Preview – The Great Escape 2023

The Great Escape, Brighton, 10th – 13th May 2023

Heading up the spring/summer festival party, Brighton’s The Great Escape is long established as a front-runner in championing great new music, and 2023 looks set to be no exception. With almost 300 artists already announced, and around half as many again still to be confirmed, this truly is an eclectic, international line-up where you’re sure to discover something fresh and new. 

Latest additions to the bill include Sorry, The Murder Capital, Dolores Forever, 86TVs (new project from Felix and Hugo of The Maccabees), PVA and Dylan John Thomas.

With previous announcements taking in a plethora of acts to look out for  – Anna Erhard, Bibi Club, Divorce, Freddy Merkky, Peaks, Redolent, Skinner, The Last Dinner Party to name just a few – it’s never too early to start planning for this year’s event. Head over to The Great Escape website for the full line-up so far and to check out ticket options. And for a flavour of what to expect, you can find our coverage from last year here.

Preview by Siobhan

13th March 2023

Interview & Preview – Paul Young & Los Pacaminos

Preview – Paul Young and Los Pacaminos at The Brook, Southampton, 11th November 2022

Paul Young’s career must be the envy of artists across the world. As well as singing the opening lines on the Band-Aid single in 1984 and appearing at the iconic Wembley Stadium Live-Aid concert, he also released three number one albums, received a Brit Award and became a household name. He continues to do what he obviously loves, and is still making music and performing live.

Paul is due to return to Southampton on Friday 11th November with his band, Los Pacaminos. They will be performing at a venue that they love, having played at The Brook on 20 previous occasions!

I saw (and photographed) Paul and the band when they played at The Wickham Festival back in the summer. I loved the joy they bought to the stage, as well as the high standard of musicianship, which was obvious across the whole line up of the band.

I managed to catch up with Paul earlier this week and we chatted about the upcoming gig, his career and, of course, about Los Pacaminos:

How would you describe the band, Paul?

I originally wanted to start a Tex-Mex band to embrace the fusion music which came out of Texas. I wanted to blend the Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll, with a Mexican twist, keeping true to the Mexican immigrants who came across the border. We’re now on the third album and I’d started to think we were drifting away from the where we started, but with this album, we’re actually coming back to more of a Tex-Mex sound.

How did the band start? Was it your idea?

Yes it was. I’d grown up listening to so many bands singing about going to Mexico, across the border and escaping from something. It all just had such a romantic sound to it. I started getting really into the music of the country, then the cuisine and then the whole structure of the differences between the north to the south. The music varies so much across the country.

Did you have a plan of who you wanted to be in the band?

Well, I was already writing a lot with Drew [Barfield], and Jamie [Moses] was playing guitar on my solo work, so I approached them first. Jamie was also playing in a band for Deana Carter, an amazing Country artist, and he’d played with Melvin [Duffy]. Jamie asked Melvin along to one of our sessions, and as soon as we heard him playing the slide guitar, he was in the band! He didn’t have much say in it! [smiling].

Does this band feel very different to your solo career?

Absolutely. During my solo career I could move across genres and styles, experimenting, as so many other solo artists can, Peter Gabriel is a good example. But within a band, you have the parameters of the sound that you need to be true to. That’s what I enjoy about the Pacaminos. Sure, we drift a little, but when we do, sometimes we elevate it to something really special. It’s the same as with a cuisine, you can have a peasant dish that’s occasionally elevated to something really special.

Looking back on your career, would Los Pacaminos be one of the highlights?

Oh yeah, it definitely is. It was a challenge I took on that was something really different, but I really enjoy it, and we do a damn good job of it! [a broad smile].

You’ve been involved in some amazing collaborations over the decades, how did they come about?

I was really lucky in that most of the collaborations were because musicians approached me rather than me seeking them out. The duet with Chaka Khan came after I bumped into her, and the work with Zucchero was because we were on similar paths, but in different countries. Each time I’ve done something with someone, it’s rarely been planned, it’s almost always been happenstance.

How do you feel the industry has changed over the years?

I do think streaming has hindered music in many ways. It’s almost become too accessible. When you saved the pennies to buy an album, I think it meant so much more. I remember reading every word on the covers of albums I bought. Spotify works well for me because I’ve had enough hits in enough countries that I get a reasonable amount from it, even though I didn’t write many of the hits. So it’s good for artists like me, but it’s not so good for people trying to break through.

When I photographed you at a festival last summer, I took a shot of you where you looked to be completely lost in the moment of the music, do you enjoy playing as much as the photo implies? 

