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STEF SMITH MAN OF THE MINCH EMMA GRAE ORBITAL MINI STUDENT GUIDE

DECLAN WELSH

AND THE DECADENT WEST

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CONTENTS WHAT'S ON

P8

Hidden Door Festival – Take One Action – Body Voyager Afro-Celtic Textile Art Exhibition and International Culture Festival

INTERVIEWS

P14

Declan Welsh and the Decadent West – Stef Smith Man of the Minch – Emma Grae – Orbital

FOOD & DRINK P32 Food & Drink News – Lentil Curry with Crispy Eggs and Tarka Broccoli

LGBT+ P40 LGBT+ Freshers – The (Not) Gay Movie Club

REVIEW P44 The Limiñanas & Laurent Garnier – 404 INK – Mariana Leky Zoe Graham – Linzi Clark – Otaru – Josienne Clarke – Chvrches Gunke – Megan Black – The Vaccines – Molly Payton – LOTOS

WORDS

P54


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: Neelam Khan Vela Spine quote: Jenny Holzer To advertise in SNACK hello@snackpublishing.com 0141 632 4641

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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 31 of SNACK, It’s been good to see things return to something approaching pre-pandemic normality recently. Actually, things are strangely normal. Our horizons have once more broadened beyond our local park, gigs and festivals are now a fairly regular occurrence once again, and we’re, for the most part, settling back into a more sociable way of life. We’re looking forward to an autumn (is it that time already?) packed with opportunities to meet up with old friends and to see the outside world through fresh eyes. This month’s mag is pretty much business as usual, with the small addition of a mini student guide to welcome the cities' newbies. Hiya, dweebs! Elsewhere in this month’s mag we speak to Declan Welsh about patter, changing lives, and the best song on the That’s Why I Love You Mum Volume 22 compilation album. We also caught up with playwright Stef Smith about her first foray into screenwriting with the unmissable small town love story, Float (out on the BBC iPlayer now). Teenage me would be delighted to see that we've also an interview with the mighty Orbital – though he might be a bit confused about us not putting their picture on the cover. Elsewhere, Jonny Stone catches up with Pedro Cameron (aka Man of the Minch) to chat about his excellent new album The Tide is at the Turning. As for the rest, just dig in. Stay safe, and we'll see you in October. Kenny Lavelle Editor


www.thestand.co.uk

www.thestand.co.uk


WHAT’S ON GUIDE HIDDEN DOOR FESTIVAL

Granton Gasworks and Warehouse – 15th till 19th September Hidden Door is back for five nights of music, art, theatre, dance & spoken word, this time in the shadow of the iconic Granton Gasholder, and inside a huge warehouse just across the road. It opens with a reprise of The Call: a project conceived at the height of lockdown by composer Esther Swift, summoning 20 of the best, most eclectic Scottish musicians and conducting them from across the gasworks site with huge flags. Other musical highlights include sets from Rival Consoles, MALKA, Pictish Trail, Post Coal Prom Queen, Hamish Hawk, Swim School, The Orielles, Ibibio Sound Machine, and Daughters. hiddendoorarts.org Ibibio Sound Machine

BODY VOYAGER Surgeon's Hall, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh – from 11th September Get your hands on working surgical instruments, human specimens (quite how that will work in practice is a mystery), and AV presentations in this immersive experience where you’ll be taken on a journey through the human body, exploring the way in which modern technology is changing the course of modern surgery and patient care. The aim is to get you thinking about how the surgical world is advancing and how you would feel about receiving treatment via these technological advancements. The exhibition includes equipment used by surgeons, from the first pieces of robotic equipment used in the operating theatre to some of the most up to date, high-tech instruments in use today. museum.rcsed.ac.uk/body-voyager

TAKE ONE ACTION Various venues across Glasgow & Edinburgh + online – from 22nd till 26th September As Scotland gears up to host the UN Climate Conference (aka COP26), Take One Action (the UK’s leading climate change film festival) will host 20+ international, UK and Scottish film premieres, inspiring conversations and exclusive digital happenings. The festival opens with the World Premiere of Living Proof: A Climate Story – a brand new feature-length exploration of Scotland’s complex relationship to the global climate crisis, told through archive footage from the National Library of Scotland. Part found-footage mash-up and part archive collage, Living Proof features a soundtrack with Scottish artists Louise Connell, Brownbear, and Post Coal Prom Queen alongside composers Ian Whyte, Frank Spedding, John Maxwell Geddes and David McNiven. takeoneaction.org.uk

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What’s on Page 9


PLAYGROUND FESTIVAL

AFRO-CELTIC FESTIVAL

Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow – 24th till 26th September

Milngavie – till 25th September

It's been way too long since we've all got together in a field to party. Playground is perfect for those of us who’ve moved past the camping aspect of music festivals but are still keen to enjoy the rest of the experience. This year’s lineup includes Kelis (yes, the Kelis), Róisín Murphy, Orbital, Hot Chip, Leftfield (DJ), Boy George & Culture Club, Sister Sledge, Vitalic, plus Nile Rodgers & Chic. Scotland’s grassroots have a decent presence too with Beta Waves, Scarlett Randle, Fauves, Stephanie Cheape, Lezzer Quest, and Rebecca Vasmant all set to play.

The Afro-Celtic Textile Art Exhibition and International Culture Festival aims to build stronger relationships between African, Scottish and other communities in Scotland by means of sharing culture through workshops, activities, and exhibitions. Highlights include Chief Josephine Oboh-Macleod (Johfrim) & other collaborating artists such as Chief Kofi Gift Amu & Vanessa Fletcher, exploring African & Celtic symbols, and the whisky and cheese tasting on 11th September. The Afro Celtic International Carnival Day itself (25th) will have an exhibition on the ‘Afro-Celtic Wedding Couple’, workshops, a fashion show, music, international food & drinks, plus raffles. jomcharity.com

Chief Josephine Oboh-Macleod

Róisín Murphy

COMEDY AT THE STAND The Stand (Glasgow & Edinburgh) THE STAND IS BACK!! Their long-running Red Raw weekly beginner’s showcase (Monday, Edinburgh/ Tuesday, Glasgow) is regarded as the best open mic night in the UK. You can catch up to ten new acts – some treading the boards for the very first time. This your chance to see the stars of tomorrow today. Also watch out for older hands dropping in to try out new material. Other upcoming nights include sets from Kerry Godliman, Sara Barron, Simon Munnery, and BAFTA breakthrough act winning Luisa Omielan. thestand.co.uk snackmag.co.uk

Luisa Omielan


JOM Charity presents:

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

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

jomcharity.com Exhibition | Workshop | Fashion Show | Music International Food & Drinks | Raffles

What’s on Page 11


DECLAN WELSH Image credit: Do

AND THE DECADENT WEST


Image credit: Douglas Hill

One of the most hotly anticipated sets at TRNSMT, on a day of maximum rock n roll, comes from Declan Welsh & The Decadent West. SNACK caught up with Declan Welsh to talk patter, changing lives, and what the best song on the That’s Why I Love You Mum Volume 22 compilation album is. Check out the SNACK website for the extended interview. TRNSMT is looming and you play on the Saturday. How do you feel about it? It’s going to be a bit surreal. We toured extensively before lockdown and I did gigs on my own. I was doing three gigs a week, going on for about five years. So to go from that, to almost two years of nothing, and then into the biggest gig I’ve ever played…It’s exciting, but it’s going to be quite strange. I wish it had come about at a time after we had toured for six months. However, there’s no better way of getting back into it than Saturday night at TRNSMT, I suppose. My patter has gone completely, which you might see by the end of this interview! We played a gig at Glasgow Green for the Euros Fanzone, and I thought to myself: I am talking utter shite here! It’ll be fine. We’ve been rehearsing constantly for three months, so we’ll be good, it’s just getting your head around it. Will you get a chance to see any other acts on the Saturday? I’m gutted we are on at the same time as Primal Scream. That is a shame as I’ve seen them at Electric Fields, and I thought they were amazing. They’re a great live band, and we’ll check out Liam Gallagher. There are loads of pals’ bands on earlier during the day as well. The good thing about TRNSMT is that everything is so close, you can take a walk between the stages, and if something sounds good, you can follow it.

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 13


Dylan [John Thomas] is on just before us and he’s great, Voodoos are on the main stage, they’re brilliant. Lucia & The Best Boys we’ve known for a while, Spyres are from East Kilbride; there’s a lot of really good bands to check out. I know it’s not cool to say that you like Keane but see ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, if I can catch that, I’ll be belting that out! I know it’s ‘coffee shop music’ or That’s Why I Love You Mum Volume 22, but I do like that song. Your new EP is It’s Been A Year. That’s in the running for understatement of the decade. How have you been in the past while? It’s been well over a year now, hasn’t it? Due to scheduling conflicts and other delays, it has been more than a year! Like everyone, I’ve been up and down. I’m quite lucky in that I live with my partner and we got on really well. We’ve quite enjoyed spending time together and watching TV. I’ve finished The Wire and finally watched Game of Thrones. Artistically, I’ve written loads and taught myself how to produce. It’s funny with the EP coming out, and the EP which came out before, these are all songs that are quite old to us, and I’ve been writing different material throughout the lockdown. Some of the lyrics have been added recently, but musically a lot of the EP dates back to when we were rehearsing and touring.

