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CONTENTS WHAT'S ON | P10 INTERVIEWS | P18
EVENTS ARAB STRAP, HINDS, ELISABETH ELEKTRA, MAN OF MOON, FAUVES, JOE DONNELLY, HOPE DICKSON LEACH, SAVE OUR VENUES THEATRE | P106 ONLINE THEATRE AND WHERE TO FIND IT FILM | P116 YOUTUBE TREASURES REVIEW | P126 A DARK MATTER, HINDS, RUN, CALM WITH HORSES, THE ISOLATION SESSIONS FOOD & DRINK | P146 JUNE FORAGING, RECIPES, VEGAN HOME COMFORTS LGBT+ | P169 LGBT+ ELDERS WORDS | P178 FOXES AND COYOTES VISUAL ARTS | P180 BRIAN SWEENEY
CREDITS E: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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Hello! Welcome to Issue 2 of SNACK...IN. I hope you’re all doing alright and keeping safe out there. It’s a funny old world at the moment for sure. It’s that time of year where, in my household at least, we’d normally be busy with hyping each other up about the gigs and summer festivals we’d begun to plan for. This year, not so much. To quote Stephen’s introduction to this month’s track by track review, ‘It’s mince’. He initially wanted to go with a stronger word than mince but I think he sums it up nicely. Still, there’s loads to be getting on with. The cultural landscape is changing, it’s true. But there are some pretty decent signs that the lockdown isn’t stopping people from creating, instead simply
compelling them to find new ways of working and presenting that work. Live online gigs pop up and disappear like Whack-A-Moles (thanks for the metaphor, Hope), some festivals have managed to move much if not all of their experience online, and there’s been a welcome burst of homemade DIY material from both expected and unexpected sources. It’s all encouraging to see, but in my bones I know that for most of us, there’s nothing quite like the live in-person experience, and for that we need venues. So, we’re encouraging you to engage with your local venues and do what you can to help them through these difficult times. If you’re an artist, give your local independent a nudge and suggest an online gig to help raise some cash. If you’re a gig-goer, keep your eyes peeled for those gigs and while you’re enjoying the performance, throw in a few quid. This will help ensure that when we finally see the other side of this, we’ll still have places where we can meet to share live cultural experiences together. For our part, we’ll be selling limited edition prints of our awesome front cover illustration featuring some of Scotland’s most iconic venues. Buy one and we’ll donate half of the profits to Music Venue Trust’s Save Our Venues campaign. The rest will be sent in the direction of our hard-working designer/illustrator and writers. You can order your limited edition print at snackmag.bigcartel.com As for what’s in the rest of this month’s mag, I’m sure you’ll find your way around. Kenny Lavelle Editor email: email@example.com
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TOLBOOTH ONLINE MUSIC WORKSHOPS Stirling’s Tolbooth has released the first batch of their excellent online music-making resources and it’s well worth checking out. The resources are designed so that there’s something for everyone and include: an aleatoric (dice) songwriting challenge, ukulele and keyboard lessons, and an introduction to digital music making. The content is primarily aimed at young people but there’s nothing to stop anyone else getting involved and learning. You’ll have the option to submit recordings and from there they’ll be able to share them over their social media channels. There’s also a bunch of quizzes and playlist challenges if you fancy getting involved without picking up an instrument. stirlingevents.org/creative-learning
What’s on By Gregg Kelly Page 11
WE ARE ONE: A GLOBAL FILM FESTIVAL 29th May till 7th June With all major international film festivals having been cancelled or at least postponed for the foreseeable future, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Enterprises have organised this free ten day YouTube festival to help fill the gap. In partnership with 20 of the world’s top festivals it will feature a selection of films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and conversations contributed by the likes of Sundance, Tribeca, Venice, Berlin and Tokyo film festivals. Donations raised will be given to the World Health Organisation Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. youtube.com/WeAreOne
FENDER GUITAR LESSONS For all wannabe guitar enthusiasts who have suddenly found themselves with plenty of spare time – fair play, that’s a pretty wide demographic right there. Fender is offering the first 1 million people to apply three months of free online guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons on their phone, tablet, or computer. Step by step instructions are provided to help people with any skill level from beginner to Back to Contents
Online Diversions By Gregg Kelly Page 12
pro. There are thousands of songs available to practice on including tracks from Weezer, Paolo Nutini, The Smashing Pumpkins, Foster The People, and Green Day. No credit cards, sneaky subscriptions or strings of any kind attached. try.fender.com/play
FESTICKET This Festicket page is a decent jumping off point for discovering which bands and DJs are streaming live events online. With the website being updated fairly regularly it offers you plenty of options for when you’re planning your Zoom/ Messenger/WhatsApp party. If you can’t see anything you like then follow a rabbit hole till do you. We’ve discovered live gigs/sets from the likes of Floating Points, Post Malone, Carl Cox, Claptone, and countless others here in the last few weeks. Direct links to the events eases the stress of sourcing a stream at 7:57pm half a bottle of rum deep for that 8 o’clock kick off. festicket.com/magazine/features/livestream-concerts Back to Contents
Online Diversions By Gregg Kelly Page 14
snackmag.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 0141 632 4641
LA SCALA OPERA HOUSE VIRTUAL TOUR Fans are being offered virtual tours of this famous opera house after the long awaited and long delayed project was completed during lockdown. The tour includes visuals and information regarding the vast tapestry of archive material held within the building. It’s perfectly possible to lose a good chunk of an afternoon here with 240,000 images, 16,000 documents, and detailed exhibits; plus close ups views of the costumes worn by stars such as Maria Callas, Renato Gattuso, and Luciano Pavarotti. artsandculture.google.com/partner/teatro-alla-scala
REUNITED APART 11th May onwards Promising to reunite the cast from all your favourite childhood movies (if you were born in the late 70s/early 80s), Josh Gad has already brought together the entire cast of The Goonies for his YouTube channel show. Big names involved include The Omen and Superman director Richard Donner, celebrating his 90th birthday and Steven Spielberg. “Back to The Future” is the current reunion. Back to Contents
Expect appearances from almost everyone involved in the creation of the all time classic, including writers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Whether Gad manages to rope in the somewhat unpredictable Crispin Glover remains to be seen. Itâ€™d be great if he did though, eh? Donations are gifted to a new charity each show; episode one raised funds for the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy, part of the Covid-19 response fund. youtu.be/crdYIUdUOhc
RAVESPOTTING VICE is presenting this new documentary series which explores vast and varied rave culture scenes. With the first episode exploring the online world of virtual parties, it seems a timely exploration of a new development in our culture. This first episode explores reasons behind vast numbers of people quitting mainstream social media, and embracing VR live events and Zoom/WhatsApp/Messenger parties as an alternative. What does the future have in store for rave culture? youtu.be/xELrgYIt2vo Online Diversions By Gregg Kelly Page 17
ARAB STRAP HINDS ELISABETH ELEKTRA MAN OF MOON FAUVES JOE DONNELLY HOPE DICKSON LEACH SAVE OUR VENUES
We’re not at the stage where we can look for the positives of the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s fair to say Arab Strap fans have had reason to cheer. With Bandcamp waiving their fees on certain days, incentivising artists to release new material, it’s been a busy time for music fans. It’s also been a suitable time to unveil archive recordings, and the Falkirk duo has given us 20 new releases to enjoy.
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We caught up with Aidan Moffat, from a safe social-distance, to hear about the archives, how he is dealing with lockdown, and where we all go next. Obvious question to start with, but how are you doing at the moment? I’m doing pretty well, thanks – I’ve been working from home for over twenty years now, so there’s not been that much upheaval for me, other than the social aspect and having my children at home, of course. I miss a visit to the pub, certainly, but I’m probably enjoying more walks now than I ever did. I’m just happy we’re all okay, and thankfully I don’t know anyone who’s been struck hard. The most frustrating thing is the lack of knowledge and testing – I had a 24-hour illness that felt exactly like the bad chest infection I had last year, and I thought my time had come. When it had all but gone a day later, though, I dismissed it as nothing, until I read a blog by someone who’d tested positive and his mild symptoms echoed mine exactly. So I don’t know what to think, and it’s disgraceful we’re so far behind on testing, and we now have the worst death toll in Europe, and so much of that has been in care homes too ... to be honest, I spend a lot of the day being really angry. Our response to the pandemic looks set to be one of the world’s worst. Music by Andy Reilly Page 21
When did you first think about releasing the Arab Strap archive? We’ve been meaning to do it for years, at least since we got back together for gigs in 2016. We’ve both got boxes full of old, unmarked CD-Rs and tapes, so when we had to cancel our work plans when the lockdown started, we finally jumped into it. It was really good fun, too – I know nostalgia is often seen as something cheap and lazy, but in times of stress it’s very helpful. Some psychologists suggest it as a treatment for depression – it helps to know that today is only temporary. So, I think it’s been helping me make sense of the situation; I’ve been finding myself re-watching lots of comfort TV too, like Alan Partridge and Toast of London. I know these shows inside out, but I think I need them more than ever right now. That said, having listened to nothing but that Arab Strap archive material for four weeks, I never want to hear it again! Has there been any release or live show that has taken you by surprise? Lots of them! There are loads of alternate live versions of songs that I’d completely forgotten about ever playing, like a quiet, acoustic version of Turbulence in Melbourne, and a full-band version of Meanwhile at the Bar that I think we might’ve only played once or twice. The best find was the early version of Shy Retirer, which we thought we’d lost forever in a studio back-up drive disaster (although Back to Contents
WORKING IN GENERAL HAS BEEN A GOOD TONIC
Music by Andy Reilly Page 23
THE BEST FIND WAS THE EARLY VERSION OF SHY RETIRER, WHICH WE THOUGHT WEâ€™D LOST FOREVER IN A STUDIO BACKUP DRIVE DISASTER
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IF ANYONE READING THIS THINKS THEY MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING OF NOTE, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH ON TWITTER
thankfully it’s not as good the one we released in 2003). Is there anything else in the vaults you can release later? There are a few things we can hopefully put together over the year as we go, yes, and we’re still searching for more (in fact, if anyone reading this thinks they might have something of note, please get in touch on Twitter). There are quite a few of our early demos still missing, for instance, and I’m absolutely certain I put them somewhere so safe that I can’t even find it myself. Hopefully they’ll turn up one day soon, but I’ve searched everywhere. My last resort is my father-in-common-law’s garage, but that’s down in Somerset, so it’ll be a while before I get a chance to look. What band or artist would you love to see release their archives on Bandcamp? God, I’ve no idea. The thing is, we live in a digital age of limited-edition boxsets and bonus tracks and outtakes, so I think it’s quite likely that I’ve heard just about everything I ever wanted to. For instance, I just realised that I’ve never heard any Talking Heads demos, so I googled it, and their first ever recordings as a three-piece are on YouTube. At least that’s tonight’s entertainment sorted! Are you able to write / plan your next musical move during the lockdown? I’ve still been writing and recording stuff at home, Music by Andy Reilly Page 25
yes – in fact I’ve been really busy, it helps keep me sane – but when and how any of it comes out is all still up in the air. I’ve been having a chat with labels and music friends today, and it’s really hard to plan anything when we don’t know how long the venues will be closed. Realistically, I think it’s unlikely that mass live events will be allowed to happen until we’re all vaccinated, and that’s at least a year away, probably more. Is the lockdown making you question how you will work in the future, or is it too early to say? The music industry learned a while ago that it’s never too early to think about the future, and we all want to be prepared for what’s coming. As I say, the last thing to return to normality is going to be gigs, so in the meantime we’ll have to make money in other ways, because, as you know, gigs were the vast majority of our income. That could mean live-streaming shows and selling merch etc., but ultimately, I think we’re all going to have to address how music is delivered to the consumer and how much we value it. Is this the time for artists to call for more support in making streaming sites pay more? It’s certainly highlighted the issue, yes, but we’ve been saying that for years now and nobody’s listening, in fact Spotify have actually been trying to reduce their royalty rate in the past couple of years. We also set up the Spotify COVID-19 Donation Back to Contents
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY LEARNED A WHILE AGO THAT IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
WEâ€™RE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO ADDRESS HOW MUSIC IS DELIVERED TO THE CONSUMER Music by Andy Reilly Page 27
I THINK A LOT OF MUSICIANS WILL BE RETHINKING THEIR APPROACH TO STREAMING THIS YEAR.
