Saturday, 30 January 2010
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Are you ready for this lot? Stavin' Chains do it all by word of mouth and er, a website! They are currently building up a strong fan base of devotees. Rattling around on scraps of steel, sax solo's, harsh guitar improv's, thrashing drum kit and guttural rantings Stavin' Chains make an angst driven sexy noise! I caught them at God Don't Like It at Catch in January, when are they on again? Who knows...
Monday, 25 January 2010
Animated after a brief introduction Nigel Coates stands centre stage gesticulating to a darkened auditorium as he introduces the basis of a creative life he constantly reviews with a passion for structure, sensuality and irony. His visions take many forms, the feel of a saddle, the warmth of its leather and it’s construction. Dissected, he places a theme into another setting… in this case a seating arena! His models of cityscapes are cluttered with mundane objects, Mixtacity his 2007 installation featured chess piece’s effectively painted unexpected colours, big old hands erupting skywards. He pays ‘kitsch’ a homage with an absolute nod and a wink, a cutesy bear picked up in a market towering over melty mesh buildings and sweeping nirvana’s. He admires craft and tradition and then mutates it with the flick of a switch. It’s precisely this urge to twist and test function that amuses his creative eye. Coates’ descriptive rhetoric when dissecting his thought process is as alluring as the final product. ‘Fleshy and vibrant’, Coates looks at things with an innocence that belies his 60 odd years on the planet. Fascinating both himself and the listener he employs a collage of imagery into the drama of city living.
Pulling out ‘Ecstacity’ his 2003 book and harping back to his NATO (Narrative Architecture Today) years back in the in the 80’s you get a real sense of transition and honesty, ‘industrial baroque’ was the term they devised then. He uses everything around him to create a harmony of comfort and beauty. He’s intrigued by human reaction, ‘clash and incident’. Urbanscapes and additions to existing buildings are swervy routes realised through paintings, drawings and finally ‘real life’ constructions.
Photo- Princess Julia
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
For those of you who don't know... Scottee is 'Performer Of The year' 2010 (Time Out)!
I first met Scottee about 10 years ago or so, he soon became established on the club scene as a DJ and performer as part of the duo Yer Mum & Yer Dad. Working with producer and DJ Jim Warboy in the early noughties they came up with a wonderful selection of electronic club hits all in the best possible taste!
Scottee went on to further his artistic endeavors with solo projects 'Mess', 'Buy A Better You' and expanded his repertoire with performance club 'Eat Your Heart Out', collaborating with Jonny Woo for 'Texas Chainsaw Mascara' and Sami Knight in 'Tenor Ladies'.
Scottee's inspiration is part Leigh Bowery, part Divine, elements of high drama campery and witty repartee combined with a darker satire skillfully threaded throughout his work... he embraces life, love and drag full throttle making a mark very much his own. We salute you Scottee!
Currently a limited edition DVD 'Never Trust A Man In A Wig' and EP 'Stuff' are available now.
Tilda Swinton paid a visit to Soho this month for a screening of love epic “Io Sono l’amore” (“I Am Love”). I heard it took 10 years to make, Tilda said 11 when she introduced the film. Anyway ‘I Am Love’ out in the spring is a tale of a proper lady originally from Russia, ends up married to a prosperous Italian guy, has a few kids and acts like a real queen of all she surveys… until that is she gets all frothed up with her son’s chef mate! The designer clothes come off and she’s in for a romp! This of course has serious implications; I won’t divulge much more and ruin it for you!
On the fashion front Tilda wore a lot of Jil Sander for her role but the reference point I loved was the beautifully constructed hair knot in the shape of a shell – ala Kim Novak in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic ‘Vertigo’. When I spoke to Tilda she actually said I was the first person to notice! Well I did use to be a hairdresser! Oh and we should mention the music… equally as Hitchcockesque, lot’s of swooning melodrama in the string section’s supplied by John Adams adding to the climax of it all.
Lady Tilda on the night looked on form, androgynous short back and sides, black zippered suit, translucent visage. She has an ethereal quality about her we love and quite frankly as a style icon Tilda Swinton is top of the heap!
