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Welcome to the Summer edition, issue 13 of CultureHUB Magazine. NI’s arts and culture magazine, delivering forward thinking ideas and cutting edge articles. We are now delivering in Donegal as well as throughout NI. Don’t hesitate to contact us should you wish to stock the publication. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our monthly TV programme broadcast on NVTV and up to date articles and additional information online. The deadline for adverts and advertorials for the Autumn issue is 28 September 2018. We are also now taking advertising for our TV show. If you would like to request a media pack please contact us on the details below. Look out for the new jobs listings, letters page, puzzles and recipe/drink ideas in our next issue. Editor: Anna Wherrett Senior Sub Editor: Joanne McConkey Sub Editor: Gemma McSherry Media Executive: Stacy Fitzpatrick Design: eclecticmediani.co.uk Front Cover Photography: Tremaine Gregg Journalists: Dr Brid Farrell, Stacy Fitzpatrick, Michael Ferguson, Chantelle Frampton, Cara Gibney, Kevin Magee, Stephen McGurk, Gemma McSherry, Conor O’Neill, Stewart Robson, Neil Trelford, Gerry Walton Photographers: Tremaine Gregg, Conor, Kerr, Rodney Pennie, Stanislav Nikolov, Trish Semple.
CultureHUB Magazine Ltd. Merrion Business Centre Office 6a, 58 Howard Street Belfast, BT1 6PJ Tel: 02895 43 4060 www.culturehubmagazine.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
5 • Queen Supreme of Blues: Kaz Hawkins 8 • Pull Focus: Documentary Festival 9 • IFTA Winner & Cardboard Gangsters Star John Connors 13 • Stuart Bailie: Trouble Songs 17 • The Leitis of Tonga: Celebrating LGBT+ & Cultural Diversity 21 • Arts Over Borders 22 • Mental Health in the Music Industry II: Eddy Temple Morris 27 • Interview with the Queen of Folk: Joan Baez 30 • University of Atypical 31• Vedran Smailović: The Cellist of Sarajevo 35 • Diabetes: The Facts 36 • Five Minutes with Kitt Philippa 37 • Poet, Musician & Performer: Colin Hassard 40• An Interview with Crime-Thriller Author: Terry Hickland 42 • Interview with Glenn Hughes ahead of Deep Purple live 44 • Book Reviews 44 • Interview with Brigid O’Neill 45 • The Spit Records Story: Punk, The Vinyl Frontier II
48 • Belfast City Breakers: Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun
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t is said that the early bird catches the worm; indeed such is true, and even more so with a caffeine kick from one of the five cafes frequented on tour with Thérèse Cullen. Meeting at roastery and brew bar Root and Branch on Ormeau Road and finishing at cafe Established Coffee in Cathedral Quarter, this three-hour session guarantees a most educational morning loaded with local history, delicious snacks, great coffee, and last but not least, the absolute craic. Our Saturday morning is off to a timely nine am start with Thérèse. First stop is roastery Root and Branch where we are met by co-owner Simon. Tucked away just off Ormeau road on Jameson Street, the industrial feel of the former bike repair shop blends well with the cosy newly-renovated coffee bar. Simon details his (and partner Rob’s) coffee roasting journey and environmentally friendly approach to business while barista Lisa prepares the first of what will be many espresso coffees. Our next stop is The Pocket on University Road where we sit in fantastic view of Queen’s University Belfast. Owner Richard welcomes us with super taster strips that indicate our genetic tasting strengths; our buds are soon put to the test with Pocket’s freshly brewed espresso and batch filter. All the while we are briefed on Richard’s adventure aboard the establishment of The Pocket. He also owns the Letting Agency upstairs and therefore his knowledge and undeniable fascination with the local history of the area adds yet another charming dimension to our tour. We approach mid-morning and venture to our next slot on Botanic Avenue: the Scandinavian-themed Kaffeo. Orla’s Kaffeo is one of three premises on Botanic Avenue, Ormeau Road and the newly opened kiosk on Donegal Square North just opposite Belfast City Hall. Barista Russel presents us with flat whites and gives an account of Kaffeo’s bean choice and brewing method. However enjoyable the flat whites may be, the lunchtime sharing platter cannot go unmentioned: absolutely delicious. Our penultimate location is also on Botanic Avenue: Town Square. We are delighted to see delicious homemade Guinness bread set out alongside fifteen espresso glasses which are filled and emptied in no time with batch filter and v60 Aeropress. Finally, we make our way from Botanic Avenue to Established Coffee in Cathedral Quarter, Belfast’s first specialty café. Barista Óisín talks us through their bean supplier 3FE along with ESTB’s other endeavours which include coffee workshops for coffee lovers. Óisín brings our morning tour to a close with a demonstration of the only true way to really taste coffee – the slurp.
3 hr £30.00 PP / www.belfastcoffeetours.co.uk
To say that Belfast’s Queen Supreme of Blues has been through a lot in her life would be putting it far too lightly. The unmistakable Kaz Hawkins, who has become one of the most recognisable voices of her generation, has battled along a treacherous road of physical and mental abuse before achieving her childhood dream of musical stardom.
rowing up in Sandy Row in South Belfast with the Troubles on her doorstep, it was what was going on behind closed doors that has influenced so much of her raw, no-holes-barred music.
“I was being abused when I was younger so music to me was a place where I felt safe,” Kaz says after taking a deep breath inwards. “It gave me an imagination outside the pain and the trauma that was happening.” Suffering sexual abuse by her uncle, who was subsequently forced to move out of the area, she reached out to singers of old, like Aretha Franklin, to try and take her from some of the darkest days of her life, and to her first love, Etta James. “I remember listening to Etta James singing ‘St Louis Blues’, written by W.C . Handy. I had done an audition for Opportunity Knocks when I was 12. My granny had kidnapped me out of school,” she jokes, “and I sang Doris Day’s ‘Secret Love’, and the musical director on the piano said you need to let her listen to Etta James. So, my granny got me a tape. It’s where I fell in love with that kind of power-house singer.
I was just drawn to passionate singers because to me, looking at them, they just poured their heart and soul onto the stage and I used to fantasize about doing that one day.” Highlighting that despite being bestowed with the ‘honour’ of being the Queen of Blues, Kaz is much more than that, she says humbly. Stretching across musical genres, the singer says that she even learns things from her daughter who is forging a career as an urban R ‘n’ B singer. “I’m a singer-songwriter first and foremost, but most of my songs aren’t actually blues,” she says. “People need familiarity. Of course, it’s a badge of honour that I wear with pride, but I skip through the genres. I love gospel and old-time rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t think I fit into one specific genre but the stuff that I do is perhaps long-gone. Adele is maybe the most modern artist doing what I do.” Yet it is perhaps Belfast’s most favourite musical son, who took Kaz from playing gigs in her home city to launching her to the stratospheric heights of the entertainment world.
“Van (Morrison) is to maybe to be blamed for my success. EastSide Partnership had asked me to go on the bill with him when he played on Holywood Road in 2012. Up until that point I was in a blues band, playing acoustic sessions and open mic nights. Everything just went crazy after that. I always try and pay tribute to those people who have gone before. When you ask anyone around the world who’s the most famous musician to come from here, they say Van Morrison. I have a lot of admiration for his persistence and his commitment to the music.” Kaz comes across as a person who thrives off old-time vibes. Searching for a Van vinyl, which she says her friend found in a charity shop, she says she always looks forward to cracking open a bottle of wine for a celebratory occasion and unpacking a new record from its plastic. Commenting on the recent celebration of the work of women in Northern Ireland’s music industry, she says “The work that ‘Women’s Work’ (festival) did at the Oh Yeah Centre is amazing, especially Charlotte Dryden. How many blues females do you know in NI? It’s very hard for women. I remember playing a gig and getting ready to collect the fee. The guy who was paying me laughed when I asked for it and said, ‘No, which one of these lads am I paying?’ I’d also just won NI Blues Act of the Year at a ceremony in England and when I got up to receive it, I said that this was for all the women back home who are fighting to stay at the front of their game. I went to the same jam for 10 years, and only when I left Northern Ireland for America to make a name for myself was I asked back to that same jam. When I went back the same guy said to me, ‘Where have you been all of my life?’ I said, sitting in the front row waiting to be called.” A new calling recently came for Kaz as she became the first female ambassador for mental health charity AWARE NI. With her new tour incorporating stigmatised issues that the singer believes need addressed to help save lives, she says that being given the title is only another part of her job that she is more than happy to promote. “The biggest step that needs to be taken is reducing the stigma,” she says.
“My new show is about that. I sold out the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine the other week. We do have fun in the show, but I stood there at one point and said, look at us. All sitting here talking openly about suicide, depression, drug addiction and domestic violence. Look at all of you here. You’re willing to listen to me. I told everyone to give someone a hug and tell them that you’re there. It may be just as simple as asking how someone is today. I don’t feel pressured to be the first female ambassador. I’m very proud of it. To be honest, my whole life and music is dedicated to mental health. This is only part of what I do. I’ve constructed my show in such a way that it tells my story, but it will take people through the ups and downs. I have leaflets on my merch table, it’s the little things that matter. We don’t have to do massive things. Anything I can help with for the charity I’ll do. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Kaz Hawkins is currently on tour and aims to come back to Northern Ireland and perform as part of a UK tour in the autumn. Interview: Stewart Robson • photography: Trish Semple
PULL FOCUS DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL
Michael Moore and Mark Cousins at Belfast Film Festival in 2016
A celebration of contemporary documentary, with a focus on Irish and Northern Irish documentary making. n 2006, the international legend of documentary filmmaking, Albert Maysles attended the Belfast Film Festival, they had set up a new competition focusing on the art of observational documentary, the Maysles signature style. Documentary work is an important part of the Festival’s history, it has screened hundreds of world class documentaries through the years. The focus on this genre has allowed the Festival to host exciting speakers like Michael Moore, and to explore important socio-political issues and ideas affecting the world, and engage audiences in discussions around an ever-changing Northern Ireland.
The Image you Missed
In recent years Irish documentary on both sides of the border is becoming world-renowned. Pull Focus, Belfast Film Festival’s new documentary event, provides an opportunity to profile these films. This pilot programme celebrates the best new work being produced by documentarians across the island. Documentaries will be screening throughout the month of August kicking off on Thursday 09 August with The Image You Missed, Donal Foreman will present his meditation on his father, Arthur McCaig’s (Irish Ways and Patriot Games) filmmaking legacy in Northern Ireland. The closing film is the world premiere of Sean Murray’s ‘Unquiet Graves’, a powerful and visceral examination of collusion and the search for justice. ‘I, Dolours’ a controversial film which turns a camera onto the life of former IRA activist Dolours Price will be premiered. Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival Mark Cousins presents his latest documentary hybrid ‘The Eyes Of Orson Welles’ a love letter to one of cinemas greatest artists. Filmmakers attending include Donal Foreman (The Image You Missed), Seán Murray (Unquiet Graves), Producer and writer (I, Dolours), Ed Maloney, Director Feargal Ward (The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid), Director Mark Cousins (The Eyes Of Orson Welles) and Director of Camino Voyage, Dónal Ó Célleachair. As well as highlighting the quality of contemporary documentary, there is a focus on the great tradition of documentary in Northern Ireland. The programme includes work from the godparents of non-fiction filmmaking such as David Hammond, Anne Crilly, Margo Harkin and John T Davis.
While You Live, Shine
The Camino Voyage
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid
Programmer Stuart Sloan said the selection of documentaries: “Explores issues very important to our society, personal and political, and we hope that our programming continues to contribute, to the broader critical discourse on equality.” For additional information and summary of new documentaries visit:
HAVE YOU SEEN
ne of the most discriminated against ethnic minority groups in the UK is the Traveller Community. Commonly referred to in racist slurs and offensive terms, they are incredibly misunderstood and often met with contempt, mistrust and malice, resulting in the community being treated as second-class citizens with little access to basic human rights. Wider popular culture has consistently persecuted the Travelling Community and portrayed members through a one dimensional lens, from the 90s Sunday night favourite Glenroe, to Channel 4â€™s â€˜documentaryâ€™ series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding opportunities for travellers within the arts has been very limited. Determined to break the mould is John Connors, most famous for his role as Patrick Ward in RTE drama Love/Hate the actor/activist spoke to CultureHUB Magazine about the challenges he faces as a traveller working in the film industry and what he hopes for the future.
