Thursday, 26 September 2013

Wolf Pack 9: NEWS

I am currently sitting in my little flat in Bristol, staring through the window across the rooftops shrouded in silver-grey dusk. As I do this Wolf Pack is embarking on its ninth conceptual concert 107 miles away in east London. 

Sadly I can't be there. At work I have been grappling with new software for the iPad edition of the magazine and have only just escaped the office – suffice to say the Bristol-London public transport would have to take the form of apparition or a portkey (a la Harry Potter) to get me to the concert on time. But I know that I am missing a treat so I thought I would tell you a bit about it all anyway.

Wolf Pack: NEWS explores how the news is presented and why items considered as 'newsworthy' are considered to be so. The music of Frank Zappa and Radiohead is programmed alongside contemporary 'classical' works (including three world premieres) to conceptualise our relationship with what we are told by the media.

As well as curating NEWS, Wolf Pack's fabulous founder and director Laila Woozeer (she keeps a gorgeous blog too and you must read it HERE) deserves a shout out for recently building a brilliant new website. It tells you all you need to know about the wolves' adventures in music.

Wolf Pack, which I was a member of just last year, has always totally transcended genre and exceptions around instrumentation in its productions. Music is chosen and arranged purely to fit the players present and illuminate a specific theme. First it was WILD, and from there we walked down the isle in LOVE, ate too much FOOD and made the university music department into our HOME for a night. When I had to say goodbye to the group to pursue my dreams in magazine journalism last summer, the Pack went on to leave their tracks on TEXTFEAR and now: NEWS.

The good news – about NEWS – is that the whole thing is happening again tomorrow night! Same time. Same place. So if you've got your hipster head on and/or want your mind to be blown by talented musicians and their incredible performance creations, head over to The Rag Factory just off Brick Lane, east London.

I miss you little wolves...

Wolf Pack: News | Photo: Arnold Bogerth/Wolf Pack
Wolf Pack: News | Photo: Arnold Bogerth/Wolf Pack

Visit: :: event details are HERE.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Playlist: This Is The Kit

Last Friday some friends and I strolled up to the Folk House on Park Street to see This Is The Kit play live. It was a brilliant gig and I haven't stopped listening to their albums ever since.

I first discovered the band at Fire in the Mountain festival and got to know the music better when Rosie and I supported them at a Bristol gig last year. With soft vocals woven through calm, oscillating melodies, they have become a real favourite of mine.

Kate Stables has a beautifully natural vocal style and her band makes clever and gorgeous textures to accompany her unique style of folk. This Is The Kit formed in 2003 and is based between Bristol – lucky us – and Paris. The band now has three albums to its name, the most recent of which is the enchanting Wriggle Out The Restless

Cerys Matthews of BBC 6 Music said of them: "Absolutely gorgeous, like an aural bath with the warm water lapping over you". Please check them out for yourself – utterly brilliant. Especially live.

Kate Stables, This Is The Kit | Photo: Jassy Earl

Rozi Plain, This Is The Kit | Photo: Jassy Earl

This Is The Kit - Sometimes The Sea from Droptunemedia on Vimeo.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Photography: 'Monday's child is fair of face'

Today the weather was gorgeous so I grabbed my camera, loaded a 35mm film and went for a walk.

The sun was out in full force against the chilly air, and dramatic clouds interrupted the solid blue sky. When those clouds burst for some sharp showers, I jumped into my favourite little eateries in Bristol for warming cups of tea and the odd brownie. 

It was such a luxury to take some time out and explore this lovely city, which feels so like home now. These are some of the things I saw...

Bristol architecture | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Abandoned on the walk of shame: Where's Cinderella?  | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

On Whiteladies Road | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Sunlight on The Downs | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Solitude | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Clifton Suspension Bridge | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Back on Pembroke Road | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

All Saints Church, Pembroke Road | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

College Green + the unicorns | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath

William III wears sombrero, Queen Square | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

The docks | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath

The swan | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

The ruins of St Peter's Church, Castle Park | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Wesley's Chapel | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
Photo: Rosie Pentreath

See more of my film photography HERE.

