now to be guided home. Softly. But his wrong footed dance is leading him further from the lapping waves of his bed, driving him ahead, blindly. In a trance, at once He idly lets his fingers glide over bristles of corn, whispering-leaves. Walks past home, feels the crunch of leaves under feet as hard and thick as trees. His light breaths Turn to a heavy wet whistle, and guiding him past the thistles, Death takes his hand. He stumbles, slower this time. Falls clumsily, but deliberately, to his knees. Listening. Praying for a heartbeat.
Robert Neumark - Jones was born on Shakespeare's birthday, and for many years tried to claim authorship of his work. When that fell flat, he turned his hand to poetry, and has been performing and publishing for many years. A year ago, he became a professional actor to pursue his passion for performance, and was awarded the top commendation for his performance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010. Robert acts, directs and continues to write poetry, short stories, and plays. He is currently working on a show co-written with Christopher Birks which he is taking to Edinburgh 2011. For more info, go to www.robertneumarkjones. com or follow him on twitter at @ruskinruskin
The Gallery Attendant On lonely afternoons The public creep in Looking as if searching Through slow white spaces With sidelong glances At silent staff In patient pursuit
On a lonely afternoon You might notice Something unique The eyes follow you around the room
Here in the gallery We hold time still To let other things happen
Here I am A lost work Waiting to be found
Wandering with your secrets Close to your chest A folder and a shopping bag
Get to know me Become my champion Shout my name And restore my reputation
Amongst all the old masters The history and myth You come across a piece That intrigues you
Or keep me a secret Treasure me as your own Bless me with visits And keep me safe
Largely overlooked Misread and disregarded At the back of the gallery Watched over by time alone
At the back of the gallery
Cups I thought you might be coming round So I bought two new cups Nice cups Smart cups I thought we might sip tea from them Or coffee As a precursor to shagging… I don't think you'll be coming round The cups sit there in the cupboard Nice cups Smart cups
Tom George is a writer, performance poet and musician based in Liverpool, mixing poetry and music in his performances, as well as elements of drama and multi-media. He’s performed at venues including: FACT, The Bluecoat, and The Everyman in Liverpool; The Green Room and Sandbar in Manchester; and has also appeared on Channel 4 and at Glastonbury & Threshold festival. Tom has staged three one-man shows at Liverpool‘s Unity Theatre, self-published his poetry collection, How Now, and released two music CDs. He also edits the music zine Slacker Sounds and writes for publications including the Stool Pigeon and Clash.
The family on the beach look like any other. The father and young son are playing football on the sand; the mother and two teenage daughters, in new bikinis, are baking in the sun. The eldest daughter is preening; stretching her body across her towel, and luxuriating in the heat like a cat. She keeps one eye on a group of boys standing in an awkward circle nearby. The younger of the two girls is less confident. She is at an age, unable to enjoy the holiday, hating being seen out with her family. She is sitting tightly wound on her towel, hugging her knees, hiding her body and shielding her face with a sheet of hair the colour of weak tea. She is not looking at the boys, and they are oblivious to her. She shifts and sighs, pulls a hat down hard over her head, adjusts her sunglasses so that they wonâ€™t slip and slides down on her towel. She curls up, closing her eyes in the hope that she will sleep. The mother next to her lies very still, not looking at or talking to either girl. Her face is red, and she has patches of burned, sore skin where she has not applied lotion properly. Every so often she wipes irritably at the trickle of sweat that continually runs between her breasts. Her head is throbbing. Itâ€™s too hot for her, she wants to go inside and slip into a grateful sleep in the cool air-conditioned room, but she knows she must stay with the family. The father tires of the game of football and flops down onto his towel, ignoring the pleas and then anger of his young boy, who wants to carry on playing. He sits down, with obstinate joy, on his towel, puts a hand up to shield his eyes and surveys the half-naked bodies lying around him. He sneers at his wife and daughters; they are lazy
By Rosalind Kent Illustration by Michael Thorp
he is not going to insist they swim together. The thought of the cold sea, the imperceptible sizzle as hot limbs touch the water, makes each of them cringe. He marches them down the beach, towards the beach hut near the shore where local men hire out jet skis, pedallos and kayaks. The youngest daughter especially feels a thick knot of anxiety growing in her stomach as they follow his purposeful march along the hot sand. The father approaches the hut with a swagger, arms swinging, eyeing up the foreigners. He is certain of his ability to get the best possible ‘special’ price for hiring out two pedallos. He decides that he and his son will man one, and the women can flounder around in another. He looks at his wife’s legs and thinks it will do her good to get them pedalling, work off some of that flab. He looks back down the beach and sees his youngest daughter lagging behind, reluctant to go on the boat, reluctant to be seen with her family. His mouth sets in a grim tight line, and he suddenly spins around, changing direction away from the hut, marching back down the beach towards his daughter, leaving his family to stand and watch. He grabs her, says nothing, and digs his short square nails into her arm as he pulls her towards the rest of the family. When he reaches them he abruptly lets go and motions for the whole family to stop and wait for him. He resumes his former swagger in front of the local men. He is confident he has not been done by the laughing locals. He allows them to help him pull two of the waiting pedallos down to the shore, joking about not being able to get any help from the weak women. The men laugh along with him, patronizing him, winking to the ladies.
