Wednesday, 28 September 2011

BANDS GEAR UP FOR TURNER'S LATE NIGHT LIVE

© Copyright St├ęphane Gueguen and licensed for reuse. This is not an endorsement of my post.
The band line-up for Turner Contemporary's Late Night Live music event Noise on September 30th was announced recently, with another mystery act yet to be announced following the unfortunate news that headliners Two Wounded Birds have had to postpone their appearance until early next year. Nonetheless, since the event itself is only a couple of days away, I thought I'd post a few YouTube videos to get you all excited. I know I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's sure to be a great night!

Gross Magic
Fans of shoegazing or noise pop will be in hog heaven with Gross Magic, who'll be treating us with their lo-fi penchant for drowning their luscious melodies with My Bloody Valentine-esque feedback. To me, Gross Magic seem to be inspired by early '90s alt. rock, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Nirvana (to a small extent) and a slew of other comparable C86 bands, but the accomplished pop songcraft also makes bizarre nods to glam rock and ELO. Watch the music video of their single 'Sweetest Touch' below (which has more than a touch of The Joy Formidable about it):



Juneau Projects
Playing an intriguing mixture of performance art and electro-psych folk, this experimental Beta Band-esque band have a distinctly avant-garde sound which is well worth a listen. Led by Ben Sadler and Phil Duckworth, the duo's previous musical performances at art centres such as Ceri Hand Gallery and the Tate Modern indicates they are eager to fuse artistic expressionism with noise, so you can expect nothing more than an inspiringly delightful racket of eye-opening proportions. This video of them performing "Sang de Bouef" in a live performance at Croft Castle will prepare you for what to expect:



Scream Don't Whisper
Admittedly, this is the kind of band that make me feel like an old man. Scream Don't Whisper are a Thanet-based pop punk act who play music in that uber-fashionable way beloved by BBC Radio 1, with all the hyper-emotive caterwauling we've come to expect from voguish bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, You Me at Six and Kids in Glass Houses. That being said, I must tip my hat off to lead singer Luke Burgess for defying the Americanized drawl favoured by many pop punk singers in their cover of Jessie J's "Price Tag." If you listen carefully, Luke pronounces the word 'dance' in the most English way possible. Good on him, I say:



Needless to say, I'm curious who the mystery act is they are yet to announce, but I'm willing to bet it's going to be someone special! Coinciding with Turner's fantastic new exhibition Nothing in the World But Youth, all of these bands are diverse, fresh and compliment the theme of youthful artistic expression down to a T. I'm quite confident that it promises to be a very enjoyable night, so please do come along. It's held from 6pm to 10pm at Sunley Gallery, Foyle Rooms and Clore Learning Studio at Turner Contemporary on September 30th, so there's no excuse not to turn up. Go on, you might just enjoy it! See you there!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

DID TURNER'S CURATORS LISTEN TO MY OPINION?!

DEXTER DALWOOD, The Poll Tax Riots, 2005
Oil on canvas, 98-1/2 x 134 inches (250 x 340 cm)
Copyright © Gagosian Gallery and used under these terms
Well, whaddya know! As I was strolling around Turner Contemporary's fascinating new exhibition Nothing in the World But Youth which launched yesterday, I saw this big canvas painting called Poll Tax Riots by artist and Turner Prize nominee Dexter Dalwood (see above). I'm a big fan of Dexter Dalwood's work and genuinely feel this painting – which originally appeared in the Gagosian gallery – fits in perfectly with Turner's youth-centric new expo so I was delighted to see it on display. 

What surprised me, though, is that I distinctly remember posting a comment on Turner Contemporary's Facebook page back in December 2010 which expressed my admiration for Dexter Dalwood's work and asked whether they could try and include him in any future art exhibitions. Believe it or not, at the time, I was even told that my request had been passed onto the curators.