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button thing on the Arab Strap artist page, more out of curiosity than anything, and so far we haven’t received a single penny – but people who pay for streaming can’t be expected to pay more when they’re also being told they’re paying enough. Spotify’s undoubtedly a great tool for the consumer, and it’s useful for musicians and selling tickets too – that’s how we tend to justify the tiny payment rates, because at least those people who are streaming will maybe buy tickets, and in some cases records too. And it’s true, it works – on my last few tours with RM Hubbert, there were much more folk coming to see us than there were buying albums, which is great. But when you don’t have a tour to promote, it’s harder to find a reason to let people access your music for next to nothing, and I think a lot of musicians will be rethinking their approach to streaming this year. Hopefully it may lead to at least some slight reversal of the situation, and listeners will begin to value recordings again while there aren’t any gigs to go to. I can see a future where Spotify is the platform for pop acts and its major label shareholders, while the independent labels will all be on Bandcamp and in record shops, which I think could work well for everyone. Are you the sort of person who spends a lot of time looking back on your past albums and work? No, not at all, I don’t listen to any old material unless it’s for reference or approval. Indeed, I doubt Music by Andy Reilly Page 29
this archive would’ve happened at all without the lockdown in place, we were always good at finding excuses not to do it. But as I said above, I think it’s been a bit of a coping mechanism, and it turned out to be good fun too. What is getting you through the current situation, and would you offer any advice to help others? Besides working on the archive, working in general has been a good tonic, but I’m lucky that I have a job that’s a bit of an escape in that way – not everyone feels like this, but making music for me is a way of winding down. I think doing something creative can certainly help be a distraction, but then again there’s nothing wrong with lying in bed with Netflix on all day, if that’s what gets you through. I’m not really one for handing out advice, except to say be good to yourself, stay safe, and I’ll see you in the pub as soon as they turn the taps back on. The Arab Strap archive is available on Bandcamp: arabstrap.bandcamp.com Back to Contents
STAY SAFE, AND I’LL SEE YOU IN THE PUB AS SOON AS THEY TURN THE TAPS BACK ON
Music by Andy Reilly Page 31
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Sometimes you get the impression that many musicians forget how much fun being in a band is supposed to be. There is music for every mood, but when a band comes along who genuinely seem delighted to be making music and having fun, it is hugely refreshing. Hinds have made big waves in the past couple of years and the lead tracks for the band’s album The Prettiest Curse have been raising expectations for even more joyous songs and boundless energy. SNACK caught up with guitarist and vocalist Carlotta Cosials where we inevitably discussed quarantine but also chatted about dance moves, travel and their fabulous new sound. Hi Carlotta, how are you? I’m doing alright. It is a strange time for everybody. I hate quarantine, officially! You’ve been active on social media during lockdown – does this help you stay upbeat? Yes, definitely, 100%. It helps me to feel useful for somebody. I feel everyone is a bit lost, and you’ve been pulled away from the things you like. Giving people things to do, or watch or things to forget about feeling depressed, I think it’s pretty cool. We did a good job in that sense. Your new video for ‘Just Like Kids (Mau)’ looked a lot of fun. Gracias, thank you very much for saying that. I love that video. Your band looks as though you are always having fun – what’s the best thing about being in Hinds? It’s that we get to travel the whole world and travelling Music by Andy Reilly Page 33
is one of the best things you can do in your life. You’re discovering how other people cook, eat and behave. I think that’s beautiful. It helps me comprehend human beings. That must make quarantine even sadder? Yes, that’s what I was telling you, I officially hate being quarantined. When we lived in normality, the days I spent at home the whole day, I couldn’t bear it, I couldn’t stand it. My house is not even that big. Yeah, loneliness is behind the corner, you know? What are you looking forward to most after quarantine? I can’t wait to play live. I can’t wait to play live the new songs. They’re going to be awesome and we have a new live set. Now we bring in a keyboard and Ana is learning and practicing so much. It’s going to be great; we have a new sound, Amber bought a new SPD (sampling pad) and we have so many improvements. I have a new guitar too, a Gibson SG, which is beautiful. We’re so ready to be back on the road. Hopefully we’ll see you back in the UK in September. Exactly, yes, September. Your new album, The Prettiest Curse was recorded in Brooklyn – how was the recording process? It was pretty chilled. All the albums before, we were pretty stressed in the studio. I don’t know why. Back to Contents
MUSIC IS ENDLESS AND FREEDOM SO WHY PUT YOURSELF IN THAT CAGE AND ONLY PLAY GUITAR?
Music by Andy Reilly Page 35
LET’S PLAY SYNTH, LET’S PLAY THIS LITTLE CYMBAL, LET’S PLAY EVERYTHING WE CAN TOUCH BECAUSE THAT’S AN ALBUM
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Maybe because we were in a hurry or didn’t have enough days or whatever. With this album, we had the time to make good decisions and to sit down and think a little bit about it. So, when we went to the studio, it wasn’t everything in a rush because we already did pre-production in Madrid with producer Jennifer (Decilveo). And then we knew the songs perfectly, it was the perfect environment for good activity. We investigated and discovered so many new sounds and new instruments in the studio. We knew the structure and shape of the songs so good, we allowed ourselves to play around it, you know? Do you feel more confident about production and making your songs sound bigger? Yes. To me, it changed my vision in music because for the first two albums we were trying to reproduce a live show in the songs and the production, more or less. We were only playing two guitars, bass and drums, that was it. And with this album, we decided not to put ourselves in that cage. Music is endless and freedom so why put yourself in that cage and only play guitar? Let’s play keyboard, let’s play synth, let’s play this little cymbal, let’s play everything we can touch because that’s an album; and an album is an album, a recording. And live shows are live shows, you cannot do magic with live shows. It doesn’t matter, live shows Music by Andy Reilly Page 37
have another energy, so suddenly, allowing ourselves that freedom made the album so much better, and so much alive. Will you also have new dance moves in the live show? Haha, Please, yes, 100%, don’t even doubt it! We’re going to be so much better, yes. I’ll look forward to it. Do you have any last messages for your fans in the UK? I want to say to our fans in the UK that we love you so much, we feel your support, and we really feel thankful for having you. And listen to the album, and buy! Hinds new album The Prettiest Curse is released on 5th June on Lucky Number. Hinds are scheduled to play at the Classic Grand in Glasgow on Sunday 20th September 2020, and our fingers are crossed for that show.
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I WANT TO SAY TO OUR FANS IN THE UK THAT WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH Music by Andy Reilly Page 39
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Elisabeth Elektra’s debut album, Mercurial, is a catchy and canny collection of sharply defined electropop, embracing emotional truths in a digital mosaic. Glasgow’s ‘femme witch’ uses source material from her divinations to create crystal-powered pop celebrating the divine feminine, welcoming the listener into her cosmic world. Having carved out a reputation for live performance under previous names Sargasso Sea and Zyna Hel, but despite the title changes, the music’s remained consistent. Lindsay Corr had a socially distanced catch up with Elisabeth to find out more about the record, described by Elisabeth as ‘if Erasure had a baby with Diamanda Galás; songs from a different universe that slipped into this one.’ Your debut album has just been unleashed into the world. How does it feel? It feels really good, I hadn’t realised the relief I would feel! I feel like I’ve been tense from the moment I started recording it. I’m a focused person and was constantly in that creative space so it’s great to finally put it out. I’m very driven by making, I come from an art background, so my whole drive is just make the work and don’t think about how it’s gong to be perceived, but I’ve been quite shocked by how it’s been received. I wasn’t expecting people not to like it but equally I wasn’t expecting such an outpouring of love and positivity, it’s been really Music by Lindsay Corr Page 41
nice! And it’s such a strange time, to be able to have a feeling of connection through this album is great. Speaking of strange times, were there hesitations about releasing amidst Covid-19? It’s helped in some ways and hindered in others. It’s impossible to tell what would’ve happened without this going on or if I’d waited, that’s why I chose to just keep on my plan because we don’t know how long we’ll be in this position. Also, people have been having a really rough time and the record is positive, so I wanted to put it out now to give people something uplifting. The 10 track album merges poetically potent lyrics with upbeat tempos exploring love, loss and desire, can you elaborate on your double layered sound? I don’t feel like it’s conscious, I can’t control too much. I can edit, but when I write a song it just comes out the way that it is; I feel like the song already exists and I just have to pull the thread. A lot of the music I love has those two elements existing together – the joy and the gloom. Something that has energy and makes you want to dance but is also heartbreaking at the same time. Was it difficult to decide which tracks made the cut? It felt choosing certain kids to come on a trip and leaving others behind! In the end it was quite intuitive. I don’t know why, but these just felt like the Back to Contents
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HAVING A REALLY ROUGH TIME AND THE RECORD IS POSITIVE, SO I WANTED TO PUT IT OUT NOW TO GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING UPLIFTING
Photo: Marina Fini
Music Musicby byKenny Lindsay Lavelle Corr Page 43
FOR A LONG TIME, I TRIED TO HIDE IT. IT FELT JUST AS HARD COMING OUT AS A WITCH AS IT DID AS A BISEXUAL Back to Contents
songs that needed to be on this record, if I tried to bring another one in it didn’t work. I doubted my decisions but I’m glad I stuck with my gut and kept it succinct. I wanted it to make sense and not just be me dumping all the music I’ve made into one thing. How does the femme witch persona play into your writing process and performance alter ego? I’ve always been into magic and the occult. I remember this shop in Newcastle, I used to get the train through every Saturday when I was about thirteen and spend all day there, I was obsessed. From a young age it’s the way I’ve found out about myself. It’s not the only part of me and maybe in the future that’ll shift as I move forward. For a long time, I tried to hide it. It felt just as hard coming out as a witch as it did as a bisexual. I felt, and still feel, that fear of what people are going to think about me when they read I’m into the occult and mystical experiences feed into my art. Are people going to mock me? In creative spaces, spirituality is often ridiculed, so I’ve often wrestled with that, especially as a female artist. To be able to put something out which has some quite overt mystical themes and for it to be well received is really cool! Your aesthetic is striking. Was this look a conscious decision or did it happen Photo: Xponorth
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organically? Aesthetic has always been important to me. I was dark, goth, other-worldly when I started, and I wanted to bring in more colour but wasn’t sure how. Then I found Marina Fini on Instagram and thought she was incredible, so I private messaged her and we became friends. She’s had a really big influence on the visual world the record inhabits. She immediately got my songs which helped the look come organically between us. Do you have a favourite track from the album? I love them all! I really love ‘Obsidian’. I don’t know, I love ‘My Sisters’ too, and ‘I Am the Love but ‘Obsidian’ has a special place in my heart. I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever written because I feel the most emotional connection with it. You are known and praised for live performance. Are you missing it? Yes, and I wish I could be playing these songs live right now. My launch would have been 13th May, so it’s a Back to Contents
I THINK IT’S ONE OF THE BEST SONGS I’VE EVER WRITTEN BECAUSE I FEEL THE MOST EMOTIONAL CONNECTION WITH IT
I COULD HONESTLY WRITE AND PRODUCE SONGS EVERY SINGLE DAY, IT’S WHAT COMES MOST NATURALLY TO ME
bit sad, but it can still happen after all this! I tried live streaming and I find it weird not having anyone there to connect with, but I can’t turn off being creative, so I’m using the time to record, keeping myself focused on solidly escaping through music! Will there be more singles/videos from this collection? Yes, three things – one is an alternate version of a song that I’ll put out in June. Then there’ll be videos for ‘Hieroglyphic’ and ‘I Am the Love’, and they’ll come out when it feels right. Do you find it easy to move on and create new material? I could honestly write and produce songs every single day, it’s what comes most naturally to me. If anything, making them into albums is the hard thing. If I were to follow my natural rhythm, I’d be releasing a song and video each month, to feed that constant creative drive. But songs can and do belong together, it can make sense and I felt that putting Mercurial together. And my job now is to work out from all the new material which songs want to be together. You can listen to and purchase Mercurial via Elisabeth Elektra’s Bandcamp page. elisabethelektra.bandcamp.com Music by Lindsay Corr Page 47
Man of Moon sound like theyâ€™ve been busy with their lockdown, pulling together a remix EP and working on new material. I caught up with singer and guitarist Chris Bainbridge to chat about the new EP, touring with The Twilight Sad, live music during lockdown, and the importance of grassroots venues.
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How’s it been going with the new remix EP? Great! I’m so pleased with the way it’s turned out. We just really wanted to use artists who are really relevant in today’s Scottish music scene. We wanted to work with people whose music we really like and see what they could do with it. It’s been really cool to hear people’s different takes on the same song. The way that some of the artists have chopped up the vocals and completely changed the compositions has been wicked. We always wanted to do a remix release cause I love it when bands do that. I’m a big Radiohead fan and they’ve got a couple of b-side/remix EPs and albums that we’re a fan of. After we did ‘Chemicals’ last year, we found we had a record that lended itself really well to being remixed, especially ‘Skin’. So we asked Django to do ‘Ride the Waves’ and one of my best mates, Danny, he’s Amber Leaf, he wanted to have a bash at ‘Skin’. We actually had them last year, so we’ve been sitting on them for quite a while. I wasn’t really sure what to do with them cause we’ve been working on the album. Then it got to lock down and I was like ‘F’ing hell we need to put them out while people are at home bored. So I thought, why not do a ‘Chemicals’ remix release and get quite a few people more to add to it and make an actual collection. We already had two at the start of it then Mikey did one. I got in contact with Millie from The Ninth Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 49
Wave, Edwin Organ, and Zoe Graham to see if they’d be keen. Luckily they were and they’ve done a brilliant job, so it’s worked out well. I’ve also done another version of 'Ride The Waves'. I’ve not used any of the tracks from the original but I’ve re-recorded the bass parts and drums at home on synths and stuff. It’s a bit more like electronica and I’ve re-recorded the vocals. Moving away from the remix EP for the moment. The night you played at the Usher Hall last year with The Twilight Sad was a bit of a special evening. To be honest it’s actually a weird one. That was one of the shows that, from the outside, it would have looked immense. It really was immense, the build up to it was insane. I was super nervous about it but also really really buzzing. It was class that we got to do the whole of Europe with them and then finish in a hometown. That was amazing but I was so nervous for it. I just really wasn’t digging the sound on stage and I thought I was playing shit; so I just hated it. I came off stage like ‘F'sake, that was shite’, and was in a bad mood. I watched a video that someone put up the next day and to be honest it actually sounded alright. Sometimes when you’re in that headspace on stage it’s really difficult to listen to anyone saying it’s good or that. I think we were also tired from being on the road for a long time and it was Back to Contents
WE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO A REMIX RELEASE CAUSE I LOVE IT WHEN BANDS DO THAT.
