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CREDITS E: hello@snackpublising.com Editor/Sales: Kenny Lavelle Sub Editor: Leona Skene Sales: Sophie Henderson Food and Drink Editors: Emma Mykytyn and Mark Murphy LGBT+ Editor: Jonny Stone Designer/Illustrator: Fionnlagh Ballantine Front Cover: ‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ used with the kind permission of The Twilight Sad. Snack Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine in part or in whole is forbidden without the explicit written consent of the publishers. Disclaimer: Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the content of this magazine but we cannot guarantee it is complete and up to date. Snack Publishing Ltd. is not responsible for your use of the information contained herein.

Hello. First of all, I hope that you’re all doing as well as you can in the current circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic is surely the greatest challenge that we have collectively faced in our lifetimes, and it’s without question that some of you will have been affected by it in a deeply personal way. If this is you, our thoughts are with you. For the rest of us, it’s trying enough. Self-isolation is a tricky world to navigate, and most of us will find the lack of freedom and physical/social ties challenging to say the least. As the virus spread closer and closer to home, it

became clear that we would not be able to continue making SNACK mag in its usual print format, at least for the foreseeable future. We had a choice to make and, in the end, it was an easy decision for us to keep making some version of the magazine. Not only does bringing the magazine to you each month give us a sense of purpose and something to focus our creative minds on; we’re firmly of the view that there’s a world of creativity out there that will continue, and perhaps even flourish in the midst of this all, which needs to be celebrated. So, we’re delighted to welcome you to the first issue of SNACK...IN, Scotland’s wee staying in and culture mag. In it you’ll find ideas and, hopefully, inspiration with which to fill your coming days and weeks at home. We’ll be back with another issue of SNACK... IN for May/June. If you’ve an inspiring story about what’s going on in your local community, or if you’ve a creative project that you’re looking to unleash onto the world in the next few months, we’d love for you to get in touch and let us know about it. As for this month’s magazine, I’m sure you’ll find your way around. Kenny Lavelle Editor email: hello@snackmag.co.uk



nms.ac.uk/streetview The National Museum of Scotland have teamed up with Google Street View/ Arts & Culture to bring the best of their collection to the comfort of your home. Have a (virtual) stroll around Edinburgh’s most popular museum and (re) discover the exquisite, jaw dropping interior architecture, while uncovering the most awe inspiring artifacts and history that the museum has to offer. With more than 1,000 of their 20,000 artifacts available to view online, it’s just as well that you can virtually tour the museum time and time again, free of charge.

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GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY TOUR artsandculture.google.com/partner/glasgow-womens-library The Glasgow Women’s Library is the UK’s only accredited museum dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements. Celebrating past, present and future lives of women everywhere, the unique museum promotes a world where women are fully recognised for the contribution that they have made to the world. This virtual tour and interactive archive is a perfect way to learn more while you while away the time, and is a great jumping off point for further exploration. The Sisterhood is Powerful: UK Posters exhibit is particularly good for this.

NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE AT HOME nationaltheatre.org.uk With all this free time at your disposal, now’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in some of the most popular theatre productions of all time. Push away the real world for a while, pull up a seat, snuggle into your nearest and dearest (or your favorite hot water bottle and a glass of wine), and spend a few nights lost in the world of live theatre. It’s just a bonus that you can eat your own snacks (as loudly as you like) without the guilt of sneaking them into a crowded auditorium.

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What’s on By Gregg Kelly Page 11

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART metmuseum.org/art/online-features/met-360-project Considered one of the finest collections of art anywhere, New York's Met is a three site collection consistently recognised as one of the three most visited museums in the world. Containing masterpieces from around the globe travelling back through thousands of years of history. Their online project, created using spherical 360° technology, is a series of six short videos that invites viewers to virtually visit their art and architecture in a fresh, immersive way. You can experience the magic of standing in an empty gallery after-hours, witnessing a bustling space in time-lapse, or floating high above The Met Cloisters for a bird's-eye view.

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE - FROM THEIR HOUSE TO YOURS roh.org.uk/streaming Always been a little unsure if you would fit in at a real world live performance of spine-tingling heart-wrenching opera? You would by the way, it’s a mixed bunch at the opera these days. Well how about experiencing some of the world’s greatest operatic performances in your home with the option of surround sound and full HD quality? If there was ever a time to discover a love and passion for opera, it can be from the guaranteed front row seats of your living room. Be sure to BYOT. Bring your own tissues.

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UNITED WE STREAM - GERMANY AND MANCHESTER unitedwestream.berlin - unitedwestream.co.uk Bringing the best of Manchester and German music to your ears and eyes. The German version has been playing live 24/7 since March 13th – daytime viewing is mostly German language video chats and interviews, with DJ sets at night. The Manchester version has had Slow Readers Club, an official Hacienda night, a Madchester classics night, and they’ve loads more planned for the coming weeks. Are you ever apart if we all watch together?

COSMIC SHAMBLES - STAY AT HOME FESTIVAL cosmicshambles.com Streaming everyday (sometimes twice daily) this stay at home festival brings you the brightest minds and the funniest voices direct to your screens. Covering podcasts, comedy events as well as enlightened and intuitive conversations. This festival aims to uplift the spirits while supporting the artists most hit by our current situation. The perfect venue for bringing together community, and allowing yourself to smile. Performers include Russell Kane, Professor Brian Cox, Stewart Lee and many more besides.

Online Diversions By Gregg Kelly Page 13

THE SOCIAL ISOLATION FILM FESTIVAL glasgowfilm.org/latest/news/the-social-isolation-film-festival Brought to you by the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre), this film festival is a hub of online film resources and is your gateway to hundreds, if not thousands, of international films and documentaries. They’ve links to some of the best in under the radar Korean filmmaking (thanks to the Korean Film Archive), inspirational female led directed and starred movies, (including the highly anticipated Lady on Fire), and more than 200 world documentaries which were recently screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE AT THE STAND thestand.co.uk/saturday-night-live-at-the-stand As I type they’ve had over 100,000 viewers for their first two free online shows… however will they fit the audience in the basements when they reopen? Providing hearty laughs and live events every Saturday evening, straight to your living room. Expect some of the best performers on the comedy circuit to pop along and put a smile on your face; they’ve had Frankie Boyle, Jo Caulfield, Mark Watson, Amy Matthews, Gregg McHugh and Omid Djalili in so far. As an added twist, they have been inviting viewers to heckle the host, Mark Nelson. Best not miss the opportunity. #hecklemark Online Diversions By Gregg Kelly Page 15







There are some artists who are so prolific, you wonder what it would take to stop them in their tracks. After catching up with Carla J. Easton, we can safely say the lockdown isn’t slowing her down in any way. She’s even taken up running to pick up the pace. We chatted with Carla (by phone) and as always, every aspect of the music business was up for grabs. Obvious question – how are you dealing with things at the moment? I’m okay. I’m just waiting on a 1,000-piece jigsaw to arrive today, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve just started running, which I haven’t done before, and that’s good. It’s funny how quickly things are adapting, especially in the music industry. Live shows and gigs were arranged so fast, it’s amazing. You performed live on Stina from Honeyblood’s stream. How was that experience? At the time, it was great. It was before the lockdown and it happened at a time when it was good to sing and make noise. It felt like medicine to sit and chat about music, and it brought people together. Back to Contents


I have to say Stina is an absolute powerhouse, and it’s really admirable the way she handled it. Being able to adapt to the situation and keep going in this new environment is great. I think a lot of people are doing that. I’m a believer in thinking we all need some time to reflect. The other day, I had a day when I didn’t do much apart from my daily allotted exercise. I felt guilty for a while, but then I thought there are times when you need to slow down. So, I’m focusing on mindfulness and making time to read, and doing some more home cooking. It’s good to slow things down. I’ve got a good friend in Canada, the most amazing musician ever, and they put up a post saying they’re working on an album. And they were worried about “do people even care?” I think now more than ever, people care about music. Do you think, going forward, the way artists engage with fans will be altered? I was talking with a guy who does PA hires for festivals, and he has lost a lot of work. They have a lot of VR stuff, and they’re thinking about setting up live stream gigs, and high-quality gigs. Back to Contents

Working out how you monetise that for the artist is crucial. The music industry is changing so much anyway with streaming. It’s easy to forget that decades ago, when Oasis played the Barrowlands, you had to pay to access a channel on Sky to watch it at home. Maybe that model died out, and we can look at it again. I know the live music economy is seeing growth upon growth each year. As a DIY independent artist, I’m yet to see that money come in. Quite often, because I’m paying for my session musician and the cost of travel, I’m lucky to break even, and I’d see that as a success. It’s the merch sales when playing live that would turn a profit for me.



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Before the lockdown started, you set up a fanclub. I’m really glad I set that up now, because it’s become an absolute lifeline. I was just thinking about ways of supporting myself making music; my album comes out on Olive Grove, which is a not-forprofit label. That’s great, because I retain all the rights to the music, and all the royalties come to me. But on the other side of that, there’s no money from a label to fund our next record or a tour or a bit of promo. I’m thinking about how I can sustain my band. I have a really amazing band who plays with me, and we have our rehearsal studio, and I want to play live and create a live experience. I thought I needed a bit of help. I look on it as a business, and I needed a cash injection into the business to take it to the next level. I’m in the fortunate position of having written and recorded a lot of music in the past three years. The weird thing is I’m always thinking I’m not doing enough, and then I look at my computer and I have 24 files of studio recorded material. I was talking with my brother and we were discussing Blur and how they used to have a fan club. The Beatles still had a fan club at the height of their career. I also thought of myself, as a music fan: I started making music because I love music, and what would I like access to? Back to Contents

