Monday, 11 October 2010

This is England '86 - Interview with Lol

Interview with Vicky Mc Clure - LOL

This Autumn saw the return of Shane Meadow’s ‘This is England’. An uncompromising drama about life as a skinhead in the 1980’s. Released in 2006, it became an instant cult classic. The follow up, a four part TV series called ‘This is England ‘86’, is appallingly raw and as emotionally convincing as television drama can be. In terms of pure human honesty, it can be regarded as one the greatest television shows England has produced. This authenticity is credited almost entirely to the startling performances Shane Meadows draws from his cast.

“We are like a family, cliche as it may sound, it’s true,” reveals Vicky McClure, who plays Lol. “Everybody is so engrossed in their characters and Shane has the vision, he knows just want he wants to get out of you.”

Few characters in the series display crippling emotional confusion with as much depth as Lol . “In the film, me and Lol were similar. It was a few years ago, I probably had a bit more of an attitude. Now Lol and I are a million miles apart because of what she’s been through. All that stuff, I can only imagine how horrific it is for somebody to live it.” Lol has to endure being jilted at the altar, having an affair, having a rapist as a father and finally murdering him to protect her younger sister. “I remember when Shane told me about the story and me killing me Dad and all,” She recalls, “I thought, fockin’ ‘ell this is gonna be incredible if it actually happens.”

Although Lol has a more turbulent life style, Vicky admits they now have some things in common as she has been influenced by the skin-girl fashion. “The clothes and the style and all that was a big deal because I had to have so many drastic changes with my hair. But I embraced it and I loved it. I have things in my wardrobe now that I would never have had if it wasn’t for ‘This is England’.”

Published: I-D Online, October, 2010

Friday, 24 September 2010

Psychorama - Helsinki 2010

Psychobilly guy

Skinheads fighting

Missy Macabre

Read Original Article
The Helsinki tram museum houses old trams that haven’t been in use for over 100 years, but this weekend, Finland’s psychobillies and skinheads clamber around them, knocking back vodka and Karjala beers in irresponsible quantities.

Spirits are high and so are the haircuts of the rowdy youths of Northern Europe. Blood splattered and debaucherous burlesque dancers accompany furious slap bass and old fashioned guitar solos. The shockwaves from the psychobilly bomb that went off in 1980’s England continue to reverberate around the globe. Here in Helsinki its alive and kicking, albeit with a few gory wounds.

Highlights include London’s The Polecats, featuring Boz Boorer of Morrisey’s band, shaming amateurs with his unmatchable six string skill. Singer, Tim, leaps about the stage like an excitable child and makes you forget that its been over 25 years since these rockers were chart topping pop stars.

Sweden’s The Coffin Shakers are another favourite but in contrast to the Polecats, they hardly move, preferring instead to pose, statuesque in black clothes and dark glasses, looking like four Roy Orbison clones and sounding like Johnny Cash enduring the most morbid of come downs.

It would be a comfort to know that on the outskirts of Europe, the forgotten subcultures of Britain are still celebrated, but the existence of these booze loving psychos can hardly be described in such terms.

Published: I-D Online, September, 2010

Monday, 13 September 2010

Top 5 Venezuelan Adventures

My top 5 locations to visit in revolutionary Venezuela.

Venezuela is an old Spanish colony in South America. Founded on slavery, its main source of revenue is now oil. The country has been in the grip of socialist revolution for over a decade. The vast under class is benefiting from the oil money for the first time but many of the middle class feel betrayed and viciously oppose the socialist President Hugo Chavez.

The capital, Caracas, is the most dangerous city in the world. It is surrounded by vast mountains covered in shanty towns knows as Barrios. At night the streets echo with the thunderous assault of gunfire, an endless gang war, in which the fallen gangsters become deities in a cult of crime.

