The Good Life Experience, Hawarden, Flintshire
Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th September 2019
Behold: the full lineup for our stage at this year’s Good Life Experience. The brainchild of Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, Cerys Matthews and Steve ‘Abbo’ Abbot, the festival – the last of the season – takes place on the Hawarden Estate, Flintshire, 12-15 September. The Caught by the River tent is back and better than ever for our fifth year on site, featuring a jam-packed daily programme, plus a book and record shop. You can get your tickets here. Taking to the stage this year will be:
They came from the trees.
Now settled in fertile east London, Snapped Ankles maintain the feral energy of the forest. Fight or flight. Primal motorik rhythms, the rush of white noise and post-punk angles; an aural onslaught played out on homemade log synths, electrified guitars and sticks beating hell on taut animal skin.
Snapped Ankles have flourished in the sub-tropical climes of warehouse and squat parties, moving onto performance art collaborations with filmmakers and shows in unlikely locations such as barber shops, games arcades and the forests they once called home. They plough a singular furrow at improbable angles. The woodwose have discovered electricity and they’re not afraid to use it.
Working Men’s Club
Like a homage to smoke-filled vaults, ageing billiard rooms and crumby packets of pork scratchings in the Working Men’s Clubs of days gone by, Todmorden-by-way-of-Europe trio Syd, Jake and Giulia are about to fling open the doors of their own millennial social hub, fusing the 70s post-punk start-stop sound of Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Television with the stomp of Parquet Courts’ positivity. Syd’s half-spoken words jab through Strokes guitar lines with Mark E. Smith drawl…it’s the feeling of a Saturday spent scuffing about in thrift stores and hanging out with friends.
Seatbelts are comprised of James Madden, Ryan Murphy, Abigail Woods and Alex Quinn. James and Ryan – known for their work in Hooton Tennis Club – wanted an alternate name for The Beatles, and while jumbling the letters around over a drunken phone call Seatbelts poured forth.
Their first release Songs For Vonnegut EP is dedicated to legendary writer Kurt Vonnegut. With a new EP Please Slow Down due to be released this April the band have shared two singles so far, the lush ‘Content Crush’ and the upbeat, avant-pop ‘Spanish Songs’ – the latter of which Louder Than War said: “for any lovers of that Postcard Records era Seatbelts bring that twist of classic melody and delightful eccentricity with this perfect single”.
Katy J Pearson
Combining a unique voice with a knack for melodies that lodge themselves in your brain, Katy J Pearson writes songs could only have come from her time growing up in the rolling hills of the West Country. Having first explored songwriting as one half of dream-pop duo Ardyn, her new solo project casts a more intimate light upon her distinctive vocals, whilst also refining her portrayal of the wondrous world around her. Her songs convey a glorious nostalgia, refreshingly at odds with the rush and fury of modern life.
International Teachers of Pop
It’s 10 months since The Moonlandingz founders / writers Adrian Flanagan (Eccentronic Research Council) & Dean Honer (All Seeing I / I Monster) bumped in to lead singer, Leonore Wheatley (The Soundcarriers) at a ‘Circuit Bending Workshop’ in South Yorkshire where they decided to try writing “one song together and see what happens!”
Always with one eye on pop music and the other on something more artful, playful and slightly wicked, Leonore describes the group as “Grace Slick on the raz with Donna Summer and the Pet Shop Boys, legging it over to Kraftwerk’s gaff for a quick synth-sesh before getting a cab round to All Saints’ gaff to sing at the telly til the sun comes up!”
Modern Nature – the name taken from the title of Derek Jarman’s garden diaries – is the new project of Jack Cooper, ex of Ultimate Painting / Mazes and Will Young of BEAK>, featuring Aaron Neveu of Woods and Sunwatchers’ Jeff Tobias on saxophone.
“The band is so new, it’s hard to say who’s in and who isn’t”, says Cooper.
Salena Godden is one of Britain’s foremost poets, whose electrifying live performances have earned her a devoted following. Her latest poetry collection, Pessimism is for Lightweights, was published by Rough Trade Books in July 2018 in the first Rough Trade Editions series. The poem ‘Pessimism is for Lightweights’ is currently a pubic poetry art piece and is on display outside the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol. Pessimism is for Lightweights was in the Rough Trade Top Ten Books of 2018. Earlier books include the poetry collections Under the Pier (Nasty Little Press) and Fishing in the Aftermath: Poems 1994-2014 (Burning Eye), and the literary childhood memoir Springfield Road (Unbound). Her essay ‘Shade’ was published in the groundbreaking and award-winning essay anthology The Good Immigrant (Unbound). Her self-produced live poetry album LIVEwire, released with indie spoken word label Nymphs and Thugs, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award.
