This week’s book, record, and miscellaneous recommendations come from Jeff Barrett and Diva Harris of CBTR HQ, and cherished contributor Adelle Stripe – author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, a former Caught by the River Book of the Month. Adelle will be discussing the book with Anna Wood on our stage at this year’s Good Life Experience, which takes place in September.
– Listening / 7″s – Ryuichi Sakamoto – Plastic Bamboo (Rush Hour); Velly Joonas – Stopp, Seisku Aeg! (Frotee); Ultra Satan – USB (Holga Nord). The new Kelley Stoltz LP is pushing my buttons too, especially this number. Oh, and the Red Axes album, The Beach Goths, is a seriously good record…
– Live – Modern Studies (plus the Pumpkinseed Orchestra), Edinburgh 22 August. Newly signed to Fire Records and with a brand new set of songs, Rob St John and co totally blew me away.
– Books – Meet Me in the Bathroom (Lizzy Goodman) / Grant & I (Robert Forster) / Page after Page (Tim Page).
– Reading/listening: ‘The Alternative top 50 records of the 1960s’ / ‘The 50 most collectible records of the 1950s’. Record lists, I hear you sigh; blah blah blah. But no, stop, curb your cynicism. These lists from The Vinyl Factory are really great fun. The choices are hip and cross-genre and I got lost in them for hours. The ‘listen’ button is a touch and I ended up being turned on to a heap of incredible music (a lot of which can be found on Spotify if you so desire). If anyone reading this is in possession of an unwanted copy of Star Time with the Dark City Sisters, please let me know.
– Rough Trade Magazine is, quite frankly, never not excellent, but this exchange between Adam Buxton and the mag’s resident agony aunt Jonathan Richman (what?! I know), re staying optimistic in a scary world, is particularly excellent.
– Somesuch Stories have just released their 3rd biannual print issue, which is as delectable content-wise as it is design-wise. Themed around the ideas of disorientation, orientation and reorientation, highlights include Fiona Duncan’s essay on “Holocaust journalist & hormonal mystic” Etty Hillesum, and Eley Williams’ short story Hourglass, which considers the passing of time through the annoying, pixelated hourglass symbol on an antiquated PC. You can buy a copy here, and you should.
– I am currently eating, sleeping, showering, travelling, and working to the soundtrack of Sketches of Brunswick East, the new album from psychlords King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Their 3rd album release of a planned 5 this year, this one’s a collaboration with Mild High Club (who are also great in their own right). I love it. This track especially.
– MUSIC – Brenda Ray, Hearts Entwine. I have only just discovered Brenda’s music, and have fallen head over heels with this track, which is reminiscent of New Age Steppers’ Observe Life. I like the breathy vocals which work well in contrast against the dub track. Roy Cousins produced it for her Walatta LP, which was released in 2008 on his Tamoki Wambesi label, with a nod to Augustus Pablo on the sleeve. Brenda was part of Liverpool’s Naffi Sandwich, and I am currently working my way through their back catalogue. Thanks to Adrian Flanagan for sending me down this wormhole.
– FILM – Vincent O’Connell, Criminal. This was recommended to me after a discussion about on-screen depictions of working-class life in West Yorkshire in the 90s. Criminal was made for the BBC in 1994, and was written by a local writer, Vincent O’Connell. Set on a council estate in Bradford, the story is based on the tragic real-life account of a 17 year old Simon Willerton, a hapless small-time crook whose life ends in dreadful circumstances. Simon is played by Paul Popplewell, and is a poetic exploration of life on the margins. I cried so much when I watched this that I had to turn it off. It’s similar to Dead Man’s Shoes but was made much earlier – I imagine that Shane Meadows must have seen this, as there are more than a few similarities.
– BOOK – Iosi Havilio, Petite Fleur. Iosi’s new novel on Sheffield’s impeccable And Other Stories is another breathless, read-in-one-sitting slice of contemporary South American literature. It’s written in one paragraph, without any line breaks, or speech marks, and tells the story of an unnamed narrator who tries to murder his neighbour after he plays Sidney Bechet’s Petite Fleur on repeat. I was struck by Iosi’s inventive descriptions, his sick sense of humour, and the subtle nods to Crime and Punishment and Jodorowsky. It’s a magnificent book, made all the more powerful by its compact form.