ISSUE 3 FEB 2011 FREE
ROGELIO NARITO Graphic Designer. Based in Liverpool. Available for freelance work/collaborations in: Design/Print/Photography Site: www.rogelionarito.com E-Mail: email@example.com Blog: www.rogelionarito.com/57DukeStreet
CONTENTS • 4-5/ Ear Waxxx
Here we ‘Waxxx Lyrical’ about our favourite stuff. Yessssssss! First time we’ve said that! We’re obviously lying, we usually listen to Rihanna on full volume before we go out, but how cool would it be to admit that shit?
• 6/ Liverpool Sounds Like - Tea Street Band
Not a literal description of what our city sounds like. That wouldn’t be nice would it? “ahhhhh luk at dis fuckin goth in iz vans” “ang on all the lids are werin vans and an apparel now” “giz dem trainees now ya goth” Or something along them lines. Nope it’s a thin slice of the Liverpool music pie chosen by us.
• 7/ BBC Sound of 2011
New recruit Chris Holland delivers his verdict on the new BBC sound of 2011. He isn’t exactly happy with the process as he explains why in his debut article.
• 8/ CANTMIXWONTMIXSHUDNTMIXDONTMIX
• 16-17/ Desperate House Lives
Mr Bax, used to live in a house with people who could not look after themselves. He was ‘Daddy’, and not a good one. Consider these his memoirs from a time he would love to forget. Sadly everything you read actually happened and would have been worse than described.
• 19/ Learning To Speak
Orla’s also new to Waxxx, kind of. But she also has another job, which requires her to do something she’s not been good at before.
• 20-21/ Nam June Paik
We sent our journalist Matthew Lloyd to review and discuss the wonderful works of Nam June Paik.
• 22-23/ Art Attack - The 161 Collective
Matthew Lloyd knocks on at Damien Hirsts house to review his works and the works of his talented house mates aka the 161 Collective.
You have seen the logo, probably heard them mix or not, but who are they? New friends of Waxxx and curators of the Threshold festival reveal themselves in an exclusive interview.
• 26/ Horoscopes
• 9/ Les Savy Fav
• 27/ Art as Regeneration
Les Savy Fav were kind enough to answer a few questions before their much anticipated gig at the Kazimier. Here is a little preview to get you excited.
• 12-13/ Waxxx NYE
Find yourself, laugh at the gurns, remember who you club necked, perv on people you fancy or draw a cock on peoples heads. A round up of our NYE event.
Rupert Mountjoy gazes into the stars to reveal the future. Kind of.
Emma Harrison decribes how some of Liverpool’s famous building’s are being used in productive way through Art. Her first article for Waxxx focuses on the bombed out church and the exciting events Urban Strawberry Lunch are organising.
• 28-29/ Waxxx On Film
Charles is back with his second installment of films to watch out for, aswell as a review on Black Swan.
• 14/ Mark Frith - The Captive Hearts
Mark Frith of The Captive Hearts kindly played solo at our NYE event. We caught up with him before his glorious set and he talked about exciting developments he has in store with his band.
Editorial This is our third issue and after a disgusting Christmas and New Year of abusing our bodies, we’ve had a bit of a rest, but coming back much like Daft Punk, harder, faster, better and not forgetting stronger. Probably. We’ve changed a couple of things and thanks to all those Professors of Spelling and Grammar at Asshole University who constantly informed us of any wordy errors. Just because we can’t be arsed to check the articles we got an editor and we have also found a useful program on the computer to correct any spelling errrors. Mind you we couldn’t even spell our own magazine name properly so there will still be fucking loads. Get over it you sad twats you know what we mean. Also, you may have noticed we have changed printer. The other buggars have hiked their prices up and blown little old Waxxx out the water. Whatyagonnado? Another change was called for after we saw a facebook comment “nah am not goin to dat waxxx fing cos der will be loadsa dolce pebble dicks der”. Some people got it, unfortunately the joke flew way above the heads of too many and we are populist pricks. RIP Dolce Pebble. However, one thing we aren’t changing is the way we do events. Waxxx NYE at Leaf went rather well and despite
Thanks to: lots of glass smashing, weed smoking, laptop stealing and kids scrawling 69 everywhere, we were informed that everyone had a really fucking good time (we were there in body only) and our next event promises to be even better. We have been asked to collaborate with our friends at Discoteca Poca to organise the after-show party for the Threshold Festival on February 12th at the enormous CUC on Jamaica Street. The Tea Street Band, Binary Toad, Shadow Cabinet, Mr Paul, James Rand and Revo will be providing the entertainment so make sure you click ‘I’m attending’ on Facebook, get yourself ready, have some drinks, make the call, wait for your man and then come join us for a big rave! Just before we go www.waxxx.co.uk will be up and running in due course, so keep looking on our facebook for updates. Ta for now, Waxxx xxx firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Jamm Factory, Becky from Leaf, All of the staff at Leaf, Waxxx NYE attendees, All the contributors, Ricky Narito Waxxx was made by: Ricky Narito, Michael Pickard and Joshua Burke Contributors: Waxxx, Corey Bartle-Sanderson, Paul Cassidy, Orla Foster, Dave Cookson, Ste Baxendale, Charles McIntyre, John Johnson, Chris Holland, Jodie McNeil, Jacob Hickey, Ricky Narito, Amee Christian, Emma Harrison, Matthew Lloyd and anyone we’ve missed off.
EAR WAXXX Words: WAXXX, DAVE COOKSON Illustration: COREY BARTLE-SANDERSON
/ P. 4 - 5 /
HERE WE ‘WAXXX LYRICAL’ ABOUT OUR FAVOURITE STUFF. YESSSSSSSS! FIRST TIME WE’VE SAID THAT! WE’RE OBVIOUSLY LYING, WE USUALLY LISTEN TO RIHANNA ON FULL VOLUME BEFORE WE GO OUT, BUT HOW COOL WOULD IT BE TO ADMIT THAT SHIT?
MEN – TALK ABOUT BODY
THRESHOLD FESTIVAL CUC
HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIRMY HOUSE
MEN, the band from JD Samson of Le Tigre fame and some other cool dudes have us rather excited. Hailing from some big city in America somewhere, MEN release their debut album Talk About Body on 1st February on IAMSOUND. Their infectious, “disco house pop” has an element of punk and tracks with silly names like “Credit Card Babies” make you want to stuff your face with drugs and go out.
Under The Influence promoters have gone and made their own festival. They’ve scoured the area for shit loads of bands, most of which we’ve never heard of, but that’s not to say they aren’t good. Some of them definitely are good. The man behind it all, Chris Carney (CANTMIXWONTMIXSHUDNTMIXDONTMIX) wants to make it a more diverse and arty affair, so there’s a lot more up his wizard sleeve than your usual small festival. We’re also doing the Aftershow party. YAY.
Usually we pick songs that make us dance. Not this time. Despite the fact that it’s called My House, filled with fidgety electronic beats and by Hercules & Love Affair, it’s deceptively chilled, but captivating nonetheless. The guest from the last album, Anthony Hegarty has fucked off and left them with a more than capable collaborator in Kele (who used to be in Bloc Party but has got a bit cocky and “gone on his own musical journey”).
METRONOMY @ 02 ACADEMY 2
KIM ANN FOX MY HOUSE
Admittedly arriving a little bit late is unprofessional if you are attempting to review a band. Arriving as they begin their encore after repeatedly telling my girlfriend “the support bands will still be on” is downright retarded. Passing off the support bands for another drink was a foolish mistake too as Picture Book, a band possibly named after a Simply Red album are gathering pace and fans outside Liverpool after they changed genre completely and a string of electro pop songs appeared on their MySpace. After that were tour support act Connan Mockasin, who years ago released a remix of ‘Starlett Johanson - The Teenagers’ which was one of the most played items on my 1mb mp3 player. Yeh, not iPod, that’s how long ago it was and it’s their best thing to date, but still would’ve been good to see them. Lastly, Metronomy lit up with their own truck headlights tshirts, played to a smaller, less enthusiastic than anticipated crowd for such a good band. Their second album was an instant favourite amongst the electrosynthy-still-a-bit-indie-cos-there’s-still-guitars crew, and tonight, although currently touring their third album, Metronomy knew that’s all we wanted to hear. It was, in a way depressing, the thought that they’re past their peak. Like a Dad getting beaten by his son at football for the first time, we watched Metronomy play songs they’ve done thousands of times and with masses of energy in the past. Really they don’t want to admit that they want to move on from that. They’ve changed the line-up, a sign in itself that they want to steer away from the bands albeit successful past but tonight is about trying to subtly introduce the kids to their new addictive drug, The English Riviera. Metronomy, though are not over, they are simply moving forward and maturing. I do miss their energy, but then I should probably grow up too.
We love it when a DJ or producer decides that a song isn’t good enough and changes the it to his or her liking so that they can tour the country playing it like its their own. This issue we decided that Hercules & Love Affair’s Kim Ann Fox’s mix ‘My House’ was our favourite. It’s pretty special from beginning to the final 12th song. Promising more of her addictive electro-disco favourites, she’s playing other people’s songs live when she graces Liverpool with her presence for Discoteca Poca at Shipping Forecast on 4th February.