You’ve had a massive amount of success with Love/Hate and now Cardboard Gangsters, do you believe there are still problems for a traveller in the acting community? The film industry in Ireland is really a classist industry and made up mostly of upper-class people, it is a problem but I try look beyond it.
How true to your own life is Cardboard Gangsters? Some are my experiences, some are friends’ stories I heard, things I saw happen, just a big concoction of stuff that’s made up and stuff that’s true and just made a narrative.
Do you intend to create more work based on your own life in the future? The only way I know how to write is to keep it personal, I don’t know how to write any other way and that’s kind of my hook.
Given the success of the show, have you had any bigger opportunities arise? There’s a big role coming up for me but I’m not allowed to say what it is. (He really won’t tell!) I’m not allowed to say what it is, but it’s UK financed and shot in a few different countries… so we’ll see.
Do you prefer to be independent and have control as in Cardboard Gangsters or to portray a character as an actor? As an actor, you’re just a gun for hire but when you write you can create and own a character.
What motivates you to take on a role? I’m not really motivated by money, people think you’re a millionaire because they see you on TV but they don’t know that Irish stuff is really independent, and you just end up getting a basic minimum wage.
How do you think your political beliefs and convictions impact the work you are offered and choose to take on? I don’t think I’ve had that many great opportunities down south because I identify as a Republican, being any way political doesn’t help when you’re an actor but I don’t care, you have to, at least feel free to express what you want to express. I have strong feelings, I’m going to stick to my beliefs and see what happens.
THE DUNCAIRN • FRIDAY 31 AUGUST 2018 It’s fifty years since the momentous worldwide push for social change that detonated in 1968. FIFTY at The Duncairn has been inspired by the historic events of that period. This new programme will embrace creativity, music, discussion and ideas around the important role the arts will play in the development of Belfast.
Has the path cleared for other travellers with your profile being raised? A lot of people are going down different routes for sure, I looked up to Michael Collins who acted in Glenroe, I wanted to do what he did and even further and now younger travellers are going down different roads. INTERVIEW: KEVIN MAGEE PHOTOGRAPHY: STANISLAV NIKOLOV / VENUE: DUNCAIRN, BELFAST
FIFTY will consist of a series of monthly creative get togethers in The Duncairn Café, which will be transformed to create a Bohemian night club with a 1960s Greenwich Village Coffee House feel to the evening.
GET TO THE FOLLOWING FIFTY EVENTS ON:
14 SEPTEMBER 05 OCTOBER 02 NOVEMBER
TICKETS WILL BE ON SALE FROM THE DUNCAIRN RECEPTION AND THE ONLINE BOX OFFICE: theduncairn.com/all-events
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Interview with BBC Radio Ulster’s
Stuart Baillie C
ontaining no less than 60 interviews with some of the best known names in Irish music, including Bono and Good Vibrations owner Terri Hooley, and covering such a large time span, it is not a book to have been bashed out in a matter of weeks. Sure enough, this was a plan long in gestation. “Ten years ago I did a thing for the Arts Council in the Troubles archive, so I did a small 5000 words on the story. I got to the end of it and almost immediately you think ‘There’s a thousand things you should have mentioned that you could have put in there or you could have expanded on.’ “ Well expand on it he did, drawing upon his vast experience and starting to piece together what would eventually become Trouble Songs. “I wrote three pieces originally to try and get an agent and get a book deal and it floated around London for a couple of years. And then I was like, ‘OK, you have to really do this.’ Every time I went back I was polishing those pieces and it was gilding the lily. I thought that I should just write the bloody thing. So I think it has got a wee bit of that energy, of knocking it out. Colin Harper, the guy that helped me, he said it was like throwing down track in front of a train.”
INTERVIEW: GERRY Walton â€¢ Photography: conor kerr 14
THE THE #1 #1 TOUR TOUR IN IN BELFAST BELFAST
The award winning 2 hour city centre walking The winning 2 hour city centre walking tour award explaining the history of the Troubles and tour explaining the(and history of the Troubles and the path to peace the part that music played!) the path to peace (and the part that music played!)
INTERVIEW: GERRY Walton â€˘ Photography: conor kerr
FOYLE PRIDE FESTIVAL CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
PARAD E S ATURDAY 25 TH AU GUST
FI L M TA L K S C O M E DY EXHIBITION PA R A D E
WWW. F OYL EPRI DEF EST I VAL . CO M
CELEBRATING PRIDE 2018
Photographer Eivind Hansen ‘Queer Commonwealth: Faces of the LGBT Movement’ exhibition (Joey far right)
en years ago I flew out to Nuku'alofa, the downtown dusty capital of Tonga, undertaking a photography assignment. The subject of this project was ‘The Fakaleitis of Tonga’. ‘Fakaleiti’ translates to ‘Like a Lady’ - a man who lives as a woman. It is abbreviated to ‘Leiti’, simply ‘Lady’. The Leitis are predominantly unknown to the rest of the world. Tradition provides that these boys were raised as girls assigned at birth, for families lacking female children. This was deemed necessary, based on the ratio of males to females on the islands. The story has it, that they were dressed by their parents in female clothes and taught to manage the home: cooking, cleaning, weaving, and eventually caring for the parents in old age; essentially a third gender. However, in modern day, despite many references, it seems that this idea has been somewhat exaggerated and is outdated. Tonga has its quirks. It may be a third world country, but as the natives themselves will tell you, ‘there is no such thing as a skinny Tongan’. The food is delicious, but sugary, fatty, and often served with the starch overloaded potato fruit. Other than the capital’s Main Street, it doesn’t have any addresses. Getting around then involves using your mental compass, memorising landmarks and the general character of the road that, I may add, all look very similar. Life, in general, is at a slower tempo. The nation has a very interesting concept of time, which is often referred to as 'Tonga Time'. It’s also one of the few countries worldwide, where you can take a short flight to the neighbouring country [Samoa] and you do in fact, arrive the day before. The ‘time traveller’ crosses the international dateline, which defines the boundary between the two consecutive calendar dates. One of the major universal differences between the Leitis of Tonga and other LGBT+ groups, is that they have been integrated into society for hundreds of years in this deeply Christian country.
However, despite them being very much part of the community, it has not been a road without its bumps. Tonga has an often hostile social climate, with discrimination, lack of job opportunities, and inequality being the major issues. One of the Leitis, in particular, was a key figure in the project. Meet Leiti, Jolene Mataele, who has been catapulted onto the worldwide stage this year. Jolene, known as ‘Joey’, hails from Tonga and is transgender. She is highly regarded in the Pacific and beyond, regularly attending worldwide conventions. Joey is an activist for the rights of transgender women, she is the co-founder of the Pacific Sexual Diversity Network and founder of the Miss Galaxy Queen Pageant. As it transpires, the Polynesian activist has recently featured in the unique photography exhibition Queer Commonwealth: Faces of the LGBT+ Movement. Renowned photographer, Eivind Hansen was commissioned by the Kaleidoscope Trust to do an exhibition of photographs of LGBT+ activists from around the world, who came together to show their colours to celebrate London Pride. On the exhibition, Hansen elaborated: “I’ve always wanted to represent a positive change in the world … I hope the photos can create more visibility around LGBT+ people and their struggle for equality in the countries they come from.” Joey has certainly been making her mark universally, and 2018 seems to have brought her further victory. Running concurrently to the exhibit, was the screening of the film Leitis in Waiting at the Commonwealth Film Awards. It was held at the British Museum (London), as part of its worldwide tour and won the Special Jury Prize. Leitis in Waiting is the story of Joey - the film’s main protagonist, and the Tonga Leitis, described by the filmmakers, as an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their the South Pacific Kingdom. It has extraordinary access and interviews with the Kingdom's royals and religious leaders. 17
I caught up with the film’s co-director, U.S. based Joe Wilson, who coincidently, prior to being a filmmaker, worked as part of the NI Peace and Reconciliation Programme. I asked - you are from the U.S., what made you decide to do this film? “My partner Dean and I had different careers for a long time, we were not professional filmmakers. Dean is a scientist, and my work for 20 years involved human rights issues, advocacy and funding etc. In 2004, Dean and I got married, that was before it was legal in the U.S. So, we actually got married in Canada. Dean put an announcement in the newspaper in his hometown, The New York Times, and we got a lot of congratulating notes. But I’m from quite a small conservative town in the hills of Western Pennsylvania. The local newspaper ran the announcement of our wedding, but it elicited a very negative backlash from the Evangelical projects/churches that we are now seeing in Tonga. That response really disturbed me. It made me look at the environment that I was from. That reaction in my hometown set us off on a journey. We got a letter from the mother of a gay teen at the time saying, as she described, being ‘tortured’ at school by administrators. So we went back to meet them. That turned into our first film Out in the Silence, looking at how you work towards visibility and acceptance in rural and conservative America.” That film became a piece used for advocacy and community building. It led the pair to Hawaii, where they made a second documentary film Kumu Hina, about a cultural leader and native Hawaiian - Māhū (or what we would call a transgender woman) who had married a Tongan man. The film depicted a year in their life together. That cultural connection then led the filmmakers to Tonga. There they met Joey, during the Miss Galaxy contest, which is an annual event held in Nuku’alofa, celebrating creativity, diversity, and talent. It selects the best Leiti. “We met Joey while we were there … and we witnessed all that was going on. Joey said she had been longing for someone to help tell their story for 20 years … it just unfolded organically. We were inspired by all that they were doing and the community they were building for people that had been rejected from their homes, and building an organisation that was helping to change public perceptions. They were trying to make life better for the Leitis and LGBT+ people in Tonga.” Many descriptions across the media typically describe Leitis as individuals that were assigned at birth, a third gender, although this isn’t featured in the film. “From our experience, this is not how many Tongans and many other Pacific island nations describe themselves. Those are explanations that were brought in from outside. Those kinds of explanations have been roundly denounced. It is an old way of describing people. It was not necessarily with malicious intent.” Leitis in Waiting features footage of Joey live on Radio Nuku’alofa, she protests: "We are still being discriminated against and a lot of problems are still happening. What we want to address is that: all Leitis can aspire to be at present, is decorators, do the dirty errands, clean up the house and help the mothers. When it comes to decision making, we are nowhere to be seen." The radio station opened its phone line for the public to participate in the programme. One father explained, "I have a Top: jolene - ‘Joey’ Mateale / Bottom: Mergina