I saw that photo, it’s one of my favourites. I do feel like that when I play. Tex-Mex music does have a sense of humour about it, as well as talking about love, loss and betrayal, there’s a deep joy in it too. Oh yes, I love playing live as much as I ever did.

You can see Paul Young with Los Pacaminos at The Brook on Friday November the 11th 2022. Tickets are still available here.

Interview and photos by Peter Nicholson

30th September 2022

Exhibition – This is the Modern World (Brighton Valley Gardens)

Exhibition, Brighton Valley Gardens, 30th July – 31st August 2022
This is the Modern World – the ultimate exhibition of previously unseen the Jam and Style Council memorabilia

For any Paul Weller fans, this looks like a must, and you can squeeze in a visit to see the sites of Brighton at the same time! Opening in just over a week, details below are from the official website…

‘The biggest ever collection of previously unseen The Jam & The Style Council memorabilia – This Is The Modern World launches in its spiritual home of Brighton on Saturday 30th July 2022 and runs through until Monday 31st August 2022.

Expect to witness the band’s formative years in the ‘Stanley Road room’, including Paul’s own school books and archive family photos from the early years. Each room will include iconic items from each year of the band’s career with the ultimate vinyl collections together with a mass of memorabilia and the band’s instruments, including Paul’s iconic Whaaam! guitar and stunning mod-wear flanked by customised Jam scooters.

Nicky Weller comments, “If you’re a Jam fan there’s every single thing you can possibly imagine, if you’re not a fan it’s still interesting as far as social history goes. If you’re just a music fan it’s just a noisy fun exhibition”.

She continues, “I’m so excited that we will be taking This Is The Modern World to Brighton this year with the biggest collection of previously unseen The Jam & The Style Council memorabilia on show – just a stones throw from the last ever live gig at the Brighton Centre in 1982″.

The most comprehensive exhibition about this extraordinary and influential band – This Is The Modern World is the ultimate exhibition for The Jam & The Style Council memorabilia.

Produced by AGMP and sponsored by Visit Brighton.

Exhibition open daily from 11-8pm.’

All details above from the This is the Modern World website – please check for any updates and additional information before visiting.

22nd July 2022

Preview – Victorious Festival

Victorious Festival, Southsea Seafront, 26th-28th August 2022

After a barrage of bank holidays we find ourselves in a bit of a lull – so prepare to be shaken awake by the next one as Victorious returns to Southsea at the end of August!

There are many festivals in amazing settings and this one is definitely up there in the location stakes as Southsea Common becomes its own festival village, flanked by the castle onsite and the sea just the other side of the wall. Continuing to grow and attract top level artists over the years, Victorious has something for everyone, whatever age.

This year’s headline spots are taken by Stereophonics, Paolo Nutini and straight from wowing the crowds at Glastonbury, Sam Fender. Other big names across the weekend include James, Self Esteem, White Lies and Suede, all worthy of a headline slot themselves. For those of you more interested in what’s happening further along the line-up, the eclectic mix of Anna Calvi, Soak, Sports Team, Coach Party, Little Boots, Dylan John Thomas, Honeyglaze and many, many more. There are also loads of family friendly activities in the Kids’ Arena, with a beach area, arts and crafts and the chance to learn some circus skills.

It promises to be a great weekend and if you can’t make all three days, there are options for single day tickets too. Remaining tickets available here.

Words by Siobhan

28th June 2022


Preview – Dot to Dot Festival

Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol 28th May / Nottingham 29th May 2022

Perhaps in response to our wonderful range of weather, something the UK does really well is an urban festival. Having been around since 2005, Dot to Dot Festival is no stranger to the platform, and is set to present another sterling line-up of musical talent to the streets of Bristol and Nottingham at the end of the month. Both cities have a range of big and small venues hosting shows, allowing for the opportunity to select from a strong choice of acts and genres.

For Dot to Dot 2022 there’s an impressive list of breakthrough artists included who, by the end of the year, are likely to be gracing much bigger stages. This includes… (deep breath)… Keg, Lime Garden, Honeyglaze, Bob Vylan, BDRMM, Powerplant, Retro Video Club, Prima Queen and many more.

Already established on the live circuit, the likes of Squid, Ghetts and Alfie Templeman will also be performing. There really is loads to pick from – see the poster for more details with further announcements still to be made.

We’re looking forward to sharing our highlights with you soon, and if you haven’t got your tickets yet, there is still some limited availability here.