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
I confess I'm a fan of my friend!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
My Granny taught me to knit so I’ve always had a fascination with the waft and weave of wool. Back in my salad knitting days I got the needles out for Body Map, John Galliano, John Flett and Richard Torry but knit wear collective ‘Sibling’ have come up with truly inventive ways of thrilling us with their yarns. Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery take ‘classic’ styles and lay on a twist with sequins and gems, fringing up, exploring and adorning with great humour. It’s a chic with cheek attitude that’s getting them everywhere. Now on their third collection aptly entitled Collection 3 they’ve expressed their output via film and installation. I was with Sibling and Spanish style mag Metal in Madrid recently at the Chivas Studio for a party celebrating Sibling’s unique take… here’s what they said!
- How do you do it?
We are yarn alchemists.
- Favourite colour way?
Anything neon, fluro and sparkly with sweatshirt greys, school navy and goth blacks
- Do you have names for your creations?
Oh yes: Kurt Grunge Beano, Well Loved Denim Jacket, Noah Skull Breton, Deviant… that kind of thing.
- Who does what?
We all muck in and there are not defined roles as such but Joe is a damn fine sketcher, Sid can swatch for England and Cozette has a contacts book to die for.
- Morning people or night people?
Joe is up with the birds. Sid can multi task and do a bit of both. Cozette is a night person to the extent that we think that she may be a vampire.
- Knit one or pearl one?
Knit one, purl one, introduce another yarn, cable it and cast-off.
- What’s your most pricey garment?
Anything featuring Swarovski Crystal. We daren’t put a price tag on the Kurt Grunge Beano because of it and are very relieved that Swarovski are really supportive when it comes to product.
- I’ve only got £25 quid, what can I get for that?
Cozette sells kisses for that round Christmas time so you’re in luck. Nothing knitted though I’m afraid. Maybe a cone of yarn… you could knit your own Sibling Ram or something?
- Who’s your muse?
Boys we want or wanted to snog.
- What do you like best about what you do?
Freedom to knit and to talk about knitting without being laughed at.
Saturday, 9 January 2010
AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN
Christina Millare helped herself to a can of beer in the cramped backstage room as her mate Simon Preen screamed, ‘You were fucking brilliant on stage tonight!’ Everyone nodded in agreement, she smiled appreciatively tugging on the ring pull of the can, warm beer fizzed, bubbled up spraying her tight skirt. ‘Fuck’ she said wiping herself down as she took a large gulp and relaxed back into the tatty sofa with her band mate and twin sister Charleen Millare aka C- Bird.
Herself X- Bird, along with C- Bird and D- Bird, real name Dee Sada are together known as An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump. She offered Simon a quick gulg as he passed an illegal ciggie round trying to blow the smoke away through a small vent. It had been a concentrated set to a packed house. Not surprising really because it was the last night of Camden’s cult club ‘Stay Beautiful’. Orchestrated by music writer Simon Price it was a destination point - a club for misfits and modern day freaks, the misunderstood. Reigning for a magnificent eight year’s on a Saturday night, musically it boasted a set list of rarities ranging from the glam to the sham, ironic artistic licence allowing. Simon Price could be seen in the rafters each week playing records as he mouthed the words to Soft Cell, The Smiths, T Rex and even Abba. He looked particularly spectacular this evening albeit with an air of sadness. His hair constructed into individual spikes-one either side of head, his influences came from a few era’s, a bit of punk, a bit of Goth perhaps, even a bit New Romantic, his masterpiece of hair being a trademark and making him instantly recognisable where ever he went. He melded together an image and had a courteous way about him creating a formidable presence in best possible sense. Here was a man with a real passion for music; you could just see it on his face, a bubble of joy when he played a track and watched his loyal crowd loose all restraint.
The Birds have been together for nearly a year now starting up as a house band for Dee Sada’s roving club night the Decasia. They met when the two sisters Christina and Charleen spotted Dee, they all thought the same thing… ‘We look like we’re related, lets start a band’. And it’s true they really do look like they belong. Curvaceous, pouty and oozing style… mesh fishnet cleavage and fingerless gloves, fringed black hair, sultry dagger eyes and voluptuous bodies encased in skin-tight fabric, manmade and otherwise. These girls really do look like a gang, somewhere in-between Russ Meyers’ ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill’ and John Walters’ ‘Female Trouble’.