I looked at the Patreon model, but I wasn’t sure if I had time to deliver content every month that I would be happy with. The idea of a fan club, which people could join at any time of year and receive these limited edition handmade items, appealed to me. If one of my favourite bands did that, I would do that. It has involved a lot of making, and a lot of photographs, and it has helped me connect with my fanbase. I take it you get a big confidence boost from people supporting you in this way? It’s a massive confidence boost. Not a lot of people knew I was doing it, and I spent a month finalising it, and getting people’s opinions. I set it up, and I was up till about one in the morning, when it was going live at nine in the morning. So I slept in and I woke up at half ten, and I saw loads of people in my inbox, signing up for the fan club and messaging support. I was honest about why I wanted support, and I had learned in the past year to ask for help if you need it. It’s important to not feel ashamed about asking for help. I hope people like it. The next album is very different to the last, and I say people who really liked Impossible Stuff may not like the new sound. It’s so shiny, pop, and big, while Impossible Stuff was more of a singer-songwriter album. I think the fan club stuff on offer is a nice midpoint between Music by Andy Reilly Page 25

that and the next album, whenever that comes out. I’m lucky with Lloyd at Olive Grove; he doesn’t say “your album has to sound like this”. I don’t have anyone checking up on me when I’m recording – you just do what you want to do and it’s your vision. I was going through the tracks which make up the new album, and there’s one track which sticks out like a sore thumb. But it’s what I want to call the album. I was speaking with my manager, Davie Millar who was in Finitribe, and he said “keep it on, it’s a great song”. I’ve been told in the past that I jump around a lot, and that “some fans won’t be interested in you because you don’t do the same thing every time.” I’ve been doing this a long time; I always want to do something new, and I like the challenge. I like taking on new genres and seeing what my take on it is. With this album it’s interesting, because I wanted to make a big shiny pop album. I was co-writing with Scott Paterson from Sons & Daughters; we’d spent a lot of time together last year because we’re in The Vaselines live set-up. We’d be in the studio, listening to songs, analysing the structure and wondering why that was a successful pop song. It’s not like writing by numbers, but as soon as you get into that headspace of listening to certain music, it seeps into your own writing. I don’t feel guilty about that, because when I was Back to Contents

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at art school studying Fine Art, you research a lot of stuff before you make your own. You want to know how to do it well, you want to get your message across in a way people understand, and you want to know where your work will fit in with a wider context. That’s not new. If you look back at The Brill Building, it was formulaic in the songs and the structure. It was fun to take these models and ‘rules’, and spin them on their head, while applying what you know to that. Also, surely musicians are inspired and influenced by the music they love. So there will always be a starting point. I would hope so; I think that. I love listening to records and I still buy vinyl. I love the fact it forces you to appreciate a whole album. Music today is more song by song, and playlists, which are the new mixtapes. I appreciate an album, and I’ll always make music in that way. I think an album is ten or 12 songs, because I think it’s five or six songs on a side of vinyl. However, you look at these artists releasing music in segments, because that’s how people consume music. As a fan of music, I am fascinated by all this. New song ‘Get Lost’ has been played by Marc Riley on 6Music – is it indicative of the new album? Very much so. This is why rehearsals with my band Back to Contents

have become really important, because we’re using synths and backing tracks which are linked to pads. It’s a whole new world of possibilities. It’s hard to get


everything timed up and to edit yourself. At times I’m like, hold on a minute, step back, what do we need here? It’s nuts because Impossible Stuff featured so many musicians on the album. This record: some of it is with a band, some of it is me and Scott, or a combination of two or three people. It was quite freeing making a record based on the sound you want to achieve, not fitting everything with what you have. I like to think about each song and think about what the song needs. Like, does this need a guitar, and if it doesn’t, do I put a synth on it? Do you think the current situation will shape many musicians’ way of working? One of my friends, Kim, is an amazing songwriter in Nashville, and I wrote a song and let her hear it. I thought it was a bit personal to put out to the public, but it was good for me to work through these feelings. She said she always thought the role of the songwriter is to articulate what many people can’t, and to be a voice for others. I think a lot of musicians and artists will find this an overwhelming period in which to be working or releasing new music. I’ve thought about Kim’s words, and if I can articulate something that others can’t say, that’s an important role to play. And maybe it’s Music by Andy Reilly Page 29

something to hold on to as a songwriter right now. It can give you a purpose, and it can help you communicate with others. You’re currently making a video at home – it looks colourful. What can you tell us about it? Prior to the lockdown, I started shooting outside footage for the video, but that stopped. But I’m going ahead with my plans to release a single from the new album. I guess the only difference will be that there’s no live shows to promote it. It will literally be an online campaign for the new single, and radio airplay if I can get it. So, I thought to myself, what you have got? I know some people bulk-bought toilet roll and pasta. But weirdly, I bought two hundred balloons and a wig, because I thought I would need to do something creative to keep myself sane. It’s a three minutes of colourful escapism. Maybe it’s the first lockdown video; who knows? How are you coping with the situation? It’s important to keep up to date with the news, but I’m maintaining a more positive attitude by not being online at all times. But, I’ve never felt so globally connected. I’ve got friends in Canada and we are sending video updates, showing what life is like in our areas. It’s good we’re maintaining this network of support for each other. I’m also having video chats with my brothers, and my mum, and I’m able to see my nieces. I think we’ll start talking in terms of before and after all of this, the way we used social media before, and yet here in my little bubble, it is really supportive. It’s good to use social media for positive things, sharing recipes, book recommendations... And it’s wonderful to see so many art galleries and museums opening up online. Back to Contents


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I’ve really enjoyed the debates that have happened around the Tim Burgess listening parties. Tim Burgess’ listening parties have been absolutely brilliant. It’s such a positive thing to revisit old albums. I’ve got two older brothers and the eldest one was WhatsApping us while he was listening to the Tellin’ Stories album party. I think he was pissed by the end of it in his kitchen, and he was like, I can’t remember the last time I listened to this album from start to finish. Any final thoughts on what’s happening right now? And what are you doing next? My heart breaks every time a venue says they are shutting their doors. I hope they can open again at the end, because for a lot of grassroots artists and DIY labels, the small venues are the heart of a live music scene. I’ll be posting out the vinyl for my fanclub, which arrived while we were talking, so that will give me something to do! Carla J. Easton will release new material on Olive Grove Records, and you can find more details about her fan club at carlajennifereaston.com/fanclub

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While some of us have recently found getting dressed to be an inconvenience, Adam Ross from Randolph’s Leap has completed and released an album in a week. We spoke to Adam about his emergency album, Spotify being terrible for artists, and what comes next. (You Can’t Put The) Brakes On Love is your new album, pulled together during a week in your home studio, and released the day after you finished the music. Tell us about the process. I had a tour booked and then a few gigs with the band booked for April, and then everything collapsed quickly. I’ve been a self-employed musician for a while and knew that would affect my earnings. I just wanted to do something positive so I wasn’t hanging around the house doing nothing. But also, there was a financial impetus too, to do something with no production costs, and to put it online – make it directly available to fans. I had a couple of song ideas which were nearly finished but I never bothered to record. I had a couple of instrumental pieces, Back to Contents


Books by Music Alistair by Andy Braidwood Reilly Page 35

so I added parts to them, and then, everything else happened during the recording process. That happens quite a lot for me, once I get going with a project and get into that mind-frame, additional songs will come along during the recording process. It was four days, but four very long days. My wife was saying she would have heard more from me if I had been on tour! How did you find the process of working in this compressed time-frame? It was an enjoyable process. I have a tendency to go back and forth writing lyrics over a long period of time. Setting myself a target helped with that. I knew I had to do it all within a week because Bandcamp waived their fees on Friday 20th March. I was forcing myself to write lyrics quickly, so not over thinking them was refreshing for me. A lot of the music happened spontaneously as well. It’s available on Bandcamp, but not on Spotify because as you point out, the abysmal payments are no use to anyone. Are we at the time there needs to be a serious discussion, and action, about royalties for artists? Yes. This whole thing has highlighted just how heavily reliant we are on live shows. People have put up with it, and I don’t know why. Maybe musicians and artists tend to be cowards, we aren’t the type of people who are good at being aggressive and standing up for ourselves. Back to Contents

When all the money disappeared from recorded music, we had to put up with it. It’s kinda strange when you hear about the collapse of other industries


before Coronavirus, and you heard the Government stepping in. The music industry collapsed with respect to earnings and no one stepped in to save it. I think everyone accepted that and got used to the idea of recording music and putting it online as a promotional tool for your live gigs. I’ve always been uncomfortable with Spotify, but the logic was everyone is using it, and if your music is up there, people will hear it and check you out. Fortunately, the audience we have and the record labels we work with still have a decent amount of physical sales. Thankfully, people still buy records, and it helps, but without live gigs it is so hard. I think there’s a deep-rooted feeling about people who work in the creative arts as a career. There’s a tendency to take it less seriously. I get it, you’re doing something you enjoy, and that’s unusual. As someone who makes music for a living, you put up with a lot of comments, and there is a feeling from others that it is a joke career. It’s probably related to that, and that attitude. The cancelled tour featured yourself, Broken Chanter and Niamh from Moonsoup in a songwriter’s circle – How much work had gone into this? Music by Andy Reilly Page 37

Booking shows and contacting promoters was being done on a DIY basis, so there was a lot of work there. Also, as it was an intricate style show, we had rehearsals together (paying money for rehearsal rooms), working on each other’s songs. It’s the loss of merch sales, which is often more lucrative than show fees, which hurts. This is the 10th year of Randolph’s Leap releasing music – you probably never expected to mark the occasion in a time like this, but did you expect to be around for a decade? I don’t know, that’s a good question…I guess so, and I hoped so. Anything you would have changed or done sooner over the years? In some ways, I feel as though I’m only figuring out how to do it right now. The whole home recording thing has been a big part of what we are. It’s been great fun, but I wish I knew how to do that better, a bit earlier. I’m pleased at how the new thing sounds, but I look back on some of the stuff I recorded myself, and it would be nice to teach myself a few lessons! You have a full band album nearing completion. Do you take comfort in having something close to being ready for release, or does that make the current situation more frustrating? Yes. Pete who plays keyboards in the band has Back to Contents

been mixing it and he just sent a folder with finished mixes. I pretty much know what these final mixes will sound like, barring last minute changes. It’s exciting. I’m not too concerned with the timing, as there is always a big chunk of time with finishing and releasing an album. Well, there usually is, there wasn’t with the recent album. With this one, it may take some time to find a label who wants to release it, get the records manufactured, and get the artwork together. By the time the thing is ready to come out, hopefully we’ll be back to normal and can play the songs in front of people. Hopefully we can use this time to do all the admin that needs to be taken care of. (You Can’t Put The) Brakes On Love is available now on Bandcamp. There will hopefully be a new Randolph’s Leap album at some point soon. randolphsleap.bandcamp.com/album/you-cantput-the-brakes-on-love

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CHECK MASSES Back to Contents

Check Masses recently released their light and summery sounding single ‘Lonesome Little Paradise’, the second release from their upcoming album Nightlife. It samples Rainbow Ffolly’s 1968 psychedelic pop track ‘Sun and Sand’, building on its infectious and thoroughly hummable melody to create a protest song in the guise of a sweetly chilled summer pop tune. We caught up with the one and only, Vic Galloway (Backing vocals, Guitars, Bass, Glockenspiel, Percussion & Production) to have a chat about the song and the album. Unsurprisingly, our conversation ended up being mostly about the current Coronavirus situation and the impact this is having on Scotland’s creative life. Starting with the most redundant question of the moment. How are you? Probably much the same as you. I’ve been going out for a run and walking the dog, and yeah. That’s pretty much it. I’m just trying to chip away. The BBC stuff, thankfully that’s still going. All of my freelance work is gone for the foreseeable future. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon, but I can’t see it actually happening. A lot of my work outside of BBC is hosting events: compèring festivals, doing book festivals, you know, talking to the public, front facing public facing stuff. Or it’s interviewing bands, writers, authors. And, yeah, that’s just gone in a puff of smoke, much like everyone else who’s involved in the arts.

