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CONTENTS 04 10 12 16 21 24 30 32 34 38 44 46 48 50 52 56 61 62 65
Getting around the city Kate Nash - Gap Year Nick Walker Brumicana Guide Where to go, what to do? A/W Fashion trends Brum according to Barry Young & Lost Club Bright young things Fashion wank Tribes of Birmingham Jade Sukiya Muchuu Everything Everything Back in the day Yeasayer Fyfe Dangerfield Supersonic Faris Badwan
Editor-in-chief: David Oâ€™Coy email@example.com Features Editor: Kerry Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Sales / Marketing: Annelise Francis email@example.com Contributors: Kevin Angel, Salma Benyahia, Laura Booth, Jon Bounds, Craig Bush, Katherine Button, Heather Connor, Erica Compton, Rosaleen Gallagher, Paul Hartnett, Luke McNaney, Alex Rochester, Danny Smith, CassiePhilomena Smyth, Benjamin Thomas Photographers: Eudes Desantana, Paul Green, Paul Hartnett, Martin Pickard, Jade Sukiya Cover: Newtasty IIlustrators: Laura Booth, Kate Copeland, Kris Jones, Meeno, Tansy Myer, Marguerite Sauvage
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GETTING AROUND THE CITY... 4
WHEN YOU ARE NEW TO A CITY IT’S EASY TO FOLLOW THE HERD AND END UP AT THE SAME PLACES AS EVERYONE ELSE. To make your introduction to life in Birmingham a bit easier, here are a few places to head out to that we think are worth a visit – and will help give you a smug feeling when your new fresher mates stare in wonderment at your newfound knowledge. CITY CENTRE Following the erection of Bullring, Birmingham’s city centre is now the place to be for shopping and dining. With an enormous variety of stores, you can guarantee to indulge yourself in a fabulous spot of retail therapy; the only problem is your overdraft might take a hammering. EAT: Head to Urban Pie in the Bullring for delicious savoury pies; the perfect snack for a peckish shopper. They do half-price deals after 5.30pm too. EAT: Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the spinning red logo at Krispy Kreme in Selfridges. This every-so-often omen means that their scrumptious glazed doughnuts are on the house.
DRINK: For an unbeatable blend of the most luscious cocktails in Birmingham head to Island Bar to sip in style. Located in the heart of the City Centre on Suffolk Street, you can enjoy live music and DJ’s here or just stay for a couple before heading off to Island’s sister venue; the Victoria or to check out the latest gig at the 02 Academy. SHOP: Oasis Market on Corporation Street is fabulous for alternative styles and aspiring rock stars. From jewellery stalls to art shops and piercing parlours; traipsing through its dizzying layout will amount to a mesmerising shopping experience. CLUB: Forget Broad Street- for the best in alternative music head to Resurrection fortnightly Fridays at Subway City, Livery Street. Offering three different rooms of retro, indie, electronic and dubstep music, and a few other chill-out rooms, Resurrection is the perfect place to go for a wild mix that will ensure that your feet don’t leave the dance floor. With £10 entry securing you 10 drinks, pre-drinks are unnecessary and you can spend the whole night there without breaking the bank.
MOSELEY & KINGS HEATH Bohemian beauties flock to Moseley, and neighbouring Kings Heath, to enjoy a casual weekend on a regular basis. Littered with graceful and gorgeous artistic types, this is the area you’ll be heading to if you aspire to be in the company of light-hearted creative individuals and a cosy, quaint atmosphere. EAT: Rich, luxurious and pretty cakes are an absolute must from Maison Mayci on Alcester Road in Moseley and Poplar Road in Kings Heath. Pop in and treat yourself to a feast fit for the Queen whilst you natter incessantly over tea and coffee. EAT: With a happy hippy vibe and understated boho decor, The Fighting Cocks on Alcester Street in Moseley is a gorgeous pub that offers reasonably priced meals with a twist. Don’t leave without sampling their delightful puddings. DRINK: The Bulls Head on St. Mary’s Row is the perfect pub to head to for a drink with friends. Leather couches and cushions are just the thing to get you settled in for a big catch up, and with regular events, such as fashion fairs or live music nights, you’ll always be sure to enjoy something different when you visit. The sister venue, The Hare & Hounds on Kings Heath High Street, is a perfect Friday or Saturday night-out with bands, DJ’s and tasty meals courtesy of Soul Food Project. SHOP: For high-end bargains make sure you raid the charity shops, especially Oxfam on St. Mary’s Row. Moseley is home to some charity shops that are proud to sell only the elitist of designer brands at a fraction of the price, so perhaps the next time you pop along you’ll be picking up Levi’s for the price of Primarni. There is also an Oxfam Book Shop on Alcester Street – a great place to pick up potential titles on your course reading list. Kings Heath is charity shop heaven so be sure to start early to make your way from one end of the High Street to the other, before doing a u-turn to grab a bite at the Kitchen Garden Café, once carrying your haul of bargains has taken its toll.
ARCADIAN / HURST STREET If you’re the type that spends hours dolling yourself up for a dance-till-you-drop night out then this is the district for you! Offering a large variety of swanky hangouts, clubs with an electric atmosphere and the best of the Birmingham gay scene; head here for a glamorous night that will hurt your heels and steal your heart. EAT: The local corner shop just not satisfying that sugar craving? Why not try the Sweetshop Candies on Hurst Street and take away a little piece of history with your authentic 1950’s sweets. It is part of an exhibition owned by the National Trust, so be sure to browse their three historical back-to-back houses while you’re there. DRINK: For a mellow evening that feels more 60’s than student, head to The Sunflower Lounge on Smallbrook Queensway. Cheap drinks and mod music account for a casual night out; perfect for hanging out with friends in an intimate and eccentric environment.
SHOP: Calling all comic and film fanatics! For a haven of graphic novels and movie memorabilia, get yourself to Nostalgia and Comics on Smallbrook Queensway. Between original editions and collectable figurines you are sure to find a rare purchase to complement your favourite indulgences. OTHER: For the best in touring theatre or indeed to catch the official largest Pantomime in the world, take advantage of the student discounts on offer at the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre on Hurst Street. If you’re passionate about theatre then perhaps their volunteer schemes might interest you. Not only would you gain top-quality experience in theatre, you’d be able to see all of their shows for free while you work. CLUB: Want to dance all night, see huge celebrity names and lose all inhibitions along the way? There’s only one place for it; Nightingales on Kent Street, one of Birmingham’s most popular gay clubs.
DIGBETH Indie Cindy? Hoxton Hero? Grab your vintage dress and battered brogues if you’re after a night of eclectic music and alternative fashion, because Digbeth (or Eastside as you may hear it referred) is where Birmingham’s creative characters spend their carefree time. Offering the best in underground music acts and out-there entertainment, you’ll be sure to rub shoulders with the abstract elites. VISIT: Get yourself along to the vintage fairs, music festivals, art events and general all-round loveliness that is the Custard Factory. There is usually an event happening each weekend; from avant-garde electro to drum ‘n’ bass, it all has a home at this unique venue. DRINK: The best DJs, underground artists and eccentric performers congregate merrily in the Rainbow Warehouse on Adderley Street. Between their regular club nights and enormous street festivals, you can guarantee an electric night out that is as memorable as it is mesmerising. SHOP: For kitsch couture, try raiding the vintage rails of Urban Village. One-off statement pieces; from cheap and cheerful scarves to loan obliterating gowns, you’ll find the perfect ingredients to make your wardrobe unique and inimitable. SEE: Art is a big pull to the Digbeth area with galleries housed in old warehouse spaces and office complexes. IKON’s off-site space is here, as are the contemporary artist-lead spaces; Eastside Projects and Grand Union. They often schedule openings on the same evening so you can move from venue-tovenue for new exhibition launches. Words: Rosaleen Gallagher Photos: Paul Green, Martin Pickard
KATE NASH - GAP YEAR KATE NASH HAS GOT QUITE A LOT IN COMMON WITH THE TYPICAL UNIVERSITY STUDENT DESPITE NEVER GOING TO UNI. SHE TOOK A ‘GAP-YEAR’ TO FIGURE HERSELF OUT BEFORE STARTING HER SOPHOMORE ALBUM, she spends prolonged periods of time away from home, and she does her own washing up. As she’s preparing to go away from home for her year-long tour; promoting ‘My New Best Friend Is You’ at the same time as you start your year at uni, Alexandra Rochester found out just how similar an indie popstar’s lifestyle is to a student’s. You’ve spent a lot of time away from home, could you recommend anything to those being away from home maybe for the first time? Stay in touch with your friends at home, invite them into your new life, and don’t let them feel distanced. Eating out does my head in, at first it seems really fun but after a while I just want a nice home-cooked meal; so make sure you know how to cook before you get there. And when it comes to shopping, if you hunt around good, quality food can be really cheap, but don’t buy cheap meat!
