Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bread and Circuses.

The phrase 'Bread and Circuses' was first used in ancient Rome by Juvenal to describe the preoccupations of a Roman citizenry who, though once politically active, had now become  politically uninvolved, bought off with cheap grain and entertainment (1).
This piece points to two contemporary equivalents of 'Bread and Circuses' which both placate and distract people enabling the elite to carry on unchallenged. To quote Mark McGowan football is a "distraction from the realities of being a slave" (2).
(With a bigger TV this piece could be more effective!)   

(1) 'Bread and Circuses',
(2) 'Mark McGowan (performance artist)',


One aspect of Introjection and Projection is the belief that our social interactions and experiences leave psychic traces and residues in our internal life/unconscious. These psychic traces colour and constantly reconstruct the psychic screen that we view the world around us through and thus affect our subsequent interpretations and experiences of that world. This process is ongoing- our internal life modified by our experience of the social; our experience of the external coloured by the residue of our social experiences (1).

This piece attempts to give expression to the above, when it is exhibited there will be an accompanying paint set so that the public can add to the colours building up on the visor thus giving physical expression to the affects of their social interactions.

(1) Redman, P. and Whitehouse-Hart, J. (2008) 'I just wanted her out': the psycho-social and media texts, in Redman, P. (2008) 'Attachments. Sociology and Social Worlds', Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Courtesy of IDestroy.
IDestroy are a Bristol based punk/garage rock 3 piece comprised of Bec Jevons, Becky Baldwin and Jenn Haneef. Formed in early 2015 they cite influences as wide ranging as Sleater Kinney, Gossip,  X-Ray Spex and Iggy and the Stooges. In February this year they released their debut EP ‘Vanity Loves Me’ to positive reviews, mosh.hitthe commenting ‘this is a true punk EP’ (1); described it as ‘raw and powerful’ (2) while Punktastic described the title track as a ‘short, sharp slab of garage-rock glory’ (3). After coming across them via Facebook and checking out their highly impressive EP I contacted them for an interview and, between gigs on their current tour, lead singer Bec Jevons kindly obliged.

Q: Could you give us an overview of IDestroy? How did you meet? When did you start?
We are Bec, Becky and Jenn, three-piece rock ‘n’ roll band. We met whilst studying in Bristol and formed the band about a year and a half ago. Since then we have been playing shows all over the UK and into Spain. We put out our first release ‘Vanity Loves Me’ (EP) in February this year.

Q: What had you been doing before? Had you been in other bands?
Yes, we’ve all been playing in various other bands since we were in school, I currently also play with The Blue Aeroplanes and Becky plays with Triaxis and Dorja. We’re the kind of people who love playing and collaborating with new people.

Q: Was there anything specific that made you decide to form a band together? Similar ideas musically?
I’d been writing a bunch of songs that I specifically had in mind to play with a three piece, powerful and energetic line up. I knew Becky and Jenn would be the ideal people to ask for the job, luckily they were up for it!

Q: Who would you list as influences-would you identify with Riot Grrrl?
I love riot grrrl! Sleater Kinney in particular have been a big influence of mine, along with The Gossip. We’ve each got a big list of different influences though. But for me Nirvana, Bowie, The Thermals, Jack White etc etc

Q: How did you decide on the name?
One of the first songs I wrote to be played in the band was a track called I Destroy. We were really excited about this song and we felt it summed up the direction of the band, so we decided to make it one word and name the band after it.

Q: Did you have a fairly clear idea of the sound you were aiming for from the start or has it been more of an evolution?
Yes, I had a pretty good idea when we were forming the band what I wanted it to sound like. It has come together in a really natural way, particularly our live show.

Q: You released the 4 track 'Vanity Loves Me' EP earlier this year. Could you talk us through the tracks, what sort of subject matter were you exploring?
The subject matter ranges from feeling the need to destroy everything, to enjoying getting drunk with your friends… so I think there are a lot of relatable themes in the lyrics! The theme of the whole EP is an observation of human feelings and behaviours.

Q: Are you happy that it 'captures' where IDestroy are now? Often musicians feel their releases document where they were!
We’re really happy with how it’s been received, we’ve sold far more than we imagined and it’s had great reviews. I think it’s a good introduction to what we’re all about. We’re currently focusing on the next release, it’s important for us to develop on the sound though and put out even better tracks.

