Sunday 26 December 2010

Rebel Styling 1986

A batch of photos by Matty Pye have come to the surface after many years. In May 1986 Matty took these photos of me in our garden. I think the inspiration for her styling partly came from seeing Felix Howard on the cover of The Face. Felix appeared in a video with Madonna and interviewed Paul McCartney for The Tube on Channel Four.
Here is Felix:
The photos of me were taken in my Dad's garden shed. I'm wearing a 2000ad badge. The jacket I have on is the suit jacket that my Dad got married in. It was very much my sister's idea for me to pose with a C3PO Star Wars figure sticking out my pocket and a Marlborough cigarette sticking out my pocket. Somewhere there are photos of me mocking the 501 Jeans model Nick Kamen. I hope these turn up one day.

Friday 24 December 2010

Billy Childish + Geraldine Swayne + Harry Pye + Jesus!!!

(Please note: This feature was written in January 2009)

Talking about Jesus and Art with Billy Childish and Geraldine Swayne.

Harry Pye went to Whitstable in Kent and spent the day learning to paint in oils with Billy Childish and Geraldine Swayne. As well as quizzing them about painting, Pye also pressed them to a few questions about Jesus. Now read on…

Harry: What do you think happens to you when you die?
Gerry: “Knowing me I will get confused and have to hang around somewhere horrible. I’d like to end up breezing about in a gorge I used to live near, it’s full of ghosts already. Obviously disappearing into “the light” would be preferable though.”
Harry: Do you believe in a heaven and hell?
Billy: “I believe in karma and rebirth. I also believe there must be other realms of consciousness, but not simple heaven or hell options. Many people create their own hell here and now and also try to impose it on others thru ignorance.”

Harry: Jesus taught people to love their enemies and to always forgive – do you have any enemies or people you can’t forgive for what things they once said or did to you?
Gerry: “Love my enemies? Only if I really need something off them. Forgive them? I tend to forget them, but one or two remain vivid and awaiting sentence. The real baddies are all dead..hahahahaha.”
 Billy: “Forgiveness is an option open to us at all times. Forgiveness may have to be reaffirmed many times. I operate from the wish to forgive. in prayer I forgive all any wrongs I perceive as being done to me and ask for the same forgiveness. Jesus teaching on this matter is the key to a life of meaning and I think it the most radical teaching and action, and the most beautiful.”

 Harry: Were you taught about Christianity at School? What  was your introduction to Christianity? Which role did you  play in the school nativity play?
Gerry: “I was brought up a Catholic, so it was there since day-one, along with a proximity to the supernatural which is valuable to me.”
 Billy: “I went to a regular infants and secondary school till I was 16. I was never in a play and Christianity was not a big part of our education, thou we had assembly and RE twice a week. I can’t remember the first introduction but I liked Jesus and thought he’d like me.”
Harry: Do you believe that Noah lived to be 950 years old or that Eve was made from Adam’s spare rib or that Jesus was a virgin birth or that there was a massacre of the
No. Language isn’t very reliable is it.. I once wrote a letter of condolence a German lady in English. I put it through an online text translator to be polite, which was a terrible mistake. Aramaic scholars seem even less reliable. I’ve been reading a bit about Christoph Luxeuberg recently: very controversial.  Wars happen because of words.”

Harry: Has there ever been a time in your life didn’t believe in the existence of a higher power?
Gerry: “I always felt I had my radio on and it was picking when youup the odd bit of unusual static.”
Billy: “Most days, on and off. Faith for me is not a state of being or a comfort zone.”
Harry: Do you see committing adultery as being as big a sin as stealing an old lady's handbag or breaking a child's arm? Jesus believed if you even just thought about sleeping with someone else's partner (but didn't actually do it) you were committing a sin - does that seem a bit harsh to you?
Billy: “I think it’s impossible to generalize about the effects of crime, or grade the harm and unhappiness they mite bring about but personally id say breaking children’s arms sounds very mean spirited. What’s harsh? All action has intention. You could say intension is the father of action. Jesus is mealy pointing out the point of conception in action and trying to help people be happier.”
Harry: Have you ever believed that it's wrong to masturbate or that contraception is wrong or abortion is wrong. By which I mean by doing these things you'll make God unhappy?
 Billy: “I don’t consider myself separate from god to make him unhappy. I can make myself unhappy. I think abortion is a very serious matter and raises many questions of how we treat ourselves and each other. masturbation and contraception are small beer.”
Harry: There was a football star called Glen Hoddle who claimed that wheel chair users were unable to walk, run or dance because they had laughed at afflicted people in a  previous life. His belief was that we were put on earth to over come something (like disability) and to learn what it  was like. Can you see a logic to this thinking. And have you  ever thought that you were cursed? (Maybe you laughed at a certain group of people in one of your previous lives?)
 Billy: “I think that Mr Hoddle’s views are not expressed in the most sensitive way. I’m sure I’ve done worse than laugh at people in past lives, and had worse done me too.”
Harry: What is the most beautiful god or Jesus inspired artwork that you have ever seen?
Billy: “I like Christ in the Tomb by Holbine, the raising of Lazarus by Rembrant
and the Good Samaritan by Deliciox.”
Gerry: “Some chairs made by The Shakers, hanging off pegs on a wall and Pasolini’s Gospel of St Matthew.”