son that is a Leiti. He does most of the chores at home, as he can perform all of the work of women and men." Another female caller elaborated, "Whenever we travel overseas, we sit and let the Leitis do everything - we don't do anything. They are given by God to be used as tools by everyone." An apprehensive male third caller warned, "It is true they are useful, and I commend that myself. But we must not be careless or they will lure men to commit sin, which is prohibited by bible and law." Homosexuality is still illegal in Tonga and can result in imprisonment. Although walking around Tonga, the transgender community are highly visible. The laws came into existence during colonial times - even though it was never politically colonised. Wilson stated: “They may not be enforced on a day by day basis, but the fact that they exist helps to reinforce stigma, various prejudice and discrimination in many different ways, and it can be used as a threat. That is what is happening in Tonga now.” The film features a series of interviews with a group of Evangelical pastors who are supported by and funded by an American based Evangelical empire. Pastor Barry exclaimed: “We have always believed it is unnatural - so you are a lady within a man? Here in Tonga, we have always laughed at this kind of lifestyle. They don’t know who they are … they do not have God. They were made to be a man and they have to accept it.” The series of interviews with the Evangelical pastors makes grim viewing indeed. Reverend 'Ahio from the Free Wesleyan Church also made a bizarre statement during his interview: “The problem with human rights is that it is unlimited. There is no control. You can go as far as you want.” A frightening sentiment. Wilson commented on the Pastor’s and Reverend’s interviews: “It spreads these kinds of messages of hate, that is rooted in religion-based bigotry. So when that kind of message is going out on a daily basis, and he himself is taking the prospect of resurrecting these laws, it creates a very tense and problematic environment for people that are just trying to go about their daily lives.” The Catholic Church in Ireland has certainly softened its attitude to LGBT+ in recent years. It has been impossible to ignore the Irish referendum vote on same-sex marriage, from what is a devoutly Catholic country. In 2013, even Pope Francis responded to questions about a supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican by reasoning “Who am I to judge,” a remark that caused celebration among liberals and consternation among conservatives. This brings me back to a Catholic priest ordination I attended whilst working on this project in Tonga. Other than the priest himself, Joey was at the epicentre of the ritual and dinner celebrations. As it happens, Joey’s great-grandparents were among the founders of the Catholic Church in Tonga. They seem to have a much more relaxed attitude towards the Leitis and LGBT+ people. In the film, Catholic Cardinal Mafi empathised: “In Tonga, we are still finding our way in this modern world, with lots of challenges as well as things to learn. We must stand strong against discrimination and violence, abuse - all kinds of abuse. The good thing about Joey and co. is that they have the courage by persecution, perhaps people saying things against them. I hope there will be a time when people become more loving and tender-hearted.” Top: Mergina / Bottom: Members of the Leiti Association
Catholic Cardinal, Mafi
Not only do the Leitis have sympathy from the Catholic Church, they also have major support from the Royal Family. Princess Salote Lupepau'u is the patron and ambassador of the Tongan Leitis Association. She explained at the conference: “No matter how high the risk, the social hurdle, I stand with all of our members [Leitis] when I say, that our faith is paramount and unbreakable.” Tonga is a parliamentary monarchy; in that, they have a fully functioning parliament but it is with the consent of the King. However, there is a lot of push back and forth. I asked Wilson, if there was so much support from the Royal Family, why doesn’t the King just address this and change the law? “My observation has been, and what the Leitis and the community offer, is that the Royal Family sees itself not as dictatorial in nature and mandating things, but understanding the way that change is created. This is by developing broad public support for changes and the way that they do that and is trying to lead by example. They have been quite good at reflecting their acceptance, their support, and the inclusion of Leitis from across the LGBT+ spectrum in all of the functions. They are hoping that symbolism is seen and followed by society over time.” There are many men that choose to have relationships with Leitis, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are homosexual. If it becomes known to the public, those men will often be ostracised too. Therefore, the relationship it is often kept under wraps. This in itself creates problems embedded in further problems. Due to the secretive nature of these relationships, Leitis are often in abusive partnerships, and can often be victims of domestic abuse. For obvious reasons, it cannot be reported to the authorities. Statistics show that domestic violence is as high as 80% in Tonga. Wilson comments “Like in many cultures, masculinity is kind of revered. This is a particular type of masculinity, where you are not supposed to be with people like that or be allowed to show those actual feelings.” Pastor Barry echoed this in a further interview: “The idea of men having relationships with other men is disgusting to many Tongans. Tonga society is a society of manliness. Tongan
people - they want their voice to be male.” He is not joking either, women still cannot own land in the Kingdom. One of the biggest demonstrations featured on the film was when parliament was acting to pass the ‘2015 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women’ (CEDAW) - which is a United Nations Convention. On that, Wilson commented, “Then there were these Evangelical churches that created a huge outpouring of opposition and they defeated it. So the churches still hold great power there.” It’s not all doom and gloom, he continued: “Fortunately people across the civil society are coming together. So women, youth, the LGBT+/Leiti community are starting to forge a different type of community power. I think we are going to see a shift, a sea change, but I think we are just at the beginning of that wave.” Was there any aspect that was stand-out or symbolic when making the film? “Due to my upbringing in rural and conservative America, my hometown and own experience is quite similar to what is happening in Tonga. Three churches on every corner, it's very small. The ability to make your way, in your own community is all based on the relationships that you have, earning respect and being respectful to other people. “Even though Tonga is 5000 miles away, from the place that I call home … it really felt like we were home in a way. The important lesson that Joey and her friends were trying to do what it comes down to, is a question of rights for equality for LGBT+ people. It is seen as a debate on human rights on one side, and people of faith - so-called religious values on the other. What this film shows, and Joey as you know - being a devout Catholic herself, is about faith being a part of their inspiration. It is their right and they want to hold onto that faith which is central to being Tongan - yet, find a way to be accepted and included as well. So we are finding a way of navigating that terrain.” The struggles of the Leitis and LGBT+ communities in the Tongan islands are not a million miles away from the current struggles of the same communities living on the island of Ireland. Interview & Photography: Anna Wherrett
I WOULD like to thank the film’s co-director, Joe Wilson for taking the time out for the interview. I would also like to give Top: jolene - ‘Joey’ Mateale / Bottom: Mergina Special thanks to Joey, merginA and the many other Leitis I met, for letting me into your lives and sharing your experiences, 18 With open hearts and minds. Congratulations on your recent success and wishing you luck in your QUEST for equality.
FrielFest: A celebration of Beckett and Friel Derry~Londonderry
Arts Over Borders Presents
across six counties this August & Donegal 6th Happy Days: The first three weeks in August will see events taking place across six counties - from
International Beckett Festival Enniskillen
Antrim to Donegal, Tyrone to Derry-Londonderry, Fermanagh to Cavan - to celebrate the work of writers Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel. Presented by Arts Over Borders, the 6th Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival takes place from 02–05 August, while the 3rd Lughnasa FrielFest: Brian Friel International Festival returns to Derry-Londonderry, Omagh and Donegal from 09 –19 August.
Each festival will present events inspired by their respective writer at a range of unusual venues including underground caves, an island on a lake, beaches, the Derry Walls, village halls, a crypt, a roadside, a pier, a PSNI station and the top of a mountain! Co-programmer Sean Doran from Arts Over Borders explains the reasoning behind this novel approach: “Our bio-festival model takes its inspiration from the genius of an artist – in this case Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel - and is curated with a strong sense of place, both rural and urban, to create unique site-specific experiences which enable audiences to explore the artist’s work in new ways.” CultureHUB’s pick of events: Choosing a number of events from the festivals is difficult this year. From Waiting for Godot staged in the Marble Arch Caves and work by Antony Gormley to opera involving Andrei Bondarenko. So for full details, do check online. Our picks have to include amongst others, the recitals of Homer‘s Iliad on the siege of Troy around the ancient walls of Derry-Londonderry (with the atmospheric soundscape of the Apprentice Boys in the background), and Homer’s Odyssey (the first translation by a woman Emily Wilson) charting the aftermath of the war and a Odysseus’ Journey Home to Ithaca. See below for details. This year’s Lughnasa FrielFest explores Friel’s love of Homer, the ancient Greek poet, with two special productions of his epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad. Co-programmer Liam Browne from Arts Over Borders explains: “Brian Friel was a great admirer of Homer’s work, reading either The Odyssey or The Iliad each year, so we will be staging The Odyssey – a great epic of voyage, shipwreck and homecoming across beaches in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and The Iliad – the story of the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms – on the Walls of Derry, the city with the longest siege in British and Irish history.”
The festival’s production of The Odyssey (09 – 19 August) will take place in a pitched tent on beaches from Magilligan in Co. Derry to Lisfannon in Co. Donegal. It will feature highly acclaimed stage and screen actors including Maxine Peake, Nastascha McElhone, Imogen Stubbs and Frances Barber reading from Emily Wilson’s new translation of Homer’s poem, accompanied by Greek food, live Greek music and the crashing of the Atlantic waves. In Derry-Londonderry from 10-12 August, actor Niall Cusackwill read five episodes from The Iliad in a military-style tent on a grassy knoll outside the Walls overlooking the Bogside and on different bastions around the Walls. The event will conclude on 12 August with a soothing concert of spirituals and songs by opera and gospel singer Ruby Philogene, a first prize winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award. The festival’s appetite for innovation continues with Friel’s Faith Healer (10–12 and 17–19 August), a daring four-act monologue masterpiece, which explores truth, lies and the mystery of inspiration. The play will be presented with no director and no rehearsals by sensational West End stage and screen actors including Tamsin Greig, Rory Kinnear, Alex Jennings and Laura Donnelly. The audience will travel by bus to a different venue for each act of the play and will stop for an interval barbecue on Portnoo Pier. Friel was also a great admirer of Russian culture and the festival acknowledges this with presentations of four plays connected to Anton Chekhov. Friel’s translation of Three Sisters (18-19 August) will bring together fourteen actors (including Jamie Lee O'Donnell, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Terry Keeley from Channel 4’s Derry Girls) for a rehearsed reading of this world of deception, disaster and self-sacrifice, directed by Paula McFetridge from Kabosh Theatre Company. For the full programme visit:
PART 2: THE DARK SIDE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
FOCUS ON MALE MENTAL HEALTH
INTERVIEW: STACY FITZPATRICK PRESENTER: EDDY TEMPLE MORRIS
Mental health awareness and support services are notably prominent in our daily lives with organisations working continuously to offer advice, support, and help. Most of us will have suffered or been affected by mental health related issues in some way. In this issue, we focus on male mental health. It is widely acknowledged that it is often difficult for males to open up about their feelings, and even more so, if they are experiencing intense vulnerability, hopelessness and depression. CultureHUB interviews Virgin Radio presenter, Eddy Temple Morris about his own experience.
epression and mental health illness can strike anyone at any time. The recent untimely deaths of a number of much-loved household names, demonstrates that no-one is immune. Presenter, musician and DJ Eddy Temple Morris knows all too well the feelings and effects of depression, having experienced his own bouts of ill mental health resulting in him almost taking his own life. Currently presenting a daily show on Virgin Radio, Eddy’s media career has spanned decades. Starting as a bass player with Southern Death Cult offshoot band, Joy, he progressed into radio broadcasting with Radio 1 before being head-hunted by MTV, which resulted in him presenting a daily show on the music channel. He returned to radio as a DJ at XFM before making his new home at Virgin. The presenter is also a dedicated musician in his current band Losers, whose music has reached the ears of many people in household name TV shows including Game of Thrones, CSI, and The Walking Dead.