the last show of this big tour. There was a lot of pressure, you know? Watching Twilight Sad afterwards was unbelievable, proper insane, and so emotional. The tour as a whole was amazing. Some of the shows in Germany and Italy were really really cool and getting to hang out with the boys for longer was really fun. Has lockdown been a good break from gigging for you then? Yeah, it’s been great having a chance to work on my production skills a bit. I’ve just moved into a new flat in January and I’ve been setting up a wee bit of a studio in my room. My mate gave me an electronic drum kit, a really good one as well. So I’ve got a guitar, and a kit, and a synth now. Having all this free time has meant that I can try and get better at making demos in the flat. Weirdly, I’ve just been recording demos on my phone for the past ten years or whatever. My mate gave me a version of Logic last year that I’ve only just got round to putting on my laptop. So it’s been cool. I’ve always wanted to get into reading cause I don’t actually normally read but I thought it would help with lyric writing. I’ve been reading Mark Everett from The Eels’ autobiography. I love playing live to be honest. I love the buzz of it. So in that way it’s been a bit boring. Not actually getting to see shows is a bit of a bummer. Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 51
You did the online Tolbooth session a few weeks ago. How did that go for you? I really enjoyed it but was actually dreading it. I’m a bit of a caveman and not very tech savvy so I was really paranoid that something was going to go wrong – it ended up being fine. It was really cool to see people engaging with the set in the comments afterwards. I just finished the set, had a beer, and sat and went through the comments – it was really heartwarming. There were people tuning in that had seen us in Italy with The Twilight Sad, folk from Germany and that. It was weird playing just to my phone but I definitely want to do it again. We’ve actually got another couple planned. I think musicians and the industry have to adapt to the fact that live-streaming has become much more of a thing. It will get a bit more professional as it goes on cause lockdown’s going to get lifted and bands can go into the studio or whatever. We’ve some cool ideas about us doing a live stream set when the album comes out further down the line. With the Chemicals remix release, which is coming out on the 29th May on Spotify and everywhere else, to celebrate it on the Friday I’m going to play a half hour set just like I did for the Tolbooth. It’s going to be me playing guitars, vocals and synth for half an hour. When I finish it’s going to cut over to Mikey in his flat and he’s going live-stream a DJ set with a couple of the remixes and banging tunes that he likes. So, Back to Contents
WEIRDLY, Iâ€™VE JUST BEEN RECORDING DEMOS ON MY PHONE FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS.
Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 53
IT’S JUST GUITAR AND DRUMS, AND WE’RE JUST LOCKED IN.
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people can listen to depressing tunes from me and then dancey tunes from him. It should be fun and it’ll give people something to look forward to. It’ll feel more like a gig, you know? Cause we love playing gigs and then doing DJ sets after. You’ve played a lot of grassroots venues over the years and they’re obviously struggling right now. What’s your thoughts on the importance of small venues? Oh man, I could talk for ages about this. I think the small venues are the most important by a f'ing mile. All the best gigs that I’ve been to besides Young Fathers at Leith Theatre, which is also an independent venue – it was the best gig I’ve ever been to – have been in tiny little sweatboxes where you can feel the band right in front of you. I’m not into big stadium gigs or whatever, it’s not really my thing. I also love playing the wee shows. In terms of up and coming bands, if the small independent venues go then these new bands have got nowhere to play, there’s not going to be any shows for them. So they’re really vital to the music scene and I’ll be so sad when we eventually see some of them go. I can’t really see how all of them are going to come out of it. Some of them have come up with some really good ideas on how to raise money, places like Sneaky Pete’s and The Hug. I think the next year and a half is going to be really tough for these Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 55
wee venues. Do you think there’s a risk that the lack of opportunities for bands is going to cause some to dissapear? I know of a couple of bands that were just about to sign deals and then lockdown happened. I think some are going to really struggle to survive till next summer. But then, I think that lockdown has bonded the community. There’s already a really good community feel within the Scottish music scene but I’ve noticed even more that people are being super supportive of each other, so we’ll make it through with that. You were saying that playing live is what you really love. What are your favorite tunes to play? I’ve a couple from the new set. ‘This World’ starts off with really really quiet guitar and vocals and ends up with Mikey’s hypnotic beat at the end. The end part of that tune is so much fun to play; it’s just guitar and drums and we’re just locked in. Usually the crowd likes it quite a lot cause it’s quite unexpected I think, the ending. There’s a track that we don’t have in the set anymore called ‘No Nights Sleep’ that we did in a session for Vic Galloway on the BBC. I think that recording of that tune is the most proud I’ve ever felt of a recording we’ve done. It’s an intense one, just my kind of style. We might bring that back for album two. Man of Moon’s ‘Chemicals: The remixes’ EP will be released on most of the major streaming platforms on 29th May. Back to Contents
I THINK THAT LOCKDOWN HAS BONDED THE COMMUNITY Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 57
Fauves formed in Glasgow in 2017, their name inspired by Fauvism - an art style which is defined by a radical use of bold colours that separate them from their usual representational and realistic role, giving a new and emotional meaning to them.
YOU ALWAYS WANT WHAT YOU CAN’T HAVE AND CERTAINLY THAT’S THE WAY IT IS RIGHT NOW
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As the Scottish sun (not that one, don’t read it) began to set up residence for its annual game of hide-and-seek, Fauves had been gearing up for a series of gigs and summer festivals. With touring out of the picture due to lockdown the band have found some comfort in planning their releases for the remainder of the year. Recently released single ‘Wither Away’ is a dreamy, atmospheric two minutes and 50 seconds of indie pop magic that is ripe for radio. The B-side ‘Bathe’ is seven minutes of dreamy melancholy paired with a yearning for better days. We caught up with Ryan and Ciaran from the band to have a chat about their new singles and what might lay ahead later this year. Not to dwell but how’s lockdown treating you? Ryan: Pretty much the same, minus working and going out. I’m made for this, I’m not gonna lie. It’s right up my street, haha. Ciaran: I’ve been made unemployed through all this. I stay with my family so we keep busy in the house. Are you getting itchy feet through not playing gigs? Ciaran: I get uptight before gigs but recently I’m craving to get back onstage.
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You always want what you can’t have and certainly that’s the way it is right now. Ryan: I’m fine - playstation, tunes and chilling out. New single ‘Wither Away’ with B-side epic ‘Bathe’ have received support from South America. You’ve also had airplay in Japan. How does it feel being so secluded and hearing news of your music being appreciated in such distant parts of the globe? Ciaran: It’s mental being in a band just now still doing stuff during lockdown. It’s weird not having the affirmation that things are going well as you don’t have the shows and seeing the direct reactions of the crowd. But then you get Brazilian radio play so someone must like it. It’s a topsy turvy kinda feel being in a band right now. Ryan: It’s surreal people at the other end of the earth are listening to the tunes. In today’s streaming culture it’s highly sought after to be included in a platform’s curated playlist. You’ve recently been included in Spotify’s ‘Hot New Bands’ list: Ryan: It’s been hot. Ciarain: I think they actually mean best looking new band. Ryan: Yeah, I’ll take that. The new tracks ‘Wither Away’ and ‘Bathe’ seem to take a new melodic and atmospheric direction compared to your previous work. Back to Contents
IT’S A TOPSY TURVY KINDA FEEL BEING IN A BAND RIGHT NOW LISTENING TO THE TUNES.
ITâ€™S WEIRD NOT HAVING THE AFFIRMATION THAT THINGS ARE GOING WELL Books Music by Music Alistair by Donald by Andy Braidwood Shields Reilly Page 61
Was there a change in the songwriting process? Ryan: It’s funny because ‘Wither Away’ is three years old and was a demo previously played on 6 Music by Tom Robinson. ‘Bathe’ has been around a while and the original was more funky and not seven minutes long. Both tracks focus on relationships coming to a bitter end, something we can relate to and be sad about together. Why sit on them so long? Ryan: They were initially gonna be on an EP with our other tracks ‘Blank Eyes’ and ‘Floating Still’, but we just took too long to get them finished. We kept re-doing them.
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BOTH TRACKS FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS COMING TO A BITTER END, SOMETHING WE CAN RELATE TO AND BE SAD ABOUT TOGETHER
RYAN HAS PLAYED THE TITLE ROLE IN THEIR SHORT FILM ‘MR SWOLO’.
Ciaran: They were chopped up to bits and then stitched all back together. We never had a sax player when we started recording them. Then we brought in my brother, Matthew, who eventually played the sax on it. We were overdubbing millions of things, we need to stop doing that dont we? Ryan: I know, we end up taking so much time just adding wee bits. Jamie, our producer, was going aff his nut. With ‘Bathe’, all the twinkly sounds you hear at the start and the outro section are a total accident. We loaded all these files in from an old session and it all started playing at once. After listening we thought - wow that sounds really cool, so we kept it in. Ciaran: The tune is like Frankenstein’s monster, there’s been many transplants but we’re really happy with it. Can you tell us a little bit about the video for ‘Bathe’? Ciaran: Our pal Eric took the lead on that one. Kasparas and Eric are two halves of Humble Film Productions. Kaspurus does the filming and editing mosty but Eric wrote the script for this video for us. The pitch sounded amazing and they executed it to perfection. The mad thing is that none of us were even there for the filming, there’s only two seats in Music by Donald Shields Page 63
that vintage motor and none of us got in one. Ryan: They’ve also got a film coming out soon called ‘Sunshine Periphery’ which we composed some music for. Ciaran : ‘It’s a short film but it’s more like 20/25 minutes, so maybe a medium film. It’s shot in the desert in Utah. Also, Ryan has played the title role in their short film ‘Mr Swolo’. Earlier this year you made a big step in signing to Glasgow indie label First Run Records. How’s that going for you? Ciaran: It’s been amazing. One of the best decisions we ever made. You make a lot of flip-of-the-coin decisions in a band and you don’t know how it’s going to work out. We met them and we got on really well. I know Kayleigh (label manager) from uni years ago. They don’t intrude at all artistically and they just love the songs and help us get the music out to as many people as possible. Which we have been needing for so long. Ryan: The extra bit of guidance is definitely dynamite, it’s good having some wise heads around us. With the support of the label we’re set to release a bunch of songs. So we won’t go quiet in terms of content to put out this year. You can watch the videos for ‘Bathe’ and ‘Wither Away’ on YouTube now. Back to Contents
YOU MAKE A LOT OF FLIPOF-THE-COIN DECISIONS IN A BAND AND YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT’S GOING TO WORK OUT
THE TUNE IS LIKE FRANKENSTEINâ€™S MONSTER
Music Music by Donald by Andy Shields Reilly Page 65
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Joe Donnelly is a journalist, writer, video games enthusiast and mental health advocate. His book Checkpoint: How Video Games Power Up Minds, Kick Ass, and Save Lives considers the intersections of video games and mental health, and explores his belief that the interactive nature of video games makes them uniquely placed to educate and inform. He spoke to SNACK about the book, and the personal story at its heart. Checkpoint is a fascinating book. Can you tell us a little about it and why you wanted to write it? JD: It’s narrative non-fiction, so naturally there is a lot of my story in it. But that’s put in the wider context of both video games and mental health and how the two overlap. I’ve played video games for pretty much my whole life. My first taste was through the Atari ST, and I played all through the console eras of Nintendo, Mega Drive, right through to PlayStation, XBox, and PC. In my formative years they probably doubled up as companionship, and it was always a means of escape. When I left school I toyed with the idea of getting into video games journalism, but it didn’t feel like a real job at the time so I trained as a plumber and gas fitter. That was in 2003. In 2008 my uncle took his own life. At the time my girlfriend, my friends, and my family were all great, but I used video games as a coping mechanism – I just threw myself into playing to escape what reality meant at that moment. In the years that followed I struggled with my mental health. At first I didn’t really know what it was as I’d never experienced it. Even once I had identified these feelings I struggled to speak about them and, in the meantime, I was playing a lot of different video games and started to discover some that explored themes such as suicide, depression and anxiety. A lot of people think of gaming as FIFA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Football Manager, or similar, and they are essential for the ecosystem of the industry, but there are loads of independent games that tackle interpersonal themes. Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 67
Around this time I got a journalism degree and then freelanced for a number of publications including The Guardian, New Statesman, and PC Gamer. I eventually wrote a regular column for VICE about video games and mental health concentrating on those games that explored the themes mentioned, but also speaking to people who told their own stories about how their gaming experiences had helped them cope with similar things as I had been through. VICE was eventually restructured and the column ended, but I felt I still had a lot of things to say about video games and mental health, so I submitted an idea to publishers 404Ink, who were happy to go with it, and here we are. So, the time frame for Checkpoint was really around 12 years all in but, talking about it now, it seems like a longer journey. What has it been like to write such a personal book? JD: I’ve really enjoyed the experience. This has been a much bigger undertaking than the columns and it’s caused me to dig a little deeper into my side of things. I should mention, around the middle of that time frame, I sought professional mental health advice from my GP, saw a counsellor, got cognitive behavioural therapy, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. I’m now on medication Back to Contents
REVISITING THINGS WHICH I HAD KINDA FORGOTTEN ABOUT, THAT’S BEEN HARDER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE
and have been for 6-7 years, so I’m quite in tune with speaking about my experience. However, digging into that past for the book, revisiting things which I had kinda forgotten about, that’s been harder than I thought it would be. But that speaks to the seriousness of the subject matter. So it’s been good, and cathartic, but also… “Unsettling” is too strong, but it has meant dealing with thoughts and feelings that I thought I was over. I still feel confident enough, but it was a part of the process that I didn’t really see coming. It’s such an interesting way to approach a conversation about mental health, and one of the theses you’ve got is that games, perhaps over TV, film, or books, is a more immersive experience, one that has benefits other forms of media don’t. Books Music by Alistair by Kenny Braidwood Lavelle Page 69
JD: That’s how I feel. I think the interactive and persuasive nature offers something different. I should say, and I make it clear in the book itself, I’m not a mental health professional. I only know mental health through the lense of experience, and that’s the point of the book. I do speak to people who are qualified professionally and who know a lot more than I do, but in terms of exploring how games can relay information about mental health, I hope that’s what Checkpoint does. I think with more traditional media - like books – you sit down, you read, you consume the information, and then you can go and do with that information what you want. The same with film. It’s not to pit any form of media against another, they’re all crucial for their own reasons, but with video games you have to give more of yourself to keep things going. If you start a computer game then put the control on the floor and walk away, nothing will happen until you go back into it. It means you are always putting a little bit of yourself into the game. If you’re playing Super Mario, for instance, and Mario dies you would say “you” died, not Mario. You take on the role of the character you’re playing and that means that the power of video games to tell stories, to relay information, is really strong. I want Checkpoint to show just how powerful video games can be in exploring mental health. Joe Donnelly’s Checkpoint: How Video Games Power Up Minds, Kick Ass, and Save Lives will be published by 404Ink and can be pre-ordered now. Back to Contents
I ONLY KNOW MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH THE LENSE OF EXPERIENCE, AND THAT’S THE POINT OF THE BOOK
Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 71
With their usual annual programme of live events interrupted due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, in this their 14th year, The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) are doing things a little differently. This year theyâ€™ve moved their events online and are presenting a fresh new programme each week, complete with film, theatre, visual arts, and workshops.
