The Skinny April 2023

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FREE April 2023 Issue 207

The Skinny's favourite song by one of your dream festival headliners?

David Bowie — Lady Grinning Soul

Talking Heads — Life During Wartime

William Onyeabor — Fantastic Man

LCD Soundsystem — New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Beyoncé — HEATED

They Might Be Giants — Birdhouse in Your Soul

Madonna — Ray of Light

Butthole Surfers — Dracula from Houston

David Byrne — Everybody's Coming to My House

Lauryn Hill — To Zion

Kylie Minogue — Can't Get You Out of My Head

Self Esteem – I'm Fine

Listen to this playlist on Spotify — search for 'The Skinny Office Playlist' or scan the below code

Issue 207, April 2023 © Radge Media Ltd. Get in touch:


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— 4 — THE SKINNY April 2023Chat
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Championing creativity in Scotland

Meet the team

We asked – Who would be your dream festival headliners?


Rosamund West Editor-in-Chief

"David Bowie ft. a Freddie Mercury cameo for Under Pressure, during which the closing scenes of Aftersun screen and everyone sobs together. Beyoncé brings on Solange who finally reveals why she battered Jay-Z in the lift."

Peter Simpson Digital Editor, Food & Drink Editor

"If only we could have coaxed Nigerian synth funk legend and flour magnate William Onyeabor (RIP) out of retirement."

Anahit Behrooz Events Editor, Books Editor "The entire Scrubs soundtrack."

Jamie Dunn Film Editor, Online Journalist

"I’d have Talking Heads do a beatfor-beat recreation of their Stop Making Sense tour – lamp, big suits, Tom Tom Club and all – then head to the dance tent for a late-night Donna Summer set."

Tallah Brash Music Editor

"LCD Soundsystem play the exact last set before they 'split up' but James Murphy's mate David Bowie shows up. They play Queen Bitch and some other choice Bowie cuts. Support = Beyoncé's Homecoming show."

Heléna Stanton Clubs Editor

"I want a crossover between Kylie Minogue and Madonna.

Polly Glynn Comedy Editor

"Self Esteem, Flo + The Machine, Jessie Ware and Lizzo for an excellent, excellent lineup. I’m very lucky to have seen 3/4 of this lineup in the past couple of months and would genuinely explode if they all played together."

Rho Chung Theatre Editor "Rina Sawayama"


Harvey Dimond Art Editor

"Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Solange, but it has to be somewhere sunny."


George Sully

Sales and Brand Strategist

"Weezer, CAKE and They Might Be Giants – making all my 14-year-old nerd-rock dreams come true. "

Lewis Robertson Digital Editorial Assistant

"David Byrne, but Kermit the Frog joins him on stage for Once In A Lifetime."

Laurie Presswood General Manager

"Friday: Madonna ‘89. Saturday: Madonna ‘98. Sunday: The Lancashire Hotpots. Madonna ‘05 joins them for the last chorus of E s Sausage Chips & Beans."

Eilidh Akilade Intersections Editor

"Wet Leg to start. And then SZA. And after that everyone sits down with their legs in a basket to watch Charli XCX's Alone Together and then she comes on and we dance and it's fab."


Dalila D'Amico Art Director, Production Manager " Nickelback "

Phoebe Willison Designer

"Dolly Parton b2b Beyoncé, and they spot me in the crowd and call me on stage to do a Jolene x Heated live mix (and I magically have learnt how to DJ and I smash it obv and the crowd goes wild)."

Tom McCarthy Creative Projects Manager N/A

Sandy Park Commercial Director

"Speaking from experience, Sven Vath stopping mid-set at a festival in Germany to spray everyone with super soakers and then announce he was becoming a father was pretty wild. "


Words: Rosamund West

It’s a Music Festivals Special! We once again pray to the magazine gods that this one is less cursed than the March 2020 Summer Music Festivals edition.

We open with a look at some of the festivals celebrating Scotland’s avant-garde and experimental music scenes. Muchloved Tectonics and Counterflows both arrive in April to open the festival season, making accessible spaces to share ideas and push boundaries. We take a look at the other programmes platforming innovative thinking in the coming months.

Next up, paying tribute to a Scottish greenfield festival institution – as Knockengorroch turns 25 we take a look back at its Celtic roots, rainbow gathering origins and ambitions to continue stewarding the land sustainably for the next generation. A vision of ethical consideration! Speaking of ethicallyminded festivals, Lost Map’s Johnny Lynch, aka Pictish Trail, shares his first-hand experience of the total opposite. There have been a number of cases in recent years where festivals haven’t paid their performers, staff, crew, etc etc but have taken ticket money and often continue operating in subsequent years. We aren’t going to mention any of them here, anywhere, but Mr Trail has kindly written about what it actually means for a performer to not be paid but still have to pay all the costs attached to performing, e.g. paying musicians. Hopefully this insight will inspire people to do a little bit of di ing about the festivals they’re supporting, and, as they say, vote with their wallets to actually support the acts they love.

There’s a round-up of the Scottish festival calendar for the coming months, broken down into categories of City festivals, Family-friendly, Dance and, shock twist, Folk and Trad. We’ve also cast our eye further afield – mindful of the inaccessibility of overseas travel in recent years, Tallah has put together a few expert tips on how to festival abroad and have a very nice time.

Intersections looks at the importance of funding spaces, or maybe the issue of the lack of funding for spaces, as a raft of community projects face closures or relocation. We also consider the relationship between alcohol and the environment, ahead of an Edinburgh Science Festival event exploring the impacts of climate change on the very flavour of what you’re drinking.

Annual graduate extravaganza RSA New Contemporaries returns with their survey of the class of 2021. They’re a cohort whose art education was uniquely impacted by the pandemic, but the work on show is bold, ambitious, compelling. We select six artists to focus on in the centre pages.

Comedy has taken on the extraordinary task of addressing the question of How to Fix the Edinburgh Fringe! Polling many comedians and Fringe producers, we take a deep dive into the increasingly obvious issues with the current system, and share a few hints of the pathways to resolving them. Theatre meets the playwright and director behind Stornoway, Quebec, a production arriving on stages across the country this month and billing itself as a Gaelic Western, surely a much under-represented genre. Clubs meets the usually anonymous Hawkchild DIY, who’s been programming club nights with festivals-sized lineups in Glasgow these past 11 years.

Film caps off a very very busy month – more on that later – with some words with Leonor Will Never Die director Martika Ramirez Escobar. Mia Hansen-Løve discusses her heartbreaking, autobiographically-inspired One Fine Morning, while Nida Manzoor introduces her debut feature Polite Society, a genre mashup action comedy celebrating sisterly love and flying spin kicks.

Books talks to Alice Slater about her true crime-inspired debut Death of a Bookseller. The Design column learns about contemporary stained glass with Scottish studio Pavilion Pavilion. Our Food editor boldly sets out to sample every stall at the new, very neon Edinburgh Street Food next to the Omni centre and emerges full but victorious. Finally, the magazine closes with The Skinny on… Leyla Josephine who’s got some strong opinions on George Ezra.

Beyond these pages, this month we have also been working on a brand new publication celebrating Scotland’s independent cinemas. The Skinny presents... Indie Cinema Guide should already be hitting the streets near your local indie cinema, so keep an eye out. Last but not least... or maybe least? As it’s April, we’ve got an April Fool’ nestled somewhere in these pages. See if you can spot it!

Cover Artist

Jordy García, aka BLUMOO, is a designer and illustrator who's dedicated to the creation of especially musical posters but also makes posters about life and the odd experiment. He is inspired by everything that surrounds him in his daily life, and his works are based on the cosmic, spatial, abstract. He likes to use geometric images, multicolour combinations, and simple themes to create unique posters that stand out for everyone.

I: @posters.blumoo

— 6 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Chat

Love Bites: The Intimacy of Demos & Outtakes

Words: Louis Cammell

Iknow the sound of David Bowie’s laugh. I know what Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osborne’s guitarist, sounds like when he’s telling the studio engineer that he fretted his chord wrong. I know the sound of Graham Nash saying, “Shit,” as he messes up on piano and Joni Mitchell gi les beside him.

These moments are all on my Demos and Outtakes playlist, in songs that would become masterpieces: Queen Bitch; Dee; Our House. Something feels so intimate, so beautifully transgressive, about the fact that these recordings were never meant for the likes of Spotify. They’re an undeniable privilege; a window into the artist’s process. A studio outtake is proof of a song being perfected and a demo is a document of its very conception.

But there’s one that has a particular hold on me. One song that, since it was taken off Spotify a year-or-so ago, often has me holding up the queue in Gre s while my Apple Pay has a tiff with the open YouTube app on my phone. I get told to hurry up, but I don’t mind, because I have my three essentials: my headphones, my rapidly-cooling sausage roll, and a low quality upload of what would go on to be The Strokes’ 2006 single You Only Live Once.

It’s so different to the eventual release, right down to the lyrics. I listen to it with my girlfriend, who rolls her eyes when I tell her I think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written; I listen to it after we break up; I listen to it as I lug my books into a new flat, in a new city, that I found on SpareRoom. When Julian Casablancas gets to the end and whispers to himself, “Okay, one more time,” I scrub back to the start to listen to it once more. And suddenly, in February 2023, it reappears on Spotify with a name of its own, one I had forgotten. Alexa, play I’ll Try Anything Once.

Find the playlist here:

April 2023 — Chat — 7 — THE SKINNY Love Bites
This month’s columnist reflects on the joy of listening to the music that didn’t quite make the final cut

Heads Up

Okay Kaya

The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 3 Apr, 7:30pm

Dreamy indie singer Okay Kaya’s latest release SAP is a magnificently ambitious concept album about states of consciousness and the relationship between the mind and the body across music. Drawing on everything from the mellow, soft confessional of jazz to the complex seduction of synth pop, her music is even more gorgeous and intimate live.

It’s officially Spring and we’re officially emerging from our hibernation nests: find Arabic funk club nights, experimental film, and music festivals at your disposal.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

Various venues, Hawick, 27-30 Apr

The home of experimental filmmaking in Scotland, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival returns for another year in the delightful borders town of Hawick. Four days of programming explore encounters of urban environments and ecology, the entanglement of fact and myth, and the possibilities of labour in its extractive, everyday and speculative forms. There are also several gorgeous moving image exhibitions, performances, and even a quiz.

Heaters: Habibi Funk + Hiba

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 26 Apr, 11pm

The founder and creator of the acclaimed Habibi Funk label Jannis heads to Sneaky’s sweatbox for a night of curated cuts emerging from the Middle East, with plenty of Arabic funk, jazz and hip-hop to keep everyone moving. Support from the night comes from Hiba, a Lebenese DJ and selector based in Glasgow, who has been bringing her own (literal) spin to Middle Eastern club music.

Nick Evans: Ghost Sculptures

Kendall Koppe, Glasgow, 21 Apr-20 May

Stag & Da er

Various venues, Glasgow + Edinburgh, 29-30 Apr Spread out not only across Edinburgh and Glasgow but across both of the cities’ most important music venues, Stag & Da er is a celebration of live music made incredibly local. There’s a blazing lineup of both national and international talent, including garage rock from Black Lips, dreamy indie from Edinburgh gang Swim School, and post-punk from British-German duo Lebanon Hanover.

Ifeoma U. Anyaeji: Ijem nke Mmanwu m

(The Journey of my Masquerade)

Tramway, Glasgow, until 4 Jun

Nigerian artist Ifeoma U. Anyaeji creates intricate, handcrafted sculptures made from non-biodegradable plastics in a practice she has termed plasto-art. The result transforms the troubling legacy of these global pollutants through African hair threading techniques, crafting an interrogation of the loss of traditional methods and the ongoing haunting of industrialisation both in Nigeria and across the world.

Academy Late

RSA: Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 14 Apr, 8:30pm

Who says an art gallery has to be a quiet Sunday afternoon activity? See the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual, groundbreaking New Contemporaries exhibition in a whole new light - that is, after dark - in this vibey Academy Late. Hosted by drag performer Groundskeeper Fanny and with performances by Bella Geldart, Len Goetzee, Louise Black, and DJ xivro, it puts some of the most exciting art emerging out of Scotland in a whole new context.

Record Store Day

Various venues, across Scotland, 22 Apr

Alberta Whittle: create dangerously Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1 Apr-7 Jan 2024

— 8 — THE SKINNY Heads Up April 2023 — Chat
And by Charlotte McLean Dundee Rep, Dundee, 12 Apr, 7.30pm And by Charlotte Mclean Nick Evans: Ghost Sculptures Taking a leap toward the ancestors (remembering G), Alberta Whittle Carla J Easton for Record Store Day at Vox Box Photo: Fred Pedersen, Image courtesy the artist and Kendall Koppe Photo: Maria Falconer Photo: Patrick Jameson Photo: Brian Sweeney Photo: Robin Hilleary Okay Kaya Oche Onodu, Ifeoma U. Anyaeji Swim School for Stag and Da er Vomiton at RSA Academy Late 2022 Habibi Funk Descending Notes at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival Photo: Rory Barnes Image: courtesy of artist Image: courtesy of Lou Lou Sainsbury Image: courtesy of artist Photo: Julie Howden

Buzzcut Festival

Various venues, Glasgow, 30 Mar-1 Apr

An incredible grassroots festival platforming experimental forms of live performance, Buzzcut Festival is a real community endeavour, aimed at crafting community both across theatremakers and audiences. Highlights from the programme include Tink Flaherty’s Benched, a unique exploration of neurodiversity, and Zinzi Buchanan’s coal-dependency, ballad for bodies under extraction.

Big Thief

Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 6 Apr, 7pm

There is something about folk music that can be quite grounding, yet listen to the dreamy, surreal machinations of Brooklyn-born folk rock outfit Big Thief and you may find yourself propelled out to space. Ethereal and elusive, their output is deliberately, restrainedly expansive, speaking to the strange intimacy of being haunted both by the self and others.


SWG3, Glasgow, 28 Apr, 7pm

Ayrshire lad Bemz headlines SWG3 for the second time in six months and we couldn’t be happier. Known for his genre-bending musical approach that blends grime, hip-hop and drill and a real lyrical astuteness, Bemz is one of the best currently working in Scotland - no wonder, then, that he was longlisted for Scottish Album of the Year last year.

Uprooted Visions

Edinburgh Printmakers, Edinburgh, 2 Apr-2 Jul

The culmination of a series of residencies held across various European printmaking studios, Uprooted Visions brings together 30 artists impacted by experiences of migration and displacement to examine ideas of home, belonging, and collective responsibility. With work by artists such as Ira Gvozdyk, Paria Goodarzi and Najma Abukar, Uprooted Visions asks us to re-examine received ideas of fixed space and identity in a world constantly marker by upheaval.

We Were Promised Honey

Traverse, Edinburgh, 12-13 Apr, 8pm

A big splash in Summerhall’s 2022 Festival Fringe programme, We Were Promised Honey returns to the capital for two days for an unmissable and poignant dose of existential beauty and angst. This hopeful, hopeless prophecy for the Anthropocene era draws the audience in, quite literally at times, into an expansive experience of time – past, present and future –and humanity’s place in it.

FLY Glasgow presents Eliza Rose

Sub Club, Glasgow, 6 Apr, 11pm

London DJ Eliza Rose makes her Sub Club debut as part of her European tour. Having set the soundtrack for last summer with her infectious B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All), the superstar producer is bringing her soul and jazz infused brand of house to Glasgow - expect tickets to sell out fast.

All details were correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. Please check organisers’ websites for up to date information.

Novo Amor

The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 24 Apr, 7pm

Billy Nomates

Glasgow, 22 Apr, 7pm

— 9 — THE SKINNY Heads Up April 2023 — Chat
at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 18-22 Apr The Cineskinny Film Club: Return to Seoul Summerhall + CCA, Edinburgh + Glasgow, 24 + 26 Apr, 7pm
Image: courtesy MUBI
Image: courtesy of The Queen’s Hall
Novo Amor
to Seoul
Image: courtesy of artist Image: courtesy of Capital Theatre Billy Nomates InXestuous Sisters at Buzzcut Festival We Were Promised Honey Bemz Big Thief Najma Abukar for Uprooted Visions Eliza Rose Photo: Eda Sancakdar Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic Photo: Andy Xplore Photo: Michael Buisha Photo: Najma Abukar Image: courtesy of Paradigm UK (Wasserman Music)
— 10 — THE SKINNY April 2023

What's On


First up, it’s our music festivals special this month, so we won’t go into any detail here about the Counterflows, Tectonics and Stag & Da er festivals happening in April as you can read more about all of those later in the magazine. April of course also brings with it the holiest of days for music fans as Record Store Day lands on the 22nd, bringing all manner of in-stores, RSD afterparties and all-dayers to record shops (and nearby pubs and venues) all over the country. Edinburgh’s VoxBox are already fully organised with Cloth, Carla J. Easton, Hailey Beavis and more set to play St Vincent’s Chapel in Stockbridge for the occasion. Be sure to find out what your local vinyl dealer has planned for this special day.

Gigs-wise, the month gets off to an outrageous start as BTS member Jimin heads to Edinburgh following the release of his debut solo album FACE Catch him at Whistlebinkies on 1 April. A few days later, Nina Nastasia brings her latest album Riderless Horse to Broadcast (6 Apr) and Pleasance Theatre (8 Apr). On the same day, Dundee’s Echo Machine end a trio of shows in their hometown at Conroy’s Basement, while patrons for the Music Venue Trust, London’s premiere electro alt-pop duo NIMMO roll into Sneaky’s on 12 April, with support from AMUNDA and Dahlia. In the middle of the month, Hayley Williams and co land at the OVO Hydro to celebrate Paramore’s This Is Why, released earlier this year, while Swedish psych and experimental outfit GOAT play The Garage on the 18th. The following night, Deep Dive, an artist development programme run by Cryptic, funded by the Youth Music Initiative, takes place at The Glad Cafe and will feature live music and DJ sets from new music-makers.

In Edinburgh, on the 20th pick between Japanese cult trio Shonen Knife at Summerhall or the post-punk funk of A Certain Ratio at Voodoo Rooms. The next night, catch two of Newcastle’s finest in Glasgow; pick between Richard Dawson at Saint Luke’s or Benefits at The Rum Shack, while back in Edinburgh Aldous Harding will stare into the soul of anyone who will let her at Assembly Rooms. At the end of the month, 28 April presents even more problems for those crippled by indecision. Choose between Bemz at SWG3, Teleman at King Tut’s, Lichen Slow at The Hug and Pint or Yard Act at Barrowlands, while Withered Hand make their triumphant return in Edinburgh at The Liquid Room. [Tallah Brash]


To Hawick this month as Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival returns for its 13th edition! As ever, it’s a beautifully curated lineup of experimental cinema, moving-image exhibitions and live performance events. Highlights look to be Jules Horne’s Rebel Cello, described as “a foot-tapping, cellostrumming, pedal-looping assemblage of tall tales and cinematic journeys through the Scottish Borders,” four new films from Julia Parks made during her residency at Alchemy (see p. 58) and a night of music with Alchemy’s recent musician in residence, Miwa Nagato-Apthorp, followed by a ceilidh (27-30 Apr; full lineup at

— 11 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Events Guide
All details correct at the time of writing Photo: Rosie Sco Photo: Dominik Slowik Photo: Tammy Karlsson Cloth NIMMO GOAT Three Colours: Blue

Glasgow Film Theatre continues its Martin Scorsese love with New York, New York (17 Apr), a lavish musical experiment which sees a couple take their act on the road, with much turbulence in the relationship ensuing. The couple is ferociously played by Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli – her final big band performance is one of the greatest in all cinema. Justin Currie of Del Amitri is a fan of this underseen Scorsese joint (taste!) and will be providing an intro.

There are a few noteworthy anniversary screenings this month too, including a centenary screening for the iconic comedy Safety Last! (Cameo, 1 Apr), the 25th-anniversary screening of the Big Lebowski (Cameo, 1 Apr) and GFT have a 4K rerelease of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy to mark its 30th birthday. Each film (Red, White and Blue) will screen individually at the Glasgow cinema from 21 April, with a rare chance to watch all three as a triple-bill on 23 April.

If you’re looking for something more contemporary, Cameo is celebrating ten years of Gen Z’s fave film distributor, A24, with an extensive 12-film season. Moonlight (2 Apr), Midsommer (3 Apr), Eighth Grade (9 Apr) and American Honey (23 Apr) are some of the highlights.

And if you’ll forgive us some self-promoting, our CineSkinny Film Club in collaboration with MUBI continues with a free preview of the brilliant drama Return to Seoul, a bittersweet portrait of a young Korean woman who was adopted at birth by French parents and is returning to her homeland to try and find herself (24 Apr, Summerhall, Edinburgh; 26 Apr, CCA, Glasgow).


Kicking off April in Dundee, a new festival raises money for The Brain Tumour Charity – DEMFEST has a huge lineup with Scotland’s bi est local talent, including Jasper James, a really exciting new take to clubbing at Dundee Student Union (1 Apr).

Easter weekend is a big one for any clubbers. Luca Eck is launching their record label 2626 Group presenting their premiere b2b show with Berghain regular Nur Jaber and a fantastic vinyl-only set by local favourite DJ Smoker in Stereo. In La Cheetah, Lezure celebrates its 8th birthday with Clone Records Selecta Mad Miran. Over in Edinburgh, Miss World invites nu-garage enthusiast Ell Murphy to Sneaky Pete’s (7 Apr).

Terminal V returns; the first multi-stage Scottish electronic festival of the year with over 30 artists, expect big main room techno and impressive stage design at Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh (7 & 8 Apr). Lewis Lowe of Redstone Press invites Tano to Sneaky Pete’s (7 Apr).

In Glasgow, Loose Joints Celebrates its seventh birthday with Tolouse Low Trax, Mother, DJ Peanut and Dilly Joints (8 Apr). On Easter Sunday MPC bring Amsterdam’s KI/KI – this will have a lot of rave euphoria (9 Apr).

Om Unit debuts his live show, Acid Dub Studies (Live), at Nice N Sleazy, with support from Elanda, Lewis Lowe, Han and General Ludd (22 Apr). Over at La Cheetah Eutony celebrates their sixth birthday with Lacchesi, and VXYX b2b D4N, a big night of trance and techno (22 Apr).

A.D.S.R invites Liza Akin to La Cheetah for a mid-week party – expect breaks and techno (26 Apr).

Erosion is back after a recent sell-out at Stereo, with Ploy and Jay Duncan expecting lots of bass and breaks (28 Apr). Midland is at The Berkeley Suite with Shoot Your Shot – big ballads and multi-genre mixing will be expected (29 Apr). [Heléna Stanton]


At Dundee Contemporary Arts, Zineb Sidera’s Can’t You See the Sea Changing? (29 Apr-6 Aug) marks the French-Algerian artist’s first public UK presentation in 12 years. The exhibition will consider the sea as a recurring motif of the historical and contemporary conditions of transnational trade, identity and migrant consciousness.

In Edinburgh, Collective presents Sebastián Díaz Morales’ film Smashing Monuments (until 11 Jun), first commissioned for documenta fifteen in 2022. Excitingly, this is the UK premiere of the film, which will invite visitors to consider the monuments that tower above the city’s civic spaces. Also at Collective, Matty Rimmer’s Pet Rock (until 18 May) uses sculpture to explore symbols of wealth and status through the phenomenon of corporate aquariums.

Uprooted Visions at Edinburgh Printmakers (2 Apr-2 Jul), is the culmination of a three year Creative Europe-funded project hosted by five European printmaking studios. Exhibiting artists include Najma Abukar, Aqsa Arif and Shatha Altowai. There will be a symposium at the Scottish Storytelling Centre reflecting on the themes present in the exhibition on 2 April.

— 12 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Events Guide
New York, New York
Terminal V Photo: James Gourlay Midland Screenshot from Smashing Monuments, Sebastián Díaz Morales, 2022 Photo: Nick Stewart Image: courtesy of the artist Sea Rocks, Zineb Sedira, 2011-2022 Image: courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris and Goodman Gallery, London Moonlight

Create Dangerously, a major solo exhibition of Alberta Whittle’s work, opens on 1 April at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Fresh from representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2022, the artist’s values of radical compassion and collective care sit at the centre of the show, which explores histories of anti-Blackness, the transatlantic slave trade and the climate crisis.

At Glasgow Print Studio, artistic duo Two Step (formed of Glasgowbased Beth Shapeero and Fraser Taylor) will fill the first floor gallery with their signature playful and dynamic large scale screenprints (7 Apr-20 May).

At Tramway, Jasleen Kaur, who grew up a stone’s throw from the gallery in Glasgow’s Southside, fills the main gallery space with Alter Altar (31 Mar-8 Oct) her installation of kinetic sculptures, composed of objects with personal and cultural significance.