Toni Martin is the Steve Irwin of South America. A creole who grew up in the swampy anaconda infested plains of Los Llanos. Toni arranged for a jeep to take us to the swamp and informed me that he would catch an anaconda. This seemed unlikely because his hand was swollen from an infected anaconda bite he had received a week ago. A tooth had broken off in his hand which he hadn’t removed. Nevertheless an anaconda was caught. It took 4 men to control the thrashing serpent.

In the North are nearly 1800 miles of Caribbean coastline and over 70 islands all strewn with palm trees and Latina beauties. This photo was taken in Henri Pittier National Park, a designated nature reserve of idyllic ivory coasts skirting lush green rain forest. The park is popular with young people from Caracas as a location for surfing and all night free parties on the beach.

The South is dominated by the impenetrable jungles of Amazonas state and Canaima National Park. Deep in the rain forest you can witness the breathtaking Angel Falls, the world’s largest waterfall and the setting for Disney/Pixar’s ‘Up’. Native American tribes have preserved their ancient ways of life in this region. These two children of the Pemón tribe live in the jungle, surviving without electricity or running water.

the city of Maracaibo, near the Colombian border, is the second largest in the country. All its sewage is pumped, untreated, into Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake in South America and one of the oldest in the world. The city boasts one of the largest oil refineries in the country and is situated on top of huge oil reserves. Many of the locals live in houses, suspended above the lake on wooden stilts. These traditional native structures are known as palafitos.

Published: I-D Online, September, 2010

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Cerebral Ballzy at Old Blue Last

Cerebral Ballzy
Old Blue Last,

Radical. Awesome. Gnarly. These are the most suitable adjectives for this 80s skate-punk assault on East London. The best of British and American thrash punk spit vitriolic and disillusioned anthems of maladjusted rage at an audience of tattooed slackers. Mumdance takes a break from providing beats for grime MC Jammer to roll some old style hardcore punk between bands.

Amateur Video are the first band up, with their low resolution aural pornography. So dirty, you will never feel clean again. The pub is full of hardcore kids being steam cooked by the heat and these messy noise makers are making it worse. Shitty Limits follow swiftly after with a relentless double sided attack. Switching from the fast as fuck hardcore of ‘I'm A Square’ to the garage style stomp of ‘Last Orders’. Singer, Louis’ bitter screams of defiance pierce through buzzsaw guitars shredding pop sensibilities.

The insensitively named Cerebral Ballzy deliver a sloppy, booze-sodden, punk-rock pizza, fresh from New York city, a rowdy crowd respond with mob chants and mosh pits. These wild eyed, drunken skaters have the street punk swagger of The Casualties and the irresponsible speed and intensity of Bad Brains. They incite the sweaty little grease hole of a venue to violence and crowd surfing. Fists fly as three chords fuss furiously over incoherent ramblings on songs like ‘Sk8 All Day’ and ‘Insufficient Fair’. This is how punk is meant to be; drunk, angry and stupid.

Published: The Fly, August, 2010
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

G Festival Review

photos: jens kr. vang

Göta, Faroe Islands - Denmark

Day 1
Read Original Here

The plane groans defiantly as it hurtles between treacherous cliffs to land on a small
RAF base, the only airport on the tiny Faroe islands. The G! festival is one of the few
occasions when outsiders flock to these islands, most widely known for their ancient
tradition of killing and eating whales.

The secluded hills, located between Scotland and Iceland, feel as though they are on the
edge of the world. The festival itself is located in the tiny village of Göta, its population
is normally only 500 but during festival weekend, thousands gather to see an eclectic mix
of rock, pop and electronic music. Most of the revellers are Faroese, but many also come
from Europe.

Danish grime aficionados, Lucy Love, shake the very foundations of the majestic
mountains, with an assault of the grimiest bass lines and street wise rhymes. Two
hooded girls pull off choreographed dance moves while Lucy shouts that this is the
loudest audience reaction she has ever experienced. The crowd laps it up. Many of the
locals have never seen an act like this before. The charms of Lucy Love’s urban beats
are not lost in this unusual setting, but it does seem an odd contrast to have rappers on
a forgotten beach where a whale had nearly been butchered just a few hours before.

