Dave Hill | The Guardian: London air: smog mask solution, 1959

The capital has seen some unusual forms of pollution control

Even the Evening Standard thinks Boris Johnsons latest attempt to clean up Londons air is too little, too late. Given the mayors enthusiasm for failed novelty measures such as gluing pollution to the ground, it is, perhaps, surprising he hasnt tried reviving that wizard wheeze.

Thanks to the man from Randomly London for finding and tweeting that newsreel gem.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: London air: the smog mask solution

The capital has experienced anti-pollution measures in many forms

Even the Evening Standard is thinks Boris Johnsons latest attempt to clean up Londons air is too little, too late. Given the mayors enthusiasm for failed novelty measures such as gluing pollution to the ground, it is, perhaps, surprising he hasnt tried reviving this wizard wheeze from 1959.

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God Is In The TV: Track of The (Halloween) Day #600: SPC ECO – Nocturnal

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Nocturnal is less a track, more a sinister, gradually enveloping, haunting mini opus from SPC ECO primed to soundtrack this Halloween. Lasting over sixteen minutes and influenced by the Jim Jarmusch film, Only Lovers Left Alive, it is accompanied by an eerie video which you can watch below and is available as a free download on their bandcamp page !

SPC ECO fronted by the captivating voice of Rose Berlin and backed by her father – multi-instrumentalist, producer and ex-Curve mastermind Dean Garcia, here they concoct a knee trembling atmosphere somewhere between the ghostly foreboding gloom of early Portishead and the affecting sonic assaults of Cocteau Twins. Trick or treat?

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“SPC ECO are preparing for their first vinyl release in early 2015. “Nocturnal” stands in direct contrast to the upcoming “Art Of Pop” album where the focus is on guitarless sugar and spite pop tunes… SPC ECO just needed to get the noise and layers of “Nocturnal” out of their system before the album is released!”

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God Is In The TV: INTERVIEW: Amy Mason

untitled (61)Last week the Dundee Book Prize was announced, this year’s winner was Amy Mason. Not only is she a writer, but she wrote and performed The Islanders (a show that incorporated a story, music and illustrations) at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, along with Eddie Argos from Art Brut. I managed to catch up with her for a quick chat.

God is in the TV: Hi Amy, First off I’d like to congratulate you on winning the Dundee Book Prize. At any time during the evening did you think “I’ve got this!”?

Amy Mason: I actually knew a while before. It has nearly killed me not telling people. They told me a few months ago so we had time to edit it and stuff. Luckily they didn’t make me do a fake surprised face.

GIITV: How much of the prize money did you spend celebrating?

AM: I have pre-emptively spent about £15,000 on chips and cheese so I’m 5 grand in debt. I got over-excited.

GIITV: Can you briefly explain what the book is about and why you felt the need to tell its tale?

AM: It’s about the women in an extremely dysfunctional family. The mother, Bridie, is an alcoholic playwright who named her first daughter after her most famous play. The book’s set over the week of Bridie’s funeral, when Ida comes home for the first time in years. I suppose I was interested in the fate of celebrity offspring and how it often seems we know they’re destined to live tragic lives.

GIITV: With your earlier work on the Islanders concerning the subject of growing up in the south of England, are you going to write about your past again? Is this subject closed for now or will there be an Islanders 2 at some point?

AM: Ha. Well The Other Ida is set in Bournemouth too. I think I might move on for there now though!
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GIITV: The Islanders incorporated music into the show, how important was music to you growing up?

AM: Music was MASSIVELY important to me growing up. I was really into Elastica, Kenickie-Come Out 2Nite, Bis, Blur, mega-indie Snakebite City compilations. I used to open my bedroom windows and play music really loud and think I was punk as fuck.

GIITV: Do you still feel the same passion for the music of today?

AM: I still love music and listen to Radio 6 when I’m writing. I’m embarrassed to talk about what I like now though, I’ll end up trying to sound like someone’s hip mum. I listen to lots of soul (my new show has a soul soundtrack), also into the new La Roux album and got that Kate Tempest song stuck in my head. I am so jealous of Kate Tempest, she can do EVERYTHING.

GIITV: What are you working on at the moment? Another book? Another play?

AM: At the moment I’m working on a new autobiographical show Mass, about my relationship with faith. It’ll be at Bristol Old Vic next April.

GIITV: After winning to Dundee Book Prize do you want to assail anyone who vilified you, those who said you were wasting your time and should get “a proper job”?