and boring, incessantly lying around. Their only interest is in their tans, in their bodies. He notices his eldest daughter’s posing and automatically glances around. He examines her face and follows her gaze to the group of boys. She thinks her eyes are hidden by her sunglasses, but the fall of sunlight onto the lenses and the angle of her head make them clearly visible. The father’s dark gaze hardens further and his jaw clenches slightly. They all studiously ignore one another, no one wanting to make eye contact. The boy has been standing hopefully by the ball, his body tensed as he tries to decide what to do. Might his father might get up and start the game up again? He watches with resignation as his father slowly lies down, clearly not about to jump up and surprise him with a return to the game. His father never surprises him. The boy sits down on his towel to sulk, and tries to work up the courage to join the game of football that is starting up amongst the nearby group of boys. But he is too young, and he knows it, and they won’t let him play even if he can bring himself to ask. Only a couple of minutes of silence pass. The waves crash loudly but the shimmering heat, almost visible like a quivering translucent wall, and the surrounding cliffs mute the sound. The calls of nearby voices and playful shouting echo around them. The father suddenly jumps to his feet, clapping his hands in each of their faces, announcing a family trip. All three women move heavy hot limbs, reluctant to get up, angry at the disturbance, but resentfully accepting it. The boy sits up eagerly, glad for the action, for the possibility of further interaction with his father. The women all make a silent prayer that
The son includes himself with the men; hauls with all his might to show his strength, muscles taut as he turns his back on the girls. The boats are suddenly in the water, and the family wade into the shallows. The women grimly get into their pedallo, avoiding eye contact with each other. The male boat is more jovial, both of them are enjoying the feeling of superiority. The mother does not talk, but sits herself in one of the drivers’ seats, fixes her eyes on the horizon and starts to pedal. The older girl is just sitting down in the other seat. She is not ready and the moving pedals hit her shins hard, making her snarl with anger and pain. The mother doesn’t react; it’s as if she hasn’t heard her daughter. The girl, rubbing a raw scrape on her shin, gains a foothold on the still moving pedals. They follow the other boat, but are left further and further behind, as they trundle interminably out to sea. The beach-men watch them for a while, and silently turn away. They stop a long way off-shore. Probably further than they are allowed, but the father paid no attention to the boat-men’s jabbering about safety and how far they could go out. He could barely understand their heavily accented English. They must be just on the cusp of safety though as there is no frantic waving from the shore, no one trying to bring them back in. The youngest girl is suffering; pale under her tan, always afraid of deep water, especially the sea. No one notices her fear. She has had all her swimming lessons, is a good swimmer, so they have done their duty and there is no need to worry about her. She can only think of dead things when she looks down. The dead multitudes of mysterious marine animals, fish
and even human bodies that are in there somewhere, decomposing deep below her; ancient shipwrecks with their corpses stripped of flesh, peeling away layer by sodden layer revealing water soaked bones which will lie there until the sea decides otherwise. All this death, stagnant on the ocean floor, or worse still, floating upwards, bloated and pale, touching her skin. She can imagine the sensation, a dead white arm entwining itself around her, just like seaweed tangled round her legs, slimy and mobile. It makes her squirm, the thought of that touch, of all the invisible decay in the water. She has been staring down into the deep ocean, unable to see the bottom. All she can see, below the clear blue top-layer of the sea, is the water darkening and taking on a greenish tint before deepening to a misty-grey murk which the sun cannot penetrate. Then there is just blackness, impenetrable and bottomless. At first she only perceives a great amorphous black swell as something huge surges upwards, the dark indefinable shape rapidly becoming a grey threat, that soon emerges as a huge jaw and dorsal fin which slices through the water, reaching the clear blue layer closest to the girl, and morphing into nothing but rows of sharp teeth topped by a beady, dead eye; as large as a black opaque saucer. It breaks the surface, deftly grabs her petrified body in its mouth and slides back into the sea, shooting downwards, retreating into the darkness with its prize as quickly as it arrived. She hears screams from the surface fading with amazing rapidity as she travels downwards, faster and faster, the weight of water and the pressure of the jaws quickly becoming unbearable
and extinguishing her last few thoughts. The father is screaming, but not in fear, in anger. “You stupid little bitch, jump in and get it! Now, now – NOW!!” She blinks and swallows hard, suddenly realising what is happening. He has thrown a snorkel and face mask set from his pedallo to hers, and deliberately he has thrown it short so it falls into the water, forcing her to jump in. She is frozen, unable to move, staring at the glint that the glass of the facemask is giving off. It sinks, at a leisurely pace, through the clear top-layer of water, edging slowly towards the darkness below. It is lazily rotating as it goes down, taunting her; come and get me, if you dare. The blackness underneath her is swelling again, almost imperceptibly, and she can’t go down there, she just can’t. The father’s livid screams have come to an end and he is snarling loudly, slowly, deliberately through clenched teeth. The brother and sister, drawn by the drama, have stopped snorkelling, heads bobbing above the surface like two seals, watching with interest. The hissing voice of her father stops, and with a final threat he dives in himself and swims strongly down, grasping the mask then flipping and coming back to the surface, rising up fast. His face is distorted, by water and anger, and it breaks the surface first, mouth already open in a continuation of his fury. She sees his teeth and his dark eyes. The girl wills the black swell to start below him, not caring if the monster gets them all, as long as it gets him. But it doesn’t happen; he pulls himself up onto the boat. The girl stares at him, mute, and turns to her mother who refuses to meet her eye.
The mother sat immobile on the little boat throughout. She wonders if she just doesn’t care anymore, or if she too fears the deep dark water as she fears that which is deep and dark within her husband. She gives a shiver in the heat, thinking of the little holiday apartment with the thin walls. She fixes her eyes on the distant shore-line, takes a deep breath, and starts to pedal.