Dot to Dot Festival

Words by Siobhan

18th May 2022

Exhibition – For The Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover (The Photographers’ Gallery)

Exhibition, The Photographers’ Gallery, 8th April – 12th June 2022
For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover 

Header image – Vinyl: Miles Davis, Tutu, Warner Bros Records – 1-25490, United States 1986. Photography: Irving Penn. Design: Eiko Ishioka.

When CDs began to nudge records off shop shelves in the 90s, something that was sadly missed by collectors was the opportunity to own cover artwork worthy of display and conversation. Singles were for fun but albums, with seemingly endless possibilities around double albums, gatefold sleeves, embossing and lyric sheets, held the potential to be serious pieces of art.

A new exhibition opening at The Photographers’ Gallery in London on Friday celebrates the album cover as an art form, curated and presented in collaboration with collector and exhibition originator, Antoine de Beaupré, whose extensive and impressive collection form the basis of the display.

Left – Vinyl: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti, Swang Song – SSK 89400, England 1975. Photography: Elliott Erwitt. Design: AGI / Mike Doud / Peter Corriston.

Right – Vinyl: Prince, Lovesexy, Paisley Park – 9 25720-1, United States, 1988. Photography: Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Design: Laura LiPuma.

Vinyl: Grace Jones, Island Life, Island Records – 207 472, France 1985. Photography: Jean-Paul Goude. Design: Greg Porto.

Showcasing the talent of photographers and artists including  famous names such as David Bailey, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Helen Levitt and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition takes us on a journey through the changes to music and art through the years. There will be covers you recognise, maybe some you own, and certainly some that bring new stories to the table.

Left – Vinyl: Serge Gainsbourg, Love on the Beat, Philips – 822 849-1, France 1984. Photography: William Klein.

Right – Vinyl: Everything but the Girl, Before Today, Virgin – VST 1624, England 1997. Photography: Jürgen Teller. Design: Form / EBGT.

Details from the press release:

For the Record brings together over 200 album covers, highlighting the central role photography plays in defining artists and bands, and showcasing some of the most iconic album covers of our times. While many of the artistes on the covers will be instantly recognisable, the exhibition illuminates the often overlooked and multifaceted contributions of photographers and other visual artists to the identity of the ‘stars’ and the labels themselves.

For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover will be on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London from 8th April until 12th June 2022.

The Photographers’ Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW (nearest tube Oxford Circus)

Usual opening hours are as follows – please check the website for news, admission charges and concessions before visiting, tickets may be booked in advance:

Monday (& Bank Holidays): Closed
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday – Friday (Lates): 10.00 – 20.00
Saturday: 10.00 – 18.00
Sunday: 11.00 – 18.00

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Photographers’ Gallery.

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

6th April 2022

Preview – The Great Escape Festival 2022

The Great Escape, Brighton, 11th – 14th May 2022

Returning after the enforced pandemic hiatus, there is much anticipation for this year’s Great Escape. As regular and makeshift venues fill their stages with a huge variety of artists, Brighton will once again become the focus of emerging musical talent from around the world. And looking at the line-up for 2022, this is going to be a very welcome comeback.

With an already solid base of acts in place, The Great Escape have just announced 180 more, including Rachel Chinouriri, Goat Girl, Crows, Kid Brunswick and NOAHFINNCE. With the likes of Bob Vylan, English Teacher, Fat Dog, Fräulein, Pozi and VLURE already in the mix (and that’s just a tiny selection of the 450+ artists confirmed so far), careful planning and your best walking shoes are going to be essential.

And whilst you’re there, away from the regular tourist trail there are heaps of great independent shops, cafés and bars to check out.

Take a look at the full line-up in all its glory, grab your tickets on The Great Escape website and we’ll see you by the seaside very soon.

Words and photo by Siobhan

5th April 2022





Preview – DIY Alive Festival 2022

DIY Alive, London, 23rd & 24th April 2022

Championing new music on stage as opposed to on the page, a new event comes to the capital next month. DIY Alive promises ‘A weekend of live music, talks, workshops and more, bringing the spirit of DIY Magazine to the heart of East London, it offers attendees a chance to celebrate new music and explore the creative industries surrounding it. A collaboration with Oval Space, the festival will take place across four venues and Oval Park in late April 2022’.

With lots of breakthrough artists performing, including Breaking Glass favourites VLURE, Keg and Fräulein, and ‘In Conversation’ slots with Self Esteem and Baxter Dury amongst others, this looks set to be a great couple of days. Shame (Sat) and Lily Moore (Sun) take the headline slots.