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In terms of being creative, writing and recording music, this is probably not a bad time to just buckle down and make some stuff. It’s a bit terrifying really, but as long as the BBC stuff ticks over, I’m quite happy. Otherwise, like everyone else, I will have to apply for some government money to get me through. Aside from that: I live in Leith, you look out the window and it’s pretty much dead most of the time. I go for a run in Leith Links or maybe take the dog round Arthur’s Seat. But I work a lot from home, so in some ways it’s not that different. Anyway, I’m lucky compared to some people. My agent gets me gigs and things, and he looks after Anna Meredith, BC Camplight and Kathryn Joseph – he’s got a big roster of artists. All of them have just got everything pulled. Anyone that’s on the road, anyone that’s doing festivals. That means all of his money goes, all of it. So he’s trying to put in stuff for later in the year. But then, who knows if we’ll be allowed out of the house in September, October, November? You don’t know. K: I really hope so, because as well as frontline workers, the creative community especially has been hit by this. Is that right to say? I think it is. The creative community especially has been hit by this and will continue to be. It is great to have time for creating, but also a lot of people may not be in the right frame of mind for doing that. People are under stress, and not everybody creates well under stress. People don’t have deadlines that they usually have, people don’t have distractions or work during the day to have something to counteract against. I think the economy is in serious, serious trouble from this. I think the government will plug the gap just now, but when everything Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 43

evens out afterwards you’ll look at a lot of businesses going under. You’ll see a lot of companies just laying off staff to try and claw back money. And it might be completely ethically unsound, but business and corporations have never been ethically driven, for the most part anyway. So I think a lot of people will hit hard times, after it’s over. But you never know. Maybe people will pull together. There’s definitely a sense of people looking at the bigger picture. I also see the polarisation in politics, you know that kind of hard left or hard right stuff that has been going on the last few years? People are saying that they reckon, once we’re in the clear, that a lot of people will just be like, “Let’s just be more pragmatic. How about how we stop screaming and shouting at each other, and let’s do this and live in harmony, man?”. I hope so. It’s just been awful the last five to 10 years; people have slowly been going further and further out into their little silos and screaming abuse at each other, and it’s like, “Come on man, be decent”. Just because you have a different opinion on economics, or a political viewpoint. Please, you have to tolerate your fellow man, you know what I mean? We’re being funnelled and divided by social media more and more, and that’s a big part of what’s created this polarisation. I agree. I mean obviously we all use social media Back to Contents


and we’ll continue to use it and so on, but I’m just old school. I’m as opinionated as the next person, but there used to be a time when, if you were in the living room, shouting at the politician on Question Time, it was between you and the other people in the living room. And then you’d meet your pals in the pub, and go “See that guy on the telly, he’s a prick...” blah blah blah. You’d scream and shout about that, and they’d all say pipedown, fucksakes. That would be it. You’d vent your anger, you’d have your rant, and about three or four people would hear it. Now someone can just put @ and that person’s name, and that person gets actually personally insulted. And then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon and does that kind of Twitter mob thing – pile-ons and stuff – and it’s just bullying; it’s wrong. You can’t police against it; people have got to start looking inside themselves and realising that there’s a time and a place. If it’s really, really, truly important then vent your spleen. But if it’s just a nasty little snide comment, keep it to yourself. Yeah, absolutely. With the timing of the new single, were you tempted to hold back on it a little bit and see what happens? We talked about it, because it was all up with the DSP (Digital Service Provider). We use one in Glasgow called EmuBands. You get the artwork, the track, all the details, and you upload it to them. Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 45


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They then distribute it around 120 different platforms: Spotify, Apple, Music, Deezer, Amazon, all of that stuff. Anyway, it was all planned. PR, the radio plugger and everything. It was just like, “We’re all prepared. Let’s just do it, let’s just do it. And if it disappears without a trace, then so be it.” But it was almost like: the music, the art has to continue even at these times of trouble and strife. The one thing I haven’t done is try and capitalise on ‘Lonesome Little Paradise’ as the theme to your self -isolation. We did think about it but then thought, nah that’s just tacky. We thought that if people connected with, if they liked the tune and they liked the video, the artwork and the vibe, it might give them three minutes ten seconds worth of pleasure in their stressful day. We’ll probably do another single, but we’ll do the album later in the year, I would imagine. Like everyone else, we’ll wait to see what happens with COVID-19 and all of the quarantining. So, we did think about pulling it, but we’d put all this work into it. And another thing is, the album, we’ve been sitting on it for over a year, because there are some samples on it that we wanted to make sure that we cleared legally beforehand. If we were releasing a seven-inch vinyl with the single, or if it was an actual physical single, we might have sat back on it. To be honest, I think the song is a belter and a total earworm. I love it and I really think the video is great. I love the artwork, and Philly’s vocal is just masterful. I remember when we recorded, it was about the second or third take, and it was just like, “That’s it, that’s the one. Bang!” He’s got that croaky, soulful, husky tone of like Bob Marley or someone on this track, and I just think it sounds great. ‘Dripn Angel’ we had a lot of momentum with, because people didn’t Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 47

know what to expect. With this, we just want to keep the momentum going. Obviously it’s inevitable that other people will have other things on their mind, above and beyond the new tune from a wee band in Edinburgh that no one’s ever heard of. So we don’t have massive expectations. But we want as many people as possible to connect with this song. And with this, with the album coming as well, we think it’s a total belter. So you’re putting it out there, and it will just find its own way? Like every other band. Like every other artist in the world. You’re trying to connect with an audience. You want to connect with as big an audience as you possibly can. But there’s a lot of people doing this. We’d love it to go massively viral and all that sort of stuff, and I genuinely think it’s a great little track. If it doesn’t, we’ll be disappointed, but we also know how much music is being put out there. Any advice for bands and artists at the moment? I’m not sure. A lot of people are doing live streaming from their front room or their studio or wherever. If that makes people happy and helps them connect with their fans, that’s great. It may even help develop new fans. Have you seen Jordan from Neon Waltz? He’s doing these stupid things where he’s pretending to be a cod Italian opera singer. He puts a stupid Back to Contents

hat on, or a towel around his head, or just anything that he fancies, and does a sort of silly warbling thing out of the window, to amuse his pals and so on. The Daily Record and all sorts of people have picked up on it and it’s kind of gone viral. It’s not Neon Waltz, it’s not serious music. It’s him making an arse of himself and being funny. Sometimes with things like that, you develop a little bit of a buzz and then actually some of the people laughing at his comedy might find a way to his music. Anything else? I would love to say, put tonnes and tonnes of content out. If you’ve got content, if you’ve got singles and live performances, videos, anything like that, well, why not? Stagger it, put something out every week, or every couple of weeks, or every month, or every couple of months. Just try to keep people clicking on your page and finding your music that way. Everyone’s in a tight situation financially, so constantly trying to sell stuff to people is a bit tough. But if people really like your music and your art, then why not try and guide them towards your merchandise? Vinyl, t-shirts, hoodies, whatever you’ve got. Get creative! Personally, I’m still doing bits and bobs work-wise, and trying to tidy up my house at the moment. But if we’re in lockdown for weeks and months, then I’m going to try and get creative and actually write new music. Because often you get pulled into that world of doing gigs, doing interviews, rehearsing, and not Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 49

actually doing the creative side where you need that bit of time and space to come up with new ideas. I think if anything good is going to come out of Coronavirus, then that is what people should be doing. Get busy, get on the case. Get your guitar into the little spare bedroom, or wherever you make your music, on your laptop with your headphones. Even if you’ve got flatmates or partners, just shut the door and get busy for a bit. That’s what we should be doing; trying to write, create, so that when it’s safe to go out there then you have stuff to work on. You’ve got stuff to go down to the rehearsal room with and batter out. Is that what you’re planning to do then? I can’t even record with the boys at the moment because we’re not allowed to be in each others’ company. So I’m hoping to make as many backing tracks as I possibly can ready to go, so that Philly can come around mine and start doing some vocals. The way we work as Check Masses is that Andy does a beat, a loop, a sound collage, a sample, something like that. He’ll put a load in Dropbox, and I then pull that into my home studio, and I layer up guitars, bass, keys, percussion, whatever I fancy. Then Philly comes around, and we batter out a vocal melody or a song out of it. I work on it a bit more and send it back to Andy, and he mixes and produces it, tightens it up so we can do all the digital stuff. You seem to love being in the band. You’re obviously passionate about it. So I guess that’s what’s going to keep things moving? The thing with us is that we’ve all made music previously, for years. And yes, we’re all a little older, we’re not teenagers or in Back to Contents


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our early 20s any more. But you don’t stop making films, or stop painting canvases or whatever, and so you don’t stop making and writing music. I’ve always made music behind the scenes. I’ve been in loads of bands, before I was even on the radio. But I’ve not put anything in the public eye for a long time, because I just thought, there’s a lot of music out there. You need to be as good if not better than anything else that’s there; it needs to stand out. It needs to be extraordinary in its own way. Once we’d built up a body of work with Check Masses, we looked at it and we had 17 or 18 tracks, and we’re like “Shit, we’ve got something here. We’ve definitely got something!” The album’s got a good cross-section of things. With ‘Dripn Angel’, the opening track, and actually ‘Lonesome’ later on in the album, there’s some darkness on there. There’s some acousticy based songs, and there’s also lots of beats and bleeps and so on. I think it holds well together and it’s a nice piece from beginning to end. I love being on the radio, I love writing books, I love doing book festivals and interviewing people. I love all of the things that I earn a living doing. I genuinely feel blessed to be able to do what I do. But, I love making music more than anything else. It just gives you a buzz. It’s a cliche to say, but making the stuff is the best part of it. When it’s done you feel proud of it, but you’re almost like ”Next. What’s the next thing?” It’s such a good feeling. I would say the same about making a documentary or a radio programme, or whatever it is. There’s that creative buzz that you get from it. It’s the planning. The executing. And the delivery, and then looking back and going “Yes, I did that.” Check Masses single ‘Lonesome Little Paradise’ is out now and the album Nightlife will be out out in 2020 via Triassic Tusk Records. checkmasses.bandcamp.com Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 53