Iota, in Glasgow’s West End, opens a two-week exhibition of Glasgowbased painters Jamie Limond and Samuel O’Donnell. Titled Homage to those green things where I found you, the show will be open from 15-29 April.


To start off the month, the horror spoken word troupe Writers Bloc will put their terrifying spin on April Fool's Day. Bringing us back to the pagan roots of April Fools, Circle the Fool at Summerhall promises to be a unique and terrifying night of performance and folklore. Performers will spend the eve discussing, dissecting, and performing the traditional pagan rituals, stories, and folklore of April Fool's Day. (1 Apr)

From writer John Bolland comes Pibroch, a one-man multimedia production about the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988. Exploring the personal stories from Piper Alpha survivors, the show asks not only what we owe the survivors of this tragedy, but what we owe ourselves in the ongoing fight for climate justice and equity. Utilising Bolland’s own poetry and original composition from Fraser Fifield, Pibroch is an urgent piece with multilayered impact. Beginning on 2 April in Aberdeen, the show will tour the country through 6 July.

Rounding out the month is PROTEST, a co-production between Fuel, Imaginate, and Northern Stage in association with the National Theatre of Scotland. Bolstered by an all-female cast and creative team – including Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery and director Natalie Ibu – PROTEST follows three young girls who are facing injustice in their schools, home, and world. Set in a Scottish town, the show invites us to consider the underrated impact of making changes in our own communities, and the value of standing up for what we believe in. Catch PROTEST when it comes to The Tron, Glasgow, 1-2 Jun.


Start things off this April with the only Scottish event for the latest novel from Booker Prize nominee Max Porter (author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers). He’s at Assembly Roxy (6 Apr) in conversation with Heather Parry to chat about his new book Shy, a story about ‘guilt, rage, imagination and boyhood’. Other exciting launches include Angie Spoto’s debut, fantasy novel The Grief Nurse (Portobello Bookshop, 13 Apr) and Kate Foster’s historical novel The Maiden, about an Edinburgh woman accused of murder in the 1600s. She’s in Edinburgh (24 Apr) and Broughty Ferry (28 Apr). Rare Birds Book Shop (Edinburgh) is hosting Jennifer Saint – author of bestselling Greek mythology retelling Ariadne – as she discusses her new book Atlanta, the story of a female Argonaut (26 Apr).

There’s something for fiction-lovers in Stirling and Glasgow too. On 14 April, Heather Darwent and Cailean Steed will be discussing their books The Things We Do to Our Friends and Home in Stirling. Cailean Steed will then be in Glasgow just a few days later (Category Is Books, 20 Apr) as Kirsty Logan celebrates her latest release, Now She is Witch

Those after something a little different should head along to the Scottish Storytelling Centre on 13 April for the next iteration of Queer Folks’ Tales, a bi-monthly storytelling series that showcases queer storytellers. This month’s lineup is a banger – Val McDermid, Janette Ayachi and Tom Harlow. Edinburgh’s also hosting journalist Gary Younge at Portobello Bookshop (18 Apr) as he publishes Dispatches from Diaspora, his new collection of journalism.

Soutar Festival takes place in Perth (28-30 Apr), with the likes of James Robertston, Kevin P. Gilday, Imogen Stirling, Sara Sheridan, Ely Percy and Hannah Lavery all taking part in various events. Poetry fans across the nation are also in for a treat, as Aberdeen sees open mic Speakin’ Weird (12 Apr) featuring Stephen James Smith, and in Dundee, spoken word and music ensemble 2 Stoned Birds are performing in HMV (1 Apr). [Nasim Rebecca Asl]

— 13 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Events Guide
Flesh 'N' Blood installation at Humber Gallery, Jasleen Kaur, 2021 Circle the Fool Entanglement is more than blood installation view 'deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory', Scotland + Venice, 59th Venice Biennale, Alberta Whittle, 2022 Photo: Cristiano Corte Image: courtesy of the artist Image: Josh Holton/Writers' Bloc Kirsty Logan Photo: Simone Falk Pibroch John Bolland Photo: Hayley Madden
— 14 — THE SKINNY April 2023


20 The Music Festivals Special is back, opening with a look at the experimental music programmes heading your way in 2023.

24 Lost Map’s Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail) explains exactly what happens when an act doesn’t get paid by a festival for playing.

26 A Scottish music festival calendar, followed by a rough guide to festivalling overseas.

36 As RSA New Contemporaries returns, we profile six artists to watch.

38 How to Fix the Edinburgh Fringe – we polled innumerable comics, producers, Fringe workers to find out what’s going wrong.

40 We meet the team behind ‘Gaelic Western’ Stornoway, Quebec, coming to a stage near you this April.

43 We meet the mysterious Hawkchild DIY, responsible for some of Scotland’s most unorthodox and musically subversive clubs programming.

44 Leonor Will Never Die director Martika Ramirez Escobar tells us about her love of action films.

45 French filmmaker Mia HansenLøve is back with the delicate, heartbreaking slice-of-life drama One Fine Morning.

46 We chat to We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor about her debut feature film Polite Society.

48 Alice Slater on her true crime-inspired debut Death of a Bookseller.

49 We meet the artist behind contemporary stained glass studio Pavilion Pavilion

On the website...

A look at the Poor Things exhibition at Fruitmarket, a chat with How To Blow Up a Pipeline director Daniel Goldhaber, a batch of live reviews (Self Esteem, Låpsley, Alex G and Young Fathers), special Glasgow Film Festival episodes of our podcast The Cineskinny, and a whole lot more…

— 15 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Contents 5 Meet the Team 6 Editorial 7 Love Bites 8 Heads Up 11 What’s On 16 Crossword 33 Intersections 51 Music 57 Film & TV 60 Food & Drink 62 Books 63 Comedy 65 Listings 70 The Skinny On… Leyla Josephine
Pearce; Leonore Will Never Die; One Fine Morning
20 36 43 24 38 44 26 40 49 45 46 48
(Left to right, top to bottom) The Art School; Edith Ault; Kelburn Garden Party; Faye Eleanor Woods; David Montieth-Hodge; Euan
; Polite Society; Robin Christian; David Dale Gallery

Shot of the month


1. Scottish music festival nicknamed 'The World Ceilidh' – go rock, horn neck! (anag) (14)

9. The 1997 hit that declared "Backstreet's back, alright" (9)

10. Alcoholic spirit (5)

11. "___ ___ like Donkey Kong" (3,2)

12. Bubbly – be in tulle (anag) (9)

13. Expires – loses their shit (4,3)

15. Plaything emporium (7)

17. 1920s visual style – redcoat (anag) (3,4)

19. Far (7)

22. He lured away rats (and children) – I peep drip (anag) (4,5)

25. The titular hobbit in The Hobbit (5)

26. Sing softly (5)

27. Product ranges made by the shop that sells them (3,6)

28. Star of an evening – iffy pro athlete (anag) (4,2,3,5)


1. Saving (7)

2. Woke up late (9)

3. Be sympathetic to or in harmony with (3,4)

4. Not a soul (2,3)

5. Alone (2,4,3)

6. Merrymaking (7)

7. Blag (5)

8. Portable computer (6)

14. Unable to be tampered with (even by a jester?) (9)

16. Main act (9)

17. South American camelid (found at Kelburn Castle) (6)

18. Wide open area (7)

20. Pub sore (anag) (5,2)

21. Russian revolutionary (d.1940) (7)

23. Bacteria associated with food poisoning (1,4)

24. Big farm in the US (5)

Turn to page 7 for the solutions

— 16 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Chat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1415 16 17 18 1920 21 2223 2425 26 27 28
Compiled by George Sully Låpsley @ Saint Luke’s, Glasgow, 17 Mar by Dale Harvey
— 17 — THE SKINNY April 2023
— 18 — THE SKINNY March 2023 –Feature Film

Music Festivals Special

Words: Tallah Brash

Illustrations: BLUMOO

It’s April, which can mean only one thing – it’s time for our annual music festivals special! Getting to see several of your favourite bands on the same day, or over the course of the same weekend, is the power afforded only to the music festival. But if the tunes, the scenery, the weather, the company and the mood is just right, a music festival can act as a rite of passage, a transcendent experience. There’s nothing better.

With both the Counterflows and Tectonics festivals taking place this month in Glasgow, our lead feature takes a look at Scotland’s more avantgarde and experimental festivals, where community plays as big a part as the music. One writer takes a look at what makes the Knockengorroch festival continue to tick, 25 years after it first started out as a rainbow gathering. Speaking from first-hand experience, Pictish Trail’s Johnny Lynch tells us what happens when a music festival doesn’t pay the artist, we take an in-depth look at the year ahead in Scotland’s music festsivals, and if you were thinking about going abroad for a music festival this year, you’ll find a handy how-to guide on p29.

— 19 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Music Festivals Special


In the month of Counterflows and Tectonics, we look ahead to the more experimental and avant-garde music you can find at Scotland’s festivals this year

Words: Joe Creely

These are hard times to be putting on festivals. The maelstrom of issues promoters and artists face right now, from the cost of living crisis, to increasingly draconian visa legislation that means performing in the UK is markedly less financially viable for performers, mean that the already difficult task of corralling all the various elements to make a festival work has increased tenfold.

As such there is even more pressure on curators and organisers to play it safe. Experimental music, in its curious, searching nature can be a hard sell to funders and grant-givers and as such many of the indie festivals that had an experimental strand have curbed that instinct, leaning more into the ongoing waves of post-punk that remains unstoppably bankable. But

still there are people do edly dra ing themselves through this mire to bring the most interesting music on the planet to these shores, and, perhaps because the act of trying to do anything good begins to feel defiant, it’s looking like an exciting year ahead for experimental music.

In April we see Made In Easterhouse (22 Apr) returning to Platform in the East End of Glasgow with its first live musical strand since pre-lockdown. Leaning more towards DIY pop, they’ll feature performances from synth oddballs Town Centre and a solo set from R.AGGS, Sacred Paws’ singer and guitarist Rachel A s. Spring of course also brings Hidden Door (31 May-4 Jun) to Edinburgh whose musical side, while a touch more straightforward this year, still features a leftfield collage of disparate sounds to marry to the range of visual art and performance on show.

Come the summer there is of course the Edinburgh International Festival (4-27 Aug) and The Fringe (4-28 Aug), and all their encircling satellite festivals that have experimental music as part of the programme, EIF having featured Richard Dawson, Anna Meredith and Squarepusher in recent years. Particularly exciting is what direction the Made In Scotland showcase goes in, with last year featuring the broadest array of work yet, both in terms of who is making it, and the experimentalism on show. Connect (25-27 Aug) also returns in August with a lineup featuring Jockstrap, Daniel Avery and TAAHLIAH to add a leftfield tinge to its otherwise more indie-rockcentric lineup.

Then later in the year Aberdeen Sound Festival returns from 25-29 October with another

— 20 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music
Photo: Dawid Laskowski Park Jiha and Roy Claire Potter at Maryhill Central Halls

strong batch of contemporary classical goodness. On show will be new works from Kathy Hinde, Chamber Choir Ireland and the Red Note Ensemble. Alas, Pop Mutations Weekender, one of the finest new festivals in Scotland that ran around the same time last year, has moved its second edition to 2024, though they will be throwing an all-dayer come October, which, if it maintains the balance the previous weekender managed between dissonance, experimentalism and pop joy, will definitely be worth catching.

But it’s this month that marks the return of the two heaviest hitters in Scotland’s experimental music calendar, Counterflows and Tectonics. While the two are related their identities are distinct – Tectonics with its involvement with the BBC SSO is more orchestrally focused, while Counterflows has a looser relationship with genre, seeking in co-curator Alasdair Campbell’s words, “music and artists that also are looking at exploring ideas of how to create environments, sounds, experiences that in some ways are developing music.”

Tectonics (29-30 Apr) marks its tenth anniversary this year with as strong a lineup as it’s ever seen. The festival has its usual split of newly composed and classic works performed by the always sterling SSO and performances by a cavalcade of experimental music’s great and good, as well as installation work. The premieres this year include new work from the ever-superb Rufus Isabel Elliot and a Linda Buckley piece inspired by Pagan chant, while the SSO will bring new light to the under-heard wonders of Margriet Hoenderdos.

On the solo performance front it places the likes of Lucrecia Dalt, already a modern-day legend, but now fresh off the back of last year’s ¡Ay!, her breathtaking album of mutant Bolero, next to Limpe Fuchs the instrument-creating improvisational legend, who, more than six decades into her career can claim the sonics of great

swathes of krautrock and industrial as being a direct result of her work. It’s a really strong selection, as devoted to excavating and celebrating underrepresented works and figures as it is to composers and performers still in their prime. But it’s Counterflows (6-9 Apr) that remains possibly the most exciting weekend in Glasgow’s musical calendar. A ludicrously stacked musical lineup, with highlights including Singeli whirlwind DJ Travella, a rare performance from legendary vocal improviser Ma ie Nicols and rising Glasgow ‘weird stuff’ purveyor Max Syedtollan, sitting alongside interviews and workshops. Campbell notes that “Counterflows was set up from the beginning to bring together the local and the international to offer a platform to share ideas,” and it’s this marriage that defines the festival, and what solidifies it as a key weekend in the UK experimental music calendar. There doesn’t feel like many other places on Earth you could get the disparate brilliances of DJ Diaki, Proc Fiskal and Glasgow scene mainstay Boosterhooch on the same bill.

Syedtollan, coming off the back of releasing the sublime Disposables last month, will be premiering new work at The Ferry on the festival's closing night and echoed this praise for their fusing of the local and the global, and, when we spoke to him, praised the audiences for their “tolerance for things that are a bit… weird.” He acts as something of a Counterflows success story, having moved from being a volunteer manning the doors (and by his own admission abusing his free pint privileges), to DJing last year, to performing at one of the festival’s key shows. “It’s pressure,” he says. “It’s a sign of artistic success up until this point, but whether it’s a success just depends on whether the piece works.” The work itself will be a series of improvised pieces with the musicians from the festival’s Music Space programme, a year-long bursary fund set up last year to help young people interested in exploring music, a further pivot from the ever-evolving Syedtollan.

Beyond its excellent curation it also maintains an attitude to accessibility still lacking in so many festivals, particularly in the experimental and avant-garde worlds. Many of the shows operate a ‘pay

what you can policy’, and it feels, more than any other of the festivals here, that it is in direct conversation with the music scene of its host city. It’s something that came up several times in conversation with Campbell, describing the nature of the festival as collaborative between its curators and those that work in the Glasgow experimental scene.

Both Syedtollan and Boosterhooch are key figures in putting on independent, experimental gigs in the city the rest of the year, including the upcoming Fools Fest (1 Apr) all-dayer, and indicates the broader preference towards the DIY amongst Counterflows’ curation. It all points towards attempting to extricate experimental music from the clammy hands of the upper classes, and more generally the powerful, who have too often co-opted and claimed ownership over working class innovation in the music sphere. Whether they wholeheartedly succeed in this aim is as ever a debatable point, but they are trying a lot harder than the vast majority of their peers. Counterflows is one of the finest festivals we have, and it’s the cornerstone of what could be a very sterling year for experimental music in Scotland.

— 21 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music
“Counterflows was set up from the beginning to bring together the local and the international to offer a platform to share ideas”
Alasdair Campbell
Photo: Alex Woodward Photo: Dawid Laskowski Photo: Dawid Laskowski Tectonics 2022/ Douglas R Ewart and Joëlle Léandre at Glasgow City Halls Counterflows 2018/ RP Boo, Seymour Wright and Paul Abbott at The Art School Ahmed at Glue Factory
— 22 — THE SKINNY April 2023

Rainbow Gatherings

Scotland’s oldest greenfield festival turns 25 this year. We find out about Knockengorroch’s origins as a 1990s rainbow gathering, and the love of the land and Celtic culture that has fuelled it since

Descending from Loch Doon down a winding single lane road, the modern world seeps away for revellers making their way to Knockengorroch. Set in a riverside valley, enclosed by mountains that create a natural amphitheatre, this is Scotland’s oldest greenfield festival, where attendees convene every May to celebrate roots and Celtic culture.

Knockengorroch turns 25 this year, but gatherings have taken place here for far longer. Back in the 1990s, Knockengorroch Farm’s owners, Liz and Simon Holmes, were approached by the organisers of a rainbow gathering – an informal network that met in temporary camps all over the world and embraced an alternative, trade-based lifestyle. They wanted to hold their next camp on Cairnsmore, the solitary mountain overlooking the farm.

“My parents moved up there in the 70s. They left London to live a life on the land, growing food, keeping animals and having hay in their field,” says Katch Holmes, Knockengorroch’s producer. “They agreed to our field being used for people when they arrived to park up. There were thousands of people from around the world. I think having that on the land, my mum and dad saw something there.”

Between Niteworks, Voltan, Yoko Pwno and An Dannsa Dub, artists putting a modern twist on Scottish trad are flourishing. But in the mid 90s, that resurgence was just getting started. “Young people didn’t really listen to it. It was kind of considered backward,” says Holmes. “In the 90s you had acid croft and bands like Shooglenifty and a real energy behind it again, which is a celebration of our culture.”

Celtic Connections started in 1994, and Holmes and her mum became regular attendees. One night, at the end of a gig, they approached the band Old Blind Dogs and invited them to play on the farm. The band agreed, and ended up playing the first iteration of Knockengorroch in 1998, then known as The Ceilidh Gall Gallowa’ Festival.

They’ll return to play this year for the anniversary.

The world ceilidh (as it would come to be ta ed) is at its heart a celebration of Celtic music’s global legacy. The Celtic diaspora has had a far-reaching impact, Holmes tells us, but if we go back far enough, it also has international roots.

“The Indo European people actually came from the Middle East. That’s where our language comes from; Welsh, Gaelic, Cornish etc,” she says. “We’re di ing deep into the commonality of where our peoples come from, rediscovering an international element. As a perfect example, Afro Celt Sound System is a band we finally got last year.”

Mungo’s Hi Fi is another exemplary sound system, who have become synonymous with Sunday night’s closing set. Holmes remembers the early days when they were “just scrappy dub enthusiasts desperate to play their music,” so much so that she had to shut them off more than once when they powered their rumbling stacks through the wee hours. Today, Mungo’s member Doug’s family hamster is buried at Knockengorroch – a decision found befitting by his kids.

The land is steeped in history (which stretches back far beyond deceased pets). All the way up and down the river, ruins of old settlements lie scattered about, including on the Knockengorroch site. Two villages resided where the longhouse and farmhouse now sit, while old maps evidence a castle. Knockengorroch, with its idyllic flat meadow and gushing river, was perfect for a settlement, and it was the bi est in the area. “My dad often says that big gatherings would have been happening there,” says Holmes. “Maybe we’re not doing something that new. Maybe that’s one of the reasons it works so well.”

As caretakers of the land, Holmes and her family feel a great sense of stewardship. “We’re very much of the opinion that humans and the land and the wildlife around the place are intricately linked,” she says. “Our aim is to reconnect the people that come with the environment around

Words: Becca Inglis

them.” Ever since its rainbow gathering origins, sustainability has been deeply embedded into Knockengorroch. Its Langwhan (longhouse) imitates a traditional iron age building, while the Bo-Airigh Stage is made out of natural timber with a turf roof, where swallows come to nest every year. “I often say the birds are like festival children. All those swallows were born in these festival nests,” says Holmes. This year also sees the introduction of a polytunnel, which will allow Knockengorroch to grow vegetables – usually a difficult task at its high climate – and function as a venue. Holmes envisages it as a sustainability hub, where talks about growing organic food, beekeeping and Galloway’s Dark Sky Park will educate attendees in green living.

It’s the start of what Holmes hopes will be a more concentrated focus on sustainability, on top of a sustained celebration of Celtic music’s history and multiculturalism for another 25 years. “I’m looking to whoever inherits the land from me,” she says. “I want them to have the same level of care. I want the land to thrive and be abundant, for people and for biodiversity.”

Knockengorroch takes place from 25-28 May, Galloway, S.W. Scotland

— 23 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music
“We’re very much of the opinion that humans and the land and the wildlife around the place are intricately linked”
Katch Holmes, Knockengorroch
Photo: ReCompose

Pay to Play

Lost Map Records boss and Pictish Trail frontman Johnny Lynch talks us through the stressful reality of what happens when a festival doesn’t pay the artists and asks music fans to make better choices

Illustration: Edith Ault

So much of the narrative around music these days seems to play upon an audience having to make ethical choices. Buying a record or a gig ticket is often presented as a way of ‘supporting the artist’, a philanthropic act, as opposed to a personal choice because you happen to like shaking your ass to their music. If you’re someone that makes music for a living, it’s a tough one to navigate. If you start whining about the state of the music industry, you’re in danger of coming across as a sad charity case, or worse, an old, bitter charity case. And no one wants to shake their ass to that.

However, we need to talk about certain festivals in Scotland. In recent years some organisers have decided that they simply don’t need to pay artists. Or the crew. Or the hire companies they’ve used. As an artist, you don’t really want to publicly complain about not being paid, because it’s embarrassing. But it’s a reality, it’s happening frequently, and it’s bullshit. Artists need to collectively speak out about festivals that are taking the piss, and fans need to ‘support’ them by boycotting said piss-fests.

Here’s what happens when you don’t get paid by a festival. Weirdly, it starts about a month before the festival takes place. The deposit that has been agreed for your performance hasn’t appeared in your bank account. You feel anxious about promoting your upcoming appearance, and hear horror stories from friends about other bands who haven’t been paid in previous years. You notice that the big-name headliners aren’t plu ing it either. In the days leading up to the event you hear rumours about contractors pulling out because the organiser owes them a heap of cash from last year’s bash. You get a WhatsApp from a friend of a photo showing the festival site but with no stage.

Sadly, you’ve already spent money on traveling down from your home (let’s say in the Hebrides) to get to the festival site (let’s say on the outskirts of Glasgow). You pay your band members' session fees, as well as pay for a tour manager/driver, and they’ve blocked out this weekend in their diary for months, so you can’t let them down. You play a rehearsal the night before, feeling like every penny

you’ve spent on this trip is not going to be remunerated. You arrive at the festival site to see that the stage is miraculously being put together, by an incredibly stressed-out, understaffed and overworked crew. The timetable has changed due to other acts cancelling last minute. You play your show, it goes well enough, you even see some people shaking their asses. You see some friends, and try to find a free drink somewhere. You catch a glimpse of one of the organisers, but they run away as soon as you turn to approach them. You only wanted a beer. You find a room backstage, and chat to another act who also haven’t received their deposit.

In the week following the event, you repeatedly send emails with an invoice for your

performance, but to no reply. You try phoning the organisers, and eventually one of them answers, and speaks to you for 25 minutes telling you about all the difficulties they’ve had with the council, and the ticketing company, and reassures you that they will pay you, in full, in four days. They don’t. They stop answering the phone. This goes on for months. You threaten legal action, and they send you a series of long, emotional text messages promising to pay. You realise that the legal action you’ve been advised to take will actually cost you a lot of time and money, and you’re unlikely to get anything in return, other than the ‘sense of satisfaction’ that they’ve had to go bankrupt. You look up the festival organisers on the Companies House website, and see that they’ve filed bankruptcy for many events over the years, dissolved the companies, and started up new ones. You also see that they are directors of other separate businesses that provide the bar and catering for their own events. They’ve got the money. They just don’t want to pay you.

When stuff like this happens, it knocks your confidence. It strains your relationship with your booking agent. It hurts you financially, and makes you less inclined to play festivals. It turns you into an old, bitter charity case, and you somehow have to shake your ass out of that state of mind.

I should say, this is not every festival. Scotland is blessed with plenty of good ones, that have built up a loyal following, and thrive on a sense of community. But there’s been a number of shite-hawks over the past few years that have taken advantage of the good will that is generated by people enjoying music together. These events are relatively easy to spot. If you go to their Instagram page or their Facebook, they’ve turned off comments on their posts – and have deleted posts from previous years’ events, due to a number of artists (and fans) complaining. Don’t support the shite-hawks; boycott them, and avoid any other events they put on.

For more information about Lost Map Records, who are celebrating ten years of being a label this year, head to

— 24 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music
“As an artist, you don’t really want to publicly complain about not being paid, because it’s embarrassing. But it’s a reality, and it’s bullshit”
— 25 — THE SKINNY April 2023

Fields* of Dreams

Haven’t figured out what homegrown music festivals you want to go to this year? With this guide to the year ahead, we’ve got you covered!