How have you found the initial reaction to the new songs? That’s the strange thing about it. Usually, we get an in-person real-time reaction, and you see the connection. In terms of raw numbers and streams, it’s going as well as it ever has. All the numbers are going up. It doesn’t feel like anything when you watch numbers change on a screen. It’s all nice, but the thing you want is the feeling you get when someone has got the song, or it means something to them. One of my favourite YouTube comments came after we released a video for ‘Another One’, and I did weeks of choreography, learning the dance with Jennifer Steele. We put a lot of work in and it turned out really well. Some guy commented; ‘You cannae dance for fuck mate, but it’s a great tune. Take care.’ You can’t be annoyed at that because he liked the song. I like stuff like that. You’ve said it feels like a farewell to an era of the band – is this a bittersweet release? This EP sounds a bit different, but it’s in the same ballpark. It’s still indie guitar music, maybe with more reverb and harmonies. We had all these songs that were a notable departure from previous stuff, so we took the songs we like the most that aren’t going to fit the new album, and released them on an EP. My favourite thing is writing and recording. I am obsessed with writing songs, listening to as much different stuff as I can, and writing different songs. I think we’re sitting with 150 tunes written over the lockdown.

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Also, and this might be a bit too ‘political science’ for some people who might be bored by what I’m about to say: you realise that you are a product, which I am to an extent, and then you realise everything you do and every song you write is fundamentally about you being a vehicle for someone else to make money off – including your art, your personality and what you do – it’s all part of a big branding exercise. I became a bit uncomfortable being branded as someone who is a social activist or someone who speaks truth to power.

150 songs? You know that most people just made banana bread during the lockdown? And I got Napoli to lift the [Football Manager] Champions League. I tell you, that was more difficult than writing 150 songs. I started at Ayr United and had to get the Napoli job! I would have more to say about the ins and outs of my Napoli save than the songwriting process! There’s a never-ending supply of social topics to write about. What’s your songwriting focus these days? In terms of the political stuff I’ve done, this EP has less. That hasn’t been a deliberate decision. The songs that we like are less that way inclined, and with an EP, it’s not as much of a mission statement as the album is. You can release an EP and it’s just a nice collection of six songs that are good. Also, with being locked inside and not going out or interacting with people, it means that what compels you to write songs is different from what it usually is. It’s more insular, looking inwards and thinking about what is going on in your head.

Image credit: Neelam Khan Vela

At the end of the day, that was being used in press releases to convince people to write about me to sell records. Maybe at 21 you can go in naïve and optimistic, thinking that this is okay, but as you get older, you have to question if that’s achieving something broader or good for the causes you care about. You can’t close your eyes and pretend that branding yourself as someone who is against capitalism isn’t at least as cynical as using anger against the system to enhance yourself in the current system. I noticed the way we were branded in the past, and I was uncomfortable with that. I’ve always had these opinions and I’ll always be involved with trying to do stuff for causes I care about, but I’m not super comfortable with that being how we are branded any more. I look at artists I like, and a lot is expected of them, to share their life. That doesn’t interest me. I don’t have a major interest in being on Instagram or Twitter 24/7. I’m not interested in making my life my brand. I’m willing to accept the consequences of not being online or being a brand.

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 15


What local band, and in what venue, would you love to see before the end of the year? I’ve seen Joesef in King Tuts, but I’d love to see them at a festival. I’m sure they’re playing TRNSMT the day after us. They’re great with respect to a local act that I really like now. I think Gallus are a really great live band. I’ve not seen Lizzie Reid since she released her EP. Those are the people I haven’t seen that recently. There’s loads of people, I’d be here for hours if I listed all the bands I like in Glasgow. If you’re talking past or present, I’d have liked to have seen The Lapelles make it to the Hydro or the Barras, which they inevitably would have. If it’s a ‘what if’ scenario, that would be my answer, but when you’re talking about current bands, there’s too many. Of course, you’re heading off on tour in November – what’s your main thoughts on that at the moment? It’ll be good to have the four of us cutting about, we always have a good time. And all the other people, the sound guys, our manager. It’s good to see the band playing in different places and the biggest thing is meeting the people who have come to see us and bought tickets. I love hearing if they have a favourite song and what things mean to them. I have a mate from Palestine who tuned into a livestream show we did. It was The New Colossus, a SXSW style event in New York, but this year was online. Best year to play it, missed the boat going over to New York this year.

My pal was listening to us, and that’s the coolest thing, connecting with people from other places that you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to. One of the cool things about the data is you can see where people listen to you. Mexico City, Thailand, Indonesia, every corner of the world, there’s people listening to our tunes. It’s not massive amounts, but in its own wee way, it’s exciting for us. Knowing what we make comforts people or makes them happy is nice. That’s one of the ways Spotify is good for artists, isn’t it? It’s an amazing product that just pays the wrong people. It’s a perfect product. It’s fairly cheap, it’s great for the user, the artist gets insight; it’s just an advert of the problems of the system. Despite the fact it works brilliantly, the money still goes to the wrong people. Everyone who puts music on it, is the reason the platform works, and the people who make the money from it are the ones who had the idea to take other people’s stuff and package it. It’s Been A Year is out now on Frictionless Music. Declan Welsh & The Decadent West play TRNSMT on Saturday 11th September and their November and December UK tour takes in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Full interview: snackmag.co.uk/declanwelsh

snackmag.co.uk


Image credit: Douglas Hill

Music by Andrew Reilly Page 17


FLOAT


Image courtesy of Stef Smith

Particularly I wanted to show that small town through the lens of young people and also LGBT people, because that mixture of things doesn’t often get to be seen on the screen, or on stage, or in general. I grew up in a relatively rural village in Scotland and I think quite often we conflate rural with remote – they are different things.

Seasoned playwright Stef Smith (Roadkill, Girl in the Machine) has made her television debut with Float, an innovative digital drama produced by Black Camel Pictures for BBC iPlayer.

There is a joy to growing up somewhere like this, and natural difficulties. Being away from shops and from the perception of life happening – I think this can be tough on young people, but it’s also worth celebrating these smaller communities where you can get closer connections. I wanted to see both sides of what it means to grow up somewhere like this – the positive and the negative.

The six-episode drama concisely and effectively tells the story of Jade (Hannah Jarrett-Scott), a young gay woman grappling with a dark secret that has chased her from her progressive student life in Glasgow. She returns to her small unnamed Scottish hometown, and takes up lifeguarding in the community swimming pool. There, she comes to connect with those around her – her square manager Steve (Ben Presley), plucky and misguided co-worker Liam (Jack Stewart), and the protective and welcoming Collette (Jessica Hardwicke), also grappling with her own demons. Here, Stef tells us about making the leap from writing for the stage to the screen, and what it means to be a young person from a small Scottish town.

Speaking of the underrepresented – you have made a point of having a woman (Collette) being shown to have romantic feelings for both a man and a woman. Bi- and pansexuality aren’t always represented in a way that is shown and not told. Can you tell us more about representing this and Collette’s journey of discovery?

The setting of Float is a small, unnamed Scottish town. To you, what does it mean to be from a small town, and how does that play into Float?

I think that at the centre of Float are LGBT+ characters and it’s a love story playing itself out. The characters involved just happen to be gay.

I knew that I wanted to represent parts of Scotland we don’t often get to see on screens. You see a lot of urban settings in contemporary drama and I wanted to show the Scotland that we know and love with a small town at the heart of it.

Main image courtesy of the BBC

There’s a distinct lack of representation of people who are either bisexual or pansexual. I was quite keen not to give her a label because I think, sometimes, they’re not for everybody. I was keen to show that she hadn’t quite found a language for herself yet to describe her own sexuality.

In regard to Collette, she says at one point ‘what does a lesbian look like?’ when she’s pushing against what she wants. I think that plays into a lot of people’s fears when they’re discovering their sexuality. I hope that seeing Collette on this journey on screen might make them feel less alone in their own journey. TV by Holly Fleming Page 19


Float takes the very short form of just six episodes, roughly ten minutes apiece. Short form is on the rise as a lot of storytellers peel away from longer films. With Float, what was the thought process of telling this story through shorter chapters? I think writing short form is interesting – it’s certainly challenging. You have to tell your story in a very concise way. Particularly because Float has an ensemble of characters, I needed to make sure that all the characters were served and it felt like they were real people. The pandemic shot my attention span. Consuming a story in ten-minute bites is really appealing. It also speaks to the YouTube dramas that are coming out. It’s really exciting and also a great way to access a younger audience. But I think there are real pros to writing in short form. It’s a technical craft. I feel like it’s its own medium compared to writing hours of drama that’s going to add up to eight hours of watching. I think it’s something that we’ll be seeing more of because I think people will be consuming stories on Instagram and YouTube. So, I feel very proud to be at the start of this journey, and to be exploring this medium.

The six episodes of Float left me wanting more – a lot of possibilities arose. Is a second season in the works? What would be your ideal length of Float as a completed project? I’d really love a second bite of the cherry because this is the first piece of screenwriting I’ve ever done. I think I’ve learned a lot and there are things I’d do differently given a second chance. Towards the end of season one we really found the tone we were looking for. I’d love the chance to let these characters live again. I think there’s so much more – so many more stories to tell with all the characters. It’s very hard to write characters without falling in love with them. For me, we’re just at the start. Fingers crossed for a second season – who knows? I’d love to explore this some more as there’s some mystery to come back to. We wanted to make sure the ending didn’t feel unsatisfying to the audience but we did want to say that there was more story, so it was a tricky thing trying to strike a balance. This is your first time screenwriting – what was the jump from stage to screen like? I feel very privileged that I got on a scheme through the BBC Writersroom. They’ve been incredibly supportive of me making the transition to being a screenwriter and I feel like I was constantly learning when I was in the Writersroom Drama Room scheme. Of course, nothing can really prepare you for writing your own series. There are some stories that belong to the stage and there are some that belong to the screen, and of course there are those that can transition back and forth. Float wouldn’t have worked as a stage play; to make it work, we’d have to change so much that it would become something new. For me, the story of Jade and the team was meant for the screen.

snackmag.co.uk

Images courtesy of the BBC


Working on Float, you’ve had to deal with filming through COVID-19, and you also used the services of an intimacy co-ordinator. What were these two experiences like?