What was the shittiest job along the way to doing what you wanted? I worked in Nando’s, there were good and bad stories. Good story: I met some really nice Polish girls who were studying English so they’d teach me Polish and I’d correct their English, so I really liked that. Bad story: A woman changed a nappy whilst waiting for a table and I was like, “you have to leave,” changing a dirty nappy in a restaurant is the dirtiest thing I’ve ever seen, people are mental. ‘Mansion Song’ is pretty blunt on the topic of vapid girls wanting famous guys; any sex advice for those about to open Pandora’s box at university? Use protection, don’t put pressure on yourself, make sure you’re going to enjoy it, but mainly USE PROTECTION. Look into using the coil; I hated being on the pill, I feel it wasn’t right for me mentally or emotionally. I think the coil is something young people feel freaked out but I know loads of people who find the coil better.
Being away from your boyfriend Ryan (Jarman, of The Cribs), how do you cope with being apart After a show or a good night out do you ever get when you’re both busy on tour; like couples going to different unis? midnight cravings? I just want to eat chips! There’s an amazing Kebab shop There has to be a level of understanding; if you’re not in Nuneaton but I’m vegetarian, so can’t eat kebabs, involved in each other’s lives you can get paranoid or but it’s really good because the most unhealthy thing jealous, but try and be happy with what they’re doing. you can have is chips and falafel, not a greasy burger; You can become so upset about missing each other so you never feel that bad in the morning, so always go it brings you down. We had to be used to it from the beginning, so it can be quite easy if you know how for the veggie option. to not be miserable. Be positive, go visit, meet their Did you get any of the typical student experiences friends, send each other letters and gifts and put some romance into the situation. even without uni? Yeah, I had a year where my friends went to uni and I felt left out but I wanted to be having fun so I went to gigs and films by myself and I gained some independence from that. It’s all about gaining independence; like washing up for yourself, tidying up for yourself, living with other people.
You made it a priority to get some more life experience before this second album; do you think gap-years before university are a good idea to gain life experience? Yeah, I would say so; I had a gap year I guess. I think they’re something special to help you decide what you Freshers week is when people are looking to make want to do, there’s so much pressure on young people new BFFs; what’s your go-to conversation starter to decide straight away about their lives, life comes and takes you on different paths, and you can end up when meeting new people? Talking about music is a good place to start; it’s a great saying “shit this is way better than I imagined”. Relax; thing to bring people together. Be open; don’t presume don’t think you have to decide what you are for the rest someone’s going to be a certain way because of how of your life right now. I’m certainly doing something different to what I was expecting, and in a year’s time they look. People surprise you. I’m sure I’ll be doing something different again. You’ve done a lot of charity work in the past few years, any ideas for the less Samaritan cause of raising money for a student’s alcohol fund? Run your own club night, put good bands and good DJs on, make the night really fun so people want to come every week; then the money will start rolling in!
Kate’s UK Tour comes to Birmingham HMV Institute on the 6th October. Tickets are available, priced at £14. Alex Rochester
IAN BROWN SPEAKS TO NICK WALKER NICK WALKER, MUCH LIKE BANKSY, IS A CELEBRATED PIONEER OF THE BRITISH GRAFFITI SCENE AND HAS NO SHORTAGE OF FAMOUS FANS. His shows are sell-out successes and buyers can often be found camping outside galleries to ensure a chance of purchasing one of his limited edition prints. Ian Brown (yes – The Stone Roses’ frontman) catches up with his favourite artist and they shoot the breeze about growing up in Bristol, musical influences and Nick’s rise to fame as one of the frontrunners in the international urban art scene. Ian: As you know I am a big fan and collector of your works. I believe it’s you and your kind that are the rebels who are saying ‘how it is’ in the world in the 21st century, expressing it beautifully. New music lacks this. I know you love your tunes so if you agree with me, why did music lose its rebels but in urban art there are still so many?
Nick: I don’t know a massive amount about the music industry but it seems they’re more focused on manufacturing bands with little or no ability to play music – as long as they’re alright to look at it’s all OK because there’s a machine out the back that can make’em sound like the Black Eyed Peas. It’s weird, there’s enough shit going on in the world to inspire clever meaningful lyrics but most of it is derivative nonsense. Look back at the last big recession in Thatcher’s era and The Specials were smashing it because their music reflected the time and angst of a whole generation. You’re right; no one’s telling it how it should be heard. Street art will always be seen as a rebellious art form as it still has close associations with graffiti and vandalism, the two taboo words of the last decade. In my game there’s no one to answer to - something might happen in the media that sparks an idea
and you just go and do it. If Catholic priests are behaving like wrong’uns one of us will paint our feelings about this somewhere where everyone can see it…
working on. I’m feeling it might be good to go live in sunnier climes for a few years – you only get one pop at life so why not? Ian: Are we all a product of our environment? Nick: Some more than others, possibly more so the younger generation, because we live in an age of information overload. I think we are all products of our environment when we are very young what with parental influence. I grew up in the suburbs of Bristol and stumbled on a sub-culture from another part of the world. I was uninspired by anyone or anything from my immediate environment so in that sense I wasn’t a product of my environment at that time. These days most of us are wise enough to control our own destiny.
Ian: What’s your favourite music? Nick: Over the years my taste in music has become more eclectic. I’m always partial to a bit of Reggae but I still love listening to breaks and my old Africa Islam mix tapes from his Zulu beat show - they’re insane. When ‘Give it up or turn it loose’ rolls in, it’s pencils down time and out come the old B-Boy moves until such time my knee goes. If I need to zone in on a particular piece the Blade Runner soundtrack will be on loop. Ian: The urban art scene is like punk rock; a I got hold of the 25th Anniversary issue of few frontrunners and many who join in inspired the unreleased tracks a while back and it’s by what’s happening. There’s a huge creative brilliant – completely ahead of its time. upsurge on the streets in cities: reclaiming them as a result changing people’s lives in Ian: What are your favourite countries an artistic way. Do you see this, because you that you’ve visited? would have been in ‘the short trousers’ during Nick: I love New York; it’s the city of punk right? serendipity. The weirdest stuff always Nick: I see it and I also remember punks scaring happens to me in New York. I get inspired the crap out of me on The Kings Road. There’s every time I’m there - each visit revitalizes been a surge of new street or stencil artists over me. the last few years. I think a lot of them saw it as Japan is one of the most bizarre places I’ve an easy way of getting their five minutes of fame visited; Tokyo is pure visual bombardment – fair play. With all genres there’s a lot of work, but at the same time spiritually calming. I which is very derivative of others, but there’s also plan to spend more time out in Tokyo as I’m some really cool stuff. I think the new wave saw launching Nickwalker.jp in the next couple that there was a few quid to be made so they of months. threw away their graphic design jobs and became graffiti artists. In one-way or another this has Ian: I love how your work is appreciated probably added to the genre making it more of a worldwide yet you still represent Bristol. melting pot of styles. Do you still live there? Nick: Yeah, still in Bristol – it’s a good place Ian: Who are your heroes (if you have any) and and a convenient base. It’s been good to me who inspires, or has inspired, you? and it’s got an airport. I kind of miss the old Nick: It was partly due to Malcolm McLaren. I days though when there was a scene here wouldn’t have seen the graffiti and Hip Hop he was with sound systems all over the place and dabbling in back then. ‘Buffalo Gals’, and ‘D’ya like house parties every other weekend. Bristol Scratching’ were both massive eye-openers back is a small place – a little bowl with a big then and no doubt steered me along the path to spoon – everyone knows each other so I’ve what I do now. I’ve been inspired by people from learnt to be pretty guarded about what I’m many walks of life. One of my earliest influences in art was Andy Warhol and later, when I got to know about the graffiti movement, it was Futura, Dondi and Lee Quinones. Being able to travel more has broadened my tastes in architecture; especially that of Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner. You can only be awe inspired when you see that stuff.
Ian: How did you feel when you heard the ‘Moona Lisa’ canvas sold for £54,000 at Bonhams? I know you don’t make art for the money, but what were your thoughts when you heard that news? (I was happy for you). Nick: Thanks! Hearing that blew me away. That single event changed my life. I’d just had the opening of my show ‘Pretty Decorating’ at the Carmichael Gallery in LA, which was literally the weekend before the auction. Suddenly the entire show was sold out – it was a crazy chain of events and something I’ll never forget. Ian: For sale was a beautifully framed ‘The Morning After London’ (it seemed timeless!) What is it like to have such a talent and know you will never starve? Nick: Kind words! When I release a print edition and it sells out super quick it’s always a great feeling - I feel properly blessed. I’m not about to get complacent about any of this. Never forget to celebrate and all that! Mind you it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea if I did starve a little - might possibly of overdone it on the burritos consumption in New York. Next time you’re there check out Café Habana on Elizabeth Street – they do the best chicken diablo burrito! You can see Nick Walker’s latest works in his new exhibition ‘In Gods We Trust’. 13th October – 27th November 2010 at ART SENSUS - 7 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1BB.