Words: Tallah Brash

With the spring season just getting started, and hay fever already wreaking havoc, it’s time for us to look ahead to the best season – festival season. Although it’s not really a ‘season’, is it? Music festivals run in many forms all through the year, from summer gatherings in fields to venue hopping around a city centre in the winter months, so we’ve pulled out some of our top picks covering everything from family-friendly, folk and trad, dance and electronic music and city festivals to help you plan your year ahead.

City Festivals

Starting with the big three, Dundee is set to welcome the return of Radio 1’s Big Weekend (2628 May) to Camperdown Park, and in terms of big names they seem to be pulling out all the stops with Lewis Capaldi, The 1975, Wet Leg, Self Esteem and Arlo Parks packing out the top of the bill. Glasgow’s TRNSMT (7-9 Jul) is back at Glasgow Green featuring a wild array of artists from Pulp and Royal Blood to Ashnikko and Warmduscher. In Edinburgh, Connect Festival returns to its surprisingly idyllic surrounds at the Royal Highland Showgrounds in Ingliston. Taking place from 25 to 27 August, Connect is set to bring a more alternative angle to Scotland’s big field festival vibes with headliners including Primal Scream, Fred Again.., Loyle Carner and boygenius. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find MUNA, Róisín Murphy, Young Fathers, Kelly Lee Owens, Arab Strap, Confidence Man and Jockstrap.

Outwith those three, city fests kick off this month with the return of Glasgow’s most experimental and avant-garde festival, Counterflows (6-9 Apr), which makes the local community as much a part of the festival as its performers. (Read more about Scotland’s more experimental music festivals on p20.) In Edinburgh, annual music conference and showcase festival Wide Days is back (13-15 Apr), with daytime panels holding up a magnifying glass on the music industry, while in the evenings you can catch free performances from up-and-comers like Russell Stewart, SILVI, Goodnight Louisa and Becky Sikasa. Across the last weekend of the month, multi-venue festival Stag & Da er takes over Edinburgh (29 Apr) and Glasgow (30 Apr) with everyone from Alice Glass, Lady Leshurr and Scalping set to perform in both cities.

Moving into May, the Melting Pot x Heverlee Springtime Weekender (6-7 May) takes over Glasgow’s Queen’s Park with Optimo hosting on Sunday. Incredible Belgian dancefloor botherers Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul top the bill, with live sets also expected from James Holden and

Glasgow’s own party starters

Pleasure Pool. At the end of the month, Hidden Door Festival (31 May-4 Jun) kicks off its week-long transformation of the old hexagonal Scottish Widows building nestled in the crook of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh’s Southside. Porridge Radio, Rozi Plain and Max Cooper are all set to perform, with a vast programme of visual art, spoken word and a rather interesting-sounding collaborative strand focusing on environments. Alliyah Enyo’s Sea Bed exploration sounds enchanting and is not to be missed.

In terms of city festivals with their lineups still TBC, the summer months are big for jazz fans in the central belt, with Glasgow Jazz Festival (14-18 Jun) and the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (14-23 Jul) both set to return. The following month, the Edinburgh International Festival is back too, running in tandem with the Edinburgh festivals from 4 to 27 August. Finally, a trio of multi-venue festivals worth sticking in your diary for later in the year include Dunfermline’s Outwith Festival (6-10 Sep), the always raucous Tenement Trail in Glasgow (7 Oct) and The Great Western in the west of Glasgow (11 Nov).

Family-friendly Festivals

If, for you, a music festival is all about escaping the chokehold of the major cities, then there’s a whole host of beautiful family-friendly greenfield festivals taking place across Scotland’s summer months. On the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend (25-28 May) Knockengorroch kicks things off with its 25th anniversary bash. Also referred to as the World Ceilidh, Knock’s lineup this year includes The Ra a Twins Crew, Mungo’s Hi Fi Sound System and OH141’s Sarra Wild, plus there’s a The Skinny x FUSE takeover of the Taigh Tent on Sunday featuring sets from VAJ.Power and Maveen among others. On the same weekend, Lews Castle in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis is set to host the first-ever Midnight Sun Weekender featuring live sets from some of Scotland’s best: Primal Scream, Edwyn Collins and Honeyblood.

Stepping into June, Fyne Fest (1-4 Jun) in Glen Fyne – organised by

— 26 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music Festivals Special
Bemz at Kelburn Garden Party Hidden Doors Tenement Trail

the team behind the Fyne Ales Brewery – gets the month underway with sets from Pictish Trail, Maranta and Alex Cornish and plenty of activities for the little ones. The Eden Festival (8-11 Jun) is back in the beautiful surroundings of Moffat’s Raehill Meadows in the South West of Scotland; featuring We Are Family hit-makers Sister Sledge, Elvis and Nirvana crossover act Elvana and cosmic concept outfit HENGE

– there’s a dedicated kids tent too. Solas Festival (16-18 Jun) in Perthshire’s Errol Park is similarly well suited to the tiny humans in your life with kids activities aplenty, and music from Shooglenifty, King Creosote and Rachel Sermanni.

Celebrating its unlucky for some 13th outing, Kelburn Garden Party (30 Jun-3 Jul) returns to the grounds of Kelburn Castle near Largs this summer; we’re back curating The Pyramid Stage and have headliners AiiTee, comfort and Sacred Paws confirmed. At the end of July, take your pick between either Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (27-29 Jul) near Inverness featuring Bastille, Sigrid and KT Tunstall or ButeFest (28-30 Jul) at Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute with Big Country, Skerryvore and The LaFontaines.

Dance Music Festivals

If dance music is more your speed, there’s a whole ga le of world-class dance festivals happening practically on your doorstep. Terminal V’s Easter Weekender (8-9 Apr) makes its grand return to Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston. Split between multiple airport hangars, the festival features a carefully curated lineup of techno and underground house DJs, with TAAHLIAH, Charlotte de Witte

and Boys Noize all set to play. There’s usually a Halloween special too, so keep your eyes peeled later in the year. FLY Open Air (20-21 May) returns to the stately grounds of Hopetoun House in South Queensferry, with Ben Hemsley, Chaos In the CBD and Denis Sulta all set to rip it up. Meanwhile, Riverside Festival (3-4 Jun) celebrates ten years of throwing parties in the shadow of Glasgow’s iconic Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde, featuring Paula Temple, Patrick Topping and Eclair Fifi b2b Big Miz among others. And later in the summer, the team behind FLY bring the second instalment of Otherlands (11-13 Aug) brings to Scone Palace in Perth the king of glitch Hudson Mohawke, Floorplan, HAAi and Bemz.

Trad and Folk Festivals

Finally, rounding out the festivals, if it’s music with its roots in folk and trad that you’re after, there are loads to keep your cup full all through the spring and summer months. Edinburgh’s multi-venue Tradfest (28 Apr-8 May) gets the ball rolling early on with workshops, family ceilidhs, storytelling and live performances. Elsewhere on the mainland, The Reeling’s inaugural event takes place in Glasgow’s Rouken Glen Park (10-11 Jun) with Breabach, Peatbog Faeries and Iona Fyfe. North of Aberdeen, Speyfest (21-23 Jul) returns for 2023 bringing a wide array of trad and contemporary Celtic sounds to the Moray area, with Talisk, Kinnaris Quintet and Bombskare all playing. Another new festival arrives in Ayrshire this year too. The Fresh Ayr Folk Festival (11-13 Aug) will occur in Rozelle Park with Nati Dredd, Blazin’ Fiddles and Siobhan Miller Band. As well as the music lineup, Fresh Ayr will also feature music workshops, ceilidhs and arts and crafts fun for kids.

If you fancy getting off the mainland for a few days, consider heading to an island for your festival fix this year. Skye Live (11-13 May) returns to Portree on the gorgeous Isle of Skye. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Orkney Folk Festival (25-28 May) takes over all manner of spaces in Kirkwall and Stromness, from breweries to community centres via town halls and theatres, with Capercaillie, The Kris Drever Band and Elephant Sessions among its lineup. Another long-lasting festival, HebCelt (12-15 Jul) returns in 2023 too where trad/electro fusion outfit Niteworks, The Corrs’ Sharon Corr(!) and Lewis McLaughlin all head to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis for the occasion.

— 27 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Music Festivals Special Music Festivals Special
*not all festival dreams will be found in fields Bonobo at Connect Elephant Sessions at Skye Live Riverside Photo: Ryan Buchanan Photo: Tim Craig Photo: James Duncan Photo: Cameron Brisbane Jamie XX at Otherlands Photo: Rory Barnes
— 28 — THE SKINNY April 2023

How to Festival Abroad

Words: Tallah Brash

Although many of us were still feeling pretty anxious about travelling abroad last year, international music festivals made their mostly triumphant return in 2022 – the less we talk about the Primavariant, the better. With the majority of COVID restrictions now a distant memory, maybe you’re thinking about jetting off on a musical adventure this year? Whether it’s a return to old habits since the before times, or the first time you’ll have ever left the country for a festival, we’ll do our best to help make planning your dream musical getaway that little bit easier for you.

COVID, new passport rules and insurance

First up, we’ll go through the boring COVID- and travel-related stuff. It’s highly unlikely you’ll need to take a lateral flow or PCR test before travelling abroad. It’s also now rare that you’d be asked to prove your vaccination status, but rules vary from country to country and due to the nature of the pandemic, things can change last minute. This can also apply to face mask rules, so it’s probably best to look out that reusable one that’s likely hiding in the back of your sock drawer. If you’re buying disposable, FFP2 NRs are the one.

Before travelling, check if your passport is still valid. This might sound super obvious, but since we left the EU, the rules have changed. Most travel within the EU now requires your passport to have been issued less than ten years before you are due to enter the country, and the expiry date should be at least three months after the date you return home.

Rules around health insurance have also changed since we went our separate ways, but if your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still in date then it’s still valid. If it’s not, you can sign up for a Global GHIC card, which does pretty much the same thing. While these cards should cover you for an unplanned trip to A&E, they won’t cover you for everything, so consider getting additional travel insurance, which is advisable anyway just to cover you for things like accommodation cancellations, theft, loss of lu age etc. More info on healthcare abroad can be found at and for the most up-to-date travel info surrounding COVID restrictions at your chosen destination head to

Where to stay, what to pack

While a lot of music festivals abroad do offer camping options, who in their right mind would

want to camp in 30+ degrees heat!? Um, no. Festivals like Primavera Sound in Barcelona, NOS Alive in Lisbon and Rock en Seine in Paris are the dream because, after a long day and night dancing, you can sleep in a proper bed and enjoy a rejuvenating shower the next day. While this luxury does come at a price – having to find and pay for accommodation on top of your festival ticket is far from ideal – it does make for a highly elevated festival experience. It also means you can have a bit of a holiday at the same time; for the ultimate act of self-care, take some extra time either side of the festival (or both!) to properly relax and explore the area.

It’s important then to consider what you want to do while you’re away when deciding where to stay. More often than not, festival sites aren’t in the centre of a city, where you’ll likely want to spend a lot of your time, so while staying near the festival site might seem appealing, it’s far from the best option and will leave you ga ing on an out-of-reach bar, coffee, bakery or taco crawl the rest of time.

Where you stay will also determine what you need to take with you. So before you pack, check what your hostel, hotel or Airbnb provides as most will include towels as well as basic toiletries, meaning there’s more room for that extra pair of shoes. If they don’t provide anything, to help combat those frustrating budget airline lu age allowances, invest in a travel towel and consider packing a bar of soap instead of shower gel, a shampoo bar instead of liquid shampoo. You can also cut your liquids again by opting for a deodorant stick, and Boots’ Soltan Kids Suncare Stick is a game changer.

Festival essentials, phone advice and how not to lose your friends

Every day at the festival will be long, and

you can’t just nip back to your apartment, so a jumper/jacket for when the temperature drops, toilet roll for when the loos run out, and a fully charged power bar for when your phone dies should be high up your priority list. Also, your step count will be through the roof, so a comfy pair of trainers is essential too, as well as sunglasses, a hat, hand sanitiser, and A FAN – you will thank us later. If you’re on any kind of prescribed medication, like insulin or strong painkillers, get an official letter from your doctor before you fly; thorough bag checks always take place on entry to festivals, so consider getting a copy of that

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With international music festivals confidently (we hope!) back on the menu, here are a few things to think about before you go abroad for your 2023 music festival fix
Dekmantel MELT Festival 2022 NOS Alive 2022 Roskilde festival 2022 Photo: Tim Buiting Photo: Michael Bomke Photo: Joao Silva Photo: Kim Matthäi Leland

letter translated into the country’s native language to avoid confusion.

Back to that bit about your phone running out of charge. While you’re away, you’ll rely on your phone more than ever: you’ll be constantly looking up directions, checking the lineup/festival app for updates, your festival and plane tickets will likely be on there, and you will at some point, we’re sure, not be able to find your friends, so plan ahead. Does your phone tariff still offer free data roaming? If not, consider a bolt-on. Before you leave, print the lineup on, save the address of your accommodation on Google Maps and take screenshots of important info like accommodation details as well as your festival tickets; consider sharing your festival ticket within

your friendship circles in case something happens to one of your phones. No ticket = no entry. Finally, plan for a poor phone signal – festival sites are busy, making for overloaded networks, resulting in that WhatsApp message not arriving until two hours later. So if you are planning to split up, arrange to meet at a set time later by the hotdog stand next to whatever stage. It’ll be zero fun if you lose all your pals.


A few more things worth thinking about before you step off that plane and the heat hits you like a heavyweight knockout. Downloading Google Translate and trying out a few phrases in the local dialect will always be appreciated, even if the

Now that you’re ready to festival abroad, here are some good European options that you can get to easily on budget airlines from Glasgow and Edinburgh

Melt Festival, Ferropolis, Germany, 8-11 Jun

Lineup: FKA twigs, Róisín Murphy, Beabadoobee

Fly to: Berlin

Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark, 24 Jun-1 Jul

Lineup: Kendrick Lamar, Blur, Rosalía

Fly to: Copenhagen

NOS Alive, Lisbon, Portugal, 6-8 Jul

Lineup: Arctic Monkeys, Lizzo, Rina Sawayama

Fly to: Lisbon

Mad Cool, Madrid, Spain, 6-8 Jul

Lineup: Lil Nas X, Franz Ferdinand, Janelle Monáe

Fly to: Madrid

Dekmantel, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2-6 Aug

Lineup: Hudson Mohawke (live), Helena Hauff, Sevdaliza

Fly to: Amsterdam

Rock En Seine, Paris, France, 23-27 Aug

Lineup: Billie Eilish, The Strokes, Fever Ray

Fly to: Paris

Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2-4 Nov

Lineup: Squid, Yard Act, Lime Garden

Fly to: Reykjavik

Club 2 Club Festival, Turin, Italy, 2-5 Nov

Lineup: Flying Lotus, Caroline Polachek, Yves Tumor

Fly to: Milan

response is in English. If you have an allergic reaction to something while abroad (mosquitoes, we’re looking at you!) or suffer a minor injury, don’t be nervous about popping into a pharmacy. Also, antihistamines are your friend – don’t leave home without them.

Finally, some saving tips: a currency card provider like Monzo or Caxton FX will negate any bank charges that might otherwise be incurred by using your UK bank account abroad, so definitely consider getting one. They’re usually free, so why wouldn’t you? And I cannot stress this enough: do not waste your money on a VIP festival ticket. It might feel boujie AF at the time of purchase, but once there the benefits rarely outweigh the expense.

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Mad Cool 2022 Photo: Paco Poyato

Funding Space

We’re well aware: money’s tight. But how does this impact the community organisations that allow us to come together and connect? One writer explores the importance of maintaining spaces and unpacks the trials and tribulations of funding applications

Late last year Rumpus Room, an artist-led initiative that collaborates with children and young people on art and social action projects, were posed with an existential question: was the space they were creating for their members and young people rooted in the physical or the atmosphere? This was in response to the unexpected prospect that they would have to lose their studio space where they hosted everything from gardening clubs to queer family meet-ups, fostering and nurturing a community for the past three years.

“Our group has become a physical organism that can exist anywhere, but as we have grown so has the space,” says Leo, one of the artists. For many community organisations around Glasgow, the debate around space straddles these two sentiments. Can a space be created for facilitation, dialogues and mobilisation without bricks-and-mortar?

Amid the cost of living crisis, rental crisis, Brexit, and the pandemic hangover, many community organisations are wondering how tenable their space situation really is. Some, such as Glasgow Autonomous Space, have already had to leave their space due to spiralling costs. Both Crossroads and Kinning Park Complex – two community hubs in Glasgow’s Southside – are toiling with unsuccessful funding applications and, as a result, opening hours and staff numbers are being drastically shaved.

“With all public spaces being privatised, places like here are vital,” says Spyro, a youth worker at Crossroads. “Space like this lets individuals encounter people and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise.”

Charlie*, a worker at Kinning Park Complex, agrees. “Our community meal is not just a service environment, it is about building connections,”

says Charlie. “With our own space we have been able to make everyone’s needs met, from installing a lift to creating gender neutral toilets.”

For many community organisations, this is why physical space is so important: intercultural conversations are facilitated and accessibility is literally built in, sentiments that our increasingly detached and private lives are lacking. Having a space which communities can return to and rely on is key.

But that blank white space of the funding application can also prove inaccessible to many organisations. These over complex applications often see community organisations work overtime, late nights and early mornings to be expected. Many organisations do not have the time or resources to complete these applications on a rolling basis. For groups whose first language may not be English, this can be an additional barrier.

The Scottish Refugee Council are trying to make the funding process fairer. Recently, they worked with the National Lottery Communities Fund to train a cohort of New Scots to panel funding applications. This funding is primarily targeted to grassroots organisations such as constituted groups, a much easier title to obtain than ‘charity’ or ‘community interest company’, therefore easing some of the bureaucracy involved with funding applications. Their application forms are concise and webinars for applicants explain exactly what the panel is looking for with every question.

Despite positives such as this, the overall situation remains bleak. Glasgow City Council have also recently announced that libraries, pools and galleries will have their opening hours slashed, the Botanics now incur an entry fee, and a week of free events at Kelvingrove Bandstand have been quietly shelved. The council also recently announced the outcome of the Glasgow Communities Fund, a

once-ever-three-years opportunity that is one of the most significant sources of funding in the city for community organisations.

South East Integration Network (SEIN) – a network of organisations centred around diversity and community integration – was unsuccessful in their bid for this fund for the first time ever. The network’s future is for now uncertain past the summer. “There is so much that can be achieved by creating space... But this tense climate of funding is just not helping,” says Communications & Engagement Coordinator Jess, who is also part of the community food project Kin Kitchen. Many organisations note that funders don’t see the importance of space when writing guidelines. “You can’t just get funding to do a move,” says Ardis, one of the artists at Rumpus Room. As most funding these days is for short term projects, it is difficult to prove in an application that securing and upgrading space is worth the investment. “I want there to be more longer term funding for sustainability of projects.”

Glasgow Zine Library (GZL) is one of few organisations able to move to a new space. To facilitate the move, GZL has set up a crowdfunder – through which they’ve received a match fund pledge from Glasgow City Council – but still hope to secure further funding in the future. “People often assume if you have public funding, you must be able to do whatever you want with it, but there are very few funds that are unrestricted,” says LD, director of the library. “There are so many projectfocused funds out there… but not many that are earmarked for capital costs.”

So what does the future hold for community organisations as funding pots shrink and more spaces are forced to close? For many organisations, collaboration and pooling resources seems to be the future. “Kin Kitchen loves to collaborate with others,” Jess sighs, “but this should come from choice, not necessity.”

There should be space for each community organisation to flourish on its own terms – and there is. We simply must fund it.

*Names have been changed

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“Can a space be created for facilitation, dialogues and mobilisation without bricksand-mortar?”
Rumpus Room's Yard Photo: Rob Reid

Drinking Climate

The climate is changing – and so is alcohol. We speak to Cork & Cask about the science behind these changes, how wineries are approaching the crisis, and where hope lies for the industry

Words: Eilidh Akilade

Illustration: Hatty Staniford

You’re down to the second, maybe third, bottle of wine for the table. Voices are getting higher in pitch and cheeks are beginning to flush. At one point, statistics were mentioned, sources cited. But now everything’s a little fuzzy and once semi-coherent critiques on capitalism have misshapen into a string of swears. Eventually, there’s nothing much to say: the climate crisis is happening and a top-up of Sauvignon Blanc can’t stop it.

Perhaps these conversations shouldn’t happen after consuming above the daily recommended units but, frankly, the two are connected: alcohol and the climate crisis. We can almost taste it – or, at least, a wine expert can.

Cork & Cask is an independent wine, beer, and spirits company. Their Marchmont-based shop is now managed by India Parry-Williams, a wine merchant and expert who has worked with the company for nine of its ten years. With a specialism in organic, biodynamic and natural wine, the climate crisis features heavily in Parry-Williams’s work and the industry more widely.

“A lot of places that previously maybe didn’t make great wine or were not well known for making exceptional wine are really going to come into their own,” says Parry-Williams. “This increased sunshine isn’t bad for everybody.”

But, as Parry-Williams points out, the climate crisis isn’t just the planet getting hotter – it’s frosts and wildfires, droughts and floods. “If a big hailstorm hits for an extended period of time, there’s nothing you can do to protect your thin-skin delicate fruit, that’s it – that’s gone,” she says. “That’s an entire vintage and your whole livelihood.”

This will, of course, take its toll on independent wineries, keen to maintain tradition. “They’re not using chemicals to combat this, they’re not acidifying their wines,” says Parry-Williams. When it comes to those larger wineries, however, it’s a different story. With extensive chemical addition and filtering already in place, the big names on the shelf will cope just fine. “Jacob’s Creek won’t change.” It’s unfortunately to be expected: the climate crisis and capitalism are inextricably linked in both cause and result.

“Instead of combating climate change on a real meaningful level, we are seeing legislation change in order to enable it,” Parry-Williams says. She notes, for instance, that 2021 saw France’s Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité approve six new grape varieties within the Bordeaux region to accommodate for climate change. Although it’s key that wineries can adapt to current circumstances, such policy change must come alongside moves towards climate justice. But it’s also important to be mindful about how we cope with the climate crisis on a personal level. With the IPPC reporting that the crisis is expected to increasingly impact our mental health, our drinking habits are certainly something to watch. Moreover, increased sunshine means that “the sugars in the grapes that then cement to make the wine are going to go up and up and up,” explains Parry-Williams. “And the more sugar, the more alcohol right – on a very basic level.” These higher alcohol by volume (ABV) levels will seem miniscule to the average drinker; nonetheless, it might be worth double-checking what you’re drinking and, perhaps, how much of it.

Although the climate crisis is impacting alcohol, the reverse is also true. With often intensive farming methods and excessive packaging, the production of many alcohols can be fairly harmful to the environment itself. As ever, it’s easy to feel consumed by the guilt of that one plastic straw and its cost to the Earth. But it’s primarily governments and large corporations that should be held accountable; for individuals and communities, climate action is worth a lot more than climate guilt. Don’t worry: you’re allowed to enjoy a beer.

What’s more, Scotland is beginning to boast an increasingly environmentally-friendly alcohol industry. Similarly to Cork & Cask, Glasgow’s Brett Shop prides itself on stocking low-intervention and biodynamic wines. Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Pilot Beer is now fully vegan, marking a step away from the dairy industry and towards increased markets. Parry-Williams also runs Scotland’s only natural wine fair; it’s exciting – there’s clearly a market growing for the stuff.

It’s a subject Parry-Williams feels strongly about – so much so that April will see her lead an event titled Tasting Climate Change at Edinburgh Science Festival. She’ll be talking audiences through various wines and unpacking how the climate crisis has impacted them. Although it’s a difficult topic, ParryWilliams is clear: “I would like this to feel hopeful.”

And there is, certainly, hope to be had. Parry-Williams notes that producing good quality red wine is now possible in England, primarily because of the climate crisis. That’s not to say that burning all those fossil fuels was worth it for a glass of English red; rather, Parry-Williams sees this as an opportunity to encourage individuals to drink locally and develop a sense of ownership over what we’re drinking. As she puts it, “Feeling connected to agriculture, feeling connected to soil, feeling connected to produce is so incredibly important for understanding climate change.”

Stay safe, enjoy yourself, and come together for climate justice. It’s a difficult time – with or without a glass in hand.

Tasting Climate Change, Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh, 11 Apr, 7pm, £20, part of Edinburgh Science Festival

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“Instead of combating climate change on a real meaningful level, we are seeing legislation change in order to enable it”
India Parry-Williams, Cork & Cask

Art Futures

The Royal Scottish Academy’s New Contemporaries returns to celebrate the cohort of artists and architects who graduated from Scotland’s art schools in 2021

Words: Harvey Dimond

The selected artists and architects currently showing on the Mound all graduated from one of the following Scottish art schools: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), Glasgow School of Art (GSA), Gray's School of Art and the University of the Highlands and Islands. Spread across the vast spaces of the Academy, this year’s artists unveil works that address themes including problematic statues, queer world-building and natural ecologies. This month, The Skinny profiles six of the artists selected to exhibit at this year’s New Contemporaries.