While writing the pilot I was reaching towards tenderness and connection, so I think that was also what some of us were looking for during the pandemic.

As for the intimacy co-ordinator – the actors would tell you more about what that was like. But both Jess and Hannah have said it was a really empowering experience that ensured safety on set for everybody. There was consent and clarity on what was going to happen and I think that’s so important.

You've said that your work aims to examine both the lightness and darkness in life. What does that mean and how does Float examine these concepts?

In regards to filming during COVID, it was tricky. We had lots of stops and starts in the script development. We tested all the cast and crew – we became a bubble. The production team was careful and ensured everyone was safe and there was no one testing positive, so no one had to isolate, which was great.

When you have joy or laughter set against sadness or anger it makes both of them more intense – the sadness sadder and the happiness happier, when you have both of them sitting next to each other. There’s a contrast with these emotions. There are a lot of dark things and political things and I hope that I can always bring some light into these scenarios. I don’t necessarily want to bring in a big Hollywood ending or make everything into a comedy but there’s always a connection between people – even in the darkest moments, people still laugh. Float is out now on the BBC iPlayer TV by Holly Fleming Page 21


Image credit: Ross Anderson

MAN OF THE MINCH


Pedro Cameron – performing under the moniker Man of the Minch – last month released his debut LP The Tide is at the Turning. Cameron masterfully interweaves a broad variety of soundscapes and diverse musical influences, and marries poignant lyrics with bold, dynamic soundscapes. Ambitious, heart-wrenching, and joyous, The Tide is at the Turning is the product of an artist reaching their zenith. Cameron has also spearheaded Bogha-frois (Scottish Gaelic for rainbow), a free music workshop programme pushing LGBTQ+ musicians in Scotland to the forefront in the hope of celebrating the diversity in folk music. Three years after his first chat with us, SNACK was lucky enough to sit down with Man of the Minch to discuss his new record, finding the balance between joy and heartache on the dancefloor, and Scotland’s thriving queer folk community. How does it feel to ride the wave of the record’s reception? It’s been so much more than I could have hoped for. It’s been such a long process getting here; it feels longer because of the pandemic, so it’s nice for it to finally be out. I’ve had some lovely messages from people, and everything I was worried about has worked out as well as it could have. Did lockdown alter your writing process at all? The album was largely written by then. I got funded to do this through Creative Scotland’s Create:Inclusion Fund, which focuses on supporting projects whose creators fall under the Equality Act. I got the award in April, in the middle of the first lockdown, and started recording the album in August. It was released almost a year exactly to the day we started recording. So while I wrote a couple of songs over the last year, lockdown didn’t really impact on the writing, more so on the recording. It must have been a logistical nightmare getting everyone together to get everything on track. How did you navigate it all? Actually, it was the complete opposite! Recording studios were the only thing we were allowed to do music in, really, and by definition they’re designed to keep people apart to isolate sound. I have twenty musicians who performed on the record – friends, musicians I admire – I was fortunate to be able to book them. It would have been a scheduling nightmare if everyone were on tour, but because everyone was at home it was really easy to get them all in. It was such a lovely thing to be able to do; because we couldn’t play in each other’s houses or perform gigs, this was a safe haven where we could collaborate. It was a real silver lining. I really appreciated having a project to work on outside of work. I would have gone insane if I didn’t have this! Music by Jonny Stone Page 23


What inspired the record’s lyrics? A lot of it is about change. I speak about relationships – I really wanted to write gendered, queer songs – and a lot of it is about coming out, or addiction, tough things that happened to me throughout my twenties. Isolation, loss, heartbreak… But I wanted there to be a sense of hope and optimism to the album. That was reflected in having so many of my friends on it; they were the arms around it. Music and friendship are the things I rely on to stay sane. You strike the balance between darker themes and a sense of joy and jubilation, sonically. It’s catharsis. I want to convey the feeling you experience when you share your story or what you’re going through, and how much of a relief that is. It’s the Robyn school of crying on the dancefloor; sad songs that remain joyous. Don’t you feel there’s something inherently queer about that dichotomy? From Bronski Beat to Robyn, to me there’s something so resonant about having songs so dismally sad that make us feel good. Totally, and from the point of view of the folky in me, many traditional Scottish folk songs are gutwrenchingly sad. And yet Scottish music also has the element of ceilidhs, togetherness, and sharing stories that I wanted to bring. ‘Ordinary’ is, to me, the album’s most majestic moment. Can you discuss the song’s background a little?

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I’ve noticed a real shift! Bogha-frois has expanded hugely in the last few years and so many musicians are involved. There’s much more representation in folk music; I wonder if it’s something that was always there and is only now becoming more open. Most of the musicians that appear on the record I met through Bogha-frois, so it feels like it is an extension of the project. Some of the songs were born out of my work with Bogha-frois and it allowed me to make so many lifelong friends. Younger musicians have gotten in touch to become involved, which is lovely to see, but it’s also about celebrating everyone who’s already here and who have been here. Some of Scotland’s most important folk musicians have become a part of the project, and I feel very proud that I have been able to play a part in that. It’s funny, when I set out to start the project it was never for anyone else, but by virtue of making that space for myself it has brought so many more people in. It’s more than you could ever hope for.

Image credit: Ross Anderson

I wrote ‘Ordinary’ quite early on when I started Man of the Minch. It initially appeared on my first EP. It’s about self-acceptance, embracing how ordinary you are in a positive sense. It’s about celebrating that nobody is more or less special than anyone else, that we’re all in the same boat.

We last spoke officially in 2018 following the release of Helping Hands. Speaking on the state of Scotland’s queer folk scene, or there lack of, you told me ‘I've always felt like a bit of an island as a gay folk musician and initially I just wanted to put something together just to find out if there are other musicians who feel the same way.’ Do you still feel that way, or have you noticed a shift?


Do you ever feel any stigma or homophobia in the scene, or pigeonholed in any way as an artist?

I imagine you’ll be excited to take the album on the road. How do you envisage bringing the record to life onstage?

That’s a tough question – I feel I’ve almost made that pigeon-hole for myself! The reason I started Bogha-frois partly, was that when I was in my last band, The Dirty Beggars, it felt like we were playing to conservative crowds a lot of the time, a lot of bluegrass and Americana crowds. I never felt totally, 100% safe, or able to be myself truly.

I always write on my guitar, as at their heart, the songs are folk songs. I think they’ll come to life in loads of different ways. Sometimes I play with a seven-piece band, with synths and drums and electronics, but then sometimes I’ll play by myself.

Things are definitely getting better but it’s hard for me to say because I’ve built Man of the Minch and Bogha-frois out of being queer, and it’s tough separating the entities. And there are so many unabashed, incredible queer musicians making waves, in Scotland and beyond. It’s tough to assess any stigma as a result of creating a platform for myself, as a queer person. And while it’s important to champion that, ultimately I just wanted to make the music I wanted to make, say what I wanted to say. How does it feel to have the album on vinyl? I can’t imagine how meaningful that must be, to have a physical product of all you have created and worked on.

These songs can exist in any iteration or form. I would love to tour the record with the band, but I think it would take a bit of work to reproduce it. I’m starting now to do gigs; I’ve felt a bit reluctant to do it, as I don’t think I could have faced putting in all that work to put on a show to have it cancelled! It takes a lot to put on a good show. I can’t even remember what I’ve got tickets for, myself! But I just want to savour and enjoy this moment. I’ve put so much work into the record, I want to bask in its glow for a minute. I’ve done some writing, but I want to get back out and do some gigs, dance with my friends, and see where it takes me. The Tide is at the Turning was released on 6th August on Olive Grove Records and The Bothy Society

It’s so surreal! It was an amazing moment finally holding in my hands. It can feel so intangible when you’re releasing music digitally; to hold this solid thing that is just my music, not my phone with a million things on it...it feels like a trophy. I am so chuffed with how it turned out. The mermen, the Men of the Minch [the album’s cover art] were done by an artist called Leah Cameron and the design was by a friend of mine, Ross Anderson from the off brand studio. Those two elements came together and it looks beautiful. The purple vinyl looks gorgeous. I feel lucky because it’s impossible to get vinyl made now, and it’s so expensive, but I have two labels supporting it.

Music by Jonny Stone Page 25


EMMA GRAE


Although published previously in a variety of literary journals, Emma Grae’s debut novel Be guid tae yer Mammy will introduce many readers to an impressive new voice in Scottish literature. Writing in Scots, Grae manages to create characters who, while being members of the same family, are all individual and authentic. Their stories would have nowhere near the impact they do were they not written as they are, and SNACK spoke to Emma to find out more about her approach to writing her first novel. What can you tell us about Be guid tae yer Mammy? Be guid tae yer Mammy is a darkly comic family drama set in modern-day Scotland. It's a story of love and loss told through three generations of the same Glaswegian family. It's inspired by my own life, and I'm really proud that basically everything in the book has a thread of truth running through it, albeit with a fictional twist. My Mum, for example, was actually born on the Renfrew Ferry back in 1962, and my Granda, like Kate's Granda Joe, really did save a woman's life up in the Highlands! It's your debut novel, but you've had stories published before. Why tell this story in this format? I was initially inspired by an experimental novel called House Mother Normal by B.S. Johnson. It's told in different voices and set in a care home. I'd already been writing about my experience of working in a Glasgow nursing home to fund my degree prior to reading it, and it sort of planted the idea of writing in voices. About a year later, it turned into me writing from the point of view of different members of the same family. As for writing in Scots, I only recently realised that the first Scots word I ever used in my writing was ‘Mammy’, ten years ago. This was in a memoir about the care home where I worked, something I built on in 2013 with a few more Scots lines without actually realising that I was doing it – so it was very much second nature. So, really, I didn't write in Scots for any reason other than that's the language I grew up speaking, and it's how the people in the book speak. But my confidence in writing in Scots is largely owed to a lady called Lorna Wallace and about 20 White Russians in a wee underground bar on Sauchiehall Street. Back in 2014, we used to go there about once a week, and one night she said she wanted to rewrite ‘Tae a Moose’ as ‘Tae a Selfie’. She did, and it went viral! It showed me how much fun writing in Scots could be and how it came to me much more naturally than writing in English ever did. Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 27