Urban Memes — Your Brumicana Guide YOU’RE A STUDENT NOW; OR AT LEAST YOU’RE PLAYING ONE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE. It’s a coming of age. Our society doesn’t cast you into the forest naked to kill a wild boar anymore, it makes you live in either soulless or fetid accommodation and hunt from the Tesco Value range. Having gone through that, as an elder of the Brum tribe Jon Bounds can now reveal the secrets of our race-memory; an induction more powerful than anything involving smoking those funny leaves. All cities have what we call urban myths, in fact most cities have the same ones; the niteclub guy stabbing people with HIV-infected needles who left notes in the ‘90s; amphibians in the sewers and that “regeneration” is best served by the blandest of culture. But myths aren’t true. What I’m going to impart are more urban memes, they dance round the edge of Legend but are all true…ish. The King Kong Statue at the Bull Ring Market: Before the Dalek’s arse of Selfridges there was an intricate system of concrete bunkers and markets underneath roads. They stunk of piss, but we loved them, and for a time a huge fibre-glass King Kong stood ape-proud over them. I’m not sure anyone ever thinks so much about why he was there, but without fail once every three years or so people decide they want him back. “Bring back Kong” they say, “where did he go?” they ask; without doing the most cursory of Googles. He’s in a market in Penrith, painted pink. Act surprised when people tell you. Camp Hill Flyover: If you drive, or are driven, out of town down Digbeth High Street, never forget that while you bask in the open boulevard your forefathers were to pass over the ricketiest tin construction ever. Camp Hill Flyover launched cars and the 37 bus alike Scalextric-style away from the heathen delights of the Coventry Road. In Britain’s own Motown it was as ‘mo’ as we got, except for… The Superprix: Pronounced ‘super-pre’, gigglers. Birmingham once tried to be more super than grand and for a few years held a Formula 3000 Championship car race around the streets of the city centre. In a degree of event planning skills not matched by the current council, they managed to do it pretty well (by which I mean they remembered to re-route the buses and close the roads to normal traffic). Held over August Bank Holiday weekend, it (inevitably) usually pissed down but is much remembered. To those who claim it couldn’t have happened I say go look at the flowers sprouting along the grass verge on Bristol Street just along from the 02 Academy; you’ll see it spell out the word ‘prix’ every Spring. Tunnels Under Town: The UK is littered with WWII and Cold War bunkers and Birmingham City Centre is no exception. No, there isn’t a tunnel from Moor Street to the Rotunda; but there is from the Mailbox to New Street (it was for the Royal Mail back when the Mailbox held postmen rather than shops you can’t afford and bars that can’t afford themselves). For full Brummie point though you need to be able to converse about the Birmingham Anchor; a communications base for in the event of mushroom clouds forming over Dale End, it doesn’t officially exist at the base of the BT Tower and it doesn’t officially have a billiard room. The 1992 Olympics: While the world were sunning themselves vicariously by watching the Games of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona, we were sitting at home fuming; knowing that we’d been robbed. Robbed not by the fat cats of the IOC voting committee, but by our own Government who refused to help or back Birmingham’s bid for the Olympic Games. It would have been brilliant; we’d have had the marathon round the 11 bus route and the water polo in Cannon Hill Park’s boating lake. Okay, so we’d probably have bulldozed Villa Park’s Grade Two listed, Archibald Leech designed Trinity Road stand and replaced it with something more modern and disappointing, but… Ah…. We tried again in 1996 and didn’t get anywhere near as close (don’t think about that).
canals pass underneath; this combined with the lack of optimum growing conditions, means that most of the land underneath is covered not by weeds or grasses but by sand, of a sort. Water? Sand? That’s a beach; I’ve been there and it’s something of a beauty spot. Granted you can’t quite hear waves lapping against the sand, that’s always going to be difficult with Europe’s busiest patch of motorway above your head, and you can’t breathe in too much - but it beats Weston SuperMare into a cocked Kiss-Me-Quik hat!
Illustration: Kris Jones
The Beach Under Spaghetti Junction: Being as far away from the sea as it’s possible to get on these isles, Birmingham’s desire for a beach is great. So great that we had five man-made beach tourist attraction things in town in 2008, but seemingly not great enough for anyone to make the most of our best natural asset, the beach under Spaghetti Junction. The Gravelly Hill Interchange has not only two real motorways and one pretend one (the A38(M)) but all sorts of other transport collide under its bows including two train lines, and a huge mass of water. The rivers Tame, Rea and the Hockley Brook, and at least three of our city’s famous
WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO…?
THE CHANCES ARE THAT YOU WILL KNOW THE BEST PLACES TO GO FOR DRINKS. You may have done your research before you ever set foot in Birmingham, you may in fact have based your University decision largely on what city had your sort of club scene. If you have done none of the above; worry not. Your student union, halls of residence, and any older students you meet will fill you in on where to get the best money to alcohol ratio. So now, you are settled; you have got a regular drinking haunt you know where to head to for a good night out; you’re managing to attend 80% of your lectures and stay awake for 50% of those. You are a seasoned student right? Wrong. You have barely scratched around at Birmingham’s inebriated surface. To really know a city, you have to lift the cultural lid.
less pressing but still importantly; where are you going to take your best friend when he/she comes to visit? How will you entertain visiting parents, whilst subtly reassuring them that you are getting some work done... when you have the time? Luckily for you we thought it only right that we share some of our Birmingham knowledge. Don’t worry you can just buy us a drink later; Gin and tonic please (this is a snake-bite free zone).
Usually only final year students achieve this, and some never attain the nirvana that comes with exploring and belonging. That is fine though right? All you need from your Uni years are some friends, a good drunk story or two… and hopefully a 2.1? Politely, we beg to differ. There will be times in your student life that require stepping out of the comfortable two-for-one drink routine. Just think about it; you catch yourself about to head out on a hot date in a city with which you are not yet familiar. Where do you go? Slightly
Showing your friend around… IKON Gallery Across two sites: Ikon Gallery and Ikon Eastside, this gallery is innovative and free. As one of the most important contemporary art galleries outside London it’s a complete antithesis to the traditional stuffy art gallery. It is also the ideal place to take visiting parents as it’s far enough away from the student areas of town. The Rag Market Every self-respecting student needs a go-to place to source ridiculous, cheap fancy dress, and the Rag Market literally has everything you could require. You can pick out sequins for your superhero costumes, and sheets for your toga party. It also boasts the only pet food store in the city centre s you can stock up for fluffy the hamster. The Saturday Flea Market / Urban Village, The Custard Factory This market features fantastic vintage, handmade, and individually designed clothing, accessories, handbags, and hand-printed t-shirts. The prices are very affordable and it’s only a tenminute walk from the Bullring. On your way down the high street you’ll find the huge vintage warehouse Cow and inside the Custard Factory is Urban Village; a perfectly formed vintage clothes shop selling everything from classic Fred Perry to gorgeous dresses. Cafe Soya Cafe Soya is a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant, based on the philosophy that happiness begins with healthy eating. The vegetarian or vegan among us are comprehensively catered for. The focus is on fresh produce, and amongst the healthy offerings are fresh soya products produced daily on site, a variety of non-alcoholic healthy drinks including green teas, soya shakes and fresh homemade soya dessert.
For a Date… Electric Cinema, 47-49 Station Street You cannot miss the art deco frontage of Birmingham’s only independent cinema. It is also the perfect date venue. Booking sofa seating for two means there is no annoying armrest to get in the way of a good snuggle. In a rather glamorous touch, every sofa is named after a film icon and comes with a Text Waiter Service. You will be shown to your sofa, given a menu, and then when the film starts you can text... say; ‘popcorn to Hepburn’, and they will bring your snacks to you. Result? Serious date brownie points, plus no need to miss the film. Fruit and Veg. market Just outside the Rag Market there is a fantastic fruit and veg market where everything is fresh, yummy, and reassuringly cheap. So, for those cash-lite weeks when the wallet is bare, rather then straining to afford some sub-standard restaurant; do the smart thing and cook a romantic meal in. Readers’ World, Digbeth Why not go and explore the Aladdin’s cave interior of this mischievously eccentric independent bookstore. Students have to spend enough time in libraries, and enough money in Blackwells. Opt for some literary escapism outside of the reading list and rummage for a bargain. Readers’ World specialises in sci-fi and fantasy; so you can indulge your love of Asimov and H.G. Wells. Barton Arms, New Town Head to the Barton Arms for deliciously authentic Thai cuisine. We emphatically believe it’s the best-value Thai restaurant in Birmingham, and the architecture is beautiful inside and out. If you only ever go to one restaurant again, make it this one.