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Only a matter of weeks ago, writer Iain Maloney was in Scotland for a tour of his latest book The Only Gaijin in the Village, a fascinating and often funny memoir about relocating to rural Japan and his new life there. He had an event at the Aye Write! book festival, and was lined up for other book signings and events around the country, when COVID-19 truly took hold in Western Europe. Within days he had a difficult, but increasingly inevitable, decision to make: whether to stay or return to his wife and their home in Gifu. SNACK caught up with Maloney to discover what happened next. The last time we spoke the world was a very different place, and you were in the middle of a Scottish book tour. What has happened to you since? A lot, and a lot of nothing. I got three dates into the tour at the start of March before it became clear that public events were untenable. I took a weekend out in rural Perthshire to rethink things around the same time that Japan was debating travel restrictions. I quickly figured it was time to cut my losses and run. I had to cancel events and move stuff online, which was obviously hugely disappointing (and expensive) but people were very understanding. You’re now back in Japan, and are one of the few people who have witnessed reactions to the pandemic in two countries? How do they differ? We live in the countryside so it’s already pretty isolated but I basically locked myself away for two weeks on my return. I hardly even saw my wife since I was in the spare room and she was keeping her distance – she’s a nurse, so didn’t want to catch anything from me. Fortunately the two weeks passed without a single symptom which I find amazing considering I did a book Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 55

tour of Australia, and spent a few days in Spain, before arriving in Scotland. For those two weeks of isolation I followed everything on TV and social media, so it was a little unreal. Life was going on in my village pretty much as normal. I suppose the strangest thing is that no one was wearing a mask. They’re usually a common sight here, especially in Spring when it’s flu and hay fever season, so you’d expect to see everyone masked up, but now there aren’t any available, even in hospitals. There are a lot of similarities in responses, particularly from governments – a lot of dithering, vague statements that help no one and half measures with eyes firmly on the economy rather than people’s welfare. But whereas Scotland in the main took the threat seriously, with peer pressure to self-isolate and work from home immense, the reaction here has been different. Without a strong statement from the authorities many concluded it isn’t all that bad, ‘If it were serious, they’d tell us directly, right?’. Your book is all about culture clashes and adapting to a new way of life. Can you set out some of the cultural differences in the reaction to the current threat? There’s no real culture of telecommuting or working remotely here, so there’s huge resistance to that. There’s an assumption that if your boss Back to Contents

can’t physically see you then you aren’t working. That’s causing a lot of delays. There was a company memo recently leaked online that provoked a lot of ridicule saying that anyone working from home still had to wear a suit. There has been a lot of discussion about how the legacy of the Second World War has affected responses. In Britain, despite our cynicism, there’s an understanding that in emergencies such as this the government can limit our freedoms – with a lot of caveats of course. In Japan that cultural memory manifests as deep unease whenever the government appears to be acting in an authoritarian manner. Last night (as I write this) there was a small demonstration in Tokyo against the government interfering with civic freedom. Now that’s extreme, and rightly mocked online given the context, but an interesting manifestation nonetheless. You were one of the only people to appear at this year’s Aye Write! before it was shut down. How was that, and how do you see the pandemic affecting you as a writer, and the arts in general? Aye Write! was amazing, but weird. We didn’t know what to expect given the circumstances, with just a few of us in the Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 57

green room. Should we shake hands? Bump elbows? I was on at the same time as Kathleen Jamie and James Robertson; so with that and the virus, I honestly didn’t expect anyone to turn up but I got around 60 folk. It’s such a shame that the rest of the festival was cancelled. Hopefully it means a bumper Aye Write! next year. I don’t know what this means for the arts. I don’t think anyone does. The arts will survive regardless, in one form or another. One thing we’ve learned from this is that as soon as people have free time, or need escape, or need comfort, they turn to books, to music, to TV and film. They aren’t going anywhere. But we’re going to need to have a serious talk about how arts are funded and artists remunerated. I’m lucky in that public performance is a necessary evil, not the main thrust of my work. But for others it is everything. To give one example - after the advent of streaming, musicians reached a point where concerts were their main source of income. Now that’s disappeared. So you get pennies from Spotify, the odd donation from doing a livestream, and that’s it? That can’t be right. I think it’s time to seriously talk about stipends, rethinking things like publishing contracts, and to get a funding body in Scotland that is fit for purpose. Iain Maloney’s The Only Gaijin in the Village is published by Polygon Books Back to Contents


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Those who may have read my previous articles for SNACK will have noticed a person with an unfettered love of film and music. Without either is a world I cannot imagine. With the world’s situation as it is now, they are more important than ever. The beautiful, imaginary universes they create have spoken to me, helped me so deeply throughout my life. With this article I want to communicate their importance, especially to those who are mentally vulnerable, which to some extent, we all are. Around 15 years ago I had a psychotic episode. I was sectioned in a mental hospital for a month. I was put on anti-psychotic medication. Two years later I had another one, and was diagnosed schizophrenic. Since then it’s been a rocky road, now I think of it as part of the journey; an adventure with all of the emotions and feelings we can experience, that is life. Throughout this time I have Back to Contents


been delusional, weak, incapacitated. I have also been full of joy, love and strength. To believe that we must hide behind a mask of supposed strength, that ‘everything is fine’ is a world we must leave behind. And the current situation is forcing this to happen. Film is full of stories in which extreme situations cause individuals to do extreme things; they discover their worth through hardship, they suffer to come into the light. Music is full of stories of individuals experiencing heartbreak, existential crises, striving to find hope through a connection with others. These are the worlds we must inhabit now, and really feel them, because this isn’t a movie or the story of a song; this is real. Since I was a small child the universe movies can create has enraptured me, beyond the idea of escape. It’s transcendence. When I fully focus my attention I go beyond this consciousness we all know, I am somewhere close to the divine. Only a year ago I rewatched a film that has been so important to me since the age of 15, aptly titled ‘A Better Tomorrow’. My biggest passion in life is Hong Kong movies, having been introduced to them through the great film icon, Bruce Lee. I graduated to Jackie Chan and other incredible Kung Fu filmmakers. These movies are pure unadulterated entertainment. Then I watched ‘A Better Tomorrow’, genius director John Woo’s entrance into the gangster action genre. It spoke to something deep Film by Martin Sandison Page 63


within me that at the time I couldn’t explain. When I rewatched it this time, I understood. Every single frame is charged with meaning, emotion, style and authenticity. The film is to me the deepest action movie ever made, and means many things to many people. For me the meaning is clear. All we have in life are our families, our brothers and sisters, in whatever form they take. All we have to do is take a step back, as we are now compelled to. It is crystal clear; human connection knows no borders, and being present, feeling the presence of others, creates nothing but empathy and love. Being in our bodies and not believing we are the voice in our head, creates a purity which allows a release of all the emotions that are trapped. When I was 17 my mum passed of cancer. One day when I came home from visiting her in the hospital my father had left out an LP, After the Goldrush by Neil Young. I put the needle to the groove and the song ‘Don’t Let it Bring you Down’ unfolded. Every note, every lyric, Young’s high, ghostly voice, spoke to the very core of my being. It was then I knew the power of music. ”Don’t let it bring you down, it’s only castles burning, just find someone who’s turning, and you will come around.” In this time we must lose ourselves in these worlds, that we as human beings have created to allow us to transcend the moment. We may be confined to our homes, but with them we can find solace, comfort and a reflection of human experience: a connection through shared experience. Film by Martin Sandison Page 65

We here at SNACK know you’re probably climbing the walls being stuck inside all the time. So we wanted to give you some great hidden gems of films that will hopefully lift your spirits, make you think and transport you to places only movies can - everything from charming unlikely friendships to a celebration of all things heavy rock. So get ready to delve into these diverse stories right where you are. Ahhh, the wonders of streaming, eh?

MARY AND MAX Prepare to have your emotions well and truly worked with this equal parts delightful and heartbreaking black-and-white claymation. The late, great and much-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman voices the titular Max, a lonely man with Asperger’s struggling to cope in the bustling city of New York. One day he receives an unexpected letter all the way from Australia from a little girl named Mary and the two spark an unlikely pen pal friendship. We are lovingly-invited into the respective worlds of the eponymous characters, how each of their idiosyncrasies and coping rituals dictate their daily lives, inform their outlook on the world and how they compare and contrast with one another. The result is something truly special and a real balm in these troubled times. Stream it: Amazon Prime Back to Contents


PREDESTINATION For those who like their time travel movies to chuck you into the mind-bending deep end then look no further. Ethan Hawke is excellent as the ‘temporal agent’ who accepts the final assignment of his career which takes him on a looping journey that interweaves his past with a future that may or may not be changeable. Along the way he meets a mysterious stranger (Sarah Snook). It’s heady sci-fi that has the courage of its convictions when it comes to the playful and perplexing time travel that it depicts – the very notions of past, present and future are putty in the film’s hands. But the fun of it is losing yourself in those mind-twisting ideas and coming out the other side pondering. Stream it: Amazon Prime

LUCKY The great Harry Dean Stanton sadly passed away a few years ago at the ripe old age of 91. It’s hard to think of a more fitting swansong for the versatile and prolific actor (200+ roles across six decades) than this gently-moving, small-scale joy. It feels like no one else could have possibly played the role; a cantankerous nonagenarian atheist set in his ways, wandering around interacting with the various eclectic inhabitants of his small Southern town. Along the way he finds some fresh spiritual meaning to life. It’s not exactly eventful plotwise, but sometimes the best films aren’t. Lucky is soulful, charming and moving, sneaking up on you with little nuggets of profound emotional truth that will send your heart away soaring. Stream it: Sky/NOW TV