It's often claimed people can't (or, perhaps more honestly, shouldn't) have a favourite child, yet Be guid tae yer Mammy turns this on its head, with a mother blaming one of her daughters for all that ills her. It's heartbreaking to read – was it difficult to write? The relationship between Marie and Jeannie was really difficult to write because it's definitely something that I saw in my own life, and I wanted to use it as a catalyst to shed light on the difficulties faced by those with invisible illnesses. I think that, because of social media, it's easier than ever before to judge people when you don't have a clue what's going on behind their smile, because people only ever show the highlights of their lives online. I also think it can be a breeding ground for bad behaviour, something that also comes into the novel. Thwarted ambition is a central theme. It's something which comes to define all three generations of Brennans. What did you want to say about the lasting effect of dreams dying? Again, the death of dreams is something that I've experienced in my own life and seen on more than one occasion. Like Kate, I have OCD, which makes writing a lot more challenging than it needs to be, and I almost gave up on writing altogether on a number of occasions. In the end, I only persevered as I felt like the stories I have to tell are more important than any anxiety I might feel about putting them out into the world. I also knew someone who was so determined to become a writer, like me, but gave up when success didn't come immediately, and that was something that I think came across in Lizzie and Jeannie's relationship. I think the lasting effect of dreams dying is best put by David Bowie, whom I quote in the novel. He says that in later life you'll have so much regret if you don't even try to chase your dreams because, regardless of whether or not it works out, you'll at least know if you can do it or not. I can't think of many novels which make the case for writing in Scots as strongly as Be guid tae yer Mammy. How important was the language to you, and why? I think it's really important that we hear modern Scots voices, which is why I varied the usage across the novel. Admittedly, this was not easy to do, but it's important for literature to capture a sense of how language evolves as much as it's important to evoke an accurate sense of place.

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Scots also represents rebellion to me. I spent so long trying to write in an English high literary voice that just wasn't mine. I didn't have any success with my writing until I was like, ‘bugger it, this is the world I know best and I'm just gonna go fur it!’ You published with Unbound. Can you explain briefly how that works, and how did you find it as a way of publishing? Unbound was on my radar for a long time. I wrote about them for the publishing module of my creative writing M.Phil, going down to London in early 2016 to interview them. I briefly mentioned Mammy and they said, ‘Submit!’ As I was super familiar with the crowdfunding module, I decided to do it about six months after finishing the novel in 2018, but it was an awful first draft – in my opinion – and I really expected them to say no. To my absolute shock, I got an acceptance email in January 2019. I am really glad I did it this way as Unbound helped me make a book that's of a fantastically high quality, and I can think of a million reasons why an agent would have turned down a first novel written in four Scots voices! It's very much an idea that doesn't fit the mould, which is what Unbound is all about. It was also great to publish the book knowing who the first readers were, and that they'd supported me on a really long journey that became even longer because of COVID delays and my OCD. What's next for you? I'm nearly finished my first novella, The Tongue She Speaks. My great granda wrote in Scots too, and a poem of his was published in the Glasgow Herald in 1967. The Tongue She Speaks is a line from that poem, which my Mum found by total accident after I started writing. I don't know how much I believe in fate, but it's amazing to think that I'm not the first person in my family to write and publish in Scots. Be guid tae yer Mammy is out now, published with Unbound

Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 29


Image credit: Steve Double

ORBITAL It seems like forever and a day since we’ve partied at festivals and seen our favourite live acts. If there’s any consolation, the performers have missed us in the same way we’ve missed them. If you are going to a gig or festival soon, get set for an almighty outpouring of relief and emotion; and hopefully some classic sets. Here you can put your faith in the acts whose live reputation goes before them, the artists you can depend on to create a great atmosphere and vibe. SNACK caught up with Phil Hartnoll from Orbital to discuss Playground, festivals, great times and what comes next.

Do you have any strong memories of Scottish shows or festivals? Oh my word. I love it, there’s something different about you lot, you’re very open, and you go for it. There’s a similar vibe in Ireland, you really enjoy it, and we have a great time in Scotland. You’re down to earth, and that’s what I like about it. The last time we were there was in George Square [as part of the 2018 European Championships celebrations]. A claim to fame is that we were sound checking as a sports reporter was presenting, and we really startled her. She said something like, ‘And if you’ve never heard of Orbital, they are very, very loud.’ I loved that!

Are you all set for Playground Festival? We’re born ready for that one, let me tell you! I’m so happy about that one. We did a funny gig for the Hacienda at the Warehouse in Manchester. It was more for filming, and attendees were in cattle pens. Around 200 people. We got stopped in the end because people were standing up and dancing. It was comical, watching people being chased for having fun. Playground though, really looking forward to it, it’s a proper festival, and it’s in Glasgow, you can’t get much better than that. snackmag.co.uk

I’ve also lots of stories that I cannot tell, it would be too incriminating to share! We started off at Pure in Edinburgh (famed club night at The Venue, helmed by JD Twitch and Brainstorm) back in the early 90s, that’s how long we’ve been going. That was brilliant, and of course, you have Glasgow. We played the Academy, that gig in George Square, so many others, and we’ve had a great time. It’s going to be electric.


You’ve got a fantastic live reputation, especially at festivals – which is a great thing to have – but does the reaction of the crowd lift you? Oh yeah. We’ve got a mini studio up on stage. Nothing is in a song mode and there’s no backing track. We buzz off the audience, and we can change the arrangements, drop stuff in and out. We tend to do a rendition of what is on the record, but we feed off the audience and play the vibe. We’ve got a record we’ve been playing for a while; it was called ‘Thirty’, it’s now probably called ‘Thirty-Something’, and it’s interesting to see how it's evolved over the time through playing live. Sometimes we forget what the original was like. You get used to slight changes, and then other things happen, and it’s interesting how the songs develop. That’s the audience’s fault! You included new songs in your 2020 sets. Will they feature this year or do you have any other new tracks? There’s a couple of things in there that we’re trying out. They’re not complete, but that’s another part of playing live, you can see how things feel and how people react. I think there’s two new tracks, I can’t quite remember off the top of my head [the sentence trails off amidst much laughter]. In that sense, having no live gigs must have hampered your song writing process too? Exactly. It’s part of my life, I had some deep thoughts; ‘what am I going to do, who am I and what am I doing?’ I stopped listening to music for a while, all I could listen to was Kraftwerk. Paul was very prolific, but I didn’t have a purpose. For me, I need a purpose, and that might be working with someone in the studio, or trying to finish something for a gig.Having no live shows stopped the flow in many ways.

While things might be different this time around, do you generally watch other acts when you play festival sets? Oh yeah – normally, I go with the crew who will be in the night before. If there’s anything going on then, I get a chance to see other bands. This one, we’re not going to. I’d love to and I was thinking about staying for the weekend, but it’s still patchy out there. I’m still cautious, I have to be. Generally speaking, festivals are great. You get to see bands you wouldn’t normally see, and that’s brilliant. It’s been over 30 years since Orbital started – do you spend much time looking back, and if you do, what are your overriding thoughts and emotions? Every gig is really important. Some gigs work out really well, such as Glastonbury 1994. However, what really worked for us was the audience was gagging for electronic sounds, and we were there. Another great moment was when we were doing the opening for the Paralympic Games in 2012, and Professor Stephen Hawking was with us; he was a superstar. He wore torch glasses, and for him to do that, he had to take his normal glasses off; and he couldn't see anything! He was so up for a laugh. He did a speech and we took a bit of that, vocodered it, so he was singing on stage, we’re performing it with him on stage wearing his torch glasses. I did an edit of it the next day and sent it to him, he replied back, saying ‘when are we releasing it?’ That was a magical moment, but it’s all about the connection when playing live, seeing people enjoy it. When I feel that is happening, that’s it for me. Orbital play Playground Festival on Friday 24th September Full interview: snackmag.co.uk/orbital Music by Andrew Reilly Page 31


FOODIE NEWS EDINBURGH Season Quayside recently opened at Commercial Quay in Leith (in the space that formerly housed Cafe Tartine). Open all day for coffee, cake, and a selection of scones in the morning, their lunch and dinner menu focuses on tacos, gourmet pizzas and burgers, as well as a selection of chargrilled meat. Drinks include draught beer from the nearby Moonwake brewery, a selection of worldly wines, and excellent cocktails. We recently visited and can confirm that the food is great. Add to that their friendly service and a cosy atmosphere, and your visit is complete. (72 Commercial Street, Leith). With three shops in Glasgow, it was high time that Locavore expanded east, and now it’s happening. The organic, local, and zero waste social enterprise have announced that they will be launching a shop at the old Maplin site, which will make it their biggest store when it opens towards the end of the year. (118-126 Dalry Road).

Season Quayside

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What was the Yeni Meze bar in the heart of the New Town will soon be East Finch. In the UK we generally think of American food as being McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s etc., or in other words cheap fast food devoid of any real nutrition. But there is an entirely different food culture in the Southern States, with their barbeque and Creole cuisines. The food at East Finch will be designed to share, with a heavy New Orleans influence, so expect gumbo, po’ boys, grits, and beignets. Wash those down with creative, modern versions of 80s party drinks and classic American cocktails for a little taste of the American South. (73 Hanover Street).