We love it when a DJ or producer decides that a song isn’t good enough and changes the it to his or her liking so that they can tour the country playing it like its their own. This issue we decided that Hercules & Love Affair’s Kim Ann Fox’s mix ‘My House’ was our favourite. It’s pretty special from beginning to the final 12th song. Promising more of her addictive electro-disco favourites, she’s playing other people’s songs live when she graces Liverpool with her presence for Discoteca Poca at Shipping Forecast on 4th February.
Liverpool Sounds Like:
THE TEA STREET BAND
Words: DAVE COOKSON Photography: JOHN JOHNSON
/ P. 6 - 7 /
The Tea Street Band are a group who are keen to avoid any association with the term ‘indie’. Although the lineup includes two guitarists, a bassist and drummer, The Tea Street Band produce a more euphoric dance-infused sound. We spoke to the band’s ‘Korgist’ James Albertina to find out about their influences and what lies ahead. You have quite an eclectic sound, how do you go about creating that? It is an amalgamation of all our collective influences resulting in our final sound. A large part of our sound comes from our two guitarists. They have very distinctive and unique playing styles, Timo often using large blues overdriven sounds playing on the melody whilst Lee will be layering the song through his manipulation of sounds using his delays and other various pedals. Myself playing the Korg , Nico (bass) and Dom (drums) are the groove just tending to pump along in sync whilst the guitars provide all the lovely stuff you hear when we play live.
“MUSIC IS AN AUDIO PLEASURE; IF I WANT TO BE SATISFIED VISUALLY I WILL GET ON THE NET AND SEARCH FOR SOME DECENT PORN!”
Your recorded material sounds really polished and well produced, is it difficult to maintain this when performing live? When we first started out playing in The Tea Street Band we sat down and thought about this. When we create a recording of a song we can take our time and add overdubs as we see fit. When we play live we cannot recreate our recorded sound exactly so that left us a little worried. Eventually we realised that we don’t have to recreate the recording, we can play our live set, if we happen to play one of our recorded songs you’ll know that we are playing it but it’ll be different to what you’ve heard electronically. It wouldn’t be much fun going to a gig and just hearing the record, you could stay at home and listen to it without the expense of a night out! Your sound has elements of various dance genres, is this something you aim for? Indeed it is. We don’t want to be classed as an ‘indie’ band, not that there is anything wrong with that tag! We have all played in various bands over the years and been involved in the ‘indie’ scene. We are all past the stage of trying to look cool, we’re at a point where we just want to make music we are comfortable with and enjoy playing it without the hassle of whether we look good and other menial things. Music is an audio pleasure; if I want to be satisfied visually I will get on the net and search for some decent porn! Where does this appreciation of dance come from? I think because we’re a similar age and entered our teens at a time in Liverpool that was dominated by places like The State, The Buzz, Cream etc. Although when we started playing instruments we tended towards classic bands like The Stones, The Who, The Beatles, in our sub-conscious the dance music was getting processed and now that times have changed and the music scene nationally is more geared towards electro/dance/pop we decided to change our outlook and go back to what was lurking in the depths of our minds! It might not be too cool to admit but deep down we all love a bit of scatty Scouse dance madness. Go on to YouTube and type in ‘Bits and Pieces’ and you’ll get the picture.
What kind of music do you normally listen to? Do you have varied tastes within the band?
Do you have a favourite Liverpool venue to play in?
I am a huge fan of Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush whereas someone like Timo loves good old guitar based stuff like Shack and Bruce Springsteen. You’ll have Nico who is in to bands like The Beta Band and The Stone Roses, Lee is a fan of anything he can get his hands on and then there is Dom who loves all things tribal, especially anything African, I think he likes the rhythms!
The Zanzibar is a great venue, boss sound system and nice setup, The Kazimier is a great new venue that I think will go from strength to strength, Heebies is good place to play, being outside is not great sound wise but it more than makes up for it with the atmosphere it provides. I could go on for ages here licking every arse in town but I shall refrain from it any more as I don’t want to piss any more people off by not saying they have a boss venue.
Where are you at in terms of recording and releasing some new material, any album plans yet?
Is there anywhere in Liverpool which you think is a fitting arena for your style of music?
We are currently working on three new tracks, ‘Tonight’, ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Words They Fail Me’ with a view to releasing them in the next couple of months. In terms of an album we are hopefully looking towards to the end of the year after what should be a really good summer for us. As it stands right now obviously being an unsigned act means that we are doing this all by ourselves so we are stumbling across a few little hiccups here and there but working around everyone’s jobs and University commitments won’t stop us, it just slows the process down a tad.
It isn’t so much the venue that makes a good night’s music but the whole package. It has to be have good promoters who know what they are doing, a good sound guy, obviously the music has to be good and the final touch is obviously the people who come down to take part in the fun and games! You could rent a portacabin and if you approached it right and got all the elements correct that would be a great venue to play.
BBC SOUND OF 2011 Words: CHRIS HOLLAND Illustration: JODIE MCNEIL
“BE UNCOOL. LISTEN TO ABBA IF YOU WANT TO. LISTEN TO WU TANG CLAN IF YOU ENJOY THEM.”
XFM and Bauer Media - the ominous corporation who owns Radio City and every other huge regional station as well as the editors of NME, Q Magazine, Mojo and the music editor for pretty much every newspaper in Britain. In short, the BBC Sound of 2011 is chosen by the people who are in charge of deciding what bands and artists you hear and read about all year. So surely this defeats the object of predicting who will be big, when they can decide what becomes big through radio play and magazine coverage? Especially considering Sound of 2011 doesn’t claim that Jessie J is going to be successful, merely that she’s going to be well known. Essentially, she could be parading her pouty, whitegirl hiphop at the top of the charts, and the list-makers could say “See! We were right!” Then again, even if she’s barely scraping the top 30, the list-makers can still claim they were correct as long as they’re still getting plenty of radio play and TV coverage, which they can supply. It would be like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA announcing that gammon is going to be the ‘hot meat of the year’ and stocking it prominently on big shiny shelves. Then at the end of the year declaring that they were right. And when people say “Actually, I’d say gammon wasn’t any more popular than any of the other meats on offer,” the shops shout “But it WAS popular! Look how many shops stocked it!”
Music’s good isn’t it? Well, some music is. It can be so hard finding out what sorts of music are good. You have to ask your friends, listen to the radio, read magazines and websites and go to gigs... It’s SO MUCH HASSLE. Fortunately the BBC has already decided what music will be good next year and have named Jessie J as the Sound of 2011. Now I’m aware that criticising the BBC for recommending new music in a magazine that does precisely that is a bit hypocritical, and it would be kind of immature to trash the Sound of 2011 list simply because I disagree with their choice. However, I do find Jessie J a bit of a pathetic choice. I mean, how long can the mainstream media continue being impressed by girls who act manly? Did Jessie J just say that she can “grab her crotch” and “wear her hat low”? Jesus Christ! And wait, does she also claim that “she doesn’t care about the money” and “she doesn’t care about the price tag”? Holy shit! I’ve not heard something that revolutionary since ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ nearly 50 years ago. I digress. My point is not against the CHOICE of Jessie J, what I object to is the fact that Miss J’s position as ‘top tip’ is decided by ‘industry people’. Amongst these bigwigs are the heads of music for Radio 1, Radio 2, Kiss FM,
If I was to recommend a band on these pages (I don’t know... Star Slinger’s pretty good) I wouldn’t personally gain from it. However, by giving Jessie J this dubious crown, and giving her the cliché of being ‘hot and new’ surely the people deciding the list are just scratching their own backs for when they inevitably feature her on the covers of their magazines? “Have you heard, Q’s got an interview with Jessie J?” “She won that BBC List. I should therefore check it out.” I hardly see the point in a singer receiving praise for music they’ve yet to make. Let’s see if the Nobel Prize gets taken seriously if, next year, they are awarded to the scientists, writers and politicians who look like they might help with world peace based on what their PR people say. But the worst part? The implied idea that one artist will define 2011, and that is why you should like them. Not because you may enjoy their music, but because they are going to be fashionable, and you wouldn’t want to be uncool. What a condescending and holier than thou sentiment. Be uncool. Listen to ABBA if you want to. Listen to Wu Tang Clan if you enjoy them. Go down to the local tiny venue with a sticky floor and wet ceiling and see some band who have only just started if that’s what you like to do. Last year the BBC claimed Ellie Goulding was to be the Sound of 2010, and she did relatively well. This year, I’m going to claim the Sound of 2011 to be whatever you want it to be. Let’s see how that goes.
CantMixWontMixShdntMixDontMix Words: DAVE COOKSON Artwork: CantMixWontMixShdntMixDontMix
/ P. 8 - 9 /
“OUR SETS ARE LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES LOTS OF TASTY FLAVOURS WITH A BUNCH OF NUTS AND NO DOUBT A FEW FRUITY MOMENTS.”