Rosalind Kent is a freelance writer and has had a number of consumer advice and current affairs articles published in newspapers and online media. She has an LL.B law degree from Cardiff University and has worked as a paralegal and case officer in London and Sydney. She enjoys reading, travelling, writing and running, and she aspires to enter the London Marathon (if she can ever get a place!). Since having a baby and moving to the countryside she has more time to concentrate on writing. She recently had her first piece of fiction published in Litro Magazine, and dreams of seeing more work in print. She blogs at rosalindkent.wordpress.com
“Get your harmonica out on Ganga Dussehra day...
(THIS MONTH’S MP3) 20
is the blues that blows from the East”
Interview by Baz Wilkinson There are a number of ways we can absorb culture. The obvious ones are through actually visiting a place and sitting with a coffee watching the world go by, seeing how it ticks. You might also visit something of significance, a monument, say, or an art gallery, or go for a guided tour. Whilst there you may go to a restaurant and no doubt you’ll seek out something authentic, a place where the locals eat. You’ll absorb the culture of the place through your taste and smell, experiencing the difference between it and your normal daily routines and expectations. I guess in these situations you’re seeking purity. But there are ways of experiencing culture that we sometimes overlook. Take a listen to the Alan Lomax library: you’ll hear the direct and obvious cultural reference points such as the vocals of the singers and the style in which they sing (i.e. those that are culturally specific) but you’ll also be privy to the recording techniques of the time and the history of the peoples singing; their philosophy, morals and values will all be transmitted. In effect, each time you listen to music of any kind, you experience a snapshot of the culture that the music is bound to, a kind of aural photograph (…an auragraph anyone?). Well, this is an obvious point because culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Along these lines, Roy D’Andrade, a cognitive anthropologist, suggested culture to be a ‘mental
phenomenon’ and that music, in particular, through its expression reflects the structures of the culture to which it belongs. Taking this view and applying it to an individual, it follows that a musician’s music could well reflect the structure of his/her outlook and experiences; the way they approach writing; the influences (borne of culture) they take on; the skill/craftsmanship they have at their disposal; and whatever tone/mood/sentiment they wish to express. This goes all across the board for any type of music. And it seems to me to be largely down to these factors that allow for distinction and for being unique. Listening to John Fairhurst confirms all this. At thirty-three years old he’s already had a very unique and varied life going from growing up in rural Upholland with creative, artistic and music loving parents to roaming the world doing all sorts of stuff and even, at one point, spending time with Thai Bhuddist monks. He’s soaked up an incredible amount of different music and experienced lots of different cultures and has, devoutly, always carried his guitar along for the ride. With a new tour coming up that sees him play many festival dates including the one that this here promoter and Music Editor organizes (The Imploding Inevitable Festival), it promises to be another superb year for John. We got him pinned down just before a show in London to interview his face off…
John, you come with a rare outlook on life, it’s all embracing and you seem to live it to the full! Tell us a bit about yourself… Well, I suppose I was really, really lucky as a child to have the opportunity to meet a lot of different folks from around the globe, who came with a whole load of stories and experiences that greatly influenced me. My parents and a lot of their friends have travelled widely and lived in many different countries so from a very early age I heard stories of far off lands and was able to meet people from India, Africa, China, South America, all over Europe and America etc. I guess what this really instilled in me most is that people are people; wherever they‘re from, whatever the colour of their skin or background they come from, all the same things make us tick and that cultural differences are fascinating. You know, some people are good, some are bad and some are somewhere in-between. Those things gave me a deep yearning to travel from an early age and to challenge my perceptions and preconceptions with experience. The world out there never seemed distant or frightening, but rather full of diverse and splendidly different realities. One hugely important lesson I had hammered home to me is that, if you’re going to do something, you have to do it to the full, really get stuck in, live it. Man, it can be hard, but if you want to do a job properly... I guess that’s the way I try to live and is what makes me who I am.
You’re quite obviously an accomplished player...what influenced you as a youngster? First and foremost, my Dad. There was almost always music playing, all sorts of things and some of my earliest recollections are of him playing guitar, mainly country blues guitar. He also spent countless hours playing and teaching me how to fingerpick, how to use a bottleneck and playing chords as I hacked away horribly trying to play solos. His record collection is really diverse and he still introduces me to bands I haven’t heard before. We went together to buy my National Resonator, my main guitar that’s been everywhere with me for the last 10 years. It was something we always wanted when listening to old blues records, a really great guitar, that specific sound. It’s also the diversity and sonic capabilities that this particular instrument offers that has allowed me to play such differing styles. When I was really young, maybe seven or eight, K. Sridhar came to stay with us. K. Sridhar is a sarod Master. The sarod, originally an Afghan instrument with 20 strings, most of which are sympathetic [this generally means they resonate and aren’t really fretted as such], five usually being played, has a hollow wooden body and, traditionally, a goatskin belly (similar to a banjo in the way it produces sound) on which rests a camel-bone or ivory bridge. It has no frets and is played with a pick. It’s a very complex and subtle instrument,
“...people are people; wherever they‘re from, whatever the colour of their skin...all the same things make us tick...”