GLASGOW Doppio Malto opened with stereotypical Italian flourish and a huge party, preceded by a bright yellow branded Ferrari driving the streets of Glasgow, revitalising the large space vacated by Jamie’s Italian. The craft beer bar and restaurant has up to 15 Doppio Malto brewed beers on tap, with seasonal rotations and beer flights, and pizza, pasta, burgers, cakes, and coffee available. They can be found throughout Italy, with the Glasgow site being their first in the UK and second only to Saint-Étienne outside of the homeland. A further Doppio Malto site is due to open in Edinburgh next year. (7 George Square)


La Pastina Deli is the newest venture from Chef John Traynor, previously known for The Undercover Dinner Society. The deli specialises in handmade pasta and classic focaccia sandwiches. All made fresh, every day. They will also be providing cakes, freshly ground Italian coffee from local supplier Italian Aroma, and homemade pasta kits to allow you to recreate the La Pastina Deli experience at home. (180 Byres Road) The Glasgow Vegan Markets are back at Drygate, bi-monthly, starting with the first on Sunday 19th September. Expect to see sweet treats, beauty stalls, vegan information stalls and sustainable market stalls. It’s dog and familyfriendly, too. (Drygate, off Duke St)

La Pastina Deli

PRODUCT Leith Brewery Pilot have released Isle Of Independents, a Passionfruit & Guava Sour, which was brewed especially for this year’s Indie Beer Shop Day (17th July). This is a gentle sour with a smooth, refreshing, tropical fruit taste - think of it as alcoholic Lilt. As with all Pilot beers, no finings or filtration were used to clear the beer. Pilot instead use time and controlled temperature to let the beer settle, so all, with the exception of Mochaccino, which uses lactose, are vegan-friendly. pilotbeer.co.uk Wonky Pickles is a business that arose out of lockdown when founder Laura found herself with some free time. Now, her Christmas chutneymaking skills have become a year-round activity. The main ingredient is ‘wonky’ vegetables, the ones that supermarkets don’t want and homegrown efforts from neighbour’s gardens. These are then turned into gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly pickles and condiments. Look out for them at the Partick farmer’s market every fourth Saturday of the month, or order from wonkypickles.com

Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 33


LENTIL CURRY +


This lentil curry does need quite a few ingredients, but most are kitchen mainstays and you'll be able to make it a good few times after the initial outlay, just buying the fresh ingredients each time. Students, look at it as an opportunity to start building the base components of your larder. Lentils are a staple in many parts of the world, and are loved for their versatility. Traditionally used in soups in Scotland, they can be found worldwide in everything from stews to soups, or even made into a flour for poppadoms. Here we use lentils for a vegan curry (well, it’s vegan if you omit the crispy eggs). The lentils soak up all the flavours from the spices and make a filling meal. We have accompanied this lentil curry with tarka broccoli. Tarka is a method of seasoning food with spices heated in oil or ghee (clarified butter). We are using oil to make the recipe vegan, but add the crispy eggs if you want to increase the meal’s protein. The eggs are a little different from the usual boring, boiled version on top of a curry, due to their crispy skin and spices.

INGREDIENTS

▌ 4 cardamom pods, squashed ▌ 4 cloves of garlic, crushed ▌ Small bunch of coriander, chopped ▌ Steamed rice or chapatis to serve For the crispy eggs ▌ 6 eggs ▌ ¼ tsp ground turmeric ▌ ¼ tsp paprika For the tarka ▌ One head of broccoli, cut into smaller pieces ▌ 1 tsp mustard seeds ▌ 1 tsp cumin seeds ▌ 1 tsp coriander seeds

▌ 2 tbsp oil (Standard vegetable oil is fine) ▌ 100g dried red lentils ▌ 2 onions, sliced ▌ 400g chopped tinned tomatoes ▌ 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped (1 ½ tsp of ground ginger if you can’t get fresh) ▌ 1 tsp ground turmeric ▌ 1 ½ tsp ground cumin ▌ 1 ½ tsp ground coriander Food and Drink /Student by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 35


METHOD ▌ Place the lentils, onions and tomatoes into a pan.

▌ Add spinach and cook for another 10 mins,

▌ Add turmeric and mix through.

until lentil mixture has thickened and leaves have

▌ Add enough water to cover the lentils.

wilted.

▌ Cover the pot with a lid, bring to the boil, and simmer gently for around 20mins or until the lentils

▌ Whilst the spinach is cooking, peel the eggs.

are tender.

▌ Heat the remaining oil in a pan. ▌ Add the peeled eggs, turmeric, and paprika.

▌ Add eggs to boiling water and cook for 7

▌ Fry eggs on a low heat until the skin starts to

minutes, until they are hard boiled.

blister.

▌ Remove eggs from the water and leave to cool. ▌ In another pan, cook broccoli in 100ml water. ▌ Heat half of the oil in a medium hot pan and then

▌ Cook on a high heat until the water has evaporated.

add cumin, coriander, and cardamom pods. ▌ Add the oil, mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, ▌ Let this cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in and chilli to the pan with the broccoli. the ginger and garlic and cook for a further two ▌ Fry over a medium heat until the broccoli looks minutes. charred but still has a crunch to it. ▌ Add the lentil mixture to this pot. ▌ Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 20 mins, ▌ Serve the lentil curry topped with eggs (or not, letting the lentils cook further. (The lentil mixture will if vegan) and serve alongside rice or chapatis, start to break down and look mushy.) with the tarka broccoli. snackmag.co.uk


Food and Drink /Student by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 37


VEGAN

Being a student can be an amazing adventure. If you’re lucky you get a bunch of great new friends and you might even have moved to a new city. You are probably living away from home for the first time and you can say what you want, sleep with who you want and eat what you want, without your folks noticing/commenting/barging in. It’s the perfect time to go vegan, if you want.

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You might have been Instagramming your recipes for years, or this might be the first time you’ve ever picked up an aubergine in the supermarket and thought – what would I do with that? Thanks to that very handy emoji, we all know what an aubergine is these days, hurrah! But do you know how to cook them? Or that eating all the veg under the sun might actually be the best move yet?

Illustration: Fionnlagh Ballantine


A lot of students decide to go vegetarian or vegan early on and there are a ton of potential benefits: glowing skin, an improved immune system, cheap food shopping, the option to be environmentally and ethically superior at a drop notice (best keep this bit in check though).

There’s a ton of decent snack options around now, and pretty much every place you can imagine is out there launching some new vegan product trying to emulate that Greggs effect – those vegan sausage rolls and sausage, bean and CheeZe melts are irresistible!

If you are the average student, then you are going to have quite a few bevvies when you are in freshers. Some alcohols aren’t vegan, but spirits tend to be and a quick Google will often tell you what’s what. It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that a can from the offy might say it’s vegan but its cask equivalent in the pub might not be.

One of the most stressful things about cooking as a student in shared accommodation is fighting for the hobs. My solution would be to use a touch of that student loan to buy yourself an electric pressure cooker. I’ve got one and they are damn amazing. You can chuck all your ingredients in, sauté off what you need, stick a lid on and come back to an incredible risotto, chilli, or curry. The options are endless. They also cook beans from scratch, which admittedly can be a faff, but is way cheaper in the long run. Generally the cooker will have a ‘keep warm setting’, meaning your yummy curry can be ready for when you fall through the door at 2am starving after a night out. Perfect.

I had a ton of hangovers in my early months as a student and for as many pounds that I lost from my bank balance, I gained them around my midriff. For many, the Freshman 15, as US students term it, can be somewhat avoided by committing to lots of healthy veg. If you are mostly eating beans, carbs and veg, then they tend to be inexpensive, so it keeps your shopping bill way down. Fresh food often has a short shelf life, so don’t load up the fridge at the weekend and end up throwing half of it away by midweek. If you’re handy to a supermarket you can usually grab some just-on-date bargains in the hour before they close. Frozen veg is great for throwing into a quick curry and you’re far less likely to have to throw it away before it gets near your plate. Eating out and avoiding animal produce used to be a nightmare, but now you can pretty much find vegan options anywhere. I’ve been in the cafes of several universities and they always have a vegan option these days, so if you are grabbing a bite, you are probably good to go.

Most universities will have a vegan student group. If you are really into the animal rights side of things, you can buddy up for marches and protests, or you can just find some mates to go munch some vegan junk food with. Most students can’t afford to eat meat every day anyway, so you usually find quite a few of your mates pretty open to cheap and delicious recipes. You can become the master of them all...the recipes, not your mates. If you do decide to try going vegan, or just want to cut your shopping bill by eating more veg, then good luck to you, have a great term, and raise an aubergine for me. PS: SNACK's monthly recipes are almost always either vegan or easily veganified.

Vegan/Student by Laura Woodland Page 39


LGBT+ FRESHER

Every year I sit down to write the Freshers feature…and every year I feel a little less fresh myself. Granted, it’s been a minute since I myself, was picking up my Freshers Pass, gnawing off my wristband to smuggle my underage friends into the QMU and taking in the hurricane of new faces and experiences around me. But does the fresher’s feeling – a concoction of freedom, nauseating anxiety, and uncertainty - ever change? The advice I was given – and probably ignored, to my detriment – as I embarked on my first years as a student is arguably as applicable in 2021 as it was in [error: year not found]. The one difference, perhaps, is that I was closeted as I first set foot on campus. But worry not: we’re here to take your hand and welcome you to the fold.

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I likely could have had a better idea of what my own campus offered its queer cohort, and life for LGBTQ+ students has improved immeasurably. In Glasgow alone, each university has its own gayfriendly society. University of Glasgow, for one is a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion and has cultivated a positive trajectory of support for its students and staff. From GULGBTQ+, a group proactive in promoting inclusivity on campus, to the general ethos of the unions on campus, remember there are safe spaces for you to feel comfortable and meet like-minded people. College and university are often where people find their political voice and join forces to fight for the greater good: you’re here, you’re queer, so make the most of it and get your activist on! Investigate what your new college or uni’s LGBTQ+ society has to offer.