Full details and tickets here

Words by Siobhan

14th March 2022


Psyched Fest – Preview

Psyched Fest – 18th September 2021, Southsea

With a little under six weeks to go, preparations are firmly in place for the return of Psyched Fest, championing underground and emerging artists across multi venue stages in Southsea.

The event never fails to draw a strong selection of artists, many of whom are on the edge of jumping to much bigger things. This year’s line-up sees another plethora of names to watch out for including PVA, Nuha Ruby Ra, Keg and Vlure, with Billy Nomates headlining at The Wedgewood Rooms.

There are still tickets available at the ridiculously cheap price of £24. Rest assured there will be acts playing here who you’ll pay more than that to see on their own within the year; don’t miss out on this if you can make it.

The festival will take place across 5 stages in collaboration with local promoters including Strong Island Recordings, Honeymooner, Calamity Cratediggers & Mix It All Up, and £1 from each ticket sold goes to Music Venue Trust.

Tickets available here

9th August 2021

Book Club – Baxter Dury: Chaise Longue

Baxter Dury: Chaise Longue

Much is made of Baxter Dury’s famous father, but as he recounts his turbulent and, at times, frankly alarming childhood, it’s very much a tale of two parents, siblings, friends and the wildest collection of babysitters you might care to imagine.

As an author, his writing style is not unlike his songwriting, a dry and wry glance at the realities of the things that make or break you, no candy coating in sight. His early memories of Chiswick School sound like lyrics from an unreleased track, you can almost hear him vocalising about the teacher with ‘a frightening moustache and a fixed expression of contempt’, and his friend Patrick ‘the ultimate pathological kid’ though out of his depth when taken home to meet Baxter’s dad. To be fair to Patrick, you don’t generally find your mate’s parent sitting on a church pew on a balcony overlooking the Thames with a ‘six-foot-seven malodorous giant’ fondly known as the Sulphate Strangler.

Baxter’s mum, Betty, is as much a part of the story as the infamous Ian, both studied art and were taught by Peter Blake, their creativity later manifesting in different ways through painting, music and acting. It’s perhaps not surprising then that he would grow up to find himself in that same industry sector. What’s more surprising is that he made it through the endless scrapes and misadventures along the way in one piece to tell the tale.

While there’s no romanticism in his storytelling, it manages to recreate and reminisce about what feels like a long forgotten era where kids were largely left to their own devices and somehow developed a natural instinct for survival. Admittedly, most of us didn’t collect cowpats to throw at cars or end up in hospital having taken advantage of the copious amounts of drugs lying around the house, but then most of us weren’t left in the care of the Strangler and his fine culinary array of amphetamines and Special Brew.

The recollections flicker across time, their content at times both hilarious and poignant. I’ve always felt that his music has the power to make you laugh or cry, and often you don’t see the switch coming. With disarming openness, his memoir does the same. It’s a rollercoaster of a read, the sometime darkened lows pushed aside by the literal and figurative highs. We can only be grateful that he came to no harm after accidentally setting the Swatch shop alight with the volatile mix of a carelessly discarded joint and a bottle of white spirit, as in spite of (or perhaps because of) everything that’s gone before, the world of words and music is a better place for having Baxter Dury in its midst.

A no-holds-barred, confrontational and ultimately charming social documentary, this will doubtless be up there amongst the books of the year.

Chaise Longue is published by Little, Brown Book Group this Thursday 5th August 2021

Get the latest from Baxter Dury here

Review by Siobhan

3rd August 2021

Icebreaker Festival 2022 – Applications Open

As live music is starting to find its way back into our lives, it’s a real pleasure to see some events that have been sadly missed making plans to be back on the map soon.

The Portsmouth/Southsea area is home to a surprising number of festivals of all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique offer. Icebreaker Festival has established itself as a showcase for a hotbed of new talent, and provides an opportunity to catch a huge range of artists in smaller, intimate settings amidst a really friendly, supportive atmosphere. Favourite performances from the past couple of years have included Drusila, The Howlers, LibraLibra, The Isle of CC and Fast Trains; a veritable mix of something for everyone. Full details of how to apply to play are in the press release below, so if you’re unsigned but unforgettable, you know what to do.

Press release:

Applications are now OPEN for the South’s largest unsigned metropolitan music festival. Icebreaker Festival, situated on the vibrant streets of Southsea, will be taking place in the Winter & Summer of 2022 and is welcoming original artists/bands of any genre to apply. It has been a devastating year for live music but all this time spent at home has cultivated an abundance of creativity that festival organisers are eager to showcase.