difficult to master but beautifully expressive! Sridhar and the door he opened for me into Indian music has been a huge influence on my life as a musician. More than just the influence of the musical notes, but mostly in terms of the mental and physical approach to playing, and the never-ending pursuit of mastery. From Sridhar I learned to approach instruments in terms of feeling, consideration, expression and passion, of which I still have an enormous amount to learn. I hope to spend a lot more time with Sridhar in the future, as a pupil. Also, there is my philosophy teacher from Winstanley College, Mike Atherton. Mike is a truly outstanding guitarist and excellent chap. He fed me tape after tape of blues for the couple of years I was there and really got me deep into that music. It’s around then I started getting a bit more serious about playing. Another thing that is apparent in your music is the amount of influences you can hear, from the blues to eastern raga scales... where does this come from? Well, I can’t really recall how exactly it happened but guitar suddenly became the most important thing in my life when I was about twelve or so. My first love was fishing! I’ll say I was lucky to find that early on – although I don’t really believe in luck, I think you make your own - but it’s been the constant thread from there on in. The blues was always there from the very beginning. That’s what I grew up listening to and what I started to learn first from my Dad. Country blues, finger-picking, open
tunings, bottleneck. Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson etc. But also music from all over the place like Jajouka from Morrocco, crazy German sax players recording with local musicians in the Congo, Indian Classical music, Sufi music. Later on it was grunge, metal, Hendrix, rock, psychedelia. A guy called Louis from Holland who I met hitchhiking in Northumberland used to send us tapes of all sorts of stuff. In my early to mid-teens I got into taking truck loads of LSD. It fairly blew the doors of perception wide open for a bunch of us. I guess I started to see that music from the world over crosses over in many different ways, it blurred the lines of styles and techniques and I got very interested in how to go between one way of playing and another. Folk music, particularly, from wherever it may be from, has much in common in expression and feeling and the messages it conveys and this was one of the big steps taken in the 60’s; the attempt to mould together such diverse musical traditions. It’s a universal language. A lot of it comes from travelling, too. Music and travelling go hand in hand. It’s not just the music itself which influences me, but people, landscapes, feelings, ideas. I draw much from a perception of a place or experience. Some of these things are beyond words, I feel, hence many of my instrumental compositions. For example, the crescendo of forest insects at dusk on a tropical island, or lightening setting the forest ablaze, or the call to prayer from several villages all out of synch and echoing and bouncing around high granite mountains.
You’re living in London now...how’s that suiting you? To be honest, I was expecting London to be difficult and unfriendly. What I have found is quite the opposite and I’m really feeling at home here. It was a great move to make! My old mates David Prosser and Paulie Cocadiz, who have made all my music videos over the last few years and who I continue to work with regularly, really helped me out when I first came down, as did my very good friend Simon Lovelock, who is now playing bass with me. It’s good to be back together after spending a couple of years living and playing together in Australia, when we both decided to really dedicate ourselves to music. It’s the community of musicians I stumbled into that have really made the difference. There is a fine scene going on at the moment, a really social thing and we’re making our own thing happen. There are some great nights run by quality musicians in diverse and impressive venues, such as the regular Monday at Woodburner in Dalston (hosted by Theo Bard), The New Empowering Chuch (run by Rob Hill and Rebekah Robertson in Hackney), Lee Gorton’s Folke Newington in Stoke Newington and Jamboree in Limehouse with Dakota Jim, plus a bunch of nights I’m involved in putting on myself under the Blues and Folk Revival moniker. That’s the thing, there is so much going on, it’s possible to be out playing most nights, busking regularly and spending time playing and learning with loads of
different and often a bunch of the same excellent people. There is no end to London; it’s all going on all the time. I’ve started working with management in the shape of Matt Ryan and Reg Regler who are really helping me get my thing together and it’s been a big step in the right direction. I spent the last two years living nowhere and the best part of the last 8 years in a similar vein with bases here and there, just moving and playing. I think I’m gonna call this big, dirty, wonderful city home for a while at least. It’s suiting me just fine! Your parents are directly involved with the art world, your mother being a widely respected artist herself, how do you think art and music combine for you personally and does art influence you musically? If so, how? It’s been a long standing discussion between me and my Mum, Jane Fairhurst. We seem to go through the same processes, the visualisation of ideas, the background work, long years of working on skills to attempt to express what you see and feel. There’s always the fact that your vision for a piece is often way ahead of your technical ability. And then there’s the triumphant joy of finishing something you worked long and hard on and the crippling self doubt that sometimes grips you deep, making you question everything. The difference between visual art and music, is that music is so immediate and emotive, it just grabs you
“I spent the last two years living nowhere...”
â€œThe process of creation is the same throughout the creative arts, there is so much of yourself in it and it can be truly cathartic.â€?
to the core (or doesn’t, subjective as it is). Visual art takes longer to absorb. The process of creation is the same throughout the creative arts, there is so much of yourself in it and it can be truly cathartic. The difference between visual art and music and say literature, is that music and art can cross cultural barriers much more easily, they are a universal language, often independent of cultural references, or that at least what we often strive for in trying to create something pure. It has been of the utmost importance, and increasingly so now as we have both matured as artists, for us to bounce ideas off each other and support each other artistically, especially when the self doubt creeps in and all seems lost, is a great thing! This also goes for the mutual support of the musicians and artists we spend much of our time with. What have been the highlights of your career so far? I suppose the highlights have been playing and meeting some awesome musicians, such as James Blackshaw, Nancy Elizabeth, Liz Green, Christopher Paul Stelling, K. Sridhar, Jon Thorne, Lou Rhodes and a whole host of other folks. Going over to America a couple of years ago to play in New York and SXSW was brilliant and a real eye opener, and playing festivals such as Glastonbury, End of the Road, Shambala, Sunrise etc. There are highlights all the time, hearing great music and meeting so many people from so many different places. I love traveling, touring and people.