Illustrations: Fionnlagh Ballantine


And on the topic of education, it is crucial that your homework extends beyond whatever lecture you are inevitably ignoring. While ‘Reading is Fundamental’ has become a nauseating cliché at this point, when it comes to queer culture and history, never a truer word was spoken. Take advantage of your library to bone up on queer history and literature and listen to stories by and about the trailblazers who came before us. There will come a point when you don’t have a full weekend at your disposal to watch the Pedro Almodóvar collection in one sitting or try and get your head round Virginia Woolf’s Orlando before next week’s seminar. You can never know enough.

LGBT+ But the most valuable piece of advice to impart could be that no one’s trajectory is the same; some people were born ready to grab the bull by the horns (not a euphemism), whereas others need a minute to get themselves together before embarking on the student life of which they could only dream. Regardless of when you get there, however, welcome to the club! Enjoy every second.

I know for sure I was naïve, dare I say terrified, of what nightlife lay ahead for queer folk. Those who just turned 18 or are on the cusp will be taking their first steps into the exciting landscape of the queer scene, which can be daunting for many. What’s important to remember is that you should only dip your toe in when you feel ready and have a group around you. Glasgow boasts a vibrant queer nightlife, with bars like Delmonica’s, Katie’s, AXM and the scene’s newest addition Bonjour, while Edinburgh’s CC Blooms is an institution at this point. It’s named after Bette Midler’s character in Beaches, for God’s sake. Edinburgh’s ‘Pink Triangle,’ centred around the top of Leith Walk just 5 minutes off Princes Street, brings you the city’s best gay bars and clubs within walking distance. Plus, as we mentioned in our last issue, there are queer venues, like Kafe Kweer in Edinburgh, popping up all over the place. What is imperative is that you look out for yourself and your friends: make sure you have a taxi number saved in your phone, let people know where you’re heading if you split from the group, and keep an eye on your pals to make sure everyone’s safe. Sincerely, Mum. LGBT+/Student by Jonny Stone Page 41


Image courtesy of DC Comics

BATMAN AND ROBIN

Last month, DC Comics surprised no one by announcing that Robin, the quintessential superhero sidekick, is bisexual. Given the decades of speculation about Batman and Robin’s homoerotic dynamic, this revelation doesn’t feel particularly groundbreaking. What it did do was remind me of Robin’s outing in a little 1997 classic, cemented in my mind as one of the best, worst, and campest movies ever made. A movie so powerful it nearly ruined the Batman franchise and the jewel in the crown of every queer 90s kid’s video collection. To be honest, it didn’t take much to twist my arm into writing about such an important cultural event. It felt apt – nay, our duty – to celebrate Robin’s coming out by inducting Joel Schumacher’s classic Batman & Robin into the (Not) Gay Movie Club. snackmag.co.uk

Don’t get me wrong: I am 100 percent here for the Tim Burton, Michelle Pfeiffer-adorned Batman Returns. Beautifully crafted and so indulgent in the fantasy world of Batman, the sequel remains one of my favourite comic book adaptations and is the one with which I measure any superhero big screen adventure. That being said, Batman & Robin hit the spot for me, a child to whom the film was arguably targeted. I, for one, was completely in the midst of an Alicia Silverstone phase, as she rode the wave of her post-Clueless fame, and this film is at its heart a gargantuan toy commercial. Unlike many of the films that make the NGMC cut, the script for Batman & Robin is truly dreadful. We must address the endless avalanche of Mr Freeze’s ice-related puns (I appreciate the irony of using ‘avalanche’ myself, but there is a contagious quality to the screenplay). No pun was considered too cheesy in the writers’ room, but the way Arnie butchers them in his glorious Austrian accent renders each line truly iconic. My personal favourite is a tie between: ‘Adam and Evil!’ and ‘Let’s kick some ice!’ There are some bafflingly simple lines (‘Hi Freeze. I’m Batman’ – Batman) and ham-fisted puns and catchphrases that would have been stale in 1997.


Robin says, ‘cowabunga’ at one point as he surfs through the sky, a phrase I believe died with the last slice of pizza in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. Even the plot itself is perplexing. Why do Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy join forces when their priorities – ice and plants – are so diametrically opposed? Are we to really buy that Batman and Robin are each vying for Ivy’s affections? Did Batgirl really think the password to Alfred’s CDROM would be ‘England’? So many questions left unanswered.

However, the acting is, on the whole, dire. Clooney especially delivers each line with staggering aridity, though I do enjoy the overwhelmingly unbelievable relationship between him and Elle Macpherson. Not a millilitre of chemistry between them exists, and it is wild to believe this film did not obliterate his career. But what makes B&R truly eligible for its illustrious induction into our Hall of Shame is that Schumacher, whether he admitted it or not, could not have made this film any camper: the film opens with Clooney’s rubberised arse.

The star of the show is arguably Uma Thurman, playing Mae West playing Poison Ivy as a drag queen with a transatlantic accent. She gives every hideous line such gusto that the audience is rooting for her as the only vaguely entertaining element of the film (‘There’s something about an anatomically correct rubber suit that puts fire in a girl's lips.’)

The film’s costume design is notorious, especially for our leads, whose costumes boast rubber muscles, codpieces, and embellished nipples reserved typically for the Greek statues one would shield their child’s eyes from in an art gallery. And costumes aside, there are so many outrageously stupid, high-camp moments, too many to mention.

Her first entrance as the fully realised Poison Ivy is one of the gayest things I have ever seen: drag at its finest. She emerges from a pink fluffy gorilla costume (allegedly a nod to Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus, in itself a gloriously gay throwback), looking better than anyone has ever looked, and falls into the arms of nearly-naked studly men, some dressed vaguely like sexy animals. The scene in which the mad scientist pushes her into some shelves, leading to her becoming Poison Ivy, is like something from my Intermediate 2 Drama days, and I love every second of it.

The Dynamic Duo literally click their heels together to eject ice skates from their boots, for God’s sake. And there is a host of set pieces one would expect from an MGM musical, with ice skaters, martial artists and circus performers performing slick choreography in the name of vigilante crime. Never have anonymous goons and henchmen been so agile and acrobatic.

Anyone capable of delivering lines such as ‘Ooh, gotta go! So many people to kill, so little time!’ or ‘Reinforced steel…not good!’ with such zest deserves our eternal adulation. Thurman’s high-camp delivery proves to be the best part of the film, and her absence is truly felt when she’s not onscreen.

This film was a cultural reset. A surprising boxoffice success but critical failure, Batman & Robin may have nearly ruined the franchise, but it is worth its weight in rubber when it comes to delivering camp entertainment, the likes we have rarely seen at this level. In an era of SERIOUS comic book adaptations – where cities are decimated and humour takes a holiday – reflecting on this trashy treasure is joyous, cringe-inducing and highly entertaining.

LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 43


Track by Track: The Limiñanas & Laurent Garnier De Pelicula

TRACKBY TRACK

Upon hearing that legendary producer and proponent of marathon DJ sets, Laurent Garnier, was going to be making an entire record with the undisputed masters of French psychedelia, The Limiñanas, my inner fanboy did an unashamed wee air punch. With Garnier having already remixed one of the duo’s best-known tracks, ‘Dimanche’, it seemed almost fantastical that they would do a full LP together. But once it was announced, I could do little else but excitedly look forward to Garnier potentially doing something so far removed from techno and tied up in trippy rock and roll greasiness that it could be his version of Andy Weatherall’s adventures with Two Lone Swordsmen. Indeed, Garnier himself has said, ‘I didn’t want to make a track with a techno beat…I wanted to stay within the Limiñanas world, rather than bring them crashing into techno-land. To keep their signature feel, but with layers and structures that felt more like mine.’ Not only has he stuck to this fine philosophy, but together they have made a soundtrack to a non-existent hallucinogenic film noir.

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For their part, Lionel and Marie Limiñana have been recording and releasing under their name since 2009. They also formed 50 percent of the psych-supergroup l'Épée alongside Emmanuelle Seigner and Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Curtain-raiser and lead single ‘Saul’ wastes no time in getting to the groovy bass lines and baritone French voice combination that screams part roadmovie, part solid horniness. The rattly metallic synth that drops in and out is possibly the only tangible sign of Garnier’s involvement.


It just gets better from here. ‘Je Rentrais Par Le Bois … Bb’ may have a title reminiscent of Red Riding Hood (‘I came home through the woods…bb’) but the song itself is a rising, throbbing blend of modular synths. ‘Juliette Dans La Caravane’ is an unashamedly brash broken beat Krautrock meander recalling the likes of NEU! ‘Tu Tournes En Boucle’ feels like the first song on the album to take place outside of a convertible car being driven by someone who has licked an entire warehouse batch of acid. The rhythm is striding and skipping like the widest of wideboy strides. It may be my Francophone deficiencies tied to unconscious bias, but everything Lionel utters drips sex in a way much more appealing than the phrase ‘drips sex’. Latest single ‘Promenades Obliques’ is a real highlight. The bongos before the bass or drums kick in should really be the giveaway that you’re in for five and a half minutes of shape-throwing. Although instrumental, it follows a fairly standard structure of verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc. The ‘chorus’ part has a gently descending bassline that comes as something of a release following the dense mix in the verses, driven by the wateriest sounding wah-wah guitar this side of Atlantis. ‘Que Calor!’ features the fantastically named Chilean actor Edi Pistolas (literally, Eddie Pistols) over an insistent driving rhythm and what almost sounds like several Wurlitzers fighting in the mix, battling like competitive brothers trying to get to the foreground of a photograph. At first, the relatively downbeat ‘Juliette’ comes as something of a light relief. I’ve no idea why she is no longer in the caravan of earlier, but for the last third of the song, she sounds like she’s surrounded by an army of fuzzed-up guitars being hammered at by a battalion of malignant ghosts.