Please visit and follow the application links. Each applicant is reviewed by the festival organisers and the colourful and eclectic line ups have developed themselves with the incredible amount of talent submitted through the application process every year.

The award-winning festival will host over 100 acts across 8 stages in multiple venues on Albert Road and Elm Grove with wristband entry.

7 years ago, local promoters, musicians & DJs came together to form the annual winter event, created to celebrate the unsigned music scene at a time of year which previously had been very quiet in the thriving coastal town. Over the years the festival has not only allowed artists to perform in front of eager crowds and gain media attention, it has also provided a platform for discovery. You might attend the festival as a punter or an artist, but you will leave the festival as a fan of a band or artist you may have previously never heard of.

You can check out our reviews from Icebreaker 2019 and Icebreaker 2020 here.

Words (excluding press release from Icebreaker Festival) and photos by Siobhan

30th July 2021

Book Club – Will Sergeant: Bunnyman

Will Sergeant: Bunnyman 

Highly respected amongst his peers, much imitated amongst his successors, it’s easy to imagine that Will Sergeant was born with a natural gift for playing the guitar. His stories of early battles with broken strings and a super lack of confidence in his musical abilities should give hope to anyone starting out, his anecdotes of life before the Bunnymen, at times stark and far from glamorous, an insight into the realities of growing up without the privilege many artists have to hand today.

From the outset, it’s apparent that Sergeant is bringing two things to his memoir. One, an extraordinary memory for detail and two, a brutally honest representation of that detail. With no complaints or consideration that it was anything other than the norm, he talks of his father’s control of the household with candour, managing to breathe some humour into the tales of an ‘angry loveless family life’, a home that he nonetheless remained in with almost dismissive stoicism, and where he and Ian McCulloch later had their first session to ‘mess about with guitars, see what happens’.

Sergeant’s discovery of music and its impact on him is beautifully documented throughout, and begins from an early age… ‘Summer 1963. I am four years old. The Beatles are some way through their bid for world domination. On our radio, they belt out ‘Please Please Me’. My sister Carole is in the house, singing along to the transistor radio, or ‘tranny’. Other than nursery rhymes, this is my first memory of popular music.’

As the years creep by, he compiles a covetous list of gigs attended and bands seen. From early Status Quo to Joy Division, via Bowie, Devo and X-Ray Spex, the descriptions of the sweaty clubs and sense of belonging on finding like-minded friends will bring nostalgia for many.

His accounts of record shops, fashions and youth subcultures are equally on point and will paint a picture for anyone who remembers the eras he writes about. He describes the 70s’ skinhead and mod troupes impeccably, noting, ‘Skins would storm through the metal fence opening at the top of the road, looking for fish, chips and trouble’, while the scooter boys appeared in ‘a flotilla of chrome lamped and decked out scooters, whiplash aerials flexing and flicking tiger tails‘.

Bunnyman takes us through to the formation, debut gigs and early success of Echo and the Bunnymen, as Sergeant, McCulloch and Les Pattinson form a perhaps unlikely trio with a highly volatile drum machine making up the fourth member of the band, until a human drummer can be avoided no longer and Pete de Freitas joins to complete the group. Record releases, label signings and the honour of a Peel Session take things up a serious level as the band stake their place as an important piece of the burgeoning Liverpool scene. 

It’s a story with much more to tell. Whether Will Sergeant will return with a sequel or leave the rest to be told through the myth and memory of fans and the music press remains to be seen. Either way, this is a compelling walk through a hugely exciting and influential period in music, join him for a veritable trip down Villiers Terrace and back again in time for the dancing horses.

Bunnyman is published by Little, Brown Book Group this Thursday 15th July 2021

You can join Will on Twitter for musings about music, scooters and cocker spaniels 

Review by Siobhan

13th July 2021

Exhibition – On the Outskirts of the Toy Box (The Market Place Theatre)

Exhibition, The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh, 28th May – 17th July 2021
On the Outskirts of the Toy Box  

Previously on Breaking Glass, we’ve featured the photography of Seb Akehurst, aka Jolly Bearded Promotions. Now we’re absolutely delighted to see Seb launching his own exhibition featuring his meticulously detailed brand of toy photography.

He explains, “Think back to your younger self and delve into memories of your favourite toys. Do you remember taking them on adventures? In this body of work, I explore the joys of play and imagination, using childhood toys to forgotten toys from charity shops to toys passed on to me by friends.