Throughout his career, Eddy has worked concurrently with mental health projects, as a pioneer for male mental health for over 11 years. This stemmed from a series of experiences in the music industry, which highlighted to him personally, the vast pressures of the business and the shocking statistics of suicide that proliferated the industry’s backdrop. “The makeup of the music industry is so male. On that subject we get to an incredibly worrying statistic: That I am five times more likely to kill myself than you are by virtue of the fact that I am a man.” An ambassador for the mental health charity CALM, Eddy reveals how tragedy led him to become involved in campaigning, offering support and prevention advice to mental health sufferers. “I was good friends with a band called Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. I went on record saying that their debut album was the greatest debut in electro-pop music since Depeche Mode. And we [Losers] were on the bill together, we were on the bill with them a lot. They were much younger than me but I
felt a real kindred bond with them. They were lauded as being the next big thing - they really were! They had their debut album coming out and they were doing a run of summer festival dates and having an absolutely amazing time. So, on a Friday night in August 2010, I'm on XFM doing my show and I teased the fact that I'm about to play an Ou Est Le Swimming Pool remix of a Losers track. I had a volley of messages, texts, emails notifications and stuff saying ‘Eddy, have you heard? Have you heard about Charlie?’ I was like ‘No? What’s going on?’ And it dawned on me while I was playing the record that he had killed himself.” ‘Charlie’ Charles Haddon, was the 22-year-old lead singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. He was found dead by fellow band member and best friend after their performance at Pukkelpop, Belgium. Eddy states: “He killed himself because he was mentally unwell. He had depression, he didn't talk about it, he didn’t really tell anyone about it. He didn’t face it. I was asked by Joe and the rest of the band to host the album launch party which went ahead at a sold-out KOKO.” In the wake of Charlie’s death, at the launch party, Eddy took to the stage with a passionate speech enlightened as to the potential cause of suicide. “I said something along the lines of, ‘Charlie died because he didn’t talk. He didn’t talk about what he was feeling and also, every woman that’s in here right now, bear with us because we're not as good as you at this. You are much better at talking about stuff.’ And then I said to all of the men, ‘Be more like women. Everybody is going home tonight. All of you are with someone, with another person or a group of four people or whatever. So, on your way home do me a favour, just talk about something that you are too afraid to talk about, or that you are too uncomfortable to talk about, or something that you have never talked about. It could be anything at all like if you are pissed off with your flatmate that they didn't do the washing up or whatever, tell them. If you are gay and nobody knows, tell them. Whatever it is that is on your mind, the big elephant in the room that girls are really good at addressing; boys, you address it tonight.’ – I was flooded with messages from young people, over a hundred of them, who had got in touch with me to say thank you for being so honest and that my suggestion had changed their lives profoundly – that was so heart-warming.” Eddy's involvement with CALM was a direct result of that speech. “Basically at that gig this lady approached me backstage … she said, ‘Well thank you for all of the nice things you said, incredibly amazing things you said about mental health and it's really cool what you are trying to do here. Can I ask you a question, what is the biggest killer of men under 50 in this country?’ It suddenly dawned on me, I was like ‘Oh my God it’s the actual men themselves isn’t it?’ And she said, ‘Yes … I’m in a charity called CALM and there is only one employee, and it’s me. And we deal with the gender issue of suicide ... And I haven’t got enough money to put a 2nd class stamp on an envelope and send it to the
police in Liverpool who are emailing me all the time saying, ‘Help us, young men are dropping like flies here and we don't know what to do’. So I need people like you to help me.’ Suicide at the time was 13 men a day killing themselves in this country alone. I then took it upon myself, with Joe, to really get stuck in. I ended up being asked to be the chair of their music board years ago and with the help of some great people we’ve taken CALM to another level, and awareness of them and of suicide, particularly male suicide, is at an all-time high.” The key to Eddy’s mission is the prevention of depression and suicide. Up to this point, the presenter himself had not experienced mental health issues, yet they soon came. Eddy had described himself prior to his friend’s suicide as being happy-go- lucky. “I'm quoting Robin Bresnark from Melody Maker [on me] ‘The happiest bugger you could ever hope to meet. A man whose eyes are so bright that moths fly into them on foggy nights.’ There are different types of depression, and it's not easy to say exactly what causes it because it's different for each person. Sometimes, there's just no obvious cause at all. Eddy later found himself entering a stressfull period of his life. Dealing with the everyday pressures can mentally drain anyone. Worry and severe insominia had taken its toll over time. Recalling his darkest moment, Eddy says: “I wasn't talking to anybody because I was so so depressed and anyone who has been depressed will tell you, you don't want to talk to anyone, you feel as though you are a burden to all of your friends. You kind of don’t want to bring people down to where you are, you want to let them shine and be happy. So you think you are doing everyone a favour by shutting up and not talking. I didn’t attempt it but I got so close that I got into my car with the express purpose of throwing myself off a bridge. What brought me back honestly, was the thought of what would happen or the repercussion of what I was doing. I basically thought cognitively about the decision that I was making, what happens when I do die? And I thought well, what is going to happen to my son? He’s been with me ever since he was three or four years old, I have been a single dad raising him, you know, he is a man now, he is 18. He's an only child and I just thought it would be an absolute disaster for him. So I turned around. A 40-minute journey and I turned around and after that 40 minutes the tears kinda dried up and I realised what the hell I was doing. Suicide... It’s so permanent. It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” After reaching a major turning point, Eddy recently discovered a coping technique which he reveals has had a profound positive effect on his own mental health. He explains: “In January last year, I discovered this yogic breathing 23
Think about the ramifications of that. If every pipe in your body dilates slightly that means your heart works much less hard to send blood around your body. It’s incredibly good for you.” Acknowledging that it is more difficult for a man to open up and talk about their feelings, Eddy asserts that to talk openly is the most positive action to take, saying: “You feel cathartic, it is like a weight is lifted. When you tell people vocally it could be friends, a cab driver, bar person or whatever. I am a big advocate of being open and honest with everyone - with as many people as you can. I was admonished a lot by managers in the past or girlfriends for being too open, too approachable, too honest, in the context of you are giving too much of yourself away but if I hadn't have done that I would be dead. I know that because one of the people I opened up to at the time, I was really really bad was Gary Numan and his wife. Particularly his wife, Gemma, as it turned out. Gemma was a stranger then. She was the wife of one of my heroes but still, I didn’t know her and my opening up and telling her I was suicidal … there were tears at that point. We both cried and she gave me her phone number, Gary’s number, and their home number and said ‘if you are ever going through the mill just call me anytime.’”
Scar tissue is much
stronger than normal tissue. technique like a cold water therapy coping mechanism called the Wim Hof Method. It involves about 15 minutes of hyperventilation and breath holding, letting go of your breath and not breathing. You combine that with cold water therapy. I have a freezing cold shower every day without fail … it’s been green-lighted by every form of scientific community. It measurably gives you a massive boost to your immune system and to your nervous system and makes your body produce dopamine in huge amounts and also epinephrine. It triggers your adrenal glands to produce epinephrine, which helps you deal with infections and stuff. I've not been ill and not had any kind of cold or flu since I started doing that.” The method involving breathing, cold water exposure, and meditation is a simple technique to incorporate into your daily routine as Eddy explains: “It is 15 minutes in the morning when you wake up. If you say you haven’t got time, set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and as soon as you get up just do it. I get this massive surge of dopamine in my blood every morning. And as well as the nice serotonin it’s a huge dopamine spike, because it has been measured in controlled experiments. So basically that’s my coping mechanism. I meditate once or twice every day without fail and I do this Wim Hof method and the freezing cold shower for about 90 seconds. By the time you have done the shower technique for a month, your body physiologically changes. Every pipe, every capillary and vessel in your body will dilate slightly. 24
As anyone who has experienced depression may relate to, there are periods of intense vulnerability. To have an anchor or be an anchor for somebody can be a life-saving tool for coping. Eddy reveals his own experience from both sides: “The darkest time for me was between 5am-7am when all of my insomniac buddies had gone to sleep. And I’m still awake and that’s the vulnerable time when I could have done something permanent and stupid. At that point, I would call Gemma. Because she was in LA and because of the time difference she would have just put her kids to bed and she would then talk me down from the ledge. It was so lovely to have someone there for me, she’s my wingman in that respect. Being there, being available to talk to is so important and it’s something I have done on numerous occasions for artists, talking them down off ledges because I am so open about it and vocal … I would just talk to them and listen to them and advise them from the viewpoint of someone that has been through it.” Admitting to others that you are struggling is often a taboo for males, a core point in the message Eddy works to deliver using a variety of multi-platformed media. “When I did Scroobious Pip’s podcast Distraction Pieces it happened in the most profound way. I still get people coming to me saying ‘Thank you so much for admitting your vulnerability, I felt like I wasn't alone.’ And people just thought ‘God I can really identify with that, if Eddy is talking about that then it's fine for me to talk about it.’ My father died very recently and I did this kind of emotional post about how abusive he was towards me and how we made friends at the end, a few days before he died. A couple of my friends said ‘I'm not able to address life in such an open way. Now I'm changing my relationship with my father – thank you so much for showing me the way – you’ll never know how much you’ve helped me.’
I have a little mental health discussion on my show on Virgin Radio almost every day … And I have been on a rant previously saying ‘Listen I have just played this Linkin Park record now I want you to get your phone out and just go through your address book. Either find that person that you know is struggling and send them a text just to let them know you are thinking about them; or just randomly, if you haven’t got one of them, just randomly scroll through your address book and find somebody that you haven’t talked to for ages and just send them a message saying ‘I am thinking of you.’ If we all do that then one life will be spared tonight. If everybody gets into the habit of doing that, then you know what I am saying on the radio will have a pyramid effect, word of mouth effect, and will save a life just from that link.’” The current statistics show that men are five times more likely than women to die by suicide. An alarming rate which Eddy firmly attributes to men’s lack of talking openly about their concerns and feelings. However female suicide does occur but often not highlighted as much as male suicide. “The reason that female suicide isn’t as prevalent in the media as male suicide is because it's not happening as much. It’s simple mathematics. In the UK 12 men are going to kill themselves today and only between two and three women. So that’s the statistics, the raw facts. Therefore the perception of male suicide is male-focused. The politics of it, the media approach to it everything comes down to mathematics.” Eddy reveals another alarming and surprising statistic related to suicide by profession, in the media industry: “But then we come to that incredible turning of the statistic … a female musician is three times more likely to kill herself than a male musician. So that trend is almost on its head. That’s a massive pendulum swing. And I have got my eyes open to these kinds of things. I think it’s something
that may be feared and known about, but certainly not acknowledged by the record business here and it’s something that they should be ashamed of. So I put it out there for the first time. I said it on Twitter and it got mentioned in a podcast. It got quoted by Scroobious Pip and he made this GIF that is doing the rounds at the moment on Facebook and Twitter. We have got to ask ourselves: what is it that is making women - who are normally almost bulletproof, as vulnerable as men in music? So I want the BPI and record labels to look at that. So, then call the woman that they signed, who they see is emotional, or high maintenance, or weepy and crying and send them a text and say ‘are you OK’ Not to call them and go ‘When can we do this, how much money?’” Eddy delivers a poetic analogy: “Mental ill health is something you go through … I compare people to wine. The vines have to struggle because it makes a more noble wine. If that vine struggles it will make a better wine. And people are the same. If people struggle and they get through it and they don't die by suicide, they come out of the other side. They will get there stronger, wiser, better, more interesting more rounded, just better in every way. Like people we know who have, we know it and we love them that much more for it. I feel bulletproof nowadays. I know that the next time I have a massive mental health issue I will be able to deal with it. Because I have been through it, it’s like scar tissue heals much stronger. Scar tissue is much stronger than normal tissue.” Listen to Eddy on Virgin Radio Weekdays 10am-1pm & weekends. Follow him on Facebook or twitter @eddyTM.
Joan Baez is undoubtedly one of the most influential and politically motivated musicians of modern time. From the civil rights movement in the 1960s to performing at women’s marches in 2017, Baez’s music has become synonymous with activism and politics. She boasts a coveted spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as collaborations with some of the music industry’s greats, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen. With the release of her first album in ten years Whistle Down The Wind and her Fare Thee Well tour well underway, CultureHUB had the pleasure of catching up with Joan before her tour date at Belfast’s Waterfront. You have been playing music to your fans for years. Is there a bitter-sweetness that the Fare Thee Well tour will be your final tour? What are your feelings surrounding it? It probably will be, I haven’t really thought that far ahead. But, I will still be able to go sing, you know go places and do special events and even do a concert if I want. What I’m saying is fare thee well to six weeks on a bus, two hours standing up and singing, all the preparation of the voice which is now just so time-consuming and difficult. I want to be able to slow down on all of that, and I think it’s been, what? 60 years that I’ve been doing this, so I think it’s really time to stop the difficult part. I do love it though. I’m settled in with my tour family, there are eight of us with sound, lights, musicians and the tour manager. It’s just a wonderful crew, so we look forward to being together, and I am sure there will be elements of this that will be difficult when we break up. Poetry is my second love after music. I have always thought there were remnants of Walt Whitman and James Joyce in your songwriting. Are either poets of any influence to your writing? Have your influences remained the same over the years or do they change? You know, if they’re prominent it is something that I didn’t even really notice. I don’t read much particularly, and I don’t read much poetry. It is rare that I would like it enough to keep reading. So, I would like to say that I have been influenced by the greats, but I would also have to say I’m too stupid to read. I really haven’t written anything for over 25 years so what I did back then was probably images. I would sit down at the piano or guitar and have some kind of impulse, or some kind of idea. When I wrote, it just came very easily and when it stopped I considered that ‘it’ stopped, I didn’t stop it. It kind of just vanished, and I didn’t feel like going to school or learning how to write songs, I just moved onto something else. I was glad there were always wonderful writers out there.
