SNACK magazine: August 2021 – Issue 30

Page 1







This summer, explore what’s on your doorstep! Discover Glasgow in 21 stops! Scan to book Book now at



Pop-Up Opera – Govanhill International Festival & Carnival Edinburgh International Festival – Edinburgh International Book Festival



Róisín Murphy – Swim School – Sister John – Suria Tei

FOOD & DRINK P34 Food & Drink News – Vegan Buddha Bowl Recipe

LGBT+ P38 Bend.r – LGBTQI+ Spaces – The (Not) Gay Movie Club

REVIEW P44 Granfalloon – Colin Burnett – Melissa Broder – Andrew Wasylyk Self Esteem – PCPQ – Amiina – Berta Kennedy – Last of the Free Karla Black – First Cow – Pig



CREDITS Editor/Sales: Kenny Lavelle Sub Editor: Leona Skene Food and Drink Editors: Emma Mykytyn and Mark Murphy LGBT+ Editor: Jonny Stone Design: Kenny Lavelle Cover photo credit: Rory Barnes

To advertise in SNACK 0141 632 4641

SNACK is a supporter of the global Keychange movement.

Disclaimer: Snack Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine in part or in whole is forbidden without the explicit written consent of the publishers. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the content of this magazine but we cannot guarantee it is complete and up to date. Snack Publishing Ltd. is not responsible for your use of the information contained herein.

Hello and welcome to issue 30 of SNACK, Hardly are we back to making physical magazines again and we’re rolling on past another milestone. Thirty issues for a small independent magazine like ourselves is quite a feat and we’re celebrating with a fresh new front cover style that better reflects the results of a gradual evolution inside the covers – we hope you like the new look as much as we do. Things are changing all over and live in-person performances will very soon be a regular occurrence in Scotland again. We're looking forward to getting back out there and experiencing the joy of it all – really, who isn't? All of a sudden the gig listings are rapidly filling up, so Andy Reilly has pulled together a round-up of some of the best small gigs you'll find in Glasgow and Edinburgh, packed with great grassroots bands who are bursting to show you what they've been up to the last couple of years. Keeping on the live theme: we caught up with up-and-coming indie gems, swim school, about their recent trip south to Latitude, to find out about the experience of returning to the live arena and discuss their great new EP, making sense of it all, out in mid-August. We’re also delighted to bring you our interview with the magnificent Róisín Murphy, where she tells us about her lockdown experience and looks forward to her upcoming Scottish gigs at SWG3 and Playground. She is so very cool, and we're so utterly not worthy. Elsewhere, Jonny Stone is back with the latest inductee to our (Not) Gay Movie Club. This month it's the turn of the gloriously daft but lovable Psycho Beach Party – perfect if you need a gleefully camp reminder of how absurd and joyful film can be. As for the rest, just dig in. Stay safe, and we'll see you in September. Kenny Lavelle Editor


David Livingstone




The brand-new exhibition

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR is now open. Hello. Welcome to issue 28 of SNACK. ITDV, INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, NEWS | PAGE 46 Book your tickets today: 165 Station Road, Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, G72 9BY

WHAT’S ON GUIDE SONIA MEHRA CHAWLA: ENTANGLEMENTS OF TIME & TIDE Edinburgh Printmakers, 30th July till 21st November, 11am - 4pm This India-based artist and researcher envisions an oceanic worldview through the lens of art and science, exploring our empathetic understanding of oceans, their vitality as an ecosystem, the role they play in human and animal movement, and contemporary cultures' poetic reflections of water.

POP-UP OPERA Various venues & dates throughout Scotland Scottish Opera are back on the road with miniature versions of two of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved hits. Experience all the wonder of grand opera with a sumptuous open-air set, as a storyteller, two singers and instrumentalists showcase the highlights and humour of HMS Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance.

DAMON ALBARN AT THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Edinburgh Park, 24th August, 5pm An additional show following high demand for this Blur and Gorillaz frontman. In a rare solo appearance, Albarn will present tracks from his songbook and his forthcoming album The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, accompanied by his band and a string quartet. Originally intended as an orchestral piece inspired by Icelandic landscapes, Albarn returned to the album in lockdown, developing the 11 tracks to explore fragility, loss and rebirth, with Albarn as storyteller.

Photo credit: Linda Brownlee

Damon Albarn

GOVANHILL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL AND CARNIVAL Govanhill, 2nd till 15th August The fifth edition of this celebration of diversity features over 50 talks, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, theatre, heritage and music events, aiming to unite cultures and combat division and hate. Set to return after cancellation last year is the popular Street Carnival and Parade, alongside its lockdown replacement, the Street Music Festival, which was a resounding success, presenting music at doorways and windows for a buzzing atmosphere. There’s also a special 20th anniversary celebration of the occupation of Govanhill Baths.

FRINGE OF COLOUR FILMS Online – 1st till 15th August Returning for its second online arts festival, 23 unique films from 8 different countries explore creating work in the digital age through a range of genres and themes, from comedy sketches to documentary and migration and ritual to identity and afrofuturism. It's just £10 for a Standard Pass and £5 for a Concession Pass.

EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE - EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Festival Theatre, 20th August Kicking off the evening with drag queen entertainment and cocktails at St Andrew Square, the film adaptation of the award-winning hit musical gets a special preview, with the reallife inspiration Jamie Campbell and his mum, Margaret, in attendance. Starring newcomer Max Harwood amidst a host of recognisable faces, this glittering musical about facing adversity through drag promises a post-lockdown lift.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

What’s on by Lindsay Corr Page 9



Newhailes House Woods, Musselburgh – 6th till 23rd August An outdoor, site-specific adaptation of Erlend Loe’s best-selling novel, this production is presented by the award-winning Grid Iron Theatre Company. It's a funny and subversive fable about existence, consumerism, and nobody leaving you alone when you’re trying to live life in isolation. Directed by Ben Harrison, with a cast that includes Keith Fleming in the eponymous role and Fergus Dunnet creating puppets, this much-anticipated show will be staged in front of smaller numbers to allow for social distancing, so advance booking is advised.

Online & Edinburgh College of Art – 14th till 30th August

BURNT OUT Assembly Roxy Central – 16th till 22nd August Weaving spoken word and movement, Burnt Out takes the audience through Australia's fiery history, including Glasgow based Australian dance artist Penny Chivas' own experiences. An autobiographical dance theatre work from the daughter of a prominent environmental geochemist, bringing together fact and personal account. Embedded in sound is the Australian Black Summer; magpies that have learnt to mimic emergency sirens, shark sirens and helicopters circling overhead. Original music is provided by Paul Michael Henry, interwoven with the delicate lighting of David Bowes.

Under the banner 'Onwards and Upwards – Ideas and Stories for a Changing World' this year's festival will feature 250 events for adults, children and families. This year events will take place both online and at Edinburgh College of Art, with almost half of the speakers planning to appear in person in Edinburgh, while others are joining digitally from their homes around the world. The festival welcomes Nobel Prize winners Amartya Sen and Kazuo Ishiguro as well as Ngũgi wa Thiong’o, a writer hotly tipped for Nobel recognition. Booker Prize winners include Salman Rushdie, and Douglas Stuart talking about Shuggie Bain with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Homegrown talent is, as always, a strong focus with Ian Rankin, Ali Smith, Alan Warner, Maggie O’Farrell, Alexander McCall Smith, Denise Mina, Sara Sheridan, and Andrew O’Hagan all also appearing over the festival fortnight.

EDINBURGH ART FESTIVAL 29th July till 29th August The 17th edition of this platform for the visual arts boasts 35 exhibitions and new commissions across 20 venues, with 10 artists presenting online work to mark last year’s cancellation. From leading international artists such as Isaac Julien and Sean Lynch, to new generation creatives like Alberta Whittle at Jupiter Artland, plus Emeka Ogboh’s sound installation within the Burns Monument featuring singers from all 27 EU member states who live in Scotland, there’s art here for all.

15 years of Plug RCS’ quintessential new music festival returns this August. 60+ new composition works to discover exclusively at: 2 – 30 Aug

Tickets: FREE

Your one-stop shop for plant-based vegan ••vegetarian ••dairy-free ••gluten-free wheat-free ••organic ••Fairtrade groceries

Free UK delivery for orders over £39


You can also visit our Edinburgh shops, open 7 days a week 37 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3JU & 8 Brougham Street, Edinburgh EH3 9JH *FREE DELIVERY APPLIES TO UK MAINLAND ONLY AND EXCLUDES WHOLESALE BULK ITEMS.

What’s on by Lindsay Corr Page 11

DAVID LIVINGSTONE BIRTHPLACE REOPENS Blantyre David Livingstone Birthplace has just reopened its doors after four years, following a £9.1m regeneration. Home to the UK’s most famous Victorian explorer, missionary and abolitionist of the 19th century, the museum has been redesigned to follow Livingstone’s life from birth to death alongside new exhibits that focus on his 21st century legacy within the context of Scotland’s role in slavery and colonisation. Through key objects in the collection and interactives, the stories of the African men and women in Livingstone’s crew will be featured for the first time as part of the Museum’s new exhibition. The display aims to highlight marginalised histories relating to Livingstone’s story.

THE SILENCED Digital Theatre, 9th August till 5th September Theatre and technology blend for Bunbury Banter’s immersive, interactive thriller set in Dumfries and Galloway. Teams of six can plunge into the exciting, real time, four-week long story of MacEwan Sandars’ disappearance, and with the clock ticking there’ll be plenty of twists and turns. Incorporating live performance, audio clues, online messages and a rich background world to explore online, the landscape, folklore and history of Dumfries and Galloway will also be invoked, and at least one team member needs to be a D&G local! Gather together. Join the hunt. Uncover the truth. The Silenced

SWAN LOCH – FREE INTERACTIVE CHILDREN’S CONCERT Partickhill Bowling Club – 10th August at 11am and 2pm Swan Loch is an interactive children’s concert featuring live music, an award-winning ballet dancer, puppetry and song. Funded by GCaN (Glasgow Connected Arts Network), clarsàch group The Willow Trio perform the score from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake in this interactive tale, with the aim of bringing classical music, Scottish culture, and live arts back into children's lives after the long period of lockdown. Children of ages 5⁠–10 will be gently encouraged to sing, boogie, and become fully immersed throughout the concert. Tickets are free, and available to book via the website.