BERNIE Director Richard Linklater is best known for films like Boyhood and the Before trilogy. But nestled inside his filmography is this lovely, stranger than fiction story of one man’s devotion and subsequent downfall. Infusing the narrative with real life talking heads interviews, it tells the tale of Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), an upbeat and caring small-town Texas mortician who takes on the job of Back to Contents

looking after wealthy widow Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine). But as she becomes ever more controlling, Bernie feels himself torn between his newfound lavish lifestyle and wanting to escape her needy grasp. Black leads an enjoyably quirky, morally ambiguous film in terrific fashion, showing his dramatic range by making you empathise with the character even when his behaviour spirals. Stream it: Amazon Prime


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PONTYPOOL Pandemic movies have been on people’s mind as of late because, well, ya know. But this underseen Canadian gem from director Bruce McDonald brings something new to that table as it deals with a virus that turns people into babbling zombie versions of their former selves. When a group of workers at a winter-stricken radio station, led by charismatic DJ Grant (Stephen McHattie), start noticing strange noises coming across the airwaves, they must hunker down and figure out a way to survive. Darkly funny with more than a dose of surrealism, it makes for an unsettling, clever and uncomfortably-intimate experience that uses sound design in particular to get under your skin. One of the more unusual but enjoyable under-the-radar horrors so far this century. Stream it: Amazon Prime

ROBOT & FRANK Frank Langella stars in this soft sci-fi drama set in a very believable near future – think more electric cars and computerised amenities as part of everyday life than giant spaceships or alien planets. Langella plays an ageing former cat burglar whose son (James Marsden) buys him a robotic companion (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) as a means to combat his loneliness. At first at odds over Frank being made to perform daily tasks he doesn’t really want to do, they grow to form a unique friendship as the two plan a burglary. The sci-fi is just a cloak to explore what’s going on underneath – a charming, poignant story of improbable companionship and getting older as the increasingly modern world passes you by. Stream it: Amazon Prime

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SHATTERED GLASS Fabricating true stories and sources is the one of the biggest no-nos for any journalist. That subject is used as a spear to pierce the heart of the very industry itself in this often forgotten true life drama. Hayden Christensen is genuinely terrific as budding young journalist Stephen Glass who makes a name for himself at The New Republic magazine by writing increasingly astonishing stories. But as the scoops get more and more fantastical, his editors and fellow writers start smelling something fishy. It’s up there with All the President’s Men and Spotlight as an exhilarating look at journalism and the idea of objective truth, tightening the screws with a sweaty palms pace as the waters get deeper and deeper. Stream it: Amazon Prime

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC A suitably-fantastic Viggo Mortensen leads this sweet, thematically-complex comedy drama about a family that lives off the grid, free of the pressures and materialistic trappings of mainstream society. Mortensen’s principled father figure Ben raises his six children in the wilderness, teaching them to live off the land and by their own wits. But when the family’s mother passes away in hospital, Ben and his familial clan are forced to abandon their self-styled wilderness paradise. Actor-turnedwriter-director Matt Ross crafts an entertaining adventure, beautifully depicting the nourishing joys the outdoor world can bring. But he also offers an emotionally-rich and rewarding look at parenthood and what it means to want to make a better life for your kids. Stream it: Netflix Film by Ross Miller Page 73

BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON Horror fans should carve out time to watch this inspired mockumentary that examines the very rules and conventions of the slasher game. It cleverly takes place in a world in which the likes of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger actually exist and centres on the eponymous wannabe killer who holds them up as heroes while he trains to become a horror legend in his own right. The film’s brilliance is how it plays around with the very fundamental tropes of the genre; from the tragic backstory birthing evil incarnate to how the killer always seems to catch up to his running victim by walking slowly. It’s both an ingenious subversion and loving ode to that well-worn horror staple. Stream it: Amazon Prime

COLUMBUS Short film director Kogonada makes a quite remarkable debut with this uncommonly-assured, subtle yet powerful drama. It charts the connection between a Korean-born man (John Cho) who arrives in the titular small Indiana town where his father is in a coma and a young woman (Haley Lu Richardson) who has chosen to stay and look after her recovering alcoholic mother instead of pursuing her own dreams. The drama is so delicate that you feel it could just blow away in the wind. But there’s a quiet, primal power to it as it explores everything from family expectations to impending loss to what it means to be a responsible adult. It’s a film that says a lot without making a fuss. Stream it: Amazon Prime

JELLYFISH This affecting British drama packs a big emotional punch while tickling your funny bone. Relative newcomer Liv Hill puts in a star-making performance as charmingly abrasive 15-year-old Sarah who is the primary caregiver for her bipolar mother and young twin siblings living in the seaside town of Margate. One day her drama teacher decides to help her channel her ferocious energy Back to Contents

and coarse opinions into stand-up comedy. The British kitchen sink drama is given a lively kick up the arse here, avoiding the pitfalls of so-called poverty porn while never forgetting the harshness that can plague people’s ordinary lives where money and opportunity are in short supply. Via Hill’s harsh yet unexpectedly tender performance, it finds the light shining through the cracks. Stream it: Sky/NOW TV

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL Heavy metal fans will likely be familiar with ‘80s rockers Anvil, who everyone from Metallica to Slayer admits were big inspirations. But why exactly didn’t they find the same sort of fame and what became of them? This insightful, impassioned film chronicles just that as it follows lead singer and axeman Lips as he gets the band back together for their 13th album and a new European tour. It’s an absolute delight for anyone even remotely interested in rock music and the heady world it creates. But the real power of it comes in its portrayal of the ups and downs of friendship dragged through the burning desire to finally make it and how success is something that can unfairly elude those with clear raw talent. Stream it: Amazon Prime


PODCASTS I always thought Podcasts weren’t for me. I assumed just listening to voices in this oversaturated visual world wouldn’t sustain my attention. However, when you find the right one, you might find yourself as desperate for your next listening fix just as much as you’re desperate for the pub doors to be reopened. So, with Coronavirus lockdown in full flow, here’s a couple of Podcasts that have helped me detach and escape, as well as howl in public.

MY DAD WROTE A PORNO An oldie but a goodie. Even podcast novices have probably heard of this one as it proved so popular it was followed with a sell-out live show across the UK. Jamie Morton recites chapters of his father’s amateur erotic novel, Belinda Blinked, to two friends as they cringe their way through analysing the vulgar prose. From the hilarious pseudonym of Rocky Flintstone to finding the female form in unlikely inanimate objects, this will have you laughing and squirming in equal measure, and maybe pondering what runs through your parents minds a bit more than you ever want to… Stream it: Spotify



SH**GED MARRIED ANNOYED Comedian Chris Ramsay partners with wife Rosie to offer giggles and grumbles on the banality of life as they cover their ‘beef of the week’ along with questions from listeners. It’s not a fresh topic for a podcast but the chemistry and natural banter between these two put it ahead of similar shows. It feels like you’re listening to your pals having a catch up and is easy to binge through while you reorganise your DVD collection. Rosie Ramsay has also unleashed herself on TikTok since lockdown, with daily dancing and ‘4pm wine babeh!’ Stream it: Spotify

DAVID TENNANT DOES A PODCAST The appeal here is the intimately straightforward conversation, with the much-loved Scottish actor inviting his showbiz pals to sit down and have a chat without formalities or forced podcast structure. Tennant’s natural charm drives the discussion, which produces some incredibly thoughtful responses from his guests exploring public and personal highs and lows. From comparing Doctor Who notes with Jodie Whitaker and finding confidence with Olivia Coleman, to politics with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and insightful chat with Sir Ian McKellen who opens up about his process of self-discovery while hiding his sexuality to rise up in the acting industry, you’ll feel the warmth and learn a few things about some famous faces. Stream it: Spotify


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RACE CHASER If you love RuPaul’s Drag Race, or are getting ready to binge the seasons, this podcast is a must. Former contestants Willam Belli and Alaska Thunderfuck discuss, dissect and disseminate the true T into what really went on behind the shiny finished product with juicy hidden insights. Consistently opinionated and hilarious, it’s like overhearing two besties gossip their heads off, as their enthusiasm for drag exudes into your earholes. Winning the Queerty in 2019 and 2020 for Best Podcast, their passion and knowledge is apparent, with guest spots aplenty. Also worth checking out is their partner podcast, Hot Goss, which focuses on current events. Stream it: Spotify

THE LAST DEGREE OF KEVIN BACON Don’t let the EE adverts put you off. Kevin Bacon has partnered up with Funny or Die for this new Spotify-exclusive fiction comedy across 10 episodes. Washed-up actor Randy Beslow, played by Veep’s Matt Walsh, wants to kill Kevin Bacon who stole his life when he landed the ‘Footloose’ role instead of him. With his marriage in tatters, Randy’s revenge plot begins, but he wasn’t expecting Kevin to be desperate for friendship and oblivious to his homicidal obsession. Kevin’s wife Kyra Sedgwick, famous for TV show ‘The Closer’, is suspicious and starts her own investigation, leading to a peppering of goofy celebrity allusions and every Kevin Bacon movie reference possible in this solidly absurd series guaranteed to make you laugh. With two episodes left to go at time of writing, it’ll be interesting to see where the ludicrous plot ends up. Stream it: Spotify