CantMix… are a group of 6 Liverpool-based DJs who have steadily grown in stature since their formation. With a rotational ‘one-on-one-off’ policy, each set is a specimen of spontaneous diversity. We spoke to Matt, Chris and Bob about their live sets and how such a ludicrous moniker was born…
You’ve got a very original name, where does it come from? Matt: It was all a joke in 2006 that somehow went right. Originally it was CantMixWontMix (an adaptation of the TV show Can’t Cook Won’t Cook), which grew as we grew (ShdntMix joined in 07, Dont in 08) until out of the blue we got booked for Standon Calling and Creamfields. It was like the wind changed and we’re left with the 29 letter abomination of the English language that we know and love today. It can abbreviate to CMWMSMDM and we also get called The Mixnots. How did MixNot get started? M: Chris coined the phrase ‘Mix Not and Prosper’ to explain our unexpected successes in 2008 so when later that year it came to picking a web domain we opted for mixnot.net for brevity. Chris: It’s now morphed into an all-inclusive term for us and anyone who identifies with the Mixnot ethos, it’s a community. How did you decide on having a rotational system amongst yourselves? Bob: Because we added members one at a time, it was more of a case of ‘it’s your go’. The only reason we got the T-shirts printed was so that we knew what order we went in. Does the one-on-one-off system have its problems? M: It certainly throws up challenges. You rarely know what you’re going to play before the Mixnot in front of you drops his track. C: We continue to surprise/amaze/disgust each other with our selections, it’s one of the things that keeps our sets fresh. M: Our sets are like a box of chocolates - lots of tasty flavours with a bunch of nuts and no doubt a few fruity moments. If you could divide the members’ influences and tastes up individually how would it go?
M: Have you got all day? There are six of us and we like a lot of music. We’d have to create some sort of chart to get it all in. Has there ever been a time when you think your range of tastes has led to an especially good set? M: The sheer breadth of music we have at our collective disposal is certainly a strength as we’re able to turn our hand to a great variety of events. How are your sets composed - off the cuff or do you spend a lot of time planning and rehearsing? M: Off the cuff. Four of the six Mixnots hadn’t touched a deck before joining, so it’s always been about learning on the job, and the most we’ve ever planned is working out what tune to start with and the rest follows. Sometimes we have a closer in mind as well for the bigger gigs, but the spontaneity is key. You’ve played support for some big names, which one was your favourite? C: It was quite an honour to support Norman Jay MBE at The Magnet, and LoveFoxxx (CSS) at the old Korova, because she was so up for what we were about, she donned a T-shirt and got right onto the dance floor. M: Also Craig Charles for his enthusiasm for the music he plays. Is there anything you’re looking forward to as a group in 2011? M: The Threshold Festival in the CUC, Liverpool 11-13th Feb is going to be full of fantastic acts and activities and then there’s the weddings - both Chris and Kenny are marrying their respective betters this year so we’ve got some celebrating to do there. Is there anywhere in the North West you would love to play but haven’t as yet? Are there any festivals on your wish list for the next few years? M: We’d like to hit Manchester more. As for festivals, we want them all! Glastonbury, Bestival, Big Chill, Secret Garden Party to name a few...
LES SAVY FAV Words: DAVE COOKSON Illustration: HORSE
“THIS BAND INJECT ENERGY INTO THEIR SETS AND HAVE AN UNCONVENTIONAL FRONTMAN IN TIM HARRINGTON WHO LEAVES NOTHING BEHIND .”
LES SAVY FAV AT THE KAZIMIER, 26TH FEBRUARY 2011 In terms of reputation, there aren’t many bands that can compete with Les Savy Fav when it comes to live shows. Famed for a breathless, if at times anarchic approach to performance the New York five-piece are a definite highlight of Liverpool’s musical calendar for the coming month. Across their five studio albums Les Savy Fav have an array of musical styles and sounds, gradually evolving from hardcore tendencies towards a more refined art rock style without losing any of their impressive vitality. Don’t expect to turn up to watch five guys turn up, swiftly eat up some material and go home, this band inject energy into their sets and have an unconventional frontman in Tim Harrington who leaves nothing behind. Their latest release, Root for Ruin exemplifies the maintenance of their swagger with upbeat songs laced with morbidity and snippets of experimental otherworldliness. If ever there was a fitting LSF track for a Liverpudlian audience then it has to be ‘Calm Down’. Sometimes there is only so much faux coolness one can take, an unadulterated sweatfest such as this the only remedy. It might not be your thing, but you could find yourself engrossed.
You’re well renowned for having changed your sound over the years, would you be able to tell us how this has happened? It’s the result of approaching music writing in an inthe-moment way. So, take what each of us are into at the occasion of recording an album, throw that in the vita-prep that is our process of mediation, and you get something: songs that aren’t concerned with continuity, but are more about fleshing out the moment in which they were written. Do you have any idea what the next few years hold for Les Savy Fav? Beaches. What material can we expect at your Liverpool gig in February? We like to keep our set list revolving through all of the albums. There’s a discrepancy between the lps and the live shows that ends up influencing what we play. There’s a sort of translation process where we have to adapt the song to a live format and not all of them make it out alive. We’ve been rehearsing ‘adoptduction’ off of go forth, but we’ve also been doing a fair number of covers. We usually decide the night of.
what’s good to eat in liverpool. And don’t say, ‘a pool of liver’. Do you find a lot of inspiration in the UK in terms of music or any of the other arts? Yes! London is one of our favorite cities for contemporary art viewing. We always try to go by the hayward gallery when we’re there. And maybe a few small galleries as well. We saw, ‘laughing in a foreign language’ at the hayward a few years back. So amazing. We love the way that the music and art worlds overlap in the uk. That’s a comfort zone for us. It’s more segregated in the states. Speaking of song titles, your last album Root for Ruin features tracks with morbid names and lyrics associated with horror, is this coincidental or is this something you’re all interested in? I would say that mortality, memento mori and the like are consistent themes in tim’s lyrics. Fingernails, for example, have been indicated in several songs over the years. For this lp i think we were all collectively thinking about a way to view the apocalypse with enthusiasm. Not in a death-wish way at all, but maybe entertaining the notion/metaphor that destruction can beget something innovative and good.
Are you aware that ‘Calm Down’ is a stereotypical Scouse catchphrase as well as one of your song titles?
Can having such a massive reputation as a live act be a hindrance in the sense that some people may not take your recorded material as seriously as your shows?
I had to look that one up. Cool! We’re big on regionalism. It’s one of the most vital facets of getting to travel so much. You want to make every place feel specific, to avoid at all costs the jadedness of constant travel. Food is a big part of that. Somebody let us know
See answer #3 above. And since we are declarative about this discrepancy, the variable opinion of either mode isn’t too much of a bother.
N O V A S
CONTE MPORARY JAMAICA
CE NT R E
WAXXX NYE 2011 Photography: COREY BARTLE-SANDERSON, JACOB HICKEY, ROGELIO NARITO
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MARK FRITH - THE CAPTIVE HEARTS Words: DAVE COOKSON Photography: THE CAPTIVE HEARTS
/ P. 14 - 15 /
“IF A NEW MUSICIAN COMES ALONG OR AN OLD ONE WHO YOU’VE NOT FOUND BEFORE THEN IT ALWAYS PERKS YOU UP AND SENDS YOU INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION.”
Mark Frith, formerly of The Troubadors and now with new band The Captive Hearts, is hoping for a big 2011. Mark rounded off a hectic 2010 with a solo live performance at Waxxx NYE in Leaf. We caught up with him to try and find out a bit more about his musical ventures. What’s 2010 been like for you? It’s been pretty good coming out of one band at the end of 2009 and starting again with a new one [The Captive Hearts]. I knew what I had to do - put it together, bring the single out and get the fanbase up and running with everyone knowing that I’m in this new band, it’s been great actually, one of the best years of my life. What can we expect from The Captive Hearts in the near future? We’ve just been in the studio demoing new songs and we’re going to pick one to be the next single. The second single will be out around March/April time with a tour around then, and then hopefully we’ll be recording the album in the summer.
So how exactly did the band come together?
Do you usually play New Year’s Eve or would you normally be doing something else?
I went in the studio at the end of last year demoing songs just on my own and I had the idea to get a new band together and all I did was ask three people, and they all said ‘yes’ so it wasn’t a case of worrying about getting a band together or searching for anything, I just went and did it.
No, I’d be out somewhere getting pissed, but I’m made up I’m playing to be honest.
Do you tend to stick with the same influences or do you look out for new stuff for inspiration?
You’re playing on your own tonight, do you prefer doing this or playing with your bandmates?
You’ve always got to look out for new stuff because you get bored, when you pick up a guitar you always find yourself playing the same thing, I don’t know if many guitarists reading this will say the same. I always try different tunings, Nick Drake’s always a big influence. If a new musician comes along or an old one who you’ve not found before then it always perks you up and sends you into another dimension.
With my band, all day. No advantages of playing on your own then? Not really, when I’m playing on my own I like to throw in a few crowd-pleasers. Playing with your best mates live is one of the best feelings, anyone who’s not in a band will never understand it will they? You know - all of the people with normal jobs! What would you say the main difference between The Captive Hearts and The Troubadours is? The songwriting’s got better. I’d say better musicians, I don’t mean to be disrespectful to my last band. I’ve just got a group of lads together who I grew up with really, some of them intended to be in The Troubadors when I started the band but they were all away at uni and that, so when I was getting another band together I got back in touch with the same people again. I still the love the lads I was in The Troubadors with, I’d never badmouth them.
