Liverpool 1971

•July 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

incredibly moving film about my city in the early 1970s


My prints for sale on line ;-)

•January 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

amy scott-samuel

art hag

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while
I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village,
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up
all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud,
listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the
the rhythm the
rhythm – and your memory in my head three
years after – And read Adonais’ last triumphant stanzas
aloud – wept, realizing how we suffer –
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing,
remember, prophesy as in the Hebrew Andthem, or the
Buddhist Book of Answers – and in my own imagination of
a withered leaf – at dawn –
Dreaming back thru life, Your Time – and mine accelerating
toward Apocalypse,
the final moment – the flower burning in the Day – and what
comes after..

C’est moi

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Jon-Rae Fletcher, Oh Maria!

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment
The music of Jon Rae Fletcher harks back to another era and a simpler time, when your love for your sweetheart, your horse and your hipflask of whiskey was all that mattered. A time of horse drawn wagons, and endless dirt roads, when lonesome men sang songs of loss and heartbreak beside a crackling fire, with only the moon and stars as their company. 
When listening to ‘O Maria’, one might envisage our narrator as an ageing and weathered old man, pondering onerously on the life that has gone before him, for each song functions as a whimsical tale or ballad, and brims with a heavy, burdened heart; a regretful sentimentality and a brooding sense of melancholy. 
Jon Rae’s music is evocative of a lifetime filled with sorrow. Ay, it could be claimed that this man is bursting at the sides  with the blues. For even the geetars, piano and trombone that accompany his sweet whiskey voice can be heard to moan and ache with the sadness of a million broken hearts. 
But be warned, dear reader, because before you know it – the album’s ultimate and perhaps, most treasured track will be plucking, ever so gently, at your own tarnished and blackened heart strings, and will leave you weeping, ever so softly, into your tea cup. For having given his love, his soul, and his everything to Maria, all that our singer has left in him is the futile and hopeless cry,   ‘Oh! Ooh! Maria!’

Hanne Hukkelberg: Blood From a Stone

•November 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Originating from Kongsberg, Norway, Hanne Hukkelberg has been making music and testing out her vocal capabilities from the ripe age of 3. Performing with an ever-expanding cast of friends and accomplished musicians, Blood From a Stone is Hanne’s third release under her guise as solo artist and composer. When listening to Blood From a Stone, one can certainly detect Hanne’s early punk / noise roots and her assimilation into a scene that championed DIY noise and experimentation over musical pomp and uniformity. Like the songs of the Cocteau Twins, Joanna Newsom or Coco Rosie, Hanne’s music has a distinctly ethereal quality, which both captivates and entices; transporting the listener through a series of dark, foreboding and enchanted spaces. Unlike the onerous drone of Funeral, the Doom Metal band with which Hukkelberg once performed, the singer’s third album,  Blood From a Stone, positively lends itself to the majesty and grace of Hanne’s voice. If the world is a stone, Hanne is the crimson blood that spills forth from it, unapologetic, whimsical; brimming with emotion and depth. Hanne’s music creates a cathartic diversion from the hum drum of the everyday; it allows a space to engage in fantasy, and a medium for ecstatic, unadulterated feeling. Drawing inspiration from bands like Einstürzende Neubauten and Sonic Youth – Hanne utilizes all manner of found objects, from kitchen utensils, to clacking type writers, flag poles, sea gull cries and cat purrs, in turn weaving a unique and poignant miasma of textured, layered and ambient sounds.

Propeller Recordings (Norway)

(Memories) Lost and Found

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Looking back and reflecting on the past has long been a strange and disorienting experience. I feel so detached and so far removed, that all those endless nights, bizarre happenings and hazy, dreamy days feel like they belong to another part of me; an old, lost me. Perhaps she lies festering in the cob-webbed recesses of my teenage mind, or else is broken and weathered, rusting and decomposing in a junkyard scrapheap somewhere in Speke. She might be a mass of seaweed hair and bloated blue, washed up along the shores of the River Mersey. Or maybe I left her sleeping soundly in a corn field in Sussex? Or sat at the top of the old tripping tree, where she is eternally stuck, never to come back down.

Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

•October 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Three Studies for a Crucifixion – 2

Tonight I watched Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon. Directed by John Maybury, Love is the Devil is a stark, disturbing and emotive depiction of Bacon’s working life. The film centres on the artist’s tempestuous and tragic relationship with lover and muse George Dyer, while providing an insight into his private world and tortured, complex psyche. As a child, I was introduced to Bacon’s paintings, having found a postcard of Triptych in an old cupboard in our dining room. To this day, I still find it extremely distressing to view Bacon’s work. His studies of human figures are a terrifying portrayal of life – at once raw, passionate, violent, and filled with macabre illusions. They are hell incarnate in the human form. And perhaps it is this – their overt truth – and Bacon’s ability to capture the futility of existence – that makes them both fascinating and utterly repelling.

Here is a memorable interview with the artist, produced for the Southbank Show in 1985

Flying contraption

•October 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Last night I dreamt that I was given a  magical flying device. This consisted of a hat, much like an old RAF cap from the 1940’s, a bulbous, and fully inflated red balloon, and a huge set of wings. I was offered my wings by an old time flyer – an ancient looking guy with a face covered in patches of grey whiskers and a strange, ancient smell about him, that seemed to hint at his magic and wisdom.

I soon found myself walking by a freeway, carrying this huge set of wings, made of wood and material, with pieces of loose silk thread, feathers and dark worn leather trailing from them. I approached a woman who was sat on a wall with her young children. I asked if she may help me put on my wings as they were heavy and not easy to haul onto my back. The children wore animal masks, a tiger, an elephant, a monkey. They marvelled at my magnificent wings and stroked and tugged on them, as I hauled on the last arm. And then, with a hop skip and a stumble, I was off..swooping low over a lake and skimming my feet above a mass of leafy tree branches..

I was dancin in the lesbian bar a-woo

•October 13, 2009 • 23 Comments


Me and Andy went to see Jonathan Richman play a show in The Deaf Institute, Manchester, this past Sunday. It was just him and his geetar, with Tommy Larkin playing on drums. Jonathan stood there in the spotlight with his uniform striped T and those familiar, black cotton Chinese shoes that he always seems to be wearing, and that you can buy from the Chinese market for a few dollars. (I have a pair, and they’re very comfortable.) Jonathan was incredible – still kooky as hell. A little awkward, very childlike and full of smiles for the audience. At one point, I looked around the crowd, and we were all smirking; giggling with delight. Jonathan hadn’t said anything, he was just eyeing up the stragglers, with his wide eyed and goofy, slack jawed grin. There was a spattering of funny, self reflexive interjections from Jonathan, and of course, he whipped out those unforgettable, Latino  / dad-at-disco moves.

This song has gotta be one of my all-time favourite Richman songs. Im just gutted he didn’t play Kookanagan

Arthur Russell

•October 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment


My friend Mike just turned me onto this guy. He is truly awesome

Jean Tinguely

•October 2, 2009 • 3 Comments


I went to the Tate, Liverpool today and saw Michael Landy’s co-curated exhibition Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely. Landy pays homage to his predecessor, presenting some of Tinguely’s earliest and most radical works. The pieces explore notions of movement, space, environment, chance and time, in the form of  paintings, sketches, and intricately crafted sculptures. Tinguely’s sculptures incorporate junk metal and other found  or unwanted objects. These disparate pieces are forged together; rehashed into new and (by all intents and purposes), ‘useless’ objects. The collection of works are thought provoking and perhaps, suggestive of the advent and rapid growth of industrialisation; of the increasing role of mechanical machinery; the development of the mass consumerist market, and the subsequent influx of technology and new media, versus theedecrease in manual skills, labour and craft. These pieces are suggestive of the link between capitalist society; our fixation with mass consumption and our eventual [and often, premature], disregard for commodities.

For more information, have a look at this brilliant, Liverpool based blog:

Palace Brothers

•October 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment


I’d be riding horses if they’d let me
Sleep outside at night and not take fright
I would ride the range and never worry
I would disappear into the night

•September 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

 oooooooooooooooh gawd!!!

It’s the Dirty Projectors strummin their schizzle with the might of Byrne! Dang, this is one hell of a show tune…..

