Monday, 4 August 2008

August 2008

Zines.
Last Hours # 17. There’s a week’s worth of reading here. The theme of the issue is radical illustration but tons of other stuff’s covered besides. Of the themed content, there’s lots to interest even if, like me, you don’t know much about art and aren’t even sure what you like. A highlight was the interview with Laura Oldfield Ford which shows the links between her personal/political development and her art work, so she comes across as a fairly down to earth bod who does art rather than as some bohemian pseud.
There are great articles too. Favourites are the ones on Crass, particularly Gavin Burrows’ piece, which struck a chord with me. I saw Crass once. I was the bloke stood at the back wondering what time the tune was going to start.
Inevitably I gravitated to the DIY guides section which has got a great basic how-to on zine-making from Kathleen of Scratch That Itch. There’s also handy pointers on food preserving from Isy Morgenmuffel, with some recipes I’ll definitely try.
Although I had initial worries about how ‘professional’ Last Hours looks, on balance, anything less wouldn’t have done justice to some terrific artwork throughout. Available from Marching Stars distro or subscribe via the Last Hours site.
Music. Downloads, MP3s.
Ornaith O'Dowd. Leaving Town. This is good. There's barely suppressed rage in the vocals which bounce over a great crunching, muddy riff. A bit like PJ Harvey'd sound if she'd listened to a lot of early 80's post-punk. Ornaith's done an excellent bona fide lo-fi production job on it with paper and comb vocals and a drum machine that clatters just when it needs to.
Ornaith O'Dowd. Tidying. Deceptively simple, this. A spare and clear arrangement topped with beautiful vocals. The subject matter of the lyrics might seem on the face of it like it's all been done before, but Ornaith's attention to detail and the clarity of the language and imagery makes it into something fresh, mournful and moving.
Art.
Donkey Head. Go here to have a look at some sample pages from Donkey Head comic, created by Daniel Baker. I love the style of the drawing; dead, dead clear, apparently simple, but full of a sort of quiet melancholy, if that doesn't sound too chin-strokey. The narrative's really involving too, which is high praise from me because magic realism usually gets on my tits a bit, frankly.
Websites and blogs.
Dalston Oxfam Shop. Not the most obvious idea in the world. The Dalston Shopper goes in the Dalston Oxfam shop, buys the most unlikely cassette tapes possible, converts them to MP3s and posts them here for your listening pleasure. There's something strangely addictive about this.
Podcasts.
Radio Clash. I'm just slightly too old to have got into dance music at a formative age. I'm from precisely the last generation whose default footwear were Doctor Martens, just ahead of the tipping point where trainers became ubiquitous. Anyhoo, all the more reason for me to be pleasantly surprised by this podcast. It mainly, but not exclusively, features mash ups which weld together two or more existing tracks. Occasionally there's the odd bit of dub-step which goes on a bit but generally I love a surprising amount of what Tim plays. One of my favourite tracks ever is This Mortal Coil's version of Song to the Siren. The other week Tim played a mash up based on it which was marginally more magical than the original. Clever stuff. I like the way Tim presents too. There's a refreshing lack of hipster piffle. Instead you just get a good bit of affable chat about what he's been up to lately.