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PROMOTING POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING, AND CHALLENGING STIGMA
Although it’s probably not what the organisers would have chosen under normal circumstances, it seems likely this temporary break from physical venues will potentially allow the festival to reach a wider and more geographically diverse audience. Also, with the festival taking the option of dividing the programme down into weekly chunks they are ensuring that you’re unlikely to feel overwhelmed by choice. Accessibility is clearly a high priority. Led by the Mental Health Foundation, SMHAF has grown into one of Scotland’s most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature. By engaging with artists, connecting with communities and forming collaborations, they celebrate the artistic achievements of people with experience of mental health issues, exploring the relationship between creativity and the mind, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, and challenging stigma. So, what’s on? Each Monday SMHAF will announce new theatre and film content, which is available for one week only. There is also a film discussion each Thursday at 8.30pm. Until 18th May you can watch I’ll Love Mental Health Awareness Festival Supported Page 73
AN INCREDIBLY POWERFUL PIECE OF GIG THEATRE Back to Contents
MANY OF THE FILMS SCREENING DURING THIS YEAR’S PROGRAMME ARE WINNERS OF THE ANNUAL SMHAF INTERNATIONAL FILM COMPETITION
You Till The End, an intimate documentary that sensitively examines the experience of those bereaved by suicide and Super Awesome World, an autobiographical show about how the kinds of challenges set by computer games can help you navigate depression. From 18th till 25th May they have a programme linked to the theme of Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week. You can watch: Troubles, a short drama where a troubled traditional Irish musician reenters the fold after a long absence, and his emotionally stunted friend wants to offer an apology; Grace, another short drama following a young girl suffering from generalised anxiety and a panic disorder, who experiences a soul-crushing interaction with her GP and must find the strength to look for help again elsewhere; That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (only available on Thursday 21st May), an emotional documentary exploring whether Lindsay’s love for her husband Paul can sustain her through the trauma of his brain injury, which leaves him in a perpetual loop of joke telling. Also screening is Electrolyte, an incredibly powerful piece of gig theatre exploring schizophrenia, depression and male suicide. Mental Health Awareness Festival Supported Page 75
Many of the films screening during this year’s programme are winners of the annual SMHAF International Film Competition, the winning films were recently announced, along with messages, clips and reflections on the films. As well as weekly film and theatre content, you can also view SMHAF at Home, an online exhibition updated regularly with new content, Mind to Move, online movement sessions to promote positive mental health take place every Tuesday, and Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat, a series of online conversations with artists taking place on Wednesdays from 20th May. There will also be a series of artists commissions coming soon, exploring ‘My Experience of Isolation’, as well as other exciting works. The festival will take place during May and June, including during Mental Health Awareness Week (18th till 24th May). Mhfestival.com Twitter: MH_arts Facebook: mentalhealtharts Instagram: mhfestival Back to Contents
ACCESSIBILITY IS CLEARLY A HIGH PRIORITY
Mental Health Awareness Festival Supported Page 77
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The Uncertain Kingdom is a brilliant and dizzyingly diverse anthology of twenty short films from twenty directors that give an insight into Britain as it stands on the brink of Brexit and what promises to be a decisive new decade. ‘Strong Is Better Than Angry’ is Hope Dickson Leach’s (The Levelling) entry to the collection, a drama-documentary set in a body combat class which asks: What makes women angry and what would they like to do about it? We caught up for a chat about the whims of political will, the looming shadow of Brexit, and the power to be found in learning to bear and focus anger. How are things with you? Alight, I wasn’t very well so I’ve had about five weeks out flat with it but I’m better now. Trying to manage the kids, life, the family, cooking…all that stuff that we’re all dealing with now. The Uncertain Kingdom had been planned to come out in April but the release was postponed due to the coronavirus situation. I’m guessing that will have been quite frustrating for you? Yeah, of course. We shot this film last year so we’re keen for it to get to an audience while it still feels meaningful and relevant – that was the big attraction for me with this project. It was attractive to make something very quickly that was a direct Film by Kenny Lavelle Page 79
response to things that were going on. It has been slightly frustrating that it’s taken this extra time but you know, it is what it is. It’s not about the virus and I think actually it might be interesting for people to be reminded of all the other things going on in the country outwith the virus. That these things will still have been happening and still have happened, and that we still need to talk about them and figure them out. It might be an interesting attraction, I think. Climate change hasn’t gone away, the problems with migration haven’t gone away, problems around disability haven’t gone away, power imbalances haven’t gone away. Yeah, in lots of cases these things are being thrown into the foreground and people are becoming more aware of lots of issues that they had been able to ignore. The homelessness problem is a really interesting situation with us witnessing a government suddenly able to help homeless people who they’ve been treating so abominably for so many years. It’s sort of interesting to see that, when the will is there, that the government and the country is able to solve a problem that we’ve been told is unsolvable. But there are other problems that we’re just not thinking about right now, like Brexit. Brexit is still looming. It’s still looming and it’s going to loom very large very quickly I think. Summer will bring that into sharp
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focus as the dates that we’re supposed to hit various negotiations and trade deals just whizz by. No-one has the time, space or the power to actually deal with the things that need to be done before we leave the EU. So I think that’s going to be a big thing in the next few months again. I hope it does. I hope we remember what an enormous thing it is that we’re doing and what the effects are going to be on this country. Delving straight into the middle of your film. There’s a change in mood and focus which arrives suddenly; you move from the women talking about their experiences and what makes them angry to the moment where you have a replica of David Cameron’s face being struck. I was shocked. In a way, it feels like it’s very personal. Good! The idea for the film came from when I was doing some body combat classes and struggling with various things. It was during the era of Me Too. I was furious. I felt the fury rising amongst women that we’d been told to suppress this for hundreds of years. You’re not allowed to be angry with people; we’re still not allowed to be angry. It’s a very interesting gendered thing that women aren’t allowed to be angry. I wanted to make a film about that really; about how hard it is to be angry and also how poisonous it is to be angry. But I also wanted it to be about how effective it can be when you move Film by Kenny Lavelle Page 83
it in the right way. That’s a whole big thing. I wanted to show that anger can make you strong. I know that’s really trite because that’s the title of the movie. [With kickboxing] I became really fit and strong and I was able to cope with my powerlessness at all these things that were going on in the world, and in my life, that I had no control over. And so when I became strong, yes I still had the anger, but I was able to bear it. I was able to organise and get effective. I wanted to celebrate that. Why is it personal? In the first draft of the script, I had about ten heads and there were lots of people. It was very expensive to build those beautiful heads. We wanted to do a digital 3D design and then with 3D printing it was a really complicated prop to make. In the end, I think I chose him because he’s impossible to argue with, that smug face. It really had to be something visual, you had to understand why she was doing it. I think so many people are angry with Brexit and we’re completely powerless. Cinema is all about violence, you could argue… It just was what it was and I’m kind of glad it’s shocking because it should be shocking. But also, he’s not real. This isn’t an invitation to do anything, this is a kind of seeing inside women’s brains actually. We can be powerful and we can be violent but it doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything real. I think by hearing what they all talk about, we
WE CAN BE POWERFUL AND WE CAN BE VIOLENT BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE GOING TO DO ANYTHING REAL
imagine all of the people that they are talking about as well. I think ultimately we’re seeing the faces of the women. It’s really about them. The press and the viral videos are always about the people who have the power and we don’t have the power. So let’s turn the camera around and put it on the faces of the people without the power who are trying to find a way to be powerful. How did you choose the women in the video? Were these people you knew from your kickboxing class? No, I wanted to find a really diverse mix of people so we did an open call. We just invited people who had things they wanted to talk about, things that made them angry. Some of them had done kickboxing and various different exercises, some of them have never done it before. There’s a lady in it who has been doing it for 25 years and is literally the most zen person I’ve ever met, and she’s phenomenal with her fists. It was brilliant. It was a really nice way to meet a group of people and they all actually became very close and they stayed in touch. I think it was a really nice group of people, who were all engaged in the world and their place in it and wanted to talk about that. So we were very lucky to be able to bring those women together and make something with them. Do you have a favourite line from the film? Someone said something about stealing her chips. Film by Kenny Lavelle Page 85
DOMINIC RAAB, LETâ€™S PUNCH DOMINIC RAAB. MATT HANCOCK, I WANT TO PUNCH MATT HANCOCK
I THINK ULTIMATELY WE’RE SEEING THE FACES OF THE WOMEN
Is that in the film now? I can’t remember if that made it. I love the one where she says ‘I just haven’t been listened to. Do you know what I mean?’ That’s the bridge. It’s the bridge between the anecdotal – the things that make you angry in your everyday life – to the power structure where you’re being ignored at a structural level. Not being listened to is something I struggle with. Final question. Who is it that you would like to punch today? Good grief! [laughing] Boris! Gove. I always want to punch Michael Gove, I think that’s just his face. Dominic Raab, let’s punch Dominic Raab. Matt Hancock, I want to punch Matt Hancock. All of them, I just feel like we should have a lineup. The Uncertain Kingdom will be available to watch on-demand on BFI Player, iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, and Curzon Home Cinema from 1st June. There will also be community screenings later in the year. Film by Kenny Lavelle Page 87
If you’re reading this then it’s probable that, like us, you’re desperately missing gigs. We love them too, of course we do. For many of us they’re the highlights of our weeks, months and years; the times where we get together to celebrate our love of music and share in that precious collective moment.