RCS: PLUG FESTIVAL Online – 2nd till 30th August For the last 15 years, PLUG Festival has been a celebration of exciting new music. Working with a huge number of ensembles and guest artists over the years PLUG is a launch pad for the new experiments and exciting ideas bouncing around the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This year they invite you to dive in and listen to some of the amazing work created by 31 students, with over 60 new pieces presented for free until 30 August.

JOM Charity presents:

Re-Generation Afro-Celtic Textile Art Exhibition & International Carnival Day

Expl ore this sum mer

Step down into Edinburgh’s

h i dd e n h i story Voted Best Heritage Tourism Experience in Scotland

1st - 25th September, Milngavie Food & Music | Gavin’s Mill – 4th Sept Whisky Tasting | Scottish Gantry – 11th Sept, 2pm to 6pm International Festival | Town Centre – 25th Sept, 11am to 6pm Exhibition | Workshop | Fashion Show | Music International Food & Drinks | Raffles


What’s on by Lindsay Corr Page 13



Looking to fill up your calendar over the autumn period? Look no further than the Kingdom of Fife, which is delighted to once again welcome visitors back into the region! An exciting programme of events will be taking place, including picturesque coastal festivals and thrilling sports, as well as outdoor events and concerts. We’ve selected some of our top events and festivals which are not to be missed!


ANSTRUTHER HARBOUR FESTIVAL Situated in the picturesque coastal region of the East Neuk of Fife, the Fèis Chala An t-sruthair (or Anstruther Harbour Festival) is an excellent day out for all the family taking place in the quaint seaside village of Anstruther. Expect traditional music and dance, family entertainment, the annual ‘Anster Fair’, street food and a muster of historic, classic and modern sailing boats. This year, the event is expected to be even bigger and better than before! The festival takes place from the 3rd to the 5th of September.

If you have missed live music and gigs over the past year, don’t worry, as Fife has you covered! Fife’s exciting new music festival, Fife Fest, takes place this year from 11th till 12th of September at Silverburn Park in Levenmouth. Expect a fantastic weekend filled with music and entertainment from some of the top tribute bands in the UK as well as a range of local talent. St Andrews Voices is also a must for music lovers which and is running from the 14th to the 17th of October. The festival showcases a spectrum of genres throughout the town of St Andrews which explore the beauty and versatility of the human voice.



Fancy something a little more fast-paced? Head to Knockhill Racing Circuit on the 25th - 26th of September, where the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship will be taking place alongside loads of other action-packed racing events over the season.

Visit the Old Course, St Andrews or Kingbarns Golf Links to see one of the world’s top golfing events, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships. Running from 30th September to 3rd October, this unique golfing eventincorporates a professional golf tournament and contest which sees celebrity golfers play against the professionals.


SPOOK’ORE HALLOWEEN If you’re feeling particularly brave, experience the brand new Spook’Ore, at Lochore Meadows from the 29th to the 31st of October, for a Halloween extravaganza. Family friendly activities will be taking place during the day, with spooky walks, pumpkin picking, face painting and more. In the evening will be a frightening adults-only experience, with a terrifying woodland trail, fancy dress, entertainment and street food. A spooky drive-in movie is an optional extra at both events!

The Falkland Estate Trail of Thought is perfect for those looking to escape in nature and enjoy some much needed peace and tranquillity. Going ahead from the 3rd of July until the 30th of September, thought-provoking carvings and art installations will be exhibited within the woodlands, encouraging visitors to engage in mindfulness. Maps are available from Fife Contemporary. Visit to find out what’s on

Supported content Fife Page 15

Photo credit: Adrian Samson


It’s nearly time to party, to throw on our best shoes and get ready to dance until the sun comes up. And that goes for everyone! However, it’s been a while, so it makes sense to look to an expert to get us back on the dancefloor. You won’t find a better artist to restart the party than Róisín Murphy, and SNACK caught up with her to talk about two Glasgow shows, damp fields, and why we all need some music every day. How does it feel having a club album and a remix album out at a time when people can’t go to clubs? It was a bit strange really. It was a bit uncanny, but it connected in a way. I think people sort of went into the record almost like how they go into a club. Or running. It’s great music for running, and people got more into listening to music on their own. In a way it's really beautiful. You sense people really need music, recognizing how much they kind of need it for companionship and stuff, you know? I think lockdown made many of us reassess how important music is for us. Yeah. It was really there for us when we needed it. And there's a certain way you can interact with music, just by yourself. It’s like going back to being a kid again in a way, isn't it? We were re-finding music, and that's how you found it as a teenager, digging into all types of music.

Photo credit: Press

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 17

Photo credit: Fraser Taylor

You have two Glasgow gigs in September – how are the preparations going? I'm being told that the UK gigs will go ahead and that it's all sorted, so hopefully that is the case. So yeah, I mean, they are two different kinds of gigs, aren't they? There’s going to be a more in-depth gig obviously, which is our own show [at SWG3], which is the very start of my tour. And I think maybe even the first or second gig I've done in a year and a half, and then the last gig on this leg of the tour is going back to Glasgow [for the Playground festival] and it's ironic; I’m not blowing smoke up your arse, it is one of my favourite cities in the UK. It’s the best for a laugh and socialising. It’s old fashioned, we go out one night in Glasgow and by nine o'clock in the morning you know everyone in the city. I really enjoy going out there, but hopefully I won’t mash myself too much after the first gig for the whole tour. Hopefully, I’ll still be alive by the end of it to come back. I’d better not peak too early, with Glasgow being so close to the beginning.

Knowing that you’re book-ending the tour and coming back to Glasgow, that might help you keep something in reserve? Yes, it might. It might give me some sense of perspective. Do you think the shows will start tentatively, or will people be up for it from the start? I’ve always maintained that as soon as people go into a gig, they may be tentative at the start, but as soon as they have a couple of pints and the music gets going, they forget all about things! It goes plain out of the window, getting caught up with the excitement. With two very different shows in the city, does that impact your thinking about the sets? It will do; the Playground gig will be shorter! We’ll give the greatest hits at that show, and we could be more polished by then, because we will have been on the road for longer. Things develop inside the show, and our performances evolve. I’m not someone who went to stage school and who spends everyday down the dance studio organising what happens on stage.

You were part of the Live at Worthy Farm event with Honey Dijon. How was that? Well, it was weird, in all honesty, to go to a damp field and try and create a party. Jesus, it looked fantastic, didn't it? The art direction across the whole thing, the whole way it was filmed. It was absolutely beautiful, and all the performances were great, really great. And me, I was just like a P.A. at the end, in the after-party. You know, the Damon Albarn performance was incredible, but we weren't all being sociable backstage. It was one at a time and it was a damp field. So, to pull it off in the way that they did, I think was pretty amazing.

Photo credit: Fraser Taylor

What happens on the stage evolves, and that doesn’t mean to say that it’s better at the end than at the beginning. Things change, and it’s nice to capture the full spectrum. There will be people there, I suppose, who will be at both gigs. We can ask them if they sensed some sort of evolution or change. A Glasgow audience is always good for the band. It’s as old as time.

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 19

The Live at Home videos you created over lockdown were entertaining – how much hard work was involved in making it look so loose and fun? They weren't difficult to do and Toyah Willcox has spoiled it for everyone. I can't do any more now because she has topped everyone. It wasn't that difficult. I do two different kinds of gigs. I do a clubby gig, which is like a one-woman set with a light show and back projections, staging and stuff. I’d just done that type of show at [music festival] Homobloc in Manchester, just before the lockdown. So, I had the visuals, the projection stuff and the mappings things were already loosely programmed and ready to go. And all you have to do is put a green screen and lights in the room and you are off into hyperspace. It was grand for the first few! Then I did a few in Ibiza. My partner is a music guy too, so he does the sound for me and helps me out, so it wasn’t complicated. It’s definitely a different kind of performance from a live gig; it was more like a film format and I was acting. It was a different got a closeup of my face and expressions. So people got to know me in the first lockdown in a way they hadn’t before. It was more intimate, in your living room and in your face. But as I said, enough is enough. Toyah Willcox took my shine! Did you pick up any new hobbies or skills during lockdown? I’ve been using music software for a couple of years now. Even today, you caught me in the middle of an epic vocal composition I’m doing myself! I’m doing a long song with a lot of vocal takes, and it can be done without too much fuss. Loads of things have evolved through not having to be in a specific place to do something. When you’re on your own, you can try harmonies where you might fall on your arse in the studio with a producer and it would be embarrassing. So you can give things a go! You learn things and you up your game with producers; they can draw things out of you, and it’s easy to forget what another person in a room can do to inspire you. Things that you never even knew were there. So, it’s a balance. It’s nice to have your independence, and if I’m out walking and having an idea for music, I can put it down. Róisín Murphy plays Glasgow SWG3 on Tuesday 14th September and Playground Festival on Saturday 25th September

Photo credit: Adrian Samson

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 21



With your two sets at Latitude, you’re one of the first Scottish bands to return to playing live after lockdown. Can you tell us about the experience of getting back on a stage and playing for a live audience? No words can fully describe the feeling we all had while walking onto a stage that had a real life audience, after 18 months. It was a mixture of nerves, remembering how to play live, and getting used to interacting with an audience again. We were all pretty nervous for the first couple of songs of the set, seeing as we hadn’t played in front of an audience in so long, but it all quickly came back to us. It was the first time we got to play our new heavier tunes live to people, and to see them loving the heavier side to swim school was an amazing feeling. We witnessed our first mosh pits that weekend. Overall, the whole experience was overwhelming, and felt like a dream – we couldn't be happier that live music is back. Did you catch many bands at Latitude? What was the atmosphere like at the festival? Not only were we excited to play Latitude, we were also so excited to go and see some live bands and acts. We are all massive music lovers and gig-goers, so the fact that we got to experience live music again from a fan point of view was amazing. Festivals always have an amazingly positive atmosphere because everyone is there for the same reason. Some of our favorite acts were Wolf Alice, Shame and Sorry. Shame know exactly how to control the audience and put on a show – they were so sick. Sorry are a band I discovered over lockdown and fell in love with. The way they write, their lyrics and production, are inspirational, and I can’t wait to see them live again. Wolf Alice are our favorite band, so it was quite emotional watching them, for all of us. It hit us all at once that we were standing in a field, surrounded by strangers, listening to our favorite band – we couldn’t have been happier.