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Lost interview with Frank Sidebottom

I was sad when I heard Mr Sidebottom passed away earlier this year:
The photo below of Frank and I on the steps of Tate Britain was taken in March 2007. (I'm 99% sure Mat Humphrey took this photo) but the interview you're about to read dates back to June 1986 (just a couple of months before my 13th birthday).

The Rebel: If all your legs fell off would you let That's Life do a feature about you?
Frank Sidebottom: "No... I am not a sensation seeker ... I'd just get a wheelchair like Ironside and move into Law."

The Rebel: What do you think about Wham Splitting up?
Frank: "I think it will cost them a lot in phone bills and stamps now if they want to keep in touch."

The Rebel: What do you think of Sigue Sigue Sputnik?
Frank: "Little Frank thinks they are fantastic and we do Love Missile on stage."

The Rebel: Could you design a new dress for Sarah Ferguson?
Frank: "Yes."

The Rebel: Without wishing to sound rude a lot of you lyrics to your songs are quite similar. If you were to write a song about football it would probably just go: "Football is really fantastic, it really makes me laugh. I always like to play it - even when I'm in the bath". Could you write some lyrics about the Rebel magazine?
Frank: "My football song goes: "Football is really fantastic, it's a wonderful sport. you get to kick a football a lot in a football shirt and football shorts." See... it's not the same.
"I went into the newagents… to get myself a "Rebel" ... the man gave me a box of chocs... he must've thought I said "Revels"." (Sing to the XL5 tune)."

The Rebel: Who are you influenced by?
Frank: "I try to be totally original."

The Rebel: How many O'levels have you got?
Frank: "None."

The Rebel: Will you ever write your life story?
Frank: "It will take too long... and I'm very busy with my showbiz career."

The Rebel: Who is in your backing band?
Frank: "We swap and change a bit... Tommy the milkman (drums or bass). Mr Lake (drums or keyboards). Roger Gregory (Bass or banjo), Mark T. Cortina (Guitar and hi-hat). Eric Estrada (bass)."

The Rebel: Do you believe in life on other planets?
Frank: "Yes I do."

The Rebel: What is a typical day in the life of Frank Sidebottom?
Frank: "A Day In The Life of Frank"
4.15am... woke up... bed soaking wet... had fallen asleep with a can of barbican... turned testcard off... set alarm for 7.30am. ... woke up... switched on Selina Scott...
... woke up... watched c-fax ... finished off my eagle transporter model kit ...
woke up... fingers are stuck together with super glue... woke up and got out of bed... got dressed... sat on bed to put shoes on... 12.30pm woke up with one extra shoe on... got up... watched Pebble Mill at One... lay on bed to think about the day's chores... 2.18pm woke up... 2.19pm woke up... 2.33pm fell out of bed... dragged a brush across my head... made my way downstairs and had a cup of umbongo... 2,40pm phoned e.m.i to ask when the Christmas party is. Was told they are all in a meeting. 2.56pm walked down to the shop for my mum 3.10pm came back from shops and put my trousers on... 3.32pm phoned e.m.i but they were still in meetings... 3.45pm woke up to the sound of doorbell... it's the police. Policeman ticked me off about shopping without my trousers. lay on the couch for a snooze... but found my banjo under the cushions. finished my new song "I keep losing me trousers" switched on children's itv... fell asleep... 4.12pm phoned e.m.i about party... still in meetings. emptied home brew barbican out of the bath before my mum came home... woke up in the bathroom to the sound of my mum coming in... got told off. begged my mum to let me out of the coal house. realised i have missed John Craven's Newsround (dead sick). phoned e.m.i to ask about e.m.i xmas party... still in meetings. went to the shops again for my mum had a ride on a fantastic 10p ride outside the shops. 5.39pm got home... mum went mad about the change being 10p short 5.58pm the security guard at e.m.i phoned to assure me that there is definately no xmas party this year... 6.31pm wake up in time to see Granada reports 7.42pm woke up in time for 2nd part of Coronation Street 8.57pm cleaned my teeth and said goodnight to my mum and went to bed. heard my mum get into bed... got up and climbed down the drainpipe to work on my secret robot in the shed. fell in my new fish pond. Took my wet trousers off. 9.58pm Fuzed all the lights in the street.10.17pm decided to get back into bed... via drainpipe 11.38pm policeman brought me home after wrong arrest as the trouserless cat burglar... Midnight... switched bedside tv on and got a can of barbican.
R.I.P Chris and Frank