Next up was local doom metal band, Hamferd. It’s past midnight but still daylight; such
is the eerie absence of time in the arctic North. Mist hangs on the mountains surrounding
the bay as the band take to the stage beneath a torrent of rain. I can’t imagine a more
atmospheric setting for their epic, sludge ridden riffage. The rain causes the power to fail,
but the band keep rocking through the monitors while the crowd of Norse youth seem
totally un-phased by the weather, despite the fact a storm carried the main stage into the
sea earlier in the day.

Lucy Love

Day 2
Read Original Here

Torrents of rain pour onto hungover festival goers on the second day
of G! festival in the Faroe islands. The grey skies, bitterly cold
wind and seemingly endless rain may dampen the knitted jumpers of
these drunken young Scandinavians but it will not dampen their

Hundreds flock to see local heroes Týr. The rain lets up as the
heathen heavy metal heads bang out epic anthems of Paganism, Vikings
and battle. From their first song, “By The Sword In My Hand”, the
whole audience is singing along with horns raised to the storm clouds
above. This combination of traditional Faroese folk and swaggering
metal machismo is enjoyed by everyone, from small children to pipe
smoking old fishermen.

Eivør is another local act who employs Faroese folk culture into her
music. Although, her soft approach to folk influenced rock sounds less
like metal and more like Björk. She is a typically Nordic, flaxen
haired siren, whose quivering voice has incredible range with an
intimate and genuinely moving quality.

Sweden´s Arch Enemy bring more meaty metal to the table as the rains
return. Blonde vocalist, Angela Gossow, struts about the stage like a
man, emitting guttural growls over catchy, cast iron riffs.

On the electronic stage, DJ Filthy Dukes brings London club culture to
a flooded beach. The enthusiastic audience of resilient ravers throw
shapes until 4am and then continue drinking in a wind swept , sub
arctic, campsite that even Ray Mears would have difficulty pitching a
tent in.

Published: The Fly. 19th July 2010

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

DIY Book Scans

Fuck Kimble this is WINble

How the super-humans of the future will laugh at our ancient paper texts bound in the skin of beasts! The era of print is drawing to a close. Portable readers like the Kimble are the first nails in the coffin, but are awkward, pricey and associated with bollock sucking. The bait that draws the piranhas of technological innovation is copyright theft.

In the future everything must be free for the super-humans. Lets make this a world fit for them to live in by scanning all the books that exist and publishing them on the Internet. That'll learn the Man. The Man fears DIY book scanners because they make information easier, cheaper and faster to access and share. The man wants all the informations, but there is nothing he can do to stop you getting a cheap scanner that takes hi-res photo images of your Harry Potter books that you can email to Internet pirates while pissing on an effigy of J.K. Rowling.

This technology seems to be little more than a photographic device suspended above a V shaped stand, upon which a text is placed. The laser cut wood makes it all look very special but the general idea is simple. The Man hates simple things. they remind him of his childhood, confusing memories of a time before he began consuming the flesh of third world children. You can make your own scanner if you have some lights, some wood and a digital camera with a resolution higher than 8mpix or 7 for smaller texts. These guys make and sell them with skill to the max and they have patented that shit, so you might as well buy one of theirs because if they sued you for piracy, the irony, like the ejaculation of The Man into the mouths of mentally disabled sweat shop workers, would be far too much to swallow. Either way you should check out their website for examples of these visionary creations and to lurk on the forum so that you can learn the secrets of capturing books in digital form on the cheap. Let the Man tremble at a DIY book scanning revolution.

Published: L_A_N magazine 2010

Friday, 21 May 2010

Live Review: Real Estate and Ganglians

Cargo, London

Summer is upon us. The red-eyed, blissed out young stoners of London rejoice and celebrate its arrival along with that of two of the greatest American stoner jam bands to emerge for many seasons. They shuffle into the cavernous Cargo of Shoreditch, but before they can settle down to the luxurious lo-fi lullabies of Ganglians and Real Estate they must endure the opening act.