These toys can be recognised from all different toyboxes in movies, cartoons and comics. By intertwining these toy storylines, I have sought to recreate the limitless imagination which we had when we were kids playing and creating our own worlds for these characters. My hope when viewing this collection is that you are brought back to a time without rules and restrictions, to a time when you wrote the storyline about what happens outside of the toybox”.

The opening event will be held on Friday 28th May, and limited capacity viewing slots can be booked here. Thereafter, from Saturday 29th, the exhibition is free to the public. Do get along if you’re in the area, this is sure to bring back some memories and put a smile on your face.

On the Outskirts of the Toy Box runs from 28th May – 17th July 2021
The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Market Street, Armagh, Co. Armagh BT61 7BW
Please check the website for further information about your visit

You can find Jolly Bearded Promotions on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook

Images © Daniel Fagan

17th April 2021

Exhibition – Phantoms of Surrealism (Whitechapel Gallery)

Exhibition, Whitechapel Gallery, 19th May – 12th December 2021
Phantoms of Surrealism  

Header image: Sheila Legge as Surrealist ‘Phantom’, Trafalgar Square, London, 11th June 1936. Photograph attributed to Claude Cahun, courtesy Jersey Heritage Collections.

Performance art in public is a familiar scene nowadays with Fringe events and street theatre regularly popping up across our city centres. Perhaps not so common though in 1936, when artist Sheila Legge strolled around Trafalgar Square in a bridal gown, her head covered in red roses. Catching the eye of passers-by and the press, her tribute to Dali’s Women with the Head of Roses created just the buzz needed to launch the London International Surrealist Exhibition, held at the New Burlington Galleries in Mayfair.

And now some 85 years later, she is one of eleven pioneering women celebrated in a new exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, featuring a wealth of talented Surrealist artists from the fields of painting, collage, sculpture, photography, fashion and poetry.

Left: Max Ernst, poster for International Surrealist Exhibition,
Burlington Galleries, London, 1936.
Colour Lithograph, The Murray Family Collection, UK & USA.
Right: Corella Hughes, scale model of the London International Surrealist Exhibition 1936 (detail). 2021 © Corella Hughes.

After a year of lockdown it’s heartening to see galleries preparing to open up again, and surely a trip down the road of escapism is just what we need right now. This exhibition is set to be a pleasure and an education at the same time. Take a look through the visitor information for this and other events on the gallery’s website, details below.

Elizabeth Andrew – Swan, undated lead.
© The artist’s estate, Towner, Eastbourne.

Extract from press release

Whitechapel Gallery’s new archive exhibition, Phantoms of Surrealism, brings together artworks, photographic scrapbooks, press cuttings and original correspondence from the London International Surrealist Exhibition (1936), including a new scale model. Coinciding with Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy, the show reveals the pivotal role of women as artists, behind-the-scenes organisers, editors and animators of the Surrealist movement in Britain.

The exhibition features eleven artists including Ruth Adams (1893–1949), Eileen Agar (1899–1991), Elizabeth Andrews (1882–1977), Diana Brinton Lee (d. 1982), Claude Cahun (1894–1954), Ithell Colquhoun (1906–1988), Sheila Legge, Grace Pailthorpe (1883–1971), Elizabeth Raikes (1907–1942), Edith Rimmington (1902–1986) and Stella Snead (1910–2006).

Also presented are artworks from an anti-war exhibition staged at Whitechapel Gallery in 1939 by The Artists’ International Association, dedicated to the ‘Unity of Artists for Peace, Democracy and Cultural Development’. The exhibition is co-curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Curator: Archive Gallery and Head of Curatorial Studies, Whitechapel Gallery and Cameron Foote, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.

Grace Pailthorpe – Sea Urchin/The Escaped Prisoner,
7 May 1938, water on colourboard. Private collection.

Phantoms of Surrealism runs from 19th May – 12th December 2021

Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm. Free entry to this exhibition, other displays may be paid entry, booking is required for either.

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Whitechapel Gallery and are copyrighted as listed.

Intro by Siobhan

27th April 2021

Preview – Creation Day Festival

Creation Day, West Park, Wolverhampton, 29-30 May 2021

If you had to choose someone to curate a new music festival, it’s unlikely anyone would argue that Alan McGee would be a good call. Founder of the legendary Creation Records and a great supporter of new music, his long-standing involvement with and insight into the industry is something to behold. And with an impressive roll call of artists already announced, the inaugural Creation Day is booked for the last weekend in May 2021, headlined by Happy Mondays and Editors.