Being based in Wigan, would you say it has a strong music scene, how does it compare to Liverpool? It has got a really good music scene, The Suzukis are from Wigan and are signed to Deltasonic. There’s a few good bands kicking about, it always has had good bands, the last big band was The Verve obviously and no one’s really done it since then. It all stems back from the Northern Soul days, everyone loves music in Wigan, almost as much as they do in Liverpool. Is Northern Soul a good thing for Wigan given its legacy or can it be an obstacle for newer bands to overcome? Well, it’s maybe a good thing, because if you come from Liverpool you’ve got The Beatles, that’s the biggest
obstacle of all - the greatest band to have walked the earth. Northern Soul is great for people who love music, and everyone loves music in Wigan. It gets painted a lot as a rugby town where everyone eats pies but it’s not really. There’s a really nice bohemian clique around places like a pub called The Tudor and all the musos go there. Are there any local bands that you are excited about? There’s not really, there’s an Australian band called Tame Impala who are great. Like I said, The Suzukis are a great band, they’ve been going for seven years now and they should have been a lot better known than they are which is a bit upsetting. To be honest with you, I’ve not really heard anything come out of Liverpool for a while that has caught my eye. Why do you think The Suzukis haven’t been more successful? On their part I think it’s bad luck, they’re a great set of lads, great musicians. I can’t say anything about that really but hopefully it’ll come good sooner rather than later. Any new year’s resolutions or hopes for the year? I always try and quit smoking but get to mid-January and start again so I’m not going to bother this year. I’m looking forward to getting on with the band, releasing the single and playing a few festivals this year. Through the experience I had with my last band I’m not going to expect anything, I’m just going to get on with it and hope for the best.
'What Happened to Soho?’ EP Tour ...a night of gentlemanly jaunts, jolly japery, and jaw dropping gyrations as we welcome special guests THE CORRESPONDENTS to Liverpool and their amazing live show to the Kazimier...
18th MARCH @ THE KAZIMIER with RUMJIG / BURNITOV / DOGS POCKET and THE KAZIMIER MOBILE KRUNK BAND TICKETS £7 ADVANCE via www.thekazimier.co.uk / www.burnitov.com www.thecorrespondents.co.uk / www.freshlysqueezedmusic.com
DESPERATE HOUSE LIVES Words: STEPHEN BAXENDALE - stephenbaxendale.blogspot.com
/ P. 16 - 17 /
Liverpool’s own 62a Donnelly Street was found in a recent investigation by the Department of Health to be one of the worst places to live in the northern hemisphere. Our columnist Stephen Baxendale spent a year of his life there. It ruined him and he never wanted to think about it again. Fortunately we were able to change his mind with mild to moderate use of the Waxxx credit card. So heed this tale of warning, you may think you’re tough enough to live in the ‘shit’, but you have no idea what those crumbling walls can do to your mind. Jake had become unwell from the dust, damp, cold and general ruthless condition of the flat. He could barely stand up and spent most of his time drinking in bed. One night Andrew, one of our other flatmates stayed in Jake’s bed with him. The temperature in his own room had gone below freezing and he suspected if he didn’t steal someone’s body heat he would perish before the morning. Andrew got up in the middle of the night to take a leak. Instead of braving the freezing conditions outside the room, he decides to piss in a small ashtray next to Jake’s head. This quickly overflows and begins trickling sweet, warm urine into Jake’s eyes and mouth. Jake, too ill to get up, asks “Are you pissing on my head?” Andrew replies, cock still in hand, “No”. I describe this scene just to convey what an average night was like in 62a Donnelly Street. The conditions were so bad that you might not make it to morning and even your flatmates would piss on your dying head if it benefited them in the slightest. At 62a the landlord asks for no references and takes no bank details, everything is in cash and off the books. As long as you pay the rent you can live in a place that is invisible to the council, the tax office and any authorities you might not want knowing your whereabouts. This situation attracts a certain clientele. It pulls in a spectrum of lowlifes, fuckups, artists, musicians, drug abusers, drug dealers, dropouts, bastards, drunks, perverts and criminals. This toxic mix of peoples causes the place to become a nest of insanity and misery. From the outside you can see that the house is a patchwork of half completed extensions built on top of one another. The windows are opaque from years of filth and bin bags are allowed to pile up outside the doors. Somehow the inside was worse. Carpet had been put down, but not cut to size, so it bunched up in hills in places while other bits were bare floor. Pipes jutted out of walls but led nowhere and did nothing. Years of dust hung in the air so that even in strong light the flat had the constant gray appearance of twilight. The bathroom was a horror, the shower head had fingers of mould growing out of it, which even when you removed grew back in a day. There were no locks on the front or back doors so sometimes you would come out of your room and there would be someone there, having sex or drinking booze. You’d ask this stranger “Who the fuck are you?” and he’d usually say “Who the fuck are you?” Our first night in the flat I took all of this in and muttered “This is low.” “This isn’t low” Jake said. “This is nothing, I’ll tell you when we’re low.”
“ONE OF OUR PARTIES HAD BEEN SO DEPRAVED THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HAD GOT INVOLVED.” The landlord was a professional bastard known as ‘The Colonel’. He insisted on being called ‘The Colonel’. He was a short fat elderly Egyptian man with a combover, he wore an old mustard colored suit and constantly chewed a pipe. He could run like a bastard when he needed to and he had a hell of an uppercut. We often avoided paying him rent for a variety of reasons, complaining there was no water, or the rats were eating our food again. Nevertheless a couple of times a week he would walk into our flat with no notice and start howling about rent, we’d give him a little money and he’d instantly become happy and manageable, telling us tales of the women he’d had and the men he’d throttled. He was always looking for Andrew, who never paid him a penny. Anytime ‘The Colonel’ banged on the door Andrew would run out the back or hide under a blanket until he was gone. The flat was so cold it was almost impossible to sleep. We would lie in bed watching our breath in the air above us. Everything was damp and the bed sheets never seemed to dry out. You would wake up at three or four in the morning, your head would be numb and your arms unresponsive. I had ways of keeping warm but they caused a lot of problems between me and the girlfriend.
I’d ceased to be very attractive since I began sleeping fully clothed with an electric heater which I would spoon all night. Our other flatmate Pete took it harder than the rest of us. The stress of simply enduring such conditions drove him over the edge. Pete found a simple solution early on which set the tone for the rest of our time there: booze. Booze seemed to help every aspect of our lives. We began drinking obscene amounts. We started ‘beer corner’, which was to be a collection of all the bottles of booze we consumed while in the house. In a couple of months beer corner had covered half the house. There were bottles everywhere, on every surface, in every drawer, all going rotten and attracting flies. This boozing inevitably attracted debauched parties that started off out of hand and gradually got worse. People would be having sex on any available floor space and strangers would start looting and attacking our property. Andrew had come from strict parents and had been in a tight educational routine for many years. Something seemed to go awry inside of him when he came to 62a. It was as if he turned his back on society. Some even say he turned his back on his humanity.
He would sleep for four or five days before emerging from his room filled with a terrible hunger. He’d start cooking an unreasonable amount of food. A standard meal: a leg of pork, two chicken burgers, four crispy pancakes, a baked potato, chips and three potato waffles. But while this was cooking he’d eat packets of crisps and then have a pan of noodles, then some toast. Setting up his terrible feasts he’d use every dish, bowl, and plate in the house, using some to hold sauces, some for salad, others for fruit and desserts. Then when the
food was finally ready he’d descend upon it, savagely tearing into it, finishing it all in minutes. He’d immediately collapse. His body unable to cope with all this food, his abdomen would cramp and he would cry out in pain, rolling around pounding his palms on the floor. Then came a period of being awake for four days, where he would read classic literature and watch grainy VHS while drinking stolen booze and eating nothing but carbohydrates. Then he would sleep for four or five days…
“THERE WERE NO LOCKS ON THE FRONT OR BACK DOORS SO SOMETIMES YOU WOULD COME OUT OF YOUR ROOM AND THERE WOULD BE SOMEONE THERE, HAVING SEX OR DRINKING BOOZE.”
This eight day cycle continued for the entire year we were there. Like clockwork he would burst into the kitchen, oblivious to there being guests or not, and in his underwear begin frying a steak, cooking an omelette and putting crumpets in the toaster. Then he would collapse with his pains, crying out, smacking the floor in anger. This was very difficult to explain to house guests, but they got used to it eventually. Jacob began to truly scare me after a few months. He found it hard to fill the hours in our strange little house. He would collect obscure objects that he had found in the street. He’d also taken to tattooing pictures of penises on his body with a needle and biro ink. You would walk into his room and he’d be using a baby’s shoe as an ashtray and prosthetic hand to hold his beer while he tattooed a pair of balls on his ankle, he’d be sitting there as naturally as someone drinking a cup of tea and reading the paper. Before every night out he would drink an entire bottle of rum and collapse on the floor before leaving the house. Then at two or three in the morning he would wake up and begin drinking again, he’d go out to the nearest bar and punch the first person he saw. I saw him once lying on his floor, the vomit around his head almost looking like a halo. “Will you not admit now Jake, will you not admit this is low?” I said. “This isn’t low. I’ll tell you when we’re low, this is nothing,” he replied. What really unhinged me were the rats. I couldn’t beat the bastards. My flatmates couldn’t see the problem; they hated me for trying to get rid of the rats and held a funeral for each one I got. Eventually I gave up and just had to live with them. After I gave up all their attacks were aimed at me, they knew I was beaten. I came in one day and one was sat on my table, I took a swing at it, but it just sat there, fearless, eventually I left. We all came to hate and fear each other. All communal purchases stopped due to the mounting contempt between us all. Bin bags stopped early on and instead we had ‘bin corner’, which was just a pile of rubbish, which rapidly grew and took over the other half of the house that wasn’t covered by beer corner. Toilet paper was always a sore point between us. Pete took to using newspaper, Jacob would tear up Andrew’s clothes into strips, while Andrew used blank cheques. The problem with these things is that they don’t flush, so the shit covered remains were added to bin corner. I once had to use a piece of bread, which was a hard decision because it was my last slice and I was starving at the time.