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EVERY VENUE AROUND THE COUNTRY IS PART OF AN INTRICATE NETWORK
That’s really the point of it all, isn’t it? Live music is about the artist and audience coming together to create that feeling of unity that is seldom matched in any other sphere of life. But today, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, what was previously live music’s strength now threatens its future. Hours, days, weeks and months: a third of the year seems simply to have evaporated, and with it immeasurable lost opportunities and income for our creative industries. Despite a nervy easing of lockdown conditions in England, and hints that Scotland will follow suit in the weeks to come, the wider effects of the pandemic and accompanying lockdown are still to be seen. With gigs predicted to be one of the last social events to settle into a sustainable ‘new normal’, it’s likely that the live music industry will be especially impacted. Around the country, venues of all shapes and sizes are facing a difficult route out of lockdown. Without help from the government and, crucially, artists and gig goers, they face uncertain futures. Save Our Venues is a national initiative launched by the Music Venue Trust to bring artists, venues and the gig-going community together to rescue our tremendous cultural spaces. Each of the venues are being encouraged to set up a crowdfunder, with proceeds going directly to them. A portion of the funds raised will go directly to creative professionals in need of immediate assistance, with artists being Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 89
matched to each venue. So far over one million pounds have been raised, with a target set of £1.5 million. Almost every venue up and down the country, from treasured intimate spaces all the way up to the cavernous behemoth, is facing an uncertain future. Individual grassroots venues have launched crowdfunders to help them through this enforced period of hibernation, some more successfully than others, as music lovers and artists gather round their favourites to help see them through their enforced hibernation. Nick Stewart is the venue manager and booker at well-known venue Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. He’s also the Regional Co-ordinator in Scotland for the Music Venue Trust. Speaking to Nick, he’s firmly of the view that it’s not just your favourite haunt that’s important in this situation. Every venue around the country is part of an intricate network supporting bands, sound engineers, bar staff, roadies, local food and drinks suppliers, and punters of every stripe. If one venue disappears, it’s not a given that another will be able to take up the slack. Valuable opportunities for bands and fans may be lost forever. He explains, ‘Sneaky Pete’s is part of an ecosystem; we don’t do better when other venues do worse. It’s the totality of people going to see music that is the rising tide that lifts all boats. Musicians need wide Back to Contents
IF ONE VENUE DISAPPEARS, ITâ€™S NOT A GIVEN THAT ANOTHER WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE UP THE SLACK
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I CAN REVEAL THAT KT TUNSTALL WILL BE DOING A BIG INTERNATIONAL FUNDRAISER FOR A SCOTTISH VENUE
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IT’S A ONE STOP SHOP FOR HELPING VENUES, BUT IT’S ALSO FOR ENABLING FUNDRAISING BY ARTISTS
networks to be able to tour, to be able to keep the ecosystem going. Whether or not those venues have managed individually to raise significant funds, or have a significant local pool of love behind them that is helping them get back on their feet financially, it’s still very important that all venues work together to make sure that the network survives.’ ‘The one thing that venues want to re-open for is to provide performance opportunities for musicians, because right now they’re losing their income. Most grassroots music venues want to be making sure they are supporting musicians. Part of what we have to do is be able to open safely, to be able to provide that. Music Venue Trust operates as a kind of nexus to be able to put the two of them together,’ he tells me. ‘So when you go on to the website, if you’re just interested in giving to a venue, fantastic; if you want to find out what online shows are available, that’s there as well. But it’s also there for musicians to find out what venues they want to support with an online show. It’s a one stop shop for helping venues, but it’s also for enabling fundraising by artists. There haven’t been too many shows yet; we’re all busy trying to pull together artists and some bigger names are going to be announced soon. I can reveal that KT Tunstall will be doing a big international fundraiser for a Scottish venue.’ Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 93
It’s not just city venues that are under threat. Rural spaces are in much the same boat, and Nick explains that if these types of venues disappear, then the diversity of music we enjoy today is under threat: ‘All of the arguments we’ve had over the last few years about making sure there’s really good representation of women and BAME people, that you have to see it to want to be it, that applies across music for everyone,really. When you lose music in rural areas, then for those who live there the idea that you could be a professional musician is a great deal further away. ‘Obviously the bigger cities will always attract people who want to be musicians’, he says ‘But it’s really important, and it’s a Scottish Government priority to make sure that culture reaches into every part of the nation.’ ‘As co-ordinator I’m speaking to all those venues, making sure they are getting access to whatever funding already exists, but also I’m speaking to the government to try and establish a dedicated fund that exists for grassroots music venues. There is one in London, and Creative Wales had already established a fund specifically for grassroots music, with funds up to £25,000 available in grant form. Scotland hasn’t had anything like that, and is far behind in establishing a dedicated fund that music venues can apply to. There is help from Creative Scotland for musicians, but the way it has been Back to Contents
IT’S A SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PRIORITY TO MAKE SURE THAT CULTURE REACHES INTO EVERY PART OF THE NATION
structured means it’s not appropriate for music venues to apply. Although MSPs are engaging with the Music Venue Trust, no Scottish politicians who have the power to create a dedicated fund have committed to do so, though Nick believes that this will come. Nick tells me that historically, grassroots music venues have had little relationship with government funding. Creative Scotland has seen very few applications from these venues and has granted fewer still, but he hopes this is going to change. He goes on to say that the time is now for Creative Scotland to understand that in grassroots venues they have an already existing network that does supply these very important paid performance opportunities for musicians. Live music garnered an astonishing one billion pounds for the UK economy last year. Nick explains that for every £10 ticket sold at a grassroots music, the immediate local economy gains on average an additional £17 worth of spend. In other words, spending money at these venues really benefits everyone around them, and boosts the whole music ecosystem. Grassroots music venues make hardly any money. One reason for this is because they pay it all out. They pay it out to local suppliers, local landlords, musicians. These types of venues are not that resilient, because they don’t bring in much cash. They almost operate as not-for-profits, even those Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 95
that have a company structure that isn’t not-forprofit. Nick emphasises the importance of making sure that venues are able to keep giving back to the music industry and its communities. But it’s not the case that nothing can be done. As the recent sudden growth in online gigs has illustrated, innovation is one of the hallmarks of the sector. It’s not a case of ‘sorry, you don’t get to have grassroots music venues any more’. Nick hopes that at the end of this crisis, if the right support is put in place, we can see this industry grow. ‘Let’s seize the opportunity to bring these venues properly into the cultural sector.’, he says. If Scotland wants to keep its unique and world-renowned music industry, now is the time for the government to demonstrate this desire. Venues are wary of approaching their already very generous punters, cap in hand, but the reality is that for many they have no other choice – their very future depends on it. Iain Coltman of MacArts in Galashiels says their venue is one of the lucky ones: they are a charity, and have low overheads for rent and staffing – many people working there are volunteers. ‘When the lockdown started, from that day on our income just stopped completely. We’re a community hub as much as a venue - there are lots of things [run from here] like Tai Chi for people with mental health problems, and coffee mornings for kinship carers Back to Contents
THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS [RUN FROM HERE] LIKE TAI CHI FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, AND COFFEE MORNINGS FOR KINSHIP CARERS
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WEâ€™RE GETTING GEARED UP FOR STUFF LIKE STREAMING LIVE GIGS
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– elderly people who look after young relatives, say if their mother or father is in prison or otherwise absent. It’s been terrible that the music has stopped and the theatre performances have stopped, but the community stuff has stopped as well. Which isn’t a pleasant situation to be in.’ Iain seems confident that the long term future of MacArts is secure. One concern, though, is that they may not be allowed indoor gatherings with lots of people until there is a vaccine. ‘It might be that we have to do other things. We’re getting geared up for stuff like streaming live gigs’ he says, ‘proper gigs, but just streaming them. We’re also looking at doing some outdoor stuff because it may be that the spread is far less risky outside. It may be that gatherings will be allowed outside before they are inside.’ Bloc in Glasgow’s city centre has over the years built a strong reputation for busy and eclectic freeentry gig nights, tied to their popular dirty fast food menu. They also operate a long standing pop-up venue in Finnieston, and pre-lockdown looked to be going from strength to strength. With social distancing rules effectively bringing their business to an abrupt stop, like many small independent businesses, they were forced to adapt to the world as it is. They recently launched a food collection service, and they’re about to start delivering too. Speaking to venue manager Chris Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 99
Cusack, it’s clear that though times are tough, they want to maintain a bit of a healthy perspective on it all. He says, ‘While it’s definitely inconvenient, in the circumstances we’re being pretty philosophical about it. We know that it’s necessary.’ Chris thinks that Bloc is an interesting yardstick in the scheme of things. He says ‘The last 5 or 6 years especially, Bloc has done really well. It’s been successful, it’s a good business model and it’s allowed us to build a bit of a buffer, a bit of a safety net financially. We’ve also got a lot of community support. We’ve really tried to strip it back and look at how long this can reasonably continue before it starts to jeopardize our ability to ever open again. We’ve got an idea of different scenarios, but I think given how well we’ve done and given that we’ve performed much better than some other venues, venues that I really like, it makes me concerned for them. I mean I’m concerned for us as well, but I think we’ll certainly be ok into next year – it would get a little bit squeaky after that.’ Sadly, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. It’s unavoidable that we’re going to lose some venues, and that furlough will determine the future for many. If furlough is discontinued too quickly or without due care, many venues will have to make a horrendous decision: either bankrupt their business, meaning that no-one has anything to go back to, or to lay off people at a horrible time. As Chris says, ‘There’s no Back to Contents
THERE ARE PRECEDENTS FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM
good option in that scenario.’ When lockdown is eased, Chris, in common with everyone I spoke to, doesn’t see it being a case of throwing open the doors and venues will be immediately at capacity. Yes, people will be desperate to get out and experience live bands, but at the same time they’ll naturally be wary of doing so. He suspects that a reduced capacity system will be put in place by the government, and this might prove to be financially untenable if not handled carefully: ‘You can’t really budget or have gigs and stuff if you’re working at a third of your potential sales. So I hope there’s some sort of system in place where the government reduces its own bill by maybe offering 50% of the furlough.’ This might allow venues to open the doors again, and if the government gradually reduces aid for businesses, would help them reacclimatise. We speak about social distancing in the context of pubs and clubs. For Chris, there is no way this is feasible. ‘You’re breathing the same air, you’re touching the same door handles, you’re using the same glassware.’ There are precedents from the rest of the world that we can learn from, he explains: ‘If they [the government] want to stick to limited capacities and use contact tracing, then that does seem like it would work – it’s worked in New Zealand, it’s worked in Taiwan, it’s worked in South Korea. They’ve organised it so that if someone is Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 101
found to have the virus, then at least you’ve got far fewer people to track down. And so the contagion level is reduced.’ ‘We’re lucky that we live in an age of technology, and we should embrace it. I know that people have concerns about privacy, but I think it’s about triage, it’s about what’s the important thing right now. There are definitely ways to do the tracing that are very data light and easy to monitor and unravel once things hopefully go back to some sort of normality.’ Bloc, and other small venues like it, are a great first step for bands finding their feet and for those who are starting to get a bit of attention. As well as local acts, they are able to attract unknown bands from outside the city or bands that are just starting to build a little bit of buzz. Bloc, for example, had Wolf Alice and Fontaines DC right at the very start of their careers. That’s part of the beauty of it, I suppose, and it’s what Nick from Sneaky Pete’s was talking about when he offered that grassroots venues are the research and development arm of the music industry. Obviously for every Wolf Alice or Fontaines DC there are hundreds of bands that never break through, but that’s part of the charm of going to see bands in smaller venues – you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. From there we’re back to talking about community and all that means to small venues. Broad music policies and outward-looking cultural viewpoints Back to Contents
WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF TECHNOLOGY, AND WE SHOULD EMBRACE IT
BLOC, FOR EXAMPLE, HAD WOLF ALICE AND FONTAINES DC RIGHT AT THE VERY START OF THEIR CAREERS Image: Justin Higuchi , Flikr | Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 103
ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING PARTS OF HIS JOB IS TO HEAR ACCENTS FROM 50 COUNTRIES IN A ROOM OF JUST 200 PEOPLE Back to Contents
lead to diverse crowds. Chris mentions that one of the most rewarding parts of his job is to hear accents from 50 countries in a room of just 200 people; itâ€™s the antithesis of the homogenised culture that is commonplace in bigger venues and chains. Even beyond nationality, grassroots music venues are able to bring together diverse communities and work to their own values, in a way that perhaps other cultural venues with more government funding or more complex business structures cannot. So, as we prepare to perhaps leave lockdown behind us, for the moment anyway, itâ€™s clear that the world we re-enter will be changed from the one we left behind. In our temporary isolation many of us will have been thinking about how to make the most of this opportunity for renewal and regeneration, both of ourselves and our communities. I strongly believe that small independent venues have a key part to play in this process. With their commitment to supporting creativity, their many and diverse benefits to marginalised communities, and their straightforward value to local economies, I can think of few institutions better placed to become part of the catalyst for change. We can only hope that the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland soon come to see them in a similar light, and act accordingly. saveourvenues.co.uk Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 105
ONLINE THEATRE AND WHERE TO FIND IT
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UPON LEARNING NONE OF US COULD LEAVE THE HOUSE, THE FIRST THING I CHECKED WAS IF FLEABAG, WALLERBRIDGEâ€™S DARK COMEDY ONE WOMAN SHOW, WAS AVAILABLE: TO MY DELIGHT, IT IS
Remember being outside? Remember being in an audience? Those were the days; I look back with bitterness on all the times I took for granted being in a packed theatre, and while my bank account certainly appreciates being reimbursed for the plethora of live shows I had planned for 2020, I am missing the theatre. However, audiences need not be disappointed as there are countless ways we can enjoy performances from the comfort (and safety) of our homes. What is just as important is supporting theatre companies however we can; few arts companies and events can survive without live performances. It is estimated that Broadway will be closed until 6th September at the earliest, while the practicalities of lockdown mean that some theatres face closures into 2021. So, we must do what we can to support them and pay good money to see the shows we love while the world gets back on its feet.
FLEABAG, SOHO THEATRE ON DEMAND I was devastated not to get tickets to see the inimitable Phoebe Waller-Bridge reprising the role that made her famous last year. However, upon learning none of us could leave the house, the first thing I checked was if Fleabag, Waller-Bridgeâ€™s dark comedy one woman show, was available: to my delight, it is. Your ticket is donation-based, and for every rental of Theatre by Lindsay Corr Page 109
the play you’re contributing to charities supporting NHS Charities Together, National Emergency Trust and Acting for Others. And anyone who never got a chance to see the live show can experience PWB’s complex, intense live rendition for themselves.
TRAVERSE OPEN SUBMISSION WORKSHOPS The Traverse is ensuring that creatives still have their outlet by running a series of Open Submissions Workshops that will available to view and listen to on demand and for free through their website from anywhere in the world. Playwrights and theatre makers from all walks of life and at various points of their career will deliver a workshop on a particular aspect of the writing process in an effort to support writers from their initial idea to drafting. This leads to potential submission to their Open Submission window beginning on 1st September, when it will be read by a team of theatre professionals for possible development and presentation at a future date. For those who may want to work on their ideas for longer, all sessions once live will be available to view and listen to at any point until 1st September 2021. An amazing opportunity to nurture theatre talent during lockdown!
HAMILTON ON DISNEY+ Okay, I adore Disney+. Unlimited Simpsons and X-Men content is too good to refuse. But Hamilton Back to Contents
PLAYWRIGHTS AND THEATRE MAKERS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND AT VARIOUS POINTS OF THEIR CAREER WILL DELIVER A WORKSHOP ON A PARTICULAR ASPECT OF THE WRITING PROCESS Books Theatre by Alistair by Lindsay Braidwood Corr Page 111
THE NATIONAL THEATRE HAS SO FAR OFFERED AN INCREDIBLE LINEUP OF PERFORMANCES
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fans can rejoice and be glad as the ground-breaking musical about a '10-dollar founding father without a father' will be on the streaming service from 3rd July. It was intended as a cinema release next year, but this is so much better. The performance was filmed on Broadway with its original cast in 2016. For the unfamiliar, Hamilton tells the story of lesser known American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his journey out of poverty and to power in the context of the American War of Independence, and it is quite the cultural phenomenon. At least you won’t be disrupted by obsessive fans around you muttering every lyric in tears… unless that’s what you end up doing in your living room.