Sunday 19 December 2010

Q & A with Ritchie Lamy

 “When we wanted a man with tales of whiskey soaked nights, a gruff voice, a    stomping foot, a banjo and an amplifier to create the atmosphere at 'The Circus Show', we looked no further than to Richard Lamy. His performance shook the building to it's core!”
(Marcus Cope, Co curator of The Circus Show at The Three Colts Gallery).

The Rebel Magazine: What was the first record you ever bought and who was the first musician or singer that captured your imagination?
Ritchie Lamy: “The first record I bought was "Heaven is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle (I was born in 81). I enjoyed the slight growl she does in the pre-chorus. The first band I was into was Kiss. They appealed to the geeky, superhero, trading card impulses of the prepubescent Ritchie- All the fire breathing and comic books- and I alienated myself thoroughly from my peers by aspiring to the Paul Stanley look.”

When did you start learning to play an instrument yourself?
“I started playing bass around the age of fifteen and I soon took up guitar. I've been playing banjo now for nine years (and, boy, are my fingers sore).”

What are your favourite guitar guitarists and solos? Which famous guitarists do you feel are overrated?
“People who appear in the peripheries appeal to me; the guitarists who are organic and rickety. Marc Ribot, Judah Bauer, Smokey Hormel- the types of players that don't appear in magazines. There are guitarists who are certainly overexposed if not overrated. Obviously Hendrix and Clapton have a huge middle of the road following and so shift copy. Of course, those who try their best to emulate the sound of their heroes often miss the point that these people were revolutionary during their lifetimes; that trying to get their tone is a retrograde activity.”

Will the Lamy Bros tour or record again? What are you working on at the moment?
“Currently it is not practical for the Brothers to play together and I am keen become involved in some more varied projects. I am playing solo shows with the banjo, working sporadically with The Values and putting a new band together in the new year.”

What was the best show The Lamy Bros ever played? (
“The best Lamy Brothers shows werre coming toward the end. There was one gig for The Beatroot Rendez-vous where everyone was dancing apart from this one mad bint who kept heckling- that the band were great but I should stop singing and that sorta thing- and sometimes things like that can put a little bit of extra fire into a show.”
What would your idea of success be?
“Well there are different levels of success and each day there are little victories. You play a good gig, you start playing the places where you've seen bands, people you don't know come to see you regularly... having played on the soundtracks for adverts and things is pretty cool. Getting interviewed for the Rebel blogspot must be pretty high up there. Next I hoping for my own sketch show.”

What books are you reading at the moment?
“I like to read different things at the same time to get the systematic rearrangement of the senses that is so popular these days. I've just finished "Paradise Lost", I am reading Derrida's "Writing and Difference", "7 Gothic Stories" by some baroness and various guitar magazines...”
Tell me about your song Mid wife Crisis - what's it like being married to a midwife?
“My wife's a very dedicated community midwife; I'm a very dedicated and uxorious husband. She's on call almost continuously and the calls in the middle of the night can be a pain; also the idea that my wife has seen more ladychuff than me gives an unusual frisson to the relationship. she is, however, amazing at her job and it makes her wonderfully happy.”
(Photo above by Clare Donoghue of Ritchie supporting Chris Difford at The Oxford House, 2005)

What do you miss about your hometown and what aspects are you pleased to have got away from?
“Jersey is a beautiful place and Nerina Pallot likes to play up the idea that it is some sort of rural paradise but it is also a small place controlled, in many respects, by money. It can be quite frustrating going back to your childhood home. If it has changed then it's disappointing; if it hasn't changed then it's disappointing. I prefer London.”

Do you have a favourite record label?
“There are some record labels that deal with a limited style of music and so you know what you're getting. I like things on Yep Roc or Fat Possum but you can't listen exclusively to one label. Island had a lot of great artists.”