Photo credit: Rory Barnes Music Page 23

We’re really enjoying your new EP, making sense of it all. Can you tell us about the process of making the it? We had so much free time during lockdown that we decided that we would spend the majority of that time writing as much as we could. ‘outside’ was one of the first (good) songs that we wrote in lockdown; we knew it had potential. Once we were legally allowed to rehearse again, we all started jamming it, making the song evolve even more. We loved the heavier sound to it, so we continued to write, and eventually wrote all the songs that are on the EP. A major difference with this material compared to our first releases is that the new tracks are a lot heavier, more dynamic, and also more mature. After creating this portfolio of tunes, we thought, ‘why not just put it all together as a body of work, in EP form?’ Was there anything surprising or pleasing during the recording process? We recorded the EP at Magic Box in Dundee, with our producer Scotty Anderson. We work well with Scotty and the studio is so beautiful – both of those combined resulted in a lot of motivation. We spent two full days on each track, which meant we had a lot of time to experiment and take risks. ‘anyway’ was the song that changed the most in the studio. We went in with a slow, shoegaze song and came out with an upbeat, happy-sounding, early 2000s song – I think that was a pleasing moment, as we didn’t expect it to change so much, but we are glad it did.

Have you learned anything new that you’d like to take into the new recording process? We have always stood by not sticking to the same genre or sound when it comes to writing. Whilst writing the EP, we wanted each track to have its own unique sound; we didn’t want every single song to sound the same, and I think we achieved that. Over the course of writing the EP, our confidence as a band and as musicians grew, so I’m excited for whatever we go on to write next. I feel like the confidence that we have from writing the EP will continue to grow in our next project. The track ‘anyway’ talks about opening up your emotions. Did you find that making the EP and articulating your thoughts and feelings helped you through lockdown? Writing songs and expressing how you feel through art is a form of therapy, for me anyway. You are able to express that emotion when you first write that piece of music, then again when you go into the studio to record it, and also when you play it live. I find I play the songs that mean the most to me a lot better, as I feel a lot of emotions when I’m singing the lyrics. So much passion and emotion goes into each song. But when you finish writing it, it’s onto the next one. Is there a track from the new EP that you particularly enjoyed playing at Latitude, or found connected with the audience there? Was this expected? Why do you think this was? I think our song ‘outside’ will always hold a special place in our hearts. As it was the first song we wrote in lockdown, it holds a lot of the uncertain feeling that we all felt at the start of the pandemic, which now feels like a distant memory, as live music is back. It was also the song that kicked off this new chapter of swim school, and our fans love moshing when we play it, which makes it even more special.

favourite music, watch their favorite films, create art etc. in order to protect their mental health, yet the creative industries were being ignored.

making sense of it all is the EP’s title. Did you go through a few titles along the way and why did you decide to go for this one? The title came to us quite quickly. With the deadline of the EP coming up, we decided that we needed a title ASAP. I looked through my lyric book to see if there was anything that stood out and I saw the lyrics ‘trying to make sense of it all’. When I read those words I instantly knew it would be perfect for the title. Each track on the EP is based on certain experiences that have happened within the last year, some good, but mostly bad. To get through the worst year of our lives, we knew the only thing we could do to protect our mental health is to see the good in every bad experience. The title ‘making sense of it all’ essentially means making sense of each bad situation you find yourself in, to understand why that has happened and to find the positivity that hides in it.

Creatives were there to help the public during lockdown and we got repaid by the government by being ignored and getting no support. Loads of people lost their jobs, venues had to shut down – whilst the public were being told to rely on the creatives during a hard time, our industry was crumbling before us, yet there was nothing we could do. I remember being really scared, during lockdown, for the music industry and the knock-on effect that it would have on the band. It was gutting to see stadiums packed with crowds during the Euros, yet festivals like Truck Festival and Kendall Calling were being cancelled. We feel so lucky that Latitude went ahead and we got to play; it’s just heartbreaking to see that the music industry still isn’t getting the support that it deserves. making sense of it all is out on 20th August. swim school play King Tut's on 21st August and Edinburgh's Hidden Door Festival on 16th September. All photo credits: Rory Barnes

We’re looking forward to being able to take in live music again. What’s your opinion on the way the return to gigs has been handled by the government? It feels like it’s only now that the music industry is getting some sort of attention. At the start of the pandemic, it felt like the music industry was being ignored – as if it wasn’t important. The most ironic part was when the government put out a statement telling the public that they were to listen to their Music Page 25

SISTER JOHN Photo provided by Suria Tei

It’s an interesting time to be releasing music. When did you start writing the album, I Am by Day? Can you tell me about that and the process of pulling it together? Amanda: It was written before lockdown actually, mostly with a couple of exceptions. Usually I write alone and then bring the songs into the band and then we can work out the arrangement together. It’s the reason why we have a variety of sounds, because I’m lucky enough to play with Heather, Sophie, and Jonathan who all play multiple instruments. We were able to do three songs that way before lockdown hit, and then that was it, basically. The rest of the album was pretty much put together by me and Jonathan during lockdown – we live together. Then we had that little respite last summer, in July where we were able to meet up with Heather and Sophie and get their parts down.

Then it all shut down again and we were, again, kind of trying to piece it together. Do you think that producing the record in that way had an effect on how the sound came together, in particular with the drums? Jonathan: Like Amanda said: we live together so we can demo a lot of things at home. Actually our very first album, the majority of our stuff – bar drums really – I recorded in our flats. We were starting to use the synth more. We weren't using it for typical synth sounds, like big washes of sound, it was really just little odd noises, little repetitive samples and beats that we were using it for. So, that dictated a lot of the rhythm. We kind of just stuck with them. Some of them we felt were place keepers for real drums but quite a few of the songs ended up just with the electronic ones.

Do you have a song that you feel ties the album together or sums up its feel or message? Amanda: ‘I’ll be your Life’ and ‘Glasgow is a Rainbow’, I feel like those two songs bookend the whole thing. I suppose the one that affects me most emotionally is ‘Glasgow is a Rainbow’. Jonathan: For me it's one of the quieter songs on the record, ‘Died Down’. I like the gentle little step aside that it takes within the album, rather than anything big and in your face, like maybe a couple of others are. ’Died Down’, for me is a beautiful thing. There's that line, ‘I did two things today to make me feel productive’. And I think that's been a big challenge during lockdown. Can I write something worthwhile and feel like there's a point to it? So I think there's a real poignancy in that line.

One song on the album,’What I Want’, really stands out. In sound and structure, it’s very distinct from the rest. Can you tell us a bit about that track? Amanda: That one actually was a lockdown song, it was one of the later ones that I wrote and actually wasn’t going to go on there. I was just playing about with the synth that I had got the previous year. I have always loved songs that you can just dance about to in your bedroom or in your kitchen – into a hairbrush or whatever – and own them. I think girls and women in particular have this sort of challenge in their life where they often suppress themselves. It resonated with being a girl and sometimes not really being explicit about what you want and owning that. Just that message of being free to say ‘there’s stuff I want and I’ll do them’ – it’s really as simple as that.

Can you tell us about the cover artwork? Amanda: The name of the album is from a poem that I was obsessed with when I was little [Mrs. Brown’ by Rose Fyleman]. It’s about moving in and out of your emotional history. There’s a line in the poem: ‘The little girl I am by day goes very suddenly away’. I just like that idea of kind of slipping in and out of your emotional history as an adult. There’s songs on there that change time and place, remembering certain emotional events in my life. The two covers are photos of me from when I was a child and they were both taken by my dad, who was an avid photographer. They are quite similar. I’m in a similar pose, hands on hips with my ‘look at the camera and smile’ kind of pose. I like the idea that there are two: one is taken in Egypt, where my dad's from, and the other is Glasgow and I'm dressed up for a fancy dress party. I like the duality of that.

Jonathan: There are two things. One is, I think it's indicative of this album, being very different to our previous two in that it’s quite riff-based. There's lots of cyclical songs on this album, whereas only one song on the second and none on the first had that. So, I suppose there's a cyclical theme with some of the songs that's quite identifiable to this album. The second thing is, we could easily have left that off, because it maybe it wasn't stylistically like the others. But actually I think a lot of the albums that we grew up listening to were like that: The Beatles White Album or Revolver, I could go on. An album was about the diversity and different themes and you could go off and really flex those muscles and show what else you could do, rather than the current way which is about a band having one sound and they do it over 45 minutes. I Am by Day is out now on LNFG. Sister John will play joint gigs with The Bluebells at the CCA on 11th and 18th December. Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 27


Photo provided by Suria Tei

Suria Tei is an award-winning writer whose novels Little Hut of Leaping Fishes and The Mouse Deer Kingdom examine cultures clashing with an insight few others have managed, inspired by her strict upbringing in Malaysia and her time living and working in Scotland. In 2018 Tei was struck by an acute psychotic episode, one which led to her being treated using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). As part of her recovery, she turned to writing to examine her grief, depression, and the roots of her psychosis. The result is her latest book, Unspoken: Living with Mental Illness, an exploration of what she has been through, and why. It also fulfils Tei's wish to share her experiences with others suffering from mental disorders, and help promote greater empathy and understanding.