Josie KO

Glasgow-based Josie KO’s epic and evocative sculpture Lady in Blue is the immediate star of the show, visible as soon as you climb the stairs to the Academy’s upstairs space. A large Black figure, hands on hips, towers over the audience; below her, a smaller figure rides on horseback, saltire and pink traffic cone in hand, mouth wide in ecstasy. The artist’s playful papier mâché and textile constructions feed into current conversations around the relevance of public statues in our civic spaces that depict problematic, colonial-era figures. Her work satirises these monuments while posing serious questions about why monuments to imperialists and slave traders are still standing –and what (and who) should replace them. The artist’s work demonstrates that imaginative and artistic interventions into such heavy conversations are needed – and that artists can, and should, play a crucial and critical role in deciding what fills our public spaces.

Of all the works on display, the joy and relishing of making is most evident in KO’s practice. The sculpture itself is colossal, and there is a real sense of the amount of labour that has gone into its construction: a combination of papier mâché, woodwork and textiles. The way that the sculpture stands, epic, firm and resolute, channels Simone Leigh’s installation at last year’s Venice Biennale, and its desire to take up space also connects the practices of the two artists. This work also reflects on KO’s experience of moving to Glasgow as a Black woman, evidenced by the saltire flag and neon pink traffic cone held by the smaller figure.

N. Godjamanian

N. Godjamanian, a graduate of ECA, is exhibiting two short but haunting films that capture dual scenes of grief. The first, found footage of a Cypriot woman grieving at the loss of her home following an eviction during the island’s conflict in 1974: the second, a depiction of a house

burning from the ongoing NagornoKarabakh conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan. The films capture the cycles of loss, grief and trauma that conflict creates, and forces the viewer to examine how they consume images of human suffering. Godjamanian poses the question – how do we respond to images of human suffering that float through news channels and social media in an endless loop?

The choice to use depictions of two lesser-known conflicts, both taking place on the fringes of Europe, draws attention to how the West represents conflict through its media – often-time, to privilege its own agenda. This has become especially evident with the war in Ukraine, and how European nations have expressed horror and concern in response to the conflict, while ignoring the plight of people fleeing conflict in the global south. Godjamanian’s films provoke us to think – whose suffering is deemed worthy of empathy by the West, and whose is not?

Emily Weaver

Emily Weaver’s sculptures and film speak to the fundamental role that bees play in the Earth’s ecosystems. While many artists in this year’s New Contemporaries make reference to

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Photo: Julie Howden Photo: Julie Howden Wailing Women, N Godjamanian Violet Skep, Emily Weaver Lady in Blue 2, Josie KO

ecologies in their practice, Weaver’s exploration is the most thorough and comprehensive. Three beehive sculptures, made of papier mâché and beeswax, are spray painted in vivid pink, yellow and gold. Based on the designs of ornate sculpted beehives found in Germany and in Scandinavia, they feature stylised faces that act as icons, like those that often embellish religious buildings.

Her accompanying film Ultraviolet Dreams is delightfully inventive and un-pretentious. In the film, bees are shown to be an all-seeing witness to human activity. Weaver draws on Greek and Roman mythologies of bees, who believed that bees are the messengers of the gods – this metaphor operates to highlight the precarious entanglement and human existence. The film is a vivid and intimate collage of drawings and performances, with its thoughtful and beguiling costumes and masks, which make reference to the myths of the Bugonia Ox and Samson’s Lion, in which bees play a central role.

Carlos Anguera

Anguera (a graduate of GSA) is exhibiting one work for New Contemporaries – an epic, tapestry-like photographic collage titled Club Tanners, Crowd Sitters, Shadow Eaters. At around three metres long, it has immense visual power from a distance – but its curious details emerge as you move closer.

Transcending form and medium, it is painterly but firmly grounded in a range of photographic techniques. Now based in Berlin, Anguera works with photography, video and installation. As is demonstrated across their practice, the artist deconstructs the mechanisms of image-making, pulling apart the limitations of digital and analogue processes.

Their work for New Contemporaries deploys what Anguera calls ‘visual composites’ – multilayered still and moving image arrangements which create playful but formal arrangements. Smaller images, printed in the shape of a phone, glide around larger images of a disco ball, spherical leather sculptures suspended mid-air with metal chains, and a circular cut-out that resembles a satellite image of mountains, or perhaps a dense area of cloud.

Len Goetzee

Goetzee studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at DJCAD and graduated from GSA with an MLitt in Fine Art Practice. The artist uses their voice and the practice of speculative writing as conduit in their fluid and theatrical performances and films. Using what they term ‘queer scavenger methodologies’, world-building is imagined in both the micro and the macro – moving from lived experience of transition into the public realm, and beyond.

In their live performance at New Contemporaries, their use of their almost-operatic voice is

melodramatic and whimsical, at one moment close to hysterical laughter, the next a kind of desperate wail – the audience watches with anticipation and curiosity. The accompanying films work to invigorate the lyricism of the live performances. Titled HEY! and SPIT’S SONNET, they create an effective call and response, and it seems as if their digital figure might jump from the screen at any moment. The films work inventively to imagine new worlds despite the confines of domesticity –Goetzee appears to have made the most of being forced to work from home during the pandemic. Their practice joyfully revels in the disorder of our times.

Faye Eleanor Woods

Woods’ paintings inject some much needed humour into the New Contemporaries. Her paintings explore mythologies of the Calderdale Valley in West Yorkshire – and her love of the pub. The set of three paintings are based on the historical tale of Lady Sybil, a shape-shifting witch who frequented the moors of the area.

At once dreamlike and unsettling, Woods’ landscapes are blustery, and her figures wild and wayward. In one painting, a green figure stands amongst trees, smoking a cigarette, engrossed in a book titled I Wish I Was At The Pub. Her hair and scarf are described fluidly, and her hand seems to melt into the cigarette smoke that drifts off skyward. Given the timing of the artist’s graduation during lockdown, this humorous gesture also has a solemn underbelly – pubs, many people’s sole social space, remained closed for much of the lockdown. Meanwhile, the epic and fantastical I have sold my soul for this pint and I have no regrets shows us the breadth of Woods’ abilities, combining Baroque-esque drama and detail, the brooding menace of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles and the ecstasy of drunken escapades.

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New Contemporaries 2023, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, until 16 Apr Spits Sonnet, Len Goetzee Wish I Was At The Pub, Faye Eleanor Woods Club Tanners, Crowd Sitters, Shadow Eaters Carlos Anguera

Fixing the Fringe

The Skinny asks people from the comedy industry to air their most pressing concerns about the performing arts behemoth, to find out how they would try to solve a problem like the Edinburgh Fringe

Words: Emma Sullivan

These are torrid times for the Edinburgh Fringe. After the soaring costs of last summer made for a stressful festival experience for many performers, pressure is building for evidence of real change. There was a cautious welcome early in March for the bursaries for artists and companies launched by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The subsequent announcement in the UK budget, however, of ring-fenced funding for a £7 million Fringe Society hub, was met with dismay, given the urgency of other issues. For both artists and visitors, it’s accommodation costs that dominate, and while the Fringe Society clearly recognises the need to source more sustainable, affordable accommodation and is apparently working hard behind the scenes, tangible results are lacking. New rules have been proposed to address the number of short-term lets in the city. Although a benefit to the festival, they squeeze the availability of long-term housing for Edinburgh residents. However, pressure from the big Fringe venues has postponed the legislation’s rollout until the autumn. It’s just one of the ways in which the needs of the Fringe are increasingly at odds with the year-round needs of the city.

management – of the kind that exists in Melbourne (where I am now), Montreal, almost every comedy festival in the world. Edinburgh’s different because it has been built on chaos.”

Like many we speak to, Watson is keenly aware of the burden placed on Edinburgh’s infrastructure, insisting that the festival “has to demonstrate that it’s enriching the year-round cultural life of the city, not just serving as a playground for the month of August. And we as comedians have to have honest conversations about whether the Fringe can cope with the number of us who are trying to perform there.” Sofie Hagen also worries that the Fringe has grown too big for the residents of the city: “If we’re no longer wanted there, then we need to figure out how we can respect their wishes.”

Meanwhile, Jess Brough, the founder and director of Fringe of Colour, emphasises that “it’s important to remember that the Fringe is not the only access to arts and culture in Edinburgh or in Scotland more widely”; a point made by many in the indignant responses to the budget boost for the Fringe, which ignores the parlous state of many year-round Scottish cultural institutions. Brough senses an increasing appetite for independent, collective action in the Scottish arts scene: “I’m excited to see what else emerges from cultural practitioners who aren’t willing to wait around to see changes made.”

Clearly, though, there are no easy solutions. For all the love many have for the Fringe, as stand-up Njambi McGrath su ests, “for most, and for those who can afford it, it’s a money pit with many never seeing any returns.”

Mark Watson, speaking from the Melbourne Comedy Festival, thinks that a paradigm shift is required, saying that “the bi est problem with the Fringe is that it has grown to a size where it needs some sort of regulation and central control, but it’s ideologically opposed to that very idea.” He’s adamant that in order “to run an event of this size every year, you need

At Monkey Barrel, a year-round Edinburgh comedy venue often noted for its good practice, there’s a similar degree of pragmatism about the chances of top-down change. Director and co-owner David Bleese says, “we want shows to be affordable and accessible, acts to make a living from performing and to continue to ensure our staff get paid a living wage for the great work that they do. If we achieve this while at the same time everyone involved has a great time, then we’ve probably done our bit.” Given the difficulties many faced last year, Bleese has already noticed fewer acts returning this year, or doing shorter runs, perhaps influenced by Sam Campbell’s 2022 Best Show award on the back of a two-week stint. While that does make for a more ‘calm and relaxed’ experience for performers, most acts want the final half of the Fringe, which “risks a two-tier Fringe with the focus of awards and industry all geared up for the final week or so.”

Shorter runs and scaling back is a theme picked up by several people; Ashley Davies, a judge on last year’s Comedy Award Panel and journalist for the Metro, thinks that if “a cap can’t be placed on accommodation prices, the whole thing needs to be scaled down dramatically.” She wonders if it would be workable “for, say, comedy to run for half the month and theatre for the other, with the other disciplines split too.” Mark

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“We want shows to be affordable and accessible, acts to make a living from performing and to continue to ensure our staff get paid a living wage for the great work that they do”
David Bleese

Watson also argues that the Fringe “needs to be smaller” which might then allow it to be “more cooperative... the festival needs to start functioning AS a festival, and not as a marketplace” he says, “with the venues working together and hand-in-hand with the Fringe Society.”

Tom Little, who does the Free Fringe every year, thinks some kind of limit on PR would make a huge difference in halting the “publicity arms race” of Fringe. “It doesn’t cost £10,000 to do the Fringe. It costs £10,000 to do it ‘properly.’”

Defining his frustration, Little says “the act with the bi est budget isn’t the best act. It’s just the act with the richest dad. So why do industry people who ought to know better keep letting this bullshit determine what they see?” There’s no doubt that attention does tend to focus on the same shows, something that Robert Peacock of the Wee Review fla ed last year, when he argued the need to “incentivise a broader spectrum of reviews.” He reasons that for only “a tiny fraction of what gets spent on Fringe PR each year,” a team of reviewers could be funded to ensure wider coverage. Again, it’s a solution that requires top-down intervention, and one that is sharply at odds with the current Fringe ethos.

For some there’s simply no hope of improvement, and it’s only by starting afresh that British live comedy will gain the genuinely meritocratic showcase it needs. After the stress and exhaustion of last year, Martin Willis, director of Objectively Funny, a highly regarded comedy production company, has decided not to return. He describes last year as “painful – working 14 hours a day, being with artists who couldn’t work harder if they tried: hustling beyond any conception of the word – five, six gigs a day, working a job every day in order to afford it.” Willis is categorical that “the Fringe simply lacks the infrastructure to let the less privileged thrive,” and feels that despite the fact “we all love this thing or we have loved it,” at a certain point “it becomes an abusive relationship.” And while there are plenty of festivals that are “doing everything right”, naming Leicester and Hastings as examples, it’s not that another festival can step up, given they all feed into Edinburgh. Willis is not alone in arguing for extreme measures – Richard Herring, for example, recently tweeted that “an organised boycott” might be the only way “to get performers valued.”

And as Glasgow-based comic Stuart McPherson su ests, it’s not just performers that are being “shafted”. With both accommodation costs and ticket prices becoming prohibitively expensive, audiences may well be deterred. “If I was a comedy fan but learned that a week on the beach in Spain is the same price as three nights in an AirBnB in Tollcross,” says McPherson, “I know where I’d end up going.”

There’s also another, more subtle problem with the impact of costs upon audiences. If rising costs increasingly define the Fringe audience demographic as middle-class, then there’s a risk of working-class acts feeling like case studies or oddities, which potentially prescribes and restricts their material. The problem of audience homogeneity also affects performers of colour, who face a similar kind of othering when confronted with largely white audiences. And to compound it all, high ticket costs further deepen the sense of creative curtailment, with the potential that audiences may be less tolerant of alternative shows or works-in-progress.

There’s little doubt the costs are stifling for both audiences and performers alike, as McPherson su ests: “If you’re arriving on day one £8,000 in the hole, you’re less likely to try out new ideas that are exciting to you.” Risking so much financially “doesn’t lend itself to creative expression” or experimentation. And if the Fringe is no longer a guaranteed crucible of creativity, what is it for?

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 4-28 Aug 2023

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the article and those we reached out to for comment

— 39 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Comedy
“Edinburgh’s different because it has been built on chaos”
Mark Watson
Photo: David Montieth-Hodge

Wild West

Words: Kerry Lane

In Quebec in 1888, a snowstorm traps five people in a remote saloon. One of them, Donald Morrison, is a man on the run. To some, he is a wanted outlaw. To this close-knit community of Gaelic migrants from Lewis, he is one of their own. Hot on his heels is bad-ass Barra woman Màiri MacNeill, a whisky-fuelled, pistol-slinging bounty hunter. She has a history and a score to settle.

Stornoway, Quebec is a new Gaelic Western from Calum L. MacLeòid, the recipient of the New Gaelic Playwrights’ Bursary from Playwrights Studio Scotland, directed by Theatre Gu Leòr’s Artistic Director Muireann Kelly.

The initial inspiration for the play came from MacLeòid’s time spent living in Montréal. He became interested in the stories of Canada’s Gaelic immigrant communities, especially beyond the relatively well-known colonial settlements of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. This research eventually produced Fon Choill, his novel about the Mégantic outlaw Donald Morrison. After returning to Scotland in 2019, MacLeòid received the Gaelic Playwrights Bursary and intended to adapt the novel for the stage, but quickly realised that this was not the play he wanted to write. Instead of a stage documentary, Stornoway, Quebec became a “wild foray over a snowbound weekend in Canada.” Donald Morrison does make an appearance, but the context and other characters are fictional. ”If you’re after historical accuracy,” he laughs, “look to the novel.”

As befits the setting, the play is performed in Scottish Gaelic, English, and Québécois French, with

integrated BSL interpretation by Catherine King for some performances. The bi- and trilingual cast have been heavily supported throughout the rehearsal process by accent and voice coaches, particularly for the Lewis and Barra accents in Gaelic and Màiri’s Texan drawl. There’s also live music, which MacLeòid says “came in very organically” as the script developed. “It’s hard to write about Gaels without them starting singing at some point.”

“The language isn’t something to be afraid of,” says director Kelly. “So much of what we communicate isn’t just through language.” Every language switch serves a function in the construction of narrative or character, and every audience member, no matter their language background, will have the whole story by the end. MacLeòid has “really brought in all the power that can be gained for a character through use of language,” continues Kelly, “and [the audience] collude with that from the outset. It’s a delicious unfolding.”

“It’s a joy to write,” says MacLeòid. “I very rarely write in one voice, one dialect, one language, because that’s not what my lived experience is. Monolingualism and monoglottism within literature is an artifice – it’s not how I experience the universe.”

The complexities of the language dynamics echo and underpin the complexity of the characters’ relationship to place. Forced from their Hebridean homes, the Gaels of Canada nevertheless took on a colonising role in their new land. “They learned from the best,” remarks Kelly drily. Some of the play’s characters were born in Canada, some in Scotland; all are shaped by a

profound experience of cianalas (loosely “homesickness” or “home-longing”). On top of it all, the staking out of a new place to call home is coloured by the incredible harshness of that home as the community huddles together through the bitter Canadian winter. The land as a character is, after all, a defining element of the Western – and it must be stressed that Stornoway, Quebec is a Western through and through. “We really embraced the Western style,” says Kelly. “After the last couple of years, people need to be taken somewhere else, and that’s what we’ve done. It’s a cracking night at the theatre.”

Stornoway, Quebec tours Scotland in April, including Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 8 Apr and Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 13-15 Apr

— 40 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Theatre
As ‘Gaelic Western’ Stornoway, Quebec prepares to tour the country, we meet playwright Calum L. MacLeòid and director Muireann Kelly
Photo: Rhona Dougall Photo: Rhona Dougall Image: Laurence Winram Rehearsal Images. Sam James Smith and MJ Deans Rehearsal Images. Elspeth Turner and Daibhidh Walker
“The language isn’t something to be afraid of.
So much of what we communicate isn’t just through language”
Muireann Kelly

Fife Alive

We take a look at just some of what Fife has to offer in the coming spring and summer months to help you plan that idyllic day trip or weekend getaway

Words: Tallah Brash

The spring and summer months are always a delight in Scotland; the days are longer, owers are in full bloom and the weather is – hopes not to jinx it – *usually* warmer, making for the perfect time to visit the Kingdom of Fife. In these warmer months, Fife is alive with all manner of forest trails, funfairs, markets and festivals, with a glut of picturesque seasides, harbours and artists studios all waiting to be explored with family and friends; it means that idyllic day trip or weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s major cities could be just around the corner.

Launched in 2021, the Falkland Estate’s Trail of Thought continues through until 1 June. A former place of rest and recreation for Kings and Queens, the Trail of Thought will allow you to explore these unique grounds via beautiful typographical carvings, commissioned by Fife Contemporary and designed by artists to encourage mindfulness, making for a relaxing morning or afternoon out. For more information about the trail and the Estate head to

A short 25-minute drive from the Falkland Estate, if thrills and spills are more your speed, from 19 to 24 April be sure to check out the Kirkcaldy Links Market. Don’t be fooled by this rather conservative name, as this mile-long funfair – the longest in Europe by the way – will see the Kirkcaldy Waterfront transformed into Scotland’s very own Coney Island, with over 30 adult rides, over 70 kids rides, an abundance of mouth-watering street food and, we’re told, A LOT of candy oss.

The following week, on the Bank Holiday weekend (29 Apr-1 May) art fans should seek out Open Studios North Fife, a weekend where you can step inside artist workspaces and see their creative practices up close and personal. There’ll be digital demonstrations taking place too, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and buy yourself some new art to display proudly in your own home. From Auchtermuchty to Newport-on-Tay, the open studios weekend takes place across several locations each day from 10am-5pm. Find maps featuring artist studio locations at openstudios

Further into the summer, another one for the art lovers’ diary is Largo Arts Week. Taking place at various locations in Largo over the course of ten days, from 15 to 23 July enjoy exploring artist studio spaces, this time combined with a whole host of music, poetry, talks, family and pop-up events. Past events have featured the likes of Phill Jupitus and Rab Noakes, so you know you’re in for a treat.

Kicking o the month of June, the rst of many a Fife festival gets underway with the Anstruther Harbour Festival. A highlight of Fife’s gorgeous East Neuk, Anstruther is perhaps most famous for the Anstruther Fish Bar where you can get the catch of the day served on a bed of perfectly cooked chips, while a few doors along you’ll nd the trendy Aeble cider shop. From 2 to 4 June, the harbour comes to life with food and craft stalls from local traders, street performers, a classic sailboat muster, specialist entertainment for kids and a programme of live music covering everything from the more traditional to the quirky Red Hot Chilli Pipers, not to be confused with the LA rock band with a similar name.

Staying in the East Neuk, at the end of the month, from 29 June to 2 July the East Neuk Festival returns for its 18th outing with a lineup of world class musicians traversing jazz, traditional and classical. Taking over venues like St Monans Kirk, Crail Parish Church, Kilrenny Parish Church and Holy Trinity St Andrews, you’re sure to have an almost religious experience as you watch the likes of award-winning Spanish accordionist Sofía Ros, South Korean classical pianist Yeol Eum Son or the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Rounding out Fife’s summer festival programme, Aberdour on the north shore of the Firth of Forth welcomes the Aberdour Festival. Taking place from 28 July to 6 August, this family friendly festival has something for all ages and all tastes, with ten days of activities, workshops, live music and comedy. And of course, the festival wouldn’t be complete without the annual beach day and raft race as well as the world famous seven-mile Donkey Brae Run (30 Jul), which starts and ends at the festival’s village market.

To find more information about what’s on in Fife visit

— 41 — THE SKINNY April 2023 Advertising feature
Kirkcaldy Links Market East Neuk Festival

Aim High

For eleven years now, Hawkchild DIY has offered up some of the most unorthodox and musically subversive artists in Scotland’s clubs. His roster of bookings includes Yung Lean, Kamixlo, Malibu, Oli XL, Doss, Bladee, and Casual Gabberz

Hashim Ali, also known by his night’s name Hawkchild DIY, has been a mysterious yet consistent force within Scottish nightlife for eleven years. He first hosted gigs at the age of 15, at The 13th Note in Glasgow. Hashim laughs as he explains: “The staff thought I was a lot older than 15 at the time, due to the genre of music I was putting on.” He notes how his journey into electronic music wasn’t exactly conventional. “I kind of started with noise and power electronics, so I ended up working my way backwards in electronic music. For me, I ended up listening to house music at 21, rather than much earlier like a lot of people, I feel that’s what maybe has made [my nights] a bit off-piste compared to a lot of others.”

After having a few successful gigs during this earlier part of his promoting experience, Hashim remarks how he didn’t necessarily make the most of the opportunities in front of him mainly due to his age – a lot of these early punk artists would later go on to have successful careers. However, for him putting on punk gigs became slightly stale; the scene had changed for Hashim, and he felt his gigs weren’t going anywhere. In Hashim’s sixth year of high school, he was really into artists like Lil Bean and Lil Ugly Mane. Hashim states, “it was the early days of Soundcloud rap, unchartered territory for producers and rappers in 2012/13.

“In the summer of 2013, I came across Yung Lean and the Swedish cohort. I got on well with their manager Emilio Fagone [co-founder of Year 0001], and we spoke about doing a Glasgow show with Yung Lean – this was not long before he first went viral with Kyoto in December 2013. I just knew I had to book him fast after that. I quickly messaged Emilio after this and locked in the Glasgow date, this was a part of Yung Lean’s first tour. I was 18 at the time and they were roughly the same age, it was surreal. Ever since then, we’ve kept in touch. A relationship has been built with those guys in Sweden and has been reinforced

since then. Ultimately this led me to go down a load of different paths since then, like meeting Dark0, MissingNo and Kamixlo and bringing them up to Glasgow at The Art School. I suppose it was like one network which we all knew each other from.”

Hashim’s luck of always being ahead of the curve with trends for artists who are about to make it big seems to be a recurring theme. Being involved with the early bookings of Drain Gang members in Scotland, eventually led him to meet many other alternative artists, propelling him to produce bi er parties – arguably with festival-sized lineups. Hashim increasingly had been entrusted with booking lineups at the Art School in Glasgow after an array of sell-out shows, including another appearance from Yung Lean. Eventually, this led to Evian Christ and Trance Party at the Art School and SWG3. Trance Party, like Hawkchild DIY, offers a compelling experience of understanding UK club culture; with a twist of satire. Increasingly the night (now mainly based in London) is at the forefront of bookings while preserving clubbing as a ridiculous phenomenon, one which promoters can often take too seriously – it is just people in a club dancing, after all. An evening at Hawkchild DIY and Trance Party bypasses egos and presents euphoria – people who are just in a club dancing and are open to music regardless of how weird the genre or song is.

Like a lot of promoters, Hashim hit a crossroads during the pandemic; he assumed his best years had passed him, and that the artists he had brought to Glasgow wouldn’t appeal to a new generation of clubbers. “I decided to go down swinging and put on my first show since summer 2019 – Mechatok + Malibu. It went well, I thought there’s been a huge appetite shift, this music isn’t obscure anymore. There’s been a generation of kids that have completely missed out on clubs, so their main foray is still up for grabs. A lot of the stuff I had pushed previously like Drain Gang seemed huge with the younger generation.”