AM: You’re always told at school that if you want to write you should do it in a more organised way with a clear career path – become a journalist or something – like writing creatively isn’t a proper job. I wish I’d been told that it actually is a job in its own right, I think I would have wasted lots of time trying to do other things. People slag off creative writing classes but I like the way they’ve validated people’s ambitions.

GIITV: Now you’re officially a writer, do you feel that you now have to live up to it somehow? I’m not talking about going all Hemmingway, but do you think this award will affect your next book?

AM: I think I lived the life of a writer long before I actually was one! I spent years lying in bed crying because I was a failure, drinking shit loads,  then deciding I was a genius…before doing it all over again.

GIITV: Do you have any words of advice for any would be writers out there?

AM: Take classes (adult ed is always good), be brave, get your writing out there however you can.

Again massive congratulations to you Amy for sticking to your guns and following through dream. Everyone here a  GIITTV towers is looking forward to the new play next year.

The Other Ida is out now, but you can buy a (signed) copy here:

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And you can follow Amy on twitter

@AmyCMason

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God Is In The TV: 12 Spooky Songs by Thomas Truax

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Photo credit Chris Saunders

To celebrate Halloween today, Thomas Truax gives us a run down of his 12 favourite Spooky songs!

‘When I was a kid I used to stay up, or sneak up, late and watch old horror films. This to me was the best thing possible in the world. On occasions when there was, say, an old Roger Corman or Hammer horror film scheduled to come on television at 3 a.m. and my parents decided that was too late, I would secretly still wake up and turn it on (with the volume very low of course). This just increased the wonderful sensation that I was getting up to something deviant and exploring something forbidden. I decided in those wee hours that the best possible goal I could set out for in life would be to try to become a horror film star like Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing. It seemed a fail-safe goal because – unlike with things like rock n’ roll – the older you got, the more cool you became.

But maybe I got it all wrong. The world has changed. They don’t make those kind of horror films anymore, and Christopher Lee is now recording with a metal band at 92 (which, actually, is pretty cool when you think about it).’

Anyway…12 Spooky Songs to get you into the mood for Halloween:

The Ventures – The Bat (from Ventures In Space)
Spooky sirens, a sense of menace, impossibly groovy. Too short, but there’s an album’s worth of these gems.

The Moontrekkers – Night of the Vampire (produced by Joe Meek)

Aw Joe Meek. Obsessed with the paranormal, eventually suicidal and homicidal. Reputedly not a very nice guy, but a genius in a home studio LONG before home studios were anything but a complete oddity. He supposedly turned down Bowie and the Beatles who both wanted to work with him, instead introducing us to peculiar talents like Screaming Lord Sutch and the Moontrekkers. And we’re probably better off for it.

Rube Bloom & His Bayou Boys – Mysterious Mose

“He plays on every instrument but there’s just one tune he knows…”
My friends and fellow animators of Screen Novelties in Hollywood made possibly about the best puppet movie EVER, based on this late 20’s track:

What’s not to love?

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You

I guess I am lucky to be able to say I saw Screamin’ Jay play live. But to be honest it was a little disappointing. Very late in his career, on a bright sunny afternoon in at Central Park Summerstage, his band seemed too much like bored hirelings just going through the motions. He did have Henry, his plastic skull on a stick, but he didn’t rise out of a coffin at the start, which I found disappointing. (To be fair, it probably wasn’t a very appropriate weather for lying in a coffin in central park). It should’ve been more like this:

The Coffinshakers – Halloween

I guess these guys from Sweden have written more surfish songs about Dracula/Halloween than I ever will, and I’ve written a few, so that’s saying something (though I’m not sure what).
The Coffinshakers – Halloween

Thomas Truax – Everything’s Gone Halloween

Cheeky of me I know, but we were on the subject anyway weren’t we? I’m proud of this one and certainly can’t be argued that it wouldn’t fit in with the vibe.
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Siouxsie and the Banshees – Halloween

The album Juju with John McGeoch on guitar was the Banshees at their sharp and jagged best. There’s a lot of tension in here. It feels a little like maybe, against Grandma’s advice, you ate too much candy out of the bag while trick-or-treating, and now you’re off your head from a sugar rush.http://ift.tt/1wjXs0s

The Damned – The Dog

I’m pretty certain this song is about the Anne Rice ‘Interview with the Vampire’ child vampire character Claudia, but I love that it doesn’t wear that on it’s sleeve. If you’re unfamiliar with the story there’s no way you’d know it wasn’t just about another girl, which makes it extra mysterious. A lot of people disapproved of the Damned as if they were selling out when they got more into their, er… more goth-ish period. But I think Dave Vanian was in full Dracula regalia since pretty much day one, so it wasn’t like they were reinventing themselves. It’s just that Sensible went off for a while in his furry rabbit ears to record ‘Happy Talk’ – at the end of the day to me it’s all punk.

