Monday, 13 November 2017

Q & A with Gabi Garbutt

The first of December sees the release of Armed With Love the brilliant debut single by Gabi Garbutt. Harry Pye was delighted she was up for answering a few questions..
How’s your day been doing so far? Any magic moments? "Hello! All good thank you. Been recording a home demo of a new song I've been working on today, had already got the bones of the track down so I've been having a lot of fun with coming up with arrangements on the Juno keyboard.. the weird space noises and synthetic brass sounds are magic!"
You’re playing London on the 23rd which musicians will be backing you? "Yes, the Illuminations will be out in full force at the Monarch in Camden on the 23rd November. Gabi Garbutt & The Illuminations are made of me, Jimi Scandal - the most unique and expressive guitar player you'll ever meet and loyal comrade, Sean Read - benevolent overlord, my right hand man since the start of this project and brains behind most of the arrangements, a real soulful keys and sax player, Alec Sala - musical magic man, creator of beautiful noises on trumpet and keys, he'll have just come back from touring with Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Callum McQuattie - badass bass player, master of rhythmic melody and one cool dude, our usual sticksman Stephen Gilchrist (genuinely the best drummer out there in my opinion) is away in Hong Kong so we've got my brother Leo Garbutt filling on drums - lively and solid beat keeper, full of energy and great ideas."
I’ve read that (like myself) you’re a big fan of Dexys. There’s a Kevin Rowland quote about wanting to make records that are “precious possessions”. Do you relate to this ambition of his
"Yes, massive fan of the Dexys. Great that you are too. Precious possessions.. definitely, to make a record really special you and everyone working on it has to put a lot of love into it, so you'll want the person listening to it to give it a lot of love back. The Dexys always had their image absolutely nailed as well as their sound and that was really encapsulated in the artwork of their records, which I think also added to their records being like precious possessions. Such a magical part of getting a new record is the album art work and lyric book and all that, so I'll be putting a whole load of love and attention into that side of things when we make the album. In the words of the Dexys, let's make this precious.. "
Which of your lyrics are you most pleased with or proud of? "I'm pretty pleased with the lyrics to the most recent song I've written. Not sure which is my favourite bit so here's the whole thing: I sunk fast into the red glow, the red glow from the stereo, holding tight to this rising tune while my body hangs hollow, a trembling ghost beneath these iron skies and ice cold effigies, and drifting to my refuge of flesh and melody. And here I am just wilting in the heat of the machine, I don't care for my home and I've been left a wandering queen, Dancing my downfall all across these wooden floors, When I finished this old fashioned I'll be gone forever more, Loving you always, dying for you always but blue, so blue my love, Trying to feel something real and romantic and strong, but all that I found was a song, And it's a weak signal stuck inside a forgotten station. Took the wrong way home and now I'm tearing up the morning, In amongst the birds while their tiny choir is forming the same ecstatic song that woke my ancestors, The journey side companion of all the lonely time travellers. I'll drag this all night fever through the rush hour blues, Caught up in the flight of my spirit and my shoes, A damaged Love inside me as I run breathless through the streets, My cowboy mouth spouting my cowboy dreams at everyone I meet."
What can you tell me about your forthcoming seaside tour? "We joined The Libertines for one of the dates on their seaside tour, at Claremont Pier in Lowestoft. It was everything you'd hope for from a seaside show, the backstage area had a staircase down to the beach. It was a really fun gig and The Libertines and all their crew were a lovely bunch of people. The Libertines were great and I also really liked the other support band Lock."
“Armed with Love” is very impressive. Did you enjoy collaborating with Sean Read? What did he bring to the table as it were? "Thank you, I'm glad you like it. Yes, it's brilliant collaborating with Sean. He seems to really get where I'm coming from creatively, there's never any tension with that. He knows how to execute my vision for the song. He's a great creative force, really soulful instinctive musician, and all his arrangement and production ideas are really inspired. Also, the fact that he's in my favourite band (Dexys) helps.. It's a really fun and exciting process working on the arrangements for all the songs; we'll use some of the ideas for arrangements that I'll have put on the home demos, but then we'll try a bunch of different things, with him playing sax, trumpet, piano, synth, you name it, other friends coming in playing all sorts.. no constraints, before we set on the final arrangements."
What was the last great book you read? Is there a book currently by your bedside? "I just finished reading Nina Simone's autobiography, which I loved. She's a real hero of mine, so fearless and strong and she was an absolute master of her craft, but I also love the absolute heartbreaking emotional honesty in her songs. I think her version of 'For A While' is the saddest song in the world. I'm currently reading a book about the poet William Blake called 'Visionary Anarchist' by Peter Marshall. Blake's my favourite poet and has had a real influence on my lyrics and my general outlook on life. I love his whole philosophy of imagination giving everyday life spiritual significance, 'seeing heaven in a wild flower,' his belief in human beings and I find his imagery really inspiring. I also really like the idea behind the Innocence and Experience poems; that innocence without experience just crumbles, but that once you've been through the horrors of experience and managed to maintain the freshness of vision that you had in innocence, it's a much more resilient state of being."
