Friday, 16 April 2010

Buried treasures

Dave Mothersole takes a look at the 80's goa party scene in "The Roots of Trance" over on Bleep43. Fascinating look at an oft-derided and misunderstood genre with a belter of a mix to accompany it. For long periods the music sounds like a good night at Optimo- really enjoyable stuff especially the fucked up Italo and synthpop of Laser Cowboys and Boytronic. Lots of the music there is available for buttons on Discogs too so i'll be getting in about it!

It's Record Shop Day the morn so I'll be tootling off around Underground Solushun, Avalanche and Coda desperately searching for a vinyl copy of Calling Out of Context!

In celebration of RSD have a wee look at Stefan Glerum's warning to Crate Diggers!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


That's the sound of more than six months flying by.

Neglect of blog due to absence of much inspiration and impending/new parenthood.

Will hopefully be making some more time for this in the coming months.
Anyway, on to "current events", aka the quintannual constructed illusion of choice.
Image by Tom Leonard: have a look at his fantastic journal here. And buy some of his poetry here.

Interesting to see SupaDave and the Conservatives making a play for the old community engagement wheeze with their whizzo hard-bound, nu-serious manifesto. Seems to echo the increasing popularity of harnessing the power of the volunteer sector amongst the upper echelons of local authority management. Delightful, sounds great and resonates strongly with all them high level competencies about leading change in the organisation, challenging existing thinking and most importantly will contribute to those efficiencies we're going to be hearing so much about in the coming year! All we have to do is replace all these pesky, awkward militant stick-in-the-muds who cling to the old notion of being paid for something you're good at with a shiny-eyed army of unpaid volunteers! It's the 21st century! It's not like anyone needs a full time job any more anyway eh?

The blind side of this "Volunteers as service providers" scheme is that it inevitably requires the recruitment of the two cadres of employees that are portrayed as the villains in the narrative of public service employment: managers (to co-ordinate this army of volunteers) and bureaucrats (to administrate it). Ironic that single most significant employment drive of this Conservative attempt to diminish the size of the state will probably involve the re-employment of the quangocracy, so despised by the Tory base.

It will also be interesting to see how the Tories try to sell their schools and police forces run by "Real People" in Scotland considering they have, um, neither the mandate nor the power to implement these changes.

Or will it just end up being a massive sell off of service provision to private companies who will tender competitive bids to local authorities only to begin immediately charging more for "additional services" once they get the contract?

Still, in the race to the bottom this inspiring political message from Scottish Labour wins it by a nose.

Probably as close to saying "DON'T EVEN BOTHER" as the parties are willing to go.
Which is ultimately what they want.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Festival (Edinburgh)

Brief, synoptic rundown of things i saw, did, enjoyed, hated.

Jane & Louise Wilson "Unfolding the Aryan Papers" (Talbot Rice Gallery):
Stunning, visually overwhelming meditation on Stanley Kubrick's abortive "Aryan Papers" film, abandoned after months of pre-production and characteristically meticulous research by Kubrick. Repetitions and revisitations of history, archive and memory. Cinematic without being vacuuous. Images, both from Kubrick's archive and orchestrated by the artists that live long in the memory.

Eva Hesse "Studiowork" (Fruitmarket):
Lots been written about this, endless coverage and 5 star reviews. Fragile and enigmatic sculptures. Really interesting in terms of how these small experiments constitute "work"; masterclass in how process and practice rather than finished artifacts are the elements that artists themselves find most interesting/worthwhile. Or something.

The sound of my voice. Citizens Theatre adaptation of Ron Butlin's superb meditation on alcoholism. Intense stuff which possibly hewed a little too close to the text to let the production really come alive theatrically. The cramped setting heightened the tension as the narrator descends into a white knuckled, mud soaked alcoholic white out. Billy Mack's performance elevated things. I definitely preferred the book which permits sufficient shades of grey to allow you to begin to like the profoundly disfunctional protagonist.