Eventually the good times had to end. We had pushed ‘The Colonel’ too far, he could tolerate our sinister nature and our erratic behavior, but one of our parties had been so depraved the Department of Health had got involved. The last thing ‘The Colonel’ wants is attention, particularly from the government, he just left us a polite note saying we had to be out by seven o’clock, or some thugs he’d hired would be round to sodomise us with claw hammers. Pete left for university immediately after reading this. Andrew packed up a small bag of things and became a vagabond. I wasn’t ready for education or vagrancy so I was slightly panicked by the situation. Jacob secured us somewhere to stay just down the hill from our house on Berry Street. He was in work all day so would have to abandon his collection of bizarre possessions. The new flat was unfurnished and I wasn’t ready to start living in an empty flat. But how to move the shit? I found a wheelbarrow in the garden, it was covered in rust and the wheel squeaked but it would do. I started throwing handfuls of stuff into the barrow. No time to sort the stuff from the shit. I’d just have to hope I had a favourable ratio. I had many strange looks wheel barrowing through the centre of town, the urban wheelbarrow is not a usual sight.
6 1/ Andrew jumping a ten foot wall to escape ‘The Colnel’. 2/ Jacob weeping. 3/ The kitchen, or were we kept the rats. 4/ This was the first site i saw on moving in. 5/ Off to the pawn shop to get the booze money. 6/ Rotten bastards.
My girlfriend watched me do all this with visible disgust. “This isn’t low,” I said to her. “This is nothing, I’ll tell you when I’m low.” Names and addresses were changed to protect ourselves from ‘The Colonel’ finding out we talked about his property and the inevitable twatting we would receive.
LEARNING TO SPEAK Words: ORLA FOSTER Illustration: AMEE CHRISTIAN
/ P. 18 - 19 /
‘Children should be seen and not heard.’ That was the motto stitched in tapestry above my bed as a child, and the mantra by which I have always lived. “Speak when you’re spoken to,” my mother would grimly admonish when, as a youngster of three or so, I tried to express my feelings aloud, or asked for help tying my laces. As I grew older, even the dinner table retained this hushed, chapel-like atmosphere. “Shaddap,” my father used to bark if I broke the silence for a moment by asking for extra helpings through the surgical mask I typically wore. We weren’t ones for empty conversation. But then I entered the world of the office drone, and the rules altered in a flash. All at once my tongue was being ripped out of my head in the effort to become a suitable employee, yapping away seven hours a day on the phone chained to my desk. I was thrown out into a world of never-ending dialogue, and had to adjust quick-sharp. Luckily, I was able to ditch my soul in no time at all and quickly developed a passion for phonespeak, the more trite the better. Anyone who isn’t in this fortunate position should follow the advice below.
“THE IDEA THAT YOU NEED TO APOLOGISE TO KEEP UP APPEARANCES IS PURE FICTION. NEVER TELL ANYBODY YOU’RE SORRY.”
First, cheesy opening gambits are to be celebrated. I recommend trilling something like “Hello, you’re through to Claudia and how can I HELP you this morning?” Aim for something approaching the SM:TV Live switchboard and you’re halfway there. Make no mistake, it is this concept of ‘Help’ which will be the measure of your success. You should punctuate most of your sentences with it if possible, adding the words “for you” to the end of any stated deed. “I’ll just check for you”, “I’ll just have a little look for you”, “I won’t be a moment for you”. Clients should never be made to feel as though any of your actions are being conducted on an independent basis. In times of uncertainty, feel free to make reference to the people surrounding you. “My colleague” is great, even if it’s spoken through gritted teeth, as it conjures up notions of teamwork, high fives and manicured fists punching the air. “I’ll just ask my supervisor” is also a good tack, suggesting an air of kindly authority guiding your every move. Even better, “I’ll just arsk my supervisor”. Affecting a southern accent will work wonders for making you sound competent and assured. Most importantly, don’t forget to round off every phrase with the tinkle of silvery professional laughter. Even if you’re just reciting an arbitrary sequence of letters and numbers to the person on the other end of the line, this is foolproof. Remember: if you can find something to titter about in an airtight artificially-lit computer suite, then kid, you’re going places. Once you’ve mastered the basics, the next challenge is to manipulate your language to poetic heights, leading the client to believe you’re part of a highly evolved utopian organisation rather than a fallible arrangement of desks and chairs. A man who used to sit next to me, God rest his soul, liked to explain away malfunctions by referring to an omnipotent presence known only as ‘the system’. “I must advise you, the system is in its infancy,” he would gravely disclose, fielding complaints with a stiff upper lip and his Ph.D in customer service robotics. “We will continue to chase a response but ultimately the system constrains us from proceeding at this time,” was another winner.
Superlatives, too, inspire confidence. So long as you hurriedly announce that everything is “brilliant”, “fantastic” or “great, thanks” you should be able to maintain the air of a well-oiled machine. However, the idea that you need to apologise to keep up appearances is pure fiction. NEVER tell anybody you’re sorry. Instead, give ‘em a list of unsatisfactory alternatives, all introduced with the line “What I WILL do. . .” or “What I CAN do. . .” If they try to argue, then make them aware of your lukewarm solution by repeating “as I say” ten times over. With a spot of luck you’ll bore the person to the point of forgetting what they rang you about in the first place. And so, after several months of taking business calls, I have finally become proficient in extending one snippet of information far, far beyond its required delivery time and enhancing it with any number of repetitions which, under ordinary circumstances would take little more than few seconds or so to relate, so that the original disclosure may be doubled and quadrupled ten times over, causing the office to buzz and hum interminably with the tedium of information being transferred between one party and another from dusk until dawn. In short, I learned to speak. On the downside, I now wear a perma-frown and sleep in a soundproof box to drown out the clamour of my own voice — but it’s a small price to pay.
NAM JUNE PAIK Words: MATTHEW LLOYD Photography: ROGELIO NARITO
/ P. 20 - 21 /
Don’t you just love the word ‘retrospective’? Whenever it’s mentioned in an artistic sense you automatically know that someone’s lifetime of work will be stretched out like a timeline on display. In this particular case Liverpool is no doubt highly pleased to announce the first major retrospective of this artist since his passing in 2006, I speak of the unique, groundbreaking Nam June Paik. I don’t think you could pigeonhole Paik with just one title; he was a composer, performer, philosopher, video artist, and a visionary. Paik is considered the inventor of media art and one of the first artists to use new mediums in art such as video/television. This consideration still lives on, with even Google Korea celebrating Nam June Paik’s life by changing their logo to a set of televisions in July 2010, on his birthday. This major retrospective spreads across two major Liverpool galleries, Tate Liverpool and FACT. Starting off at Tate Liverpool, around ninety works are brought together spanning Nam June Paik’s full career. Most of the works with the addition of notes, documents and advertisements are being shown for the first time in the UK. The whole exhibition at Tate acts as a celebration of Paik’s work. Entering the ground floor at Tate Liverpool we are presented with a visual timeline of the artist’s life and a mini showcase of Paik’s key memorable works. A large installation of fifty stacked television sets titled ‘Internet Dream’ (1994) is impossible to miss. This bright, flashing, channel switching and mixing giant imposes itself upon your visual senses, consuming your time and stopping you still to gaze in awe. (Much like the ability of normal television.) With this piece Paik is showing us the channel surfing culture that TV has created, that it has the ability to control us with its visuals no matter what they are. Around the corner past another flashing mini TV set, placed high on the wall, making you tip your neck back to peer at it, we see another simple yet intriguing ‘live’ installation. Titled ‘One Candle’ (1989), a candle is being filmed and then projected several times onto the wall, appearing in different colours. Paik has created a fake source of light, a much bigger and brighter, and more colourful appearance of a candle, but it is just an illusion taken from the original candle. Television acts in the same way, projecting visual representations of something original and making it seem more appealing. On the ground floor are mini abstract canvas works titled ‘Opus Paintings (32 teeth paintings)’ (1970). Elsewhere are classic Paik TV works and a video performance with German artist Joseph Beuys who Paik worked with a lot creating avantgarde music, leading up to the fourth floor for the second part of the Tate exhibition. On the top floor, we transcend into the world of avantgarde music (or ‘Time Art’), which Paik explored to the maximum. Original music scores are exposed, as well as fantastic black and white photographs of Paik and Beuys performing together using home-made/customised instruments, creating natural and obscure music. One can relate the organic madness in the photographs to Liverpool’s own weird and wonderful alternative nights at The Kazimier. As well as the documentation of this performance we see some of the actual instruments used. Two battered and broken pianos stand proud with
“PAIK IS SHOWING US THE CHANNEL SURFING CULTURE THAT TV HAS CREATED, THE ABILITY TO CONTROL US WITH ITS VISUALS NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE.”