Where do you buy your clothes from and what's the most loved item of clothing you have in your wardrobe?
“I get clothes from many sources including friends and charity shops and high street and vintage shops. I have recently purchased my favourite rockabilly tuxedo from a place in Crystal Palace called Crazy Man Crazy which I recommend highly.”

Are you in debt / worried about recessions?
“University fees seem to have created a society naturally in debt. I am not worried though; life continues on and we all keep keeping on”.

Is it fair to say Captain Beefheart is your biggest influence and were you shocked and saddened by his recent death?
“I think that Beefheart's influence is apparent in the music I make. More importantly, all the major bands that I've followed have been fans of Beefheart. He was very ill and so his death was not a shock but he will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.”

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Art auction in aid of the breast cancer charity Break Through

"Shall I start the bidding at a million billion pounds?"
Last night at The Victoria & Albert Museum thousands of pounds were raised for Break Through. Break Through's mission is to save lives through enabling and ensuring access to improvements in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The project was organsied by Ben Moore who is the founder of Art Below.  Ben asked artists to donate a painting inspired by a page 3 girl and got The Sun newspaper on board to sponsor the whole thing. Artists taking part in the project included Cathy Lomax, Goldie, Julie Bennett, Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf, and Team Beswick & Pye.
Gordon Beswick and Harry Pye's masterpiece is called Staci of Preston. The real Staci came to the V&A and seemed happy with the painting and the way the evening went.

(Alex James from Blur)

(Cathy Lomax poses with her painting)

(Julie Bennett)

(Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf)

(The catalogue for the show that Staci is holding had a forward written by Germaine Greer.)

(Gordon & Harry's painting is 91cm high and 121.5cm wide.)

Monday 13 December 2010

Q & A with The Olive Branch

The Olive Branch are about to release their debut album: SKAFUSION. It features 10 original tracks which tell the story of two young boys (Phil & Stan) from two different backgrounds falling in love with ska after hearing the sounds of 2 Tone for the first time and their journey of discovery which takes them back to the 60's Trojan era right through the 90's third wave explosion. This collection of tracks inspired by their ups and downs and experiences of growing up is likely to strike a chord with many ska music lovers. For more info visit: The Olive Branch’s main man Phil Todhunter agreed to answer a few questions for me.

The Rebel: How long has your album taken to make? What have been the highs and lows of the journey?
Phil Todhunter: “The album is a life long ambition of mine, if I had to put a time scale to it though I would say a year, some of the tracks were first recorded in 1988, but really got stuck into in January 2010 were three of the tracks were recorded and produced by Tran of Smoke Like A Fish, half of the album are musical collaborations with Stan from Walt Jabsco Recording’s supplying the tunes for me to write the lyrics for, which was a new experience which was very enjoyable. The other tracks were recorded in 2010 as well.”

What's your current favorite track on the album?
I can’t really choose a favorite track, as I feel each one has its own personality’s and depends what kind of mood im in. When the coffee smells strong, means the most to me as it was inspired by losing three family members to cancer this year.”

What are your hopes for the album, what do you most want to achieve?
“I hope the album is well received on the Ska circuit, im realistic to understand there is no real money to be made but if Stan and I were driven by money we would be producing mainstream music, rather the music we have both been, transfixed by since out teens, hopefully as a songsmith it would be nice to get some recognition for it, like wise I think Stan would feel the same about his production skills.”

Who are your musical heroes and which new bands do you rate?
“My musical heroes are mainly the bands from 1979/81 The Beat have influenced me the most, they had an unique style of songwriting, they always made you think about the songs they were singing. Bands who I rate, Do The Dog has so many on their label my favorites are Cartoon Violence, Smoke Like A Fish, Too Many Crooks and Newtown Kings also watch out for Aggressors bc and a young band called The Headstarts.”

 How do you relax / what makes you happy?
“ I relax by keeping fit lifting weights and running, making music videos and writing songs, all of these make me happy.”

What's best Dad or chips?
“Dad is best, I call him Jack of all trades and master of none, this guy can do anything very well, as long as theirs a manual to read.”
Do you play live?
“We have never played live yet which we hope to put right in 2011, we were booked to play Bustersbadlands but the council pulled the plug on the festival. We have had so much interest in booking us for live gigs.”
How did you react when your saw the images of Prince Charles's car being attacked by protesters?
“As a loyal Englishman thought it was wrong, people have the right to express their opinions but there is no need for physical violence, I use my music to express my views.”