Double Dagger are an ageing post hardcore band, going through the motions that were so familiar five years ago. A balding singer who looks like Moby tries valiantly to grab the attention of a largely disinterested crowd by leaping feebly from the stage and whining in the faces of bemused teenage girls.  It’s clear the audience has either seen it all before or never wanted to see it in the first place. The band depart ungraciously, insulting the audience for not reacting as they had hoped.
Ganglians follow. Their celestial, Californian vibrations settle on the audience like manna from heaven. Three curly headed apostles produce ethereal rhythms and melodies that Ryan Grubbs, a long haired, lo-fi Jesus, preaches over with acoustic guitar, improvised keyboard and haunting vocals.

The room fills a second time for the soporific symphonies of Real Estate. The gentle strum of jangly guitar like bird song at twilight soothes the crowd, who sway gently to the chilled New Jersey sound. Despite the easy going nature of their music, the crowd erupts into thunderous applause between each number. ‘Fake Blues’, ‘Beach Comber’ and ‘Suburban Beverage’ all go down particularly well. The fans’ enthusiasm is so great that they even perform an encore, a typically rock and roll convention that seems out of place in the context of these laid back stoner grooves. The Fly doesn’t see anyone complaining though.

Read full review here

Published: The Fly. 21st May 2010

Monday, 12 April 2010

Tallinn Music Week

Ank from Tharaphita - photo by AP Childs

If stone could speak then the medieval ruins of Tallinn in Estonia would be screaming with the despair of centuries of war. Estonia is a small North Eastern European nation perched like a Baltic raven on the edge of Europe. It is a nation with a precarious identity, having been occupied by virtually every surrounding country and only gaining independence from the Soviet Union less than 20 years ago. Besides the culture vultures who flock around the medieval architecture and the lecherous English stag parties who frequent Tallinn for cheap booze and whores, few people visit this ancient corner of Europe. Tallinn Music Week is an important event, not just for the bands and artists involved, but also to show the world that there is more to Estonia than old churches and sleazy strip clubs.
The historic culture of Estonia had been somewhat suppressed under Soviet rule. Since independence, Estonia has attempted to re-establish its identity as a Nordic nation. In the 19th century the Estonian nationalist movement adopted the ancient pagan deity Tharaphita as a symbol of their anti-German identities. It is from this forgotten deity that the black metal band, Tharaphita, take their name. 

Tallinn Music Week is an important event, not just for the bands and artists involved, but also to show the world that there is more to Estonia than old churches and sleazy strip clubs.

Read the rest of my article for Dazed Digital HERE

Published: Dazed Digital, 9th April 2010

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Damo Suzuki gets Spiritual

The legendary Damo Suzuki, of kraut rock pioneers Can, is shivering with cold and nursing a pint after a successful sound check. “We should get some whiskies or something to warm up.” Damo suggests, clearly affected by the Scandinavian climate that has descended on London this winter. Tonight he is performing with experimental noise maker Bo Ningen. He has been touring with the Damo Suzuki Network since 2003, which basically means he plays with a different group of musicians every night. They bang out improvised psychedelic jams, without prior rehearsals and hope for the best.

What is it like doing the Damo Suzuki network?

I am never disappointed because every time is a new experience. I enjoy every day. It is especially good because I like travelling and every night I meet different people. So it is not at all boring, there is always some kind of movement.

What’s the life of a traveller like?

Travelling is one of the most important things to me. It gives me fresh new experiences. I learn many things. People say information is just what you read in a newspaper or watch on TV, not your own experience. I have my own experience so I can tell you my real words. People are reading stuff about Manchester United or something like that, but not actually something to do with their life.

What do you think of modern bands who are reviving the kraut rock sound?

It’s different for new bands, in the 70’s there was less information about. There was no such thing as kraut rock. There was more space to create. I don’t know the meaning of the term kraut rock. I don’t like to categorise anything. If you are a creative person you don’t actually need to sort categories like this. It’s not necessary because it’s about different energies. It’s not a good term because bands like; Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül and Can, they all sound different, so why put them all in one pot? For me it is a spiritual thing. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you like it.