When the folks visit…
Michelin Starred restaurants
Lickey Hills Country Park Lickey Hills has the longest held Green Flag award in Birmingham. We love it for its long country walks; particularly the sculpture trails that lead you around the park’s impressive outdoor art works, and the view from the famous Beacon Hill. At 297m above sea level, Beacon Hill provides dramatic views of the surrounding countryside. Take a picnic basket in the summer and a sledge in the winter.
If your parents are coming up to visit (and they’re feeling flush) there are several Michelin starred restaurants in Birmingham, primed and ready to host your slap-up meal. Purnell’s offer chic, contemporary, fine dining, Simpsons Restaurant has a taster menu of delicious French-based dishes, and Turners of Harborne is slightly more reasonably priced, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Jamie’s Italian Birmingham is opening in October.
The Mailbox The Mailbox provides a more up-market shopping experience; with outlets from legendary shirtmakers Thomas Pink as well as Hugo Boss, Armani. LK Bennet, All Saints and Jaeger. An excellent place to get an outfit for graduation, or the end of year ball, and generally somewhere best to go if the parents are paying.
Katherine Button / Photos: Paul Green
Birmingham According to Barry… I’M BARRY; YOU MIGHT RECOGNIZE ME FROM BEING A BIG FAT BASTARD FROM BRUM WHO THROWS BIG FAT RAVES. I often read these student editions and everyone is trying to sell some crappy bar or shit restaurant through reviews and recommendations; well I ‘ent havin’ it. I’m gonna give you the real deal guide to UK’s second city, no frills shit… Best Fine Diner – Mr Egg This place is a culinary institution that has served the Birmingham (intoxicated) public for nearly a hundred years now. It’s always been a melting pot of revolutionary ideas producing such great minds as ‘Stinky Pete’ & ‘Claw Toe Tommy’. Its antiestablishment stance often ran itself into trouble leading to a temporary shut down in late 2009 for supposed ‘food contamination’, ‘cockroaches’ and ‘mouse activity’… which is utter bullshit. I have eaten there for years and it’s never done me any harm. Highlights: weekly Saturday night vinegar fight. Fuckin’ brilliant game where people just lob vinegar at each other in menacing ways… usually ends up with third degree burns. Best Public House - Bull Ring Tavern An absolute gem of a shit-hole located a stones throw from that massive monstrosity of a building with those silver discs on the side. Come to think of it, the silver discs are the only thing I like about that building because they remind me of dinner plates. The only thing I’ve been able to shop for in there are ‘Dunkin Donuts’. Definitely not one for 20st plus. Anyway I digress… the Bull Ring Tavern is another of Birmingham’s institutions. The Bullring corporation actually tried to knock it down when they were building the shopping centre because it looked so shit, and stinked of piss when people walked past, but there was a massive protest that involved 248
of Birmingham’s top alcoholics that barricaded themselves in and had a sit down protest. It ended in carnage; everyone just got really pissed and shit themselves and environmental health had to be called in. Legend has it ‘Trolly Trevor’ (a supposed secret millionaire) paid off the mayor, which allowed it to carry on serving to this day. Best Hang Out – Weoley Castle square If you ever hear someone say “Ent no square like the Weoley Castle square” chances are they are from Weoley Castle and are a complete dick. Saying that; it’s one of my most favourite hangouts in the whole of Brum and where I was born and raised. The square is, in fact, not a square at all, it’s a large roundabout; but us Castleoleons don’t let facts get in the way of life. With this great and grand name comes much responsibility; the past three years we have been awarded the highest underage teenage pregnancy rate and highest density of ASBO’s per capita; two titles we are not willing to let go easily. Come down on any Saturday morning and you’ll find a hustling bustling cosmopolitan centre with every need catered for. Want some pig’s ears for the dog? Go see Terry the Butcher. Fancy getting some highlights and a tramline? Go see Carol at ‘Curl up and Dye’. Remember, though if you’re traveling at night to bring a pack of cigarettes. Even if you don’t smoke they are handy bargaining chips to make little shithead kids on bikes piss off. Best Shopping centre – Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Northfield Some people call this shopping centre an eyesore. I call it a celebration of pre-modern cubism. Back in the days when designers didn’t give a crap whether you were disabled or not; if you couldn’t get up the stairs… tough shit, you can’t go to the shops. When architects drew with rulers and had an insatiable
appetite for concrete, this shopping centre is what it was all about. Boasting the third biggest Wilkinsons in a two-mile radius, two Greggs, a phone apparatus store (you know the ones that sell everything to do with phones but not actual phones?) and a Sports World. It was earmarked as the centrepiece of the City of Culture bid, but alas. In conclusion there is many a hidden gem to take up your time whilst in Birmingham, but the one thing we strongly advise is that you join your new uncle Barry in his shakedowns. A good time rave with the crème de la crème of musical talent. These are the delights that will keep you out of trouble until Christmas. Come check us at www.biggerthanbarry.com.
Saturday 2nd October BARRY at Showcase Festival - The Rainbow Complex Joker, Jakwob, Mamdance, Commix, Residents Wednesday 6th October Barry & Leftfoot Present… - The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath Mount Kimbie (live), Scarlet Harlots, This is Tomorrow DJ’s Thursday 7th October Bigger Than Barry - Rainbow Warehouse SKREAM & BENGA (b2b), Dark Sky, New Jack City Saturday 30th October Bigger Than Barry HALLOWEEN RAVE - Custard Factory Room 1: Digital Soundboy, SHY FX, Donaeo (Live), Breakage, B Traits, Shorterz, MC Youngman Room 2: Hudson Mohawke, Jackmaster, New Jack City, KnickerBocker Corey Saturday 4th December Bigger Than Barry 4TH BIRTHDAY - secret location DJ ZINC ft. MC Script, Toddla T & Redlight Present... THE ROLLER EXPRESS New Jack City, Shorterz, KnickerBocker Corey
Young & Lost Club RECORDS YOUNG & LOST CLUB RECORDS IS RUN BY NADIA DAHLAWI AND SARA JADE WHO FIRST MET AGED 11, at boarding school, and quickly became inseparable. They were behind the cult fanzine ‘Pyrrha’ which featured up and coming bands of that time such as Interpol, The Walkmen, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs; and counted Pete Doherty as one of their contributors. In 2003 they launched their first club night, during their half-term breaks, which was a Saturday showcase for Rough Trade, where the girls staged gigs by the likes of Art Brut, Les Incompetents and Xerox Teens.
out a whopping fifty singles, and they’re celebrating by whittling 32 of them down to a compilation of their greatest hits and misses. Fused caught up with Nadia and Sara to find out more about one of the hottest labels around at the moment.
What made you launch a record label in the first place? Nadia: We knew we always wanted to work in music, we just weren’t sure what! Sara: I came up with the idea of a singles label that was like a club. We wanted people to collect every During their time at university Sara had an epiphany release and come down to the live night. We wanted it and suggested to Nadia that they launch a record be a whole community. label. Fast forward a few weeks later and Young and Lost Club was founded with the girls’ favourite band What was your musical background prior to Vincent Vincent and the Villains as their debut release starting the label? with the double A-sided single ‘Blue Boy’/’The Boy Nadia: We didn’t have much of a musical background Who Killed Time’. At 21, the Young & Lost girls were but we had done lots of work experience! Every school joint CEOs of both the hottest indie label and PUSH; holiday we would harass labels and record shops to let us work for them. the biggest indie club night in the country. Sara: My first part-time job out of school was working Since its inception, Y&L have put out singles for the for a music press company. I learnt a lot and it wasn’t bands that they’ve loved; like Good Shoes, Larrikin always easy, but it was the best out of school job Love and Bombay Bicycle Club. They’ve also staged ever! I got to work on Razorlight and Soundtrack of memorable early gigs from The Klaxons, The Horrors, our Lives, as well as Anti Hero who went on to be Pull These New Puritans, Vampire Weekend and Mercury Tiger Tail. Award-winners The xx. They still do club nights, including ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ (where all the How do you decide who to release; do you choose DJs are female). This year, Young & Lost Club has put the bands or do they come to you? Do you release
music purely on the basis of a personal love for a band or do you have to weigh up whether it will sell or not? Nadia: Most of the bands we have worked with, we met through friends or they played our club night. Sara: We met Noah & The Whale through the band Adventure Playground. Charlie was playing guitar for them and he got the lead singer to give us his demo. Nadia: We definitely release music purely on the basis of a personal love for a band though. After all the costs of putting out a 7’’ there is never any profit left, so we would need to love the band! What release are you most proud of? Nadia: The first Noah & The Whale Album ‘Peaceful The World Lays Me Down,’ because it was our first album and it was in the top ten for six weeks. Sara: Vincent Vincent & The Villains ‘Blue Boy’ because it was our first release ever; that single will always be special to me.