‘Ne Gâche Pas L'aventure Humaine’ goes back to the feeling of being on some endless road moving through dissolving landscapes. Marie repeats the phrase ‘Je t’aime’ in a modal fashion that couldn’t be more different from that phrase's more famous delivery by Serge Gainsbourg. ‘Steeplechase’ might boast the fastest BPM on the record, but the accompanying seven-note synth motif provides the balance, as frantically pounding drums tear through every other musical element crashing around them. This is, in terms of structure, the song where Garnier’s influence shines the brightest. If this album is a figurative film, ‘Au Début C'était le Début’ is the part of the film where it slows down and a montage of two people in a café turns into romping silhouettes and close-ups of cigarettes burning in an ashtray. It’s arguably more French than a croissant wearing a beret and smoking Gitanes. ‘Saul S'est Fait Planter’ manages to continue the overtly Gallic vibes, although it is slightly off-putting that the bassline sounds like the start of Bergerac. Title track and closer ‘De Pelicula’ gets back on the figuratively throbbing road the first side of the album was on. Wailing organs and guitars move from buried beneath the vocals to the front of the mix in an almost bewildering maelstrom. Put simply, this is the best record either of the Limiñanas or Monsieur Garnier have ever made, and it’s easily my favourite album of the year so far. In fact, the non-existent film that accompanies it might well be the best film you’ve never seen. De Pelicula is out on 10th September via Because Music

Music by Stephen McColgan Page 45


404 INK Books: Inklings With 404 Ink’s Inklings non-fiction series we are promised ‘Big ideas, pocket-sized books’. On the evidence of those reviewed here, they are that but so much more. Each one takes a subject not just close to the writer's heart, but central to their being, with powerful results. Casci Ritchie’s On His Royal Badness: The Life and Legacy of Prince’s Fashion has the writer applying her expertise and rigour as a fashion historian to Prince, the pop star for whom music and fashion were always the passion. Ritchie balances her fandom with a wider discussion of why the ‘art of dressing’ can be transgressive, and just what Prince was transgressing against. By taking an indepth look at a variety of looks across his lifetime, as others would with reference to key albums, she offers fresh insight into the man and not simply the legend. Emily Garside’s Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek puts forward the thesis that sometimes a TV show comes along at just the right time to change your life, and even save it. Garside believes the show ‘reshapes LGBTQ+ narratives’ and goes on to detail not only the ways this is achieved, but the personal, almost familial, relationship she developed with the characters in the show. Many of us turned to TV to help us through lockdown, and Love That Journey For Me proves just how powerful that relationship can be.

Liam Konemann’s The Appendix: Transmasculine Joy in a Transphobic Culture follows on from Konemann’s original The Appendix which detailed examples of transphobia in the UK. This time around he turns this narrative on its head to accentuate the positive rather than the impossible task of eliminating the negative, finding a sense of peace which previously seemed unlikely, and joy in the acceptance of self. Konemann concludes that everyone’s life is a journey of discovery, one which, despite all the opposition and brickbats, you can take control of. An honest and life-affirming read that looks beyond the headlines and hysteria, advocating dampening the increasing, and often damaging, external noise, The Appendix: Transmasculine Joy in a Transphobic Culture offers astute lessons for us all. That feeling of joy runs through all three publications – in art, in life, in being, offering visions of a better world through acceptance and understanding. These are intensely personal publications, yet they offer up universal truths. To borrow an idea from The Appendix, they concentrate on ‘who’ rather than ‘what’, each considering those they write about as individuals, with all that entails. These books, when taken together, (and with more titles available) make the unarguable case that Inklings is a series to be taken seriously. All three titles are out now, published by 404 Ink Alistair Braidwood

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MARIANA LEKY

ZOE GRAHAM

Book: What You Can See From Here Mariana Leky’s What You Can See From Here, a bestseller in Germany, has only just been translated to English by Tess Lewis, letting us in on this hidden gem. A novel about superstition, absurdities, loss and love, Leky’s novel is an epic tale that spans the lives of Selma and Luise and their place within their community.

Single: Gradual Move (Alt. Version) The lead single from a reworking of Zoe Graham’s 2020 Gradual Move EP, this is a more intimate offering than the original track, but equally as charming. ‘Gradual Move (Alt. Version)’ sees a move from the electronic into the more acoustic, with field recordings and lo-fi piano to lead us into a gentle bop before euphoric warm brass takes us home.

What You Can See From Here is out now, published by Bloomsbury Keira Brown

'Gradual Move (Alt. Version)' is out online now (self released) Sam MacAdam

Photo credit: Sedona May

A small village in Western Germany wakes up to an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi. This tends to mean that someone is about to die. As you can imagine, the residents of the village are on edge and begin acting strangely (despite protestations that they are not superstitious). Through the eyes and character of Selma's granddaughter, Luise looks on at how this threat affects the residents and brings secrets to the fore. And when loss becomes even more central to the novel, in a way that was unpredictable, we see a bittersweet portrait of village life and the wider world that beckons beyond. With Luise at the central core, the characters swell with this novel, which is a stunning tale of affectionate community.

LINZI CLARK Single: With You Full of love and sweetness, ‘With You’ is a stone cold love song. Bluesy, with relaxed piano and drums, the instrumentation gives Clark’s sharp falsetto room to breathe, and in the process creates something grandiose and powerful. ‘With You’ perfectly captures feeling the warm glow of the person you love, and wanting that all the time. ‘With You’ is out online now (self released) Dominic Cassidy

review@snackmag.co.uk Page 47


OTARU

JOSIENNE CLARKE

EP: View

Album: A Small Unknowable Thing

View by Tomohiro Toyota aka Otaru (named

BBC Folk Award winner Josienne Clarke’s second album, A Small Unknowable Thing, ranges from daydream-esque tracks with atmospheric percussion, piano, and fingerpicked guitar, to darker subject matters punctuated with heavily distorted guitars, synths and drums.

after a Japanese city famed for its incredible music box museum) is a curious little thing – not as twinkly and comforting as the work of late composer Hiroshi Yoshimura, nor as extreme as experimental noise musician Merzbow, but still possessing a woozy intensity. It can't be a coincidence that Toyota majored in video design, as there is such a cinematic quality to his work. From the opening track, 'Flaw', this album invokes ghosts. It would be an ideal soundtrack to an atmospheric old-fashioned horror film, or a live Butoh performance where a dancer with a chalky, white-painted face would stalk ever so slowly across the stage, playing out painful memories in rituals, with a controlled choreography and contorted body. Every single track here is warped, like they’ve been left out in the sun and bleached dry, like bird bones. This is down to the eerie, allenveloping synths. Drones feature heavily too, and field recordings. 'Port' has crackling sounds like a buzzing transistor, and 'Sign' disarms with piercing sirens cutting through the static. But the finest track is 'Prairie', featuring a desolate piano playing in some open space, chirruping birds, and waves of synth loveliness like the famous music boxes from the city. It may not be a groundbreaking addition to the ambient genre, but there is clearly a love of the form, a real fluidity, and a sense that Toyota has many more interesting ideas percolating for his future releases. View will be released 15th September on Audiobulb Records Lorna Irvine snackmag.co.uk

Clarke’s artistic independence produces a cohesive and immersive listening experience, which explores her often-negative experiences as a woman within the music industry. This album is a journey leading us through those experiences, ending with the hopeful and future-focused ‘Repaid’ and ‘Unbound’. Her voice is stunning. She experiments with timbre, mixing flawlessly with the varied instrumentation of each track, and altering it to represent the emotional content of each song. From resilient in ‘Unbound’, to angry in ‘Sit Out’, through to ‘Out Loud’, where Clarke’s voice is close to the listener, singing just to us. Vocals are the thread around which the album revolves, allowing the instrumentation and production on each track to be wildly different, while maintaining internal consistency. Along with the carefully considered instrumentation and sonic landscape, the lyrics themselves are works of art, often ending or beginning on a pithy, heart-wrenching line. It’s stunning, and it’s varied. It’s poetry, and it’s an important work addressing sexism within music, which is still very prevalent. This is an album to listen to in its entirety, multiple times. A Small Unknowable Thing was released on 13th August through Corduroy Punk Records Sam MacAdam


CHVRCHES Album: Screen Violence Screen Violence is the band’s fourth record, a point where there’s often little new to uncover, with opinions (good and bad) firmly entrenched. What Chvrches do well, is here in abundance. The live shows will welcome some new crowd favourites while bedroom listeners can wrap themselves in songs that mean the world to them. The leading singles have showcased different paths, but with the Grandfather of Goth Robert Smith from The Cure on board, the band remains in love with the 80s. And of course, they aren’t the only ones, with an ever-increasing array of new acts sounding more like the Chvrches we know than perhaps the band do themselves these days. ‘California’ and ‘Final Girl’ are excellent, veering away from what you would expect. The melodies are looser, Lauren Mayberry feels more relaxed here than at other points of the record, and the tracks take off, hauling us along in the slipstream. There’s no sense of a smash hit, the band perhaps recoiling away from Love Is Dead, which sounded huge, in all senses. That’s no bad thing though. Chvrches have always evolved, always kept moving, lashing out at the pricks with measured intent and more than enough justification. Right now, many of us need others to speak to and for us. Chvrches remain a local band we should be proud to share with the world, and Screen Violence is as uncompromising as you could hope for in uncertain times. Screen Violence was released on 27th August on EMI Records Andrew Reilly review@snackmag.co.uk Page 49


GUNKE

THE VACCINES

Single: Mum

Album: Back in Love City

Toast: lots of forgettable toast has been made,

Ten years on from the release of their first album,

hasn’t it? But you know what? You never lose

The Vaccines are back with their fifth, Back In Love

the satisfaction and joy of biting into a perfectly

City. It’s the band’s first concept album, with The

toasted slice. ‘Mum’ is perfect toast, a chanty slice

Vaccines framed as the house band in fictional Love

of indie rock toast, with added layers of pop and

City, ‘a place where mental and physical pleasure

noise lovingly spread over the top to keep you

is for sale, and where nobody has to be alone’.

gleefully moving until lunch.