Q: How does the creative process work in IDestroy? Is there one main songwriter or is it very collaborative?
I usually start with getting some lyric ideas down and then I’ll write the song around them. I’ll get a rough demo recorded with all the riffs, chords and vocal melodies to a basic beat. We’ll then all go into a rehearsal room and work more parts of the arrangement and getting a solid structure down.

Q: What sources do you draw on in lyric writing? Personal experiences, books, films?
All of the above! You can find ideas and inspiration from literally anywhere if you really put your mind to it.

Q: Often female musicians have to put up with sexist attitudes and comments from men with essentialist viewpoints. What's your experience been like so far?
Luckily, I think we have avoided sexism at most of our shows. This is possibly because we often play with other female and mixed gendered bands, so most audiences and other bands on the bill are good to us. When we are the only female band on the line up we get comments made about us which just reflects people’s assumptions about female musicians. Sometimes we are approached after our set by people who seem so surprised that we are good at what we do. Sound engineers don’t expect us to play ‘properly’ or to know about our own gear… And people often think that someone else is booking for us and managing us when we've always done it ourselves. We can’t complain about this too much, because sometimes we enjoy proving people wrong!

Q: What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and into 2017 -are you going to be out playing live, do you have any plans for further releases?
We are currently on tour, playing dates all across the UK. In between the shows we will be recording the next release ready to put out early next year.

Q: What bands and writers have you been enjoying lately?
I’m currently checking out Jamie T’s new album, which is sounding pretty good so far. Slotface, Martyrials and a band we met in Spain called The Strangers all get shout outs for featuring on my current playlist!

Thanks to Bec and IDestroy. You can check them out on Facebook and Soundcloud


(1) Young, J. (2016) ‘IDestroy – Vanity Loves Me EP Review’.

(2) Carter,E. (2016) ‘Introducing IDestroy’.

(2) ‘IDestroy Premiere New Video’ (2016)

Sunday, 23 October 2016


A trailer for Adam Curtis' recent film 'HyperNormalisation' (1) commented that corporate monitoring of online activity is now so prevalent and algorithms so powerful that our internet experience resembles gazing into a mirror. The internet reflects back to us our interests and is tailored to us according to our online history so that, in affect, we inhabit a cyber reproduction of our self.

'Let Them Eat War'.

'Let Them Eat War' is taken from the title of a song by Bad Religion.

The UK is a significant exporter of arms, especially to the Middle East, the arms industry being facilitated by the state (1,2).
In 2001 Britain, with USA, attacked Afghanistan.
In 2003 Britain, with other states, invaded Iraq.
In 2011 Britain, with other states, attacked Libya.
In 2015 Britain, with USA, trained Syrian anti-government forces (3).
In 2015/6 Britain continued to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite the deaths of many civilians in Yemen due to the Saudi's bombing campaign (4). 
British culture has militarism entwined in it; through state rituals and commemorations, through entertainment, through education.
The British state is active in purveying, prosecuting and portraying war, the latter as a means of manipulating it's domestic population via civil religion and the media.
This assemblage seeks to convey the above, the black fluid in the beaker acting as a reminder of the role of oil in recent military action.
When exhibited it would be interesting to have a reserve of soldiers so that the viewer can interact with the piece-either adding or subtracting a soldier depending on their position vis-√†-vis Britain's military involvement in the world.

(1) Ross, A. (2016) 'UK government works 'hand in glove' with arms firms, say campaigners'
(2) 'UKTI: Armed and Dangerous'
(3) Blair, D. (2015) 'Britain sends 85 troops to train Syria rebels'
(4) Dearden, L. (2016) 'Britain to review arms sales to Saudi Arabia after military blames ‘wrong information’ for funeral air strike'

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The All Seeing Eye.

Online data collection by governments is often contested and challenged while data collection by corporations seems to be accepted by many as part and parcel of online activities. 
Although the symbolism and meaning of The All Seeing Eye has been adopted by several groups historically here it is stripped of any specific religious meaning and has been appropriated and deployed to convey the idea that all and everything you do online is being noted and recorded by various companies.


Psychogeographic Autoeroticism.

In the book 'The System of Objects' Jean Baudrillard comments that 'The erotic significance of the object (a car) here plays the same role as the image (real or mental) in masturbation' (1).
In the book 'Imagined Communities' Benedict Anderson described the nation as an 'imagined community (2)', a socially constructed imagination.
Nationalism and masturbation seem to have similar characteristics as they both involve the subject exciting themselves over an image or imagination. In this piece the bottle is obviously phallic but overall it attempts to capture the similarity between nationalism and masturbation without being too overt.
At certain angles the viewer's reflection is caught in the bottle, a reminder that we are all implicated.