Sara: We do have a Y&L Digital Club now on our website. Anyone can download singles, b-sides and remixes from Y&L bands and we put a new one up every fortnight. It’s a great way for people to get into new bands. Based on your experiences so far, what advice would you give to anyone starting a record label? How did you learn what to do and not to do? Nadia: Be prepared to work hard for not that much money! Especially at the beginning when you are setting everything up. Sara: We really learnt as we went along. Be prepared to make mistakes, because you will make them.
Who would you say are the next up and coming artists that we should look out for? Nadia: We have an album out with Oh Minnows this year. Oh Minnows was a key member of Semifinalists before they split up. He plays every instrument on the album and recorded it all in his own homemade studio, How involved do you get with each release? in his garage in Chicago. Nadia: We get really involved with every release as Sara: Planet Earth are also one to watch out for. They we do everything ourselves. From getting the track will be recording their debut album with Charlie from recorded, to sorting out the vinyl artwork even to Noah & The Whale later this year. distributing it. What’s next for Young & Lost? How important is it to you to continue to release Nadia: There will be a new Noah & The Whale album singles on vinyl, when you can get a much wider out next year. We are really excited about it and the audience digitally? early demos sound amazing. Nadia: We have always loved 7’’ vinyls. It always feels Sara: We will always put out singles but we are looking so good to actually have something from the band; forward to doing more albums in the next few years. instead of just an MP3 on your laptop. youngandlostclub.com / Heather Connor
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BIRMINGHAM’S BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS! IN MOST CITIES YOU HAVE TO DIG IN A LITTLE CLOSER TO FIND THE BEST PLACES TO GO. Like the current Fused ride; the Nissan Cube, we like people and places that don’t conform to the norm. So we have hand-picked some of the best promoters, DJs and musicians for you to keep an eye on to make your experience a truly great one during your time in the city. From lovely lady DJs to dirty little skankers, indie Cindys to graff geezers, we’ve got them all…
1. (Silver) Souvenirs silversouvenirs.co.uk Jagged, jittery, spiky and sharp, like Phil Mitchell coming off crack, these five lads know how to kick their guitars into touch and the crowd into dancing. Having recently released their debut EP to a packed-out Rainbow they are definitely ones to watch. 2. Richard Boazman Facebook: Rag and Bone Everyone knows Steptoe was a badman but there’s some young pretenders blowing the horn now. Rich’s night, Rag & Bone gives the traditional indie night a twist throwing in a little of everything. Rag & Bone is fortnightly Friday at Snobs. 3. Anna Palmer myspace.com/tantrums Bringing that much needed touch of class to the rag-tag debauchery that is Tantrums, Birmingham’s favourite mash-up-meisters’ live shows shove a sensory overload in the faces of audiences bringing everything from guitars and dubstep, Will Ferrell quotes and youths hanging from the rafters. 4. Keith Holland secretwarseuroleague.com Our favourite Australian, Keith doesn’t really want just anyone to come to his nights. No guestlist, no N.U.S, no cheap drinks. Only reason to go to Secret Wars is to get behind your local artists as they battle it out with other teams from across Europe for pure pen supremacy. 5. Simon Gregory Facebook: Zombie Prom Tantrums frontman and Zombie Prom resident, Simon knows his indie and isn’t afraid to use it…Catch him DJ’ing at Zombie Prom, a weekly indie night, throwing wild parties under a railway arch and legendary after-parties on the dingy backstreets. Weekly Saturday at the Rainbow Garden. 6. Poppy Tibbetts http://elizalittle.bandcamp.com Little lady, big eyes, massive talent. Seek out Poppy Tibbetts for some of the most beautiful and, often, funny songs, that despite her youth belie her age. Think of a world where Laura Marling actually sang about things applicable to her age and you’d have Poppy, taking JLS and Facebook and making them beautiful. Check Poppy out at Oxjam on 16th October. 7. Skankboy Facebook: Moschino Hoe Versace Hottie Skank by name, Skank by nature, expect dirty dubstep and hefty hiphop when this boy takes to the decks. With residencies all over the place, check him out at Gutter Skank, Ruckus and monthly 90s R&B sweat-fest Moschino Hoe Versace Hottie. Moschino Hoe Versace Hottie is the first Wednesday of the month at The Victoria. 8. Mazzy Snape chicksdigjerks.com / rhubarbradio.com Bootylicious party behemoths Chicks Dig Jerks throw some of the biggest shindigs going led by smiley siren Mazzy Snape. Since
their early days they’ve had the knack of picking the best bands and DJs including The Gossip, Klaxons, Chromeo and Filthy Dukes. Even without the big names the residents are more than capable of getting the party going. Check out their radio show on Rhubarb Radio as a little taster. The next CDJ event includes: Napoleon IIIrd, Mat Riviere, Fever Fever & Death Ohh Eff at Hare & Hounds, 13th October.
9. Jordan Lott Facebook: Gutter Skank Gutter Skank’s head honcho and habitual hat wearer, Jordan takes God’s day as his own and gets it sweaty and sinful. His monthly daytime parties at the Rainbow take-over two rooms for the best dubstep, garage, grime, indie, reggae and ska. Gutter Skank is the last Sunday of the month at The Rainbow. 10. Jimmy Lynch Facebook: Resurrection Like that child with ADHD who’s had too many sweets, Jimmy Lynch is that hyperactive face on the scene making up one half of Hasselbaink. Throwing down anything from Eminem to The Rock via The Lighthouse Family an evening in the company of Jimmy Lynch is anything but standard. Resurrection is fortnightly Friday at Subway City. 11. Paul Floyd Facebook: Hasselbaink DJs / Face The other half of Hasselbaink: the ubiquitous and often naked DJs playing out weekly, hosting the bar as part of Face. Mixing his love of indie hits, R&B, 80s classics, and anything else that takes his fancy, Floyd’s guaranteed to make you move. Face is every Saturday at The Rainbow. 12. Cassie-Philomena Smyth Facebook: Ruckus Clinging to her youth by clinging to youths, CassiePhilomena runs Ruckus, a night throwing down the best of commercial hip hop, r&b, reggae, garage, dubstep and a few little guilty pleasures along the way. Ruckus currently lives at Resurrection and Island Bar. Ruckus is monthly Thursdays at Island Bar. 13. Atta Girl attagrrl.co.uk Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Lady Gaga, The Slits – what do they all have in common? Yep, they’ve all got lady lumps – the only requirement needed to be played out at Atta Girl (well, that and actually being good…). With the added bonus of free cakes, zines and badges, this DIY clubnight offers something different on a Saturday night. Atta Girl is every second Saturday of the month at Island Bar. Images by Jade Sukiya
real style, raw style Our fave street style from Graduate Fashion Week MR HARTNETT, THE ORIGINAL STREET AND CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER, LONG BEFORE THE LIKES OF THE SARTORIALIST AND FACEHUNTER, LOVES A GOOD FUCK.