Music was my first insight into politics and understanding the political struggles that were happening. The 60s is such an iconic era for political activism and music was a huge way to channel that. Do you think that still stands now? If not, how does it differ from the 60s? I think what happened in the 60s was kind of an implosion because it was music and politics and talent. I mean, there was so much extraordinary talent in that period and so one of the problems when people really want to relive that, is you can have all the best feelings and politics in the world; but if somebody doesn’t come up with ‘Blowing in the Wind’ or ‘Imagine’, then you need that anthem. I suspect it will come out, possibly even of the Florida students in the States. The ones that are so active and have actually shocked everybody into making some changes. It is usually that kind of activism and insight and excitement - that it’s possible a song would come out of that. Following on from that, do you think musicians such as yourself have a duty to speak up about important issues for their fans? I think the problem with saying 'it’s a duty' - is that it turns people off, so what I would say is that the activism mixed with the music is what has made my life worth living. Music is wonderful, and I think if I hadn’t been able to fuse it with my own personal feelings about non-violence and social change, it would have been a little bit superficial for me. They say ‘walk the talk’ and doing what it is that I’m singing about, it's what made it valuable for me. Your album Whistle Down The Wind is your first since 2008's Day After Tomorrow, was there anything in particular that triggered your decision to record this - or was it a long-time coming? It was heading towards the Fare Thee Well tour and I was thinking ‘whoops’ I need to do, and I wanted to do, another album for the ten years before it. Unless I was really triggered to do this album, then I wasn’t going to do it. Then all of a sudden it became very high on the list of things to do. So, my assistant, my manager, and friends just start digging, and you know a couple of those songs that were like miracles, I mean another world. The track, ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace’, I just happened to hear on the radio by this young woman songwriter. Whistle Down the Wind is a stunning album, that in my
opinion, channelled so much raw emotion that can be interpreted in so many ways by each listener. 'Last Leaf' was my personal favourite track on the album. What is it about this album that made you think, 'yes' this is the final album I wish to leave with the world? You know what, I think it’s better. I think it’s just an especially good album. I mean I always have a reaction after the album is done, I’m pleased or medium pleased or very excited. This one really surpasses a lot of other albums that have come out. It’s kind of interesting because people like it in a different way. More people seem to receive it. So, you know, I don’t know. I didn’t actually say this was the last one, it’s what got printed. It probably is, but I am leaving the door open just in case something comes along and if I really want to do it then I’ll do it. interview: Chantelle Frampton
Chantelle Frampton • Photography Tremaine Gregg (FIRST page) Tremaine (FIRST Gregg /PAGE): (Right main) Ralph Crane Photography: 28
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CULTUREHUB
Chris Ledger • Mary Stevens • Paula Larkin
Housed in a beautiful ground floor gallery on Royal Avenue. A phenomenally serene atmosphere exists in which to exhibit artist’s work. The University of Atypical, now celebrating their 25th year – have initiated a revamp to better represent their current vision; their new aims; and their desire to be representative of atypical. Having been the organisers behind years of the BOUNCE! Festival across Belfast, they will continue curating their previous projects while aspiring to create new programmes which continue to represent the charity today. Similar to many arts organisations, The University of Atypical endeavour to provide practical support for artists, give them the confidence and the validation that their voice is worth hearing, and offer a platform to express themselves to the world. In being atypical - The University of Atypical concentrate their efforts solely with disabled and deaf artists. “Over the years there has been continued support for a broad scope of work from a wide range of disabled artists, who have achieved international recognition,” said Mary Stevens. “The entire re-branding exercise is essential to be more representative of what we currently do. We always strive to be a fresher and more outgoing organisation within the local arts community.” The work of Newcastle born artist ‘gobsure’ - his exhibit entitled Still Alone in Her Voices - filled the gallery when I visited previously. I was drawn to the pieces which are born from the artist's own encounters with psychosis. The work challenges us to experience the sensation of ideas and messages rushing through our heads constantly – words screaming at you; but remaining slightly out of the reach of our cognisance. The work has appeared in Shearsman Magazine and Asylum Magazine while being toured throughout the UK. I asked Mary how the changes from ADF to University of Atypical came around. “The changes being made with the arrival of The University of Atypical have been very much shaped by our vocal membership base. Maintaining relevancy for everyone involved alongside the changes and ensuring that the steps we take were in the right direction was of utmost importance to us.” “We are representative of atypical. The activities here are mainly led, organised and carried out by those with disabilities ... Our programming very much concentrates on artistic quality,” she explains. “And we also go to great lengths to promote
the equity of access to arts and culture through the Equality Charter initiative. Certificates and plaques are awarded to those organisations doing an exemplary job and making a real difference to disability equality in the arts.” Many festivals and venues are already doing a great job in making shows accessible for all – although it can often be a secondary thought to their scheduling.“As an organisation we are in a position to assist other events and festivals when considering accessibility,” she says. The University of Atypical also offers many accessible grants to artists wishing to apply. Chris Ledger, Chief Executive, previously commented on the iDA scheme; “Disabled and deaf people can have fruitful and successful careers in the arts and the grant scheme recognises this and supports artists to develop work of extremely high artistic merit. The scheme is open to artists in all art-forms and with all types of disability including unseen conditions such as diabetes, dyslexia, epilepsy and mental health conditions.” Although very much a platform for artists with disabilities to express their voice on both a local and international level, The University of Atypical runs many outreach programmes in the local communities and care homes including the Art & Biscuits programme, that creates a social hub. A real sense of creative spark and enjoyment emanates from Mary Stevens in the work carried out here. It is energising to hear her speak with passion and wisdom about the re-branding and her role in the organisation. Even as we sit in the gallery there are ideas for screening rooms, future programming, and colour schemes being considered; anything which might enrich the already bright spirit of the gallery. Mary finishes by saying, “The University of Atypical is such an amazing place to work as we are bringing fantastic quality artwork to a really wide and diverse audience. The organisation is at a really exciting stage of development and I’m thrilled to play a vital part in its future.” As I left the building I was struck by the poignancy of what is written on the window of their gallery in a bright red marker – “Shine light upon the prejudices of this cruel world”. The work of the artists and those associated with The University of Atypical The University of Atypical over their 25 years has endeavoured to do just this – long may it continue.
V E DR A N S M A I L OV I Ć THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO
Cara Gibney interviews ‘Cellist of Sarajevo’ Vedran Smailović, who captured the world’s attention during the brutal war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Braving bombs and bullets, his moving cello performances at locations that had suffered desperate acts of violence helped mark each tragedy, acknowledge each loss. During one such performance he first met his old friend Joan Baez. The rest is history.
omplete with leather cowboy hat, waistcoat, walking cane and leather gloves, Vedran Smailović, the Cellist of Sarajevo, was a noticeable figure, quietly enjoying a drink in the Hilton Hotel. He had travelled to Belfast from his adopted home of Warrenpoint, as his old friend Joan Baez was playing her Fare Thee Well tour in the Waterfront Hall. It had been 25 years since they’d first met in Sarajevo during her visit to the city, reaching out to its people as they struggled to survive the shells, snipers, and anguish of the Bosnian war. When the war broke out Smailović was a successful musician, renowned in both the Sarajevo Symphony and Philharmonic
Orchestras, and he was principal cellist in the Opera. But the war devastated this, as it did for so many lives in Bosnia, and beyond. “They were shooting at us, you know, civilians.” As he talked above the chatter at the bar, his voice had risen slightly at the end of the sentence, like he still hadn’t quite got his head round it. His Sarajevo had been very different. He had grown up in a city, a country, where the various religions and diverse cultures had coexisted. “For all our lives, for all civilians, it did not matter … Even during the shelling, in the bomb shelters we were sitting with Catholic, with Muslim, with Jew. We had no problem about that.”
By May 1992, Sarajevo was a city of burnt out buildings, shelled apartment blocks, broken mosques, churches, and schools; under regular fire from shells and snipers. One day a long queue formed outside one of the few remaining bakeries. The mortar round that hit them killed twenty-two people in total and wounded more than one hundred. Smailović helped with the harrowing aftermath. The following day, with a visceral need to respond to the atrocity, he did the only thing he knew how. Dressed in white tie and tails, he carried his cello back to the scene and in tribute to the souls lost, he played Albinoni’s ‘Adagio in G Minor’. As the shells and snipers continued around him he repeated this again the next day, and the next, until he had returned 22 times, one performance for each of the deceased. Subsequently, he moved on to play at sites where other lives had been taken, where Bosnia’s heritage was targeted. And the world slowly started to hear about the Cellist of Sarajevo. Later that year Smailović was smuggled out of Bosnia, and after some years in London he ultimately settled in the town of Warrenpoint on the northern shore of Carlingford Lough. Since the war he has been living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which badly affects his sleep, and at any point can present triggers. “You have to hide it away,” he told me...
“To be in this wo rld you cann ot be weak.”
So, the work continued. Peace activist and folk singer Tommy Sands has worked on countless occasions with the cellist, including a “concert in St John the Divine Church, New York, with Pete Seeger, Odetta, Bianca Jagger and Vanessa Redgrave,” as well as collaborating on the album Sarajevo to Belfast, which featured Joan Baez among its contributors. Sands explained: “My brother Colum had spoken of seeing this amazing cello player on TV playing on the street during the siege of Sarajevo and was working on a song about this.” He recalled how their collaborations began. “I had just written a song with Pete Seeger called the ‘Music Of Healing’, and thought it would be wonderful to have Vedran involved if he could be found. We knew he had somehow escaped from Sarajevo. I tracked him down to England and invited him over.” “He was very passionate in his music. I saw tears rolling down his cheeks as he played lamentations on the cello. He didn't do things by halves, he threw himself a full 100% into projects he believed in. He could become very fiery at times too... there was a fire burning inside but it was the same fire that inspired him to play wonderful music and act impulsively with tremendous courage in very dangerous situations.
Joan Baez and Vedran Smailović (above)
Even dur ing the s helling, in the b o mb s helter s w e were s itting w ith Catho lic, wit h Mus lim, w ith Jew . We ha d no p ro b lem ab o ut that . ” Vedran Smailović
He w as ver y p as s io nat e in his mus ic . I s aw tear s rolling do w n his cheek s as he p layed lamentatio ns on o n the c ello . Tommy Sa nds
By all accounts his quiet life here gives Smailović what he needs. For the past 17 years he has been living with diabetes, culminating in an amputation in 2017. With praise for the doctors and staff at The Royal and Musgrave Park hospitals, and with the support and care of his close friend Zinaida, he doesn’t allow the amputation or the diabetes to take over. However, he struggles in a way that other diabetics may recognise. “With diabetes you have to find your own way, what works and what doesn’t work,” he explained. “Sometimes when I'm in hospital my blood level is fine, and then I come home and straight away it’s high … you do something, and you think Aha! That’s it now … all the time it’s up and down.” But Vedran Smailović is a survivor, a determined forward thinker – best illustrated in a recollection by his friend Tommy Sands. “I remember (when we both went to play some encouraging music for politicians when the Good Friday Agreement Talks were in danger of faltering), a TV cameraman shouted, "Will you ever go back to Sarajevo?" Smailović answered without turning his head, "I don't go back. I go forward.” A sentiment perhaps our own politicians could consider. Cara gibney • Photography (Right): Tremaine Gregg
W i th d i a b e te s y o u ha ve to fi nd y o ur o w n w a y, w hat w o rk s a nd w h at d o e sn’ t w o rk .