On the subject of spiritualism are you still a Jehovah’s Witness?

No, but I believe in the Bible.

Does this influence your music?

What we are doing is instant composing, so it has something to do with nature. This is not making music. I am making energy. I am happy because after the concert, many people are smiling, that’s why I do it. I am not making kraut rock; I don’t like to have direction. If you have direction then you are not being creative.

Is it challenging playing with different musicians all the time, like Bo Ningen tonight?

Yes it is a challenge before I start because I do not know them. Nobody knows what will happen, every body makes a little bit of free music and freestyle. This is quite organic but the system we have doesn’t have that, the system is all about the Bosses, there are always differences between people. If you make music, there are no differences. That’s why I am following this existence. This is totally different from recorded music. There are accidents, many mistakes. People like it because it is like a human being. If you are performing the same pieces every night, it’s kind of like working in a factory. Nothing new happens anymore because the answers are already there. I don’t like to have any answers. There are new processes coming and you can now create different things from what you did yesterday and the day before. I perform everyday with people of different nationalities, different cultures and mentalities. From this I make music. It works.

You hint at a lack of spirituality in society, is that how you feel?

Yes, because people need that. All commercial things are like, you wake up, you are hungry so you eat fast food. It has no energy because there is no philosophy. Really pure energy comes from really good philosophy.

What is your life philosophy?

I can’t say, it comes by accident. Accidents are good, because they happen very personally, only to you. Everybody can buy something, can feel it, if it is of commercial base.

Why do you have this attitude toward music?

Western music started in the 13th/14th century because they found notes. With notes there is a composer and control. So the musician must stay with the notes. It’s not freedom. I like it when everybody is totally involved and creative at a specific moment. It always comes by accident.

Why don’t you like talking about Can?

These are things that happened almost 40 years ago. Why do I have to talk as though all that time was so good? It wasn’t. I’m not interested in music from the 60’s and 70’s. All these kind of bands who have a big name, they’re actually playing the same stuff they were playing 40 years before. How is it possible that you are repeating your life? Performing to the same audience. I don’t like this kind of sentimentality. I am not that kind of a sentimental person.

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 42, March 2010

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Strange Boys

Strange goings on

FREE MP3: The Strange Boys - This Girl Taught Me To Dance

The Strange Boys – yes, Rough Trade has signed them and they are another garage rock band, BUT they are a damn good one. Psychdelic-summer-pop done the way it should be done; burnt on the outside, still raw in the middle. They are not afaid to break out the odd sax solo when the occassion calls for it, and for this fact alone they have my deepest respect. Listening to their Count-Five- esque, British, sixties style rock, you’re not likely to think of Texas, but thats where these old boys hail from. I asked brothers Ryan and Phillip Sambol some patronising questions and recieved these suitably brief responses.


You live in Austin – is this awesome? (Y/N)

RS: I don't know how to answer that question.

Philip has night terrors – has it occurred to you that these may be messages from paranormal entities of the spirit world? If so, who are they and do they dig the strange boys?

PS: I don't know who it is/they are, but I got in a fight with one the other night. I got cut up pretty bad, but since then I have slept very soundly.

Right now, which is the best country in the world for music?


Being from Texas – do you have an irrational fear of Obama?

RS:Being an American, I have quite a rational fear of Obama.

You guys dig conspiracies right? like 911 was a fix up and that. Which ethnic group/alien species really controls the world?

RS: Hard question, we don't dig conspirarcies, we just prefer the truth. Look into it for yourself.

European women are easier - True or false ?

"one [always] dreads facing a pretty girl when one is collarless and unshaven." -George Orwell

JLP or Lux Interior? If they are in hell now, who is shafting who with a pineapple?

PS: It's hard to say.

When are you next in the UK?



Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 41, February 2010
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