Podcasts by Lindsay Corr Page 81





Take two parts Deap Vally and two parts Flaming Lips, leave on a medium heat for an indeterminate amount of time and you too can make a Bluesy Space Stew, best served with a side of oozing sex fries. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards bring their Californian rock bombast together with Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd’s Oklahoma dream grooves to create something that could’ve gone horrendously wrong, Back to Contents

but instead provides something genuinely different from the previous output of both outfits. There’s zero messing around as ‘Home Thru Hell’ immediately smacks the listener around with a mix of buzzing fuzz guitars, engine vrooms and 808 tinkles while the main body of the song is deceptively held together by an acoustic guitar. While it stops short of a call and response format, it is pleasing to hear the dual vocal styles bouncing back and forth. The lyrics name-checking both bands straddles the neighbourly fence between cringe and cool but then, aren’t the coolest things always just a failed delivery away from cringe? The opening track merges into ‘One Thousand Sisters with Aluminium Foil Calculators’ which is definitely more Lips than Vally. All harpsichord voices with watery vibrato effects abound and no obviously dirty guitars. At this point, before I start wearing out the asterisk key on my keyboard typing out the song titles, it’s worth mentioning the album cover which is a garish vision of neon pinks and greens around a central cartoonish figure who is, quite frankly, getting it on with herself. It suits the mood of the record, but I would have serious second thoughts about anyone who had a poster of this on their wall. The backing track of ‘S**t Talkin’ has the vibe of a broken toy xylophone mating drunkenly with a Wurlitzer. The most innocent-sounding vocals on the record are almost enough to make you forget about the poo referencing title. ‘Hope Hell High’ keeps the dreamy mood ticking along before deceptively breaking down into a verse where a cowbell battles with a drum machine’s snare skip. In one of the album’s high points, string-soaked sections intersperse with almost entirely modal moments. By way of contrast, ‘Motherf**kers Got to Go’ has the sort of infectious grind that hooks you in straight away but gets very grating on repeated listens like a sweary ‘Hollerback Girl’. ‘Love is a Mind Control’ doesn’t need to justify its seven-minute runtime with superfluous time changes. It locks into a descending chord sequence groove Music by Stephen McColgan Page 85

and stays there while following track. ‘Wandering Witches’ feels almost like a deliberate change of pace to offset its relatively extended groove. ‘The Pusher’ is a bit of a sensory attack. Thumping drum machine at the front of the mix clothed in an unsettlingly harmonic vocal track. The LFO bass that pushes the song forward from about the two-minute mark actually brings the tracks more disparate layers together. Whether intentionally or not, ‘Not a Natural Man’ has the same creepy energy as ‘Blurred Lines’ if it was performed by a bunch of ghosts trying to replicate the strings on ‘TransEurope Express’. All in all, Deap Lips is going to be a divisive record. Fans of either heritage band involved will find fault with it but I’m firmly in the “better than the sum of its parts” camp. Closer ‘There is Know Right There is Know Wrong’ illustrates this perfectly by being more expansive than the usual Deap Vally sound while conveying more raw, direct and haunting energy than a thousand Flaming Lips albums could manage. Back to Contents


Music by Stephen McColgan Page 87

WE SHOULD HANG OUT MORE EP: Behind The Mayhem We Should Hang Out More are back with their ‘Behind The Mayhem’ EP. This is their second release on Midnight Riot! and it seems they’ve found a label that fits them perfectly. Serving up a dose of contemporary disco heat, the lads have proven with their latest offering, a thorough understanding of the party genre. It’s a wholesome and, for the most part, uplifting set of tracks. Only ‘Zumex’ carries an ominous feel - it’s easy to imagine it playing in a neo-noir scifi film nightclub with its progressive electro/disco sound, complete with a low-slung bassline, brass ensemble samples, and vocals transposed from a ghostly FM station. Title track ‘BigBadLlama’ has a melodic instrumental hook that screams party-time. Big beats with phased electro synths and computerised vocals take you back to an 80’s dance floor. It’s quintessentially WSHOM. Highlight of the EP is ‘Les Salles Arc-en-Ciel’, a track that would feel right at home at Mancuso’s famous parties at The Loft in 70s New York. It features live percussion with prominent tom toms, and a little dash of cowbell, to give listeners a taste of an old-school disco beat. Inject some symbiotic electro synth and a swinging bassline, and you have a WSHOM classic. ‘Behind the Mayhem’ is a release that will fit snuggly next to works from disco dons Todd Terje or Prins Thomas. It’s cheeky, moody, and most importantly, fun. ‘Behind the Mayhem’ will be released on 24th April via Midnight Riot! By Donald Shields Back to Contents


Email: review@snackmag.co.uk Page 89

MARTIN MACINNES Book: Gathering Evidence Martin MacInnes’ Gathering Evidence is a novel that would make an impact no matter when read, but to do so during a global pandemic adds a whole other dimension. Set in a world in a state of high anxiety - with mysterious fogs, the earth increasingly poisonous and virulent, and species disappearing - individuals are struggling to discover what is real and what is fake, with paranoia and mistrust rife. Shel Murray and a team of analysts and observers are sent to an unnamed country, to investigate two mysterious deaths in the last known troop of Bonobos. While there she finds her new surroundings intrinsically inhospitable. Meanwhile, Shel’s partner John is looking forward to getting their new house ready for her return when he is brutally attacked and left with wounds which refuse to heal. They are both changed and challenged physically and mentally by their increasingly hostile and extreme surroundings. The strength of Macinnes’ writing lies in his ability to describe familiar, yet essentially alien, environments, while managing to encourage empathy and nausea in almost equal measure. Gathering Evidence is fiction, but right here and now it feels increasingly prophetic. Martin MacInnes’ Gathering Evidence is published by Atlantic Books By Alistair Braidwood Back to Contents

ALAN PARKS Book: Bobby March Will Live Forever In a crowded marketplace Alan Parks’ Harry McCoy thrillers have quickly made their mark. First we had Bloody January, followed by February’s Son, and now Bobby March Will Live Forever; you’ll see a pattern emerging. Set in Glasgow in the 1970s, Parks both embraces and plays with many of the stereotypes and tropes of Tartan Noir and Clydesideism, resulting in novels that should appeal beyond hard-core crime fans to reach a wider readership. With regular characters returning and new crimes to solve, one plot strand surrounds the death of rock guitarist and nearly man Bobby March. Parks draws on his own time in the music business, but never offers redundant information. This is typical of his writing in general, which is lean - eschewing extraneous detail or dialogue - and often mean, never stinting on depictions of drink, drugs, sex, and violence, yet it feels appropriate rather than gratuitous. Lines are blurred between the good guys and the bad, with Harry McCoy comfortable in both worlds. Like the perfect pop song, Bobby March Will Live Forever grabs you from the off and doesn’t let go, and Alan Parks continues his run of must-read novels. Alan Parks’ Bobby March Will Live Forever is published by Canongate Books By Alistair Braidwood







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FIFTEENS It seems like everyone in Northern Ireland loves Fifteens, but I didn’t even know of their existence until about seven years ago, when we gained some Northern Irish in-laws. This is one of their favourites. They’re one of the easiest cakes to make, they’re addictive, and, as you’ll see, they’re not ideal if you’re on a diet! So why are they called Fifteens? It’s not because there are 15 ingredients (as we first thought), but because there are 15 each of the three main ingredients.

INGREDIENTS One 397g can of condensed milk 15 digestive biscuits 15 marshmallows

15 glacé cherries desiccated coconut

First, put 15 of the biscuits in a bag and bash the living daylights out of them, just as if you were making a cheesecake base. Add the crumbs to a bowl. Chop the cherries and marshmallows in half and add them to the crumbs. Lay out a sheet of tin foil about 80cm long. Scatter the coconut over it evenly and leave it for later. Add the condensed milk to the crumbs, cherries and marshmallows. Get your hands sticky and mix everything together. Mould the mixture into a ball shape and remove from the bowl. Transfer it onto the coconut coated tin foil. Shape the mixture into a long sausage shape. Make sure the ‘sausage’ is coated in coconut. Wrap it in tinfoil, so it’s well covered, and place into the fridge for a good few hours. Then take it out and cut into slices. Eat! Remember to place any leftovers back in the fridge or it will go soft. Back to Contents

THEY’RE ADDICTIVE, AND, AS YOU’LL SEE, THEY’RE NOT IDEAL IF YOU’RE ON A DIET! Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 95



A recipe for making Cauliflower Korma which is an easy to make curry. Add other vegetables you like such as potatoes or courgette for varying textures. The korma sauce is creamy with the addition of almonds and yoghurt but without the need to add actual cream. Omit the yoghurt if you wish to make it dairy-free.

INGREDIENTS 1 large Cauliflower, broken into florets, leaves roughly torn 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 green chilli, chopped tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp coriander, ground 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp ginger grated 4 tbsp yoghurt 200ml vegetable stock

4 cardamom pods, bruised 2 tsp cumin seeds 2 tbsp ground almonds

Oil coriander a handful, chopped rice and naan bread to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the cauliflower florets and leaves in a bowl with 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp of the turmeric. Mix together then spread onto a non-stick baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender.w Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the cardamom and cumin seeds, and sizzle until fragrant. Add the onion and chilli, and cook until the onion is softened. Back to Contents

Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the remaining turmeric and the rest of the spices. Tip in the roasted cauliflower and stir well, Add the stock and almonds. Simmer for 5 minutes then stir in the yoghurt and heat through gently. Stir in the coriander and serve with rice and naan bread.

Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 97

SPICY ORGANIC SWEETCORN SOUP INGREDIENTS 1 onion (chopped) 2 garlic cloves (crushed) 2 tbsp olive oil ½-1 tsp chilli flakes

200g potatoes (chopped) 450g sweetcorn kernels 2 fresh bay leaves 1-litre chicken stock

Fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan with the olive oil until softened. Stir through the chilli flakes and a pinch of salt, then fry for 1 minute. Then add chopped potatoes with the sweetcorn kernels and bay leaves. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add a handful of sweetcorn kernels to a frying pan and toast until tender. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool a little, then whizz with a stick blender until smooth.

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Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 99

SOURDOUGH According to Google, searches in Scotland for Sourdough in the past month are up a whopping 90%. In a world without social contact, the bakers of the nation have emerged and they are baking sourdough. We may not be able to visit our actual mammys but we’ve created our own sourdough mothers. We are feeding them and watching them bubble away, with the promise of some warm doughy goodness in return. Passing our days, concerned over their rise and growth; we are watching their temperatures rather than our own, and it’s probably doing us all a world of good. Bread is the ultimate comfort food and my household’s favourite snack. The simple ingredients of sourdough mean most people have them ready and waiting at the back of the cupboard. Flour, water, salt, and time. Creating that loaf creates a sense of self-sufficiency that is definitely therapeutic. But there’s something else that’s going on here, sourdough I argue is self-care. It’s taking time every day to look after this living thing which will look after you in return. It’s the gentle passage of days, as you complete the steps. Feed the mother. Make the sponge. Make the dough. Let the dough rise. And finally, bake and gobble it all down with leftover marmite or hummus. That passage of time - in what is the strangest time we have ever lived through - is important. It is hard to put our screens aside. Whether it’s to read the rising mortality rates or check funny gifs, our fingers keep scrolling to gain some sense of control over what Back to Contents


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is happening. But, except for staying in the house and practicing good hygiene, we can’t control the outside world. What we can do is to put our phones down and get our hands messy. Folding the dough, fingers covered in sticky gooey flour is a moment of self-care. It’s ten minutes of blissful peace, where all that matters in the world, is whether your bread will rise. It’s become so popular that people are strolling past the ready baked bread to buy flour and it’s the hot ticket item on our shopping lists. Celebrities are at it too, of course. Stephen Fry has been standing over a bubbling starter, watching it grow, tweeting his progress. I’ve also been in on the action, I’ve had sourdough bread, sourdough pancakes, and there are sourdough bagels and pasta bookmarked on my laptop. If I could orchestrate a national delivery of bakery sized flour bags to the nation’s doors - I’d do it. Because it’s honestly helping - and that’s all we need right now.