Unspoken: Living with Mental Illness is a memoir, but one with a literary heart. Can you tell us why you started to write it? It all began with the writing of the essay Unspoken, which is a letter to my deceased mother. In 2016, I was commissioned by Scottish Book Trust to write a piece on the theme of ‘secrets and confessions.’ I poured my laden grief for my mother into words. Unspoken kicked off a series of letters to my family members that would become Part II of the book. I later examined these essays to find out how I’d become who I was – someone burdened with past emotions (Part III) – and found ways to help myself out of the abyss (Part IV).

A large part of the book deals with grief. Do you feel that’s still a subject often overlooked? There is no lack of books with the theme of grief. However, I would love to see them being mentioned more prominently. When I was mourning for my father in 2003, the first book on bereavement that came to my attention was C.S. Lewis’s On Grief. As grief affects our mental health (it triggered my depression), I would love to see more effort in bringing books of this kind to readers, to let them know they are not alone and help them to cope with their bereavements. Perhaps the most impactful chapters are the letters written to members of your family. How important were these to you, and to the book? They are important indeed. With the writing of the letters, I revisited my past, especially my childhood. It put me on a journey of self-discovery, helping me to observe myself from a third-person point of view and try to understand the people and incidents in my life. It enabled me to delve into the roots of my mental illness – my chronic depression and psychosis – which is the theme of this book. There are quotes at the beginning of Unspoken from Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, and Anne Frank. Why these quotes? I love Emily Dickinson’s poems. I came across the quoted poem around the time I wrote Unspoken. I thought, ‘How beautiful.’ If I can ease one life from aching,/ … / I shall not live in vain.’ That was what I wanted to be – living a life of service. William Carlos Williams’ notion of writing, often beginning with a tragedy and how it helped to relieve his feeling of distress, echoes Anne Frank’s note in her diary, that her ‘courage is reborn’ through writing. It reflects my own experience with

writing. Writing heals. Writing brings you to another dimension. And I would like to highlight these to the readers, should they wish to try expressive writing to help ease their trauma. How important was the act of writing in terms of you coming to terms with your mental health? The writing of the memoir was therapeutic in two ways. First of all, it helped to release my emotional burden accumulated since childhood, and, secondly, it prompted me to confront my past and myself. Growing up in an abusive family, I was a sensitive observer who kept the unhappy experiences inside me. With the writing, I delved into my painful past. As I did so, all the suppressed feelings and emotions tumbled out - a release I’d much needed. At the same time, I gained an insight into the roots of my emotional turmoil, which was the cause of my chronic depression and psychosis. It's a book with which any one who has had to face their own challenges with their mental health will empathise. Was that in your mind when writing – the importance of sharing experiences both for writer and reader? When I started I only aimed for emotional release. After finishing the sixth letter [to my father], I began to discern the cause of my mental illness. I wanted to share my experience. Mental illness is still a stigma. Many people suffer with it alone. It’s important to let them know that they are not alone, and they don’t have to suffer alone. Unspoken: Living with Mental Illness is out now, published by Zen Cat Press

Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 29


Photo credit: Ewan Ogden

Brooke Combe

Hot town, summer in the city is one of the most unimaginative ways an article describing August gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh can begin. However, as we’re compiling this preview in the middle of a heatwave, you’ll forgive us for not showing more verve and ingenuity in our intros!

If you're ready to gig, check out the listings and prepare for sweaty nights in dark rooms again. If you're not ready for that (and that's okay), check the bands out anyway. And of course we’re in a time when things change rapidly, so before you head out of the house to a show, doublecheck it is still on.

Thankfully, the teams at The Hug & Pint, King Tut’s, Sneaky Pete's, and Summerhall have been far more creative, curating a solid line-up of hot summer shows.

August looks set to be jam-packed at King Tut’s, with their Summer Nights events. Brooke Combe gets it started on Monday 9th August, and given the waves she has made on social media in recent months, it’s likely you’ve heard her and enjoyed her music.

Of course, if you are looking for acts that you should be aware of, we’re pleased to say so many of the local acts we’ve highlighted in SNACK feature prominently. Across the music team, we’ve got a lot of love for artists such as Nova, TAAHLIAH, Scarlett Randle, Swim School and Dead Pony. That’s only a modest proportion of the performers at the renowned St Vincent Street venue for this month, and no matter what night you head along, we are sure you will have a fantastic time. Some gigs, such as Dead Pony, had already sold out by the time we went to press, so if you’re swithering over making it along one night, it might be best to act sooner rather than later. Photo credit: Daniel Blake

Dead Pony

The Unreliable Narrator album is slowly making waves, and for all the right reasons. If the temperature were as cool as Jeshua’s songs, we’d all be wearing a few more layers! Another positive thing about the Endless Summer gigs is that responsibility is being handed over to specific promoters or record labels for individual nights. One example is the night run by the Negative Hope label, on Tuesday 24th August. Headliner Sulka is a name that has been on our radar for a while, so that’s one to look out for. With Caoilfhionn Rose delivering an exquisite sense of fragility, Fuzzy Lop giving you a reason to dance, Jane Blanchard keeping things raw and honest, plus Brat Coven playing their first ever live show, the Endless Summer run of gigs has a lot of treats to uncover. Caoilfhionn Rose

Photo credit: Emily Dennison

Another sold-out gig at King Tut’s is the Thursday 19th August show headlined by Spyres. That’s set to be a cracker, but if you have a ticket, make sure you get along early and check out Brontës. Newly signed to the LNFG label, the little we’ve heard from the band has impressed us, and they’re one of the many acts we look forward to seeing at their own show as things move forward.

Then again, if you’re looking for a different show on the 19th, check out what The Hug & Pint has to offer. This is the night Jeshua headlines, and that is sure to be a ticket as hot as the pavement on Great Western Road.

Photo credit: Juliann Bailey

Scarlett Randle Music Andrew Reilly Page 31

Endless Summer at The Hug & Pint rolls into September, and the gig on Sunday 5th looks of interest. SNACK favourite Raveloe is the first act of the evening, and they’re great, so you can only imagine what the rest of the night holds. Good Dog, Bobby Kakouris and Grayling have a lot to live up to, but if you’re keen to keep that weekend alive, you won’t have a better opportunity. And you know it’s not just Glasgow that has it going on this summer. Under normal circumstances, if you can remember when they occurred, this issue of SNACK would be all-in on the Edinburgh Festival. It’s a time of year that delights hundreds of thousands while enraging (or enriching) some, but you know that 2021 is not the year for a total return of your social life. That will come later, but you should still plan some nights out in Edinburgh this month. It perhaps seems as though SNACK is legally obliged to feature Carla J Easton in every issue. But to be fair, she is usually doing something worth examining. Alongside preparing for the debut release and shows by Poster Paints (alongside Simon Liddell), Carla finally brings last year’s Weirdo album to the live arena for this year’s Nothing Ever Happens Here event at Summerhall. Even with a catalogue littered with mazy melodies and bejewelled bops, Weirdo saw Carla at her biggest, boldest, and brightest. It’s only right that the songs get their chance to shine in front of an audience. You’ll also find James Yorkston serving up two sets on Friday 20th August, which is an ideal opportunity to see one of the finest Scottish musical talents. You can’t boil James’ songs, style

and humour down to a single genre, and from our experience, you’re guaranteed a brilliant time watching one of his sets. However, whatever you are into, we are sure there is something for your palate, with Meursault, Sacred Paws, Stanley Odd, Hamish Hawk, Siobhan Wilson, Withered Hand and Andrew Wasylyk all performing at Summerhall in August.

Images from top left, anti-clockwise: Good Dog (credit: Beth Chalmers), Bobby Kakouris (credit julianbaileyphoto), Carla J Easton (press), James Yorkston (credit: Wes Kingston), Bow Anderson (press), Siobhan Wilson (image courtesy of Summerhall), Stanley Odd (press)

If anyone attempts to use anything close to the tagline of ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ with serious intent, drag them along to one of these shows and show them what the capital can do. Also, who can forget Sneaky Pete’s? I certainly can’t, because of the permanent ringing in my ears after an extremely loud gig (yes, the one that got the venue in trouble with the local authorities; what a night), but we don’t hold that against them. How could we when they consistently deliver the most exciting and entertaining gig nights in the capital? The venue doesn’t start delivering gigs until the start of September, but they return with a bang: Jango Flash headlining on the 1st of the month. Magic Grass play the following evening, and that should be a night of classic songs with fluid rhythms. If you are the type to plan ahead, Edinburgh’s newest pop sensation, Bow Anderson, plays two nights, with tickets remaining (at the time of going to press) for Thursday 23rd September. There's not enough room to cover even a modest number of acts playing this month, so apologies to any bands not listed; it's not a slight, just an issue of space. For everyone else, do some digging and Music Andrew Reilly Page 33



Superico, a 180-capacity cocktail bar and lounge, has now opened permanently at 83 Hanover Street in the city’s New Town, after briefly appearing at the rebranded 99 Hanover St last year. The classy Art Deco-styled establishment specialises in aperitivo-type drinks such as martinis and spritzes, including drinks served straight from the freezer. But there’s plenty of beer and wine available too.

Away from the main streets and cafes of Shawlands, Partenope has opened, completely transforming what was once a dark and quiet corner shop on the junction of Hector Road and Tassie Street. It is now bright and airy and unrecognisable as its former self. ‘Partnenope’ ’was actually the original name for the city of Naples, and so the coffee of choice is Kimbo, favoured by so many south of Rome. The coffee is excellent, in case you're wondering.