I saw them once supporting Lydia Lunch over at the Corsica Studios in South London and they really did have a sense of timelessness, appealing to a varied crowd of post punk lovers of all ages even though they’re only in their mid 20’s! I’ve been following them round for a while now. The Birds have a stripped back set up, taking turns on drums, vocal and guitar. That on it’s own makes them pretty spectacular but the sound that emanates from them is something tunefully primal. They live on a mercurial planet of music. Rhythm and pulse solidifying like an oil slick seeping slowly down a crevice. Thick yet surprisingly glistening, reflective, shards of resonance spike into hopeful air. Melting spots of residue hang on the echo of drum and vibration. The howl of an ancient chant that tumbles into consciousness awakened by relentless drone and reverb.
With a fresh bottle of gin in her hand Dee at last breaths a sigh of relief as she enters the cramped backstage room. She pours herself a refreshing tipple into a plastic beaker offering the already crowded room a share of the booze. Her white lacy over the knee socks give her a school girl appearance as she laughs modestly at the encouragement she’s getting tonight all the while pulling at her statement socks self consciously, her mind on other things, like how the fuck she was going to get her drum kit back to Bethnal Green? Louis Bryne put an arm round Dee and told her drunkenly not to worry as she voiced her concern. ‘We’ll all help’, he said and with that gave her a big hug. ‘Yes, everything was going to be all right’, she inwardly voiced to herself. It was a great gig and now things were getting rowdy. Simon, Louie and their mate Peter Breen knocked back the remains of a bottle of cheap wine; the room decidedly smoke filled, a haze wafting above heads. Shrieks of laughter echoed down the hallway, as Dee Fodor approached the cramped vicinity having spent the evening on the balcony crowd watching. He loitered round the door way and as an alcohol filled plastic was thrust into his hand he viewed the backstage aftermath. ‘Where have you been?’ Louie lunged forward almost spilling the last drop of wine. ‘Oh, you know… just hanging around’. The night was coming to an end as the final moments of the club wound down. Cheers from an appreciative crowd ricocheted through the walls, the music fading fast. Outside late night street drizzle spitting with the threat of rain as The Birds loitered for the final round of goodbyes… Exit time on to a cold damp London night.
AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN THE AIR PUMP release ep ‘BUY A LIFE’ EP on Weekender Records (Download on i-tunes)
Friday, 8 January 2010
Last summer I happened to be at a shop opening deejaying on the street, it was Jeanette’s properly fashionable outlet on Redchurch Street in London. I was warned – an experimental guitarist would soon be appearing! After a hook up to the main amp Taigen (singer and bassist) let escape some screeching notes from his trustworthy electric (guitar) hair swishing to all four points of the compass. Noise patrol weren’t far away. This was my introduction to Bo Ningen. (Taigen-Vocal/Bass), Kohhei(guitar), Yuki(guitar) and Mon-chan(Dr).
At the Dice Club more recently Bo Ningen had the crowd ‘moshing’ by the time I got there, a sight to behold I can assure you. I missed the swinging off the rafter’s episode alas since this I’m guessing will go down in folklore history. Japanese – experimental – loud, loud, loud. Much energy, LOL! I caught up with Taigen before he jetted back to Tokyo for a break and reflected on the two and a half year career of Bo Ningen so far.
In London, what is the most memorable gig you’ve done?
Every single gig is really important to us. Even like, gigs that have a smaller audience. Everything is important. If I have to pick a recent one, NYE was amazing. We played just between 2009 and 2010. Rhys [from The Horrors] counted down 3-2-1 and then we started. We felt a sense of playing in time, it was amazing. The launch party for our EP was really great too. The Sunday Times gave us 4 stars. We met in London. Farris from the horrors recommended us to a journalist called Andy Perry from Mojo. We did New Years Eve at a club called ‘Spunk’, and the Dice Club, and that was good…
It’s only in the last six months that what you do has exploded, what do you think it is about the sound that you make that people are finding so appealing?
On the Japan tour quite a lot of the audience said that it didn’t sound Japanese or European. I like that. I think that people in the UK might find that too. It doesn’t sound Japanese even though we sing in Japanese. We play loud and our kind of music is kind of rare to find in this country.
