Unless you have broom handles for legs, it’s become practically impossible to buy jeans in Britain. “Skinny” is now the nation’s regular fit, while “Regular”, well… you have to assume every pair has been dragged from the shelves of the high street and taken to the nearest incinerator. All of a sudden, everyone’s starting to look like Max Wall.
One location that’s stubbornly impervious to the enforced narrowing of fashion is Manchester. Here men, on the whole, still dress like they’re off to see Oasis at Maine Road. Perhaps it was an act of black magic conjured in the bowels of the Factory Records office one long night in 1989, but it’s like a spell has been cast on the city, meaning that the width of jeans will forever provide legs with much-needed space. It certainly pays to visit Manchester in the sales and stock up on wide-fitting denim.
Continue reading “Donald Trump is not amused: the illustrations of Stanley Chow”
Two weeks on from the referendum and the dust is far from settling. Some people are a few friends lighter while others are feverishly posting messages about loopholes that might prevent the UK’s break from the EU. Facebook, once home to throwaway banter and pictures of slap-up breakfasts, has transformed into a political shooting alley. Leave voters tread with extreme caution on social media or have stopped using sites altogether. Right now, there seems no end to it, although the ever-reliable Billy Bragg made a valuable point on his Facebook page earlier this week, telling his 273,000 followers: “Though it may be painful for the Remainers, democracy must prevail. The alternative is unthinkable.”
Continue reading “A nation divided: Frank Field MP on Brexit”
Bloomsbury, London: the heart of British literature and not a shop selling vinyl records for, oof, at least half a mile. Tim Burgess, frontman of The Charlatans, is sitting in a stupendously sunlit room in the offices of Faber & Faber, publisher of his new tome Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco. Part paean to LPs and part autobiography, it features a cast of 54 contributors including Ian Rankin, Lauren Laverne, Andrew Weatherall, Bob Stanley and David Lynch, with each naming an album that deserves closer inspection.
Continue reading “Vinyl demand: Tim Burgess puts the needle on the record”
While too many plumbers create havoc for ordinary families with Barney Bodger pipework, spur-of-the-moment joints and wedged-in 4×2 – all nefariously hidden behind a bath panel – there are some, like Pimlico Plumbers, who take the job seriously and have clearly prospered as a result. Londoners will be familiar with the distinctive red, white and blue of Pimlico Plumbers vans but they’ll probably be more aware of the fleet’s private registrations, a creative toilet humour that pulls the chains of both young and old.
Continue reading “Sympathy for the DVLA: the private plates of Pimlico Plumbers”
So your mobile phone ran out of battery when you were trying to book tickets through the Glastonbury hotline and SXSW is a little too south by south-west for your building-society account to cope with. But ask yourself what you’re really missing. Are you desperate to listen to the foul-mouthed Adele jabbering to 100,000 revellers in an accent not heard in London since the doodlebugs were dropping? As for SXSW, it was in March – it’s gone, you’re too late.
There are still festival options if you’re willing to act quickly and not muck about. British Ideas Corporation heard great things about the 500-capacity Cock & Bull Festival in Bath last year, mostly from South-east-based DJs who had played sets on-site and convinced us that these more intimate gatherings were the future of UK summer fun, especially for people of more advancing years – whatever that meant. Some of this year’s acts are even appearing at major UK festivals, so here’s your chance to catch them close up. Like Glastonbury, the Cock & Bull is on a farm and also assisting a charitable cause – and we’re told the beer will be “normally priced”. We chat with Henry Trew, Cock & Bull’s event organiser, to find out more.
Continue reading “A load of Cock & Bull: the West’s truly alternative festival”
When a new Admiral England kit was launched in 1980, the one with red, white and blue panels on the shoulder, such was its popularity with English children that every junior school and comprehensive from Carlisle to Lizard could have adopted it as their school-team colours. Apologies to inhabitants of other UK countries but there was something about that England shirt that made the wearer feel, well, not a million dollars but a million pounds sterling. For many, a lifelong fascination with football kits started with that Admiral masterpiece.
Continue reading “Getting shirty: Historical Football Kits, the definitive archive”
The bit of the website where someone of sonic sophistication supplies a selection of serious dance-floor stompers.
YOUR DJ 2-NITE!
Andrew Collins, writer and broadcaster
“I rarely DJ any more outside of family gatherings, but could. When I sold my entire vinyl collection for practical reasons in 2005, I held on to my 7” singles, which, miraculously, fit into a flight case that’s too heavy to comfortably carry, and a selection of cherished Eighties 12”s that fit into a flight case that’s easy to carry. Between the two containers, I could do you a pretty sound Seventies/Eighties/Nineties disco night. Or, with my laptop, something for the kids, but never mind them.” – Andrew Collins, May 2016
Continue reading “Champion Sound: Andrew Collins”
By Tony Fletcher
As surely befits The Fall’s longevity, my 1979 interview with Mark E Smith and Marc Riley seems more relevant – and certainly more prescient – than it did when first published back in Jamming! issue 9. In fact, it seems more relevant and prescient than almost any other interview I’ve ever conducted.
Continue reading “Jamming: a 1979 fanzine interview with The Fall”
Bad Wisdom: The Lighthouse At The Top Of The World
Book by Bill Drummond & Mark Manning (Penguin, 1996)
It’s winter 1992 and self-proclaimed Zen Masters Bill Drummond, formerly of The KLF, Mark Manning aka Zodiac Mindwarp and former Jesus Jones roadie and Falklands War veteran Gimpo embark on a drive to the North Pole in a rental Ford Escort whereupon they intend to lay a picture of Elvis Presley on the ground, perform a kung-fu dance, light some joss sticks and save Earth. Written as part factual-ish on-the-road account and part fantasy adventure, the mix of endless driving, bingo, daytime radio and warped carnage (Viking ice-biker chainsaw battles, lakes of blood, extreme Nordic mind trips where you swim with dolphins for a billion years) means that once the journey is over, it’ll feel pointless ever booking a holiday again. LG
By Lee Gale
Seagulls pinching chips from kids is one thing but swiping a cheese-and-onion sandwich from the hand of a ravenously hungry adult is a dangerous new development. A flash of feathers and a flap of webbed feet and it’s off. To add insult to injury, a punch aimed at the departing bird goes wildly astray and for a moment, I am an unwitting and unpaid comedy act at Brighton’s Great Escape festival. Naturally, titters follow from lunchtime drinkers. The seagull flaps its mighty wings just twice and lands on the roof of a nearby Pizza Express: job done. Continue reading “Brighton rock: The Great Escape festival”