Rage on the Road: March 2017

It’s been a while. I’m making a brief excusion on the road this coming weekend to vent my spleen in the name of art and entertainment. Dates and details are as folows:

Saturdy 25th March: Leeds – Grove Inn, 8pm.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1303715163026276/

Sundat 26th March: York – Fulford Arms, 2.30pm (a matinee show for the mums)

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/435521376838303/

I will be delivering full 20-minute verbal assaults at both shows.

Dale Prudent will be doing likewise.

We will be joined in Leeds by Joe Williams and Karl Whiting, and by AB Johnson (Stereoscope), John Tuffen (Namke Communications) and Rachel Ross in York.

Brace yourselves.

Rage on the Road – September / October 2016

Following a clutch of well-received, high-octane readings in York and Manchester in June, July, and early August, in which I premiered some new material and collaborated for the first time with master noisemonger Legion of Swine for the first time , offers of slots for reading have been rather thin on the ground. Which means it’s time to revert to guerilla appearances at open mic nights, which is actually something I quite enjoy.

Hijacks planned so far are as follows:

26th September 2016: Fictions of Every Kind @ Wharf Chambers, Leeds. 19:30, £3 entry.

1st October 2016: Open Mic Night @ The Basement, York. 19:30.

More to be announced. Or maybe they’ll just happen…

Meanwhile, there are just five copies of the limited-edition Rage Monologues pamphles left. I must be doing something right. These are priced at £3 and are available only at readings.

 

Rage Cover 2

Keeping Busy: A Week in the Life

Sometimes it feels like treading water. Trying to remain productive over and above surviving the daily grind, paying the bills, the regular essentials like eating and remembering to charge your phone.

Other times, things happen. Life gets even busier, but for the best. I’m not one for a ‘tour diary’ or, worse still, a regular diary, but the last week has been hectic, in a good way.

Wednesday, I made the trip to Leeds to perform at Verbal Remedies. A slightly smaller crowd than in March, they were nevertheless enthusiastic and encouraging, and my set was well received. I sold a copy of the limited, numbered tour edition of The Rage Monologues (almost half of this run has now sold) and got to chat with some really cool people. It was also something of a privilege to appear on the same bill as guest speakers Ian Winter (Hull) and Hannah Stone (York), who were outstanding. This is very quickly becoming one of my favourite spoken word nights going, and the standard of open mic performers is consistently strong. For the second time in two months, I was astounded by Lauren Butler’s lung capacity.

A short clip of my performance of ‘News’ also got shot that night. There isn’t much footage of me reading, and this is probably one of the best yet.

One day, I’ll figure out how to actually embed this video…
https://www.facebook.com/facebook/videos/10153231379946729/

Friday saw me take the rage back on the road, this time making the journey to the Scribble night at The Shakespeare in Sheffield. The journey was stressful to say the least: I knocked off work at 3:45 and caught a bus to the station, hopping on the 4:45 York to Sheffield (direct via Leeds) which was due to land in Sheffield at 17:48: ample time to make the 17-minute walk to the venue at my pace. Signal failure at Sheffield meant that we sat at Leeds station for half an hour, during which time I began to regret the chilli-cheese wrap I’d made for lunch. The train stalled again at Meadowhall and we were advised to disembark and hop on the tram. This stopped around every 500 yards, and I finally jumped off at somewhere near but not very near the station at 18:45 in a state of anxiety and bursting with rage. I figured I might channel this into my performance later, and yes, I did, although I’m not sure how well it translated. I’d got the walk from the station mapped out on my phone, but quite lost and with the even scheduled for a 7pm, start, I hopped in the nearest taxi and made it with minutes to spare.

The Shakespeare is an ace venue: the upstairs room is large and a good, plain rectangular shape with good acoustics and the bar downstairs offers 9 hand pumps and more decent beer than even I could consume. It was good to catch up in real life with Rob Eunson and to meet more new people, and while the reaction to my performance (a trio of rage monologues, during which, utterly pumped after my terrible journey, saw me leave the mic and rave manically to the audience, who looked terrified) was mixed, it was a good night. The other speakers were, again, excellent, and besides, I don’t expect rapturous applause and unanimous acclaim doing what I do.

That same day, my first new material in some time hit the market. While my February publication project, Something Must Break / Dream of the Flood, was ‘new writing’ I haven’t had work featured in anyone else’s publications in a year or two. So, for ‘Ambition’, a rage piece I only wrote earlier this year and performed for the first and only timer in Leeds in March to feature in issue 3 of The Curly Mind, the on-line zine curated by Reuben Woolley, a poet I admire greatly, is a big deal. You can read ‘Ambition’ here, and it’s worth having a nose round the other work at The Curly Mind.

Landing home after Sheffield at around 11:30am, it was an early start on Saturday for Live at Leeds, where I changed from writer / performer to music reviewer and landed early doors for some of the bands on at midday, and stuck it out till gone 10:30pm, by which time I’d seen 10 bands play in some five venues and on six stages, leaving myself with pages of scribbled notes from which to chisel a 1,500 word review for Whisperin’ and Hollerin’ by 10pm on Sunday.