During Hashim’s despair over whether he’d be able to put nights on again after 2020, he created the Hawkchild DIY Instagram as an archival tool of his previous gigs. This resulted in a

dialogue between him and previous attendees of his nights, leading him to create a Discord.

“There’s not a space where you can discuss things like this anymore, RA got rid of its comment section, and it left a gap for people to chat online. I just created the Discord as a filler for this, some sort of forum replacement, where people can vent about music and make it light-hearted. I didn’t expect so many people to join. It’s nice, it also allows other promoters and artists to promote. My current successful nights wouldn’t be without Discord – it’s spread the night to other people.”

— 43 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Clubs
t: hawkchild i: Photo: Euan Pearce Hawkchild, Bala Club ,Yung Lean, Sad Boys, 2016

Super Gran

A Filipino screenwriter starts to live out her unproduced screenplay in the inventive comedy Leonor Will Never Die. Director Martika Ramirez Escobar tells us about her love of action films and her desire to put an older woman in this macho world

Words: Ben Nicholson

“Ithink my relationship with cinema started from television,” explains Martika Ramirez Escobar, the director of the fantastic and somewhat fantastical Leonor Will Never Die. The film centres on a retired screenwriter who becomes a character in one of her own scripts after she’s struck on the head by a falling TV set. “Of course, I saw more films on the television than in the cinema – it’s the most accessible object for us to see other worlds on a screen.” It was via the communal act of gathering in front of the television that Escobar became acquainted with the genre that would eventually be explored, exploded and parodied in her inventive debut feature. “In the Philippines, it’s a thing to spend your afternoons with your whole household in front of a TV,” she explains, “watching a replay of an action film. We’ve seen so many of these, it’s ingrained in our minds and souls.”

Leonor Will Never Die follows the ageing Leonor (Sheila Francisco) as she nostalgically watches the violent action spectacles she used to help write – then she’s knocked unconscious. While in a coma, she enters the world of her unproduced screenplay Return of the Owl. “One part of the film is an observation of how the Filipinos are obsessed with the action genre,” says Escobar, “Growing up, our president was a former action star; he didn’t have a background in law and governance, but he still got elected. Even in our last elections, our leading senator was an action star. So, it’s a reflection on that.” The inspirations that Escobar drew upon when writing and making the film were varied, though. “Another part is an existential crisis: about what to do after college and also this idea of how we write our lives. It’s also a collection of traits – or people – I truly loved in life, put together in one film. There’s my grandma, my family, my friends, the joy of making a film. In a way, it’s quite personal.

“At the very beginning,” Escobar elaborates, “I knew I wanted to make a film about a grandmother. There’s something about my grandmother that I couldn’t understand: she’s the type of person who is just so positive – she sees so much beauty in the world that I find sick and sad. I wanted to try to understand the wisdom coming from a grandmother. Of course, by making an older character, you have to try to just understand that – by doing research, talking to people, talking to my grandma.”

The result of this consideration is evident on-screen. As well as presenting instances of generational tension, the film attempts to present its protagonist’s perspective and interior life, particularly through her genre-inflected dream. “I think I changed as a person in the eight years of making this film," says Escobar. " When I was 21, all I wanted was to make an action star grandma

– for the gimmick, for the excitement of seeing a character you don’t see often. Through the years, as I grew older, and a bit wiser, I began to wonder: why am I invested in making a film with a grandma as an action star? There came a moment of clarity; I wanted to see how a woman engages with a macho world. Also, I wanted to explore how a woman can solve problems, not through violence, but through love and tenderness and communication.”

Change seems to have been an integral part of the journey of making the film. Where Escobar’s original vision centred on an unlikely heroine, and the thrill of transporting a character to another world, it took on a deeper meaning regarding connection and the ability of art to recreate the world. The film’s final 15 minutes, in which the boundaries between fantasy and reality well and truly break down, were not originally planned at all. “It came as the result of a crisis,” Escobar recalls. “My editor and I were seated in the editing room, and I’d called picture lock already. We were like, ‘Is this it?’ Then, my producer called and said we don’t have an ending! We were happy with it, so something was clearly wrong. So, I just asked him to record the screen of Adobe Premiere [featuring the film’s editing timeline]. He eventually added it in to the film.

“It became this highlight of the experience,” she explains.

“Suddenly eight years of work fits in this tiny timeline on a screen. It really does start to look like a lifeline, with so many cuts, and layers, and people manipulating it as you’re living it.”

Somehow this accident of happenstance came to encompass much of what the film was exploring. “The timeline of the film is being revised, or rewritten, or remade. So, it’s very similar to how we operate as people. I think we all make decisions based on what we think is the next best decision.”

Leonor Will Never Die is released 7 Apr by Conic

— 44 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Film
“I wanted to see how a woman engages with a macho world”
Martika Ramirez Escobar

All You Need is Løve

French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve is back with the delicate, heartbreaking slice-of-life drama One Fine Morning

Words: Josh Slater-Williams

After a metatextual excursion with Bergman Island, writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve takes a more conventional approach with her latest feature, One Fine Morning, which sees great the French filmmaker very much back in the mode of earlier works like Goodbye First Love and Things to Come.

In the film, Hansen-Løve channels her experience of losing her father to a neurodegenerative disease in the early days of the pandemic, turning her personal tragedy into a masterful, humanist drama. Her father’s surrogate is university professor Georg (Pascal Gre ory), who has Benson’s syndrome, a degenerative condition robbing him of his sight and memory. Léa Seydoux is fantastic as Georg’s daughter Sandra, a widowed single mother to eight-year-old Linn (Camille Leban Martins). As her father’s condition worsens, she has to secure him a place at a nursing home that will afford him dignity but is also affordable on his limited pension, while also attempting to salvage his immense personal library. During all this, she reencounters an old friend, Clément (Melvil Poupaud), with whom she begins having an affair.

Ahead of One Fine Morning’s UK cinema release, The Skinny caught up with Hansen-Løve on the festival circuit to discuss this film, shooting on celluloid, and trying to make audiences forget they’re watching a movie.

Certain signifiers in One Fine Morning – such as the daughter wanting to see Frozen 2 at the cinema – seem to place the narrative in 2019 specifically. Is that a reflection of when the autobiographical elements happened for you, or a device to get away from having to portray the pandemic in the background?

It had not happened yet when I wrote the film. So far, the only thing the pandemic inspires in me is the desire to turn to period films, to not have to show the world of today. There’s nothing I find uglier than filming people wearing masks. I just can’t do it. I know some directors made films they’d written during the pandemic and embedded it in the film – and I admire them, in a way, for that. I couldn’t. For me, the desire of making films has to do with the desire of filming faces.

Do you think sticking with period pieces might make it easier to ensure 35mm film in the budget?

Producers always find a good reason to convince you to not shoot on 35mm. I think I will always have these discussions with them, trying to

convince them it makes sense for that film. And that’s okay with me. I actually understand why they would think it makes sense to film digital. It’s a little bit cheaper and we have to save money when we make films. But for me, working with 35mm is an extension of my language. I believe it creates a softness and poetry in the world it films. I find it quite hard to not use it. I didn’t use it for Eden, but for the rest of my work, I’d rather be using film. [Ingmar] Bergman used digital at the end of his life, but he’d filmed about 60 films on 35mm. So, for him, digital was experimentation. He’d gone beyond what he could do with 35mm. But I still want to explore all the possibilities of that medium.

When it comes to the progression of time in your films, it seems like so many different elements of life are colliding with one another. Could you speak about the editing for this particular film? We always try to edit in a way where it feels like you enter a scene that’s already begun, and when you leave, it’ll continue. Not only because it brings some rhythm and lightness, but it actually has to do with what I’m trying to do with films. All my films are a quest for life. They’re trying to give a

feeling of life versus a feeling of cinema.

I think some directors like to create an atmosphere where audiences feel they are in front of the film. And why not, it’s just a different relationship to cinema. But I’ve always tried to make films where people tend to forget they are in front of a film. The illusion I want to create is that they’re in front of life, and that life is bi er than cinema.

Transmitting a feeling of life really defines a lot of my choices – stylistically speaking, when I write, but I also always look for a certain transparency of acting. I never try to get performances so spectacular that people will notice it. I’m trying to get performances that no one will notice; that will be transparent. It’s the same with the editing. I like to edit in a way where you forget it’s edited. It’s just flowing. One Fine Morning is released 14 Apr by MUBI

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“All my films are a quest for life”
Mia Hansen-Løve

Teenage Kicks

We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor delivers a knockout with her debut feature film Polite Society, a riotously funny story of sisterly love featuring a heady blend of teen-girl hijinks, heist caper shenanigans and wuxia-style showdowns

Words: Anahit Behrooz

The British-South Asian diaspora film has been many things over the years. Coming-ofage tale, in the likes of Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham and Blinded by the Light Queer romance, in Stephen Frears’ anti-Thatcherite fable My Beautiful Launderette. Unnerving and dream-punctured illness drama, in Bassam Tariq’s recent and remarkable Mogul Mowgli. Yet a deliriously chaotic heist flick, with tasting notes of Western, wuxia, and Regency marriage plot for added depth, and hilarity, hasn’t quite been on the menu until now. Enter: Polite Society.

This, the debut directorial feature from British-Pakistani filmmaker Nida Manzoor, is a film that – quite literally – has it all, playing with multiple ridiculous genre conventions and ampedup action sequences to tell the intimate story of two sisters, Ria and Lena, as the former determines to rescue the latter in the wake of a whirlwind engagement to their community’s most eligible bachelor. “I always loved genre movies growing up,” Manzoor says, “but I never got to see myself in them. In a way, this film ended up being an ode to my younger self – like, here is a film that has all the things you love, and that you’ve always wanted to be part of.”

In Polite Society, this takes the form of teenaged Ria and her stuntwoman dreams finding expression in John Wu-like YouTube videos filmed by Lena, an arts school dropout and anti-damselin-distress; Bollywood dance numbers that disguise covert sting operations carried out by Lucy & Yak-clad schoolgirls; a Goldfinger-esque showdown between Ria and Lena’s future mother-inlaw where wax strips rather than lasers are the weapon du jour

“I knew I wanted it to be an action movie about two sisters, because there’s something about being a young woman and the pressures and expectations…” Manzoor says. “It’s these small, unseen violences, but juxtaposed [here] with big, bombastic fights.” The giddy, silly heights of the genre mash-up, it turns out, are a natural home for this kind of narrative: for the rush of searing, childlike ambition, the diasporic attention to authenticity and performance, the big bad threat of conformity and expectation.

It was a difficult balance to strike – narratively and tonally – between everything Manzoor wanted the film to contain. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy and the earnest emotions of Bollywood cinema, Manzoor carves out an aesthetic that is carefully calibrated for a rough-around-the-edges chaos, that would speak to the drive and rawness of Ria’s adolescent angst. “I wanted this to basically be the film that Ria makes if she were to retell

this story,” Manzoor says. “It had to be fizzing with energy and bursting at the seams. There is a more stylised, more controlled version of this film where everything’s very steady, whereas my DP and I looked at [making] the camera stylised but very punk. It’s not perfect, and it’s grainy.”

This punk sensibility in the face of both social and artistic convention feels deliciously fresh, although it is perhaps no surprise coming from Manzoor. Polite Society is her first film, but it arrives off the back of her critically revered 2021 television show We Are Lady Parts, which follows the adventures of Anjana Vasan’s Amina and four other British-Muslim women who form a punk band. The subversion and defiance of punk is an ethos that keeps drawing Manzoor in; an attraction that, for her, lies in its promise of bad behaviour.

“I think it’s just growing up in a culture where you have to be a good girl,” Manzoor says of her interest in punk sensibilities. “I was definitely someone who stru led against that and whenever I did something, like explore the arts, I felt I was transgressing. I felt a lot of shame around my choices, and a cathartic way of dealing with it was

to make art about women who stru le but who we also see win. I’m definitely drawn to wildness in women – there’s something unapologetic about taking up space.”

We Are Lady Parts and Polite Society share this desire to take up space, and a curiosity in the possibilities of spreading out and feeling your way through. For someone who found both rebellion and release in making art, it is perhaps no surprise that both Manzoor’s works feature young women caught in the act of creation – whether successfully or unsuccessfully. We put this to Manzoor:

“Oh my god, I hadn’t thought about it like that,” she laughs. “But of course. I don’t necessarily need Lena or Amina to be famous or get a record deal. It’s about the joy of being creative and it being okay, and not feeling like it’s wrong.” In this way, Manzoor shares a great deal of DNA with her protagonists. Her relationship with her debut film is one of my pure, unbridled joy, located in the mere act of having tried something new. “It was just me making my dream film,” she beams.

Polite Society is released 28 Apr by Universal

— 46 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Film
Nida Manzoor (L) on the set of Polite Society
— 47 — THE SKINNY April 2023

Murder She Wrote

We chat with Alice Slater about her fierce, grimy debut Death of a Bookseller and the legacy of true crime in fiction and beyond

Words: Eleanor Bally

Picture the ultimate true crime fan. Dark eyeliner, chipped nail polish and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Ted Bundy: the original heartstopper’. And then imagine her antithesis – someone who tries not to dwell on darkness. Someone in a neat, vintage dress perhaps. Someone who matches their handbag to their heels, and finds murder documentaries exploitative. Maybe someone for whom crime is not a form of entertainment, but a very real part of their life experience.

Now imagine these two characters thrown together as booksellers in a Walthamstow chain bookshop, and you have the set-up for Alice Slater’s debut novel Death of a Bookseller. Roach is antisocial and addicted to true crime podcasts. She loves the sanctuary of the bookshop but is less fond of the customers. Laura, on the other hand, loves to talk about books and is passionate about her favourite authors. But Laura has a dark secret, and when Roach starts to show an unhealthy interest in uncovering it, Laura fights with everything she has to keep it hidden,

Death of a Bookseller captures the push and pull of true crime. Its two main characters personify both the morbid fascination we have with hits

like Serial, Making a Murderer, Dahmer, Tiger King and My Favorite Murder, as well as the inevitable backlash against them. The recent boom in true crime books, television series and podcasts begs the question: why are we so drawn to stories of death and destruction? And is it ethical to continue engaging with them?

As we speak over Zoom on a cold, rainy night in March, Slater tells me that she immersed herself in true crime to write Death of a Bookseller Books like Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark about the recently apprehended Golden State Killer and Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe, which explores our cultural fascination with crime, crept into her everyday.

“I couldn’t have written Death of a Bookseller if I wasn’t a bit of a true crime fan,” she says, “but… look, you know when you’re really looking forward to Christmas? You’re buying all your Christmas booze, you’ve got all your amazing food and you’re just really jazzed for it? And then when the season hits, you gorge on it, and you just don’t even want to see another bottle of Baileys. I kind of feel like that right now.

“I had to read a lot of stuff, and listen to a lot of podcasts in a really short length of time, and I kind of overdosed on it. I feel now, on the other side of writing Death of a Bookseller, that I’m actually less interested in true crime than I ever have been.”

In writing the book, Slater journeyed all the way from Roach’s true crime obsession, to Laura’s distaste for the genre. And although Death of a Bookseller is in many ways a critique of the ways in which we consume true crime, it could be argued that the novel itself is part of the crime writing tradition. An exploration of the complexities of female friendship, and the way obsession can lead us to do unimaginable things, Death of a Bookseller has shades of Gillian Flynn and Lucy Foley; much like these authors, Slater drew on true crime to inform key sections of the novel. Indeed, some of Roach’s increasingly strange behaviours draw on the terrible deeds of the Manson Family.

“Roach actually refers to [her activities] as creepy crawling,” Slater says, “which is what the Manson Family used to do. They would break into people’s houses, move things around, just enough to unsettle them.” Roach’s behaviour has its

roots in stories told over and over again, by true crime fans everywhere. True crime is not just the subject matter of Death of a Bookseller, but woven into its very fabric.

Yet amidst the drama, crime and darkness, Death of a Bookseller is also an exploration of the art of bookselling. Roach and Laura work (with ever increasing animosity) in a stru ling branch of a chain bookshop. By turns dusty, awkward, boring, inspiring and joyful, this setting is painted with such detail because Slater herself was a Waterstones bookseller for six years.

“I love bookselling,” Slater says. “But I wasn’t just trying to write a love letter to bookselling, I also wanted to show the corporate side of it… I feel like independent bookshops tend to be the territory for fiction, so I just wanted to try something a little closer to my experience.”

The result is the perfect backdrop for Death of a Bookseller’s drama to play out. A tired, corporate bookshop, with a future as uncertain as those of Roach and Laura themselves.

Death of a Bookseller is out on 27 Apr with Hodder & Stoughton Slater’s upcoming book tour will take her to bookshops (large and small) all around the country, including Edinburgh’s own Portobello Books on Tue 2 May

— 48 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Books
Alice Slater Photo: Robin Christian

Glass Works

We meet the artist behind Pavilion Pavilion, Jack Brindley, who creates immaculate work in contemporary stained glass

Words: Stacey Hunter

Under the alias Pavilion Pavilion, Edinburgh’s Jack Brindley has been developing a unique aesthetic style in architectural glass exploring contemporary compositions in relation to architecture. Working with a variety of clients, and across a wide range of projects, Brindley is challenging preconceived ideas about stained glass with his modern and minimalist approach.

His distinctive style can be found in front doors and fan lights in a number of Glasgow tenements where his clients tend to be fellow artists and designers. Each work is a unique and individually commissioned piece. Two large permanent installations for David Dale Gallery demonstrate how stained glass can bring a rich decorative element to post-industrial spaces. In 2021 Pavilion Pavilion created a unique threshold for The Future of Home, a Local Heroes design exhibition at London Design Festival where two doors at the entrance to the gallery were installed with vivid blue and clear diagonal glass sections.

The growing public interest in contemporary stained glass is evident from the number of domestic commissions Pavilion Pavilion have produced, yet as a design discipline it remains largely understood as a heritage craft in many people’s eyes.

“I think if you were to ask most people if they can think of any examples of stained glass they admire, they might reference a religious or historic building but rarely pin an artist’s name to the work or be aware of contemporary examples. For a material that brings so much awe and interest it

seems strange that there aren’t more contemporary examples of art glass in buildings.”

Although glass as a material is ubiquitous in modern buildings, it could be argued that its decorative possibilities have been overlooked in many contemporary architectural projects – something that Pavilion Pavilion is well-placed to ameliorate.

“Glass has probably overtaken concrete in terms of its visual presence in buildings, so the glazing industry and its demands are high; yet I believe that it’s a hugely under-exploited territory in an artistic sense. It’s a big responsibility working with glass because it is the control of natural light, and how a building connects to the outside world. These aspects are hugely important and therefore need to be handled delicately. Not every window ought to be replaced with an artwork, but there are spaces that can be opened up in buildings that allow for an aesthetic proposition.”

The studio – which operates out of the award-winning rectangular cloisters of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop – has recently been working with architects to weave glasswork into the fabric of buildings at an early design stage.

“This is something that really excites me as it’s a great opportunity to bring scale and ambition to a work that is harder to find in traditional period properties. I’m currently working on new bonding techniques which allow for stained glass to be produced without traditional lead, and to embrace

contemporary demands on buildings such as double glazing, safety requirements, solar gain and sound-proofing. There is a fantastic opportunity for glass to tackle these demands whilst providing an exciting aesthetic counterpart.”

Brindley, when asked about what might be his dream commission or project, reveals that it is to collaborate with architects and artists on a pavilion or folly. “My stained glass work under the alias Pavilion Pavilion takes its inspiration from post-war architectural pavilions which were designed and built to host exhibitions or propose avant-garde ideas at world fairs. I’m fascinated by how these buildings attempt to bring architecture and the objects that they house into an equivalence. Architecture and art joining forces, making a ‘forward-looking’ proposition. I would love to explore these ideas through collaboration with architects and artists.”

Current works-in-progress are two large (over five metre) commissions for domestic buildings in Cambridge and Edinburgh and three exhibitions towards the end of 2024 at Union Gallery in London, Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh and a collaboration with Edinburgh-based stained glass artist Sax Shaw at Custom Lane which is being presented as a manifesto for art glass in the contemporary built environment.

@pavilionpavilion_ @localheroesdesign

— 49 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature Design
Pavilion Pavilion Jack Brindley Photo: Jack Brindley Image courtesy of the artist

Album of the Month

Jessie Ware — That! Feels Good!

Barely 20 seconds into the first track, the cork pops, and the disco ball drops. Across a funky bassline, Jessie Ware makes it abundantly clear that pleasure is her ambition here. Selfassured and in control, she sets the tone for the rest of That! Feels Good! as she brazenly declares: ‘Pleasure is a right!’ Later, she adds: ‘If you’re going to do it, do it well’. And as the bangers keep coming, it’s clear she’s doing that and then some.

Liberation and letting loose is the motto of Free Yourself and Pearls, co-written with Clarence Coffee Jr and Sarah Hudson (of Future Nostalgia fame). Free Yourself is pure disco delight while Pearls is nothing short of ecstatic: a sonic headrush of a song dipped in sugary syrup. The pace slows down for the chilled-out Hello Love, a breezy ode to unexpectedly bumping into love like an old friend on the street and completely surrendering to its consequent sensations. ‘Hello Love, what you doing round here, I didn’t expect to see you / I got both hands up, it feels so good to see you’, she sings while saxophones softly decorate the track.

By now, firmly in the album’s mid-section, the groove is relentless in its refusal to let up. A samba inflection invigorates on Begin Again, and

Find reviews for the below albums online at

against an orchestral backdrop Ware orders her lover to ‘give me something good that’s even better than it seems’. The exhilaration accelerates on Freak Me Now, an absolute stand-out on this disco odyssey. Featuring a euphoric refrain reminiscent of Raheem The Dream’s If You Ain’t Got No Money (popularly sampled on Fergie’s Glamorous), it fizzles before exploding into a ferocious call to move, move, just move.

Things cool down but never become uninteresting on Shake the Bottle where in cutting spoken verses Ware recounts a laundry list of lovers: ‘Benny wants what Benny gets, broken hearts and cigarettes / I really liked Jackson but he lived too far away / Eddy was romantic but he never, ever paid’.

Subdued sensuality informs the penultimate offering Lightning, before closer These Lips encapsulates everything this record is about – unabashed sexual expression dressed up and delivered with a delicious dose of disco. That! Feels Good! is a revved-up hedonistic joyride that extols and celebrates the sensual necessity of pleasure. Jessie is firmly in her lane here, and it’s a satisfying drive from start to finish. [Marco Marcelline]

— 51 — THE SKINNY Album of the Month April 2023 — Review
Feist Multitudes Out 14 Apr via Fiction Records Everything But the Girl Fuse Out 21 Apr via Buzzin’ Fly Records
Enter Shikari A Kiss for the Whole World Out 21 Apr via SO Recordings / Ambush Reality The National The First Two Pages of Frankenstein Out 28 Apr via 4AD
Yaeji With a Hammer Out 7 Apr via XL Recordings
April by EMI rrrr r Listen
Free Yourself, Pearls, Freak Me Now

Listen to: You Can Be Mean, Parking Lot

Indigo De Souza is NOT fucking around. The first half of All of This Will End hits with some serious force. The lyrics are forthright and clear, and the arrangements are stripped back to their grungiest essence. Wasting Your Time dispenses with synths altogether for Pantera levels of heavy, Time Back features some screaming children in the background and all of the first five barely scrape two minutes. It’s furious, righteous indignation that is electrifying to hear, while still managing to be weirdly catchy.

With the arrival of the title track, the back half slides into a mellower mood, allowing for a bit more hope; The Water is genuinely chirpy and earnest with some nice horns. The lyrical sharpness is still there, especially on absentee fatherbased Always, but there’s more reverb and layers to the arrangements now, shrouding the gapingwound lyrical concerns in a protective gauze.

Younger & Dumber closes the album in its most reflective point, a real ballad as De Souza considers the forces that have shaped her life up to this point. Like with the title track’s refrain, there’s no clear answer to be had, but acknowledging this feels like progress. [Lewis Wade]

After a seven-year break, we’re invited back into Daughter’s beautifully sombre world with Stereo Mind Game, a dazzling record that finds the trio slightly more optimistic, slightly more resolute, but defiantly themselves. The record’s sound is immediately familiar, sitting on an intersection of pretty, sad and hostile. They’ve opted for much of the same instrumentation: reverberating guitars, ticking percussion and dream-like synths, which, along with Elena Tonra’s tenderly melancholic vocals, create their distinctive, atmospheric sound.