Jill Tracy – Evil Night Together

Jill makes wonderful haunting records. She once invited me to perform on a bill for a few nights with her and this Thrillpeddlers Grand Guignol show in a place called the Hypnodrome in San Francisco. A century ago French Grand Guignol was the theatrical equivalent to todays splatter films. There was a LOT of blood. So much so, that there were a couple of times I came close to slipping on the floor and breaking my neck while playing the Hornicator.

Cocteau Twins – Treasure (Album)

Traditionally I like to carve pumpkins listening to this. It works for that. Some things you simply have to actually do before you fully grasp why it makes perfect sense. Kind of like listening to Liz Frazer’s singing.

Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Who’d have thought a nine-minute first-take live-played recording with a basic Bossa Nova beat, some dub-style echo, some lyrics David J scribbled on address labels, three chords and supposedly the first time Peter Murphy ever sang into a studio mic would end up warming so many blackened hearts and increasing business for so many smoke-machine companies for all these many years? I sure wish John Peel were still around to introduce the world to these things.

Flights of Helios – Succubus

Like any succubus worth her salt, she draws you in slowly and seductively, with very pretty shimmering moments but there’s the sense of something pretty scary coming along…and it is. This is brand new – just got released today as I understand – so don’t go saying I’m completely stuck between the 1930’s and 80’s. ;)

Happy Halloween!

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The VPME Halloween – Track Of The Day 2 – SPC ECO – ‘Nocturnal’

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..and our second Halloween Track Of the Day comes in the form of SPC ECO who we’ve already featured this week with ‘Zombie’ but of course that wasn’t Halloween enough for them so they’ve gone and recorded another track.  In a break from tradition we’ll not say too much, instead we’ll allow you immerse yourself in the sinister atmospherics of this 16 minute plus tune and besides time is not on our side as we have a date with the Pumpkin King.

It’s also available as a free download HERE ….   Happy Halloween!

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The VPME Halloween Track Of The Day 1 – RongoRongo – ‘Shiver’ and ‘Slice Of Heart’

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The dark tense atmospherics created by Liverpool’s new kids on the block RongoRongo is perhaps the perfect soundtrack to Halloween. It’s tense, sexy and just a little bit twisted.

In fact ‘Slice Of Heart’ is quite possibly more warped and sinister than Edgar Allen Poe’s imagination, full of slow knife edged tension, with sinuous bass lines, guitars and electronica all adding to the sense of foreboding drama unfolding on a track that’s disturbing and compelling in equal measure.

Track two ‘Shiver’ is another exercise in taught shimmering minimalism, with a hint of early Bunnymen in terms of the atmospherics.  Chiming guitar flourishes illuminate the soundscape like shadows across the moon whilst an intimate hushed vocal draws the listener from the darkness into the light.

We don’t know too much about them other than their debut limited edition cassette released on Cassette Store Day  sold out and their  facebook page states the band comprise of Jonny Davis Le Brun, Our Keith , Philip Chrysalid and  Mick Chrysalid.  And really more bands should have members called ‘Our Keith’ we feel.

Fun fact – Rongorongo is apparently, not a misspelling of a repeated salutation aimed at getting the attention a certain drummer (see also fog-horned voice narrator  of Thomas The Tank Engine’ TV shows ) but is in fact an ancient writing system used by the indigenous people of Easter Island, the Rapa Nui, and is believed to be one of perhaps just three or four independent inventions of writing in human history. Great new music AND facts, we really do spoil you!

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the finest kiss: Bossa Noisa

The-Lauras

The Laurels out of Halifax contain members from Monomyth and Moon. That doesn’t really help though. They sound a bit like the 90’s noisy indiepop of the Swirlies and the Lilys. Not surprising since they admit to being ispired by that scene along with Beach Boys, Byrds and C-86. Their self-titled bandcamp album has elements of all of the above as well as a sublime ode to Joao Gilberto thrown in for good measure. Crazy that bands this good are just giving away their music!

steam: The Lauras

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Filed under: Bossa Nova, Canada, Music, Noisepop Tagged: Halifax, Joao Gilberto, Lilys, Monomyth, My Bloody Valentine, Swirlies, The Laurels

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