Up. First play by a good friend of mine. About a man committed to an NHS psychiatric institution, replaying the circumstances of his commital to an unseen ward-mate. Funny as fuck and dark as pitch, a really successful meditation on mental illness, depression, sexuality and alienation. Really well written, thrilled (if a little jealous) of James for his success! Laurie Brown's performance was nothing short of astonishing, he got nominated for a Stage Award for it and well deserved it.


Tons of stuff as I was working as part of the childrens festival. For fun I saw...

The Moth: Baffling New York based storytelling night relocated to the Spiegeltent for one night only. I hated it while it was happening but was thinking about it for days afterwards. 4 storytellers got onstage and had to tell a 10 minute true story. Some were good. Some were awful. There was a definite disconnect between the american performers expectations and a characteristically sceptical Edinbugh audience with many pregnant pauses for applause lengthening into chasms of silence. Also, not entirely sure the atmosphere was helped by the setting, a large, billowing tent with every emergency vehicle in the city (and a military plane fly by for the tattoo) disrupting the vibe on a number of occasions, more suited to a darker, more atmospheric situation. Definite highlight was George Dawes Green's breathless Georgian saga.

Alasdair Gray: True to form Alasdair Gray departed from his brief to read from "Fleck" his adaptation of Faust to read from "Voices in the Dark". Magic, anarchic and occasionally infuriatingly digressive it was vintage Gravian fare. I got my copy of "The Book of Prefaces", Gray's amazing anthological history of introductions to a thousand years of literature inscribed to me by the man himself which was a massive, massive thrill!

Colm Toibin & Patrick McCabe: Two of my favourite writers on the same stage. Probably the most enjoyable hour I spent at the festival this year. Real knockabout fun, both authors have clearly done this before and managed to provided insight and entertainment despite disappointing chairing and an unavoidable "What does it mean to be Irish" line of questioning.
Audience seemed to be more interested in Toibin than McCabe but both writers engaged in a meaningful, if meandering discussion with one other. You can get the audio from the EIBF website. It's well worth a listen.

That's it for the time being...


It's been an insanely, insanely, insanely busy few months round my way.

This is a desultory attempt to catch up in whatever way I can.

Will try and split it into three posts.

Festival (Edinburgh)
Festival (Croatia)
Edinburgh Club activity (recent)


Thursday, 27 August 2009

Friday, 14 August 2009

Tiny Hairy Disco Deathmatch.

Get yourselves along to Kris Wasabi and David Barbarossa's disco grudge-fuck* at Sneaky Pete's tomorrow (Saturday 15th) night.
6 hours of non-stop disco shennanigans.
I'll be there.
Dressed as Grace Jones.
On the cover of Island Life.
In my mind.

Mega, mega busy round this way. Even though I'm on holidays. And have spent most of the morning on teh internets.

And another thing, i'm increasingly thinking that the festival is Edinburgh's Christmas. It's impossible to walk down the street without meeting someone you know and inevitably ends with the question "Fancy a scoop?"

Sure, it's fun to complain but there's something in the air this year.

* I know, eww.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Edinburgh Art/Music collective FOUND unveiled their emo-robot band creation, Cybraphon at the open of NewMedia Scotland's Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition at the InSpace gallery yesterday.
Cybraphon embodies the type of new-old-new aesthetic I was talking about previously. "Cybraphon consists of a number of instruments, antique machinery, and found objects from junk shops operated by over 60 robotic components, all housed in a modified wardrobe" (although the majority of Cybraphon's functions run off custom software). For the how, go here. The why, go here. It reminds me a little of Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller's "Opera for a Small Room" that was exhibited last year.

Cybraphon is resolutely modern too, being obsessed with social networking and the web, to such a degree that its prowess and popularity online impacts on its emotional state, which in turn has an effect on the music it composes. There are rumours that Richie Hawtin consulted with Cybraphon on Myspace and stole some of its ideas in surveying fans about what they'd like the return of Plastikman to look like.

Cybraphon, like many others, is naturally livid with Hawtin. Not because he stole his idea but because Cybraphon only sees the online component of its existence as informing rather than directing its practice as an artist.

There's a face off between FOUND and Cybraphon next week, unfortunately the website is saying it's sold out. Hopefully Cybraphon will notice I've written about it and grant me some sort of special robo-guestie.