Are we going to be treated to a new release soon? What’s going on with that side of things? I’m currently in the process of putting my new record together. We’re looking to release it in the Autumn. It’s gonna be a bit of a combination of “Joys” and “Band,” [John’s last releases] some instrumental, some vocal, some electric, some acoustic and featuring some much bigger and fuller compositions with strings and brass as well as some solo pieces. If it turns out anything like I’m imagining it then that will be fine! It’s a real pleasure to be writing with Simon Lovelock and working with some of the great musicians I met here in London of late. Can’t say much more than that really, I guess you’ll have to have a listen when it’s ready! But there is a lot going on at the moment. Check my new website for details www.johnfairhurst.com. I’ve just started working on a music and dance collaboration with Frances Donohoe, a dancer from Sitka, Alaska (www.francesdonohoe.co.uk) and Louisa Jones, a Northumbrian multi-instrumentalist and singer. Gigs are coming in thick and fast, which is great! I’m running a few nights in London now called Blues and Folk Revival with some excellent and diverse lineups, even if I do say so myself! I’ll also be playing in Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Glossop, London, Leeds, Sheffield, Glastonbury, Devon and many more places over the next few months. Tours are upcoming in Ireland and Spain, I have some shows in Italy and Sweden coming together. I’m also working on heading to Japan, India and the US later in
the year, plus the UK album release tour. UK festivals I’m at are Secret Garden Party, Boomtown, Sunrise, Beatherder, Shambala and The Imploding Inevitable Festival at Fell Foot woods in Windermere in June. I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s a pleasure to be on the same bill as Liz Green, my old label mate whom I have had the pleasure of touring and playing with many times over the last few years. David Thomas Broughton, who went to SXSW with myself and Liz a few years back is on too so it will be great to meet up with them again and then there’s the excellent and lovely Hannah Peel. I have had the unending pleasure of being involved in the Imploding Inevitable clan for many a moon now and it’s great to see this festival taking off and getting stronger by the year. It’s gonna be a fine, fine time!
uses collage and cut out techniques to assemble scenes of ‘nature’ that are, in fact, anything but what they first appear to be. Her depictions of nature, landscape and the rural are mediated through mass culture and art history, bringing together images appropriated from both classical and contemporary sources, and high and low culture. The resulting clash of styles, historical periods and skewed proportions between different elements within the one picture frame are simultaneously completely absurd and totally revealing of how we formulate our perceptions of the world through ‘second hand’ representations that are so common place that they have become part of our daily reality. Eastham’s assemblages present us with fictive landscapes, sometimes in formations akin to heraldic crests that serve to highlight the stylised reality of these depictions of nature. These works reflect the sentimentality for nature and the countryside that has existed for centuries, propagated through art and literature, and one that is at odds with the often harsh and brutal reality of rural life. Ridiculous and beguiling, they debunk the myth of the rural idyll and unpick and expose our pretension that we can ever really understand – or represent – the ‘truth’ of these subjects. - Paul Stone, 2008
Tracey Eastham graduated from Wimbledon School of Art, London in 2006 with a distinction for her Masters degree in Fine Art Painting from which she was given an Axis ‘MAStars’ Award. Based in the North West, she was selected for the ‘Future 50’ exhibition at Project Space Leeds, nominated for Arts and Business’s ‘Vision’ for the Northwest, produced a solo show at ‘Vault Gallery’ Lancaster, exhibited with The Castlefield gallery at ‘Manchester Contemporary 2009’ and was recently awarded exhibitions at Harrington Mill Studios, Nottingham, Harris Museum, Preston and the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh. Tracey recently completed a residency at UCLan, performed ‘live collages’ for Arts and Business and has collaborated with writers and artists to produce ‘The Liverpool Art Journal’. She is now Coordinator for Lancashire Artists Network and is based at Rogue Artists Studios in Manchester. www.axisweb.org/artist/traceyeastham
Manchester International Festival 30 June – 17 July 2011 Various locations across Manchester Written by Catherine Teague
The arts and cultural scene in Manchester is a constant; that’s a fact. You only have to explore the city to see creativity, artistic celebration and innovativeness manifested in pockets throughout the city all year round, in places such as the Cornerhouse, MOSI, BLANKSPACE, Manchester Art Gallery, Castlefield Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery and more. However, never more so is Manchester’s cultural offer more firmly in the spotlight than when Manchester International Festival comes to town, inviting international artists to share the city and stage with local and emerging new talent. The cityscape becomes an artistic playground for Mancunians, and performers where performances, events and activities are staged at iconic and historic Manchester venues for an incredible eighteen days. Launched in 2007, Manchester International Festival is ‘the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events’. It is an artist led, commissioning festival intended to provide a platform for international artists and local talent, showcasing a myriad of events and performances which encapsulate the spirit of the Festival. Of the 20 plus world premieres in 2009, this included It Felt Like A Kiss, an original theatre production from Adam Curtis and Felix Barrett with Punchdrunk. Leading
Photo credit: lemurpublishing.com