The thing I get when I have seen you perform, and even in your solo performance’s is that there is so much passion coming through. You are wrapped in what you are doing both as a unit and individually. Watching that and watching the audience react to you is very exciting.
Every single gig it is important to see the audience’s reaction. We do what we want to do; we don’t want to copy our favourite bands. Some bands copy what they like and we don’t.
But you can become inspired by what you like and you can find yourself translating it other ways. I feel that there is a sense of travelling and of sound score in your music, the instrumental sections and the tangents that you go on.
The changing point was when we came back from a Japanese tour and played the Old Blue Last. I think that gig really changed our perception of what we could do and of what people thought of us. We have played in Glasgow and Leeds and a few other places. I really enjoyed them, especially Leeds, that was amazing. We played with another Japanese band, Devilman – one of who is DJ Scotchegg who got famous by djing from Game Boys.
We are all from different cities in Japan – I live in Tokyo – in Japan if you’re not famous you have to pay to play at gigs and the process is long. Here a band like us can get paying gigs. This isn’t especially true in Tokyo. And if you are going to play a lot of gigs it can be really expensive.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Yes I do, I sometimes feel scary.
Are you a warrior or a monk?
I think both maybe.
Do you see yourself as a musician or an artist?
I do make sound art. I studied sound art and design so I do sound installation, which is what I did for my solo piece at Jeanette’s shop. Its between art performance and music performance. I studied it at London College of Communication.
Lets talk about the future, what’s happening for you in 2010.
I hope we can play Offset again. We played last year and it was really brilliant. We just made the ep, which is our debut recording, and we’d like to do an album this year too. We produced the EP ourselves. I mixed it myself. But I think if we were to do an album, I think it would be the same process, we recorded the EP in Suffolk, so we’d go away somewhere and record it and then I’d mix it.
Do you have a name for it?
Not yet, no, we have to think about it. We have a Japanese name for our EP, I’m interested to see how people react to it, I have noticed that a lot of people pronounce it correctly. A lot of people used to call it No Ninjen but it’s actually Bo Ningen. ‘Bo’ means stick and ‘ningen’ means human being or man. Stick Man. So it’s Japanese but spelt in an English way.
Currently Bo Ningen have a debut 200 limited edition 10” vinyl EP ‘Koroshitai Kimochi’ out on Stolen Recordings.
This interview is in January's 2010 P.i.X www.thepixzine.co.uk
TO THE EDGE AND BACK
The streets glisten, damp, miserable but strangely full of hope. Baked dry, parched in the summer months. Windswept, icy cold wintriness cuts to the core and breaks for the spring with relief. The smells and faces are never the same yet always familiar like a security blanket. The pavements I tread remind me of, twenty, thirty, forty years of treading and re-treading memories of journeys to exciting new places, familiar sites and dreaded appointments. I pass places of my childhood and an eerie sense envelops me. It’s weird; suddenly I’m ten again, going to school in North London, waiting for the 217, Cambridge Heath Road. Then I’m sixteen, on the number 29 going to The Roxy, Neil Street, Covent Garden – a girl called Catwoman, another called Tampax, my mate Vi, short for Violet going to The Vortex when The Roxy closed a year later. Going to The Rainbow, Finsbury Park-Iggy Pop, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Heartbreakers. Going to The Blitz in Holborn early on, hairdressers night and I’m a hairdressing junior. It’s Biddy and Eve singing, the Andrew Logan set are there; I see Luciana Martinez, Duggie Fields. Later it’s the home of The New Romantic scene, but not for now, it’s ’76-‘77, Punk Rock is on the up; Covent Garden is a boarded up graveyard. A run through maze, screaming dressed up in nylon, bondage, rubber, tartan. The streets are empty back then, not so many people populating my town in those days. Things shut early, late nights at The Speakeasy- nowhere else to go to get drunk for a sixteen year old, perhaps Louise’s or The Sombrero for a disco.