Food is Nikkei light bites, so South American with Japanese influences. Headed up by Mike Lynch, who has a solid pedigree from working at nearby Bramble Bar and the Devil’s Advocate, the bar is already shortlisted for international design awards in New York this September. Evenings will feature live DJs, as Superico aims to be a vibrant venue with drinks and food to match.

The owners have also posted teasing images of the Neapolitan pastry sfogliatella to their Instagram page. If you have no idea what sfogliatella are, make an effort to visit when they’re on the menu. They are sweet, light and delicious pastries, which despite the number of Italian cafes and restaurants in Glasgow are hard to find, but well worth seeking out. Rioja on the Finnieston strip have pulled off a coup, as their new chef, Miguel Angel Mayor, worked at the famous El Bulli (voted the World’s Best Restaurant five times) and received a Michelin star at Sucede in Valencia. The new menu is ‘Spanish tapas reimagined’, food that merges the best produce and flavours of Scotland and Spain with a sense of fun and mischief. If you are looking for wine they have a good selection of Spanish bottles, covering a far wider area than just Rioja.

PRODUCT Scottish berry season is here, with Scotty Brand Cherries now reaching supermarket shelves. The Scottish cherry season is a short one, lasting about a month from the last week in July to the end of August, so you have to get in quick if you want to enjoy these Perthshire beauties. They are on sale in ASDA throughout Scotland. Tasty on pancakes, in desserts and on their own straight from the punnet.

Both Aldi and Lidl have their ‘beer festivals’ in August, with Aldi stocking 14 (mostly new) beers from Scottish breweries, while Lidl have 13. Highlights at Aldi include the summer cocktailinspired Cranberry Margarita from Edinburghbased Barney’s Beer (£1.49, 330ml, 3.2%), and Loch Lomond Brewery’s Too Orangey For Crows (£1.79, 440ml, 4%) – those of a certain age will get the reference and know the tune. Meanwhile in Lidl look out for Giddy Goat Wheat Saison Ale (£1.29, 330ml, 3.5%) from the husband & wife team at Hurly Burly Brewery in Musselburgh and Hybrid Moments, a new elderflower kölsch from Glasgow’s Drygate Brewing (£1.79, 440ml, 4.8%).

ROC Co Brands created a pasta range for the UK Government’s Coronavirus Food Parcel Scheme during lockdown 2020. This is now available to the public, with 5 percent of profits going to NHS Charities Together, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities UK. The Pasta Per Tutti (‘pasta for everyone’) range consists of three classics: penne, fusilli, and spaghetti, costing £1.09 – £1.19 per 500g pack. The aim is to provide good quality, affordable pasta available to everyone.

Dunnet Bay Distillers, the UK mainland's most northerly distillery, have released Rock Rose Gin Citrus Coastal Edition (41.5% ABV), in unique, eco-friendly pouches that are fully recyclable and designed as a refill for those who already have a ceramic Rock Rose Gin bottle. Originally available to Craft Gin Club members only in 2020 and made using lemon verbena from the distillery’s own garden, the bottles and pouches can be purchased direct and recycled once used. The empty pouch can be returned freepost, with no stamp or envelope required. Bottles are £37.50, while the eco-friendly pouch is only £30 (ex. P&P).

Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 35

VEGAN BUDDHA BOWL A buddha bowl is a one-dish meal that consists of rice, grains or noodles, with vegetables, protein and a dressing. The protein can come in any form, be it tofu, beans, lentils, or less commonly fish and meat. In this case it’s vegan, but buddha bowls don’t have a recipe as such. You can add whatever you like into them; just remember the grain/protein/vegetable and dressing guide. We think they’re named after the big round shape of the bowls they're served in, mimicking the belly-shape usually associated with buddha, but not the Buddha, that is. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, is often represented in a lotus position, but never with a belly. The pot-bellied, laughing version was another monk, actually named ‘Budai’ (meaning ‘cloth sack’ in Chinese) for his selfless habit of dispensing food from a sack for the needy and the young. He lived centuries after Gautama Buddha and is depicted often in China and Japan, where his rotund belly and filled sack are said to bring good health and abundance.

So buddha bowls should probably be called Budai bowls. Western ignorance has meant that this ‘laughing Buddha’ or ‘fat Buddha’ is considered to be one and the same as the original Buddha. We in the West do know, at least, that many schools of Buddhism recommend a meat-free diet, and buddha bowls are typically vegan or vegetarian (don’t confuse a buddha bowl with a poke bowl, as the latter always contains fish or seafood). Some forms of Buddhism also forbid the consumption of food from the allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, spring onions and chives), because they ‘excite the senses’. Our interpretation of this is that they make you fart, and that interrupts your meditation – and the meditation of all those around you, of course! We love the allium vegetables, but we would recommend going sparingly; sometimes there is such a thing as too much garlic. We would exercise caution with raw beansprouts as well. They can be eaten raw, but due to their humid conditions conditions they can contain nasty bacteria like E. coli.

Check that beansprouts are labeled as ‘ready to eat’, and if not, it is recommended that they are cooked, especially for anyone pregnant or with compromised immune systems. Simply boil, blanch or fry them for a few minutes. This recipe is for two so increase the amounts accordingly for additional diners.

INGREDIENTS ▌ 1 packet of couscous ~100g ▌ 1 carrot, grated ▌ 1 sweet pepper, sliced ▌ 1 avocado, sliced ▌ ½ cucumber, sliced with mandolin ▌ A handful of ready-to-eat beansprouts (or cooked as per the advice above)


▌ ½ mango, sliced

▌ Cook the couscous as per the packet instructions (soak in boiled water for a few minutes).

▌ Chopped spring onions and sesame seeds

▌ Prep your veggies.

Ginger miso dressing

▌ Place all the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

▌ 3 tbsp sesame oil ▌ Divide the couscous among two bowls. ▌ 3 tbsp rice vinegar ▌ 2 tbsp miso

▌ Arrange your veggies over the couscous or around it.

▌ 4 tbsp olive oil

▌ Add your garnish.

▌ 2 tbsp soy sauce

▌ Drizzle with the ginger miso dressing.

▌ 1 clove garlic

▌ When eating, mix the dressing through all of the ingredients, coating them thoroughly.

▌ 2 tsp fresh chopped ginger Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 37

BEND.R LGBTQIA+ ART VENDING Vending machines have all sorts of stuff in them these days: pizzas, cupcakes, and now art. I talked with Leo Valenti, a Glasgowbased illustrator who has been working on something big. Inundated with contributions from queer artists around the globe, Leo has carefully wrapped each submission, lining them up in a vending machine, and waiting for people to get their hands on them. Bend.r might take a lot to wrap your head around, but Leo was ready and able to break down the core concept. It operates on a kind of mystery box system, with each bag within the vending machine set at a specific price range. You pay for a bag in a price range, with each item being priced by its

respective artist. ‘The price that you pay is equal to the thing that you get, you’re never going to pay £30 for something and get something for £4. The artist is never being paid less and you’re never paying more.’ Each piece of art comes from a LGBTQIA+ artist, and the variety of products up for grabs is really impressive. Leo is taking submissions of all kinds of art from any queer artist: ‘I’m not saying no to anyone unless there’s maybe like loads of the one kind of thing – at the minute, physically in the machine, we’ve got crocheted beanies, which is cool, we’ve got photography prints, postcards, zines, poetry…’

The list goes on, as Leo looks through a box full of other submissions, ready to be rotated into Bend.r. He fires off options such as watercolour originals, earrings, and iron-on patches. ‘So long as it’s not perishable, I'm taking it, basically.’


‘Yeah, having it out would be the sort of dream,’ is Leo’s response, as I bring up COVID and ask Leo about the obvious limitations with having such a tactile vehicle for art out in the world at the moment. ‘I’ve had a few places say they’d love to take it… then a portion of whatever it makes will obviously go to the place for keeping it and running it.’ Sober queer spaces are becoming a bigger part of queer communities; they provide spaces which let people interact without alcohol being present. Leo flags some of these venues as being ideal spots for Bend.r, and he believes they’re vitally important: ‘The opening of these queer, sober places made me sort of reflect – if I had something like that when I was younger, would that have aided me in figuring out who I was and feeling accepted? Like, it definitely would.’

Leo also thinks queer sober spaces, such as the vending machine, may offer some solace to younger queer people, ‘for kids who don’t have accepting parents and they can’t be buying binders and getting them shipped to their houses and stuff, I feel like just having a thing from a queer artist and seeing this in a community would help in some way that isn’t immediately obvious.’ At the time of printing, Bend.r had launched, and was already getting little brown goody bags out to people. While existing digitally for the time being, when the plague finally begins to come to an end, it is more than likely that we will start to see Bend.r crashing at various sober, queer spots, the locations of which are keenly guarded. One thing I took away from my chat with Leo was the determination he had to improve things for people in his community, to support each other, and to make tiny changes, which Leo sums up perfectly here: ‘That whole struggling artist thing? We’re not doing that in 2021! We’re thriving artists!’ Hit up Leo’s store, and grab a Bend.r ticket. From there you can pick the tier of art you want, and wait for the surprise.

LGBT+ by Dominic Cassidy Page 39

LGBTQ+ SPACES With restrictions easing and vaccinations increasing, going out and reconnecting with one another now feels like a tangible reality. With this freedom and optimism comes the realisation that we can return to queer spaces, as well as supporting venues, built for the LGBTQ+ community, that have emerged within the last year. It is vital that queer spaces are supported, especially in the name of rebuilding communities damaged by the pandemic. While Zoom calls served us well over the last year, nothing beats seeing our loved ones in the flesh, and many in the queer community struggled in isolation.

to navigate these ruminations in the ‘real’ world. Many will have gained a deeper understanding and awareness of their queer identity, as well as becoming galvanised by the injustices our communities have been exposed to this year. But above all we have missed seeing each other and feeling the confidence and safety of having our own spaces; unpoliced, unsanitised (to a point), and unequivocally our own. With all of this in mind, here is a selection of new queer venues and spaces that have popped up.