female, international architect Zaha Hadid transformed an entire gallery space at the historic Manchester Art Gallery into a stunning temporary concert hall, providing the perfect acoustic accompaniment to the enthralling sounds of JS Bach. Let’s not forget Rufus Wainwright’s operatic debut Prima Donna or Marina Abramovic presents at the Whitworth. Elbow and the Halle dazzled crowds with their rousing collaboration, and Kraftwerk wowed audiences with their performance in the equally outlandish surroundings of the Manchester velodrome. The Manchester International Festival returns to the city from 30 June – 17 July 2011, special events will take place throughout the city; a mixture of ticketed and free events intended to include and attract locals and tourists. The ethos of the Festival encourages artists and performers to reinvent and explore the creative wheel and realise their ambitions right here in Manchester. It will come as no surprise then to learn that the programme this year is equally as ambitious as ever with over 20 world premieres, a stellar line-up including international superstar Björk, who will take up a three week residency in the city whilst here to perform the world premiere of her Biophilia show at the historic Campfield Market. One of Britain’s leading and best loved female performer’s, comic and writer, Victoria Wood, has created an original theatre piece based on a Manchester love story, That Day We Sang. The ‘godfather’ of hip-hop, Snoop Dog will be performing his world renowned chart topping number one album Doggystyle in full,
accompanied by original featured artists. Pop star and writer Damon Albarn returns this year with a new theatre piece, Doctor Dee, created in collaboration with Rufus Norris, the producer of West-end shows such as Cabaret and Dangereuses. Doctor Dee, tells the story of renaissance alchemist, scientist and spy John Dee, ‘one of England’s greatest but largely forgotten men’. Johnny Vegas is as vague about his artistic contribution this year as he was about his ‘feel bad hit’ of MIF 2007, however he’s sure to exceed audience expectations yet again. Amadou & Mariam, the best selling and best loved act to come out of Africa, return to Manchester with a very special sensory experience in store for audiences. The Festival has also attracted the talents of awardwinning French composer Mark Andre, a protégé of German composer Helmut Lachenmann. This will be his first ever UK performance. Controversial and revolutionary 90’s pop-star Sinead O’Connor will perform a combination of new and old material with a full live band at the Pavilion theatre. True Faith, a celebration of Manchester-made talent will also take place at the Pavillion, a series of short onstage conversations with the likes of Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order, music writer and broadcaster Paul Morley, hosted by writer and DJ Dave Haslam. Live gigs will include a selection of the very best handpicked local and emerging musical talent, co-curated by Dave Haslam and Everything Everything The Festival pavilion will again play host to anyone and
everyone as ‘a hub for audiences to meet, eat, drink, listen to DJs and watch live performances’. Albert Square has been enhanced to make it even more user- friendly. Rock and roll star Ricki Lee Jones will play the Bridgewater Hall, the best acoustic venue in the city and Manchester Art Gallery will be transformed for 11 rooms: a group show and major exhibition by leading contemporary artists who create durational encounters as part of their practice, co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Bisenbach. There are multiple opportunities for community engagement which also acknowledge the multicultural, sacred and iconic venues of Manchester’s cityscape. Sacred Sites brings together five of the foremost international performers of sacred song and recital for a series of extraordinary events in local Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Sikh sites of worship across the city. Music boxes has been described as a ‘musical adventure’ for children from 6 months – 7 years, where a vast playground of shipping containers have been especially transformed to create a child’s playground come ‘adventure land’ alongside MediaCityUK.
With just a brief glance at the programme itâ€™s easy to be dazzled by the star status of the headlining acts, which one can undoubtedly say are impressive at the very least. However itâ€™s the sheer variety, originality and calibre of the artists and performers involved which demonstrates Manchesterâ€™s cultural ambitions as a city, without which, the Festival programme would not be what it is: Spectacular. For more information on how to purchase tickets, for voluntary opportunities and more visit: http://mif.co.uk/
Manchester Modernist Society
Natalie Bradbury, Shrieking Violet
I started writing the Shrieking Violet blog because whilst studying for an NCTJ qualification in newswriting â€“ the culmination of an (almost) life-long ambition to be a reporter on a local newspaper, trawling through the courts, spreading the word about petty crimes and covering the village fetes, school sports days and golden wedding anniversaries that constitute local news. Newswriting taught the skill of compressing every bit of information down to the barest details necessary, and getting to the essence of the story in the fewest possible words. Although I was also writing for various other magazines and websites, I discovered that a blog allowed space to write at length, to drift, and to explore and think out my ideas â€“ and also freedom from any editorial influence and interference except my own quality control! To my surprise, and without telling anyone what I was doing, other people started reading the Shrieking Violet, and it grew into a way for me to meet interesting people and immerse myself in events and projects whilst exploring the city around me. I did the first ever interview with Manchester Modernist Society back in summer 2009 when they were newly formed, and they inspire me because they promote the twentieth century city through a regular programme of events including walks, talks, film screenings, exhibitions, outings and socials. Their website backs it up with a treasure trove
of information and passionate, beautifully written posts on those bits of the city you walk past all the time without noticing, with a helpful weekly A-Z of the modern city and regular features on overlooked little details nestling in the environment around you that are just waiting to be discovered. From forgotten public artworks to K6 telephone kiosks to hidden chapels to the Mancunian Way, Manchester’s highway in the sky, the modernists will change the way you look at the city. They even help out by providing a map with suggested routes themed ‘Brutal’, ‘Beleaguered’, ‘Bold’ and ‘Brutal’. www.manchestermodernistsociety.org
Natalie Bradbury is a writer, occasional musician/ DJ and Manchester enthusiast. She edits the Shrieking Violet fanzine, a free, alternative guide to Manchester which grew out of the Shrieking Violet blog. The Shrieking Violet recommends making your own fun rather than being told what to do and believes that culture should be created rather than consumed. Some issues are themed whilst others are open-ended, and special editions have included a programme for Sounds from the Other City 2010 as well as Manchester’s Modernist Heroines, a collaborative project with Manchester Modernist Society and the Loiterers Resistance movement which coincided with International Women’s Week 2011. The Shrieking Violet can be found both in photocopied form around Manchester and as a pdf version online. http://theshriekingviolets.blogspot.com/