Film: La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

Occasionally you watch a film that you know will stay with you for a long time afterwards. Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty is an indulgent portrayal of the highlife and hedonism in Rome and an existentialist exploration of what life means beyond materialism and excess.

The luxuriously drawn-out scenes show an appreciation for the small and beautiful moments that could easily go unnoticed. Described as 'couture cinema', the stunning cinematography incorporates a brilliant soundtrack, which includes Arvo Pärt's My Heart's in the Highlands, John Tavener's The Lamb and re-mixes of familiar European club tracks. It is a film to be appreciated as l'art pour l'art (art for art's sake).

"It is all settled beneath the chattering and the noise. Silence and sentiment. Emotion and fear. The haggard, inconsistent splashes of beauty. And the wretched squalor and miserable humanity." – Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), The Great Beauty

The point Sorrentino is making with his humorous portrayal of an arts journalist who has been living off the success of one novel for decades is a simple one: we can fill our lives with people and parties and power, and – things – but we can't ignore what is true beneath the surface. The whole plot revolves slowly and beautifully around the protagonist's memory of feeling first love in his 18th summer, the flashback to which contains an innocence and softness highly contrasted to the party scenes.

But it's not a sentimental film. It is self aware, self-deprecating and funny. It is numbness against bright colour contrasted sharply to an appreciation of those beautiful incidentals in life that only reveal themselves quietly.

It is also an excuse to stare at stunning interiors and architecture, gorgeous clothes, glamourous parties and good looking people. This film is breathtakingly beautiful and I can't recommend it enough.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Art: How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes?, Bristol

Now that I live in Cotham, my walk to work each morning takes me through Stokes Croft and the 'Bearpit' – the convergence of several underpasses that has been converted into an art installation and social space complete with ping pong tables, market stalls and hippy eateries. 

Stokes Croft – a small stretch of road lined with alternative venues and adorned in politicised graffiti – has named itself a 'People's Republic' and is famed for uprisings against new Tesco stores, having more independent supermarkets than you could ever need and hosting cooler-than-most hipster hangouts. It is also (and I only found this out at the beginning of this week despite having lived here for six months) twinned with three places: St Ives in Cornwall, Montmartre in France and Wan Chai in Hong Kong. The place never fails to be ridiculously, eccentrically 'arty'. And I am, of course, increasingly smitten with this shabby (chic) corner of Bristol.

The latest addition to the Bearpit is an outdoor exhibition entitled How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes?. Curated by the People's Republic of Stokes Croft the installation encourages us to think about decades of struggle for democracy and peoples' rights whilst we rush to catch a bus in the early morning sun, or bow our heads against sideways rain on the way to the city's shopping quarter. There are bold motifs and important quotes for sure, but my favourite details are those added by the late-night Bearpit drinkers.

Q: How does an activist eat potatoes?
A: (unofficial) In a white wine sauce at The Canteen.

Precious. And speaks volumes, trust me. Oh Stokes Croft, how I adore you...

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath 
How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath
How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

How Does An Activist Eat Potatoes? runs until 30th November 2013.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Playlist: Deap Vally

We all have times when emotional strength has dwindled a little and hope is somewhat dampened. Music always helps and for mine, I have Deap Vally. At these times it has to be strong, uncompromising and 'a bit too cool'. These girls tick all of those boxes.

Deap Vally is the duo of Lindsey Troy on guitar and vocals and Julie Edwards on drums (the pair allegedly met in a knitting class and have been inseparable ever since). It is LA rock made of dirty guitar riffs, driving drum beats and powerful vocals. Live the pair make more noise than many a five-piece and you can expect to be utterly absorbed by the entire set. I  certainly was when I saw them play Glastonbury this year. And hearing it all over again in the album – Sistrionix, released back in June – is not a disappointment.

Listen to End of the World for gutsy vocals and try Your Love for old-school conviction in feelings. Bad For My Body feels like an anthem for my generation. OH ye-e-e-eah.