Richard King is the author of Sunday Times Music Book of the Year 2012 How Soon is Now?, and Original Rockers, which was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize (2015). His next book The Lark Ascending – a history of the British countryside told through the relationship between music and landscape – is due for publication by Faber & Faber in June 2019. He will be discussing The Lark Ascending with writer, broadcaster and longstanding CBTR contributor Emma Warren.
Jon Savage is the author of England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, Teenage: The Creation of Youth, 1875 – 1945 and 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded. In his latest book This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division,The Oral History, published in April by Faber, Savage has assembled three decades’ worth of interviews with the principle players in the Joy Division story: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Deborah Curtis, Peter Saville, Tony Wilson, Paul Morley, Alan Hempsall, Lesley Gilbert, Terry Mason, Anik Honore, and many more. It is the story of how a band resurrected a city, how they came together in circumstances that are both accidental and extraordinary, and how their music galvanised a generation of fans, artists and musicians. It is a classic story of how young people armed with electric guitars and good taste in literature can change the world with four chords and three-and-a-half minutes of music. And it is the story of how illness and demons can rob the world of a shamanic lead singer and visionary lyricist. Jon will appear in conversation about the book with Emma Warren.
Charlotte Runcie is the Daily Telegraph’s radio columnist and arts writer. For several years she lived and worked in Edinburgh, where she ran a folk music choir, and she now lives in the Scottish Borders. She has a secret past as a poet, having been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year with a pamphlet published by tall-lighthouse. Salt On Your Tongue: Women and the Sea – a lyrical exploration of the sea in art and in life – is her first book. She will be discussing it at this year’s TGLE with journalist, short-story writer and regular CBTR contributor Anna Wood.
Dan Richards is the co-author of Holloway (with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood) and the author of The Beechwood Airship Interviews and Climbing Days; the latter was shortlisted for the Adventure Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Awards 2016. He has written for the Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Caught by the River, The Quietus, Ernest Journal and Lodestars Anthology.
His latest book, Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth – the focus of his slot at this year’s TGLE – follows a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watching huts of Washington State, from Iceland’s Houses of Joy to the desert of New Mexico, and from the frozen beauty of Svalbard to a lighthouse perched in the Atlantic. Along the way Dan uncovers landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? And how do wild places become a space for inspiration and creativity?
Anna Wood is a journalist and short-story writer. In addition to hosting conversations with Helen Mort and Charlotte Runcie, she’ll be reading a selection of her own published and unpublished stories at this year’s TGLE.
Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay
Jim Ghedi and Toby Hay’s duets for the 6 and 12 string guitar are a collaboration exploring connection to landscape and place through composition, improvisation and folk song. At this year’s Good Life, they will be playing songs from 2018’s The Hawksworth Grove Sessions as well as brand new material.
Will Burns & Hannah Peel
Will Burns is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River, and was a Faber New Poet in 2014. Hannah Peel’s ‘cosmic colliery’ electronica has explored a diverse range of inner and outer landscapes: refracting the science of both the human brain and outer space through analogue synthesisers and community brass bands. Chalk Hill Blue, the duo’s first joint album, is a record of electronic ruralism channeling lives threaded through the chalk landscapes of Southern England, produced by Erland Cooper and released on our Rivertones label. Here they perform songs from the album live.
Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou
Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou met as teenagers in 2003 at Goldsmiths College, New Cross, South London. They would go on to become influential figures in the Brit-Folk revival. Their fifth album Fair Lady London, recorded on their 4-track cassette recorder in a quiet corner of a castle in the rolling valleys of East Sussex, was released in late 2018 on the Maiden Voyage Recording Co. Label.
Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985, and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a ‘Next Generation Poet’, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Helen has been the Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the RSL’s 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield. Here she will discuss her debut novel Black Car Burning (pub April 2019 by Chatto & Windus) with Anna Wood.
Jeff Towns is an antiquarian bookdealer by trade, and a foremost expert on Dylan Thomas. His bus-shaped mobile bookshop can be found pitched up at the TGLE every year. On the Caught by the River stage at this year’s festival, he presents a talk on Idris Davies (6 January 1905 – 6 April 1953) – a Left-Wing Welsh poet, born in Rhymney, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Davies began his working life aged 14 as a coal miner, but went on to become a poet published by T.S. Eliot at Faber and Faber. Punctuated with audio clips, Jeff’s talk will follow the journey of how an extract from Davies’ 1938 poem ‘Gwalia Deserta’ (meaning literally “Wasteland of Wales”), travelled from Merthyr to New York and into Bob Dylan’s repertoire – via Dylan Thomas and Pete Seeger – and on to be recorded by Dylan and The Band, The Byrds, Cher, Judy Collins, John Denver, Ralph McTell and the Welsh band The Alarm.