A year later I go back to Covent Garden, I’m eighteen, ’78, it’s still boarded up ready for gentrification, coming down soon though. I work in a shop - P.X. There’s a rehearsal space downstairs, band music bleeds up, Chrissies down there with her Pretenders, she tells me all about it. One day Michael Jackson came by, another time some local kids locked us in for a laugh, it was Cameron McVey and his mates. I had a ‘look’ then, one of many. I hobbled around in tight, tight skirts and high, high heels from Seditionaires. I took speed and learnt to smoke. I had a good beehive. What’s his name, Paul from up north moved into Floral Street, Paul Howie and Lynn Franks had jumpers in Long Acre. There was nothing else round there then shop wise. We had Bowie on, we played Kraftwerk, we kept a lookout for new music, new makeup, the future, futuristic. Dance moves, soul static robot. Berlin, film noir. London ’79, cross-dressing melting vista of possibilities. No money, poverty breeds creativity, that’s what they say. Nevertheless perhaps it’s true, especially in London where people seem to gravitate towards seeking out an identity more vital than the one they’ve left behind. I did the same, left north London and headed uptown, central, on the Piccadilly line. London’s built on a by-line, heard someone say that somewhere, I think it’s true because there’s certain energy here in London.
I went to New York ’81, it was good-not as good as London. I went to Tokyo ’82-Bladerunner days- it was good too, not as good as London though. I was glad to come back. That was the only time I said ‘I really need to get out of town’ like you do.
One day a woman came round to my home and asked me some questions for a book she was writing, I lived in Camden by then. After living at the Warren Street and Great Titchfield Street squats we all got council flats nobody else wanted – that’s London Life. I had a flat with Stephen Jones and Lee Sheldrick. Anyway she published her book ‘A Century Of Style’ and wrote me off… what will become of me? I was only 21. Depressing. That’s London too, make or break at 21.
Nowadays I live in East London, where I was born, Hackney. Somehow I always come back here. I had a ‘pull’ in the late 70’s so I went to work at a factory at the bottom of Hackney Road; I was a ‘stitch bitch’ doing piecework at the Berketex Bridal Factory for six months. I hung out with the ‘girls’; we went to pubs, lunchtime strips. I had another urge to leave after a while but I learnt to sew fast!
All through the 80’s I lived in remarkable Camden, Godwin Court (The God Squad), Crowndale Road, N1. I had a knicker stall at Camden Lock. Them days you just turned early and got a good pitch, I shared with Holly Warburton, she had the jewels and made films, took photographs. 1983 that was, I got married to my friends boyfriend so they could stay together. Times change, two men getting married, I was the go-between for them. I liked Camden, it was a bit of a dump, we had The Music Machine on the corner, I saw Amanda Lear there, performing. Other stuff went on there too, Anthony Price had a fashion show there, it was an avant-garde palace in a way. On other times we went to Heaven up Charing Cross, the biggest gay disco in the world. Ian ‘Piggy’ Levine played, they had a laser show, lots of lights, all the disco business. Pyramid, Cha Cha’s round the back, Scarlet, Trojan, Michael ‘Maria Malapasta’, Space Princess, Jeffrey Hinton, HiNrg. Leigh Bowery came to town and stayed-Taboo, Maximus, Leicester Square-more extreme, more drugs. Mark Golding, Sue Tilly on the door. Me on the coat check for a bit with Malcolm Duffy. Rachel Auburn, Mark Lawrence, Jeffrey on the decks. Go-go dancing from Michael Clark, David La Chapelle, good times and mad. I think we all went a little mad then, some people died after all that. Aids was getting very ‘real’, death sentence an air of inevitability. ’85, ’86. Drugs too, MDMA, heroine jack up.
A lot of tinsel, that’s London, we love our veneer, we love our sleaze. Any excuse to have a party, go crazy, pile on the tat. We’d get the bus up town, hang out in Soho, go to The Pink Panther club for Christmas. Raid… walk round the corner and walk straight back in! Rent boys serving up out of date beer and a D.J. dressed up like Gary Glitter. A hole covered up with old stinking carpet, don’t stand there.
Falling over, getting back up again, we do that a lot and have a right good laugh about it. It’s all a bit seamy on the other hand everything’s the height of glamour. Walk into a pub, down a street, pass somebody famous, look sideways and glimpse someone done up to the nines or a stinky beggar on the cadge for anything. Look up and see a London sky full of doom and strange optimism, changing skylines and beautiful brutal reality.