WH AT YO U NEED TO K NOW
here are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, which cannot be prevented, develops when the insulin-producing cells have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin. It generally occurs in children and young adults. Type 1 accounts for approximately 10% of diabetes cases. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (also known as insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases. Between 2005 and 2017 the number of people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland increased by 77%. This increase is due to more people being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as a result of rising levels of obesity, people living longer (Type 2 diabetes is more common in older age groups) and improved detection and diagnosis of diabetes in primary care. A family history of diabetes increases your chances of developing diabetes. The symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst; passing urine more frequently (bed-wetting in children); extreme tiredness; slow healing infections; blurred vision; and significant or unexplained weight loss. Symptoms of diabetes can develop quickly over days or weeks and sometimes with Type 2 diabetes a person may have no symptoms. Early diagnosis is therefore very important and if you think you have diabetes speak to your GP or pharmacist. Diabetes, left untreated, can cause significant long-term health complications such as heart disease; kidney damage; eye problems which can affect vision; and foot problems leading to amputation. Dr Brid Farrell, Assistant Director in Service Development in the PHA, said: “You can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by taking steps today to lose weight and
improving your fitness. Having a family history of Type 2 diabetes increases your chances of developing diabetes.” If you are overweight or obese, the key step to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes is to lose weight through making healthy food choices and being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. This is particularly important for women who have a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy and who need to pay special attention after their pregnancy to their diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight. Diabetes is a lifelong condition, but complications can be prevented or delayed by controlling your blood sugar, and treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you have diabetes, a healthy diet and regular exercise are very important. It is important that people living with diabetes receive regular health reviews so that if complications develop they are detected early which may provide an opportunity to reverse the complication or slow its progression. The Public Health Agency is launching a Northern Ireland wide Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) later in 2018. This program will target people diagnosed with “Pre-diabetes’, an umbrella term for impaired fasting blood sugar and impaired sugar tolerance which is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Research evidence has shown that modest changes in diet and physical activity levels can reduce the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes by more than 50% in people with pre-diabetes.The DPP will consist of a lifestyle intervention programme for high risk individuals identified through primary care. This new programme offers an important opportunity for early intervention to reduce the number of people developing Type 2 Diabetes. Dr Brid Farrell Assistant Director, Public Health Agency 35
How do you feel about your work at the moment and what are you most enjoying along the way? Musically and lyrically, there has been much growth; I’ve enjoyed performing fresh songs live and I am excited for their further outworking.
What has inspired you to create your music and who are your main influences? It wasn’t really a case of being inspired to get into it; music has been close to me all my life. First, by listening to the music of others and playing the notes of others; and then came the need and ability to write, and a desire to share my music with those that listen. All sorts of artists and music inspires me. Classical music, experimental music, R ‘n’ B, spoken word, folk, indie, hip hop and jazz. There is beauty and inspiration to be found in all genres, there just needs to be a genuine and authentic expression from the artist. There are too many artists to list.
What is the best venue you have played to date and where would be your dream venue to perform? The Ulster Hall. And I’d like to go back there, too. It’s a beautiful venue in my homeland. In terms of other places - goodness - lots. A mix of interesting places, but also iconic buildings that have hosted such incredible music, would be ideal. The Royal Albert Hall in London or Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado. It looks like it would host a beautiful gig. Somewhere old, with very charming walls. A cave also appeals.
What is the most challenging aspect of life as a musician? The lack of stability and increased visibility of the unknown.
Earlier this year you recently played as part of the Output Belfast showcase, what did this mean to you and what other local artists are you most excited about? It was great. We had wonderfully colourful and agile lights, and a smoke machine that was chain smoking side stage. Output was a great night and I have a love for Belfast and for the people and musicians in it. I caught New Pagans and a few other artists and they were wonderful. Northern Ireland is bursting with talent.
Which artists would you most like to collaborate with? Living, I presume? Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (trumpeter with bent jazz feels). Alfa Mist (soul/jazz). Mura Masa (electronic). Chance the (beloved!) Rapper. The soulful and electronic twists of Bon Iver/Justin Vernon. The creative hip-hop of Childish Gambino/Donald Glover and the beautifully R ‘n’ B laced Daniel Caesar. And Carole King because she’s just such a legendary and wonderful songwriter. Many others too, but I might just leave it there.
You are hosting the ultimate dinner party, four guests living or dead. Who would they be and a quick why? To be honest, these sorts of things I always find tricky. So I’d probably try to have a few dinner parties, but certainly in my first one, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky would be invited; being a gay Russian composer in the 19th Century would have been massively challenging and his music has always meant a lot to me, so I’d quite like to shake his hand and thank him. Rosa Parks because she was a brave and wonderful woman. Serena Williams, because she’s one of the best athletes of all time, and I'd like to remind her of that time she asked me to remove the lid off my pen at Wimbledon, and Jesus. INTERVIEW: MICHAEL FERGUSON
Colin Hassard is busy. His band, Dirty Words have just completed their first album Age of the Microwave Dinner which will be debuted at the EastSide Arts Festival in conjunction with the launch of Colin’s first collection of poetry of the same name. Given this jam packed schedule, we were lucky enough to speak to him about his upcoming performances at the EastSide Arts Festival and found out what else to expect from this multi-talented and diverse home-grown artist.
s well as being Runner Up in the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2018 and selected as one of Eyewear Publishing Best New British and Irish Poets 2018, Colin was appointed ‘Artist-in-Residence’ at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, having supported previous CultureHUB cover star, Hollie McNish in her Belfast performances, and also has a regular post on BBC Radio Ulster’s Science & Stuff.
You have a poetry and music show as part of the EastSide Arts Festival in August of this year, how did this come about and what does it mean to you to be performing at such an event? A few years ago, I formed the band Dirty Words with the musician and my long-time song-writing partner, Ashley Manners. The initial plan was to put some of my poems to music and see if it worked. We had some initial success with our first single being a ‘Track of the Day’ on BBC Radio Ulster’s Across the Line, and not long after that we were lucky to have the wonderful sax-player, Seonaid Murray, join us. We were still writing and playing where we could, but it wasn’t until we performed at last November’s C.S. Lewis Festival, that we decided the time was right to collect our songs into an album. Around the same time, I was privileged to receive funding from the Arts Council NI to work on my first collection of poems. The deadline for this is September so I thought the EastSide Arts Festival in August would be a fantastic opportunity to preview some of the poems and release the album as part of a full-show. The show and the album both have the catchy title of Age of the Microwave Dinner. I’m delighted to be a part of the EastSide Arts Festival as the festival has always been very supportive of poetry events. It’s really humbling that the team were so welcoming when I
first approached them with the idea, so hopefully myself and Dirty Words get a good crowd in and put on a fantastic show. During your time as Artist-in-Resident at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, what challenges did you face bringing your work, which already tackles serious themes, in line with the nature of this festival? It was a huge honour, and although the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival isn’t this country’s biggest festival, I think it’s the most important. When I was performing at the festival, I did include more serious poems than I probably would have during a usual show, but I didn’t tailor any of my work to fit the ethos of the festival. It’s interesting you ask about that as during my time as Writer-in-Residence I got to support the amazing poet, Hollie McNish, in the Black Box. I was backstage with Hollie and she was telling me that she was worried her poems were not, in her words, “human rights-y enough”! But like Hollie and I discussed, on a basic level human rights are generally focused on freedom and fairness. When you look at our own country we still have, for example, inequality in marriage rights and increasing racism and discrimination problems, and it’s because of issues like that, that the NIHRF is so vital. But the important thing is, regardless of whether you’re discussing a serious subject or not, to make the poem interesting and engaging. I always try to tell a story or take the poem, and ultimately the audience, on a journey. That’s not to say that all my poems are serious or hard-hitting. Although I have poems that discuss racism or domestic violence, I also have poems about football or about being a culchie (I’m originally from Banbridge). It’s not easy to describe my own work, but if people want to come and see me perform, I can almost guarantee them a good time. I say ‘almost’ to make sure I don’t have to give any refunds! 37
But the important thing is,
regardless of whether you’re discussing
a serious subject or not,
to make the poem
interesting and engaging.
It’s very clear that the Northern Irish arts scene is going from strength to strength, what do you accredit this to and what else do you feel needs to be done to help it flourish even more? For it to flourish even more, the simple answer is that it needs more funding. However, we’re not going to get that despite our politicians claiming to support the arts and understand how vital they are to society. The fact there has been a blossoming in the arts scene is a case of resilience in the face of adversity, with dedicated people working long-hours usually for little or no money. I can only really comment on the poetry scene and it’s almost unrecognisable from when I started out about nine years ago when you’d only have one or two poetry nights per month. Now it seems there are a number of events happening every week. But that’s down to hard-work from individuals like Colin Dardis hosting regular Purely Poetry nights, Abby Oliviera with The Monday Night Cure in Derry, to the local poetry publishers like Honest Ulsterman and the Tangerine, to Amy and Paul Rafferty who’ve recently launched the Bangor Literary Journal, as well as arts organisations like the Community Arts Partnership and the Irish Writers Centre along with various festivals who continue to support and promote poetry. And of course, the Arts Council NI and in particular, Damian Smyth, have to be mentioned for their commitment to promoting and developing all aspects of literature. Of course, while the poetry scene has been growing, there’s obviously been a big change in the world with social media. As distracting and dangerous as it can be, it’s also been instrumental in connecting local writers and publicising events. It’s really interesting how a poetry night like The Lifeboat at the Sunflower Bar uses Twitter to live broadcast the event and that’s something that I’m sure we’ll see more of as the technology progresses. You may even be able to choose your seat for live streaming one of my shows in the future!
What are your hopes for the future of performance poetry in Northern Ireland? In the future, I’d like to see Northern Irish performance poets make an impact on the wider UK scene. There are a handful of local writers who are doing amazing things in performance
poetry. Some names off the top of my head would be Abby Oliviera who has toured Australia, written a play and is performing in Singapore later this year; former All-Ireland Poetry Slam Champion Rory Jones who is currently touring his own show and is making waves with this band Strange New Places; Alice McCullough has been quiet of late but will no doubt come roaring back with some amazing work; and Elizabeth McGeown is a regular performer at the Edinburgh Fringe and on the festival circuit. I’ve been offered gigs in Scotland and London, but when you factor in transport, accommodation, food and so on, you have to wonder is it worth it? I think performance poetry on the mainland has more opportunities, a wider network, and bigger audiences – as you would expect with a much larger island. But there’s a Dublin poet called Stephen James Smith who has just announced a full UK and Ireland tour and he’s really blazing a trail and showing us that it can be done. Hopefully more Irish, and of course Northern Irish, writers are able to follow in the years to come.
Colin and his band, Dirty Words will be performing Age of the Microwave Dinner, a poetry and music show, as part of the EastSide Arts Festival on Friday 10 August in the EastSide Visitors Centre. For more information on Colin’s work visit: culturehubmagazine.co.uk/colin-hassard Interview: Gemma McSherry eclectic ni
As a performance poet and musician, how do you approach creating your work, do they come about as distinctly poetry and music or is there an overlapping? Everything starts off as a poem. If you look deeper that could actually be attributed to life itself! But for me, anything I create, starts with the words. Yes, there can be an overlap and some things get transformed into lyrics, but it’s quite a fluid process. That term ‘musician’, I use rather loosely. In my younger years, I played rhythm guitar in a band, so I understand the basics of music to be able to write a song, but music isn’t what I’m good at. The way it used to work in Dirty Words would be that I would bring a rough structure for a song to Ashley for him to build on. But I am limited in that respect. In my opinion, the best songs on this forthcoming album are where Ashley has written all the music. Music is his passion and forte – and when he comes to me with a musical arrangement, it gives me greater creativity and freedom with the lyrics. I was always much more interested in lyrics than fancy chords anyway. I never wanted to be Johnny Marr, I always wanted to be Morrissey. Although I’m not sure that’s a good thing to say these days.
