Birds of Snowdonia

Illustrations Edwyn Collins  Words Lee Gale

In 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered two strokes, the result of brain haemorrhages caused by high blood pressure. To begin his rebuilding process, Edwyn picked up a pencil and pad and began drawing birds.

As a child, Edwyn was a keen twitcher and even reared an abandoned fledgling greenfinch in his Dundee bedroom, feeding it a watery mix of wild-bird food Swoop. The female greenfinch, named Tweety Pie, would start its sweet song at 5am, waking the household up in the process. Tweety Pie later made a nest in the garden and, if Edwyn left his bedroom window open, would call in.

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Is there a Mr Hodges in the house? [2000 interview with Mike Hodges, film director]

The man who made Get Carter in 1971 is not in the best of moods. Mike Hodges’ journey from Dorset to London has been dogged by train-company failures. Spur-of-the-moment timetable changes mean that Hodges’ nerves are rattled and as it’s 10.30am, it’s too early to go to the pub. If the man who brought Jack Carter to life is hacked off, we’d better be careful. We don’t want to be thrown out of the window of this Leicester Square hotel like Alf Roberts was at that Gateshead car park.

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Morning Warship (Editor’s Letter) No.1: It’s an ad ad ad ad world

Match.com

By Lee Gale, Editor, British Ideas Corporation

Last week, an advert appeared on the Tube for overly algorithmic dating website Match.com that featured the close-up face of a not-unattractive woman with a riot of freckles. With Minstrel-brown eyes, she peered over the tagline: “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.” I’m never usually quick on the uptake with this sort of thing but as I strode along the near-empty platform of South Wimbledon, I thought, “Are freckles defects or merely sunshine-activated pigmentations of the skin?” Continue reading “Morning Warship (Editor’s Letter) No.1: It’s an ad ad ad ad world”

‘Tunes Splits The Atom’ by MC Tunes Versus 808 State, ZTT, 1990

Back in 1990, it didn’t seem overly crazy that MC Tunes and 808 State would sample the bassline from The Stone Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection” for summer hit “Tunes Splits The Atom”. All were Manchester acts and you’d assume that an agreement had been reached between legal parties prior to recording. However, this being Manchester, permission had only been granted vocally at an actual party – the Haçienda. Continue reading “‘Tunes Splits The Atom’ by MC Tunes Versus 808 State, ZTT, 1990”

The Bunnymonster! [2002 interview with Ian McCulloch]

It’s 5pm and Ian McCulloch, the Echo & The Bunnymen singer, is sitting in the bar of a hotel in Kensington, wearing shades. He’s been on Bloody Marys since 12 noon to counteract the previous evening’s punishment. To say he’s had one hour’s sleep, Mac is amazingly lucid. He’s switched to Guinness for the interview. [2002 interview] Continue reading “The Bunnymonster! [2002 interview with Ian McCulloch]”