Consider the closeted queer youth confined with family who are unaware – or worse, critical – of their identity, unable to leave for reasons of comfort or safety, and remaining vulnerable for an extended period. Look, too, at the tiers and restrictions that have been put in place: between the push for biological families to create bubbles and baffling allowances for heteronormative activities like football tournaments, it feels like queer spaces have been overlooked and undervalued as crucial pillars in our cities.


But perhaps there are silver linings to consider as we traverse our way out of lockdown. Many people may have taken the time over the last year to reflect on their identity, sexuality and gender expression, and now have the space and impetus

What is truly inspiring about Bonjour is its status as a profit-sharing co-operative, with a minimum of 50% of their profits shared amongst staff. So many venues in the past have been guilty of mistreating staff, especially financially, and this move on their part speaks volumes about the club’s overall ethos – creating community in every sense, with local community groups benefiting from profit investment. Bonjour further ‘pride themselves on prioritising Queer communities, with the aim to centre Trans and Non-Binary, Black & Brown Folx.’

In what was Saltmarket's Lampost Bar, Bonjour has finally opened its doors to the public, and was just what we needed as we tentatively navigated out of Level 3. The venue has been long in development, with opening curbed, of course, by the pandemic. Open Wednesday to Sunday, the space is available for casual drinks, performances (including some of the city’s most talented and diverse drag) and for queer groups to hold meetings.

Accessibility is paramount to Bonjour, and they have established a firm commitment to addressing ableist barriers to its patrons. All areas can be accessed by wheelchair, and the entrance, bar area and toilets are all step-free. They welcome customers who need to bring medicine, food or drink to manage a medical condition, and medical equipment and assistance dogs are welcome. There is a venue plan available in their Instagram stories and all information about accessibility is on their Instagram.

Slay My first foray back to Glasgow’s queer scene after lockdown was glorious, and entailed visiting Slay. Situated in the heart of Merchant City on Glassford Street, Slay has been three years in the making and finally opened its doors as COVID restrictions were lifted. The custom-built space hosts a full performance venue with tour quality stage, sound, and visuals for both standing and seated shows. We were there for the first Glasgow Drag Spectacular performance, starring Glasgowbased performers RuJazzle, CJ Banks, Chanel O’Conor, Loki Lovehandles, Dorian T. Fisk, Frans Gender and Ann Phetamine, and were reminded of how electrifying live drag can be.

The venue has so far featured Bingo Wigs weekly (Thursdays in Glasgow, Tuesday at Church in Dundee) hosted by RuJazzle, and has an exciting lineup of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni in the pipeline, such as Jujubee, Joe Black, Tia Kofi, Veronica Green, and Blair St. Clair. The space is perfect for a drag revue show and I was impressed with the staff’s COVID safety procedures. The venue operates a lift to access the premises and disabled access toilet facilities.

EDINBURGH Kafe Kweer Situated at St Peter’s Buildings in Edinburgh, Kafe Kweer is an LGBT+ friendly shop, cafe and art space for all ages and identities. The cafe is open 7 days a week from 8am until 4pm (later on Thursdays), with a wide variety of food and drinks, lots of artworks by local queer artists, and eco-friendly groceries. Book a table in advance to ensure you are allocated a space and note that you can make a standing or one-off order up to two days in advance by phone or email. Kafe Kweer’s reach extends beyond food and drink; as such, they are hosting a craft fair on Thursday 5th August. After the success of its first outing, there will also be another Kweer Klothes Market, held on Thursday 19th August. This idea was born out of the desire to help those who wanted gender-affirming clothing but lacked the means to access them. There is no need for payment for any clothing taken from this event; it will all be donated. Donations for the Kweer Klothes Market are welcome as long as they are clean and can be worn again. Kafe Kweer is an inclusive, inviting business that deserves all the support people can offer.

Kafe Kweer

LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 41

PSYCHO BEACH PARTY Looking out from my window, having had my foolishly-booked holiday cancelled, things looked a touch grim: ominous clouds, humid temperature, the mind-numbing tedium of being stuck in my living room…I needed a pick-me-up, to be transported to a warmer, more jubilant destination. So, I took to the beach, and turned my attention to drag icon Charles Busch’s creation Psycho Beach Party. This 2000 release is a glorious pastiche of a range of film genres: gory slashers, surfer comedies, crime thrillers and beyond. Adapted from Busch’s play – which has toured across the world over the last 20 years – and directed by Robert Lee King, the movie combines dancing, camp dialogue and outrageous twists and turns to parody the tropes and attitudes that films from the 50s and 60s were guilty of perpetuating. We welcome Psycho Beach Party with open arms into the (Not) Gay Movie Club.

To me, Busch belongs to a prestigious set of queer artists I feel have been overlooked in the midst of drag’s pop culture domination of the last decade; he, alongside performers such as Lypsinka, Candis Cayne and Amanda Lepore, remains a subcultural icon, one perhaps on the periphery of drag performers in the midst of the queer pop culture revolution we are enjoying right now. Busch has cultivated a successful stage and screen career, usually playing the leading lady, not drag queens. To him, 'Drag is being more, more than you can be. When I first started drag, I wasn't this shy young man but a powerful woman. It liberated within me a whole vocabulary of expression. It was less a political statement than an aesthetic one.' By performing the role 'straight' (no pun intended), Busch at once pays homage to and satirises the traditional leading lady.

The movie begins within a black and white B-movie, in which our female lead is revealed to have three heads. This scene, and the subsequent parody of horror academia and analysis, really sets the tone for what is to come. Wannabe surf girl with a split personality Chicklet, played by Lauren Ambrose, becomes the primary suspect for a series of grisly murders plaguing the town.

However, the most exciting cast member is 100% Beth Broderick, better known to adoring audiences the world over as Aunt Zelda in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She looks phenomenal as the stereotypical 50s housewife, and she delivers the lion’s share of the film’s campiest one-liners ('What were you doing at 9pm last night?' 'What every woman should be doing – needlepoint'.) The dialogue in Psycho Beach Party is hilarious – full of puns, outrageous one-liners and double entendres – and delivered with the vim and vigour seen in those 1950s Elvis beach comedies. Busch’s delivery in particular is impeccable, evoking the high drama of screen icons like Bette Davis. And the plot is a hot mess, gleefully so. There are too many twists, turns and revelations to keep up with, often at the expense of our attention spans. There are times it feels like the filmmakers try to take on too much – too many decades of film referenced for there to be a complete, cohesive, send-up. And there some perplexing directorial decisions, with so few close-up shots used or people talking away from the camera...but maybe this is the intention.

Images courtesy of Strand Releasing

At the beach, Chicklet crosses paths with burntout surf guru Kanaka, dreamy surf boy Starcat (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon), and is ruthlessly pursued by the glamorous, nononsense homicide detective Monica Stark, played by Busch himself.

Its eligibility for our illustrious group is not easy to contest, as the entire film is high camp. There is a glorious dance-off between Amy Adams and Kimberley Davies’ characters on the beach, supported by a gaggle of beefcakes, who earlier in the film engaged in some outrageously homoerotic beach wrestling. The two indulge in a pastiche of David Winters’ iconic choreography, evoking the energetic (dare I say manic) routines performed by Ann-Margret in her heyday.

It evokes even more profoundly Kristen Wiig’s bananas Ann-Margret dance routine seen on Saturday Night Live, and I loved every moment of it. I also learned that going under a limbo stick is an excellent way to dramatically exit a beach party, as seen by Adams when she storms off in a huff. Is there a moral to be learned from Psycho Beach Party, our newest entrant in the (Not) Gay Movie Club? Absolutely not, and anyone turning to this movie for spiritual guidance or emotional comfort may wish to look elsewhere. Yes, the movie’s plot is endlessly stupid, but there are so many loveable buffoons onscreen you can’t take anything too seriously. Perhaps that’s the whole film’s raison d’être: a reminder of the absurdity and camp joy to be found in life, even when there is a maniacal serial killer totally ruining your luau.

LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 43

Track by Track: Granfalloon Positive Songs


Back in April 2020, which might well have been the global nadir of positive energy, Manchester-based artist Richard Lomax (otherwise known as Granfalloon), got involved with the Positive Songs Project, a venture set up by fellow musician Lobelia Lawson. Spotting the likelihood that loads of locked-down musicians were going to write songs and extolling their loneliness, isolation and the relative merits of looking at their navels, the Positive Songs Project aimed to get as many songwriters as possible to contribute to a hive of songs that looked on the bright side, despite 2020’s widespread dark side. It’s a stellar idea. Lomax is no stranger to producing sad or reflective music, but the push of focused positivity in the face of a global plague gives Lomax’s folktronica a broader and even more psychedelic feel than normal. The project produced over 300 tracks, but the eleven on Positive Songs include collaborative inputs from the likes of Adrian Ingham (Hello Cosmos), Maya McCourt (Salt Moon), the aforementioned Lobelia Lawson, and Richard Jupp (Elbow).

Opener, ‘I Don’t Feel Blue’ teases its elements gently for a minute, before becoming a circular coda that could pass for a cult’s initiation ceremony for the last two minutes. What drags you in and keeps you interested is that the musical accompaniment constantly moves around – drums start and stop after a few bars, other instruments drift in and out, and all the while the heavily multi-tracked vocals repeat the same haunting chorus.