their performance scars engraved in the wood. The keys of the piano were hooked up to trigger off other sounds and movements - turning a heater on, moving a hammer or dropping a shoe. We see a vintage record player with a number of stacked records that would rotate and play at the same time. Any number of items could be used to help their musical process, Paik even liked the use of tape, depending on thickness and length you could have a number of different sounds once the tape was tapped or struck. ‘A Homage for John Cage Audio Tapes’ (1960) is exactly what it says on the tin, artist/composer John Cage became a big influence to Paik, helping the artist explore the notion of everyday sounds and silence. By this time during the 1960s Paik moved to New York working alongside Cage, Beuys, Byrd and Yoko Ono. These ‘anti-art’ artists became part of the Neo-Dada movement known as Fluxus (a ‘do it yourself’ aesthetic). Artists could become very playful in this movement which we see in the piece, ‘Untitled (Krawattenzeichnug III)’ (1961), an abstract ink painting by Paik that was produced during a musical performance with Cage in which Paik cut off Cage’s tie and used it as a tool to paint with, resulting in a free-flowing improvised movement splashed onto paper, in time with uncultivated music. Continuing through the room, we come to one of Paik’s important thought-provoking and controversial pieces of work - ‘TV Buddha’ (1974-1982). Paik was heavily interested with Zen and symbols of Buddhism and their representation. The enigmatic ‘TV Buddha’ shows us different models of Buddha staring back at his own reflection through a TV that is projected by a live camera. Paik has been able to create an infinite loop with Buddhist concepts: self-reflection, the cycle of life and death and moments of enlightenment. Some Buddhas stare at themselves, others at a projected candle (another Zen symbol). Even Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ makes a special appearance. We now move into late 1960s when Paik is working with American cellist and performance artist, Charlotte Moorman. Paik’s ‘Opera Sextronique’ (1967) performance made headlines when Moorman was arrested for indecent exposure because she played with no bra on. The incident brought her nationwide fame as the ‘topless cellist’. The re-performance of this accrued with ‘TV Bra
for Living Sculpture’ (1969) with Moorman wearing a bra made out of two small televisions created by Paik. A room is dedicated to advertisements, photographs, and videos of these two working together, Paik’s own cello made out of three TV sets for Moorman to play can be admired for cleverness and craft. The next room holds ‘TV Garden’ (1974), a large-scale installation of dozens of image-flashing television sets nested in a myriad of plants creating a live jungle, alive with the sound of technology resulting in a natural/ unnatural environment. Paik’s next piece of work is clever and humorous, it’s the first time I have ever seen anything like it. ‘Video Fish’ (1975) is visually engaging to say the least. Seven TV monitors have now become a large fish tank. (Yes, with real fish.) The monitors flash, mix and distort such images as Rudolf Nureyev dancing and jets soaring, but the fish always calmly swim by. As you gaze in amazement not only at the intelligent achievement, you soon realise that the enjoyment of television and staring into a fish tank are one and the same. Again here Nam June Paik is using his Zen-influence and mixing technology with nature, or what he called Electronic Nature. The evolution of this Electronic Nature is represented in ‘Egg Grows No.4’ (1984). The live filming of an egg is projected onto eight monitors with the egg appearing to get bigger and bigger, until it is able to stand up right. Three eggs stacked on top of each other exemplify the evolution of man. In the same room appears another iconic work of Paik, his robot television sets. Paik had created an entire family made out of TV sets, here we see ‘Aunt and Uncle’ (1986), made from vintage metal and wooden television monitors, faced with a still simple portrait, they stand still yet full of life from the animated televisions. One of my favourite pieces in the exhibition is ‘Moon is the Oldest TV’ (1965). In a pitch-black room you are presented with twelve monitors in a half circle. From the first monitor to the last each screen shows a different face of the moon, with the last monitor showing the fullmoon face. ‘Moon is the Oldest TV’ reflects the effect that the moon has on Earth’s natural cycle, but Paik is also showing us that in this modern TV culture, television has also created its own cycle, and that it has the ability to control the human psyche.
The final piece of work you can attach yourself to before you trek off to FACT is another large-scale work of nineteen flashing monitors standing way above twenty feet, and we remember that this is what Nam June Paik is famous for - his innovation in new realms when television was still a novelty. Paik created new paths with new mediums whilst still being able to relate back to his own history of clashing cultures of east and west, also being clever enough to create new dimensions with the mixture of the natural and man-made, something we can still relate to today. As I leave the Tate it is getting dark but Paik still doesn’t leave your eyesight, as you can follow a large green laser beam in the sky pointing to FACT from Tate Liverpool, even after his passing you really get a sense that Paik is very much alive in the city of Liverpool. FACT’s exhibition of Paik focuses more on his innovation with television media and broadcasts. The first floor in FACT acts as a hub of Paik’s work to help you understand his deep concerns and knowledge of other cultures, and to try and make global communication with them through broadcast. The main climax of this marvellous, intelligent retrospective lies on the ground floor in the main room. FACT introduce you for the first time in the UK to ‘Laser Cone’ (2001), my words won’t be able to give this piece full justice, but it is truly spectacular. You see a large black teepee shape sculpture, which you have to go under to be involved in. You lie on your back and look in amazement at the view, and watch projected laser shapes dart, spin, shoot, and jolt all around you. This visually stunning work captivates and entertains, a rare piece of artwork that can make the viewer not want to leave. Nam June Paik experimented, invented, collaborated and lived to full capacity, pushing himself on different levels and becoming known as the first of his kind. Video and media art has evolved many times over and always will, but if it hadn’t been for Paik’s originality to start the ball rolling where would we be without him? I must note and apologise to anyone who might have gone to Tate Liverpool to try and catch Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland exhibition. I said in the last Waxxx issue that this was on display now, this was an error and the exhibition will be on from November 2011 to January 2012, many apologies.
“AS YOU GAZE IN AMAZEMENT NOT ONLY AT THE INTELLIGENT ACHIEVEMENT, YOU SOON REALISE THAT THE ENJOYMENT OF TELEVISION AND STARING INTO A FISH TANK ARE ONE AND THE SAME.”
ART ATTACK - THE 161 COLLECTIVE Words: MATTHEW LLOYD Photography: MATTHEW LLOYD, DAMIEN HIRST, MARTIN J. COOKE
/ P. 22 - 23 /
“IT IS EXCITING TO SEE WHAT TYPE OF YOUNG ARTISTS LJMU’S FINE ART COURSE IS PRODUCING” It’s a new year and it all has to start somewhere, Nam June Paik’s lifetime of work in a retrospective didn’t happen overnight, which many young artists should know. Now there is nothing more exacting than to see a retrospective, then to gaze on some new blood. You might remember in the last issue of Waxxx I mentioned a young man who goes by the name of Martin Cooke, and he and fellow art buddies were putting on an art show in their house at 161 Chatham Street. Did you attend? Well you should have because you just missed a big treat. The sound of a house exhibition made me a little sceptical at first, was it just going to be a few ok-ish paintings on the wall? Would it even be ok-ish art? Have these students even cleaned up before they put art out? The key word I would like to point out - students - is important because most of the artists in this DIY exhibition are all still students of Fine Art at LJMU. No matter what the outcome was going to be, it is exciting to see what type of young artists LJMU’s Fine Art course is producing. The artists involved in this show include Bob Barrows, Connor Bloomfield, Martin Cooke, Joseph Murphy aka Damien Hirst (we shall get to this later), Ciaran Murphy, Duncan Scammell and Tom Wray. On arrival at the magnificent Georgian building of the 161 Chatham House in the main hall area it seems quite normal, arty-looking young students in the living room, chilling out, drinking, having a good time, no art on the walls, just dodgy wallpaper. Then I am shown the cellar of the building, where the magic really is. Down the few wooden steps you are automatically transported into a cubic gallery space with bare brick walls painted white, dimly lit lights, and we are now in a home-made gallery space. Fantastic! The first piece of art I see has been painted directly onto the walls at the bottom of the stairs. It is one of Duncan Scammell’s graffiti-like, fine line, yet detailed black and white paintings depicting obscure attributes of the human body that have been twisted with the visual interest of textures from trees. Each body is different, and even though they are still images, they don’t lack life. As a series the figures seem to evolve, possibly morphing into Earth’s natural child. One can see the representation of the evolution of man, or even the devolution of man. Another fine-line work by Scammell shows a large tree filled with different patterns and textures, almost appearing like a futuristic, super-tree, one cannot help but think of the concept of the tree of life that could be related to this visually interesting painting. Duncan Scammell’s process involves intuition, drawing inspiration when the moment hits him; his detailed paintings are able to show off his technical drawing skill mixed with his own artistic style. In the next room we see art directly applied to the wall again, this time Ciaran Murphy presents us with two very different images. The first is a grim reaper-like character who is playing the puppet master on a young boy, possibly a school boy. Instinctively Pink Floyd’s
‘Another Brick in the Wall’ springs into mind in addition to the recent student protests against the government. The Death creature is controlling, making all the moves and decisions. Ciaran Murphy is telling us how death controls people’s lives and prevents them from living, due to the fact that death will one day happen to them. The second image is a portrait of the late great Pablo Picasso. It is drawn in fine pencil with some shading, a simple yet very recognizable ghost-like portrait of the artist. It shows Picasso very late in his career, an iconic look when he was at his most political and his work was about protest, peace and freedom. Both artworks by Murphy are visual and very different but they are well combined with their juxtaposition; the controlling of a higher power versus the activist that lies in all of us. In the same room we have Joseph Murphy’s work. (Or that’s what he used to be called.) The wall features documentation that states on January 1st 2011 his name will have changed by deed poll to Damien Steven Hirst. You cannot help but smile when reading the official legal documentation. I have to read it a few times just to be sure it is all real, but this is not just madness for the sake of it. Joseph Murphy is interested in the higher market of art and the business side of it, the name of Damien Hirst is now more like a brand than just a name. In these modern times anything that Hirst produces will fetch a large amount of money and attention, no matter what the artwork is. By stealing Damien Hirst’s name, Joseph Murphy pays homage to the Stuckism art group, who have attacked Hirst in the past, saying his work is unoriginal and that he
has plagiarised works by artists such as John Lekay and Joseph Cornell. This is a risky yet clever work by Joseph Murphy, who has used himself as his art piece and can now produce original works under the name of Damien Steven Hirst. Murphy has pushed a big wall down, and is building his own very unique road. Out of that room and appearing in a dark side entrance, we are attracted to another visually absorbing piece, this time a sculpture from Tom Wray. You enter this tiny dimly lit box space only to be confronted with another well known box shape. A coffin to be more precise, hung from the ceiling to give the feeling of weightlessness. It floats in front of you, draped in a thin, almost see-through cloth. There is a beautiful elegance about this piece, yet with a blend of the unknown, the poltergeist, and the after-life, concepts jolt through my mind. This artwork was inspired through Tom Wray’s own life experience, when his grandad passed away last summer and he had to be a pallbearer. The lightness of the coffin surprised and intrigued Wray about the quality and condition of his own mortality. Another artwork on mortality by Tom Wray is in the final room. This is a project video on the wall where the artist has filmed himself digging his own grave, naked with a small hand spade. This long garish performance is bizarrely entertaining, an act that you wouldn’t normally see - the living preparing themselves for their ultimate deathbed. Tom Wray reveals to me his concerns with modern life’s concept of death, and the forgetfulness of it. Wray’s work is about remembering and paying tribute to concepts and stories once forgotten.