On the Saturday, Ian McCulloch will be dusting off his shades to bring Echo and the Bunnymen to the stage amidst their recently announced tour, while Shaun Ryder will be making his first appearance of the day with the illustrious Black Grape. Sunday sees long time McGee mentees Glasvegas making what will surely be one of the highlights of the weekend with an always powerful performance and presumably more shades.

Still a huge champion of rising talent, McGee also includes a swathe of newer acts on the bill, the likes of CAT SFX, The Clockworks and Heavy Lungs all set to showcase their music. 

Limited first release tickets go on presale tomorrow, 21st October at 10am, followed by general sale on 23rd October at 10am.

Weekend tickets are priced at £110, day tickets at £55, booking fees apply. Factoring in current Covid-19 restrictions, limited numbers of tickets will be on sale at a time and this will be reviewed in adherence with national guidelines.

Check the website for further details and to purchase tickets.

(Update 08.03.21: Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, Creation Day Festival has been postponed until 28th-29th May 2022)

Words by Siobhan

20th October 2020

Book Club – John Cooper Clarke: I Wanna Be Yours

John Cooper Clarke: I Wanna Be Yours

The tale of a young lad from Salford whose colourful life took some dark turns, where diction beats addiction and the hero battles with the heroin… I Wanna Be Yours is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a compelling read with highs and lows aplenty, in every sense of the phrase.

From the outset, Clarke gifts us with indicators of where he learned and developed the dry satire with which he made his name. Advice from his dad (‘Never leave a bookie’s with a smile on your face’), the family dentist whose name was Frankenstein, and his leap from Rupert the Bear annuals to waxing lyrical about Dostoevsky all sound like they could slot straight into his repertoire.

His descriptions of his surroundings conjure up the mysticism of the world seen through a child’s eyes; the Italianante building that housed their apartment with the West Side Story style fire escape, the chemist on the ground floor (‘a wearer of cravats, a drencher of colognes’), being traumatised by Vivien Leigh on a trip to the cinema with his mum, all culminating in his contracting TB aged 8 and a resultant recuperation period in Rhyl. Allowed to wander free until it fell dark, he was drawn to the fairground, ‘It was a zone of full-on sensory overload: the food had too much flavour, the light was too bright, the music too loud, the smell of onions all-pervading; everything was drenched in sugar and colour’. Music became as important as books and a happy combination of the two would eventually catapult him into his always intended career of professional poet.

Live at the Charter Theatre, Preston Guildhall, 2019
© Gary M Hough at allthecoolbandsphotography

Taking his punk-poetry to the stage, Clarke’s initial break famously came from the unlikely corner of Bernard Manning and moved on to him playing gigs with The Pistols and The Fall amongst many others. He also name-checks lesser remembered bands with exemplary monikers like Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds, and his mention of Johnny Rotten having ‘the complexion of a compulsive blood donor’ is typically sharp. It’s easy to see how some of the larger than life characters he encountered along the way might later have morphed into Vince the ageing savage, Salome Maloney and Gaberdine Angus in verse.

But if anyone thought he would skip over the extraordinary range of narcotics that interloped his rise to fame, they would be sorely mistaken. There are no holds barred as he unfolds his progression through every kind of fix imaginable, gun-toting deals, failed attempts at rehab and several short-lived dalliances with death. It’s always honest, never glorified and frankly a wonder that he’s still with us.

Live at Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham, 2017
© Siobhan at 16 Beasley St Photography

Thankfully, his ongoing survival has allowed poetry to crossover to many who would otherwise have rejected its once exclusive status. He references the importance of his English teacher, Mr Malone, making the class read poems aloud and how it taught him that, ‘The main consideration is what a poem sounds like. If it doesn’t sound any good, it’s because it isn’t any good’, a premise that went on to create the most notable bard of our time.

They say that every picture tells a story. Clarke takes that concept and turns it on its head as, from start to finish throughout the book, the words paint pictures so vivid you can see the Salford streets and smell the hair pomade. Take a dip into the weird and wonderful world of Dr John Cooper Clarke, he’ll be there if you want him, ninety degrees in his shades.