‘The Pigeon’ announces itself with almost jagged, trebly guitars figuratively striding down an urban British street sometime in 1969. The middle bridge section feels slightly disconnected from the rest of the song, in a Syd Barratt sort of fashion, before rejoining the song’s original groove seamlessly. Due partly to the collaborative effort that produced it, the album isn’t a straightforward case of pointing out obvious influences. ‘Save Point’ is a perfect example and, as it happens, a proper high note. The solo section is all chorus-effect strings phasing backwards and mimicking sitars, but the psychedelic part sits within a skipping, driven song with shades of Talking Heads and the phrasing of Lou Reed. The gaming references are sublime, and rarely has a line resonated so directly with me as ‘Maybe you’d think that this was all just a dream, that would be understandable / Like Wonder Boy 3, we change into animals.’ ‘My Tribe’ is an addictive melding of country and blues. Again, the multi-tracked vocals are a bit of a low-key show-stealer. It’s a hard thing to get right in a dense mix of instruments without dominating and sitting on top of everything, but they’ve nailed it. There’s a core sweetness at the middle of ‘The LUV Song’. The word ‘love’ (or ‘luv’, actually, I’m no sure – it makes sense if it’s the latter, on reflection) in an ascending and descending scale forms the backdrop to the lead vocals and a rich, loungelizard organ quietly carries the tune. Throughout the record, in fact, it’s the occasional surprise sound in the mix that frequently makes the song without hogging the limelight. During ‘A Holiday from Nothing’, the buried sound of soft brass early on and then a busy Wurlitzer are the gravy, not the (perfectly good) rattling snare paradiddles and picked guitars.

Despite multiple contributors, these eleven tracks manage a surprising continuity. ‘The River Knows’ is the closest to sounding out of place, although that’s not an entirely bad thing. ‘See You Soon’ could be a poster boy for optimistic songwriting during lockdown. It starts with THAT Motown drum intro. You know, the one that you hear in public and almost always guess is the wrong song. As soon as someone in a pub goes ‘Oh, is that ‘Everything Must Go’ by the Manics?’ you can always guarantee it’ll be ‘Leader of the Pack’. Anyway, it starts with that beat, and the opening line ‘Last night I dreamt we played a reallife show / Last night I dreamt that we all sang the same tune’ sets the tone for Lomax pining for missed things with hope rather than pity. Lead single ‘Who You Are’ may already be familiar to you, but if not, it’s a lazy meander of a rhythm with an uplifting chorus that would be just as at home on Radio 2 as on Radio 6. ‘Working on Your Own’ continues in a similar tempo, while Lomax’s laid back yet verbose delivery carries such natural empathy that the listener almost falls into compliance with his narrative. Closing track ‘Better Than Today’ is a fitting end, with its optimistic chorus picked out from the rest of the song by a warm-sounding, whistling organ. It’s a big, big stretch to say that Positive Songs is a ‘happy’ record. The sentiment behind most of the songs is certainly hopeful, but that is couched in a blend of sensitively mixed instruments that ground the sentiment. However, it is a reflective slice of expertly crafted optimism, bathed in some gorgeous blends of sounds that capture something of the spirit in the current summer air.

Positive Songs is out on 27th August via Cosmic Glue Music by Stephen McColgan Page 45



Book: A Working Class State of Mind Colin Burnett’s debut short story collection introduces a new and vibrant voice to Scottish writing. His stories focus on a group of close pals and casual acquaintances, negotiating their lives in an Edinburgh where social and economic divisions are marked. The opening story, from which the book takes its name, sets the tone with its take on the ‘Robert Bruce and the spider’ myth – the perseverance of the narrator and the spider inextricably linked. What follows are tales where success and failure often arrive hand in hand, and coping mechanisms include pills, pubs, and pisstaking. It does take time to adjust to Burnett’s Scots, but that is in no small part the point. Colin Burnett is not only demanding that his voice be heard, but that none should be silenced or denied. There is a call for cultural legitimacy which lifts A Working Class State of Mind to another level.

Book: Milk Fed Melissa Broder, the acclaimed author of The Pisces and So Sad Today, offers up Milk Fed, an erotic and indulgent novel about food, sex, and God. With themes of sexuality, family, and eating disorders, there is much to contend with, and Broder does it skilfully. Rachel is 24, Jewish, and has made calorie restriction her routine. Her therapist encourages her to take a 90-day communication detox from her mother, who raised her in the tradition of calorie counting, whilst also prodding her to take a healthier approach to eating. However, it soon becomes clear that, due to her upbringing, Rachel has no healthy relationship with food, and a chance meeting with Miriam, who works at her favourite yoghurt shop, has life-changing repercussions. A riotous and frivolous read, it has to be said that the novel does not explore Rachel’s family setting enough. Despite this, there is still much to gain from Milk Fed, as we learn about Rachel and the upbringing that has brought about her situation.

A Working Class State of Mind is out now, published by Pierpoint Press Alistair Braidwood


A Working Class State of Mind, the everyday reality and language of life

ocial sciences and animates them what it means to be working class in

xploits of Aldo as well as his long and Craig, the book follows these their way in a city more divided

hemes in the social sciences and c portrayals of what it means to be


mbra Scots, Colin’s chairacters’ he language o thaim thit belang

d Irvine, Anthropologies of Scotland, The University of St. Andrews.

d writer. Driven otland’s working tragic insight into e and experience.



ve found favour with an increasingly t with their roots.” – Paul Kelbie, Discover Scotland.



24/05/2021 09:25

Milk Fed is out now, published by Bloomsbury Keira Brown

ANDREW WASYLYK Album: Balgay Hill: Morning in Magnolia When we reviewed Andrew Wasylyk’s last album, Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation, we commented that it was a fitting end to his recent trilogy (2017’s Themes for Buildings and Spaces and 2019’s The Paralian being the first two parts) exploring the sonic representation of the architecture of Dundee, its surrounding Angus coastlines, and general environs. Yeah, so, he’s released a fourth one, making us either look presumptuous or innumerate. The eponymous Balgay Hill is a park in Dundee and Andrew has managed to make a flowing, atmospheric crest of a record. The listener feels submerged in the familiar environs of a Victorian city park, complete with the smell of grass, the rustle of wind through leaves, sweet birdsong punctuated by whatever you call that aggressive noise magpies make, and the faint threat of getting done in by a jakey.

Single: Prioritise Pleasure The single contains two tracks: ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ and ‘I Do This All The Time’. Self Esteem’s lyrics are a stab to the guts of the human condition. ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ explodes thirty seconds in, obscuring the singer’s voice with jarring, distorted guitar in a way that’s almost painful. The crux of the lyrics of the second track, ‘it was really rather miserable trying to love you’, is swiftly compounded by a symphonic crescendo. This track is a sublime amalgam of meaning and melody. 'Prioritise Pleasure' is out on all streaming platforms now Natalie Jayne Clark Photo credit: Olivia Richardson

If you’re not familiar with Andrew’s multiinstrumental landscapes, this record would actually make a good jumping-off point. As well as working as a grand opus moving elegantly between movements, there are individual tracks that have more independent ‘replayability’ outside of the context of the album. ‘Magpie Spring’, ‘The Ghost Who Never Arrived’ and closing track ‘The Morning of Magnolia Light’ all deserve to be prominent on your upcoming ‘outdoor’ playlists. The latter two boast subtle jazzy brass elements that will appeal especially to those who would normally hate subtle jazzy brass interruptions.


Self Esteem

In summary, it’s the best fourth instalment of a trilogy we’ve ever heard, and it’s also the best thing Wasylyk has ever released. Balgay Hill: Morning in Magnolia is out on 20th August on Clay Pipe Music Stephen McColgan

Ross Wilcock Page 47



Album: Music for Hypercapitalists

Album: The Tide is at the Turning

This collaborative, cyberpunk concept hip hop album is a very pleasurable and bumpy descent into insanity. Framed as a job interview for unpaid ‘Junior Intern Assistant Hypercapitalist’, the album is interspersed with a robotic-voiced Lily from PCPQ posing as a sinister, sarcastic AI interviewer who rivals GLaDOS from the Portal games. These tracks give the feeling of being trapped in a devilishly dark episode of Doctor Who (think ‘The Long Game’ episode featuring Simon Pegg).

The Tide is at the Turning is a weighty record, in length and ambition, but the listener should embrace it. The merging of folk and pop is appealing when done well, and it's handled delicately yet firmly. Amongst the Celtic lilts and sighs, there's an 80s sheen throughout the record, and that's no bad thing. It's an excellent-sounding record of love, life, loneliness and loss, so it's an album for everyone!

Each of the music tracks feature the lyrics and vocals of talented rappers. All of the music, mixing and production comes from PCPQ (made up of Lily Higham and Gordon Johnstone). Every track evokes a different mode of madness and enmity. ‘Familiar Foreword’ (Jackal Trades) begins as quiet yet rageful steeliness, just trying to live another day through this sorry state of society. ‘Fractured Prism’ (Texture) is more of a frustrated and reflective despondence and is the most Gorillaz-esque.

There's a cavalcade of highly-regarded names of the Scottish folk and indie scene represented here. It's probably stretching things to say talents like Rachel Sermanni, Gill Fleetwood, Laura Wilkie, or David MacGregor should be household names across the nation. Still, it'll do you no harm to be better acquainted with them if you're a music lover. And the same can be said for Man of the Minch, who has taken on a bold Celtic-pop project speaking about life as a queer person with a great deal of confidence and intent.

‘Dragon’s Jaw’ (Conscious Route) has breathy urgency to it with heavy systemic themes explored, while ‘Puddles of Mercury’ featuring Somnia is utter creepy lunacy. ‘Nefertem Flex’ (Empress) is whispered and precise promises of revenge. In ‘The Horrible Odyssey’, Miles Better takes it to the edge – slow, certain, and strong vocals and sounds cement the psychopathy of the album.

The Tide is at the Turning is released on 6th August on Olive Grove Records and The Bothy Society Andrew Reilly Photo credit: Ross Anderson

Music for Hypercapitalists is out on streaming platforms and as a QR code on packets of ramen on 12th August – all proceeds towards Refuweegees charity Natalie Jayne Clark

It's a gloriously pop-sounding record, melting strings and synths in a way that could be daring but which sounds as familiar as your favourite pair of warm socks.