Masturbation. Wanking. Jerking off like a marionette. Mmm, yeah. Having a really long, hot, hard fashion wank. Lots of people at it. Jerks. ‘I’m a fashion student’, a statement that invariably = WANKER. Fashion student? Oh yeah? Then what? Working in PR? Prick. Fashion makes you look like a cunt. Oh, sorry. Rude word and spot of lazy thinking. Let’s start again. Fashion makes you look like a can’t. That’s much much more offensive, and to the point. No style of your own? Can’t put a look together? Have to go with the flow, like a dead salmon? Can’t be an individual and devise a look of your own? No ideas = no identity. Identity does not = a copy of i-D under yer arm to feed you with style bible bull. Why are you here? What course are you about to embark upon? What’s motivating you? What do you hope to achieve? What do you think you look like? Like... a typical, brain-dead, high street tosser? Ouch! And... Are you serious? Timewaster? Need to get real? Wakey wakey. Take a look in the mirror. Call that individual? Unique? Loser. You’ve been spending too much time looking at a buzzing screen. Take a walk, have a good fashion talk with yourself. You need to. Your voice even sounds Facebooky. Darling, you can’t afford to shop at Primark. You can’t afford to make the mistake of buying cheap clothes. DIY. Do it now. Have lots by having little. Be a hero, not some Saturday high street wanker, jerking pound coins out like a marionette on speed. Style, real style, raw style. Just do it. www.paulhartnett.com
TRIBES OF BIRMINGHAM
BIRMINGHAM, LIKE ANY CITY, CAN MESS YOU UP. Granted, the violent crime rates have been dropping for five or so years but it doesn’t make being shanked by a pack of feral youths, or gang stomped like a crap piñata by beer-filled football ogres, feel any better knowing that it doesn’t happen as often any more. But terrible things like that are rare and normally the product of unbelievable naiveté or deep borne stupidity. It’s just worth bearing in mind that we humans are, by our very nature, tribal animals. We gather in packs instinctively, which on the whole isn’t a bad thing until we start protecting the invisible boundary we place and being threatened by anyone not in our group. This is a guide to some of the many packs and tribes that populate Birmingham’s streets. Students That’s you, and as much as you protest, refusing to identify yourself as the stereotype of the typical student, I give it a month until you are doing fiftypence shots, collecting traffic cones and popping
to the corner shop in dressing gown and slippers for rolling tobacco and Monster Munch. Now you guys will split into your own tribes; The medical students will inevitably be the drunkest most obnoxious people in the club, the sports guys will be blokey blokes that find any excuse to initiate physical contact with each other, and the Fine Art lot will aloofly disappear and fold into the Hipster group (below). Where: Anywhere Selly Oak (except the Goose which resolutely remains a locals pub for the poor and mad), the Gosta Green in Aston and the legendary Snobs. Drinks: Cheap shots, any neon-coloured, sugary pap, smuggled in bottles of cheap ass vodka I would use to clean my tools with. Hipster Clad in checked shirts, tight trousers, thick black glasses (horned rimmed for ladies, NHS for the men), overpriced haircuts and optional retro tattoos; this particular lot are possibly the most suspicious of outsiders. Least dangerous if you can stand the
odd diagonal glance and perhaps a sarky blog post. In fact, I’ve only ever seen one hipster fight and it looked more like two five-year-olds squabbling over some Stickle Bricks than grown men trying to hurt each other. Where: The excellent Rainbow pub in Digbeth, or the equally excellent Victoria pub on John Bright street. Drinks: Super expensive cocktails that you’ve never heard of, or cans of Red Stripe. Hen Nights Is there anything worse than the cackle of twenty or so drunk women? These herds of bovine will nudge from bar to bar shouting, screaming and acting in the most boorish way possible. Their pelts are normally similar; all will have a Primark T-shirt with the Bride to be’s name and their own ‘hilarious’ nickname like ‘Big tits,’ ‘blowjob lips’ and, I swear to god I once saw, ‘Cystistat’. Be warned; when in a good mood the worst you can expect from this lot is a pinch on the bum, some screechy annoyance, and maybe requests for a quick kiss, but when angered, if you do anything to spoil what is perceived as their ‘special night’ they turn into the Maenads; female worshippers of Dionysus driven into a frenzy with animal lust and booze. Where: Broad Street, almost exclusively. Drinks: Jugs of cocktails each, with a straw.
Suits Empty vessels torturing themselves by drinking away their precious out-of-work hours with the very people they spend all week despising. Stilted gossip flowing like vinegar wine as ruddy-faced bosses buy round after round on the company credit card while leering at the girl from accounts. Meanwhile, bored young men surreptitiously flicking through their iPhones. Not dangerous per say but if in the company of the suits you are likely to be struck by waves of nihilism and ennui as you wonder what the bloody point of anything is. Where: Old Joint Stock (which has an excellent programme of theatre and Stand up in the upstairs venues), and the Mailbox (the suits only really come out about 5pm on a Friday, these places are nice, if a little pricey normally). Drinks: Wine, which they will ask for by name, with the correct accent.
Birmingham is an excellent city to explore; everything is pretty much in walking distance, there is always something cool going on, and people, on the whole, are friendly. Just Dickhead Men use your head - don’t go wandering off drunk on your own, The male version of the Hen Party and a book your taxis, keep your wits about you and you’ll be sadly inevitable constant of Broad Street. fine. Whipped into a frenzy of solipsism by at least a gallon of strong lager where, their The opinions of Danny Smith do not necessarily reflect the anti-social taunts, lechery and naked views of the publishers of this magazine, its affiliates, or territorial aggression, to them, is classed any sane adult human beings. He currently lives in your as ‘harmless banter’. Normally wearing cupboard, watching, always watching. FCUK gear (still), Ben Sherman shirts or Super Dry T-shirts. Illustration by Tansy Myer Where: Broad Street Drinks: No lager less than 5%
Untitled stands apart; you don’t need to have a long list of credentials or exhibitions to be involved. I think we’re much more inclusive.” That’s why Hare & Hounds is an ideal area to exhibit art that might not have been sought out otherwise. “It’s all about communicating the art to normal, everyday people who might not specifically be looking to go to an exhibition.”
The social setting of an exhibition in a pub is helping to not only curate art, but also to curate more of a community. “There isn’t what I’d call a ‘scene’ in Birmingham, but there is a bunch of people who came together, somehow, that all do art, photography, music…ever ything. They’re all just drawn together through the same venues at the weekend, the same exhibitions, and the same events. Normally all this stuff goes hand-inhand, like Secret Wars for example; you’ll have art EASY TO SPOT, BUT NOT SO EASY TO SPELL, Jade Sukiya spends her days taking and music going on at the photos or looking at other people’s photos. Curator of the Untitled exhibitions at the same time.” Hare & Hounds, Jade is breaking convention and helping local artists display their With an upcoming joint work in social surroundings. exhibition in Prague and “Originally I was asked to put up an exhibition of my own work,” explains Jade, “but Untitled_3 due to be didn’t have enough work of my own. The offer of free space was too good to turn unveiled shortly, Jade’s down though, so I invited other photographers and artists to display too - just to due to be strapped to her camera pretty much spread the love. full-time, and I get the “There’s such a lack of free wall space for artists; you either have to pay or know impression she wouldn’t someone. With Untitled being at the Hare & Hounds, and so many other events and have it any other way. gigs going on there, it was an ideal opportunity for local artists to get their work seen by a lot of people. The Hare also offers the advantage of a comfortable setting Untitled_3 is due to open at the Hare & Hounds, as sometimes galleries can be a bit stiff.” High Street, Kings Heath, The photographer, whose experience is pretty intimidating, having produced Birmingham in October. images for Jimmy Choo, Burtons, TK Maxx and Capcom, has strong ideas about For details see jadesukiya. what makes a good exhibition space. “I’m one of those people who’s not too keen com on some of the spaces available. I like certain galleries, but there’s not very many of them, and they don’t tend to show what everyone’s doing and focus on one, usually Cassie-Philomena Smyth established, artist. I don’t really like the vibe of these places and I think that’s where
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING A BAND HEAVY IN DEMAND, THE FOUR FELLAS THAT MAKE UP THE INDEFINABLE POP-ROCK QUARTET EVERYTHING EVERYTHING had just landed in from Japan and were preparing for a long few months ahead with the release of their debut album ‘Man Alive’. Imagine a cross between Futureheads and MGMT with mixed up time signatures and you’re getting close to what these hotly-tipped Manchester based lot are up to.
identical to what someone has done before. Jon: It’s not like we set out to say “no clichés!”. There are some things you have to do and include things that we love. Alex: You have to retain some sort of musical enjoyment! Your songs are quite unorthodox in their structures; how does that work in the song writing process? Jon: Well I usually write a part; like a verse or chorus, or sometimes an entire song, into the laptop and try Fused caught up with lead vocalist Jonathan and to make a little arrangement and put other instrument guitarist Alex to find out just where their unique sound parts in. Sometimes I actually go a bit overboard, just stems from. because you are not constrained and you can just put it in with a mouse. So I end up with what is in my mind You have mentioned before that “Avoiding clichés and then take that to the band. They usually just say: at all costs” is important in your music; why do you “There is no possible way we can play that...but we feel the urge to reject known song formats? can play that.” So we move it around and work on it Jon: I think at the very start, when I write something from that point. on the guitar, before I take it the band, if I feel like I’ve heard it then I won’t even bother completing it or Some of the songs have been with you for quite showing it to the band. a while, for example your single ‘Suffragettes’ Alex: I think there is nothing worse than when you was released about two-years-ago. Do you feel write something and it sounds the same as something differently about the songs now they have been you’ve heard before; or hearing music that sounds packaged together as one album?
what the hell is going on. I think it is a pretty visual age; you look at how more people look at Youtube than Myspace. With our first few videos we certainly had to do them ourselves because we had no money; we weren’t signed and all the rest of it, and we knew we could probably do it by ourselves. Alex: It is just harder now, when you are touring a lot, to find the time to edit these things and you need people working on the road. Doesn’t make it as homegrown as it used to be. It is really good for a band to be creatively active in different formats, it keeps the brain working. With the mention of Photoshop in your titles, your use of laptops in your music and the computer corrupted inspired artwork on your album; is the digital age a big source of inspiration for the band? Jon: It certainly used to be a bigger theme lyrically and obviously songs like Photoshop Handsome are on the album. I don’t write about those types of things so much now but I think the Internet is what this period of time is about. Certainly in our lives it started happening around the Millennium, when were about 14 to 16 Much of the visual element, in your videos and album years-old. And it has changed so many things since art, ties into your music. Is it a necessary feature of then. So many industries have been totally blown up. your work or does it just work in conjunction? Jon: There is no reason why. If you’re talking visually Words: Craig Bush in lyrics in the song and they might be a bit vague then Illustration: Kate Copeland the video is a really good way of showing the audience Man Alive is out now. everything-everything.co.uk Jon: I think it does change the way we look at our work, Suffragettes is a good example because we very nearly didn’t put it on the album and listening through the album it just felt right in the track listing and worked in the order. It really is a mixture of old and new and re-contextualises the work since we’ve started the band and also all the things that have happened in our lives during that period. It feels good to put the marker down and put an almost end to that period.