Post Coal Prom Queen Music For First Contact self-released, 28 Apr rrrrr

Listen to: I See No Gods Up Here, Wheeling Through the Void

In Music For First Contact, Post Coal Prom Queen utilise instrumental through-lines to bring the narrative’s songs into alignment, such as saxophone, an operatic aria, even morse code, making for a more advanced concept album.

In its seven-minute lifespan, opener I See No Gods Up Here evolves through cycles of classical instruments, ethereal vocals and buzzy electronics, finalising in an event horizon of joint jazz and techno spectra. Wheeling Through the Void builds floaty composition with some truly zero-gravity vocal performances by Lily Higham and Stephanie Lamprea (the record’s resident soprano). Dichotomous tracks Free Radio Phobos and Daylight On Deimos argue whether we should accept the message from the stars and ascend to a cosmic ecosystem. On Deimos, we achieve harmony. Phobos posits an alternative fate, where mankind become the prey of interstellar predators.

The sound of Music For... juxtaposes the chilling emptiness of space, with the terrifying prospect of a galaxy bursting with life. Light years above their hip-hop heights, PCPQ’s ruminations on our extraterrestrial opportunities are just as prescient and visionary as their avant-garde capabilities. [Lewis Robertson]

From just a single listen of Billie Marten’s fourth record Drop Cherries, a hypnotic kind of self-reflection is forced upon a listener. Marten’s comforting vocals lead us through the intricate trail of a relationship, winding through turbulence and ending up in a singular moment encompassed by the crushing feelings of love.

Listen to: Dandelion, Future Lover,

But there’s more richness, more vitality, with the addition of choral backing vocals and string and brass ensembles. Elsewhere, glitchy voice notes from friendly voices overlay the music. The effect is that Daughter’s music sounds warmer, and a little less lonely.

That’s not to say it doesn’t bleed; at times we are enveloped by that signature despair as the music grapples with heartbreak, addiction and personal crises. As Tonra murmurs on Junkmail: ‘The pain never stops’. But Daughter’s rare power is in their ability to translate that pain into music and words that have the power to understand and console. More so than its predecessors, Stereo Mind Game faces that anguish head-on, and by doing so, finds resolution.


Listen to: Drop Cherries, Arrows, Acid

Drenched in a daydream hue, Marten’s story-based lyrics feel hazy, as if looking back at an old film. Opening track New Idea begins with a remedying hum, soon accompanied by agile guitar and a building string section. It sets the album’s tone and brings contemplation to the forefront. Transitioning into God Above, the sweetness of love is felt.Later, tracks such as Devil Swim and Arrows provide deeper contemplation, exploring internal conflict caused by the whirlwind of emotions associated with love. While the final title track utilises a single guitar track to express the simplicity of loving another.

With Drop Cherries Billie Marten has beautifully brought together a collection of intimate feelings, thoughts and sentiments, transforming them into introspective songs that are hauntingly relatable. The feelings experienced after listening to Drop Cherries are palpable, all thanks to the profound and adept musicality of Billie Marten. [Abbie Aitken]

— 52 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review
Indigo De Souza All of This Will End Saddle Creek, 28 Apr rrrrr Daughter Stereo Mind Game 4AD, 7 Apr rrrrr To Rage Billie Marten Drop Cherries Fiction Records, 7 Apr rrrrr Tooth


The Worm Lucky Number, 7 Apr rrrrr

Listen to: Past Life (Sinnerman’s Song), Days, Saddest Worm Ever

The Worm is the latest development in London art-rock outfit HMLTD’s descent into complete musical madness. This ambitious nine-track concept album opens with the sinister plainchant of Worm’s Dream, setting the precedent by transporting the listener to a grotty medieval England terrorised by an almighty, transcendental being – The Worm.

The Worm puts the practical skills of the band to the test. Combining menacing piano slams with brooding brass build-ups; archaic string work with maniacal Monty Python-inspired voiceovers; prophetic choirs with overzealous orchestral blasts, HMLTD craft a compelling pox-ridden world of their own and leave just enough room for some bewitching ballads and ethereal laments amongst the chaos.

Perhaps the most fascinating track on the album, Past Life (Sinnerman’s Song) borrows the iconic piano motif from Nina Simone’s Sinnerman to create an eclectic HMLTD-ified version of the High Priestess of Soul’s classic tune which fits in surprisingly well with their outlandish lyrical narrative. And as the optimistic final track Lay Me Down peters into the distance, we are left to ponder: What is the worm? Who is the worm? Am I the worm? Are you? [Jack Faulds]

In a post-IDLES and Sleaford Mods landscape, the UK alternative music scene has witnessed an explosion in post-punk acts. In some cases, there has even been a crossover with grime and hip-hop genres of Britain, set against a backdrop of increasingly oppressive Tory austerity and authoritative language, which has created a fascinating dichotomy.

Tim Hecker No Highs kranky, 7 Apr rrrrr

Listen to: Total Garbage, Monotony II, Sense Suppression

Despite dealing in the abstractions of drone, ambient and minimal noise, Tim Hecker has always roamed enough to create a distinct identity for each of his albums, be it the weightless desolation of Ravedeath, 1972 or the ecclesiastically piercing Virgins. However, on No Highs, this focus goes lacking.

The album wilfully sinks into an aimlessness of its own design in an attempt to evoke the era in which we live. Its blown out drones, and rickety synth lines evoke dead horizons and husk cityscapes. However, unusually for Hecker, this is very well trodden ground, and the tracks do little to stand apart from those that have mined this vein before him, including his own earlier work. Where it attempts to hover and glower ominously it often merely sits sulking.

This is Tim Hecker though so there are still moments of tremendous beauty to be found. The swoops of scraped strings that wrench across Total Garbage or Colin Stetson’s undulating saxophone on Monotony II, giving a sense of movement and physicality. When it aims for the ecstatic it works well, but it doesn’t colour its muted periods with anything like the precision, the uneasy vistas it is aiming for never quite forming. [Joe Creely]

Benefits Nails Invada Records, 21 Apr rrrrr

Listen to: Warhorse, Shit Britain

Teeside’s Benefits sit in between the British punk and hip-hop scenes, gleefully jumping across genres to present their political polemics on the country’s state. Led by Kingsley Hall’s unashamedly North East accented expositions, the debut album Nails is a ten-track exploration into the anger and desperation the starving British working classes feel. This anger is literal and palpable through the album’s noisier moments, such as Empire or Meat Teeth, reminiscent of Death Grips. Lead single Warhorse meanwhile displays the band’s punk roots, while Flag is perhaps the most pointed critique of Britain.

Unfortunately, Nails smashes you over the head with a rage that quickly becomes exhausting. Benefits are at their best when they take a more considered and subtle approach, such as on Shit Britain or Mindset, invoking slowthai or Kae Tempest. Finale Council Rust is a moving conclusion with sentimental string samples, yet it doesn’t feel earned. [Adam Turner-Heffer]

Nabihah Iqbal DREAMER Ninja Tune, 28 Apr rrrrr

Listen to: This World Couldn’t See Us, Sky River

DREAMER opens unconventionally, with near seven-minute self-described ‘palate cleanser’ In Light initiating us into Iqbal’s ambient dreamscapes. It’s an interesting start into the artist’s second album, where introspection, spirituality and naturistic elements converge. While Iqbal’s critically acclaimed debut Weighing of the Heart’s use of space and starkness felt purposeful, on DREAMER this is somewhat lost.

However, the album shines at points where Iqbal combines ethereality with grit. On standout track Sky River, trance beats dominate while synths pierce from above, while on Closer Lover percussive elements lead to a satisfying crescendo. Lead single This World Couldn’t See Us is a grippingly futuristic take on the ‘us against the world’ trope, with Iqbal singing ‘Swollen river / Swollen eyes’ with arresting urgency.

At its high points, DREAMER evokes liminal, otherworldly space, later finding us amid fog-drenched dancefloors, beats pounding. Yet, despite a relatively concise tracklist of ten songs, at points the 45-minute runtime seems to drag on, giving the album a sense of heaviness. Not dissimilar ambient sounds wash into one another – overall perhaps a more pared-down curation could better highlight the album’s strengths.

— 53 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Albums

Music Now

This month in Scottish music makes the perfect prelude to summer. Not only do April’s upbeat releases capture the changing of the seasons, but they’ll whet your appetite for a feast of festivals later this year

Words: Lewis Robertson

March brought a run of releases that we didn’t find out about in time for last month’s round-up: the chic New Hair New Me by Eyes of Others is worth taking a look at; The Big Day dropped Bad Things, which was all very good; we rediscovered Nani’s low-fi heights in Search Bar, and we were delighted by acoustic anthems, such as Birthright by Finn Brodie and Talk & Talk by The Romantidote. There were also great new noises from several artists we’ve covered in the past, including Billy Got Waves, Fourth Daughter, MALKA, Iona Zajac, Health and Beauty, and DAHLIA as well as a trio of artists playing our stage at Kelburn this summer: comfort, Psweatpants and KLEO

As for April? Well, this time last year our spotlight was on Brooke Combe, who had secured her up-and-coming status through singles alone, all before her festival run saw her light up every corner of the country, and, most recently, SXSW 2023. Now, she gives us Black Is the New Gold (21 Apr), a mixtape jewelled with the best picks of the artist’s discography so far, as well as some unreleased delights.

Are You With Me? kicks off the record, reintroducing Combe to loyal fans while converting newcomers to her distinct style. Talkin’ Bout Heartaches marries a busy band – piano, percussion, guitar – to the young singer’s talents. Black Is the New Gold is as rich as it sounds, with Combe’s precocious writings on race and identity bolstered by bluesy bass and illuminated with backing vocals. By the time you hear the lustre in her voice on Why’d You Say You Love Me?, you’ll be keen to get your hands on a ticket for this summer’s TRNSMT festival to see Edinburgh’s preeminent soul singer.

We heart Hairband and since their Valentine’s Day single Unconscious Rivals, we’ve been gearing up for full album Under the Plow (21 Apr) to showcase the five-piece’s full complexity and character. The technical competency is most evident via the trio of guitars, but their intricate, jazzy harmonies are layered with shared vocal parts for a cool, conversational feel. The quintet come from other projects (Spinning Coin, Breakfast Muff, The Yawns, to name a few), giving their expertise a diverse background. Members hail from Glasgow, Dundee, Toronto, and since Rachel Taylor relocated to Berlin, the underground supergroup are officially long-distance. Hairband’s multi-city nature is expanded upon in Paris and How Far, but the brilliant, lively sound throughout could only be the product of a truly cosmopolitan collective.

April showers got you down? Black Bay by Silver Moth (21 Apr) catches that bleak feeling, but builds into something quite beautiful. The noise-rock seven-piece features Mogwai’s Stuart

Braithwaite and his wife Elisabeth Elektra, and like the band’s namesake, their sound is nocturnal, fleeting through the dark in search of light. Gaelic Psalms is an otherworldly soliloquy on kelpies and mystics, whereas Hello Doom is a 15-minute monolith, with distorted guitars and primal drumbeats gathering in a moving mass. Perfect listening for springtime rejuvenation.

Enchantments keep coming, with Katherine, the debut album by Glasgow-born Neev, arriving on the 28th. It’s crushingly soothing, like her 2021 EP Currants, but includes livelier compositions without sacrificing any intimacy. A pastoral first-half takes you down a garden path, before a spoken word intertitle, You Shouldn’t Hate Your Teeth, navigates listeners to Built Your Body, an affectionate anthem of body positivity, highlighting the record’s ambitious topic of identity. Neev advances in songwriting without abandoning her bedroom-indie background – an electric guitar even joins the crescendo of Green, without overpowering her unplu ed vibe.

On the same day, Glasgow duo Casual Worker deliver sophomore EP Model Number. Modular synthesisers, moody basslines, and the rich vocals of Eve King all contribute to the coldwave climate of this record. The triptych of tracks is effortlessly 80s, even damning a coming dystopia of cyber-mondays, one where you are ‘destined to be digital’. Casual Worker are joining us at Kelburn Garden Party 2023, so give Model Number a listen to prepare for a mesmerising set.

There’s still tons to come this month – metal trio healthyliving drop Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief (7 Apr). Its members bring their influences from previous ventures, including Ashenspire and Falloch, resulting in a full-blooded debut album, providing speed and power to its observations of everyday life. Post Coal Prom Queen release Music For First Contact (28 Apr), enlisting an array of classical sounds, including an operatic soprano, to punctuate their pontifications on extraterrestrial life (read our full review on p52).

Experimental instrumentalists The Ligeti Quartet collaborate with our own Anna Meredith, reconstructing her iconic compositions in their unique, frenetic playstyle. Nuc arrives on 14 April, challenging any old-school misgivings you might have about how stuffy strings can be, as it sits somewhere between avant-garde disco and ambient mania. Man Up by Big Girl’s Blouse is a DIY, alt-rock EP out 7 April, with charming chants and punky riffs aplenty. The latest EP from Bemz, Nova’s Dad releases on 5 April, and other shorter bites include Rat King by TEOSE (14 Apr), Lungs by Cortnë (14 Apr), Laces by The Kidney Flowers (14 Apr) and Before by Swiss Portrait (19 Apr).

— 54 — THE SKINNY Local Music April 2023 –Review
Brooke Combe Hairband Neev Photo: Jake Finnigan Photo: Alisha Sha Photo: Simon Dawson
— 55 — THE SKINNY April 2023
— 56 — THE SKINNY April 2023

Film of the Month — One Fine Morning

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve

Starring: Léa Seydoux, Melvil Poupaud, Pascal Gre ory


Released 14 April by MUBI

Certificate 15

Stories of second chances, new beginnings, and one last shot at something – love, family, fame, legacy – are abundant in cinema. In many ways, One Fine Morning, the latest from writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve, fits this mould.

Sandra Kinsler (Léa Seydoux) fills many roles in her modern Parisian life: working as a translator; parenting her spirited daughter Linn (Camille Leban Martins) alone, her partner having died five years ago in circumstances not fully explained; and caring for her elderly father Georg (Pascal Gre ory), a former philosophy professor, who is losing neurological and physical functions through a degenerative disease. Her life sees two key changes early in the film: Georg’s ability to live alone ends, and former acquaintance and possible former flame Clément (Melvil Poupaud) re-enters her life.

One Fine Morning unfolds from this junction with an unforced rhythm and naturalism. The film’s effervescent true-to-life dialogue (especially between Sandra and Linn) and sun-dappled look are so lovingly, impeccably constructed that the life bursting from each frame is packed with possibilities, even in the most mundane interactions and activities. Hansen-Løve, however, does not let this romance (in all senses of the word) go unchallenged, especially when it comes to choices and crossroads Sandra – and the audience – expect to be definitive, revelatory, and impactful. As in life, these moments are poignantly underplayed; neither the viewers nor Sandra know the magnitude of each change until far later. Seydoux’s luminous presence holds the meandering plot together, inviting us into Sandra’s world and making no apologies for her petty annoyances or reluctant generosity.

In the Parisian way, Sandra and Clément become lovers almost immediately. As a formerly bereaved parent and a still-married man, the affair’s bumps are apparent but never forced. The choices and life ahead of each of them contrast with Georg’s decline, as he moves from facility to facility in the family’s search for appropriate care and dignity. Sandra’s acerbic mother (Nicole Garcia) is more present in Georg’s life than his current partner Leïla (Fejria Deliba), who has an unspecified health condition which makes it impossible for her to care for him. This drawing, by necessity, of the divorced family back together in these last days (figuratively speaking – not even the doctors know how fast Georg’s condition will kill him) strikingly highlights the lie of second chances.

Sandra, Clément, and Linn still have time to choose their future, but a gentle, sombre reminder of existing ties lends melancholy to what could be a bog-standard middle-class tale of adultery.

The title One Fine Morning is taken from Sandra’s exploration through her father’s diaries as she seeks to understand him, finding his own attempts to do the same within the pages. These notes and scribblings draw on his favourite writers – Kafka, Mann, Hegel – to make sense of his changing condition. Hansen-Løve lets these reflections land outside the linear time of the film, finding breathing space for Sandra to process her journey as the belief in a controlled, controllable life – and its myriad choices – becomes increasingly elusive. And yet, among this growing nihilism and acceptance, love remains the only thing that makes a difference. [Carmen Paddock]

— 57 — THE SKINNY Film of the Month April 2023 — Review

Scotland on Screen: Julia Parks

Julia Parks is the most recent artist to take part in Alchemy Film & Arts’ The Teviot, the Flag and the Rich, Rich Soil residency – she enjoyed it so much she’s moved to Hawick permanently. She talks us through the work

Filmography (selected): Seaweed (2022), DESIG / DESIRE (2022), HAAF (2020), Workington Red (2020), Solway Steel and Cyclamen (2019), The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk (2019), Tommy Armstrong: the pitman poet (2018), Oslo Havn (2018), Solway Film (2016), Glimpse from the Garden (2014), Journey Film (2014), Jackfruit (2012)


Film festivals can sometimes feel airdropped into their surroundings. No such charge could be laid at the feet of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. Since 2010, it has been hosting a celebration of experimental film in Hawick, and with every edition, it feels more integrated with its community. As well as the festival, which has become a favourite for UK and international experimental filmmakers, Alchemy concerns itself with year-round community projects that have turned this small town in the Scottish Borders into a creative hub.

One such project is The Teviot, the Flag and the Rich, Rich Soil, a programme of artist residencies concerned with creating work about Hawick and the wider region. West Cumbrian artist Julia Parks is the latest to complete this residency, and it’s fair to say it went well. After six months of filming in the town, Parks moved there permanently.

“It’s great, Hawick,” Parks beams when she speaks to us on Zoom “It’s got such a nice sense of community and we’ve got loads of friends here. I’ve never lived somewhere like that before, so I guess that’s an interesting outcome from the project.”

When we speak to Parks, she’s applying finishing touches to the four films she made during the residency, which will have their world premiere at Alchemy this month. The longest and richest is The Wool Aliens, a poetic documentary exploring the ‘alien’ flora that has flourished on riverbanks throughout the Borders.

The idea sprang from a conversation with Rachael Disbury, Alchemy’s co-director. “Rachel mentioned this story of [non-native] seeds moving down the rivers in the Borders thanks to the washing of imported wool, but she wasn’t sure whether it was true,” recalls Parks. “I’ve always been interested in that relationship between industry and nature, so that these foreign seeds were coming in from the wool mills just felt too good to be true.”

The film blends archive, interviews and Parks’ evocative 16mm film footage. We learn about Ida Hayward, the woman who, in the early 20th century, was among the first to identify the strange new species that had cropped up on the banks of the River Tweed and the Gala Water. In the modern-day, a man in a hazmat suit chops down 15ft stalks of Giant Hogweed and a woman gathers up armfuls of the pervasive Pirri Pirri plant. But the film goes to lengths to demonstrate these ‘wool aliens’ have their uses, such as dyes or medicinal purposes.

“I guess I wanted to add a different perspective to the idea of these plants being problematic,” says Parks. “Obviously I filmed people who are trying to get rid of them, but there was also Luke, the botanist, who had a slightly different idea, telling me that over 50 per cent of the plants in Britain have been imported from elsewhere, and likewise, loads of our plants have been exported across the world.” You don’t have to look too hard to see a compelling analogy to the history of immigration in this country.

Parks’ second film, Tell Me About the Burryman, takes her to South Queensferry during the leadup to the Burryman’s Parade, a centuries-old custom in which a local man is covered from head to foot in greenish burrs (described as “nature’s velcro”) and then paraded through town. It’s a spectacle that’s part Midsommar, part The Last of Us “Originally I thought that this would be part of Wool Aliens because the Burryman looks like an alien,” she says. “But it ended up being such a lovely thing in its own right that it had to stand alone.”

All Flesh is Grass is the most expressionistic, and darkest, of the quartet. It takes the form of a series of scenes juxtaposing nature and industry, life and death. “This was all filmed to the backdrop of insanely hot weather and a serious drought in the Borders,” Parks explains. “On the radio, there were stories of sewage leaks into the Tweed, there were fires and there was so much roadkill on the roads. And in Hawick, flood defences were being built, these massive structures to protect the town from flooding. I think that just made me reflect on the interrelationship between people and animals, and the natural environment.”

These three films have an otherworldly quality, tapping into themes of migration, pagan ritual and climate crisis. The final work, Burnfoot Grows, filmed at Burnfoot Hub, a community centre and garden in Hawick, is a much more grounded celebration of community, made in collaboration with that community.

“I wasn’t like, ‘Right I’m coming here to film this and this and this,’” says Parks. “Joyce [Short, the Hub’s supervisor] would say, ‘All this is happening this week, do you want to film it? You can if you want, no pressure.’ So it was made with the people who work in the garden and a couple of the younger volunteers, Dion and Brandon, helped with the sound and to get some of the shots. So it was much more organic, very collaborative.”

Each film, shot on 16mm, is a beautiful piece of work in its own right, but taken together they’re a fascinating document of the culture and mores of this particular part of the world. Credit to Alchemy for not only programming some of the best experimental films in the UK, but also helping them get made.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Hawick, various venues, 27-30 Apr Parks' four film premiere on 29 Apr, Heart of Hawick, 7.30pm

— 58 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Scotland on Screen
All flesh is Grass
Interview: Jamie Dunn

Sick of Myself

Director: Kristoffer Borgli

Starring: Kristine Kujath Thorp, Eirik Sæther rrrrr

In constant competition with her egotistical artist boyfriend, Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) seeks status and sympathy by purposefully taking pills known to cause a severe skin disorder. It’s a dark comedy that rejects any form of sentimentality to examine our own self-obsession with shameless honesty.

Signe wants care, attention, and clout; through the clearly polished yet effortlessly natural script, we’re reminded that we want all this too. Whether she’s taking a selfie in a hospital gown or imagining her funeral mid-sex, Signe is horrifically relatable, albeit extreme. Thorp carries the character with a magnetism that has us unable to look away – which is, ironically, exactly what Signe wants. It’s compelling – disturbingly so.

The couple’s relationship is hilarious in its somehow seamless abrasion. Meanwhile, Signe’s fantasies are comically contrived, always offset by a quick cut back to reality, leaving us and Signe dripping with guilt and amusement at our own disgustingness. It’s obviously not a universal comedy; rather, it’s a precise one, tapping into a specific audience. The narcissism of youth, the contemporary art world, the quiet resentment of romantic partners. Under director Borgli’s lens, the somewhat surfacelevel symptoms of wider societal issues become all the funnier.

Towards the film’s end, the narrative arguably slips too far into something of a cautionary tale. However, overall, its unsentimental and uninhibited navigation of body horror is deeply thoughtful. Sick of Myself demands a critical watch; but it’s a force nonetheless. [Eilidh Akilade]

Released 21 Apr by Modern Films; certificate TBC

Polite Society

Director: Nida Manzoor

Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya rrrrr

Polite Society, the debut film from Nida Manzoor, is chockablock with teenage kicks – specifically the flying and spinning variety. This livewire action-comedy centres on the fierce bond between two sisters from a middle-class British-Pakistani family and spills over with visual invention. Think wooshing camera moves, over-the-top sound effects and breakneck edits that turn each scene into an Edgar Wright-style movie homage.

The film’s vitality seems to emanate from its central character, Ria (Kansara), a high-spirited teen with a martial arts obsession and an overactive imagination. She becomes convinced that her older sister, Lena, is in danger from her new boyfriend, Salim, a rich, slick-dick mummy’s boy. When Lena and Salim announce

their engagement, Ria sets out to break them up with the help of her goofy, loose-limbed best pals.

Polite Society is a laugh riot but it’s not without a political edge. Look past the wuxia-style combat and dorky teen banter and you’ll find themes of female oppression smuggled in. It’s there, for example, in the way Manzoor sharply deploys traits of femininity as weapons, with a pair of hair straighteners becoming a branding iron during one of the many smackdowns and a pre-wedding leg waxing session turning into a torture scene worthy of the Bond movies.

Leonor Will Never Die

Director: Martika Ramirez Escobar

Starring: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera, Rocky Salumbides


The phrase ‘love letter to cinema’ has been thrown around a lot recently, with both Babylon and The Fabelmans being marketed as odes to the magic of the movies. But where those films peered behind the velvet curtains of Hollywood to reveal the complicated truth, Leonor Will Never Die is a whole-hearted shrine to an altogether less glossy world of popular culture.

The film follows Leonor Reyes, a retired screenwriter who finds herself trapped in her own script, a grimy revenge flick, when she falls into a coma. Where Leonor’s waking life is a quiet, slow world of mundanities, director Martika Ramirez Escobar shoots the coma scenes in the style of a 1970s-era exploitation film, full of stylised camera movements, choppy editing and funk-influenced scores.