NATIONAL THEATRE HOME The National Theatre has so far offered an incredible line-up of performances to watch from the comfort of your sofa, from James Corden’s Tony-winning turn in One Man, Two Guvnors to Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in Antony and Cleopatra. Still to come, excitingly, is Gillian Anderson’s transformative role as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. This iconic performance, one I never thought I would ever see, will be streaming from 7pm Thursday 21 May until 28 May. Visit their website to discover the incredible range of plays they are showing.
CARETAKER, THE ROYAL COURT You are invited to enter the Royal Court Theatre virtually thanks to an inventive, potentially ground-breaking Theatre by Lindsay Corr Page 113
installation by Hester Chillingworth. There is a live feed of the theatre set for EV Crowe’s Shoe Lady on YouTube as seen from Chillingworth’s static camera: literally nothing is happening, but the experience is eerily hypnotic. You are reluctant to pull your eyes away in case you miss the odd Tannoy message or light flicker; these details become the main event. There is something to be said for this chilling installation in allowing us the literal space to reflect on the notion of theatre; an empty stage being watched by dribs and drabs on YouTube is still theatre, and Caretaker is exactly the kind of innovation and creativity we need while we wait for (real) doors to reopen.
ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY Since the Bard’s birthday on 23rd April, six RSC productions have been available to watch free on BBC iPlayer: Hamlet starring Paapa Essiedu, Macbeth with Christopher Eccleston, Much Ado About Nothing with Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry, Othello with Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati, Romeo and Juliet with Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick, and The Merchant of Venice with Makram J Khoury. Dust off your Higher English SparkNotes and indulge in the company’s superb production values. The performances are guaranteed to be stellar, and it will impress the matches you made on your dating profile that you hope to see again once lockdown is over. Back to Contents
SIX RSC PRODUCTIONS HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE TOÂ WATCH FREE ON BBC IPLAYER Theatre by Lindsay Corr Page 115
In the last 5 years or so, YouTube has become a treasure trove for lovers of old movies. Many still see the site as a way to watch clip videos, and yes there are a seemingly endless supply of these. As the site has progressed and longer uploads have become available, thousands of old and some previously rare movies are now there for you to dive in to. As a lover of all types of vintage films, I have a decent grasp on whatâ€™s good and what should be avoided at all cost. Avoided unless you like watching films that make you shake your head in disbelief, such as Deadly Snail vs Kung Fu Killers. Back to Contents
AS A 14-YEAROLD THEY OPENED UP A WORLD TO ME WHICH CONTINUES TO CHARM AND BLOW MY SOCKS OFF, AND I AM STILL DISCOVERING GEMS
The old school Kung Fu movie genre, beginning in the late 60s and lasting till the mid-80s, is one that many dismiss due to the terrible English dubbing and low budget aesthetics. To me, that is opportunities missed. I’ve watched thousands of them, and yes, some are complete trash, but many are charmingly wonderful. If you are a fan of fantastical choreographed combat, there is no better place to find it. As a 14-year-old they opened up a world to me which continues to charm and blow my socks off, and I am still discovering gems. If there is any genre on YouTube that is served well, it is this one. Most independent Kung Fu movies are up there so there are a few Jackie Chan classics to be found. But there are many more movies by fantastic martial artists such as Casanova Wong to be found too; Duel of the 7 Tigers contains some of the most authentic fighting in any Martial Arts film. Taiwan made some of the best ever independent Kung Fu films in the mid to late 70s. Among my favourites are two by master director Lee Tso Nam, The Hot, the Cool and the Vicious (yes, a Kung Fu version of the classic Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). There’s also Fist of Fury 2, a sequel to what is arguably Bruce Lee’s best film, featuring imitator Bruce Li that almost tops the original. Others include one film that I and many other lovers of the genre count among the best ever made, Invincible Armour. Then there’s the most psychedelic Film by Martin Sandison 119
Kung Fu movie ever made, The Dragon, the Hero. My ultimate hero and arguably the best Kung Fu film-maker is Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan’s older training brother in the Peking Opera school they grew up in. The Victim is one of the most entertaining and emotive Kung Fu movies; the combat scenes are incredible. For Hip Hop fans, Mystery of Chess Boxing was majorly sampled and referenced by Wu-Tang Clan. Most of these movies can be found on The Wu-Tang Collection channel. It’s so big it has its own app. Quentin Tarantino is an omnipresence when discussing Kung Fu movies, and perhaps his favourite star of the old school is Jimmy Wang Yu. There are two films that he always mentions to check out, Beach of the War Gods (likened by him to the Japanese Samurai classic Seven Samurai) and Blood of the Dragon, directed by one of only two female directors who worked in the genre, Kao Pao Shu. You can also see Kung fu films that Tarantino hasn’t regularly referenced that I rate very highly, such as the aforementioned The Victim, and perhaps the most violent Kung Fu movie ever made, Invincible Super Chan. Another genre that Tarantino adores, as do I, is the Spaghetti Western. Kicking off in 1964 with Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. Again many dismiss the Italian Western for the same reason as the Kung fu movie. Interestingly the two go hand in hand with Back to Contents
DUEL OF THE 7 TIGERS CONTAINS SOME OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC FIGHTING IN ANY MARTIAL ARTS FILM
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THE AESTHETIC STYLE OF THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN WAS COMPLETELY REVOLUTIONARY AT THE TIME, WITH A GRITTY APPROACH TO STYLISED VIOLENCE
later films in the latter genre using music from the former. The aesthetic style of the Spaghetti Western was completely revolutionary at the time, with a gritty approach to stylised violence. The genre is well-represented on YouTube, with many of the classics available to watch. In my opinion, the second-best director after Leone is Sergio Corbucci, who directed the original Django, for me a much better film than Tarantinoâ€™s referential Django Unchained. My favourite of Corbucciâ€™s films The Mercenary is a wild ride, with pyrotechnic stunts, interesting character arcs and a fantastic performance by the original Django, Franco Nero. Lee Van Cleef made a bunch of these films, and among his best are the Sartana saga, Death Rides a Horse and Day of Anger. A subgenre with some depth is the political Western, best represented by the wonderful A Bullet for the General, starring one of the most charismatic villainous actors, Gian Maria Volonte. No article on vintage B movies would be complete without a mention of the great British studio Hammer films, and you can find them on YouTube in abundance. Plague of Zombies is a genuinely creepy number that had me shaking in my boots as a teen. Devil Rides Out is a kitsch, imaginative tale starring the late, great Christopher Lee. Of course, there are a number of Dracula classics up there too. Recently, due to the cancellation of many film Film by Martin Sandison 123
festivals, YouTube has stepped in to partner with them, creating We Are One: A Global Film Festival. This online festival will feature films which were to be screened by such giants as Cannes and Sundance. To show respect to the viewer and the worldâ€™s situation, all content will be free. You can expect feature films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy and panel discussions, all without ads. The movies I have mentioned are really just the tip of the iceberg, and there is a certain pleasure in digging through the vast numbers, dutifully researching what is good and what is not. Then thereâ€™s the pleasure of stumbling upon a total classic. A small number of these films are available in remastered widescreen forms, and for me, the grainy images, full screen and bad dubbing whisk me away to a fantasy world that still enraptures; a feeling that I hope some may also conjure for you. We Are One: A Global Film Festival runs from 29th May till 7th June on YouTube. Back to Contents
A SUBGENRE WITH SOME DEPTH IS THE POLITICAL WESTERN, BEST REPRESENTED BY THE WONDERFUL A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL
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A DARK MATTER HINDS RUN CALM WITH HORSES THE ISOLATION SESSIONS
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Book Review: Doug Johnstone - A Dark Matter Doug Johnstone is rightly considered a master of his chosen genre of crime, and his 11th novel, A Dark Matter, confirms this opinion This time around it’s a family affair, with three generations of Skelfs dealing with the death of patriarch Jim, a husband, father, and grandfather to Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah respectively. They run a funeral home but also work as private investigators and it is only a matter of time before the two branches cross. There’s an intensely personal missing person case, the mysterious disappearance of a past employee, and a potentially fraudulent adultery investigation to keep the family busy, and help them forget, or at least avoid, their grief. Johnstone weaves together the separate plot strands into a carefully constructed conclusion that will leave you giddy as it approaches - the tension ramped up another notch with each chapter. Few writers have the ability to immerse you in events as he does, but this time around it is taken to another level. Combining the highoctane action of Smokeheads and Hit & Run with the ‘domestic noir’ of The Jump and Gone Again, A Dark Matter feels like the novel he’s been working towards from the very start. By Alistair Braidwood
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‘Just Like Kids (Mau)’ doesn’t just give us the title for Hinds' The Prettiest Curse, it shows a band who are sticking up for themselves. Not by shouting back, but by being far too busy with their role of entertaining others and having fun to worry about unrequested assessments. You’d think given the band’s growth and success in the past few years; praise would be almost universal. That’s not how the (music) world works, and if Hinds have grown tired of their accomplishments being viewed through a prism of merely being girls in a band, they’ve answered their critics in the best possible manner. The group’s evolution on The Prettiest Curse is to be hailed, and explored. The introduction of Spanish elements, notably in ‘Come Back And Love Me’ helps to reinvigorate the band, and ties them closer to home than they have been in recent years. Back to Contents
Even though they bound with youthful energy and stamina, Hinds have logged a lot of hours on the road and in the air in recent years. Therefore, it’s no surprise that tribulations of touring life pepper the record. The distance from loved ones can be harder than the physical miles travelled, and for all this is an exuberant celebration built for everyone, it’s personal and all the more engaging. In both ‘Good Bad Times’ and ‘Riding Solo’, Hinds have delivered the classic pop song trick. Musically, you’ll be swept up and away, nodding and singing along with the chorus, while the lyrics are melancholic and hint at frustration. The topics are familiar to long-time listeners, but as with the sound, there is an evolution, diving deeper and explaining more. Maturity doesn’t have to mean boring or equate to losing a spark, it can mean having more confidence, and this is a record which swaggers and sashays in equal measure. While the songs released in the build-up to the album immediately stand out, ‘Waiting For You’, ‘Boy’ and ‘Take Me Back’ both have the power to jostle for your favourite song from the record. On some days they will be, but that’s fine because the competition is fierce. Give me a tightly packed highlyconsistent ten-track record over a meandering mess filling space and killing time any day. The phrase the album of the summer may not be the compliment in 2020 that it would be in other years, but it fits perfectly here. Ideally, this set of songs would be sound-tracking festivals, campsites, long drives and socialising with friends. This might not happen, but anyone looking for an album that offers hope and positivity in abundance, you’ve got everything you need. Good bad times indeed. The Prettiest Curse is released on 5th June via Lucky Number. By Andy Reilly Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 131
This striking third feature from Aberdeenborn filmmaker Scott Graham centres on 30-something fish worker and former boy racer Finnie (Mark Stanley). He’s become increasingly frustrated with living in the same small Aberdeenshire port town he’s ever known, beholden to his family that includes volatile son Kid (Anders Hayward) and concerned wife Katy (Amy Manson). But one a night a rage-filled reliving of his boy racer days involving his son’s pregnant girlfriend Kelly (rising star Marli Siu) puts him at a fork in his life’s road. As well as looking at adult responsibility, no longer attainable teenage dreams and the weight of what legacy you’ll pass on to your children, it’s a film about wanting to escape and leave problems behind in a naive search for allusive meaning. It’s bookended with the words of Bruce Springsteen no less, steeping the film in his ideas of getting out while Back to Contents
STANLEY GRIPS YOUR ATTENTION WITH A BELIEVABLYTORMENTED PERFORMANCE
you’re young. ‘How long will it take to get there?’ Kelly asks. ‘There’s no there,’ Finnie indignantly snaps. Will it come of anything? Maybe not but it’s the feeling in the moment that counts. Graham conveys that longing in a raw, primal way using a keenly-judged atmosphere of intoxicating night time haze, roaring car engines and screeching wheels. Probably most known up until now for TV’s Game of Thrones, Stanley grips your attention with a believably-tormented performance, making Finnie feel like a genuine person we can relate to and go along with even when rash actions get the better of him. The fact that in a thrifty 76 minute runtime we feel like there’s a real journey and sense of growth is a quietly impressive feat. It marks something of a left turn for Graham in filmmaking style in that his first two films, Shell and Iona, found their power in a more purposefully languid style where the scenery was as important as the characters. But Run approaches something altogether more immediate, raging at furious top speed when it needs to while still finding time to slow down to capture small yet important character moments that help give the film livedin emotion. It’s nice to see a filmmaker’s career evolve on-screen. Run is out to own on 25th May. By Ross Miller Email: email@example.com Page 133
There’s no shortage of stories about characters steeped in a life of crime and violence from which they can’t escape. Calm With Horses stands out from that crowd with an uncompromising right punch to the jaw of a volatile character study dressed up in the familiar clothes of a gangland crime saga. Cosmo Jarvis (Peaky Blinders, Lady Macbeth) plays Douglas Armstrong, nicknamed ‘Arm’ for his skills as an enforcer for the much-feared drugdealing Devers gang, led by the ruthless Paudi (Ned Dennehy). He’s the kind of misunderstood brute that Tom Hardy would have inhabited in his earlier days. At the behest of best friend and the family’s hot-headed leader-in-waiting Dympna (Barry Keoghan), Arm doles out beatings on those that have done the family wrong in a small town in the west of Ireland. But when asked to perform a Back to Contents
particularly brutal task for the people he’s been loyal to for so long, he finds himself conflicted as he weighs the effect it will have on his exgirlfriend Ursula (Niamh Algar) who is striving to provide a better life for their young son Jack. Director Nick Rowland, previously BAFTAnominated for his short film Slap, makes a quite stunning debut feature that pulls no punches. Rowland’s already assured directorial hand creates a keen sense of place and gritty realism while constantly wrong-footing by making us feel like we’re looking at something we’ve seen before in a new way. This is especially seen both in its depiction of a dangerous criminal gang and the power they assert over people’s lives through fear, forced loyalty and small town mythos and in the primal longing for our central character to escape the crime-filled hole they find themselves in, even if they were the ones who helped dig it. Set to a soundscape by Blanck Mass that positively coats the film in brooding atmosphere, and anchored around Jarvis’ dynamite central performance, it conjures unexpected pathos and depth of feeling beneath the chaos and savagery. Where many other similar films would only leave surface marks, Calm With Horses cuts deeper. Out to rent/own now. By Ross Miller Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 135
TRACK BY TRACK
Permit me some grumpiness. This is rubbish, innit? Being indoors when itâ€™s sunny sucks. All those events, festivals, milestones, missed memories and visceral experiences that wonâ€™t happen. The very fear that interacting with other people might be deadly. Mince. Utter mince.