I Wanna Be Yours is published by Picador on 15th October 2020 and a UK tour is planned for next year – details for both here

Words by Siobhan

12th October 2020

Exhibition – Bowie/MacCormack (Brighton Museum & Art Gallery)

Exhibition, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 17th October 2020 – 6th June 2021
Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me – Bowie/MacCormack 1973 -1976

Header image: David 1975 © Geoff MacCormack

The life and times of David Bowie have been documented more than most; tales of wonder and imagery to match across an incomparable 50 year musical career, from the hedonism of Haddon Hall to the augury of Black Star via the darker hours of the Thin White Duke, it’s hard to find a patch that hasn’t been sewn up. However, in this photographic exhibition of the early to mid 70s’ era, we see Bowie though a different lens, with all the pictures having been taken by his close friend and travelling musician, Geoff MacCormack. 

There is no shortage of iconic images of Bowie in the world; hanging out with Iggy and Lou Reed, unfazed by the enormous dog rearing up next to him on the Diamond Dogs shoot, the manequinned Pin Ups’ cover all reflect different sides of his life and work, and he has often been the muse of world renowned photographers including Mick Rock and Terry O’Neill. The beauty of this collection is that it captures some moments of intimacy that a staged shoot never would, and the opportunity to see these in person is something to absorb and appreciate after a long enforced absence from galleries and museums; what a wonderful welcome back.

David asleep on the Trans Siberian Express, 1973 © Geoff MacCormack

Full details from the press release here:

Geoff MacCormack’s close friend from the age of 8 years old was David Jones, the boy who would become David Bowie and one of the most influential performers in music, fashion and theatrical stage craft of the twentieth century.

In 1973 Bowie called his childhood friend and suggested he may join his band, The Spiders from Mars, and go on a worldwide adventure, travelling first class by sea to New York and then on to Japan, from Japan to Siberia, through Russia by Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow for May Day Parade, Poland, East and West Germany, just in time for tea at the George V Hotel in Paris, followed by a relaxing holiday in Rome, just to chill out.

And just when Geoff thought the fun might be over, Bowie said; “Would you mind being a Diamond Dog and coming back to New York on an even better ship, eating caviar every day and joining another band, then another band, helping out on a few albums and generally hanging out and having the time of your life for a couple more years?”

Left: David on the set of The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1975
Right: David backstage after the ‘retirement’ gig for Ziggy Stardust,
Hammersmith Odeon, 3rd July 1973 – both © Geoff MacCormack

Geoff did not hesitate and became Bowie’s backing singer and percussionist in 1973 on the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane world tour. Arriving in Japan, Geoff ditched his Kodak Instamatic camera in favour of a Nikon and began taking a few images here and there, starting in Siberia on the Trans Siberian Railway and ending two and a half years later in Los Angeles during the Station To Station sessions.

Because Bowie disliked flying they travelled together by cruise liner and trains across the world giving MacCormack and his camera the opportunity to capture Bowie at his most informal and relaxed.

From Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane of Britain’s Glam Rock years, the ground-breaking Diamond Dogs tour across the USA and their obsession with American Soul music, to Bowie’s first major film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1975) and the recording of Station to Station and his Thin White Duke persona, this exhibition of intimate photographs, some of which have never been seen before in a public exhibition, gives a glimpse of a close friendship, travel and life on the road with one of the greatest rock stars of all time.

David in costume with Geoff MacCormack,
on the set of The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1975
© Geoff MacCormack

The show will be held in the museum’s three large galleries and will include 60 large original framed photographs of Bowie by MacCormack. These photographs will be complemented by a short film never seen before in the UK shot by Bowie on their trip to Moscow in 1973, music videos of Bowie and MacCormack on stage together, film excerpts and music in the galleries.

Michael Bedingfield, Chair of the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust said, ” Bowie was one of the most influential and captivating artists ever and we know this show will appeal to his many fans of all ages. The images offer a rare glimpse into a fascinating time of his life spent with one of his oldest friends. We are thrilled to be able to offer this show at Brighton Museum as our first major show on reopening after the lockdown. Don’t forget to book your tickets online on our website.”

David filming the May Day Parade from the window of the InTourist Hotel,
Moscow, 1973 © Geoff MacCormack

Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me – Bowie/MacCormack 1973 – 1976 runs from 17th October 2020 – 6th June 2021 – as with all galleries and public spaces, some restrictions may be in place so please check details before attending and, if you’re feeling unwell, please stay at home for everyone’s safety.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion Parade, Brighton BN1 1EE
The museum is currently preparing for re-opening so please check back on the website for opening times and ticket information/pricing – tickets will be available to book from 2nd October

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and remain the copyright of Geoff MacCormack

Intro by Siobhan

28th September 2020