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o those unfamiliar with the book, the brief synopsis is a German intelligence officer stumbles upon a rare piece of an antique and highly collectible writing desk. Within it there are long lost, highly secret Nazi files regarding the plundering and theft of Jewish property during WWII. Our main protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Detlef Schmitt, along with his love of antiquity and the classics is currently investigating Serbian criminal gangs involved in everything from murder to drug trafficking to fund the Serbian/Croat war. Yes, there are the car chases and assassination attempts, but Hickland’s prose is also full of more tender moments. His descriptive style is lyrical and aside from the violence, covert operations and cyber-attacks, Schmitt has a loving partner and young son. The humanity of the book is often evident as he battles not only crimes past and present but with the pressures put on his private life as a result of his career. As with all cops with their noses to the ground, on a major, possibly internationally sensational case, Schmitt, of course, needs a nemesis. I’ll let you find out more on that when you read the book. Finding Hickland equally relaxed and talkative, we get down to business. What do you think is the appeal of crime and thriller novels and television programmes that draw such numbers of readers and viewers? I think part of the time some people want to live out their fantasies; others are intrigued as to how the crimes occurred. They want to know about the murders, the robberies and the background to them. Basically, it’s driven by curiosity. Do you think humans in general have a natural leaning toward the darker side? Not everyone, but there is that among the vast majority of crime readers. They want to maybe not live out the fantasy, but to live it out for the duration of a book. You mentioned in your bio about a chance find which led to writing the book, can you elaborate? In 2011 I was in my mother-in-law’s house and looking through her late husband’s book collection. Ian Fleming’s biography was one of those books and I picked it up simply
because he was the author of James Bond and once I’d finished it I became a bit blasé about the whole thing and thought, ‘Is that where the guy got the plots?’ He worked for the British Intelligence Agency during WWII and wrote for newspapers and drew heavily from news cuttings, press interviews etc. So I decided I would write a book myself. The book is based in Germany in 1994 during the Serbian/Croatian war. Hickland lived in Germany for more than half of the 1980s, I ask him why he set the book during that time and how the plot evolved? My basic interest was where did most of the Nazi gold and loot of WWII go? And if you imagine setting dominoes around a table and flick one, all the information and the plot came together. While the Serbian conflict was ongoing, there was racketeering to raise funds to prolong the war, to buy shells, guns and whatever on the black market. That did happen and it all rolled into one and came to a stop at a particular bank on Marian Platz in Germany. I’m interested in your attention to detail, I researched as much as possible and everything checks out. The Jean-Henri Reisener bureau (only 100 reproductions were made and the original was made for French Queen, Marie Antoinette), the German 7th Army pushed back by the US 101st Calvary in January 1945, Pullach was the German Intel Operations Centre until 2014, the P38 9mm gun replaced the Luger as the standard German Army handgun, amylbarbitone was used as a truth serum, the White Rose Movement, the executions… everything is correct. You’ve obviously done your homework. It’s a period book and any writer who wants to produce high quality work has to do the research. I’ll give you an example: there’s two car chases in the book, I had seen the Konrad Adenauer tunnel and thought, ‘wow, that would be a fantastic place to have a chase’, but when I researched I
found the tunnel was built in 2004, On Marian Place is set in 1994 so it wouldn’t have fit. Everything in my book, including the Grundig tape recorders, I went and checked out. No one can come back to me and say, ‘that wasn’t there, that didn’t happen!’ If you’re going to write a period book, write a period book, even down to the cars. When reading the book, I was only on page 72 and commented on Facebook something along the lines the book was a ‘cross between a Dan Brown novel and Bret Easton Ellis’. I was referring to the cinematic nature of how the book reads – I mention a few scenes in particular, to describe them here would be spoilers galore – Do you write with the camera in mind? People say to me, ‘you write with a cinematic mind’ but I don’t write with plans for film. I just write in a scripted manner. Do you write at set times, write in bursts? What, if any, are your writing habits? At the weekend, when I get other things out of the way, I would go up on a Sunday and write a chapter, but after writing it [the entire trilogy in one book] it wasn’t working so I broke the book into three. I’m back on the bike again and writing the plots. This book, or trilogy, has went in a totally different direction to what anyone would have thought… it’s even shocked me! Do you carry a notepad for quips or quotes you hear from people? No, I hear different people and they say, ‘I have writers block’. A friend of mine said to me about a year ago, ‘you’re writing poetry and On Marian Place, why don’t you write a simple book?’ I said ‘right’ and after the call, within 20 minutes, the new book called The Piano Boat (it’s about a 10-year-old boy dealing with grief and set in the south of Ireland) was all worked out pretty quickly. It will break your heart, I was very emotional writing it and I was nearly in tears writing some of the scenes.
who’ve said ‘hold off for the moment’. They have the book but currently have enough other titles for a while. So enough about writing and the business world, readers will surely want to know more about your life story? In short, I was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, I’m 58-years-old and married with one son. I moved to Germany in 1980 and though I had a background in transportation, I found myself labouring on building sites and immersing myself in German culture. I’m fluent in German language, but not quite up to speed with the German written word yet. And your current work when not writing? I’m a college lecturer and assessor in Motor Vehicle Technologies for the South Eastern Regional College. As for recreation, I love classic cars and classical music. So there it is, in black and white, from auf weidersehen pet, to poetry, crime novelist and just possibly, sitting on a blockbuster of a book. On Marian Place is a book I dare you not to enjoy and sit up half the night with red eyes and turning the pages almost against your will. Read the full interview and On Marian Place book review at: culturehubmagazine.co.uk/terry-hickland INTERVIEW: CONNOR O’NEILL
Back on topic, when can we expect to see parts two and three published? I’m trying hard to get part two out later this year. The last book, like On Marian Place is again cinematic. If the first two were to be shot, they would be in colour. The last [of the trilogy] in my mind, because it’s set between 1939 and 1945 would be black and white. So the trilogy doesn’t run in chronological order? The second and third books tell the origins of the plot. Take into consideration the original was written in 2011 as one book and I ran into problems, hence the rewrite. Once again referring to your bio, the book is self-published and you’ve met some problems because of that. Can you give the reader a bit more detail on the issues with self-publishing? If you go with Amazon or anyone any one like that, the wholesalers don’t really want to know you. The book is available through Amazon or Waterstones UK. I’ve approached other big distributors in the south of Ireland 40
M: +353 (0)74 9531107 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: gallagherscoaches.com
ou’ve been writing and recording songs for decades on a multitude of different projects. Is there any significance with the timing of performing the Deep Purple tracks with this latest tour? I knew years ago that there that would be a time in my life where I would want to go back. I think a lot of people would like to go back. It’s not something I want to live in forever, but I just felt about a year ago when I started putting this together the timing seemed to be right. I had just recorded BCCIV, I’d done Satriani’s album; both massive albums. I said to myself ‘Do I do another Glenn Hughes solo album, or do I do something majestic and something regal?’ It’s something the fans have been waiting for, for a long time and I said to myself ‘I’m going to listen to my fans.’ I just thought the timing for me could not have been more perfect. How have you found performing these songs in 2018 compares to the seventies? What I’ve done, I haven’t taken the classic studio versions of the songs. I’ve had a look at videos and movies I have and looked at elements of sound from Deep Purple decades ago and I listened to what we were doing live. What I am doing with this particular show is I’m giving the fans live performances from that era like Live at Long Beach and Live at Paris. I’m giving the real classic Deep Purple fans something they will appreciate by going back and digging into these songs the way they were done in the live format in the mid-seventies. It’s incredible how much you have achieved in the music industry with so many different artistic outlets including albums, an autobiography and multiple tours. How do you find time to do it all and how did you get to this stage of your life? That’s a really good question. If people were talking to me thirty years ago I would have been different because I was in a different headspace back then. What I did as I have become older, and I think a lot of people would say the same, is you just seem to get calm. I think I’ve lived a lot of of lives,
I’ve lived the life of ten men and I’ve been very fortunate. I think you know the story of Rock n Roll and a lot of us didn’t make it, they’re either dead or disappeared. I have walked through a lot of fire and a lot of heartache and hospital visits to get to where I am today. For me, I do all this by meditation, a lot of sleep, a lot of water, exercise and the key thing is a lot of laughter. I just love to be around laughing, smiling people and trust me when I tell you this that when you get older you just think ‘I’ll have some of that please.’ For me back in my day I was hanging out with all these gloomy people and drinking and whatever. Now I live at the beach at Los Angeles and I’m looking around at my life thinking ‘My God I did OK didn’t I’. The seventies was like fire and brimstone; it was like no other decade. I am one of the guys from that generation that has lived through the fire and come through it and I’m on my knees with gratitude. When I bring this show to Belfast, or any city I go to, there’s a lot of love and gratitude shown from me to the people that have supported me for decades. Naturally we all know you as a bassist and singer but you’re also a very talented lyricist. Do you have a particular writing process and has it changed at all over the years? Well, there’s two Glenn’s you’re talking to. The one before I got clean and sober in 1991 and this is quite a famous quote, but I don’t remember the 1980s. I know I did big albums in the 1980s, but I don’t remember because I’m not in that headspace anymore.After spending a year coming into sobriety I started to write again. I have a guitar in every room in my house so there is no escaping it. I wanted the guitar and the writing process to save me. Before the War, I call it The War, of me getting clean and sober I didn’t write about the reality of life. I wrote about fiction. Since I’ve become sober in 1991 I write about the human condition and about reality, love, death, anger, fear, hope, fate and all the buzz words you can imagine. The writing process for me is simply picking a guitar up, playing a note, or a chord or beat and a song will appear in
within about half an hour. I write 365 days a year, I write all the time and I’ve never been so in that space as I am in this moment. I have worked with other writers that are very stiff and stern with writing. They sit at a desk and they bounce a pen and inside I’m going ‘what the f*** are you doing?’ It’s like a machine. For me, that’s why I’ve got the guitars everywhere because I can walk through my house and I’ll just stop and sit down. I record everything I write so I just write and record and at the end of every day I listen to what I’ve recorded. In the morning I listen again then I’ll keep things – I never erase anything, I’ve got hours upon hours of stuff recorded. You may be talking to the most grateful man in the world right now. You’ve worked and performed with the biggest names in music that it feels like there’s nobody left to work with. Is there anyone that you can think of that you’d love to collaborate with either writing or recording? You can imagine that my management get calls all the time asking for work with other artists. The real deal is I’ve got a window here so I’m doing the Deep Purple Live show which will be a couple of years. Then I’m thinking what will I do? Will I go back to making solo albums; I am going to do a tour with an orchestra for sure, the Albert Hall kind of venue. My difficulty is that when I’m working with another professional, iconic musician we have difficulties getting windows together because we’re so busy doing what we do. What I can’t do anymore is wait for people. I say that with respect. I can’t wait any longer for things to align. Yes, I’d love to work with this guy or that girl, but it is damn difficult when everybody’s windows are very small. If something happened where a window opened for both me and someone else, I’d gladly do it but it’s really damn difficult. The Classic Deep Purple Live tour is scheduled all over the world and by the time you get to Belfast in September you will be well settled in. For such a big, worldwide tour it’s always great to see Belfast as one of the stops. Are you looking forward to your time in Belfast? Let me tell you why I’m visiting Belfast. Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland were the places I came to as a teenager, I mean like seventeen years old. I fell in love with Belfast and Dublin and Cork. I fell in love with your country. I had not spent a lot of time over the last four decades. I have been a few times. When the English, Welsh and Scottish tour was booked I said hey what about Ireland. We got Ireland sorted out after the UK and I was adamant to come to Belfast. How could I play Glasgow and not play Belfast? What I’m doing is I’m coming to see you. Trust me you’re not coming to see me because I’m coming to see you. Interview: Chantelle Frampton 43
IN T ERVIEW
B OOK RE VI E W
On Marian Place Author: Terry Hickland
Reading the first chapters of this crime/thriller you might easily imagine it was written by a Hollywood, hair-slicked-backed, suave script-writer. How wrong you would be and I certainly didn’t believe it was the offering of a working-class man from my home town of Lisburn. The setting is 1994, the Serbian conflict is in full swing and the G8 is meeting in Germany to try and sort out the mess. Detective Chief Inspector, Detlef Schmitt of the German Intelligence Agency is to guard the Japanese Prime Minister. A chance encounter with an antique French bureau with a secret compartment begins a tale of: counter operations against the Serbian underworld, drugs, perfume, and other black market smuggling, money transfers, Czech semtex, assassination attempts, dodgy finance ministers, all contained within a jigsaw of a mystery through time, about the hunt for Nazi bullion and a murderous old man leading a double life. Köhler isn’t your typical arch-criminal, he, like all of the other various characters are well thought through and each have their own little quirks. Schmitt, and thank the gods for this, isn’t your stereotypical world-weary copper with the whiskey in the drawer and the business end of a gun in his mouth as dawn breaks. If you like history, car chases, tanker explosions and gripping crime thrillers, this should be right up your street.