and yet accessible. This years line-up reflects this. The Golden Aubergine proudly presents to you major UK festival stalwart BYRON VINCENT, the youngest ever resident poet at Dove Cottage, HELEN MORT and many other local (and international) favourites, moving away from the traditional setting of stage and microphone and into the trees and surrounding festival arena. Mirroring the ethos of the wider festival, The Golden Aubergine is all about inclusion – so budding poets bring your poems and read them alongside this stellar contemporary line-up at the afternoon open mic poetry sessions. Truly a unique experience with something for everyone! Last year festival goers were involved in composing a huge ‘Exquisite Corpse’ poem [one in which each person submits a line of poetry randomly, based on anything that comes to mind...and completely surreal] and this year promises to be just as weird and wonderful. The festival is family friendly and wishes to embrace the arts as much as possible. This year also sees Wigan’s Drumcroon Art Gallery (Ofsted rated and acclaimed Art Education provider in the North West) carrying out a workshop for children. This is a festival to be caught in its earliest development; a true and independent festival that is unique in setting and value for money...Blank Media Collective and blankpages highly recommend it! More information is available from the Facebook group and www.theiifestival.co.uk Tickets are available from Facebook group, the website above and: www.stubmatic.com/TheIIFestival
THE IMPLODING INEVITABLE FESTIVAL Fell Foot Woods, Lake Windermere June 10 - June 11 Set just fifty metres from the shore of England’s largest and most beautiful natural lake (Windermere), The Imploding Inevitable Festival, now in its 2nd year, plays host to a collection of the finest artists, musicians and poets in the UK at the moment. It prides itself in being one of the few totally independent festivals and reflects this in its ethos and attitude of favouring three main principles: creativity, integrity and originality. It is also one of the UK’s most intimate festivals hosting just 200 weekend tickets; it takes great consideration of the surrounding area being one the UK’s “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. It is also one of the UK’s least expensive festivals (just £35 - includes camping) and has a line-up that embraces some of the best musicians in the UK at the moment, some of whom are playing this year’s biggest festivals. We are very proud to welcome Hannah Peel, John Fairhurst, David Thomas Broughton, Liz Green, Driver Drive Faster, John Stammers, Samson & Delilah, Rozi Plain, Kathryn Edwards and more to this year’s line up. And that’s before even the poetry has been spoken about! This year’s spoken word line-up (hosted, produced and curated by John Leyland and Annette Cookson) The Golden Aubergine Presents... mixes the highest quality of poetic performance with a new way of doing things. Poetry is no longer the fringe interest of dusty tweed men in libraries – it is radical, experimental, unafraid
1995, are presented for buildings that have made a particularly positive contribution to the local environment and are judged, from the exhibited projects, by a jury consisting of architects and nonarchitects. In previous years, this forum has attracted many high quality submissions which showcase the talent of architects in the area, many of whom have also won both regional and national RIBA awards. www.the-msa.co.uk
CONTROL New Bird Street, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, Runs till June 5 A new photography exhibition examining how people’s lives are controlled is coming to Liverpool. Called ‘Control’, the work is the culmination of eight months’ work by nine photographers under the guidance of world-renowned publisher Dewi Lewis. Shot around the world and on Merseyside, the subject matter includes vows of silence, control in China, alcohol and women in Liverpool, architecture of educational institutions and human impact on landscapes. www.thephotogroup.co.uk
MAGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS Arnolfini, Bristol Runs till July 3 Magical Consciousness is about considering when images are no longer enough. It is a group exhibition developed in collaboration with the renowned artistfilmmaker Runa Islam that looks for the potential that comes out of denying or abstracting images. This exhibition considers the possibility of seeing yourself seeing things differently. www.arnolfini.org.uk/
1MX1M The Bowery, Leeds Runs till July 15 An art competition showcasing the best new talent from emerging artists. Entrants had to submit work with each piece fitting within the confines of 1m x 1m, The winner will be decided by public vote. www.thebowery.org/ MANCHESTER SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTS DESIGN AWARDS 2011 Cube, Manchester Runs till June 4 The MSA exhibition is a showcase for the work of the architectural profession in the Greater Manchester region. The Design awards, held annually since
EAR TO THE GROUND? To include your event or recommend someone else’s in a future issue just email us with your event title, location, date, time and a short description. Editor@blankmediacollective.org (max 100 words)
INSIDE OUT Alexandra Rd South, Manchester, Runs from June
were paired up to take close-up portraits of each other to express their feelings about the importance of nature in the inner city.
INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the projectâ€™s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually. INSIDE OUT is a collaboration between the artist JR, the TED Prize and you. Alexandra Arts is a community artist-led group based at Alexandra Park, which believes that participation in the arts embracing nature, can make powerful and significant contributions to the well being of local communities. One of its current projects is the participation in the global INSIDE OUT project by Parisian street artist JR. Lead artist, Lotte Karlsen devised and delivered a unique series of weekly photo shoots with a group of sixteen children, aged 6-7 from the Art Club at St. Maryâ€™s C.E Primary School (Moss Side). The children
this month in BLANKMEDIACOLLECTIVE...
In_Tuition is an open forum for creatives based in the North West. An opportunity for artists to talk about their work and inspire others through creative understanding, musing and action!