Unlike the simplistic pleasures of the genres it imitates, Leonor Will Never Die can be too clever for its own good; scenes such as Leonor predicting what her characters will say next emanate a Hollywood-esque smugness that can become grating. What saves the film is Escobar’s palpable love of genres that are often the subject of critics’ scorn. From the child selling bootle ed shoot-’emups to the woman who declares she would rather starve than stop watching soap operas, there is a palpable fondness for mocked mediums. Though Leonor Will Never Die sometimes threatens to implode underneath the weight of its metacommentary, its originality and earnestness make it endlessly charming. Like the movies it celebrates, it isn’t high art, but that just makes it all the more magical?

Released 7 Apr by Conic; certificate 15


Director: Makoto Shinkai

Starring: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura rrrrr

Makoto Shinkai’s films all share an immersive, ever-intoxicating visual grandeur. His vivid animation style and meticulous attention to detail draw the viewer into a colourful otherworldly place. In Suzume, as in much of the filmmaker’s work, this is both a blessing and a curse.

The film follows Suzume, a 17-year-old girl whose path crosses with Souta, a mysterious young man. Fascinated by his presence, she tries to chase him, but stumbles into a mysterious door in the middle of nowhere. She opens it and accidentally unleashes a series of earthquakes that endanger the population of Japan. From that moment Suzume embarks on a journey with Souta – who’s now inexplicably transformed into a broken three-le ed kids’ chair – to close the remaining open doors.

Polite Society can’t quite maintain its crackerjack energy, particularly in a wedding scene finale that throws a bit too much into its genre masala of action, comedy, sci-fi and heist movie. A few slu ish moments aside, though, this is a fizzy and deceptively sharp romp. [Jamie

Released 28 Apr by Universal; certificate TBC

Suzume is about earthquakes, not just literal ones, but also those felt internally during adolescence. Shinkai explores this interesting analogy to tell a story that undoubtedly bears his hallmark: it’s epic, too long, and cheesy to the core; but it’s also witty, and its lushly composed shots are often jawdroppingly beautiful.

In Your Name, Shinkai found the perfect formula to captivate audiences worldwide with a romantic drama with fantastic overtones. Suzume follows this same path – and a very similar narrative structure. The film works thanks to its breathtaking visual display and diverting narrative, but it’s hard not to miss the intimacy and narrative simplicity of Shinkai’s earlier work. Even by touching on big themes such as loss, grief or selfdiscovery, its overloaded storytelling, ironically, makes Suzume feel somewhat empty. [Fernando García]

Released 14 Apr by Sony; certificate PG

— 59 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review
Leonor Will Never Die Sick of Myself Suzume Polite Society


We spend an afternoon at Edinburgh’s bi est and brightest new venue, and find great pizza, delicious ice cream, and so many neons

Leith Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3AU

Sun-Thu, 11am-11pm; Fri and Sat, 11am-1am

2.00pm: Three enormous pink letters, standing out against the concrete like a piece of navigation from an extremely camp video game. That’s the first thing we notice on arriving at Edinburgh Street Food. The second is ‘whoah, Jesus, this place is absolutely hoaching.’ It’s only been open for two weeks at this point, and there are people absolutely everywhere. Benches packed, the bar busy, love to see it.

2.15pm: On a second look, it’s actually too busy, so we’re outside. Edinburgh Street Food is a huge open plan indoor space with the kitchens and bars lined up on one wall, and the rest of the space given over to long picnic-style benches and *large* amounts of decor (more on that once we get inside). But there is also a hefty volume of outdoor seating, and you can order anything and everything direct to your table.

2.40pm: Ah, plastic pint glass with a handle, we meet again. Nothing says ‘I am at a thing’ quite like drinking your beer out of a watering can with no spout. If you know where these came from and why they keep turning up in our lives, please email so we can get to the bottom of this.

2:55pm: It’s been nearly an hour, time to try some food. First up are Antojitos, the vegan taco truck frequently seen at spots like The Pitt and Bellfield Brewery. The remote ordering system plays a blinder here – our endless back-and-forth about which tacos to get in our trio (£10) only annoys the two women sitting directly across from us, rather than a whole queue of people. In the end, the southern fried pineapple taco is a savoury-sweet double act with just a pinch of heat, the al pastor taco is tasty and well-spiced if a little dry, and the tofu asada taco is delicious and a great foil for loads of chilli and lime.

3.10pm: This outdoor area is a really good use of the space, considering we’re between two fairly corporate blocks and not far off a main road. It’s colourful and wellspaced, the awnings frame a lovely view of Calton Hill, and it’s a nice, chill environment. One guy’s drinking a glass of red wine and reading his book; the women from earlier are watching the rugby on a smartphone propped up on a pair of sunglasses. It’s a nice time!

3.35pm: Good news – the buns from Bundits are excellent. They’re also pretty sizeable; the Korean braised short rib bao (£6.50) is loaded up with juicy meat and an aniseed-heavy sauce, while the braised shiitake mushroom bao (£6) is an extremely savoury ball of fun. More good news – we’ve moved inside! It is extremely warm and bright inside, which is to say there are neons everywhere. Neon artwork on the windows, neon signage above kitchens, a neon of the Trainspotting line ‘Choose your future. Choose life’, but with a different font for each of the sentence fragments. One of those ‘raises more questions than it answers’ interior design choices.

3.45pm: The neons are one thing, but the level of botanical fringe in this gaff is outrageous. The whole room is bordered by (we have to assume, for practicality’s sake if nothing else) plastic plants, which we’re not totally sure about. If you

want plants, get plants; if you don’t want to pay for an in-house gardener to handle your Babylonian wall of foliage, maybe leave it? There’s a similar issue with the toilets; they look really cool, all neon strips, patterned chipboard and teal grouting. The problem is the signage is so small and the loos so well concealed, it’s very easy to just walk past them. As in, three different people in our group got lost. One of us ended up halfway into the Omni Centre. It’s one thing to solder off the edges of street food to give it more mainstream appeal, but we need to know where to pee. Credit where it’s due: the taps are very good. Excellent water pressure.

3.55pm: Our goal was to try every single stand today, but it turns out we gave ourselves a headstart with a visit to Chix the previous weekend. Their chicken tenders (from £6) remain one of the best bits of food you can get in town – all cra ly and crunchy, with a spice blend that would put that Colonel to shame. Get them and you won’t be disappointed, but we have numerous new places to try so let’s keep rolling!

— 60 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Food
Words: Peter Simpson

4.20pm: Next up, an incredibly hench bit of pizza from Homies. The Double Pepperoni (£8.50) is excellent; it’s a Detroit-style slice with an excellent fringe of crunchy melted cheese, a rich sugo on the top, and a very crisp base that seems to laugh in the face of the wooden cutlery. Delicious, spicy, cheesy; great stuff.

4.30pm: Junk are the reigning European Street Food champions, and are barrelling around with the confidence and ambition that comes with that kind of title. Le Fritto A’la Misto! (£14) is a ludicrous pile of seafood, fried in a subtly sweet crumb, with loads of chillis and aioli chucked around the place. It’s a big pile of tasty fish, so thumbs up from us, but it is also hard to distinguish everything in here. Also, we can still taste the pepperoni from our pizza ten minutes ago; do not do this in the order we did.

4.35pm: Ah, another large pile of food! This time it’s the Escalivada (£8.50) from House of Tapas, a collection of roasted aubergines, potatoes, and there’s some peppers in there too. It doesn’t have the looks of Junk’s offering, but it’s still fairly tasty. It is unfortunately Too Big For Tapas – vendors, please speak to

each other, let’s get some portion control going.

4.50pm: Oh look, another big ol’ plate! Fabrica’s Ox Tail Ragu Rigatoni (£10.50) is one of the hits of the day. The pasta is super bouncy and al dente; the sauce manages to be both refined and overwhelmingly, comically meaty. Our pal’s just snapped his fork in half trying to cut up one of those slices of pizza from Homies. Things are going well.

5.10pm: We’ve passed through the ‘large plates’ phase and onto the home stretch, and it’s time to try something new. Many of the names here are either well-known from the scene or opening an ESF spot as a second location, but What Le Duck? are new to us. As much as their signature ‘fries covered in a large pile of confit duck’ sounds appealing, we have been eating for several hours at this point, so it’s time for duck and ha is bonbons (£7.50). Nothing against ha is, but the duck bonbons are particularly delicious. Give us all duck! We’ll pay whatever it takes!

5.20pm: The Peruvian are a long time staple of the Scottish street food scene, from Fringes and music festivals to regular stops across Scotland. They’re also a very clear example of Street Food – a short menu of classic dishes, designed to be portable and producible wherever the van pitches up. But it feels like that’s not what we’re doing here.

Edinburgh Street Food is pretty great. The infrastructure is excellent, the location is brilliant, and clearly, as the man standing on The Skinny’s foot can attest, the crowds are coming. Seems ideal for small food businesses looking for a regular pitch and a switched-on crowd. On the

other hand, the expectations (whether those are real, imagined, aesthetic or culinary) are so much higher here than we’ve seen for street food in the past. Roll out the permanent kitchens and permanent infrastructure, and all of a sudden we have stands churning out confit duck and the kind of pizza that requires an oven that won’t switch off if the wind blows too hard. As it is, the cassava fries (£5.50) are tasty enough, but wouldn’t make the top half of our leaderboard, partly because the game seems to have changed. On the other hand, we might now be too full to be relied upon…

5.35pm: Oh yes, we’re very full. We have also been here for a while – the lights have gone down and there’s been a very definite change in the vibe from ‘Saturday afternoon, singer songwriter in the corner’ to ‘Saturday evening, stick on the “light early-doors techno” playlist’.

5.50pm: OK, we said we were full, but there’s always room for ice cream. Soft Core’s vanilla and miso caramel soft serve (£4) is an absolute banger – it’s silky smooth, and somehow manages to be refreshing, creamy, rich and subtle all at the same time. It also looks exactly like it should; impeccable swirling technique on display. We have our ice cream! We tried every stand! We’ve been here so long we’ve become kids again! We need to go!

— 61 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Food
Homies Pizza Edinburgh Street Food

Radical: A Life of My Own

Born in China, Xiaolu Guo moved to Britain when she was 29, building a family and life in London. In 2019, she moves to New York, and finds herself estranged from language, memory and home. Radical: A Life of My Own, Guo’s memoir, is born in this tumultuous period, a search for selfhood through a language that connects her past and present, one that she can claim as her own. “Here I am,” she writes in her introduction, “in pursuit of an etymology of myself.”

Four lexicons organise the book – of encounters, separations, enduring and impermanence. Within each are chapters titled by radicals, the roots making up the ideograms of the Chinese language. This structure guides Guo’s reflections on her life in New York. She meets a lover, whom she names E, and recounts their intimacy, and the eventual distance that pushes them apart; when she moves back to London during the coronavirus pandemic, her heart lingers in New York, and with E.

Her curiosity for Western literature, poetry and art melds with nostalgia for China. As she walks us through her life, time overlaps itself as old and recent memories meet, interwoven with reflections on the everyday – the shape of flowers, solace found in gardening, the changing seasons into deep winter. Guo’s writing is tender and raw, and she creates a passionate, intimate vocabulary, exploring the complexity of belonging, nostalgia, and love.

Never Was

Daniel isn’t sure how he got here. Or where exactly here is. He just knows that the person he has just dra ed out of the ditch, Fin, threw this after-party. Fin is famous, or something, but the ketamine coursing through Daniel’s bloodstream isn’t helping to make sense of the scene.

In such a haze is set Never Was, H. Gareth Gavin’s novel so detached from time and place that one must find the markers of late-nineties/ early-noughties Britain that pepper the story: in a McDonald’s car park; in soap operas; in pebbledashed, lopsided houses in starved, postindustrial towns. These symbols of capitalism act as reminders for the rigidity of a context that demands its inhabitants be as easy to exploit as possible. How else can corporations do it effectively? In fact, published in exactly this context, the book itself feels radical in its own rejection of genre or a Goodreads-friendly hook.

Like its characters, the book is at once at peace and in growing discomfort with its own form. It shows an awareness of itself, its non-conformist beauty a result of the stifling nature of language. Each page margin and paragraph indent reinforces the trans metaphor that comes to fruition when other words cease to be enough. The common, queered experience of depersonalisation is shown beautifully in a text as deliberate with its typography as it is evocative in its imagery.


When it comes to an author’s fourth book, especially an author as widely read and highly acclaimed as Max Porter, it can feel like you know what to expect. You look for the repetitions and the places you recognise. Perhaps this searching for the familiar is a reaction to Porter’s specific style, the way he unmoors the happenings of his characters from their own characterisation – as always, we piece together personhoods from snippets and asides.

Shy is a book that unfolds through happening, rhythms and memories. We are used to Porter’s identification of the Other; and its intertwining with land and feeling. In Shy, the Other is closer in, less of the land and its mythologies and more facets of the internal lands –the turbulence of Shy’s (our protagonist) moods, his life, his emotions. Porter articulates over and over the anguish of the loss of control, the confusion in the face of the adult world and the complex web of desire, shame and frustration that runs through youth and masculinity; occasionally manifesting itself in violent acts that punctuate the text.

This is a book that occasionally hurts to read, the unflinching pointof-view telling holding together a narrative sidling through memory, dream and hallucinatory otherthans; carrying us through the excruciation of not being understood, not being able to express, and not understanding why things are happening. [Marguerite Carson]


Linghun is the debut novella from prolific speculative short story author Ai Jiang. The narrative follows Wenqi, who moves to the strange and selective neighbourhood of HOME (Homecoming of Missing Entities) with her grieving parents who yearn to reconnect with the ghost of their deceased son Tianqi. HOME invites hauntings and the desperation to communicate with the dearly departed is palpable. Interwoven between Wenqi’s story is the perspective of Liam, a lingerer. Lingerers are the unhoused population of HOME, living on the lawns of HOME’s residents hoping someone will move out. When a coveted house does become available, events take place akin to the violent stru le juxtaposed with sterile bureaucracy of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery The final perspective in Linghun belongs to the enigmatic Mrs, who lives alone opposite Wenqi’s family and is the subject of much of HOME’s lore.

This is a gothic ghost story like no other. Lexical gaps and misinterpretation feed into a pervasive sadness which lingers over the characters and quiet moments of disconnect and longing. Jiang’s prose is sparse and purposeful, allowing the reader to live in the silences. Linghun explores language not only as a tool for communication but as a way of telling and preserving our stories and heritage. This is integral to the idea of home, not only a place but something we carry with us, much like grief. [Katalina

Cipher Press, 6 Apr

— 62 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Books
13 Apr
Chatto & Windus,
Faber, 6 Apr
Dark Matter INK, 4 Apr

Dream Gig

Lovely Glasgow comedy night Vision Board is back on its feet after the pando – so who else is better to take on Dream Gig but one of VB’s founding members, John A asild?

Illustration: Ælfleda Clackson

My best ever gig was at 6pm on 30 July last year at the Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow. I performed my second solo show, Welcome Back, twice in one night to a full room. I filmed both shows, then edited and put out a special on YouTube a few weeks ago.

The 9pm crowd were great, but the 6pm audience were just perfect. They were super on-board straight away thanks to Gemma Flynn, who opened for me and instructed them to act like they were in the audience for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. She welcomed me to the stage as Freed from Desire (Gala Rizzatto, 1997) blared from the speakers, and the energy was amazing. In fact, stick it on as you’re reading this and you’ll get half the vibe I felt that night.

My personal highlight of the gig was an organic moment which, luckily, perfectly punctuated a part of the show that I hadn’t written a joke for (you can see it around 15 minutes into the recording).

What was worrying though, was that I had never performed the finale of the show before – two of my previews for the show had been cancelled that month. It was even more stressful because I was recording the show with technically brand new material. I felt so vindicated that it worked and people were so nice afterwards. They totally got the genre/artform mash-up I was aiming for: a Romantic (Stand-Up) Comedy (Show).

The night felt like the culmination of everything I’d done in stand-up to that point. It was not only an exorcism of feelings for this show I’d been writing for years, but a big achievement too. Having my closest friends in comedy in the crowd helped me realise that achievement and to capture it made it all the more special and memorable.

I feel very lucky in that my Dream Gig is literally a show I run with Gemma Flynn and Stuart McPherson – VISION BOARD. We all do sets and have guests. We ran the show for two years pre-pandemic and have found a new home at the Glasgow Zine Library’s new premises.

One of my best comedy mates is Chris Thorburn. He hosts Drygate Comedy Lab every other Tuesday in Glasgow. It’s a new material show and he sets up the room perfectly. Chris is warm, professional and super likeable. He’ll be our guest MC.

Gemma opens the show. She’s one of my favourite comedians to ever do VISION BOARD and I am so grateful to call her a friend. She always has something important to say but it comes from a personal place, and her delivery is somehow diplomatic and frank at the same time.

Then the incredible John Early does ten mins. I loved his 30-minute Netflix special The Characters, and everything he does with Kate Berlant (Banana Phone, 555, Rachel etc). I would love to be in the same room as him.

After the break, Stuart does ten minutes with some new stuff in the middle which we discussed over coffee earlier that week. I love watching Stu – there’s no gap between his comedy mind and his performance. What you see is what you get offstage as well.

Then Todd Glass does… Todd Glass. He is one of a kind; his energy is chaotic but he’s always fully in control. He’s a ressive yet a very gentle soul. His multi-location, documentary-special (featuring a live band) The Event of a Lifetime captures the live aspect of comedy beautifully. Nobody could follow Todd so there’s another break.

Finally, our secret headliner is Lil Rel Howery. His 2019 special, Live in Crenshaw, is one of my favourites. Much like Tommy Tiernan’s Stray Sod, it’s filmed during golden hour so the lighting in the special is magical, and the camera focuses on the audience a lot as they’re integral to the show’s community-driven theme. Rel is one of the best storytellers and I would love to see what he would make of Glasgow.

VISION BOARD is BYOB so we put empty cans in the recycling and head to a pub nearby in the Southside. I won’t blow up my spot though – you’ll need to hang around at the end of VISION BOARD to find out.

Watch John A asild - Welcome Back: A Romantic Stand Up Comedy Special on YouTube

VISION BOARD, Glasgow Zine Library, 17 Apr, PWYC

Follow John on Twitter and Instagram at @ja asild

— 63 — THE SKINNY Comedy April 2023 — Review

Art Reviews

Poor Things Fruitmarket, Edinburgh rrrrr

Stepping into Poor Things at Fruitmarket, I run into the exhibition’s co-curator, Dean Kenning. After polite introductions, I nod towards a kinetic sculpture, hell-bent on performing squeaky push-ups, and comment: “This is intriguing.” It turns out this sculpture, titled Renaissance Man, is Kenning’s unsettling but deeply personal invention. The artist made life casts of his own face, hands and feet and attached them to an empty trough with moving limbs. He likens the sculpture’s repetitive behaviour to a feeling of working class out-ofplace-ness in an arts environment, of being surrounded and drowned out by people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths (my dramatic flourish, not his). According to Kenning, Renaissance Man resembles a bad dream, in which we might find ourselves butt naked in an exam hall.

I don’t get to meet Kenning’s friend and curatorial collaborator, Emma Hart, who is also an exhibiting artist in the show. The innovative exhibition text emphasises that Poor Things emerged from their conversations about social class and art. As a result, the tone of the curatorial narrative is distinctly democratic in subtle ways: the curators go by their first names, and the artwork labels pose questions, rather than provide the answers. You can hear from a selection of the artists via audio, too. By far the most disturbing listen is Penny Goring’s apologetic wails in response to her humanoid soft sculpture, Wrong Doll. With increasing desperation, the artist repeats that she is sorry, but never detailing what for. “WRONG FACE”, “WRONG

HEART”, “WRONG FEELING”, and “WRONG LEG” are hand-stitched into the doll. I interpret this feeling of wrongness as imposter syndrome, or a sense of not belonging.

Unapologetic in taking up space, Let’s Get Lost Tonight, You Can Be My Black Kate Moss Tonight by Josie KO is one of the standouts of the show. Ornate and ostentatious, KO’s creation not only confronts the lack of representation of Black women in gallery spaces, but also the fetishisation of Black women under white supremacy. Named after Kanye

West’s song Stronger, the sculpture’s pop culture title also harks back to that time The Independent chose to photograph Kate Moss essentially ‘blackfishing’ (when a non-Black person presents themselves as Black) for its cover, instead of photographing a Black model. Sphinx-like in her presentation, the golden sculpture sits forward like the figurehead of a ship, expression halfway between a grin and a grimace. She is a trophy, sitting uncomfortably with her limbs strangely entangled on a two-tiered wedding cake-like plinth.

A feeling of out-of-place-ness sprawls and spawns both comically and sincerely through the ground floor; it bounds upstairs and mutates into larger than life Frankenstein-like sculptures. Intriguingly, I found out-of-place-ness represented most compellingly in a short film of a sculpture in action. Thick-Skinned by Rebecca Moss captures a person wearing a bizarre costume made out of countless multicoloured balloons, clambering through a field and squeezing through a barbed wire fence. They emerge – just – but not unscathed, attached to so y remnants of the balloons. To me, this metaphor of balloons and barbed wire is obvious yet cunning; it’s the process of making yourself smaller to fit in or pass by in an unwelcoming

environment unnoticed, a stripping back of the uniqueness that makes you you. The popping of the balloons is in sonic and metaphorical synchrony to the squeaks of Renaissance Man

Confrontational throughout, this group show thoughtfully does not fall into the trap of virtue signalling. All of the stellar sculptures I detail in this review are installed on the ground floor; I find some of the sculptures upstairs to be a bit more challenging to grasp. In a society which commodifies self-care and theorises the gallery space as a kind of wellness retreat, Poor Things is preoccupied with the cultural capital we inhabit when we visit an exhibition in our spare time. Elsewhere in Scotland, Rachel Maclean recently turned cultural capital on its head in her engrossing sculptural installation Mimi on Perth High Street. Commissioned by Jupiter Artland, the temporary installation in a disused shop showed passersby “art before they even know they’ve seen art”. This radical approach to revealing what Maclean calls the “conceit” of the gallery is present in Poor Things – you just need to look a little harder for it. [Rachel Ashenden]

Poor Things, Fruitmarket, until 21 May, free

— 64 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Review Art
Image: courtesy the artist and The Sunday Painter, London. Photo: Tom Nolan Spoiler (Blue and Green), Emma Hart Poor Things installation view, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, 2023


Looking for something to do? Well you’re in the right place! Find listings below for the month ahead across Music, Clubs, Theatre, Comedy and Art in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. To find out how to submit listings, head to

Glasgow Music

Tue 28 Mar



O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:00

Rap from New York.


SWG3 19:00–22:00

Singer-songwriter from the US.


SWG3 19:00–22:00

Electronica from the UK.


BROADCAST, 19:30–22:00

Punk rock from Denmark.


THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:30

Jazz folk from Scotland.




THE RUM SHACK, 19:30–22:00

Jazz from Scotland.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:00

Electronic punk from London.

Thu 30 Mar


THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Queer electro from Nottingham.



GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Country pop from the UK.


THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:03

Electronica from Germany.



THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Alt punk from Derry.

Fri 31 Mar


KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Electronica from Leeds.


THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Indie from Coventry.




Eclectic lineup.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Rebel pop from Glasgow.

Sat 01 Apr



Alt rock from Glasgow.

CARA ROSE ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Indie from Glasgow.

MOONLIGHT ZOO ROOM 2, 19:00–22:30

Indie pop from Dunfermline.

Sun 02 Apr


Rock from the UK.


Alt rock from the US.


BARROWLANDS, 19:00–22:30

Rock from LA.


STEREO, 19:00–22:00

Mood pop from New York.


Indie from Bristol.


Punk from Glasgow.

Mon 03 Apr


Rap from Brighton.

PILE STEREO, 19:00–22:00

Noise rock from Boston.



Electronica from Glasgow.

Tue 04 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Pop from the UK.


Post-punk from Portsmouth.


Rock from London.

PLINI ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Rock from Australia.


Folk from Glasgow.

Wed 05 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Australia.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Jazz funk from Australia.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Pop from the US.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Punk blues from Ireland.


THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:30

R’n’B from Scotland.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Math pop from the UK.

Thu 06 Apr


ORAN MOR, 19:00–22:30

Rock from Australia.



KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Australia.



Singer-songwriter from London.


SWG3 19:00–22:30

Rap from the UK.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Folk from the US.



STEREO, 19:00–22:00

Post-punk from Berlin.


THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Funk rock from Dumbarton.


Post-punk from Aberdeen.




Singer-songwriter from Scotland.





ROOM 2, 19:00–22:30

Eclectic lineup.

Fri 07 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Hip-hop from the US.

DICTATOR KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Indie pop from Scotland.


Alt rock from Wales.