AMIINA EP: Pharology Icelandic quartet Amiina have gone through many different genres and line-up changes since they first formed in the late nineties. From their first album, Kurr, released in 2007, a defiantly anti-rock 'n' roll statement, with gentle lullabylike music and a front cover of the band knitting around a table, to their many film soundtracks and collaborations with the late composer Johann Johannsson and Sigur Rós among others, they have never compromised. It is hard to pin simple genres onto Amiina, as their sound never settles. In this regard, they share similar sonic territories with shapeshifting artists like Tim Hecker, Rachel's, Forest Swords and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, all of whom have created their own niche in more experimental work over the years.Thus, their sound is continually evolving and their projects are multi-disciplinary. So it is with their latest release, three-track EP Pharology. Launched through Icelandic magazine Reykjavik Grapevine, Pharology also features an incredible twenty-minute film, specially created by acclaimed Icelandic artist Heimir Freyr Hlöðversson to accompany the EP. Hlöðversson’s film beautifully complements the music, as it's mired in abstract imagery which looks like volcanic matter, dramatic explosions, and vast organic landscapes. It was in fact created using oil, alcohol, and glue, creating wonderful textures and swirling colours.

Pharology's three tracks are, as expected, absolutely stunning. 'Aton' builds from a purring synth, staccato strings and almost militaristic percussion from Magnús Trygvason Eliassen into a stormy, cinematic soundscape, invoking Iceland's own natural world of volcanoes, bubbling geysers and craggy terrains. 'Refraction' is, in contrast, more eerie and paredback, with ambient washes of synth and dissonant drones creating an unearthly, ominous mood state. Amiina's quieter moments of reflection can be equally as effective as loud, powerful dynamics. Finally, the closing track 'Beacon' starts with what sounds like Morse Code signals, building gradually into a shimmering post-rock soundscape with María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir’s characteristically complex strings, acoustic guitars and bubbling electronics, resolving into an elegiac sound that’s half-cacophony, halfsymphony. It's music that is inspired and inspiring, future-facing, yet absolutely accessible for those who are lucky enough to have discovered them for the first time. Pharology EP is out now Lorna Irvine Page 49



Single: Free-Swimming

Album: Last of the Free The debut album by Last of the Free combines electronica with Scottish music archive footage and recordings to create a late night raving, ceilidh experience. Definitely erring more on the electronica side than the Scottish music side, it’s a love letter to Scotland through synths.

Channeling the aquatic quality you would expect from a song called ‘Free-Swimming’, Greenock producer/singer-songwriter Berta Kennedy’s latest single is an alt-pop tune with attitude. Guitarheavy, with punchy drums and synths alongside Kennedy’s crisp vocals, there’s some serious production value on this track. Fresh-sounding and experimental, the lyrics of ‘Free-Swimming’ focus on embracing your own power and the freedom this brings. Considering Kennedy is a one-woman show – writing, recording, producing and mastering her own tracks – this seems more than fitting. ‘Free-Swimming’ will be released on 13th August Lily Black

Archived recording of Gaelic conversations and field recordings of nature lead us into the Scottish Highlands, whilst gentle synths swell, always underneath a driving electronic beat. A euphoric feeling of freedom runs through this album, with the interview with cyclist Bill Houston encouraging us to ‘see places no tourists have been before’. Last of the Free starts by using samples of the most gorgeous reel from the award-winning Kinnaris Quintet, revelling in the natural woody sounds of the strings, before delving into swirling rhythms and interlocking electronic beats. Starting with acoustic string instruments keeps us grounded in the original source material, whilst the edited skips and stutters play with the internal rhythms of the reels in the source material and lead us firmly into the electronic realm for the remainder of the album. As we carry on through the album, we lose our sense of the outdoors, and the electronica takes over – the editing and mixing of the source material with the electronics is expertly manipulated so the tracks are cohesive and natural. One for fans of Martyn Bennett, The Avalanches, Mr. Scruff, and Inyal. Last of the Free was released on 18th June through Tonic Note Records Sam MacAdam

KARLA BLACK Visual Art: sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective The refurbished Fruitmarket on Market Street has opened, with an innovative exhibition by Scottish artist Karla Black. Entitled details for a retrospective, the exhibition showcases Black’s lively sculptures. Her work focuses on minimal materials and their contrasting utilities. The £4.3 million remodelling has doubled the size of the Fruitmarket. Black’s exhibition makes full use of the new-found space, spreading across three rooms with sculptures dangling, rising and hanging from different surfaces.

The lasting effect of details for retrospective is heightened by the space within the Fruitmarket. The exhibition leaves us with thoughts of beauty and practicality. Black’s concoction of euphoric colours and mundane components alter the perception of the ordinary, making us question the undiscovered beauty in other conventional objects. Black’s pieces create a feeling of curiosity, a need to explore in an attempt to see the world through her inventive eyes. Karla Black’s sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective exhibition is free to enter, and will be at the Fruitmarket until 24th October Abbie Aitken

The first room contains a selection of Black’s works from 2001 to present day. Sculptures such as Be Perfect for People (2012) and Want (2012) use pastel colours to create a playful sensation. Yet the plaster and chalk that make up these pieces force us to question the conventional use of everyday materials. The upstairs gallery contains Punctuation is pretty popular: nobody wants to admit to much (2008/2021), a rework of one Black’s earlier pieces. Pink plaster powder and thread consumes the first floor. Long skylights reflect the pastel onto the walls, blurring where the piece begins and ends, while the monotone pink transforms the space into a dream-like sandy cloud. Waiver For Shade (2021) juxtaposes the airy feeling of other works. Located in the warehouse, the piece is as elusive as its title. Copper leaves are scattered across the wooden floors, with deliberate squares of soil creating a trail leading to a mound of black dirt overlaid with gold and copper leaf. The piece demonstrates the versatility of Black’s work and her ability to transform a space with the most minimalist of materials.


FIRST COW Film Mainstream American cinema’s love affair with the Western genre has ebbed away as the decades have gone on. At the same time, the idea of the ‘arthouse Western’ has grown in stature, with the ultimate reference point being Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 masterpiece Dead Man. Perhaps the starkest yet most poetically beautiful Western ever made, it’s a dazzling achievement. Now we have First Cow, Kelly Reichart’s entry into the more arty side of the genre, a slow-burning, meditative film that reveals much about the human condition through its depiction of male friendship in a harsh landscape. Cookie (John Magaro) is a baker travelling to Oregon in the 1820s. Along the way he meets King-Lu (Orion Lee), a Chinese man travelling to the same place to seek his fortune. The two form a bond, and live in King-Lu’s small hut in the wilderness. They discover the first cow to be brought to this place, and steal its milk to make bread. Soon they make money from selling the bread, only to attract the attention of a wealthy factor (Toby Jones) who owns the cow. Things start to go awry, and soon the pair are fighting for their lives.

Those who like their movies to feature action and drama from the off may find First Cow a little demanding. There were moments that tried my patience, especially with the scenes shot at night, which are so pitch-black that it’s difficult to see what’s going on. Saying that, it’s the type of picture that rewards patience with atmosphere and investment in character. First Cow, quietly magnificent in the telling of its story, can stand tall beside the aforementioned Dead Man and other exemplary art Westerns such as The Assassination of Jesse James. First Cow is streaming on Mubi now, and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on the 9th of August Martin Sandison

Image courtesy of A24

The first half of First Cow is a slow meditation, as Reichart trains her camera on the two men’s relationship with each other and with the natural world around them, creating an atmosphere of peace despite the hardship they endure. Her approach to their closeness is given depth through an objective gaze, with no hint of sexuality, and an emphasis on their survival and shared visions for the future. Magaro portrays Cookie with a deep melancholy, a quiet forager at one with his surroundings. Lee’s voice imbues King-Lu with a natural wisdom, and makes you believe these two were meant to be the closest of friends.

As the heist plot of the second act gains traction, we are introduced to Toby Jones and Ewen Bremner as the factor and his right-hand man respectively, with Jones and Bremner doing their usual great things with small parts. Reichart’s skill in ensuring every event is given a natural feel means the change in tone isn’t jarring when Cookie and King-Lu eventually find themselves in great danger.


Instead, Michael Sarnoski’s directorial debut portrays revenge as a slow-burn meditation on human passion and authenticity to one’s own true self. While not the Cage performance many would expect, it is arguably one of his best in years – his lack of dialogue throughout the film allows breathing room for audiences to appreciate the quieter aspects of Cage’s acting talents. Feld soon teams up with truffle dealer Amir (Alex Wolff) in order to search for the missing pig, and the duo’s chemistry highlights the greater aspect of the film, as a canvas on which the actors portray their affections and frustrations. As Cage says in the film, ‘We don’t get a lot of things to care about’, and that is when Pig works best – as a celebration of opening oneself up to joy. Even when Pig doesn’t match Cage in its greatness, it serves as an intriguing vehicle for showcasing his lesser-known talents.



Pig opens the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 18th August at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. The film will be released in UK cinemas on August 20th. Bethany Gemmell Page 53

Image courtesy of Altitude

Film Pig could easily have been what it appears to be on a surface level: a John Wick-meets-Taken style revenge thriller. This is conveyed in the twominute trailer, a showreel of the grittiest aspects of the film, as Robin Feld (Nicolas Cage) has his beloved truffle-hunting pig kidnapped by a mysterious group of violent vigilantes who break into his cabin in the middle of the night. With Feld heading back into the city from the wilderness, rasping, ‘Who has my pig?’ at the skyline, the film appears to capitalise on the signature manic acting style that made Cage both Hollywood icon and meme subject in equal measure.

active decay the sign at the mouth of my street fell off its posts. It was wind battered, rusted at the edges, the letters scraped away. It fell and it just laid there. and then its heavy corpse was gone. And now no one knows where I am. Holly Fleming


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.