USER GENERATED CONTENT Madlab, Manchester Public Preview: June 2 Exhibition continues: June 3 - June 16
USER GENERATED CONTENT is an exhibition about social media, self-publishing and the virtual environments that we create for ourselves. The exhibition will be an exploration into the deepening relationship we now have with technology with regards to the social aspects of our lives. The term ‘social media’ has been defined by Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein – and has been categorised into 6 different forms. These have been identified as collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual communities. User Generated Content is a term to describe the various interactive online activities. www.blankmediacollective.org/opportunity_ user_generated_content
IN_TUITION (FINE ART) BLANKSPACE, Manchester June 7 6.30-8.30pm IN_TUITION (CREATIVE WRITING) BLANKSPACE, Manchester June 14 6.30-8.30pm IN_TUITION (MOVING IMAGE) BLANKSPACE, Manchester June 21 6.30-8.30pm IN_TUITION (PHOTOGRAPHY) BLANKSPACE, Manchester June 28 6.30-8.30pm
Ever wanted to start that blog but just didn't find the time or have the know how? We have the answers for you! Kath Horwill, author of Parklover, short-listed for Manchester blog awards, will provide an insight into the world of blogging as well as her practical and professional tips. This workshop is perfect for small businesses and individuals who want to learn the essentials of blogging, how to make it work for your business and marketing purposes and create engaging content. So, if youâ€™re looking to get started and connected to the blogging world - then this is the workshop for you!
You can book tickets at: www.eventbrite.com/event/1338502497 By telephone: 07828952530 Or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tickets just ÂŁ10, includes complimentary refreshment Find us on facebook: Women In the Creative Industry (WICI)
blankpages is renewing its callout for contributions. Every month we showcase writers, artists and musicians who deserve to share their work with the wider arts community and the public as a whole. An established literary and visual standard within both the digital and non web-based arts sphere, it is fast becoming a well respected and widely read publication with a dedicated following that grows with each edition.
Why submit work to blankpages? We believe in support. Submitting to blankpages is more than getting your work published. We try to provide honest, creative and critical feedback when you submit, as well as any advice or information we can give you on how to market yourself as a writer how to get your work noticed outside of blankpages, as well as within our large arts community. We also work closely with several other organisations, venues and writers’ collectives, so we can help support you and your work. If you’re interested in performance poetry, we have our own space, and are always interested in working with talented performers. blankpages is about supporting all artists, not just writers. If your work crosses genres, that’s fine with
us. As we’re digital, we have the means to publish visual and sound based accompaniments to your work. Each month our dedicated visual design team will work with your submission, creating bespoke illustrative accompaniments, all housed within our trademark unique and beautiful layout. We’re looking for talented creatives with a unique style and ability to produce interesting pieces. New works are preferred, but previously published pieces will be considered. Proof reading is boring. We’d much rather spend time reading and enjoying your submissions. Please check work for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors before sending it in. Please submit a short biography with your work so we can learn more about you.
How to Submit We constantly check the online portfolios, and this is a great way to be seen. Just create a profile on the Blank Media Collective website, upload up to ten pieces of work, click on the option to include your work in blankpages and/or email us a link and we will consider your work for future issues. Alternatively you can send your work for consideration by the relevant content editor by emailing email@example.com
Visual Artists All our featured artists are sourced through the Blank Media Collective portfolios. To be considered, upload at least 4 high resolution images (minimum 300dpi) and bear in mind that we may want to feature you as the cover artist. Please include your pieces’ names and any information you feel is relevant to each image.
Poets All lengths and forms are welcome, as are varying stylistic approaches. Word limit is down to you, but we’d ask that you discuss any works longer than 30 lines each with the editor. We’re looking for no more than 3 – 4 medium length poems; 2 maximum if larger in length.
Prose Fiction Writers Stories should be between 1000 and 2500 words (although shorter or longer works may be considered). All styles and themes are accepted, and we are looking for originality, insight and wit.
Musicians We welcome musical submissions from any genre, providing the recording is of a suitable industry standard. If your submission is selected for publication you will be asked to provide at least one high resolution image (minimum 300dpi) that you feel represents you as well as possible. The image can be of you/your band or can be abstract in nature. Please supply a .wav, .mp3 or .aiff formatted file, at a minimum bitrate of 320kb/s. blankpages is dedicated to giving a high quality platform to share your work – we love reading your submissions and will always try to respond with feedback. If you’d like to discuss your work or would like some feedback before submitting, please feel free to get in touch – email firstname.lastname@example.org, for the attention of the relevant content editor. Please note; if email submissions are unavailable, mail submissions will be accepted. If you wish your work to be returned, please include a SAE. Mail submissions should be sent to blankpages Editorial, BLANKSPACE, 43 Hulme Street, Manchester, M15 6AW
Blank Media Collective Team: Director: Mark Devereux Co-Director: John Leyland Financial Administrator: Martin Dale Strategic Development Consultant: Chris Maloney Development Coordinators: Dwight Clarke, Elaine Mateer & Jez Dolan Community Arts & Learning Coordinators: Chris Leyland & Jo Foxall Communications Coordinators: Shahram Agha-Kasiri & Dan English Information Manager: Sylvia Coates Volunteer Coordinator: Matt Hughes Website Designers: Simon Mills & Henry Roberts Exhibition Curators: Mark Devereux, Jamie Hyde, Marcelle Holt, Taneesha Ahmed, Kate Charlton, Peter Fallon, Beth Kwant, Sophie Barnes & Rose Barraclough Moving Image Curator: Christina Millare Documentary Filmmakers: Charalampos Politakis & Insa Langhorst BlankMarket Coordinator: Michael Valks Official Photographers: Gareth Hacking & Iain Goodyear
blankpages Team: Editor: John Leyland Editorial Assistant: Catherine Teague Fiction Editor: Kevin Bradshaw Poetry Editor: Abigail Ledger-Lomas Music Editor: Baz Wilkinson Visual Editors / Designers: Henry Roberts & Michael Thorp