(1) Baudrillard, J. (1996) 'The System of Objects', Verso, London and Brooklyn. p.73 
(2) Anderson, B. (1991) 'Imagined Communities; Reflections on The Origins and Spread of Nationalism' Verso, London and New York.


This piece is the documenting of what could be called 'performance art'!
We are interconnected and inter-related our lives being affected, shaped and influenced by the decisions, choices and actions of people, structures and institutions we may never experience directly or even be aware of. The myth of the autonomous, independent individual is exactly that, a myth. We exercise our limited agency within structures and situations that are not of our making or choosing.
On 26/9/16 I stopped 9 people in London and asked them to take a photo of me thus deliberately introducing a 1 minute pause into their life, in effect hitting the 'Reset' button. Because of that intervention they would now be running 1 minute behind where they would have been; they would meet different people, see things differently, join queues at different points, catch different tubes and buses. They may now meet new best friends, future partners, who knows!
The piece is made up of the map I used on the day and each photo has an accompanying description of the photographer whose life has been reordered by the act of taking the photo.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Kamikaze Girls: Riot Grrrl With A Mission.

Kamikaze Girls are vocalist/guitarist Lucinda Livingstone and drummer Conor Dawson who describe themselves as a Riot Grrrl two piece based in Leeds and London. They released their first eponymous single in October 2014 followed by five more until this September’s release of their 5 track EP ‘SAD’ (1,2). Due to the band’s honesty in engaging with issues of mental health Punktastic, in a review of ‘SAD’, described the band as ‘an important voice in the punk scene at the minute’, and ‘SAD’ as ‘a staggeringly bold accomplishment’(3). Combining a variety of influences including Bikini Kill and Sleater Kinney with their own pop sensibilities Kamikaze Girls stated aim is to challenge attitudes towards mental health, to stand in solidarity with other young people struggling with those issues and, if that’s not enough, to work with other bands to eradicate gender stereotypes in music (1). With a mission statement like that and music to match I was always going to be asking if an interview was possible-fortunately it was!  

Q: Could you give us an overview of Kamikaze Girls? Had either of you been in other bands before?
Lucinda: Myself and Conor were both in a band called Hearts & Souls with our friends Andy & Justin. We’re technically still the same band as we’ve just lost members and had a name change but it feels very separate to KG. I was also in the pop punk band called This City Sleeps for quite a while.

Q: Was there anything specific that made you decide to form a band together? Similar ideas musically?
Lucinda: I don’t know really, it was just timing. Conor and myself had hung out before and played shows together in different bands but we both found ourselves without a band and I was starting one up and Conor’s band weren’t doing much and he wanted to do more so we just started jamming.

Q: How did you decide on the name? It's a Japanese book and film isn't it?
Lucinda: Kamikaze Girls is a novel and a film. We knew about the film first. We were on our way to our friends sisters wedding and Conor told me the name and said he was surprised there wasn’t a band called that. We liked it so much and thought it suited our sound so we decided to change the band name from Hearts & Souls then and there. It’s nice to have a band name you actually like!

Q: What bands and musicians have inspired you?
Lucinda: I was a huge Michael Jackson fan growing up, I was obsessed. I was brought up on pop music and then found punk rock in my early teens with bands I found on Scuzz, through Kerrang and in P-Rock. As I got a little older and realised you didn’t just have to like one genre of music I started listening to a lot of indie, electronic, shoe-gaze, experimental and atmospheric music. Artists that have really inspired me over the last 10 years have been Alabama Shakes, The Julie Ruin, Julien Baker, The Album Leaf and Explosions In The Sky.

Q: I think you formed in 2011 and have released a series of tracks since 2014 (1, 2), with the SAD EP coming out September. How has your sound developed in that time?
Lucinda: We technically formed in 2009 as Hearts & Souls. Then Kamikaze Girls as a two-piece has been going about two and a half years. The sound has developed quite a lot from where we started in 2009. We were atmospheric pop-rock that played to a backing track. A very large rich sound with synths and strings. We’re now a very noisy two-piece with less members, no backing tracks and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our live show went from being meticulously planned out to being chaotic, fun and unpredictable. My vocal style has changed hugely as well. I never used to shout and scream, so that’s been a more recent thing as of the past few years.