So, as soon as I saw Poll Tax Riots hanging on the wall of the South Gallery, it got me wondering. Was it just a coincidence that Dexter Dalwood's painting appeared in the Nothing in the World But Youth exhibition, or did the Turner Contemporary's curators actually take my opinion onboard? Did what I say have some bearing upon Dexter Dalwood's inclusion in the gallery, or was it just mere happenstance? 

If you don't believe me, please take a look at the full Facebook exchange below (click to enlarge):

And there we have it. Obviously, I'm not arrogant enough to assume that an ordinary bloke like me could have possibly persuaded Turner's curators to include Dexter Dalwood's work on my urging alone, but if nothing else, I certainly feel validated. I mean, what are the odds?! I was agog when I saw Dexter Dalwood's painting staring back at me, I really was, especially considering its massive size. It almost made me feel like I'd had some small part to play in the creation of the exhibition itself, which only made my visit all the more rewarding, let me tell you. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. 

I'm going to write a more in-depth review exploring my thoughts on Nothing in the World But Youth at some point later this week. In the meantime, please pop and visit the Turner Contemporary and experience it for yourselves. There's plenty to see and I can't see any reason why anyone would leave feeling disappointed. 

I hope you enjoy seeing Poll Tax Riots by Dexter Dalwood up close as much as I did!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES

The Boundary Commission released proposals today which have suggested changes to Thanet's electoral constituency map. According to the PDF on the South East outlining initial proposals which are subject to public consultation, it says:

"53.  The changes we have suggested elsewhere in Kent have led us to propose a new Margate and Ramsgate constituency that contains the resort towns of Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate. Our proposed constituency contains the majority of the existing South Thanet constituency.

54.  As a consequence, on the North Kent coast the remainder of the wards in the existing North Thanet constituency, encompassing the towns of Herne Bay and Westgate-on-Sea, are included in our proposed Herne Bay constituency. This constituency also includes five wards from the existing Canterbury constituency and the ward of Little Stour and Ashstone of the District of Dover from the existing South Thanet constituency."

So, in other words, Thanet's three main resort towns (Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate) will have a single parliamentary representative. As far as I understand it, if Roger Gale decides to stand again for re-election in 2015, he will be campaigning to become MP for the newly-renamed Herne Bay constituency, not North Thanet, as it currently stands. Concurrently, what is now South Thanet constituency will have had its boundaries redrawn as Margate and Ramsgate constituency, so if Laura Sandys retains her seat, she will then become MP for Thanet's main three towns.

On the one hand, I like the idea of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate sharing the same constituency and being represented by one MP  in particular, the idea of bringing Margate Central and Dane Valley under the same electoral umbrella as Cliftonville East and West makes sense to me. This has the desired effect of making the Isle of Thanet itself more unified, so the notion of having one MP represent the whole Isle is an interesting prospect.

However, I do wonder how those living in Thanet's villages or elsewhere in the district (such as Acol, St Nicholas-at-Wade, Sarre, etc.) will feel about these proposed boundary changes. Will they feel excluded, considering how much local authority decision-making is made centrally in Margate, I wonder? Or will that merely make the Herne Bay MP (whoever that may be) more determined to involve them in the process? On a national level, I'm also alarmed by The Guardian's claim that if the 2010 general election had been held under the new boundaries, Labour would've won 14 fewer seats, the Lib Dems 10 fewer, while the Conservatives would've lost just 6. Seems rather convenient, don't you think?

Speaking locally, however, I'm of the view that making one single MP fully accountable to the main fulcrum points of the Isle (Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate) could potentially be a step in the right direction. With a good MP running the show, it might even help Thanet better establish itself as a more self-sustaining and urbanised locale to rival other constituencies such as Medway, irrespective of which way people vote. That, in my view, may very well promise to be better for local democracy. What do you think? Feel free to disagree. These are only proposals, after all. How happy are you with the Boundary Commission's suggestions?