BARROWLANDS, 19:00–22:30

Folk from Scotland.


Indie rock from Ipswich.


THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Emo indie from Ireland.


Indie pop from Newcastle.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Alt rock from Germany.


Eclectic lineup.

Sat 08 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30


KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Indie rock from the UK.

THE HARA CATHOUSE, 19:00–22:30 Indie from the UK. THE ORIELLES THE GARAGE GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Indie rock from Halifax.


Indie from Nottingham.


Rock from Scotland.

SOFTCULT STEREO, 19:00–22:00

Shoegaze from Canada. PRIMES (RESISTER) THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Alt rock from Falkirk.


ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Folk from Scotland.


Folk rock from the UK.


Folk from Scotland.


Indie rock from Glasgow.

Sun 09 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Hip hop from New York.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Blues rock from the UK.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Indie from Belfast.

Mon 10 Apr


CATHOUSE, 18:00–22:30

Metal from the UK.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Metal from Cork.

Tue 11 Apr


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Electronica from London.

DVNE STEREO, 19:00–22:00

Metal from Edinburgh.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Experimental from the US.

Wed 12 Apr


KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Psych rock from Wales.

SHAYNE WARD SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Singer-songwriter from the UK.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Composer from Maastricht.


THE FLYING DUCK, 19:00–22:00

Indie punk from London.


THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Edinburgh.

Thu 13 Apr


KING TUT’S, 20:30–22:30

Post-punk from Manchester.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Rock from Manchester.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Jazz pop from Southampton.


STEREO, 19:00–22:00 Acoustic.


ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Rock from St Albans.




THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:30

Eclectic lineup.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

New Wave from the UK.

Fri 14 Apr


KING TUT’S, 20:00–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Canada.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Synth pop from Glasgow.



Metalcore from Australia.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Alt rock from the US.


Drag and pop.


ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Indie from the UK.


THE GLAD CAFE, 19:30–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Scotland.


Soul from Grenada.


THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Indie from Scotland.

Sat 15 Apr


Alt pop from Glasgow.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Pop from LA.


SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Synth pop from Glasgow.



Rock from Fife.


BROADCAST, 19:00–22:30

Indie folk from the US. THE WHISTLIN’ DONKEYS BARROWLANDS, 19:00–22:30

Folk from Ireland.


Harp from LA.


Indie from Brighton.


Singer-songwriter from Dublin.


Indie rock from Dundee.

Sun 16 Apr


Indie rock from New York.


Indie folk from Sweden.


Eclectic lineup.

LYRA ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Indie from Ireland.


Punjabi folk from Bradford. WILLIAM CRIGHTON THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Singer-songwriter from Australia.

THEN JERICO ROOM 2, 19:00–22:30 Rock from London.

Mon 17 Apr


Arabesque from Scotland. LA DISPUTE SWG3, 19:00–22:30

Post-hardcore from Michigan.


Singer-songwriter from the UK.


Folk rock from the UK.


Rock from the US. SLOW CRUSH THE HUG AND PINT, 19:30–22:30

Shoegaze from Belgium.

Tue 18 Apr

SEAFRET ORAN MOR, 19:00–22:30

Indie from the UK.


Post-crunk from Dublin.


Experimental from Sweden. PETER DOHERTY SWG3 19:00–22:30

Indie rock from England.


Indie rock from the UK.

FENNE LILY ST LUKE’S, 19:00–22:30

Folk from Bristol.




Country from Nashville.

Wed 19 Apr


O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW, 19:00–22:30

Rock from Sydney.

LARKINS KING TUT’S, 20:00–22:30

Indie pop from Manchester. CHE LINGO SWG3, 19:00–22:30 Rap from London.


Death metal from New York.


Indie shred from the US.


Eclectic lineup.


Americana from the UK. THE LOTTERY WINNERS (PET NEEDS) ROOM 2 19:00–22:30

Indie pop from Manchester.

Thu 20 Apr


Singer-songwriter from London.



— 65 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Listings


Techno, dub and electro.

Sun 09 Apr

ECLAIR FIFI + YOUNG MARCO SUB CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Techno and electronica.


Thu 13 Apr

FLY GLASGOW PRESENTS X CLUB + CÉLESTE SUB CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Techno and bass.


Fri 14 Apr INDIE AMNESTY SWG3, 23:00–03:00 Indie and rock.


STEREO, 23:00–03:00 Techno, electronica and deconstructed club.

Sat 15 Apr

ANYTHING GOES SWG3, 23:00–03:00 Techno and trance.

T 78 SWG3, 23:00–03:00 Techno.


Thu 20 Apr FLY GLASGOW PRESENTS MARK BLAIR X SUB CLUB SUB CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Techno and house.

Fri 21 Apr MAXIMUM KONTROL IV SWG3 23:00–03:00 Techno and house. CYNTHIA SPIERING SWG3 23:00–03:00 Techno.

CASEMENT IN THE BASEMENT STEREO, 23:00–03:00 Bass, Jersey club and breaks.


Experimental club from Leeds.

Regular Edinburgh club nights





Edinburgh and Glasgowstraddling night, with a powerhouse of local residents joined by a selection of guest talent.



Regular Saturday night at Cab Vol, with residents and occasional special guests.

Sneaky Pete’s



B-SIDE/CHAOS IN THE COSMOS/TAIS-TOI House and techno dunts from some of Edinburgh's best young teams.


POPULAR MUSIC DJs playing music by bands to make you dance: Grace Jones to Neu!, Parquet Courts to Brian Eno, The Clash to Janelle Monáe.



Heaters presents weekly local crew showdowns, purveying the multifarious mischief that characterises Sneaks' midweek party haven.



Resident DJs with an eclectic, global outlook



A night for queer people and their friends.



Monthly no-holds-barred, down-and-dirty disco.


House and electro.

Sat 22 Apr

UNCHAINED 003 SWG3, 23:00–03:00


Wed 26 Apr

A.D.S.R X LA CHEETAH CLUB, 23:00–03:00

Breakbeat and techno.

Thu 27 Apr


Arabic funk.

Fri 28 Apr


DUNCAN) STEREO, 23:00–03:00

Techno, bass and club.


Drum and bass.



CÉLESTE THE BERKELEY SUITE, 23:00–03:00 House and techno.

Sat 29 Apr


SWG3, 23:00–03:00



Weekly Sunday session showcasing the very best of heavy-hitting local talent with some extra special guests.

The Liquid Room


Monthly party night celebrating the best in soul, disco, rock and pop with music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and current bangers.

The Hive MONDAYS MIXED UP MONDAY Monday-brightening mix of Hip-hop, R'n'B and chart classics, with requests in the back room.

TUESDAYS TRASH TUESDAY Alternative Tuesday anthems cherry picked from genres of rock, indie, punk, retro and more.

WEDNESDAYS COOKIE WEDNESDAY 90s and 00s cheesy pop and modern chart anthems.

THURSDAYS HI-SOCIETY THURSDAY Student anthems and bangerz.


Yer all-new Friday at Hive. Cheap entry, inevitably danceable, and noveltystuffed. Perrrfect.


Saturday mix of chart and dance, with retro 80s classics thrown in for good measure.


Two rooms of all the chart, cheese and indie-pop you can think of/handle on a Sunday.


Queer cabaret.


Sun 30 Apr




Dance and club.

Edinburgh Clubs

Thu 30 Mar


LOVERS: CHRISSY SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Disco from Chicago.

Fri 31 Mar


THE BONGO CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Acid and trance.



PRONTO COLLECTIVE THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Afro, disco, Italo and house.

NITESHIFT THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

Subway Cowgate


Blow the cobwebs off the week with a weekly Monday night party with some of Scotland’s biggest and best drag queens.


Throwback Tuesdays with non-stop 80s, 90s, 00s tunes.


Hip-hop and R'n'B grooves from regulars DJ Beef and DJ Cherry.


More classic Hip-hop and R'n'B dance tunes for the almost end of the week.


Chart-topping tunes perfect for an irresistible sing and dance-along.


The drinks are easy and the pop is heavy.


Sunday Service

Atone for the week before and the week ahead with non-stop dancing.

The Mash House



Joyous global club sounds: think Afrobeat, Latin and Arabic dancehall on repeat.



The best techno DJs sit alongside The Mash House resident Darrell Pulse.


LA BELLE ANGELE, 23:00–03:00



THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 House and techno.


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Electronica.

Sun 09 Apr


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 House and Techno.

Mon 10 Apr

STAND B-SIDE: DENHAM AUDIO SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Breaks from London.

Wed 12 Apr


THE BONGO CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Breakbeat and hardcore.

Thu 13 Apr RED ROOM SOUND: AN AVRIN SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Bass from London.

Fri 14 Apr


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Rave. NOOK THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00


Sat 01 Apr


SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 House from New York.

SAMEDIA SHEBEEN THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Tropical and techno. FUSION THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

Thu 06 Apr


WEE RED BAR, 23:00–03:00 Grime and drill.

Fri 07 Apr

JUNGLE MAGIK: KLEU THE BONGO CLUB, 23:00–03:00 Jungle and rave. NIGHTS LIKE THIS WEE RED BAR, 23:00–03:00 Techno and house. MISS WORLD: ELL

MURPHY SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 UK garage.




THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Rave.


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00


Sat 08 Apr


WEE RED BAR, 23:00–03:00

Ska and reggae.



SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Bass from New York.

Regular Glasgow comedy nights

Drygate Brewing Co.


A new material comedy night hosted by Chris Thorburn.

The Stand


Host Billy Kirkwood and guests act entirely on your suggestions.


Legendary new material night with up to eight acts.


The big weekend show with four comedians.


The big weekend show with four comedians.


The perfect way to end the working week, with four superb stand-up comedians.


An evening of awardwinning comedy, with four superb stand-up comedians that will keep you laughing until Monday.

Regular Edinburgh comedy nights

The Stand


Mondays RED RAW, 20:30

Legendary new material night with up to 8 acts.


The Stand’s very own Stu & Garry’s make comedy cold from suggestions.

Fridays THE FRIDAY SHOW, 21:00

The big weekend show with four comedians.


Sat 15 Apr

EGGSLUT (EGEBAMYASI, FOXTROT. POLLYANNA) WEE RED BAR, 23:00–03:00 Acid and house. CLUB MEDI SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Balearic.

DECADE LA BELLE ANGELE, 23:00–03:00 Pop punk. EPIKA THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno. NITESHIFT THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Drum 'n' Bass.

ENESO THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

Thu 20 Apr



THE BONGO CLUB, 23:00–03:00

Drum ‘n’ bass and jungle.


Electro from Berlin. SEB WILDBLOOD, TELFORT & MORE

THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 House.

Fri 21 Apr



A slightly earlier performance of the big weekend show with four comedians.


THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00


Sat 22 Apr

CODE RED WEE RED BAR, 23:00–03:00 Drum ‘n’ bass. FRANCK SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

BACK TO THE 80’S LA BELLE ANGELE, 23:00–03:00 Pop. RMN.BTS 007 : LAMACHE (DISCOBAR) THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

Thu 27 Apr

CLUB SYLKIE SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Bass.

Fri 28 Apr

MIDLAND ALL NIGHT SNEAKY PETE’S, 23:00–03:00 Techno from London. HASTE PRESENTS CLOUDS THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 House and techno.

Saturdays THE SATURDAY SHOW, 20:30

The big weekend show with four comedians.

Monkey Barrel

Second and third Tuesday of every month


The University of Edinburgh's Comedy Society, who put on sketch and stand-up comedy shows every two weeks.

Wednesdays TOP BANANA, 19:00

Catch the stars of tomorrow today in Monkey Barrel's new act night every Wednesday. Thursdays SNEAK PEAK, 19:00 + 21:00

Four acts every Thursday take to the stage to try out new material.

Sat 29 Apr

TEEN SPIRIT LA BELLE ANGELE, 23:00–03:00 Rock and indie. PULSE THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

DILF THE MASH HOUSE, 23:00–03:00 Electronica.

Dundee Clubs

Sat 01 Apr

KARAWANE SOUND KINGS, 23:00–03:00 Afrobeat and Latin.

Fri 07 Apr


Sat 15 Apr

TECHNODROME KINGS, 23:00–03:00 Techno.

Fri 21 Apr

REGGAE GOT SOUL KINGS, 23:00–03:00 Reggae.

Sun 30 Apr


ALLDAYER KINGS, 23:00–03:00 Dance and club.


Monkey Barrel's flagship night of premier stand-up comedy.



Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Farmers Only...Come and laugh as some of Scotland's best improvisers join forces to perform based off two audience members dating profiles.


Monkey Barrel's flagship night of premier stand-up comedy.


Monkey Barrel's flagship night of premier stand-up comedy.

Glasgow Comedy


9 APR, 7:45PM – 8:45PM

The Some Laugh Podcast are back with another live show.

The King’s Theatre


31 MAR, 7:30PM –


Edinburgh Fringe favourite returns with new show. Part of GICF.


19 APR, 8:00PM –10:00PM

Team captain from 8 Out of 10 Cats brings his new hour to the stage.



A brand-new show following a sold out Fringe run.

Part of GICF.


2 APR, 8:00PM –10:00PM

Chatting everything from family and race to nipples, national treasure Phil Wang returns to the stage.

— 67 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Listings

Studio Pavilion

at House for an Art Lover


28 MAR-28 AUG, 11:00AM


This exhibition showcases new ideas developed by contemporary practitioners whose work is contributing to the continuation of Bernat Klein and his legacy in design, visual arts, and architecture.


28 MAR-28 AUG, 11:00AM – 4:00PM

Focusing on the Glasgowbased architectural practice Loader Monteith and their restoration of Bernat Klein’s home.

The Briggait





Representations of drapery that explore ideas of female desire and womanhood.

The Common Guild




A multi-artist exhibition taking place in locations throughout Glasgow, examining the library as a site of civic and political potential.





Colourful, intricate sculptures created from non-biodegradable plastics that transform global pollutants into art.





A new body of sculptural, sonic works that explore political mysticism and the possibilities of reimagining tradition and inherited myths.

iota @ Unlimited Studios



15-29 APR, 12:00PM –


Monochrome (or almostmonochrome) paintings, looking at the revolving door of art and life.


Art &Gallery



Fluid painting engaging with ideas of space, light, and elemental qualities unique to the Outer Hebrides.


1-29 APR, TIMES VARY Voyages of landscapes made through the medium of the canvas.

Arusha Gallery



Documenting the beautiful, the ethereal, the feminine and the elegant.

Collective Gallery



1 APR-28 MAY, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

An exploration of late-stage capitalism and ecological harm through the object of the corporate aquarium.


1 APR-11 JUN, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

A moving image work exploring the relationships we have with urban monuments, set against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

Dovecot Studios


1 APR-8 JUL, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

Exploring the work of legendary craftsman, whose practice spans textile, design, and mosaic.

Edinburgh Printmakers


2 APR-2 JUL, 11:00AM – 4:00PM

A groundbreaking collective exhibition informed by the disruption and displacement of forced migration.



1 APR-21 MAY, 10:00AM – 7:00PM

A group exhibition examining class structures through sculpture.

Ingleby Gallery


28-31 MAR, 11:00AM –5:00PM

25 works by 25 artists celebrating 25 years of the Ingleby Gallery.



15 APR-10 JUN, 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Two distinct bodies of work created through a unique collaborative method.

Open Eye Gallery






Joint exhibition by two leading figures in Scottish contemporary art.




An exhibition of new paintings, drawings and engravings by former ECA Programme Director of Illustration Jonathan Gibbs.


7-29 APR, TIMES VARY Subversive still lifes.


7-29 APR, TIMES VARY Abstracted landscapes.

Royal Scottish Academy RSA




Collage-like work navigating the edges between illusion and reality.




A meticulously curated exhibition showcasing groundbreaking work by 56 graduates from across Scotland’s 2021 degree programmes.



An exhibition showcasing the ambitious conservation work taking place at the National Galleries.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art


1 APR-7 JAN 24, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

An immersive exhibition exploring compassion and collective care as a mode of anti-racist resistance.


29 APR-7 JAN 24, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

A dramatic journey through 80 years of art and moments of significant artistic change.

Sierra Metro


1-9 APR, 10:00AM –


An exciting exhibition by The Skinny (!!) featuring prints from the magazine’s contributing illustrators.



1 APR-10 JUN, 12:00PM – 5:00PM

A reflection on Black British culture, people and geographies, examining imaginations and realities of home.

Talbot Rice Gallery




A dynamic group exhibition examining histories of debt and its entanglement with structures of capitalism and colonialism.

The Scottish Gallery




Botanical-inspired renderings of nature and conservation.



Snapshots of the landscape given a luminous, ethereal quality.



Handwoven baskets take on sculptural forms.

Upright Gallery



Experimenting with the material process of painting and its magical, mystical outcomes.



Cooper Gallery



The first major exhibition in Scotland of significant works by pioneering filmmaker Harun Farocki.

DCA: Dundee Contemporary Arts



Working across photography, installation and film, Sedira draws upon her personal history to explore ideas of identity, mobility, gender, environment and collective memory.

Generator Projects



1-16 APR, 12:00PM –5:00PM

An exploration of boundary spaces and narratives of control, told through sculpture and installation.

The McManus


1 APR-30 DEC, 10:00AM


Exploring the McManus 20th-century collection through different positionalities, to examine the responsibility of the museum as institution in responding to history.


1 APR-30 SEP, 10:00AM


Examining the artistic and historic significance of copies, fakes, and forgeries.

V&A Dundee


1 APR-14 JAN 24, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

A major new exhibition looking at the social, political, and aesthetic history of tartan.

Dundee Venues

A new craft beer cafe and laidback cocktail bar lead the pack in new Dundee venues this month

Words: Rebecca Baird



Dundee’s one and only craft beer shop opened late last year, with a mission to live up to the City of Discovery’s moniker. Situated right across from the Dundee Uni campus, Discovery Beers is more beer-café than bar, with a light, bright interior and tables big enough to work at while enjoying their huge selection of beers. The ethos of the shop is to defy craft beer snobbery and invite people to be curious, browse, and discover new brands and flavour profiles. It stocks Dundee’s own 71 Brewing, as well as Magic Rock, Fierce Beer and more, making it the perfect place for beer nerds to geek out and shop local.



An Aladdin’s Cave of trinkets, preloved vintage clothes and standout furniture, this new addition to the Nethergate is a thrifter’s paradise. With the name inspired by a Japanese word meaning ‘with age comes beauty’, Sabi & Co is the perfect place for a good old rake. Customers can take their time perusing the two floors of rugs, designer accessories, wooden sidetables, embroidered chairs and delicate tableware, as well as myriad other goodies sourced from all over the world and curated by friendly owners Beth and Peter. From secondhand bargains to high-end antiques, there’s scope for a range of budgets. And together with the premises in Pittenweem, emerging local artists are given a spotlight on the walls. Definitely not one to miss on a Saturday stroll!



If you’re looking for plush seating, a fun gimmick and Instagrammable cocktails on a budget, new city centre bar The Tipsy Goat has you covered. The upstairs venue is covered floor-to-ceiling in goat-themed, pun-derful décor, and along with classic drinks, there’s a sweet selection of nostalgic cocktails featuring childhood favourites from Twister ice lollies to packs of Parma Violets. Dining options range from casual bar bites to a more formal menu, with enough variety to cater to even your fussiest friends. Midweek deals, regular pub quizzes and being walking distance to the Rep Theatre make this place a great hangout spot for students and theatregoers; the teal walls, neon signs and whimsical theme make it Millennial catnip.



Brand new family business The Three K’s is already generating buzz, having opened just a couple of weeks ago. Named after the owners’ children, Kai, Kara and Kami, the new breakfast and brunch takeaway offers a range of paninis, wraps, pies and filled rolls, with gluten free options available. A meal deal offer and location right next door to Blackness Library makes the shop a handy alternative for students and school pupils looking for a bite on the go. For workers looking for a midday boost, the eatery also offers a selection of teas, coffees and homemade traybakes by Mitchells Cakes. Shouted out by city staple

— 69 — THE SKINNY April 2023 — Listings
1PB Discovery Beers The Tipsy Goat Photo: SMac Photo: Rebecca Baird

The Skinny On... Leyla Josephine

With fingers in so many creative pies, Leyla Josephine is no stranger to these pages. But how do we get to know the multi-talented artist? By letting her tackle The Skinny’s Q&A!

Leyla Josephine is a multi-talented whirlwind of an artist whose work straddles poetry, film and theatre. Recently nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for her short film Groom (as Leyla Coll-O’Reilly), fresh off a tour for her first poetry collection In Public/In Private and appearing at numerous festivals this summer, it’s fair to say she’s keeping busy.

She’s also one of the contributing artists to acclaimed Glasgow-based theatre company Wonder Fools’ Positive Stories for Negative Times: Season Three, an innovative youth theatre programme open to 10-25 year olds worldwide.

Josephine’s play Ms Campbell’s Class Fifth Period features a bunch of teens, bored out of their mind in an awful English class, and is one of six new works created especially for Positive Stories. The other contributing artists are Bryony Kimmings, Tim Crouch, Robert Softley Gale, Sara Shaarawi and The PappyShow with Lewis Hetherington. Youth groups can sign up until Friday 26 May and have until 1 September to perform a play for free or submit an alternative creative response inspired by the plays on offer. The project culminates in Positive Stories festivals across Scotland in June and July this year, with performances from groups who’ve already signed up in Edinburgh, Ayr, Inverness and Perth.

What’s your favourite place to visit and why?

Donegal – it’s a home from home. I’ve spent a lot of time there with my family and dogs. It’s a great reset with a dramatic landscape, good Guinness, white beaches, surfing, live trad music. I also love Marseille. I spent time there last year writing my book and it was supercharged and exciting – I can’t wait to go back.

Favourite food and why?

I love Japanese food and the rituals and traditions that come with it. My favourite comfort food when I’m at home is pasta and pesto – you just can’t go wrong with pasta and pesto.

Favourite colour and why?

Orange, except when it comes with a marching pipe band.

Who was your hero growing up?

Rose from Titanic. She’s a bad bitch. When was the last film you saw a woman in a corset wielding an axe in boob-high freezing water?

Whose work inspires you now?

Michaela Coel, Julia Ducournau, Lynne Ramsay, Ruben Östlund, Maya Deren, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Andrea Arnold, Sharon Olds, Chen Chen, Kim

Addonizio, Ocean Vuong, Billy Letford, Roseanne Watt, Louise Bourgeois, Diane Arbus, ABBA, Wet Leg, Rihanna, Madonna, Robbie Williams, Dolly Parton, Rura, and Lankum. I have no consistency in my taste.

What three people would you invite to your dinner party and what are you cooking?

John Berger, Paris Hilton and my mum. I’m not a great cook so let’s order a curry.

What’s your all time favourite album? The Bridget Jones soundtrack.

What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen? I don’t like focusing on art I don’t like, because I do truly believe there is no bad art, just different tastes... but I will say the only film I’ve ever walked out of is The Perks of Being A Wallflower (sorry!).

What book would you take to a desert island?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, it changed my life and I could read it over and over and over.

Who’s the worst?

George Ezra. I have no explanation, it’s a guttural thing (sorry!).

When did you last cry?

Today – I cry everyday – sue me.

What are you most scared of?

It sometimes really freaks me out that I’m the only thing in my head, and ketchup.

When did you last vomit and why? No idea. Turns out you vomit less when you’re not drinking DragonSoop on a Sunday afternoon. Who would have thought?!

Tell us a secret?

Not all my poems are true.

Which celebrity could you take in a fight? Nicole Kidman.

If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?

A KuneKune pet pig called Gloria.

What’s your most memorable festival experience? One of my first festivals was Rockness 2008. Laura Marling with the Mystery Jets, The Cribs, Basement Jaxx, and Optimo all played. I felt like I was free for the first time ever. They were giving out Southern Comfort neon plastic beads. I fell asleep in the sun wearing them and had SOCO branded into my neck when I woke up. That didn’t go down well with my mum, or in Maths first period on Monday morning. I’ve been lucky enough to go to plenty more festivals since and had more highbrow experiences but I think nothing beats the feeling of being at an age when anything feels possible and everything feels new and music feels like it belongs to you and only you. Being at a festival dancing with mates away from my parents for the first time felt like a revolution. A very dusty, smelly, cheap and immature revolution.

Positive Stories for Negative Times: Season Three. Sign-ups open until Friday 26 May at

In Public/In Private is out now

Catch Leyla Josephine at festivals across the UK this summer, including Edinburgh Fringe, Belladrum, Glastonbury and more TBA

— 70 — THE SKINNY April 2023 –Feature The Skinny On...
Photo: Steven McLaren

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