Food and Drink by Laura Woodland Page 103



Some of you may have noticed, amongst the deluge of bad news which has dominated the first quarter of 2020, a new flicker of interest and support in our communities.

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A quick search on social media will illuminate your screen with charities, support groups and, quite simply, some very kind-hearted people. These are people who are willing to reach out and help those most in need at a time when we are strongly advised to stay indoors and keep our distance. Bikes for Refugees Scotland (BfR), a group of big hearted people based in Glasgow’s Southside, are a great example. BfR have reacted to the needs of the local community and repurposed their work; they now deliver food parcels to self-isolating New Scots - people who have arrived on our shores seeking a better life, some having risked their lives in the process. Gabe, who works for the charity, is busy most days driving around in his van, hand sanitizer by his side and food parcels stacked in the back. He is currently supporting six families who are in self-isolation. Gabe: “Having [resources] makes everything easier, but especially during isolation and social distancing.


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SAFETY AND SUPPORT People with health conditions that make them especially vulnerable can have a really hard time following the NHS guidance. What can they do if they don’t have money or speak English, or even phone credit? We can all help each other follow the guidance by looking out for those for whom it’s hardest to do so.” They’re also pulling resources and working with other organizations, “One charity we are working with now is Maslow’s Community Shop, Govan, they are amazing people and it looks like next week, we will be working with the Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers.” “We have a fundraising page to raise money to keep helping people get Back to Contents

through this, and then hopefully we can get back to giving people bikes.” Carol from Maslow’s Community Shop in Govan is trying to find a balance between safety and support, “We are trying to continually support those in need and to stay safe at the same time. We’re working closely with other small community organisations such as BfR to provide food, toiletries, phone top ups, clothes, art and craft activities, and a listening ear for people in social isolation. One family arrived last week from El Salvador - they had no food, no plates, bowls, or cutlery, they didn’t even have shoes for their kids. Small grassroots organisations are working together, pulling finances and other resources to try Community by Donald Shields Page 109

and support New Scots and others in the city who are struggling”. BfR have also teamed up with Edinburgh’s Bridge 8 Hub with a project to support the city’s key workers with free loan bikes, so that NHS workers can have a safe and easy transport method for getting to work. Their stock of bikes for the scheme is now beginning to run low, and the organisers are now looking at other options to keep up availability. They’re not looking for people to donate bikes directly to BfR or Bridge 8 Hub, as they don’t have the capacity to support this, and it would also introduce an additional level of infection risk. Instead they are trying to set up an online system where people would link up directly and make their own arrangements to lend and borrow cycles. Keep an eye on our social media @snackmag for more details. Also in Edinburgh, the Bruntsfield Neighbourhood Resilience (BNR) has delivered letters and dropped leaflets in the vicinity of four streets in Bruntsfield, asking if locals are able to give or need help. Their primary aim is to provide direct support to those in immediate need due to COVID-19. This can be assisting people who are ill and have to selfisolate, or those who have other specific needs due to the lockdown. What better way to support your immediate community, and meet more of your neighbours, than to create or join a group like the Bruntsfield Neighbourhood Resistance? Proactive, direct-local action such as BNR’s is alleviating some of the pressure on our strained frontline services and providing a timely opportunity to connect with your own neighbours. The current lockdown can, and should, be used as a catalyst for renewed togetherness and community focus. Find out where you can volunteer your support or request some assistance by looking for a group near you. Back to Contents

“THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE SHOES FOR THEIR KIDS” Bikes for Refugees (SCIO) SCO47302: bikesforrefugees.scot (Fundraising page: https://bit.ly/3dEIfRQ) Maslow’s Community Shop facebook.com/pg/maslowsgovan (Donate via PayPal and send to maslowscommunity@gmail.com) Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers (SC047169) glasgownightshelter.org volunteeredinburgh.org.uk coronavirus-support-group.co.uk Community by Donald Shields Page 111

For the last three weeks I’ve been really making the most of my new-found identity as a recluse, by complaining about how bored I am and scrolling mindlessly through social media. Living in what feels like an early 2000s chatroom,whether we’ve had time to adjust or not these platforms have become our link to a world beyond our walls. And if my screen time has just gone up like 600% over this period, you better believe my impatience has jumped to a pretty similar level.

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I’m not talking about being tagged in every selfie challenge on Facebook; I’m not even referring to those who believe social distancing doesn’t actually apply to them. What I am talking about is the rise of the Lockdown Hustler. We all have one lurking in our feed; you probably met them on a mates holiday when you were 19 and just never got around to removing them from your socials. Turns there’s nothing like a cancelled flight to Dubai to bring out this pearl of philosophical thinking: “If you don’t come out this quarantine with: a new skill a side hustle more knowledge greater confidence You never lacked TIME, you lacked DISCIPLINE.” I think I speak for us all when I say to this Twitter prophet, kindly go and fuck yourself. It’s a feeling that has been seeping into the public consciousness for a while and has now built to this cacophony of judgement; if you’re not working all the time, then what are you even doing? From execs on furlough that must use this time to be creative, to mums and dads working full-time from home, now subject to the unforgiving glare of the Perfect Parent WhatsApp Group Chat. Couldn’t you be spending more time with your family during all this? Why aren’t you doing an at home work-out? It’s yoga, don’t you know how RELAXING it is? It’s starting to feel a little like shortterm working from home has taken over our home life. This call for us to push ourselves beyond capacity, in a time that none of us could ever have imagined, is unfair. Self-discipline is not what is going to get us through this, and sneering at other Community by Emma Mulcahy Page 113

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people does nothing to improve circumstances. We need empathy and understanding, and, for once,


to cut one another a little slack. We all have our own goals; for some it means kicking off your morning with a run, for others it means just getting up and making sure you take a shower that day. Sometimes it’s organising Facetimes with friends and family every weekend, and other times it’s staying away from that Netflix documentary that everyone keeps going on about. There’s no correct way to spend your quarantine, so don’t beat yourself up over making choices that work for you. In this time, when it’s more important than ever that everyone in society sticks to strict rules, we can begin to feel lost. Our behaviours are now so limited; people are deprived of jobs they love, their hobbies, and the relationships that made them who they were. In a time of infinite sameness, it’s easy to feel that we’ve lost grip of our individuality. But in the face of this, we have the opportunity to appreciate ourselves Community by Emma Mulcahy Page 115

and others more than ever before. This can be a wake-up call for us to honour the ways that we are different; to finally realise how the same circumstances impact each person differently, and how in future, we’re able to support everyone in a crisis. Physical communities may be loosening, but is it possible that emotional ties are only getting tighter? We need to repurpose the things we take for granted, like the internet for example, and use them more sensitively. We have the opportunity to reach out in a non-physical way and strengthen our connections kindly. Instead of challenging people, let’s inspire and congratulate each other – everything is challenging enough as it is. Coming together in the ways still available to us, to offer support however we can, will do a world of good. Let’s use this unique window to the outside world to reflect not on what we’re currently seeing, but what we would like to see in the future. Or not. It might just be the right time to do nothing except be kind. Back to Contents


Community by Emma Mulcahy Page 117



If I have one more person recommending Joe Wicks’ daily exercise videos, I may finally snap. Self-isolation with my other half has, at the time of print, been harmonious and civil, but the barrage of self-help tips about meditation, yoga and HIIT exercises we receive from the social media ether is getting on our last nerve. And while wellness is paramount, what is equally as important is making sure you find some enjoyment in the quarantine. And to quote Mel B in the bittersweet Spice Girls classic “Goodbye,” you’ve got to search for the rainbow in every storm. Yes, I may be losing my grip of reality on day 15 of self-isolation. Here is your guide to surviving the quarantine in style. We, in turn, are open to your own suggestions on ways to make the most out of self-isolation: get in touch at @SnackMag on Twitter and let us know what’s keeping you busy.

JOHN WATERS MOVIE MARATHON Over time, John Waters has been on the receiving end of some absurd honorific titles: Guardian lists these achievements – “the pope of trash, the prince of puke, the ayatollah of crud” – yet they only scratch the surface. For the unfamiliar, John Waters is the infamous director of trash cinema classics like Pink Flamingos, Hairspray and Multiple Maniacs. His films explore all things Back to Contents

LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 121

grotesque, outrageous and camp. My personal favourite is Serial Mom, in which Kathleen Turner plays a maniacal suburban housewife who indulges in homicidal activity on a whim. Nothing will allow you to block out the absurdity of 2020 like entering the twisted, hilarious universe of John Waters: nothing is sacred, and thank God for that.

EUROVISION Followed by a gay gasp echoing throughout the world, Eurovision made the sensible decision to cancel Rotterdam 2020 following COVID-19. This marks the first time in the competition’s 65-year history that the show has been cancelled. However, there are several fun Eurovision events to keep its spirit alive until next year. For one, they are running a series of events, Eurovision Home Concerts, starring Eurovision artists posting live music on social media from their living rooms. Each episode of Eurovision Home Concerts will feature iconic Eurovision artists, including singers from 2020, as they perform their own song and a cover version of another Eurovision hit. Meanwhile, on Saturday 16th May, Graham Norton will host – at a safe distance – Eurovision Come Together, which will boast classic Eurovision performances, a look at what would have been in 2020, and entertaining interviews. So, while we may not have the contest itself, what we instead can enjoy are a series of events that remind us that Eurovision is so vital because it has unity at its core. So, we will get the world’s gayest disco this year, just in a slightly different format. Back to Contents

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READING IS FUNDAMENTAL Okay, so my resolution to read as much as possible during self-isolation has not been without its hiccups. But this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on the books gathering dust on your shelf or eating up space on your Kindle. Even better, think of this quarantine as an excuse to broaden your awareness of LGBT+ writers. From trailblazers like Langton Hughes and Virginia Woolf, to up and coming writers like Adam Silvera and Juno Dawson, there is an endless list of queer writers whose stories deserve your undivided attention. Picks from my personal list include any of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Alan Cumming’s heart-wrenching autobiography Not My Father’s Son and Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka, J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart.