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YEASAYER “I LOVE YOUTH CULTURE!” OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BASSISTS, EH? Ira Wolf Tuton is speaking to Fused on the cusp of shows at Reading and Leeds, but the pleasant, and positively cuddly, bass player of Brooklyn trio Yeasayer shows no signs of nerves – probably because he’s so tuned in. He recognises that “right now it makes sense [for the band] to do Reading and Leeds” but that it may not in the future. After an “up and down experience of festivals” in the past, Tuton shares that “we’re very much at the place where we’re still learning what we do and don’t want to do, and we’re testing a lot of the waters of how we go forward as a band.” A willing to embrace perhaps the UK’s most youthfriendly festival shows the position Yeasayer are in today or, more accurately, where they might be perceived as being. The lead singles from sophomore effort ‘Odd Blood’ eschew the spiritual psych-soul of debut ‘All Hour Cymbals’ for euphoric (yet still idiosyncratic) pop that deals in dancefloors and Great Big Hooks. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the band have set their sights on the Skins generation... “I figure you’re trying to get as many people on board as possible. We’re the kind of band that appeal to many different people for very different reasons, and some of that we control, some of that we don’t. I don’t think we’re the kind of band that can make a career out of playing underage shows but we definitely have underage fans. But, at the same time, we did a show last night and everyone was older than me.” So, while ‘Ambling Alp’ and ‘O.N.E.’ are singles that achieve the same cred/chart compromise of Hot Chip and MGMT, Tuton and bandmates Arnaund Wilder
and Chris Keating (he of Simian Mobile Disco’s ‘Audacity of Huge’) are offering as much for the musos as the munchkins. Indeed, after their debut courted critical praise and blog salutations, their return is aptly named: despite a distinct dance-driven nature on a lot of the tracks, the second album is quite comfortable existing as an ‘oddity’. “I like being part of a band you can’t pigeonhole,” Tuton muses, “and I like the idea that people can be attracted for different reasons; it’s not like we’re part of a scene and you’re either with us or against us.” Back upon its release in February, ‘Odd Blood’ was already courting ‘album of the year’ nods from music publications worldwide, so it would appear more people fall into the ‘with us’ camp. What do the band make of all the praise? “Well, we’d rather have that than everyone think we’re terrible,” he laughs. “I mean, we’re not a mega-band so we’re definitely in a fortunate position.” Despite the word of mouth meaning their gig at Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms is packed out, sweat dripping from the ceiling for the duration of songs old and new, Yeasayer are not yet courting Civic-sized audiences in UK cities. The change in direction that ‘Odd Blood’ represents is on their own terms though. “Basically, we wanted to make a pop record. At a base level, we didn’t want to record the same album – right off the bat, it was gonna be different.” “Second to that, after recording the first one, we had no idea what the future was going to be and that we’d be touring the world for two years. Who can plan for that? So a lot of the first album’s songs evolved into
dancier arrangements when played night after night. We’re not a band to recreate people looking at their shoes; other bands can do that but that’s not really the energy we want to bring to stage.” The energy of the live show reinforces Tuton’s assertion that “we’re very actively trying to engage in more of a pop music format.” Can he pinpoint any particular influences on the new songs? “The music we grew up listening to and loved during the early ’90s was dance music. A lot of people, as soon as they hear a synth, they’re like ‘ooh, they’re ripping off the ’80s’ but it’s only because that’s when the technology was coming to the fore.” He happily name-checks modern pioneers Timbaland, the Neptunes and, erm, Haddaway before discussing the fact that the band’s newfound flamboyance has led to ‘gay’ being an adjective used to describe the album in many reviews. “I totally embrace that. It seems that, to the ‘rest of the world’, the gay culture is seen as kind of owning dance clubs. There’s the stigma, whether they want it or not, of being way more fun than straight people. I can embrace the fact that people wanna dance – so let’s write a dance song! And if they wanna chill, let’s write that kind of song. You’re always trying to make a cohesive album but I also like the idea of, from songto-song, having it change.” The band’s continued eclecticism is evident in their choice of third single ‘Madder Red’, which usurps quirky dance-pop for a propulsive, cinematic slow burn. The release comes complete with a disturbing video from director Andreas Nilsson, a “dude whose work [the band] really liked for a long time”, and pairs Kristen Bell with a bulbous and bleeding creature
for whom a tragic end is in sight. I notify Tuton that, despite the vid’s avant-garde aesthetic impressing on the Net, a Youtube debate rages on concerning the nature of Kristen’s love interest: testicle or no? He guffaws. “I’m not gonna enter into that debate, we’ll let that one rage on!” As well as collaborating with the new Michel Gondry and Veronica Mars herself on ‘Madder Red’, the band co-produced tracks from Bat For Lashes’ Mercurynominated ‘Two Suns’ and count members from fellow Brooklyn bands as close friends and “support”. Tuton sees further “opportunities” for partnerships in the band’s future and, although Yeasayer’s output so far has been self-produced, he explains: “Not by any means do we see that as having to be the rule of how we work in the future. We’re totally open to bringing other people in as long as they’re of a certain kind of mind that can blend with us and open up our horizons and ideas.” Post-Reading and Leeds, I wonder if the band has any ideas for album number three up their wizard’s sleeve. With a month off penned in for September before a return trip to the UK in October, the wheels of phase three might just be beginning to turn. “We’re still only on our second album and the working process between the first and second was very different. It’s pretty amorphous how we’re doing it and I think and hope that in the future it will continue to change and evolve. Our goal for longevity is to basically do this our own way, and then if it succeeds, it succeeds and if it fails, it fails – but, either way, it’s on us.” Words: Luke McNaney Check yeasayer.net for UK dates during October
“Whether through the region of Carrer dels Tallers in Barcelona, the Bastille district in Paris, or Galeria do Rock in São Paulo, I take pictures of strangers looking to capture and externalize the style and energy of these very-real places”. Eudes Desantana
Do you feel your various projects are all separate entities, and tailor specific ideas according to whom you are planning to work with, or do you keep your songwriting process more openended? It’s all music really. In a way, as I get older, I’m starting to separate things out and not feel like I need to combine all my loves in every single thing I do. But I just love music, sounds, noises... and there’s so many combinations of all of them. All the different things I’m involved in feed into each other, definitely.
LOCAL BOY FYFE DANGERFIELD FLITS BETWEEN HIS SOLO WORK AND BEING THE FRONT MAN OF THE GUILLEMOTS WITH EASE BUT THERE IS NOTHING HE LIKES MORE THAN A PINT IN A BRUMMIE BOOZER. What are your favourite haunts when you return to Birmingham these days and what do you miss when are away from it? The Flapper and Firkin has many memories for me because it was the venue I used to go to and watch bands and dream of playing as a teenager - and then my first band did play there. Jug of Ale, but that’s closed now. Hare & Hounds is cool. I miss the yellow walls of the flat my brother used to live in. And I’d like to play with the Courtesy Group more often, a band I used to be in, and still play with when I can. Last year the cellist Natalie Clein performed one of you orchestral pieces, ‘Eggshell Walker’. With the growing popularity of your album and constant touring, do you still find time to develop these other orchestral works and, if so, do you have ambitions for these to become just as popular? I really want to get to the point where I can spend as much time writing instrumental music - be it orchestral, electronic or anything else - as singing songs. I love songs but they’re just a small part of what I hear in my head really. And I only ever sang because I had songs and someone had to sing them. . . so yeah, I really hope I get to do far more of that kind of music as time goes on.