Q: Did you have a fairly clear idea of what you were aiming for from the start or is it constant evolution?
Lucinda: When we wrote SAD I think we were testing what we could achieve as a two-piece, and how big we could make our sound. Our live show is very important to us and we love experimenting with things live and manipulating our sound to make each show unique. At the moment we’re writing for an album and I think we’re being a lot more experimental with things and seeing what develops. I like what we’ve done so far!

Q: How does the creative process work in Kamikaze Girls? Is there one main songwriter or is very collaborative?
Lucinda: I will write all the lyrics and melodies but the music is both Conor and myself. I write riffs, Conor writes riffs, and then we’ll get in a room and jam. I will rarely write a full song myself without Conor’s input, and nothing feels fully finished until we’ve both been in a room together playing it.

Q: You say on your Facebook page that you want to use your music 'as a means to challenge attitudes and taboos surrounding mental health' (1). Was there anything you feel able to talk about that led to that commitment?
Lucinda: Yeah totally. I’ve had some real problems in my lifetime dealing and living with mental health issues. I’ve not really felt comfortable talking about it until more recently. I feel like it’s important to talk about these things because people consider them ‘awkward’ topics. I used writing music as a means to channel it and I felt a lot better for writing music and going to shows and being able to put my time and energy into something I loved so much really helped me. That’s not to say that’s the answer for everyone but I feel like the more educated people are about mental health issues and where to go to get help or how to talk to someone with those issues the better it can be for people in the long run. People shouldn’t feel alienated because of something that affects millions, we’re all in it together.

Q: How has the DIY/punk scene responded? I guess quite a number of people must have been encouraged?
Lucinda: People have been super positive, and most shows we play I’ll have conversations about it when we come off stage. People perhaps saying they relate to certain lyrics, or they’ve taken the same meds as me and they know how I feel, or how they want to pursue something creative to help themselves. Again this isn’t something that works for everyone, but I think having a safe space where you feel okay to talk about these things is important, whether you want to speak out or not.

Q: In the book 'One Chord Wonders' Laing comments that first wave punk created space for women to deconstruct and explore gender (4). Do you think that is still true of the punk/DIY scene, has it continued to be a space to explore and question gender?
Lucinda: I think it just comes back to having a space that’s safe in the first place. Like I mentioned before it’s important to have somewhere you can go where you feel yourself. There’s some great places in the UK like DIY Space for London, the Owl Sanctuary in Norwich and Wharf Chambers in Leeds. All run by great welcoming people, and all places that encourage diversity and respect for your peers.

Q: Can you tell us more about the 'SAD' EP, is it the first EP you've had out?
Lucinda: Sure! SAD was written about a specific period of time over about 2-3 years when I was experiencing severe depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. I had issues with depression in previous points in my life but it was at it’s very worse at the point where I wrote the EP. I was attacked, held and gunpoint and robbed one day in Leeds and it ruined my life for two years and everything spiralled out of control. I couldn’t leave the house, my relationships suffered, my mental health pretty much didn’t exist and I didn’t feel like a real person. It was like that particular event triggered a lot of issues I didn’t know I had and although the EP is short each track is about dealing with an aspect of that.

Q: Are you happy that it 'captures' where Kamikaze Girls are now? Often musicians feel their releases document where they were!
Lucinda: Definitely. It documents that period of time and it kind of gives me closure on it in a way I didn’t think it could. I’m excited to get started on our next release knowing I’ve put what I felt at the time when I was writing the EP to rest.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of 2016 -are you going to be out playing live a lot to promote 'SAD'?
Lucinda: We’re on tour for the rest of the year. We’ve been on tour since August and we’re leaving for Canada and America tomorrow. We have 2 months over there and then we’re coming back for some UK dates to end the year on.

Q: What bands and writers have you been enjoying lately?
Lucinda: At the moment I’m really enjoying the new Touch√© Amore album and the new Doe album too. Book wise I have the Travis Barker biography to read when we’re on touch as I’ve been recommended it so many times I feel like I need to check it out for myself. I’m also re-reading at the moment a book called ‘Junk’ by Melvin Burgess. It was the book that inspired me alot when I was about 19/20 and it sort of lit a fire in me for writing honest lyrics so it’s been nice to get my head back in that and discover new parts off it.

Big thanks to Kamikaze Girls and Jamie for organising.


(3) (1)Wilson, M. (2016) ‘Kamikaze Girls-’Sad’,
(4) Laing, D. (2015) 'One Chord Wonders; Power and Meaning in Punk Rock', PM Press, Oakland, CA, USA.