Do you have a favourite album? Are there any records that changed your life? "Here's my top five albums in chronological order of when I first heard them. They also double up as records that changed my life: The Clash - London Calling I fell in love with The Clash when I was about 12 or 13. Weirdly it was ‘Lost in the Supermarket’ that caught my initial attention, and then the first full album I heard by them was Combat Rock. That album will always have a special place in my heart, and I love tracks like Ghetto Defendant and Straight to Hell, but London Calling is the one. My parents were always very left wing and political but weren't really into the Clash, and when I found the Clash it was like I was experiencing that political fire in a new way that really spoke to me as a teenager. It was a whole new world I could get lost in and would be a source of continuous inspiration. I'd also never heard anything so visceral and passionate as Joe Strummer's vocals, and he remains one of my favourite vocalists.
Love - Forever Changes Soon after getting into punk I got into 60's psychedelia, because I liked that the music and lyrics were weird and not like anything I'd heard before. Love's Forever Changes is a complete master piece and definitely my favourite psychedelic record as the music and lyrics are some of the most imaginative I’ve ever heard, and it all has a real punk energy behind it. It gets me excited about the boundless possibilities of what a song can be. There's a vividness and sharpness to the lyrics as well that I think makes it a really unique record. Patti Smith - Horses My English teacher copied me Patti Smith's Horses when I was 16, and that completely changed my life. I always loved punk and poetry, and this record brought it all together; the expression and wild imagery of poetry but with the power of punk behind it. It was like I'd found the missing link and everything was electrified. And then I got lost in a whole new world of the CBGBs lot, Richard Hell, Television, Talking Heads, and French poetry, Rimbaud, Baudelaire. Around this time I read an article by Patti Smith on William Blake, on artists and a revolutionaries, and that ignited my love of Blake. Dexys Midnight Runners - Don't Stand Me Down This was the first album I heard by them, and I'd never heard music so passionate and euphoric. I love it at points Kevin Rowland's like fuck it, words aren't capable of expressing how much I mean what I'm saying so I'm just going to sing and bellow, make noises with my mouth, and with the brass behind it it's beautiful and there's nothing like it. I love that Northern Soul energy they channel too. It's the most expressive and unique album ever I think. Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People This record just has everything I love about music; that upbeat northern soul feel, high energy pop but with punk spirit, he's an original and imaginative lyricist, the brutal honesty and passion of the vocals and lyrics, lots of brass... He writes really beautifully about manic and fragile states of mind, which has encouraged me writing honestly about this too. Definitely my favourite modern artist. We cover one of his song's 'Teddy I'm Ready' from his album Big Fugitive Life."
Do you sing all day and everyday? What do you sing in the shower? "Every day - yes, all day - no... I think that would get annoying for people. My shower song.. it would probably be 'Heaven must have sent you' by The Elgins."
Where will you spend Christmas? Has 2017 been a good year for you? "I'm going to be in Chile over Christmas and New Year. I'm half Chilean (mum's side), and we've got a lot of family in Chile, so every few years we spend Christmas with our Chilean grandparents, aunts and cousins, who all live in Santiago. It's a beautiful country, so while we're down there we'll do some exploring of the South; The Andes and Patagonia. Really looking forward to that. 2017 has been an excellent year. Sean and I had been working on the tracks from the end of last year to around May of this year, and I really enjoyed the whole process. Then around June/ July we got the band together to work out how we're going to do it live. I've loved all our gigs; In August we supported Frank Turner at a fundraiser I arranged for Age UK Camden, and their subsidiary charity Opening Doors London (an older person's Londonwide LGBT charity.) In September we had a brilliant gig at The Monarch with one of my favourite local bands Bless, and the Libertines support show was really good fun too. I've also collaborated with John Hassall from the Libertines on a song, and we've started recording that, as well as a few other new songs in Sean's studio. I'm really looking forward to our Armed With Love single release show on the 23rd at The Monarch too."
Do you have any dreams or big ambitions for 2018? "I'd love to release an album, tour.. all the good stuff. Sean does a lot of recording at Edwyn Collins up in Helmsdale up in the highlands, and I'd love for me and the band to record the album up there. I'd love to play a lot of shows with my band around the UK and beyond, continue the adventure, and do some more dates with The Libertines. In my last band, me and the violin player Lianne Milward who's a great artist, put an illustrated lyric book together. I'd like to do one of those again."
Gabi Garbutt's debut single is released on Famous Times label on Dec 1 and Gabi Garbutt & The Illuminations play London Camden Monarch on November 23.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