Don't forget to have your say on the Boundary Commision for England's website.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

TOBIN'S EX-WIFE SPEAKS OUT

The ex-wife of Margate serial killer Peter Tobin has been interviewed by BBC Newsnight this week. Cathy Wilson married Tobin in 1989 but left him just a year prior to his move to 50 Irvine Drive in Margate in 1991. It was there Tobin buried two of his victims in his back gardenVicky Hamilton, a 15-year-old schoolgirl who originally went missing in Bathgate in West Lothian, and 18-year-old Essex girl Dinah McNicol. Both girls were commemorated by Thanet Council when they installed a bench in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church earlier this year.

You can watch the video of the full interview on the BBC website.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

TENNANT HEADS TO MARGATE FOR BBC DRAMA?

© Copyright vagueonthehow and licensed for reuse. This is not an endorsement of my post.
David Tennant is reported to be appearing in a TV show set in Margate, according to a blog post made yesterday. On the link which I saw posted on the Margate Harbour Arm Facebook page, the former Doctor Who star is reportedly due to star in a five-part BBC drama series called Love Life written by Dominic Savage and is claimed to be "set in Margate on the Kent coast." 

Apparently, they started shooting started yesterday. It's also been suggested that more filming may be taking place on the Harbour Arm at some point in October, but whether David Tennant is scheduled to be involved in that scene is anyone's guess. Different actors will be appearing in each episode, so I'm not 100% sure if the full series is going to be set in Thanet, whether they are filming each episode on location here, or indeed when exactly (or if) Tennant is due to be dropping by, but this is exciting news nonetheless.

Needless to say, I'm expecting everybody in the Old Town to be extra vigilant in case a Tardis appears next to The Greedy Cow so they can catch a few snaps of David Tennant munching on a sandwich during his lunch break! You never know! Stranger things have happened!

Friday, 2 September 2011

JC FARLEY SNUBBED BY 118 118'S BIG BUSINESS BIAS

© Copyright JC Farley Ltd.
Ramsgate-based furniture retailer JC Farley Ltd has fallen victim to the 118 118 phone line's apparent bias in favour of big businesses. It's been reported in the Daily Mail that a local caller asking for JC Farley's phone number was treated to a bit of insidious sales patter about how the national furniture chain DFS offers four years' interest-free credit. This has led to a media storm in which 118 118 has been accused of favouring High Street giants and lambasted for undermining small local businesses by allegedly receiving a 'secret cash deal' from major outlets like DFS.

In an interview with KOS Media, the owner of JC Farley Ltd, John Farley, said

"I was asked by 118 118 if I would like to pay for the service DFS receives but I can't afford it. Also, DFS has 150 stores; it's very different for them. I can't see anybody calling up for DFS and instead coming to us if they hear advertising deals."

John Farley has also told me the story has been covered on BBC Radio 4 and BBC South East Today so it certainly has appeared to open up a debate about 'clone towns' and how competition from independent retailers is being stifled by big sharp-elbowed corporations with large marketing budgets.

How do you feel about this? Is 118 118 in the wrong? Should it be fair that rich major consumer retailers can hog their share of the market by paying for privileges from 118 118 that their rivals can't afford? According to the Office of Fair Trading, 118 118 has not breached fairness regulations or behaved unethically, but I would argue that pitching DFS deals to a prospective JC Farley customer over the phone goes beyond mere competition and strays more into potentially coercive territory. What do you make of it?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

FROM RUSSIA WITH GRUB

I saw a small chunk of the former Soviet Union sitting just on the edge of Thanet today, whilst driving home from work past the disused power station. This red sign with yellow hammer and sickles promoting CCCP Restaurant almost made me feel like I'd tumbled into a time vortex and materialised in some far-flung East European nation circa 1983, in the final decade of the Cold War era.

If it was intended to grab my attention, it certainly succeeded, and it has even got me curious about the restaurant itself. I may even pay them a visit and grab a takeaway one evening – it's certainly piqued my interest. Russian cuisine? I know that chicken kievs supposedly had their origins in... well... the Ukrainian city of Kiev, but other than that, I'm hard-pressed to think of any other Russian delicacies waiting to cleanse my pallete. Any ideas?