Lead single ‘Headphones Baby’ has the classic Vaccines pop-rock sound to ease you into the new

'Mum' is out now

era. Second single and lead track ‘Back In Love

Peter Clarkin

City’ introduces the album's concept, exploring a

MEGAN BLACK

city which is ‘equal part utopia and dystopia’. ‘Jump Off The Top’ is a track which the band have

Single: San Francisco

been playing live since 2018 but which has never

‘San Francisco’ is the second single by Scottish

been released until now. Easily the catchiest song

queer artist Megan Black. Her music explores

on the album, it’s perfect for a live audience to sing

feminism, mental health, addiction, and issues

along to and sits well between slightly heavier

within the LGBT community.This single explores

tracks. Spanish-style guitars along with a B-movie

the desire to be allowed to live the hippy lifestyle,

western sound permeate the album, with ‘Heart

romanticising the city of San Francisco against

Land’ and ‘El Paso’ paying tribute to America,

the modern-day oppression of the corporate

where the album was recorded.

world. It’s a strong pop rock-style anthem, giving off subtle Joan Jett vibes. In a neat lyrical twist

As far as concept albums go, its concept is not as

she sings ‘I blame the revolution for keeping us

complete as, say, Arctic Monkeys’ 2018 Tranquility

the same’, highlighting a generational feeling of

Base Hotel and Casino, but it’s a solid album

fighting against intransigence and the dangers of

with no filler tracks and a few stand-outs which

having your culture co-opted by the mainstream.

will sound great live. Back In Love City sounds

Musically it's not rewriting any rule books, nor does

bigger and more complex than anything that’s

it intend to, but the message is strong and valuable

come before, while still maintaining The Vaccines’

while the tune is memorably catchy and upbeat.

signature guitar sound, wit, and charm.

‘San Francisco’ is out now (self released)

Back In Love City will be released on 10th

Ross Wilcock

September Lily Black

snackmag.co.uk


MOLLY PAYTON

LOTOS

EP: Slack

Album: Renaissance

Molly Payton’s new mini-album follows her

LOTOS’ Renaissance is easy to like but difficult to

breakout, critically acclaimed EP Porcupine.

love. It’s an album packed full of lurching beats,

The release of Slack comes after the refreshingly

sparse ghostly melodies, and growling basslines.

relatable 20-year-old’s return to London after a

The problem is that its devotion to a limited sound

longer than anticipated stint in her New Zealand

palette means that it’s a little one-dimensional to

homeland amidst COVID-19 restrictions.

invite many repeat listens (‘Halal the Beef’ and ‘Missions’ are scarcely distinct). Conversely it’s

New single ‘You Cut Me So Much Slack’, continues

also an album which almost definitely would have

the storyline from first single ‘Honey’, conveying

benefitted from a greater focus on MC LOTOS’

the restless repercussions of communication

light-footed lyrical flow. If you’ve been anticipating

breakdowns. This track missed the cut for Payton’s

this release as a showcase of the undoubtable

first offering but holding it back to showcase her

vocal talents of LOTOS herself then you’ll be

follow-up pays off. The self-reflective offering shifts

disappointed; there’s a fair chunk of other, more

the focus inwards to allow a sense of rawness

ponderous, voices to pick through before you get

and earnestness to run throughout the tracks, from

to the main event. UK garage track ‘The Ends’ is

the reflectively haunting ‘How Things Change’ or

a definite highlight, as is the lively arrangement of

listless yet thrashing ‘While You’re Driving’ to the

‘Boycott’, but overall there’s just not enough of the

anthemic ‘When Skies Were Always Blue’.

eponymous MC in play to make this the essential listen it could have been.

Boasting honest, creative, and evolved song writing,

with

evocative

lyrics

focused

on

accountability, Payton’s acoustic soul incorporates

Renaissance is available to stream now Kenny Lavelle

hints of guitar-heavy folk and rock with a pinch of pop, to reconnect with past problems and process them, allowing her striking voice to find its stride. The EP's 25 minutes nips along engagingly, with the catchy choruses delivered by soaring vocals. This means that the collection is sure to go down a storm when toured later this year, and that you’ll be hitting the replay button to re-revel in its glory once more. Slack is out on 1st October via The Orchard

SNACKMAG.CO.UK/SUBSCRIBE LOTOS

Lindsay Corr review@snackmag.co.uk Page 51


ANNETTE Film Adam Driver is certainly an actor who makes leftfield choices, and this has led to him being one of the more interesting actors of his generation. Immortalised as Kylo Ren in the final three chapters of the Star Wars saga, for me he made the final slog of a film worth watching. In Annette he teams with French arthouse director Leos Carax for a film that sees him double down on his trademark intensity. That he delivers perhaps his best performance so far in a musical with such a strange atmosphere is no mean feat. Henry (Driver) and Anne (Marion Cotillard) are a reach-for-the-stars celebrity couple, he a standup comedian and she an opera singer. When Anne gives birth to their baby, Annette, and Henry’s career takes a nosedive, things start to pull apart in their relationship. Annette’s special gift creates a new beginning for Henry... Carax is known for creating surreal, immersive worlds in films that are constantly playing with cinematic conventions. Annette is awash with this type of approach: actors break into song while others speak, actors address the camera, and baby Annette is presented as a small, Pinocchiostyle doll. The visual invention on display here is at times breathtaking, drawing you in. Unfortunately how well the film works does depend on whether you like the type of music which soundtracks it... which personally, in this case, I don’t. Sparks, subject of a documentary by the great Edgar Wright which is currently showing, scored the entire film, and wrote the screenplay. They’re known as one of those bands that should be more famous, and I had never knowingly heard their music before Annette. Of course I in fact had; I just didn’t know it was them. On the basis of the film, I won’t be delving further into their discography. snackmag.co.uk

While there are genuinely good melodies on show, the rock opera-stylings become cloying and annoying, partly due to their repetitive lyrics, and for me detract from Carax’s visuals and the great performances by Driver and Cotillard. Driver and Cotillard apparently sung all of the songs live during filming (Cotillard’s more operatic vocals were overdubbed), a daunting task, and one that means the vocals are hit and miss. Thankfully the intensity of both actors helps carry the film along. Moments like Cotillard dancing with the baby Annette, and Annette perching on a huge column during the halftime show at the Super Bowl are haunting. The dream-like ambience of the film remains with you, and such strong performances by the two leads means the film is well worth watching. There’s more than a hint of pretension, but all pictures of this type share that trait, and without some degree of it no one would create art. It’s a shame the soundtrack just isn’t to my taste – but it may be to yours. Annette will be released on 3rd September in cinemas and on MUBI Martin Sandison


MANDY BARKER Visual Art: Our Plastic Ocean Mandy Barker’s eye-opening and soulshattering photographic exhibition, Our Plastic Ocean is haunting, visually stunning, and painfully aware: an aching reflection of our doomed, damned broken planet. There’s a palpable, in-person emotion in viewing a fishing net full of discarded footballs, of which in the space of 4 months Barker received 992, after casting out a public plea for her Penalty exhibition during the 2014 World Cup. Many of the photos capture the luminous but equally lightless crushing vacuum of our ocean, where evidence of discarded human consumerism is now as common a sight as the sea life being forced to exist amongst it. The photographs capture the irony of monofilament fishing rope shaped to resemble Earth, rope designed to be hard wearing so as not to increase waste, that now remains discarded, polluting the ocean for the next 600 years.

The irony continues with an image of multiple rubber gloves collected and shaped into the forced perspective of a coral reef, the coral dies in the ocean, while the rubber is doomed to remain and continue poisoning our ocean for another 30 years. Our Plastic Ocean offers us a clear perspective of where we are as a species and a planet. The exhibition will be on show at Glasgow's Street Level Photoworks until 10th October Gregg Kelly

At first glance, we see a mosaic of colour on a background of ocean darkness, created by what appears to be an image of a vibrant school of fish. However, deeper viewing reveals hundreds, maybe thousands of discarded lighters floating in the water. The discovery of fire as a catalyst for human evolution, while becoming a catalyst for our eventual destruction. Nature has its own twisted irony. Elsewhere, an image of what could be a decaying fish skull, is in fact created using polystyrene waste, waste that scientists predict will have a lifespan of anywhere between 500 years to quite literal infinity.

review@snackmag.co.uk Page 53


POETIC JUSTICE I have nothing left of yours but you kept my Holzer t-shirt. stretched and worn soft. You always slept in it when you turned up, three hours late, hungry, saucer-eyed, beseeching, charming tender as a bruise. Sought it out from washing basket afterwards, upturning my room, my resolve. The shirt reads ‘Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise’. Touché.

Hannah Stephings


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SNACK Magazine: September 2021 – Issue 31  

SNACK is Scotland's wee what's on, arts and culture magazine. The September 2021 issue includes Interviews with Declan Welsh and the Decad...

SNACK Magazine: September 2021 – Issue 31  

SNACK is Scotland's wee what's on, arts and culture magazine. The September 2021 issue includes Interviews with Declan Welsh and the Decad...

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