Fin Du Monophone

•September 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

MeatDraw, Self Righteous Records

When glancing over the track list of MEATDRAW’s Fin Du Monophone, one might begin to wonder if this band are the genuine folk-punk article, and not the toilet wall ramblings of some drunk, screwed up emo-rock kid. From the opening, ‘Are We Gonna Die?’ right through to the finale, ‘We’re Not All Gonna Die’, MD convey a strong disposition for the socially inept and the mentally collapsed; for eerie ghost towns, black magic and the ever encroaching APOCALYPSE. And yet, should you get your mits on a copy of Fin Du Monophone, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the band’s genuine exuberance, warmth, and positively infectious energy. In fact, MEATDRAW do a great job of uplifting, rejuventating and brightening the heck out of their audience. With a larger than life cast and an unmistakable big band / big sound feel, MD are certainly living up to their moniker as carnival companions. Just as the musicians of MD are likened to a ‘zombie army of freaks and gypsies’, so too can the host of shifty, and menacing undesirables, so deftly depicted in the tales of Fin Du. Mix this with a heavy dosing of Page France cuteness, a sprinkling of Herman Dune’s Parisien twang, a spattering of The Unicorns indy-pop goodness, and a mickey full of Win Butler vocals. Then chuck in a full bodied chorus of merry singers, punchy show tunes, bleating horns, accordian, and ukelele, and voila! You have yourself a most generous and succulent serving of MEATDRAW.


•September 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment



















I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet

Pussy on the Mat

•September 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

oh my! Tis Ivor Cutler



Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest

•September 29, 2009 • 1 Comment


Following the great success of Yellow House in 2006, Veckatimest is the latest offering from the Brooklyn based, Grizzly Bear camp. Inspired by a small uninhabited island, perched vicariously along the southern-most tip of Cape Cod, Veckatimest transforms the physicality of land, sea, cloud and sky into a sound that is both otherworldly and of the earth – conjuring up images of a lush and untouched wilderness. It fills the heart with hot breathes of southern easterly winds, whipped up afresh from the foam-spray of the Atlantic. It invokes images of wild dandelions billowing in patches on the beach; of birds soaring over endless blues skies and of gnarled driftwood lying scattered along the shoreline. With strong hints of The Sea and Cake’s summer-inducing, post jazz lilts, Veckatimest veers towards the lighter, breezier notions of jazz. Helped along by heavenly, cherubic layers of voice and sound, this is an album of dazzling proportions – cinematic in its scope and vision. With all band members contributing to vocal duties, and with four songs boasting string arrangements from the much loved Nico Muchly, Veckatimest offers a glimpse of an altogether different, matured Grizzly Bear, and my, are we grateful for it.

Warp Recordsbear-drawing-1

Giants of the Animal Kingdom

•September 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Merriweather Post Pavilion / Animal Collective

As the undoubted giants of the animal kingdom, it has long been a difficult and irksome task to define the sound of the ANIMAL COLLECTIVE. Championing a uniquely progressive and free thinking musical approach, the band continue in their efforts to negate the idea of category or genre. The songs of Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin and the Geologist combine beautifully poetic lyrics with strange and discordant folk tales, reminiscent of the haunting dreams of childhood. There’s talk of exploding fireworks and stinging nettles, of bear hugs and banshee beats. Many of their songs seem to reflect on those simple yet fleeting moments of magic that you can’t quite fathom. On the beauty and absurdity of nature. On daydreams, fantasy, and the peculiar randomness of life.

The boys’ latest offering proves to be just as visionary and heartbreaking a masterpiece as previous hit albums like Strawberry Jam, Feels, and Sung Tongs. Listening to Merriweather Post Pavilion is like chancing upon a dusty old suitcase, crammed with the photographs, curios, and handwritten letters of a young and dreamy-eyed lover. It’s like finding a lost journal tucked beneath your seat on the bus, and guiltily pouring over the pages of a stranger’s most intimate and heartfelt secrets. It’s like tapping into the night-time dreams of Avey Tare or Panda Bear, each song offering such an honest and raw portrayal of love; of life; of a fleeting moment; or an object of desire.

Merriweather Post might be a little less crazed and raucous as the AC’s previous works, but all in all, it’s just as ethereal and nirvana-inducing an experience. The collection of 11 songs provides a euphoric and exotic mix of celestial beats, primal chants, tribal-esque drum rolls, and spasmodic, blissful noise bursts. All of this layered over a multitude of heavenly vocals – oftentimes wailing, other times screaming or cawing like birds in song. Merriweather Post veers towards a more gentle, subtle, and dare I say it, accessible sound. That being said, the AC still come out top trumps, for this band of magical songsters cannot help but woo and inspire us with their epic, heady, and whoozy concoction of oh-my-god-I-must-be-dreaming songs.