"Citizens of Nowhere" exhibition by Twinkle Troughton at Studio One

Studio One Gallery is one of the best spaces in London. You should definately take a trip to: 7–9 Wandsworth Plain SW18 1ES to see Twinkle Troughton's solo show. But hurry as he show ends on the 5th of November. http://www.studio1gallery.co.uk
Twinkle Troughton is an artist living and working in Margate. Connecting past with present, through her paintings Twinkle explores parallels in current social and political issues with the ancient moral lessons told in fables. She has exhibited both in the UK and internationally and has work in private collections. Alongside her practice and personal blog, Twinkle also established and writes the Cloud CT9 Blog about the art scene in Margate.
For C.V. and more info visit: http://www.twinkletroughton.co.uk
Often inspired by fables, Twinkle’s current focus is on The Lonely Wolf by Janos Pilinszky. A post WW2 poet, Pilinszky spent a substantial amount of his life in concentration camps, and went on to write a small but poignant body of work inspired by what he experienced. For Twinkle, The Lonely Wolf is a haunting portrayal of a refugee, isolated and misunderstood, baring great resemblance to treatment of refugees in recent years. Fear of the other has always plagued humanity, and now, in an era of Trump and Brexit we are experiencing a huge outbreak, creating isolation, division and chaos all around the world. It is in this world that Twinkle sees the wolf attempting to navigate a path to safety, travelling over vast lands which are marred with paranoia and isolation as drawbridges are pulled up. Primarily using oils on paper, Twinkle’s paintings explore a fragmented society. By combining oil paints with mediums that by their very nature oppose each other, painted layers distort and separate. Strange fictional landscapes are pulled out of the random markings by the inclusion of detail such as houses, boats and trees. Clusters of tents, lifebuoys and other items alluding to the plight of the refugee can often be found. Here influence also lies with the works of Chinese artists such as Quo Xi (1020–1090) and Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) whose landscapes are monumental and limitless, allowing for the eye to travel over vast lands, and for the mind to imagine even further beyond. Sometimes in the earlier stages the paintings are ripped up in to smaller pieces, fragmenting the image further. These surreal yet familiar landscapes with echoes of suburbia are not dissimilar to a setting for a fairytale, within which pockets of colour and light are often included, conveying hope in our beautiful but confused world.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

"A Better Place" - Scarlet Mara exhibition at Gallery 64a

Scarlet Mara: "My new works are describing a place that is not a real place or something you could find on a map. There is no map because the place is not a place like something to be near or in or at. It is not somewhere or anywhere, but it is not nowhere either. Is it even a place? Is it a memory, a dream, a different life? You don’t know what it is. You wish you knew what it was. You miss it so much. I am approaching the field of longing through various artistic processes like woodcut, drawing, painting and collaging in order to create a network of images correlating with one another. The works are appealing to the internal state of the viewer, even if they sometimes deny a clear reading, that enhances their dreamlike state. However, it also becomes evident that the images we have of the world inside and around us are always already framed and edited. Even our perception and imagination is subject to an organizing gaze - and what we see is never what we see."
"A Better Place" is the name of the exhibition currently showing at Gallery 64a, Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1DG. The work above is a wood cut on Japanese paper called Opal Eye. The show runs until November the 5th.
Above: Focus a collage by Scarlet Mara
Above:"Well" collage by Scarlet Mara
Above:"The Place at the End of The World" collage by Scarlet Mara
The next show at Gallery 64a is Way Out West a solo show by Dave Troughton which opens on the 11th of November.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Q & A with Michael Redmond