What are you planning for the next steps in your career? Are you looking to continue your solo work or focus on the next Guillemots album? Very much about the next Guillemots record at the moment, we’ve been recording it for a couple of months. We’re really, really excited about it. With the success of ‘She’s Always a Woman’, do you feel your work has gained a new audience? Yes, maybe not an audience that will then dig the other things I do, but we’ll see. It’s strange being so known for singing someone else’s song. I don’t feel I’ve really added much to it but it’s a wonderful song and I grow into it more and more each time I sing it live. Writing great pop songs is such an under-rated form still. In terms of audience, who knows? I know that my record’s sold a hell of a lot more since ‘She’s Always A Woman’ was tagged onto it, and if that’s a pathway to people hearing it, and discovering Guillemots too, then that’s great. I definitely am conscious of not wanting to become the guy that sings other people’s songs at the piano all the time. But on the other hand that’s what I do in my own private time loads. . it’s just quite surreal when that inks out into the public. It’s all good. As you used to work as a music teacher and have now become a successful musician, what advice would you give to students looking to make a career in music? Be yourself. And you’re constantly discovering what that is. Just play, create and always do stuff. Have fun with it and don’t try to fit into other people’s idea of what you are. Craig Bush
THE SUPERSONIC EASTSIDE TAKEOVER SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL IS THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF MUSIC, ART, FILM AND CAKE. As well as Swans, Godflesh, Hallogallo, Napalm Death, and loads more bands, there’s an eclectic programme of extra curricular activity taking place across Digbeth – a great time to discover this unique quarter of the city. At Eastside Projects, the artist and ‘social sculptor’ Christian Jendreiko will be presenting ‘God’s White Noise’. It’s a performance lasting seven hours, featuring an indeterminate number of classically trained and untrained guitarists. You’re free to bring your guitar along and join in. Eastside Projects are also hosting the first UK exhibition by Jennifer Tee who creates sculptural structures with ‘allusions to a number of ideologically transformative inner structures, sanctums and theosophical spaces.’ Ikon Eastside are hosting an exhibition by Danish duo AVPD. The gallery entrance has been replaced by a door that you’re invited to enter; however, all is not what it seems as your journey through the exhibition will challenge your spatial and perceptual awareness and you will begin to feel increasingly claustrophobic.
London based artist Jamie Shovlin will be exhibiting at Grand Union. His exhibition explores the degree to which an artist has control over their works’ intended message, meaning and historical legacy, highlighting the inherent tension within processes of collaboration. Lichens (who signs his name Rob Lowe) is scarily busy: he was the bassist and vocalist in 90 Day Men, has collaborated with the pretty brilliant Explosions in the Sky, Om and TV on the Radio and, amid all the band hopping, has released two of his own LP’s. True to form, he’s not content with just playing at Supersonic and is also curating a number of film screenings in the theatre space at the Custard Factory, one of which is an exclusive screening of Matthew Barney’s ‘Guardian of the Veil’. The ‘shambolic collection of hoodlums, battered psyches, skateboarders, illustrators, and lurkers’ that make up the Outcrowd Collective will be creating an installation depicting an idyllic woodland; the floor carpeted in autumnal leaves, trees sprouting from the concrete floor rising to a leafy canopy, and a myriad of strange and wonderful creations lurking between the trees.
The lovely folks at Project Pigeon are going to be doing a flyover the festival site on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. With whistles attached to the pigeon’s tails; think Red Arrows, but better and a whole lot noisier. There’s also Craftspace Collective, who are inviting guests to get involved in guerrilla knitting and other crafty activities, Sam Underwood, who’s leading a workshop building Supersonic Noise Boxes, and Action Hero, who have compiled a library of Supersonic performances from previous years, allowing you to relive any one you choose. This year’s Supersonic Festival continues to join the invisible dots between music and art, by inviting people to engage through a programme of genre-bending sound and performance as well as hands-on workshops taking place across Digbeth; utilising converted factory warehouses and art galleries. Get involved and see Eastside and Digbeth at its arty, musical and eclectic best. supersonicfestival.com weareeastside.com Benjamin Thomas
WHOLE SKY MONITOR IF YOU LIKE YOUR MUSIC LOUD THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN LEEDS 4-PIECE WHOLE SKY MONITOR; a group that are packed with Northern attitude and a good dose of fiery song-writing talent to match. What and where did you study? John: Social Policy and Administration - Leeds Metropolitan University. Gogs: Health Sciences - Leeds University. OJ: Town Planning - Newcastle University. How was student life there? OJ: I didn’t like student pubs, I didn’t like student clubs, and I tended not to form bands or play music with students. What advice would you give new students? John: Try to work out that before you know it three years of your life will pass watching daytime TV and wanking. Gogs: Don’t pick up a STD during fresher’s week. OJ: Don’t be a dick.
John: I’d be sitting in a freezing flat in fingerless gloves shouting ‘Bastards!’ at the neighbours and letting the dog poo in the bath. Gogs: I still harbor fantasies of turning out for Leeds United. OJ: I’d be doing some shit job whilst feeling bitterly resentful about how I was forced to close my record shop five years ago.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now what do you think you’d be doing?
The band are on tour in throughout October playing selected venues across the U.K.
FARIS BADWAN ON ART MANY WILL KNOW FARIS BADWAN AS THE LANKY LEAD SINGER OF ALTERNATIVE-ROCK GROUP THE HORRORS, what you might not know is that he is also something of an artist, and his work is as captivating as his live performance. His second exhibition ‘Drawing a straight number nine’ was recently displayed in Shoreditch, East London; a mesmerising blend of drawings, paintings and film exhibitions, from a creative stream that Badwan argues he would continue were he in a band or not. Here Faris talks sketch books, rice crispies cereal boxes and how he feels it a necessity in his life to draw.
Do you sketch much when you’re on the road with The Horrors? Every day. I focus so much on music that retreating into my sketchbook helps me relax. Which piece of work has given you the most satisfaction in producing? When I was four or five I was obsessed with making an exact reproduction of the Rice Crispies cereal box with Snap, Crackle & Pop on the front in their cartoon superhero era. After many furiously scribbled-out failures I had something that vaguely resembled Pop’s hair and that was a big day for me.
What was it like to study at Central Saint Martins? It was ok; probably not that different to many other art You’ve created album artwork for the likes of schools really. You still have to be self-motivated. Hatcham Social and The Charlatans. What is the creative process for these? Do you listen to the How important is art to your life? records first to get a vibe? The more voyeuristic will be happy to discover they Yeah of course that’s ideal, but with the Charlatans can learn about every aspect of my life through looking one, Tim Burgess had been to one of my exhibitions at the drawings. My sketchbooks are as much for the and asked if I would draw some cats for his sleeve. practical as they are creative. If you want to discover how many light bulbs I needed last week; now you What are your favourite album covers of all time? can. Roxy Music had some brilliant ones; Country Life is maybe my favourite; For Your Pleasure is great too. What is the biggest influence on your art? The best album covers are the ones that really suit the I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pen and it would music; the sleeve is what people see first and should happen even if I was in a windowless room in space say a lot about the record it contains. with no human contact, an endless supply of oxygen and invisible vitamin pills. I would draw even if I had nothing to draw.
SHOCK THE SYSTEM You’ve been sat at home for the last week. You’ve just about crawled out of bed today. Your head feels like there’s an empty can rattling around. You’re bored. Facebook and Twitter are no longer keeping you entertained. You can’t take the partying anymore; the drinking. It’s repetitive and really starting to hurt your head. What is there for you to do to revitalise and reenergise?
The huge variety of activities on offer means that you will never get bored and its accessibility means that you can revisit The Ackers time and time again and become a pro at each activity. If your new-found passion gives you a thirst for adrenalin then checkout one of the city’s climbing centres. Here you can scale new, greater heights and really feel like you’ve conquered a real-life mountain.
Amidst the bustling roads the buses rumble along, cars are stuck in even more traffic, drivers grow agitated, and children run around with parents screaming behind them. Don’t you just want to get away from all this? Climb high into the treetops and lose yourself, plug in your ipod, turn up the volume and ignore the world around?
If dry-slope skiing and snowboarding doesn’t quite cut it for you and you want the real thing, without the huge price tags and stress of travelling to The Alps, then visit the Snowdome in North Staffordshire. Here you can experience skiing and snowboarding on the white dusty stuff, the real snow deal, plus it is all indoors so you never have to worry about the forever-unreliable British weather. The Snowdome is also host to an iceskating rink, a swimming pool and tubing.
Yet there IS more! Right in the middle of this mayhem there is an escape; walk into the depths of the greenery, past the even roads, through to a site often reserved for horror films and you reach The Ackers. This far out, hidden gem is home to an array of different activities that you can indulge in; dry-slope skiing and snowboarding, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and archery. Get to the top of the ski slope, the wind in your hair; perfectly held in place with an assortment of gels and hairsprays of course, and you will forget you are even in one of the busiest cities in England.
Why not do something different; test yourself, get your heart pumping and take a chance. You’ll be surprised how rarely you hear yourself saying ‘I’m bored.’ The Ackers: ackers-adventure.co.uk Redpoint Climbing: redpointclimbingcentre.co.uk Creative Climbing: creationwall.co.uk Snowdome: snowdome.co.uk Words: Salma Benyahia