:: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 ::

More Sounds

More from The Sounds. Here playing 'Tony the Beat' from their Sunday gig at the liquid rooms, Edinburgh. Ears still buzzing from Dinosaur Jr. last night.

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:: Monday, August 27, 2007 ::

The Sounds Live

The Sounds Live, originally uploaded by alister.

The Sounds live at Edinburgh Liquid Rooms 26th August 2007.

The Sounds from Sweden returned to Edinburgh last night. The band say they have been on tour for two years and I could believe it. I saw them a few months ago supporting another band and they have been back to Scotland since then. What is more they are clearly a band who have had plenty of practice with their stagecraft. Lots of presence, lots of personality and bouncing tunes. What more do you need?

The support act were good too, sort of a Boney M for the 21st Century. Didn't catch their name though so if anyone can enlighten me...

Update...They were called Dragonette!

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:: Friday, August 24, 2007 ::


Live at Glasgow ABC
August 20th 2007

Slint must be one of the most name-dropped bands around. Even support act Aidan Moffat (formerly of Arab Strap) said he had been waiting to see them for 18 years. It was the first gig for Moffat and his new band Aidan Moffat & The Best-Ofs. They played a short drummerless set which did nothing for me to be honest.

Slint are a funny band. They recorded an album 'Spiderland' which was regarded as a seminal masterpiece and split up before it was even released. Now, years later, they are back together. The gig was for ages 14+ but I never saw anyone under the age of about 20 there and most of the audience were old gits like me.

They played Spiderland in its entirety. It was fantastic to hear the songs played extremely loud and something of their eerie quality was captured. They finished off with a cluster of other songs.

Not an essential gig, but enjoyable. Sonic Youth the following night would have been nice too.

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:: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 ::

In A Lonely Place

It's been a bit of a Factory week for me with the sad death of Tony Wilson and the screening of the new film about Joy Division's Ian Curtis, 'Control', at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Joy Division were always about a lot more than just Curtis. As well as the band members we had the management of Rob Gretton, the incredible production of Martin Hannett and the sleeve design of Peter Saville which was so central to the Factory mythos. There was the photography of Kevin Cummings and Anton Corbijn, both of whom created grainy black and white imagery of the band against the backdrop of decaying industrial Manchester which played a large part in creating the image of Factory and Joy Division. There were journalists like Paul Morley busy printing the legend often at the behest of Tony Wilson himself.

Tony Wilson was a co-producer on Control and this film festival showing opened with a tribute to him. The film itself is based on the book 'Touching From A Distance' by Curtis' widow Deborah. It's a tough film and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to Curtis' illness and spiral into depression and despair. The film strongly implies that the cause of this was the side effects of the medication that Curtis took for his epilepsy.

The film is directed by Anton Corbijn and like his photography is in grainy black and white. The acting is superb, particularly Samantha Morton as Deborah Curtis. The musical performances were all done by the actors themselves and as well as sounding good closely resemble the way Joy Division moved on stage as portrayed in video compilations like 'Here are the Young Men'.

As the film moves to its grim conclusion the viewer is drawn in to the mess that Ian's life has become. Powerful, bleak and highly recommended.

Unofficial 'Control' site.

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:: Sunday, August 19, 2007 ::


Book Festival, originally uploaded by alister.

Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Alan Grant
Edinburgh Book Festival. Friday 17th August 2007.
Graphic Novels, literature or pulp fiction.

Both Denise Mina and Ian Rankin are of course well known and highly successful novelists writing in the crime genre. Recently both have been tempted to take on a writing gig with DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. Mina has already had a 13 issue run on ‘John Constantine – Hellblazer’ and Rankin is to start writing the title. Both also have creator owned projects due to come out. Ian Rankin is certainly not scared to stray into unfamiliar cultural areas, his comics project comes after a recent stab at writing lyrics in the Ballad of the Book project. Veteran comics writer and editor Alan Grant who has written for everything from the Courier to 2000 AD joined them for this book panel. He was writer on Batman when it was selling a million copies an issue although it was his tales of writing the horoscopes for the Courier that probably took the audience prize for best anecdote. Grant is from Midlothian, making it an all-Scottish panel.

In contrast to Grant’s forty years in the business, Ian Rankin’s experience in comics amounts to a recent appearance in Oor Wullie. Although he has been a life-long reader and managed to slip a reference to Watchmen into early stories. He admitted that writing comics is a different discipline. Crime fiction is taken relatively seriously in the UK at least, but comics are not. There is nothing in Britain yet to approach France’s Angouleme festival or the massive sales of the Japanese market.

So why are comic publishers looking to writers like Rankin and Mina? Alan Grant reckoned it was down to plummeting sales in the comics market. He referenced the boom of the early 90’s when sales were in the millions. That boom was unsustainable, being based on speculation that would never pay off.

Among the differences noted between comics and novel-writing were the way writers were treated in the comics world. Comics publishers keep the copyright on all their writers creations, something unheard of in the world of the novel and Alan Grant had a few tales of his attempts to challenge this through the NUJ.

So, literature or pulp fiction? Well, both. Dickens was a pulp writer after all.

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:: Thursday, August 09, 2007 ::

Ron Brown

Sad to hear about Ron Brown's death last week. The former Leith MP was someone who I had been a comrade in the Labour Party, Scottish Socialist Alliance and finally the SSP. There were plenty of stories about Ron but he should be remembered primarily as someone who was dedicated to fighting on the side of working people throughout his life. Ron is buried tomorrow.

The picture above shows Ron shaking hands with Arthur Scargill at the 2004 Mayday march in Edinburgh with the banner of his beloved trades council at the side.


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:: Thursday, August 02, 2007 ::

Tributo a Salvador Allende

Tributo a Salvador Allende, originally uploaded by Jaume d'Urgell.

Check out this wonderful tribute to Salvador Allende on flickr.

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