ONLINE DRAG SHOWS Yes, RuPaul’s Drag Race is currently airing on Netflix UK each Saturday and Dragula’s three seasons are all available to stream. But the experience of drag in the flesh is hard to replicate, and some may need a drag fix during quarantine. Plus, queens used to playing regular gigs find themselves out of a job when no one can come to the show. However, a plethora of queens are ensuring their audiences are satisfied during these trying times by streaming online drag shows. A handful of drag queens scheduled to perform at Werq the World, turned their world tour show into a livestream  benefitting local queens that have been hit economically by the coronavirus. The April 4th show was hosted by the one and only Bianca del Rio herself. However, there are other platforms to support your favourite drag queens: for one, I caught a superb show from Alaska’s bathroom on Stage It, so keep your eyes peeled on social media channels to catch your favourite queens, especially our local Scottish queens, in action from the comfort of your sofa.

OUTTV REACHES THE UK 2020 boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to streaming platforms and the good news is that the UK now finally receives a premium TV and movie channel focussed specifically on LGBT+ content. OUTtv, the only British TV channel dedicated to queer programming, presents movies, documentaries and gameshows that appeal to everyone. You will have access to 500 LGBT+ specific titles, from RuPaul’s Gay for Play and Drag Race Thailand to documentaries like Being Divine. They also report from international film and TV festivals, ensuring only the best and freshest content is at your disposal. You need to subscribe to OUTtv through your Sky box. Perfect for a weekend (or let’s face it, permanent) TV binge celebrating queer stories and storytellers.


TikTok user @epipen7246 caused quite a stir when she posted a glorious, cinematic story on the social media channel. In her epic drama, the girl in question plays three roles: herself, her gay brother Jack, and their dad. Dad is on the computer when he stumbles across a mysterious app called Grindr using up all his data, causing Jack to freeze in fear mid-dishwashing. The impending doom is felt on his face as Dad continues to question what Grindr is, Jack begins stating his ignorance of the app, when the sister sees what’s about to happen and takes the rap. “It was me! It’s my workout app!” she contends, before she winks at Jack and he whispers, “thank you”. Entertaining social media content? Absolutely. But what this video really presents is the stark reality of what countless closeted LGBT+ people will be facing in this quarantine: being confined with people unaware – or worse, critical – of your sexual and gender identity. Without the option of leaving out of comfort or safety, thousands risk being placed in vulnerable situations for an uncertain period. Back to Contents



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LGBT Foundation, a UK-based charity and support network, have stated that requests for their services and support were more than double the number received in the same period in 2019. The prospect of self-isolating with abusive, unaccepting family members is frightening. The alternative, worryingly, would be taking to the streets. LGBT+ homeless charity akt (Albert Kennedy Trust) state on their website that they are receiving an enormous increase in calls, particularly from those under 18: “At a time where LGBTQ+ young people who are living in abusive or hostile environments are having to self-isolate, their safety and wellbeing may be more at risk than ever before.” The BBC has recently highlighted their wide range of services, including emergency safe housing with host families, access to food, phone credit top-ups and more. Of course, these invaluable services themselves are under pressure as those working on the frontline face working remotely. On Thursday 19th March, LGBT Foundation temporarily shifted to become a remote service delivery charity due to the pandemic, meaning their face-to-face services would be suspended until at least 14th April. But it is important to remember that most organisations are still functioning in whatever capacity they can: help is available. Moreover, these are times where relying on one’s chosen family has never been more vital. Maintaining strong lines of communication can be vital in assuring your loved ones that you’re

safe but having allies on your side will hopefully assure you that things are not permanent, and you will be okay. Here are some resources available to those who require intervention or support: The LGBT Foundation Domestic Abuse program is still providing one-to-one support around domestic abuse. This will not be face to face, but the case work sessions will take place either through telephone support or online platforms such as Zoom. They state that if it is not safe for you to use these platforms then the case worker can communicate over email or text. They can be found at lgbt. foundation/coronavirus/remote-services. akt specialise in LGBT+ homelessness support and are invaluable if you find yourself in a precarious or dangerous living situation You can reach them at akt.org.uk/get-help. Similarly, LGBT Switchboard (switchboard. lgbt/) have excellent provisions in place, including a chat service and exit site feature you can use if you need to close the window quickly to avoid harm. Trans youth charity Mermaids are focusing on protecting core services such as webchat, helpline and email support. They can be found at mermaidsuk.org.uk/news/covid19-information. Back to Contents




As COVID-19 continues to impact the globe and put increasing pressure on the NHS, we must not overlook the detrimental effect the virus is having on the LGBT+ community. It bears repeating, for example, that LGBT+ people statistically have higher rates of HIV and cancer, may have a compromised immune system, and must be more vigilant to prevent contracting the virus. Furthermore, LGBT+ people are more likely to smoke than their straight counterparts (making up around 50% of US smokers) and may be more vulnerable given that the virus is a respiratory illness. However, most concerning is how trans people are impacted by COVID-19. Trans Equality state that more than 1 out 5 transgender adults have at least one or more chronic condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, or asthma, while fear of discrimination keeps many from going to a doctor. With that in mind, try and be vigilant with all the healthy practice encouraged by the NHS. However, most concerning is the knock-on effect the virus poses to gender-affirming surgeries. Cancelling or delaying such vital procedures threaten patients’ mental and emotional health. As pressure mounts on the NHS and its admirable frontline workers, let’s hope trans health services aren’t too disrupted in the coming months. Stay safe everyone. Back to Contents

UGANDA ARRESTS LGBT+ campaigners in Uganda are criticising a move from police officials to arrest and charge 23 LGBT-identifying people for disobeying social distancing rules. They accuse the authorities of enforcing these laws not out of public safety but rather as a homophobic abuse of power. In Uganda, same-sex activity is illegal, and one can face lifetime imprisonment for “carnal knowledge against the order of nature.” Fourteen gay men, two bisexual men, and four transgender women, were taken into custody following a raid in Kampala (three were released); the group was beaten before being made to complete a “walk of shame”. And because of travel ban restrictions, the group does not have any legal representation. The risk is that they are more susceptible to contracting the virus in prison, which is more likely given how LGBT+ are more compromised to the virus than straight people. While COVID-19 must remain an international priority, we cannot let violations of human rights and the abuse of power fly under the radar.

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COMIC BOOKS When it comes to representation in pop culture, especially the world of comic books, inclusion is imperative. Unfortunately, we’re still at a point where the people creating the most accessible, financially successful work are a homogenised group, and don’t necessarily reflect the diversity of comics’ consumer base. With that in mind, it is great when creators try to inject some diversity into new characters: but it’s not as easy as it may appear, as artist Luciano Vecchio and writer Daniel Kibblesmith have learned, the hard way. The pair created two black non-binary characters Snowflake and Safespace, two heroes appearing in the upcoming New Warriors  series. Upon reading this, I assumed this was a barbed joke at the expense of the non-binary community, or at best a jab at those seemingly over-sensitive social justice warriors. I’m sure the characters were created with the best intentions, and the gesture is valid, but this misstep risks tarnishing what could be an interesting, inclusive new title. This feels like a reminder that while the act of inclusion is crucial, more thought, care and communication must be put in to avoid clumsy errors in judgement.

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CONVERSION THERAPY Can you believe I’m still writing news stories about conversion therapy? Surely the day we look back on the practice of altering a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and repressing nonheterosexual behaviours should have passed already. The practice varies from discussionbased therapy to more extreme measures such as electroshock therapy and the use of medication. Yet it still exists in several parts of the world. However, progressive countries continue to move to ban such practices, most recently Canada. The country’s proposed legislation aims to prosecute those who cause a person to undergo conversion therapy, or advertise/profit from the practice of removing a minor from the country. Canada has already prohibited conversion therapy on a provincial level, with Ontario, Vancouver and Calgary having already done so, but to see such progress across the entire country is a promising sign of progress I hope is emulated across the world. LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 137



A STRANGE CHANGE WILL REARRANGE YOUR PRIORITIES This strange change is affecting us all. Turned us into salaried, full-time bleachers. Its lost us music, religion, football. Forced me to sack the pilates teacher. Working from home is not natural for a human, sliding across our kitchen tables like Starsky & Hutch. Hello? Sorry boss, but I'm watching a good repeat of Loose Women and I'm eating my second lunch. There are conspiracy theories about 5G causing pigeons to fall dead from the sky but my tinfoil hat is 'one' with the TV and it's a chip shop famine which is the reason why. Then the good strange happens like drawn rainbows, compassion, Joe Wicks' fitness class, family time, live video performance, the twentieth hour NHS handclaps and I breathe. Relax. Teach myself to juggle. From all darkness, there is light at the end of the tunnel. By Stephen Watt

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A SPOON IS THE SAFEST VESSEL A Spoon is the Safest Vessel is a collaboration between emerging artists Juliane Foronda, Kirsty Russell and Tako Taal. It explores the small and often taken for granted, barely visible gestures and behind the scenes work that make up hosting. It was originally hosted in the Glasgow Women’s Library and was due to be exhibited by Aberdeen’s Look Again Project from 3rd April. Due to the current global health crisis the exhibition will no longer take place. However, the artists are presenting a small online response to stand in for aspects of the show. instagram.com/p/B-hI8_zH3eo Images: All images courtesy of the Glasgow p114 Tako Taal, ‘A Body’ p115 Tako Taal, ‘Spit’

Women’s Library. Visual Arts Page 143

For me, change often stems from my passions as they are often what drives, stimulates, motivates and fuels me. As exciting and intense as the extremes of change can be, they’re also often confusing, exhausting and disorientating. It’s because of that that I often struggle to set boundaries with my passions, but I’m learning that perhaps it’s not so much about limits or boundaries, but about balance. It’s impossible to do or be everything entirely all the time. I’ve come to realise that alongside our deepest passions also exists the possibility of toxicity - an over-indulgence or overstimulation that stems from deep care and desire, but perhaps falls short in perspective. I find it necessary to acknowledge the need to pause as much as we’re driven to push, remaining mindful that change unravels in its own time. Extract from compress(ed memory foam), 2019 online newsletters, Julianne Forunda Courtesy of the Glasgow Women’s Library.

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SNACK...IN - April/May 2020  

Interviews | Music | Film | LGBT+ | Food & Drink | Theatre | Comedy | Life Scotland's wee staying in and culture magazine. hello@snackmag....

SNACK...IN - April/May 2020  

Interviews | Music | Film | LGBT+ | Food & Drink | Theatre | Comedy | Life Scotland's wee staying in and culture magazine. hello@snackmag....

Profile for snack_mag