BOO K REVIEW
Trouble Songs Author: Stuart Baillie
It doesn’t seem like 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement and the 30 years of war that went before it and Stuart Baillie’s book doesn’t feel like a trip through 50 years but that’s what it is. Pivoting on the punk movement of the late 70s it begins by setting the tone and that is and was that people here have always been determined to change what was going on around them. Whether it was Stiff Little Fingers despairing of the political situation in Belfast or those responsible for Radio Free Derry and The Civil Rights Association in Derry at the end of the 60s. Accounting for absolutely every genre of music from musicians from all over the North the book journeys wonderfully through a horrible time in a place desperate for change. Bailie has spoken to and included everyone you can think of as well as a number of tales you couldn’t have. A trip down memory lane for those who were there. A wonderful story for those who weren’t. A must read for anyone who’s ever lifted an instrument, been to a gig or bought a record in this part of the world. A must read even if you haven’t.
BRIGID O’NEILL Over the years, as County Down singer-songwriter Brigid O’Neill followed life’s various paths, she brought her music with her. “I did a lot of music at the folk clubs like Belfast International Arts Festival … Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival. I was doing all that as a singer, singing other people’s songs. I love interpreting other people’s songs.” Her career veered into that of another passion though – the environment - ultimately spending years as an environmental scientist. However, amid the management plans, landscapes, and nature reserves, music was always alongside her. “I would take a career break to go on tour with a band,” she told me. “I was doing the music at the same time, and doing environmental consultation work as well. So, travelling, environment, and music; there’s always been a convergence of those three, all my life.” At a songwriters course in Belfast’s Crescent Arts Centre, she met songwriters Dave Brown and Jim Johnston. Soon, all three were working together, and the songs they co-wrote ultimately became O’Neill’s first release, 2014’s Arrivals & Departures EP, co-produced by Gareth Dunlop and Wilfie Gilbert. The transition to singer-songwriter was clear and steady. “I suppose it was always percolating and going round because I never ever thought of myself as a writer. Ever. Always as an interpreter of someone else's writing,” she recalled. But the die was cast, and the whole experience lit a fire in O’Neill’s belly. “I knew that I was hooked on songwriting … I was enjoying the music so much I decided to go full time and I left my job.” The result of this life-changing decision appeared last September with the release of her album Touchstone. Mastered in Nashville, produced by Gareth Dunlop, and featuring co-writes with artists including Dunlop, Thomm Jutz (Nancy Griffith), and Matt McGinn, Touchstone’s creation spans the Atlantic. While you listen you can hear the influences of O’Neill’s folk origins, and also how the album is wrapped in Americana and country, with jazz and blues touches. “I think the first EP was about not quite finding my feet, trying to find where I was going,” O’Neill explained. “Touchstone is about actually finding a place in music.” And it seems she has found a home. You can keep up with Brigid O’Neill as she tours – solo and with various artists, and as she continues to write for future projects, on brigidoneill.com cara gibney
ike Punkerama, Spit is a small independent self funding label and faces pressing plant queuing challenges whenever major record labels drop big volume orders, especially in the lead up to the annual hype of Record Store Day.
from Androids, Ex-Producers, White Noise, The Co-ordinates, ACME and Shock Treatment made up the twenty-four track Shellshock Rockers I.
Stepping back before the resurgence, 2003 was a year which saw Sean transform from being an eager music fan into a recognised promoter of local music, working with co-author Guy Trelford, to create It makes you want to Spit, released on Reekus Records. Published as a 270 page definitive guide to NI Punk between the years 1977 to 1982, it has gone on to become one of the most pivotal documented reference books. Charting the history of an epic era in NI’s music history. It is also credited as being the catalyst and inspiration for some bands to reform and new music to be released.
again, featuring Shock Treatment and Ex-Producers mixed with others such as The Lids, The Icons and Xposers. 2014 saw Spit’s first vinyl release, GOB 4. This was a three track 7” single by original Good Vibrations debutants Victim with the title track ‘Empty Men’. Victim’s drummer, Mike Joyce famously went on to be the drummer of Manchester Indie prodigies The Smiths.
So roll on to 2011 and one of those bands, The Outcasts, became the debut release on the newly created Spit Records. Vive Lyon, a live CD album (GOB 1) was released with a 24 page booklet which includes many rare photographs and contributions from band members.
The Rudi EP (GOB 7), The Cloak Of Darkness, featured previously unreleased versions of ‘Crimson’ and ‘When I Was Dead’, two songs that were originally released on the Paul Weller funded Jamming! label back in the early Eighties.
GOB 2 released in 2012 was another CD album, this time a compilation featuring six bands who were also charted in the now infamous, It makes you want to Spit. Four tracks each
A few more CD albums were released, Shock Treatment 21’s The Days Of The Buckshee Bounce Are Nearly Over in 2014 and Confrontation Time’s Next Stop Fame in 2016.
In the same year, another CD compilation Shellshock Rockers II was released. This time it was a twenty track disc
By this time, the resurgence of vinyl was growing, and so 2015 saw Spit release three needle crackling 7” singles by Ex-Producers, The Doubt and Belfast heroes, Rudi.
stayed tuned to spit records: spitrecords.co.uk
An introduction to the history of Northern Irish Hip Hop - looking into the underground world of breakdancing or B-Boying in Northern Ireland. The Belfast City Breakers (BCB) were formed in Belfast, by a small group of friends who were at the cutting edge of the dance, music, and graffiti scene, in the early eighties; showing their skills and keepin' it real. CultureHUB speaks to the ‘Godfathers of Northern Irish Hip Hop’, Belfast City Breakers members Geoff Allen and William Madden (twin of the late John Madden). arlier in the year, I was invited to 'What has Hip Hop ever done for us?' that piloted at the Imagine Festival of Ideas and Politics in Belfast. The event was curated by journalist, director and award-winning broadcaster Eileen Walsh, and included a Q & A, breakers showcase, a comedy session and the screening of Chris Eva's Bombin’, Beats and B-Boys. The film reflects the underground Hip Hop scene, where sectarian baggage is left behind, from Old Skool B-Boys to present-day rappers, showing how Hip Hop and its early proponents were peacemakers in a broken community. The festival itself helped bring together many people heavily involved in the Hip Hop scene in Northern Ireland, going way back to the 1980s, particularly those who had grown apart after the death of legendary B-Boy John Madden. I asked Eileen Walsh what led her to undertake the curation of this event; she explained that it had all started at the Imagine Festival the previous year, with the broadcast of her film Together in Pieces - a documentary on the changing landscape of Northern Ireland showing how the world famous murals and political slogans that have taunted its communities for over 40 years are being slowly transformed by a graffiti revolution. Following this path then led her to the underground Hip Hop scene in Northern Ireland. A Hip Hop scene, that had gone into hibernation has been reignited. The work that Eileen has put in behind the scenes, has been a catalyst for the rebirth of the scene and the Old Skool B-Boys' emergence. I caught up with the Belfast City Breakers Godfathers to get a quick chat with them before their big reunion at the Oh Yeah Centre. MC Geoff Allen, who was the founding member of Belfast rap group 3 Core, and William Madden, both also featured on episode three of CultureHUB TV. I asked William Madden, the original BCB member - how did the Belfast City Breakers start? William: The Belfast City Breakers started with a guy called Anthony Lynne, he made the main foundations for it. Then me and my brother, we used to do a thing called Breakpoint. We ended up joining with two crews and joining together. It was in the early 80s, that's when it all started. 48
Geoff Allen later joined the group as an MC and was also the founding member of Belfast rap group 3 Core. I asked Geoff, how did you become a member of the Belfast City Breakers? Geoff: We met in a small chapel in Carrickfergus. A guy called Paddy G – he was friends with the Belfast City Breakers. We hooked up with them. We all went into Belfast one day, I just couldn’t believe these two twins – who were just the most the amazing dancers. You could tell they were twins they looked exactly alike. They were the Madden Twins - they were the Belfast City Breakers. I started MC-ing then and I got asked would I be the MC for Belfast City Breakers. I said, ‘Of course I would, it would be an honour,’ because the dancing was not my thing. I was OK at graffiti art, I was OK at rapping and I was OK at DJing. I was able to scratch, but I couldn’t get that dancing thing at all. But to be a part of the Belfast City Breakers, the way that they let me in, it was an honour and it was incredible. How did you get into the whole Hip Hop scene? William: I used to do all the rock ‘n’ roll, used to do the teddy boy dancing - I was always dropping on the floor. So the first time I ever saw it [the dancing], it was the popping I saw first. I had a friend and he was over from Canada, he did an arm move and a body move and after that, I was hooked. There was no such thing as the internet then, so the only thing there was an old beatbox, and video. So anything that was on TV - the video went in and we recorded it then we watched. Geoff: It all started with The Old Grey Whistle … I heard Grandmaster Flash … that’s where it all started, before that I was listening to the likes of Michael Jackson. After that we hired out a video called Beat Street, then we went to the cinema and saw Breakdance and started dancing, body popping. It was a great wee life you got you and your decks, danced on the street. Then we bumped into the Belfast City Breakers in 1984. That was a big moment in my life, as they were basically the kings of breakdancers – to the whole of Belfast! Especially the Madden Twins, William and John. Then everything after that fell into place. We formed a group called 3 Core, we had a number 1 hit in the UK Hip Hop chart .
Left - Right: Anthony Lynn, John Madden, Tommy Wilson, William Madden And Liam Matchett
Why did the Belfast City Breakers come to an end? William: We were doing a lot of training and a lot of dancing. People were falling by the way and not turning up. People getting sore - people were having families, having different lives. We thought we’ll just bring it to an end. So we took that to the BBC and ITV and got a farewell and a cheerio. How would you answer the big question - ‘What has Hip Hop ever done for us?’ Geoff: Many years ago, when we were kids, about 14 - 15 we got together in Belfast. A lot of people judged. It inspired us, it challenged us and its made us what we are today. We all go out every day and do our jobs, I work in Harvey Norman I sell furniture for a living. I never made it big time but back in the day - I did go on tour and I did rap all over Europe - I was in a group called 3 Core and it was absolutely fantastic - most of that comes down to my family - my boys, William, Stevie G, everybody. I thank them for that - that is what Hip Hop has done for me. To this day, I love it, trust it and that will never change. William: What Hip Hop did for me, is give me a whole new way of looking towards life. It changed me - it changed my whole life. I wasn’t very smart at school and breakdancing taught me that I could be good at anything that I could put my mind to, as long as I push myself into it. Growing up in the Troubles, a lot of people, a lot of the younger people didn’t have any faith anymore. It got me a lot of good friends. All of those people we taught over the years have progressed on to be MCs, DJs, there is just so much positivity it has to give. I would say to anyone that is trying to make it now, get into it. It will change your life forever. It is a godsend. I’ve always said that about me and my twin, it will change you. Make you a better person. One thing about breaking is that it teaches you the hard way. You fall and you hit the ground, you’ve got to get back up again. That’s life. You both seem to have fond memories Geoff: To be honest, I will never forget it. The past is the best for me. To get on stage and do a wee rap every now and again, yeah 50
back in the day – I respect what it was. I was lucky enough to have a couple of pedestals to make the moves and make it happen. The door will never close for me on rap. I love the rap, I love the Old Skool and I’ll keep like that. And that little bit of faith that is inside my head, makes me smile every day. It’s all down to the Old Skool. William: It’s just such a beautiful dance. You meet so many good people during it, on your travels. What can we expect from the reunion in August? Geoff: A party like no other. It’s been a good ten years since we were all together and it will be brilliant to see everyone again and have a night of Hip Hop and everyone is welcome. Peace, unity, love and having fun! William: This is going to be a massive event. The Bad Taste Cru will put on a performance that you will not forget. I asked a clearly emotional William: What would John make of all this resurgence and the special event in his memory? William: He’s probably sitting there laughing at me now. The BCB Reunion will be held at the Oh Yeah Music Centre on 04 August. It will showcase the main elements of Hip Hop (Graffiti, MCing, Break-Dancing and Djing). It will also feature the film Bombin’, Beats and B-Boys. Another legendary breakdance group will also be performing on the night. The Bad Taste Cru are a breakdance and Hip Hop theatre group originally from Omagh. Inspired by the Belfast City Breakers, who performed in Omagh to support the victims of the Omagh bombing, the Bad Taste Cru actually left Omagh en masse 20 years ago and went to live in England. They made Newcastle Upon Tyne their home and still perform and compete, inspiring generations of young people, in England and all over the world. Interview: Anna WHerrett