In the final room we pay our attention to Bob Barrow’s large-scale sculpture. Made from planks of wood and a TV monitor, Barrows has built a full size wooden igloo big enough for several people to enter. This skilful custombuilt piece was made from the idea of process. Barrows enjoys the alteration and movement of having an idea, creating it, using it, and seeing its modifications formed by interactions with other people. The process sees Barrows building the igloo then using it as a place for conversions which were documented with a video camera, and can be seen on TV monitors next to the wooden sculpture. His reactions to his own development are highly amusing, reflecting an array of different emotions. Bob Barrows’ intelligent work refers back to classic philosophy - can something come from nothing? and looking at the cause and effect of something. Barrows is able to create an endless loop with his work. From having the idea and documenting the process and then evaluating that documentation, Barrows’ work becomes an infinite and timeless piece born from a simple yet complicated philosophy. Making my way down to the end of the room, hanging from the wall I come to the work of Connor Bloomfield. I observe three photographs of T-shirt designs, as well as the actual T-shirts made available for anyone to take. The artworks on the plain white T-shirts have been hand drawn in fine pen, giving the illusion of a hand-stitched process. The imaginary stitching on the T-shirts vary, we see a portrait of Prince Charles on one T-shirt, a cable knit hat on another, and a reflected human figure on the last one. Bloomfield doesn’t want to reveal the meaning of his chosen imagery, but they can be related to his own personal life experiences and memories. By doing this Bloomfield makes his work free, and invites the viewer to create their own story behind the images. He has made his artwork on T-shirts rather than canvas, making it more accessible with the people wearing his art becoming part of it and customising it themselves in any way they see fit. Bloomfield is able to detach himself from his work and hand it to other people, but will always know the hidden meanings of his images. Last but by no means least, we turn our attention to Martin Cooke and his large Coca Cola cans sculpture. Rested on the floor on a large wooden board, around four hundred iconic red cola cans have been stuck down, and some crushed in the bottom right corner. Martin Cooke is
bringing attention to the domination and destruction the American Coca Cola company brings. The large amount of cans represents the global phenomenon of Coca Cola, and the effect it has on diet, advertisement and life in Third World countries causing unfair devastation and pain to a lot of people in poverty who have to work for Coca Cola just to earn some sort of wage. (This is well illustrated with the crushed cans.) While looking at the bold sculpture, it seems to be able to change into a flag representing the consumerism of America; one also sees possible influence from artist Jasper Johns and his work ‘Three Flags’. Cooke acts as a performer in this work and a contradiction. To make a point about the chaos that Coca Cola creates, Cooke helped the company by buying its product and drinking it, but Cooke merely points out the bigger problems that the world faces; the workers in impoverished countries have to work for this company because it’s all they have to support their life. On the wall next to the sculpture Cooke has painted a very white-looking BNP leader Nick Griffin with a smile on his face, a halo around his head and a Coke can in his hand. This is a direct shot at how someone powerful will try to convince you about buying into a good idea or product when in fact it is extremely bad on a much deeper level. Martin Cooke has used a famous product to produce an already iconic looking piece of art, using only Coke cans this piece is much more than what meets the eye. So…were my expectations reached? Was I surprised? Would I do it all again? Absolutely! What a brilliant idea to start off with, creating gallery space in your house, working together as a collective to show off your art, it doesn’t get much better. As young artists from Liverpool they did an outstanding job. The created gallery and the work in the exhibition were well considered. Each artist spoke with confidence and excitement about their pieces, and it was very new underground, raw and impressive art. Like always I will leave you with this: “For an artist everywhere is a studio.” - Yoko Ono. For more information about the artists you can go to: www.becominghirst.co.uk - Joseph Murphy. www.robertbarrows.co.uk - Bob Barrows. www.goldencrow.co.uk - Connor Bloomfield. www.tomwray.co.uk - Tom Wray
“THE ARTIST HAS FILMED HIMSELF DIGGING HIS OWN GRAVE, NAKED WITH A SMALL HAND SPADE.”
HOOKA Words: PAUL CASSIDY
/ P. 24 - 25 /
Hooka is a place I’ve been visiting once a month for the past… I don’t know, two and a half years maybe? Someone recommended it to me, told me to pop in and see Dion. I was down and out on account of a regular hair destination, couldn’t cut it myself, and was scared shitless of Voodou’s hectic Bold Street storefront, so in I walked. Hooka is a reputable place nowadays, it’s grown quickly and successfully in the past four or so years its been open and although I must admit I can’t remember my first visit, a lot has changed during my monthly tenure. Aside from the standard hair cut and colouring (girls are warmly welcomed nowadays) you can embrace a multitude of pampering activities ranging from massages to tanning, to facials, hair removal, the lot. The salon’s reputation partly stems from the array of awards it has collected over the years, ranging from business oriented ceremonies such as the Business Enterprise Award which was picked up at the Juice FM Style Awards in 2007, the salon’s first year in business. More recently the salon’s owner, Dion, won the Nation’s Favourite Hairdresser award in 2009, having been voted for by his clients via a short written piece detailing his work with. This was accompanied slightly later by stylist Ami-Lou Cassidy, who won Best Salon Stylist at the Hair Awards 2010.
Hooka is now growing with their second salon now open on Button Street in town, with this salon they have managed to create the same warm atmosphere that has made the Wood Street salon such a success. But most importantly, at the basis of all this success is the fact that Hooka isn’t just a place to go and get your hair cut, in and out in half an hour, it’s a nice place to be. You’ll see what I mean when you go… ‘cos you are going to go, right?
Hooka 92/98 Wood Street Liverpool L1 4DQ 0151 708 0302 Hooka Button Street now open! Liverpool L2 6PS 0151 236 2725 Book online at www.hooka-uk.com email@example.com twitter.com/hookaliverpool Facebook.com/HookaSalons
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ART AS REGENERATION Words: EMMA HARRISON Illustration: JAMES MCGREGOR
/ P. 26 - 27 /
The hollow shell at the top of Bold Street, known as the ‘bombed out church’ is arguably one of the most historically rich buildings left in the wake of post-war Liverpool. Hit by an incendiary bomb in 1941, the church stands as a painful visual reminder of the city’s wartime casualties, not only on a human scale but also in terms of the architectural loss that Liverpool suffered during the early twentieth century. Even throughout the city centre today, many of Liverpool’s stone skeletons still sit unloved, disused and largely ignored, and for the majority the sad fact remains that if there aren’t any yuppie movers willing to pump cash into these buildings then they’ll often remain in a state of disrepair. Yet the bombed out church tells a different story. Since 2001 the site been occupied by a local arts group, Urban Strawberry Lunch (USL). The Artists in Residence group has slowly restored life to the site by putting together a regular programme of events consisting of film screenings, book groups and exhibitions. At a time when top down government incentives have been pulled out of post-industrial northern cities such as Liverpool, there remains a large gap for grassroot developments to take their place. When juxtaposed with the stark modernist facade of Liverpool One, the bombed out church certainly feels like it belongs to Liverpool as not only an important piece of the city’s history but also as an architecturally important landmark of the city’s past. However, USL are not the first nor will they be the last arts group to take hold of abandoned spaces within the city centre, for example, the old Rapid paint shop on Renshaw Street was recently turned into a pop up art shop as part of the Liverpool Biennial and Richard Wilson’s ‘Turning the Place Over’ opposite Moorfields station has remained a popular sight for many to behold. Judging by the popularity of these examples alone it would seem that as an alternative to mass gentrification, art as a form of regeneration in Liverpool seems to be a plausible and popular idea. But my personal favourite architectural hotspot in Liverpool lies beyond the obvious allure of Rodney Street’s Georgian beauties and along the dock road. No, I’m not talking about the austere glass giants along the waterfront that seemed to have popped up overnight, but those abandoned warehouses tucked away behind Upper Parliament Street. I recently took a friend to the A Foundation, a gallery housed in an old coach shed that sits amongst the warehouses in question, and as he gazed up at the neglected former grain stores he asked “Why the fuck aren’t these buildings being used?” Although Alex is from London where every square foot is taken up and squeezed dry, he raised a valid point why are these early nineteenth century buildings, full of potential, beauty and a somewhat murky but nevertheless important heritage sitting alone and dilapidated? The answer may lie in their architectural structure - once stores for imported goods at the height of Liverpool’s industrial boom, the ceilings in these blocks are very low, a massive stumbling block to those wishing to convert these spaces into trendy apartments. But perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing as venture property capitalists may not have the city’s cultural interest at heart and, without creating a trite divide between local art collective and over-zealous money mogul, there is reason to believe that art can be used as a more democratic force for cultural and architectural restoration. Join Urban Strawberry Lunch on Twitter for regular programme updates: twitter.com/BombedOutChurch A Foundation: www.afoundation.org.uk/
“ART AS A FORM OF REGENERATION IN LIVERPOOL SEEMS TO BE A PLAUSIBLE AND POPULAR IDEA.”
