January, 2013

picks of the month banner

The start of a New Year and a brand new site. Here’s our first monthly round-up of the things we’ve been keeping ourselves busy with, and what we’re excited about for the future.

Luke’s things of the month
I was lucky to unwrap a shiny new iPad for Christmas. Aside from the digital subscriptions to The Atlantic, Newsweek and Film Comment, I treated myself to an ebook purchase of Will Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.

Edited by former Run On guitarist Alan Licht, it’s the quasi-biographical account of prolific Kentuckian Americana artist Oldham, a 400 page selection of interviews Licht conducted with his friend, where they chronicle his artistic influences, collaborations with everyone from Bjork to R. Kelly. It’s an acquired taste, but this is a really insightful portrait of America’s most enigmatic alternative country songsmith working today.

After watching 366 films in 2012, I’ve tried to escape sitting down in a comfy chair and getting glued into another movie. Still a little worse for ware from the night before, I spent New Year’s Day watching the crude eighties movie musical, Purple Rain.

An unashamed Prince devotee, it was such a wonderful start to the year seeing one of my old eighties movies. Yes, the acting may be terrible, and the pimp/punk dialogue excrutiating, but the film is so darn right sexy, I couldn’t help but pay it a revisit. If only for the soundtrack alone, you need to see this.

I’m not sure whether my studies are to blame or my general indolence, but I was completely unaware that Alexander Tucker released an album in 2012. Released back in June, Third Ear is experimental folk artist’s sixth album, and the second to be released on fantastic label Thrill Jockey. A few listens in, it’s clear that he is hugely influenced by the sounds of  Robert Wyatt and Eno, whilst still having an inexplicable, refreshing sound of the future.


Rob’s events of the month
Inimitable chamber ensemble Penguin Cafe Orchestra are playing an intimate show at Camden’s Cecil Sharp House on Thursday the 17th. Lead by Arthur Jeffes, son of founding member Simon, the group will be workshopping compositions from a new album. They’re also playing on the 3rd of February. Expect to see a feature on the harmonium-brandishing upstarts on this very site, soon.

Flying the comedy flag, saturnite producers The Invisible Dot are doing their bit to help all you shake the January blues by hosting free shows at their King’s Cross HQ.  Beginning on January 25th with Claudia O’Doherty’s last performance of Foster’s award-nominated show The Telescope, the shows will continue into February. This lot’s ability to consistently put on shows by medium-advancing performers is baffling; keep your eye on their site for updates.

And because January is a long, cold month, more laughter can be sought at LOCO London Comedy Film Festival. Running at venues across the city between 24-27 January, the programme boasts discussion panels on how to kickstart your comedic career, a Nora Ephron retrospective, and screenings of contemporary Far Eastern comedies. I’m particularly looking forward to ‘Creating Your Own Funny World’, a workshop held at the BFI on the 27th and focusing on the construction of a rounded, immersive universe unique to your writing.

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