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Image: Brian Sweeney
IT’S OK AND CATHARTIC TO SAY THAT THE NECESSARY CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE WE’VE ALL ADOPTED IS A BIT, WELL, RUBBISH
Despite most people starting half their sentences these days with 'I’m sure it’s much worse for others, but', it’s OK and cathartic to say that the necessary change in lifestyle we’ve all adopted is a bit, well, rubbish. Not everything has to be an incremental loss, though, surely something substitutional which wouldn’t have otherwise happened has to appear. As if by magic, LNFG have released The Isolation Sessions, a double album full of their artists covering each other which should go on to become a source of future nostalgia. It all starts solemnly enough with Mt. Doubt’s version of Sister John’s ‘Nothing Else’ where a saturated piano picks its way through a piled mix full of background vocals and whistling sonic layers. Cloth take everyone to their seemingly cloudlevel altitude with their version of ‘Magic 8’ (Annie booth). A countrified float through a song that was already loaded with heart-pulling sentiment. The guitars in Lola In Slacks ‘Don’t Move to Denmark’ (Broken Chanter) have just the right amount of trebley harshness and soaking reverb to make the song’s seventh chords sit right at the front of the mix taking what was already a great song into a David Lynch roadside diner. Having released one of last year’s most thoughtprovoking records, Broken Chanter’s version of ‘Still’ (Annie Booth) cleverly reflects the original Music by Stephen McColgan Page 137
lyrics in the instrumentation. The phrase ‘ringing in my ears’ collides with a piercing synth swell, the ‘longing in my chest’ line bounces around the irregularly vascular drum pattern before a fuzz guitar solo guides the track rather than dominating it before taking centre stage for most of the song’s last minute and giving way to an unsettling piano outro. Sister John brings ‘Secrets You Keep’ (Stephen Solo) into an intimate setting where the twin vocals seem to hug the clipped bass throughout. The result is an incredibly vivid, emotional sharing of an aural intimacy. Providing a slightly more industrial slant to the thus far acoustic-heavy proceedings, side two gets underway with Gracious Losers' Six Degrees of Separation (Domiciles). A start-stop chunk of distortion with the heavy echo on the vocals provides an odd, ghostly calm. Lemon Drink’s version of ‘Cherry Pie’ (TeenCanteen), unlike their live shows, is gloriously understated. Rising staccato strings and clean guitars should steal the show but, instead, it’s the wistful vocal harmonies that are running things here. There’s a distinct sound of determination that cuts right through the high registers used. Nicol & Elliot give ‘Backup Baby’ (L-Space) a complete re-working with the original's electronic backing and 808 drums shifted to an acoustic setting. The fiddle throughout taking the track to the Back to Contents
THE RESULT IS AN INCREDIBLY VIVID, EMOTIONAL SHARING OF AN AURAL INTIMACY
BROKEN CHANTER’S VERSION OF ‘STILL’ (ANNIE BOOTH) CLEVERLY REFLECTS THE ORIGINAL LYRICS IN THE INSTRUMENTATION
Music by Stephen McColgan Page 139
corner of an imaginary pub in Donegal. As a reimagining, this track probably succeeds in nailing the home recorded, alternative take vibe more than anything else on the album. Andre Salvador and the Von Kings continue this theme with an acoustic version of ‘Enemy’ (Foundlings) with the distorted power of the original translated to a quiet wondering about past foes. The bassline wriggles within the track giving a busy feeling to an otherwise serene musing perfectly at odds with the subject matter. The vocal recording in Annie Booth’s cover of ‘Sleep’ (Cloth) has caught every breath, exhale and hard consonant of her delivery to the point where it feels like the listener is being intrusive even having access to this. It’s an incredibly astute choice of tune as Booth breathes (literally) new life into an already intimate song. Rounding off side 2, Zoe Bestel takes ‘Show What You’re Made Of’ (Medicine Men), and hands back something altogether different from the original. There’s what sounds like a toy piano throughout the second half of the track (could be Zoe doing something clever with a ukulele, though) that shifts the mood from stark bedroom recording to themefor-a-killer-ghost-child. It’s worth mentioning the production at this juncture. Using multiple tracks of home recordings by different artists in different rooms must’ve been a real Back to Contents
THE TRANSITION FROM VERSE TO CHORUS WILL MOVE EVEN THE MOST DANCEAVERSE FROM SEDENTARY TO UPRIGHT
challenge to mix effectively. Without compressing everything and losing the idiosyncrasies, they’ve done a fantastic job making the record something which lives as an entity in a single mood. Out of all the tracks here, the swapping of tracks between Bis and Slime City probably seemed the most likely sources of straight covers, however, Bis' cover of ‘Dial Up Internet’ (Slime City) manages to dial down the original’s frantic sound and the call/ response sections are so perfectly suited to Manda and Steven’s deliveries that it almost sounds selfpenned. L-Space inverts Leo R Bargery’s delivery of ‘Headless’ (Mt. Doubt). The Trans-Europe Express style intro fits perfectly with each note’s decay building their own character. The transition from verse to chorus will move even the most danceaverse from sedentary to upright. I’m a big fan of the sort of reverb-heavy guitar that the original version of ‘Airport’ by Sister John boasted so imagine my surprise at loving Life Model’s stripped-down version. In fairness, the guitar does make an appearance for the solo, but the rest of the song sounds more at home in this slowed setting. Medicine Men bravely take on ‘Oh My Dear Friend’ (Mark W Georgsson) swapping the quasibluegrass feel of the original for a more New Romantic approach. The rhythm-driving toms almost Music by Stephen McColgan Page 141
SLIME CITY’S VERSION OF ‘KANDY POP’ (BIS) HITS ALL THE SPOTS YOU’D EXPECT. Back to Contents
sneak in a calypso feel and just give the whole thing a joyful ambience – reinforcing the notion that this entire record is a one-off borne of circumstance. Deer Leader specialise in huge soundscapes but their doom-laden version of ‘Pull Your House Down’ (Lemon Drink) took me slightly unawares. The last minute, where a breakdown is followed by typically enormous sounding layers of samples, guitars and vocals feels like a release after the first 3 minutes have thoroughly deconstructed the original. ‘Curiosity Door’ (Cloth) was a brooding mash of textures. Hearing Close Lobsters up tempo version of it is absolutely exhilarating. Driven by pounding bass and drums, the build-up of organ and synth pads panning and phasing brings a mildly malevolent energy at odds with almost everything else on this album. Including the sample of its famed Top of the Pops intro, Slime City’s version of ‘Kandy Pop’ (Bis) hits all the spots you’d expect. There’s something about Michael’s eternally youthful vocals that would put the vigour back in the oldest of replaced knees. In terms of song choice, the citizens of Slime City have obviously nailed it. Paisley’s The Muldoons swap the original bathwater sample from ‘No Pill For What I’ve Got’ (Stephen Solo) to the sound of a passing car before launching into the song in typically breezy fashion. Their trademark brass elements forgone in favour of a very jangly solo, this is possibly the sunniest thing on the compilation. One to keep for future summer days when we can legitimately Music by Stephen McColgan Page 143
go outside. Foundlings acoustic take on ‘Under London Skies’ (Close Lobsters) is possibly the most hopeful sounding song on the compilation while Carla J Easton takes a similar approach to ‘Mould Me’ (boohooHoo) turning the Europop-tinged original into a powerful pleading where the multi-tracked vocals provide a sumptuous elevation. Penultimate track, Vulture Party’s haunting treatment of ‘Somewhere in the Night’ (Starless) is ideally suited to some future film soundtrack. The cello, whether real or synthesised, carries the mood somewhere between hopeful and frightened. As far as perfect closers go, The Martial Arts' ‘Suddenly Heaven’ (Stephen Solo) fits the awkward bill adding piles of electronic ambience to the original. The absence of the drums in the pre-chorus only accentuates them when they come back in for the chorus itself. And that’s how this gatefold sign of the times signs off – with a chunk of hopeful pop that could almost wrestle its way into a John Hughes film. There are lots of bad and boring things going on around you right now so it’s maybe important to cherish any small beautiful things that come out of this international malaise. They may be few, but take them, celebrate them and treasure them as part of the world you experienced when you couldn’t experience the world properly. Stay safe and stay sound. Back to Contents
TURNING THE EUROPOP-TINGED ORIGINAL INTO A POWERFUL PLEADING WHERE THE MULTITRACKED VOCALS PROVIDE A SUMPTUOUS ELEVATION
Music by Stephen McColgan Page 145
JUNE FORAGING RECIPES DANDELION SYRUP NETTLE CRISPS WILD GARLIC PESTO
VEGAN HOME COMFORTS
There has never been a better time to learn about foraging than now. The weather, current global situation and need for exercise have all aligned to make it a no-brainer to do so. But what to pick? Surely there is more to foraging than nettle soup? Of course there is! But don’t knock nettle soup, as it’s surprisingly tasty. Wild garlic and dandelions also grow freely across Scotland, so it can be easy to rustle up wild garlic pesto, nettle crisps and dandelion syrup. You’ll also be saving cash and giving yourself a valid excuse for getting outdoors. As long as you follow some golden rules, foraging can soon become part of your life. Back to Contents
1. MIND WHERE YOU PICK Thankfully, in Scotland the ‘right to roam’ is enshrined in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This permits us to use all land, public or private, for recreation, education and access with a few restrictions - such as behaving appropriately and not for commercial purposes. A copy of the act can be found here: legislation.gov.uk/ asp/2003/2/contents Use common sense when foraging, and wherever possible, seek permission first.
2. MIND WHAT YOU ARE PICKING Are you sure you are picking the correct plant? Some have lookalikes which are poisonous. Make sure you have identified your plant correctly. The plants discussed here should be easily identifiable to most readers.
3. PICK IN MODERATION Remember that it’s not only us who like these plants. Birds, insects and many other animals enjoy a munch as well. Take some, but leave plenty behind.
4. WASH BEFORE USE Give your bounty a good wash. Stray insects will get a free bath.
5. AVOID LOW-LEVEL PICKING ON PATHWAYS Think about how high a dog’s leg can reach! These areas are also more likely to have pesticides and pollutants as well. Try not to pick from right beside a path. Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 149
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FORAGE? CONTAINERS AND BAGS Canvas or jute bags seem to be the best, as fruit won’t get sweaty with condensation if it is a warm day. Plastic bags can rip easily if you are wandering about in the undergrowth. Take some tubs with you as well; if you are picking different kinds of plants it will help keep them separate.
TOOLS Hands are the best tools for us, but a pruning knife will be handy for tougher plants and removing any thorns.
PROTECTION Kitchen gloves should give adequate protection when picking nettles, but thorn-proof gloves will give the best protection against cuts and scratches. Bring an extra pair of gloves just in case they tear.
WHAT TO FORAGE
Three plants to start your foraging journey with are nettles, wild garlic and dandelions. These can be found abundantly in Scottish parkland and woodland, and they’re easy to identify.
NETTLES This is one that just about everyone knows from childhood. Choose young plants and pick the pale Back to Contents
green nettle tops. Nettles are OK to pick until June, when they can get a bit tough. Don’t pick when they are in flower, as the plant then releases a chemical that kidneys do not find helpful at all! Also avoid plants which have their leaves tinged with purple: this could mean the plant is stressed and the leaves will probably taste bitter.
WILD GARLIC Wild garlic loves wet ground, so it should be everywhere in Scotland! You will often find it growing near streams and rivers, and especially in older woodland. The flowers add a flourish to salads as well as tasting good. They do look similar to Lily of the Valley, so if you’re unsure, pick a leaf and squash it in your hand. It should smell strongly of garlic. If it doesn’t, then you’ve probably just picked the poisonous Lily of the valley.
DANDELIONS Despite having a bright yellow flower, these are considered weeds by many. However, the flowers can be used to make tea, wine or a sweet syrup, which is a bit like vegan honey. Or you can simply use the leaves in salad, which can be eaten raw, steamed or stir-fried. Dandelion is also said to reduce inflammation and may even help infections of the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Dandelion can trigger an allergic reaction in eczema sufferers, though, so be mindful of this. Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 151
DANDELION SYRUP Dandelion syrup is a good substitute for honey, with its sweet and floral taste. The consistency is thinner than most honey but it does have a similar colour.