WAXXX ON FILM Words: CHARLES MCINTYRE
/ P. 28 - 29 /
ONES TO WATCH:
OK, OK. I know what you’re thinking, and... I’m sorry. You could’ve got your film news and reviews from Mark Kermode or... Claudia Winkleman (?) like everyone else, but you took a chance on me and now you’re starting to regret it. But please, let me explain. TRUE GRIT was scheduled for release in January, I SWEAR. Inexplicably the date has been moved to 11th February, so you’re going to have to wait a little while longer before cracking out the poncho and Smith & Wessons. The full review will DEFINITELY* be in the next issue (*inclusion of review not guaranteed).
BEAUTIFUL (15) – Released 28th January 2011
Formalities out of the way, let me be the first to usher in a new year of quality, original and thought provoking films. You betcha, we’ve got some real gems coming your way. For example, remember your favourite comic book superhero – THE GREEN LANTERN? No? Erm, how about THOR? Really? Aww come on, you’re just being difficult. How about some pro-colonial patriotic garbage from CAPTAIN AMERICA? And you can’t have had ENOUGH of the X-MEN. Yes, 2011 is the year of the LEFT-OVER SUPERHERO! Marvel as he reproduces plot formulas with uncanny accuracy! Be seduced by his sexual appetite for mindless, nymphomaniacal women! (“Hey, I thought you said this was a kids film?” “Of course it is honey, of course it is...”) Be spellbound by the revelation that America has more superheroes per square mile than it does fire hydrants! Is it just me, or are superhero movies perhaps... just maybe... possibly, getting a little bit old now? And of all the cartoon creations they can choose from, they pick THE GREEN HORNET over BANANAMAN?! What the hell is wrong with these people? Frank Miller’s Batman must be spinning in his not-yetdrawn grave. On the plus side, 2011 does see the gradual demise of the TWILIGHT nightmare, and the at least temporary exorcism, chopping-into-small-bits and burning of the HARRY POTTER film franchise. Swings and roundabouts all over.
It’s been ten years since Alejandro González Iñárritu revitalised the Latin film industry with AMORES PERROS (a sort of Mexican – and vastly superior – CRASH) and in that time he has punched out 21 GRAMS and BABEL amongst other smaller projects. It’s no surprise that the pressure is on for BIUTIFUL to outweigh its predecessors, but whether it will or not is a different story. With Javier Bardem in the lead role, things are off to a good start. We all remember his Oscar winning performance in NO COUNTY FOR OLD MEN, but since then Javier has been condemned to pulling the Hollywood Hottie wagon thanks to his stint in Woody Allen’s VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA. Maybe a film about a criminal father of two trying to reconcile his existence before the inevitably of death seizes him is just what Javier needs to deter those Rom-com scripts from bulging through his letter box. It’s bound to be bleak, but who expects to see a happy foreign film these days? BARNEY’S VERSION - Released 28th January 2011 After his outstanding performance in the HBO series JOHN ADAMS, Paul Giamatti returns to centre stage in Richard J. Lewis’ (you know - the guy who directed K9:PI) BARNEY’S VERSION. Adapted from the novel of the same name, the film follows the life of Barney Panofsky a hard drinking, politically incorrect Canadian Jew. Need I say more? Giamatti is truly a master when it comes to playing disgruntled, bitter, strangely likeable protagonists. SIDEWAYS is a case in point (if you haven’t seen it, drop whatever you’re doing, buy several bottles of Pinot Grigio and watch it NOW) and although BARNEY’S VERSION is unlikely to be as brilliant, Giamatti’s recent Golden Globe award win suggests that it’s definitely worth a look or two. THE BEAVER – Released 11th February 2011 So you’re taking your special lady friend to the movies, you’ve told her there’s this great little film you want her to see... You can see how this is going to go wrong. Once you’ve got past convincing her that the title definitely does NOT mean what she thinks it means, you’ve then got to try and reconcile the fact that the antiSemitic, wife-abusing noodle head that is Mel Gibson is in the lead role, with his hand up a beaver’s backside. Now, I’m as open minded as the next guy, but... what the...? Apparently Mel Gibson wasn’t the first choice for this comedy drama (I know, I could scarcely believe it myself!) but favourites Jim Carrey and Steve Carrel were pipped to the post by Gibson, his eagerness perhaps triggered by the prospect of slipping his hand up a beaver and getting paid for it, instead of the other way around. Gibson plays a depressed toy company CEO who befriends a beaver glove puppet and, presumably with the beaver’s aid, subsequently mends his broken relationship with his family. THE BEAVER script has been described as a potentially brilliant, but unfilmable project, likened to BEING JOHN MALCOVICH for its surreal, ‘zany’ quality. Naturally Jodie Foster felt she was perfect to direct. I give up.
THE REVIEW: BLACK SWAN (15) – Released 21st January 2011 Directed by: Darren Aronofsky Ballet films. Not the usual choice for the average cinema goer, but then neither were films about washed up professional wrestlers until Darren Aronofsky threw the miracle of resurrection into the mix. Yes, THE WRESTLER pretty much saved Mickey Rourke’s soul from damnation, enabling him to star in films like IRON MAN 2 and THE EXPENDABLES... OK, not the best examples, but he got to go out with... another... bang at least. It seems the plan was the same this time around with BLACK SWAN: take a potentially brilliant actor/actress (Natalie Portman – see LEON for the potential) whose recent performances can only be likened to those of a wooden spoon (see STAR WARS Episodes I, II and III, V FOR VENDETTA, CLOSER, THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL... it goes on), give them a meaty script and a physically demanding role as some sort of performance artist (like, say, a ballerina?) and wait for the awards to come flooding your way. A simple formula I’ll admit, but by Jove it works rather well. But is BLACK SWAN truly deserving of the awards and accolades? Well, yes and no is the hardly-useful-at-all answer. The film closely follows (a little too closely sometimes, if you’re reading Aronofsky, the camera lens is almost bumping into her shoulder half the time) Nina (Portman), a young and beautiful ballerina in a New York ballet company with the dream of one day being equivalent to her idol Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder). When Beth is ‘retired’ (not in the BLADE RUNNER sense of course), Nina is chosen to play the lead in Swan Lake by the production’s artistic director (Vincent Cassel – L’APPARTEMENT, MESRINE, LA HAINE, IRREVERSIBLE: go watch) but has difficulty adapting her personality to fit the dark and seductive black swan. This becomes the main drive of the narrative, as Nina’s mental state begins to disintegrate, shifting between her ‘light’ and ‘dark’ self. The most interesting relationship
in the film, and probably the least explored, is between Nina and her domineering mother (Barbara Hershey), a former ballerina who has, it seems, pushed Nina into the profession to fulfil her failed career. Hershey is a sinister force in the film, and tentatively portrays a woman suffering from a mental illness – one which is perhaps hereditary in Nina, which would at least partially explain her rapid demise, which otherwise isn’t satisfactorily defined. The portrayal of the ballet industry in the film has been criticised by – you guessed it – the ballet industry, for the insinuation that it is a misogynist, ageist, sexist and generally unhealthy business. But then what isn’t? The truth is BLACK SWAN doesn’t really show much, or know much about ballet. It’s concern is with the vulnerable, timid Nina, in a world of sexual awakening, desire, jealousy, and obsession. Nina is a deeply fragmented woman, manipulated by all those closest to her, and this is the beautiful and tragic aspect of the film. Portman flawlessly depicts the absolute terror and confusion of a mind lost in an unsettlingly dark and twisted world. The obvious association of Nina’s split personality with the demanding roles of white and black swan is a little melodramatic and unimaginative, but Portman’s performance manages to save the film from downright silliness. It would have been nice to see the film build to a conclusion with a little more meaning and emotional effectiveness, and the reliance on CGI is, as always, frustrating. Like THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN ultimately becomes a vehicle for the lead actor, and subsequently deeper meaning is obscured or lost, while the rush to a ‘defining moment’ leaves too many possibilities left unexplored. A flawed masterpiece with a career-reviving performance from Portman, BLACK SWAN manages to leave an impression on you that you can’t quite get out of your head. 8/10 POSTSCRIPT – Portman’s resurrection was short lived indeed. See the cast list for THOR.
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