How will you be spending Christmas?
“I will be spending Christmas with the family, Turkey and the trimmings and a few glasses of vino or two, and over the holiday probably some more writing for the second album which work has already been started on.”

Sunday 12 December 2010

Q & A with Vic Godard

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Tuesday 7 December 2010

Q & A with Quilla Constance

Photo of Quilla Constance by Simon Richardson

The Rebel: What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
Quilla Constance:  “A ravenous hunger for mischief and revenge...”

What's the best track you've recorded so far and why is it the best?
“I've written a track called 'Top Drawer Lover' - It's about the new Rampant Rabbit Three-Way Vibrator currently on sale in Ann Summers. They claim it gives you a 'Tri-gasm' (ie/ anal, cliterol & vaginal climax) cos apparently a measly vaginal orgasm is no longer enough for today's women. I'll look forward to testing this hypothesis again and again and again...later...”

Is the you we see on stage the real you?
“Yes, who else would it be? Arthur Mullard??”

Page 3 is celebrating it's 40th anniversary. Do you think page 3 makes women sad and feel bad about themselves or do you think it's a good thing and hope it's still here in another 40 years?
“I think it's a good thing because there's nowt wrong with celebrating the body. Although I do think Page 3 should embrace women with a much smaller bosom (like me) -there aren't enough gymnasts and female body builders being photographed. These girls look great but Page 3 promotes a safer, usually blond, white with big boobs kind of look- which is ubiquitous in western mass-culture...God forbid 'The Sun' should alienate its primary audience...( probably the BNP)-  so on these grounds alone I think it should diversify. Also- I don't see why semi-naked men shouldn't feature once again on Page 3.... You'd think 'The Sun' would want to capitalize on as many different sexual preferences as possible to increase their 'readership' in these hard financial times.”

Where would you like to be in 40 years time?
“Hopefully on stage wearing suspenders and a neon Lycra Teddy where I'd give Madonna, OAP, a high five as I fall effortlessly into the splits never to arise again ....”

How do you write lyrics? Do you have a notebook with you at all time in case inspiration strikes?
“Afraid I'm not that organized. In the past when inspiration has struck and finding myself devoid of manuscript and quill, I've recorded lyrics and vocal melodies onto friends answerphones. This has annoyed a few people.”

When is the best time to listen to your music? (in the car, in a club, on headphones etc)
“Deep inside Laura Ashley on the way back from New Look.”

Are you worried about pensions and getting on the property ladder?
“Yes, so I'm spending a bit more time in China Whites. I'll be the first art-punk wife of a footballer.”
How good at dancing are you / do you have a best move?
“People often compliment me on my dance moves. I attended dance school since I was a tot & the moves are subsequently ingrained. It's difficult to pick a favourite move- I'm torn between a Switch-Turn with Jazz Hands and a Hitch- Kick.”

How interested are you in the new Michael Jackson album "Michael"?
“When Jacko died I cried for a week. As far as I'm concerned there are entertainers and then there's Michael Jackson. At his peak he was in a different league and I don't think anyone has ever come close to that. As Albert Einstein once said "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - MJ is a victim of his own genius and his music will continue to be exploited purely for financial gain...I'm suspicious of re-release/re-mix compilations and albums featuring unreleased material. I don't think MJ would have given his consent for this stuff to be put out. As an artist myself I appreciate the importance of editing. Fortunately I don't think MJ can ever be demystified, so he actually gets the last laugh.”

What are your favourite items of clothing?
“I feel most at home in the costumes I make.”

Which of these things has brought you the most happiness over the years
a) coffee, b) dogs c) cigarettes
“Definitely dogs...with a few cigarettes to follow.”

Who do you have the most respect for / would rather marry:
a) an astrologer b) a homeopath c) Someone who teaches A level Social Studies?
Are you any of the above by day?
No...are you? Have you planted this question because you'd like to know whether I'll marry you? If so, the answer is YES Harry I'd LOVE to marry you...our wedding can also be our first date! how cool is that!”

Do you get the off side rule in football?

Which films always make you laugh or always make you cry?
“I avoid 'Beaches', 'The Virgin Suicides', 'Love Story', 'Thirteen', 'Kids' and 'Midnight Cowboy' when I have PMT... (Incidentally, 'ALIVE' has been known to make my stomach rumble)...Aside from that films such as 'Harold and Maude' and comedy from 'Bottom', 'Bill Hicks', 'Father Ted' and 'Richard Pryor' has tickled my cockles.”

 (Photo by Simon Richardson)

Next gig December 18th in The Grand Hall @ The Cobden Club in Notting Hill