2 generous handfuls dandelion flowers 750ml water 500g demerara sugar 1 lemon, juiced
Remove as much of the green parts of the flower as you can. Add flowers to a saucepan with water and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand overnight. The next day strain through a fine sieve. Pour back in the saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice and simmer at low heat until the syrup thickens, but not too thick as the syrup will thicken when cold! Fill in a sterilised bottle. Store in the fridge and use within 1 month. Back to Contents
Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 153
NETTLE CRISPS Thereâ€™s Nettle Soup and Nettle Beer but what about Nettle Crisps? They are cheap and easy to make as well as a healthy alternative to packet crisps. This recipe uses nutritional yeast, which is widely used in vegan recipes. It can be found online and in Tesco, Holland and Barrett. It has a nutty, almost cheesy umami flavour.
INGREDIENTS A bowl full of young nettle leaves 2 tablespoons oil 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Freshly ground salt & pepper
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or Parmesan if not vegan or you donâ€™t have any) 200ml vegetable stock Oil
Combine oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and nutritional yeast (or cheese) in a large bowl. The nettles will still sting at this point so be aware! Toss in your leaves and make sure they get a good coating. Place the nettles on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in a low oven at around 130C until they crisp up or cook in an air fryer. Place the nettle crisps in a bowl. Munch. Back to Contents
Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 155
NETTLE SOUP INGREDIENTS 500g Fresh nettles, remember to wear gloves 1 onion, diced 50g butter 1 Carrot, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped 2 garlic cloves, sliced 1 large potato, sliced 1 litre of vegetable stock 40ml creme fraiche
Wearing your gloves wash the nettles carefully in hot water. Remove the leaves from the tougher stalks. Melt butter in a large pan and fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft. Add the vegetable stock and potato and simmer until cooked. Add the nettles and boil for a couple of minutes until the nettles have wilted. Whizz in a blender with the creme fraiche and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve with a chunk of fresh bread.
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Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 157
WILD GARLIC PESTO This pesto is so simple to make, the hardest part will be finding the garlic! Use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese to make the Wild Garlic Pesto vegan friendly. We used hazelnuts instead of pine nuts. Any nuts can be used, donâ€™t fall for the expensive pine nut hype!
80g Wild garlic leaves 30g Parmesan grated 30g Pine nuts optional (We used hazelnuts as we had some in the cupboard)
Wash the garlic leaves thoroughly and pat dry. Put the garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and oil in a blender and blitz until smooth. Then add the lemon juice plus salt and pepper to taste. Place in a jar and top with oil to keep fresh in a fridge. Alternatively, you can freeze it and snap chunks off to use in dishes such as pasta. Back to Contents
Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 159
Itâ€™s hard to believe that it has been months now since we entered lockdown. Speaking to my nine-year-old niece on a video call, I pointed out that this hasnâ€™t happened since the Spanish flu in 1918, and it is unlikely that it will happen again in her lifetime. Her eyes widened with shock. They will be teaching about this to children your age for years to come, I said wisely. For me, and I am sure for you, the days have blurred: What day is it? Do I have a zoom call? Should I bother washing my hair any more? (I should). As a vegan, lockdown at first meant a frustrating hunt for tinned beans and canned tomatoes, with limits put in place below what we would typically eat in a weeks grocery. Suddenly the shelves were clear, non-vegans were stocking up on the food we usually eat. There was less choice, and dinner became as basic as it could be. I missed the vegan businesses I used to pepper my daily life alongside vibrant conversations with friends. It wasnâ€™t long, until the businesses I love bounced back, many of them delivering home comforts Back to Contents
AS A VEGAN, LOCKDOWN AT FIRST MEANT A FRUSTRATING HUNT FOR TINNED BEANS AND CANNED TOMATOES Food and Drink by Laura Woodland Page 161
WE HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF GREAT MESSAGES WITH VERY POSITIVE FEEDBACK ALONG WITH GREAT IDEAS AND PICTURES WITH WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE DOING WITH OUR PRODUCTS
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directly to our hungry vegan selves. Keeping us just a little saner then we would be otherwise. Itâ€™s been a hard year already for small vegan companies, with vegan options launching in big chains, some vegan businesses had already seen a hit. The selection we now have is terrific, but supporting a local vegan/ vegan-friendly business is sometimes a choice, that benefits our whole community. Now more than ever. I spoke to some of the companies, doing whatever they can to get us our home comforts and the stories were warm and fuzzy and beyond what I might have expected. Mandy, the owner of Breakfast Brunch and Lunch, delivering boxes full of homemade vegan lorne, link, bacon and burgers to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife and Dundee told me: â€˜We are delivering the products ourselves to ensure that they comply with the strict social distancing measures which are in place. It is nice to see both regular friendly faces and welcoming new customers. The support from the vegan community has been overwhelming and humbling; we have received a lot of great messages with very positive feedback along with great ideas and pictures with what customers are doing Food and Drink by Laura Woodland Page 163
with our products. It has also been nice personalising the service for customers who have celebrated birthdays and graduations during this time. It’s good to know we can bring a smile to their face when we deliver the products to the door! Another vegan company Kamaveganbakes in Edinburgh has been doing Friday deliveries, perfect for the weekend with their most popular goodies. They are hoping to extend deliveries to Fife and Glasgow, so you can all get some of their pies and pastries. They told me: ‘We are a small company trying to do what we can to deliver our bakes to our customers as they are very precious to us. We have had offers from our lovely customers offering help to deliver our bakes which we found so kind.’ Another company Vegan Tipples delivering vegan alcohol with free delivery within 10 miles of Edinburgh city centre or £7.99 delivery charge outside that radius told me: ‘I have definitely had more orders since lockdown. Some Edinburgh customers have insisted on paying a delivery charge to support local business, which is really lovely and supportive.’ Back to Contents
IT’S GOOD TO KNOW WE CAN BRING A SMILE TO THEIR FACE WHEN WE DELIVER THE PRODUCTS TO THE DOOR!
SOME EDINBURGH CUSTOMERS HAVE INSISTED ON PAYING A DELIVERY CHARGE TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
Food and Drink by Laura Woodland Page 165
WE ARE A SMALL COMPANY TRYING TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO DELIVER OUR BAKES TO OUR CUSTOMERS Back to Contents
Other vegan/vegan-friendly small businesses you can order from include: Fellow Creatures UK - Delicious chocolate delivering UK Wide. Considerit - Doughnuts & Chocolate -Edinburgh Glasgow, Falkirk, Livingston & Fife. Bonobo Cafe - Vegan Groceries - Aberdeen. Herbivore Kitchen - Brownies and Baking Kits - UK Wide The Wooer - Afternoon Tea, Vegan Treats & Meals - Falkirk Zilch Bakery - Vegan Roasts, meals and cakes - Glasgow Brochan - Granola & Oats - Edinburgh Veg Oot - GF - VG Treat Boxes Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire Root Candy - International Menu - Partick Glasgow Corin Sushi - Sushi - North Ayrshire The Doughnut Family - Doughnuts -Edinburgh, Midlothian, Lothian Trusty Buck - Food Truck - Southside Glasgow It’s clear that it’s not just business stepping up, but all you lovely people. With these deliveries keeping us going, we are keeping them going too. It’s wonderful when being good tastes so good too. Food and Drink by Laura Woodland Page 167
LGBT+ In breaking news, quarantine has fed my insatiable desire for streaming services and the quality of my chosen content has beenâ€Ś questionable at best. It has been an invaluable opportunity to watch documentaries and profiles of real lives. Of course, I gravitate to the gay stuff, and I have long since covered the classics like The Times of Harvey Milk, The Queen and Paris is Burning. But I have become acutely aware that I am gravitating towards stories of the elderly LGBT+ community. This realisation felt particularly serendipitous upon realising that 16th May is National LGBT+ Elders Day. The stories of our elders are not often pushed to the forefront, but now is as good a time as any to pay attention to them however you can. Back to Contents
ARMISTEAD MAUPIN IS THE GAY UNCLE WE ALL NEED IN OUR LIVES
First, we watched Circus of Books, a fascinating look into LA’s premium gay porn shop run by a middle-mannered, middle-aged gay couple. Their personal story is intriguing and heart-warming, but I was moved more so by the stories of the gay men who had lived to tell their tale; old men who have survived being gay when it was illegal, navigating the underground gay subculture relatively unscathed, and watching their loved ones die from AIDS. I then turned to The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, celebrating the life of Tales of the City author from his conservative upbringing to becoming one of our community’s true guiding lights. Endlessly charming, witty, and talented, Armistead Maupin is the gay uncle we all need in our lives. New to Netflix’s line up is a documentary that puts the spotlight on a lesbian couple who kept their relationship a secret from their biological families for seventy years. We are introduced to Terry Donohue and Pat Henschel at a time in their lives when they are downsizing due to poor health, moving closer to biological family, and even considering marriage. The film reveals their clandestine courtship, using the kind of archival home video I dread exists for myself, and delves a little into the sociocultural context of being closeted throughout the 20th century. However, the film is rooted firmly in the present day. Their tense dialogue with Terry’s family centres around the conflict over whether they should stay in LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 171
Chicago, closer to their chosen family, or relocate to a retirement home in their native Canada. It is always there in the back of our heads, as queer people, or at least it should be: what happens when I have reached old age and can no longer look after myself? Grim and practical in equal measure, we need to ask ourselves this question as there may not necessarily be anyone in our lives to do so. Of course, the nature of what family means to us is ever evolving. In the UK, the numbers of same-sex couple families have increased substantially in recent years, with an increase of 53.2% from 152,000 in 2015Â to 232,000 in 2018, and many same-sex family units are likely to raise children of their own. But not everyone subscribes to this lifestyle or has the means to do so. Life for LGBT+ pensioners may not be easy, between fewer of them having children of their own and the reluctance to come out to care workers in case they are judged or mistreated. And as A Secret Love reminds us, the life of a queer elder has never been easy. I wasnâ€™t expecting the emotional weight of navigating life as an LGBT+ elder and the complexity of interfamily conflict to eclipse the satisfying love story it is being promoted as. For me, the film is a celebration of three core things: the power of chosen family, queer love, and the tenacity of LGBT+ elders. People like Terry and Pat are survivors. I never take for granted the challenges the queer people before Back to Contents
THEY WERE IN THE CLOSET FROM THEM FOR SEVENTY YEARS LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 173
WE ARE INTRODUCED TO TERRY DONOHUE AND PAT HENSCHEL AT A TIME IN THEIR LIVES WHEN THEY ARE DOWNSIZING DUE TO POOR HEALTH Back to Contents
us had to endure that we have been spared. Fighting AIDS, either as a patient or bystander; enduring the closet in fear of criminal prosecution or unemployment; battling government for political equality. It is humbling to listen to stories of LGBT+ elders, whether they fought on the front lines for the privileges we have today or simply survived as a queer person in the face of persecution. The latter is just as heroic as the former, and documentaries like these give us the chance to remember this. We should continue to find ways of honouring LGBT+ elders: ensuring there are queer-friendly retirement facilities, creating increasingly diverse platforms to share their stories, even volunteering to spend time with them. LGBT Age, through LGBT Health, works with queer people aged 50 and over in Greater Glasgow and the Lothians to shape support services and resources for them, including social events, community activism, resources and volunteering opportunities. They also run the LGBT Dementia Project to raise the voices of LGBT people affected by dementia and to support those working with people affected by dementia to better understand their needs. Supporting them could be a great way of giving back once quarantine has been lifted. But in the meantime, watch and share the stories of queer elders and celebrate them while weâ€™re all here together.
WORDS AND VISUAL ARTS
FOXES AND COYOTES BRIAN SWEENEY
FOXES AND COYOTES The tulips grew apart from each other that spring. The ground cracked and crumbled in ways that I’d never seen before. I watched the foxes and the coyotes battle all Summer on Cesar Chavez Boulevard, where the blood would leave permanent stains on the concrete. The reckless packs would flash their teeth, mark their territories, and steal more than just scraps. Me, I was a squirrel. I was small. But I was agile. I hustled from sun up until sundown at a frantic and frenetic pace. I always kept to myself and stayed in my own path. I didn’t want to get involved with the vicious nature of reckless pack mentality. My best friend was a squirrel, too. We grew up around same nest. We used to climb trees, chase tales, and break soggy bread together. We’d walk the wires between safety and danger. And when we got too deep into the mess, we’d get out just in time. Growing up, I always wondered if we would live long enough to die from old age, or if the elements and the environment would get to us first. That Fall, my friend got caught up with the foxes and the coyotes. Now he’s gone. The foxes and the coyotes lied low in the Winter. Me, I trotted across the frozen ground and desperately hoped I’d see my best friend’s footprints once again. By Zach Murphy
BRIAN SWEENEY Images from Last Night From Glasgow’s ‘Isolation Portraits’ series. All photography by Brian Sweeney. lastnightfromglasgow.com Back to Contents
Visual Arts Page 181
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Featuring interviews with: Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap), Hinds, Elisabeth Elektra, Man of Moon, Fauves, Joe Donnelly (author), Hope Dickson Lea...
Published on May 20, 2020
Featuring interviews with: Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap), Hinds, Elisabeth Elektra, Man of Moon, Fauves, Joe Donnelly (author), Hope Dickson Lea...