Very few stand up comedians have made me laugh till it hurts. Michael Redmond is a bit of a legend so I was delighted he was up for answering some questions...
Harry Pye: What are your fondest memories of the late Sean Hughes? Did you have much contact with him in recent years? Michael Redmond: "Sean and I arrived in London around the same time, by arrangement, to try our luck on the comedy circuit in 1987. We shared a grim bedsit together in Turnpike Lane for over a year. We were both on a quest to make a mark on the London comedy circuit. I remember it as an exciting, largely happy time.I didn't have a lot of contact with Sean in recent years as I've been living in Scotland for nearly twenty years. However, I did meet him at this years' Edinburgh festival where I was performing my show, coincidentally entitled, " I WROTE A JOKE IN 1987 " but he seemed a bit poorly."
In the late 1980s when I was a teenager I used to see you perform at clubs in South London such as Deptford's Albany Empire. Does South London have a place in your heart? "I have huge affection for London in general. It was the place that gave me an opportunity to perform comedy as there were quite a few great comedy clubs around then, Deptfords Albany Empire being one, which I think was run by the late Addison Cresswell. There were also Malcolm Hardee's Tunnel Club, The Red Rose in Finsbury Park and of course The Comedy Store. Great times!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnrHaMa4xnE Who have been your favourite M.C.s and comperes? Who was always fun to work with? What qualities should a good compere have? "I would have to say Arthur Smith was/is the doyen of comperes and always good fun. Ivor Dembina always did a great job at the Red Rose Club as well. I think the job of a compere is to make the audience relax and get them focused for the acts, as well as being funny. I think it's probably the hardest job in comedy and hugely under-rated."
What's your idea of a perfect day or brilliant evening? "Beautiful wine, beautiful food, and if there's a beautiful woman available as an added bonus."
Are there any politicians alive today that you admire or would like to meet? "Frankly...NO!"
Did you ever get into the plays of Harold Pinter? "I remember occasionally people saying that my stage act was similar to a character in a Harold Pinter play, but the truth is I have never seen any of his plays. I haven't made a point of avoiding them in particular but I rarely go to the theatre. I don't know if it's because you're sitting in the dark but anytime I've gone, I've usually ended up falling asleep."
Do you like the line "But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" from Bob Dylan's My Back Pages - do you relate to Dylan / own any of his albums? "I do love that line and had never heard it before. I realise Dylan wrote some great lyrics but the if I'm honest, the sound of his singing voice always grated on me. It always reminded me of a vacuum cleaner. When I was growing up, my icons were comedians rather than musicians. My hero is Peter Cook..." If dolphins are supposed to be as clever as humans, then name me a fucking dolphin who's ever written a decent stage Play "...or words to that effect."
What kind of comedy films or radio shows did your parents enjoy? Was your home a happy one? "My father loved the Marx brothers films, Groucho in particular, and I think that was my first introduction to comedy films. I loved the madness and chaos of them and some of Groucho's one liners were fantastic. I also loved The Goon Show on radio. It was genius and totally ground breaking. My childhood wasn't particularly unhappy, shall we say!"
Is there a stand-up comedian around now that you feel inferior to? Is there anyone you would just refuse to go on stage after they'd done their act? "I wouldn't say that I feel inferior to anyone else as such, but I can stand back and admire other comedians with a degree of healthy envy . I have yet to meet any comedian whom I wouldn't follow on stage."
What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any big 5 year plans? "I was recently commissioned by Channel 4 to write a sitcom pilot and I just submitted the final draft this week. It's set in a small town in Ireland and centres around the somewhat dysfunctional characters that can inhabit small towns."
What's the punchline to your favourite joke? "Which came as a bit of a shock to my parents who were both Protestants."
Have you been lucky in love? "At times lucky, at times extremely unlucky!"
I've attached 3 j-pegs. One is a painting by George Stubbs
("A Gentleman Upon A Grey Hunter" 1781), the second is a painting from 1967 by Bridget Riley called "Cataract",
the third is a painting Philip Guston made in 1969 called "The Studio" - which of these three impresses you most and which do you have the least time for? "I like the one called " The Studio ". ..not sure why. Good colours and big hands!. I don't like the one of the hunter on the horse, fair too formal for my taste."
What is your idea of beauty in nature? "When the sun shines on everything. I live in Glasgow and love the place but the sky is very often grey and gloomy."
Michael Redmond's Sunday Service takes place at 9pm on the 22nd October at 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, Glasgow, G3 6NG For more info: http://www.thestand.co.uk

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Extricate Blogspot

Olly Beck, Humphrey Fordham, Rebecca Hughes, Stephanie Moran and Ben Willmott have all contributed excellent reviews to http://theextricate.blogspot.co.uk/ If you have a few words to say about a book, a concert, an exhibition, film or show or if you want to write an obituary or tribute to an artist drop me a line at: harry_pye@hotmail.com
So far Extricate has featured reviews of the photographs of Terrance Donnovan, a play by Lorca, an exhibition by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Roy Orbison's Black and white Night, and Victor Lewis Smith's documentary on Peter Cook.
What films, records, shows would you like to spread the world about?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

10 paintings by Harry Pye and Rowland Smith

In no particular order here are 10 paintings Harry Pye made in collaboration with Rowland Smith.
TEN: "Let's Get It On" (2017)
NINE: "Weird Nightmare" (2016)
EIGHT: "Whose Go Is It Again?" (2009)
SEVEN: "Sleepless in South London" (2006)
SIX: "Dial P for Pablo" (2016)
FIVE: "Angel of Death" (2015)
FOUR: "let's Make a Better World" (2016).
THREE:"The Power of Suggestion" (2011)
TWO: "Breakfast in Bed" (2008)
ONE: "There's Nothing Weird or Creepy about John Travolta" (2017)