Not every week is like this, and I’m now even further behind on my email than ever. But, having started to build what feels like momentum taking the rage on the road, a hometown performance in York in May seems like the way to go, ahead of venturing to Manchester in June.

Who knows, I might even find the time to write some new material before then. But meanwhile, it’s bank holiday Monday, it’s chucking it down and I have DIY to do…

 

Rage Cover 2

Rage on the Road: Updated

As mentioned in my previous post, I don’t intend to make a big deal of my spoken-word performances this year. I’m not trying to drum up support among those already familiar with my work. Taking turns at spoken-word nights where I can get them is a strategy for reaching a new (unsuspecting) audience. And no doubt scaring / irritating / offending people. But for those familiar with my work who do like the idea of seeing a bloke rave like he’s having a breakdown in front of an audience in the name of entertainment / performance art, prospective dates are as follows:

27th April 2016: Leeds: Verbal Remedies @ Verve Bar, 19:30

29th April 2016: Sheffield: Scribble @ The Shakespeare, 19:00

13th May 2016: York: Speakers’ Corner @ The Golden Ball, 19:30

29th June 2016:Manchester: Bad Language @ Castle Hotel, 19:30

 

Hopefully there will be more to announce shortly. Meanwhile, here’s a taste:

 

Maintaining Momentum

After a few weeks without performing any live spoken word, I returned to the fray with a segment at the launch for Sue Fox’s debut novel, The Visceral Tear, in Manchester last Saturday. That’s perhaps a whole other story in itself, but it was a successful performance (these things are relative, and I only half-emptied the room during my first piece, and actually sold some books).

While it seems I may not be featuring in the lineup for the Nous Sommes Bataclan event in York on Friday 27th November as I had initially hoped (primarily due to logistical and scheduling issues – the event has my absolute support and I would urge anyone who can make it to attend, because it’s a great lineup and stuff needs to happen, and to keep happening, which is the essential point here), I’m all for maintaining the momentum.

I recently completed a new Rage Monologue, which doesn’t feature in the tour edition pamphlet. I have every intention of performing it for the first time at the Wharf Chambers in Leeds on Monday 30th November.

Details of the event can be found here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1043784485632386/

It may only be a five-minute slot, but anyone in Leeds who’d like to see me bring the rage, I’d recommend getting down. It’s a cracking venue, the headliners are great, and what my set will lack in duration, it will compensate in intensity.

See you down the front. Or at the back. Hopefully.

THE PLAGIARIST Strikes Back: Losing the Plot (Again)

When I signed up to participate in the segment of the Leeds Bookend Festival curated by Pastiche Magazine, which has been good enough to publish my work in the past, I figured it would be a good lineup and moreover, the availability of a multimedia lot meant I would have the opportunity to try something I’d been wanting to do for years, namely the full PLAGIARIST multisensory live experience.

It was a gamble: one of those pieces that if I pulled it off, it would be spectacular and annihilative all at once. But if it didn’t quite happen, it wouldn’t so much be a disaster as a pathetic disappointment, akin to Spinal Tap’s ‘Stonehenge’ debacle. Conceivably one of the funniest moments in film, you wouldn’t want to be in the band it actually happened to. But artistic achievement is all about risk-taking.

The idea was to take one of the versions of film I’d posted on YouTube (I’d made three different edits), remove the bulk of the audio track of me reading, add significantly more white noise and feedback audio (a ‘sample’ of course) and then perform the bulk of the reading live. What could be simpler?

Aware that I only had a couple of weeks I set to work straight away. By which I mean I set to scouring my hard-drive for the files, but to no avail. The final AVI files were there, but not the editable projects, which I’d (foolishly) assembled in Windows Movie Maker. They weren’t on my backup hard-drive either. I should by now have realised I was asking for trouble in having offered to take the slot, which was still unconfirmed. Nevertheless, I figured they were probably on the hard-drive of the PC I’d used to produce thee original film, which was still in storage in the loft. So,at the weekend, after an hour and a half trying to locate the old HP base unit and monitor, and another half an hour almost breaking my neck trying to lug it down the loft ladder perched on top of my head, I discovered that the project files were missing. This left me with a week to recreate something that had taken me almost two months to create the first time around,some three years previous. But at least I had made an important decision: to flog the old desktop, because it’s needlessly cumbersome and completely redundant (although I do yearn for a more solid keyboard than the one on my new Toshiba Satellite Pro, which is nice enough laptop overall but doesn’t type as well as my old Asus. Yeah, yeah, workman, tools, etc.).

As I slogged away for a succession of late nights, I became increasingly square-eyed and more concerningly, debilitated and frantic in equal measure. Progress was reasonably swift, and infinitely less fraught than thee first time around, partly because I knew what as doing and partly thanks to a significantly more powerful computer. Even so, as the deadline loomed I had to break off to complete my research for, compile questions and then conduct an interview with Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line for Paraphilia Magazine. He’s in LA, I’m in York and I had to sync times and dick about with software as I’d lost the programme I used to record Skype hook-ups when the Asus had croaked a couple of weeks before.

Having the interview in the bag and an email confirming times for Saturday’s show didn’t resolve my reservations about performing what was perhaps my most brutally confrontational conception in a shopping centre in a large city in the late afternoon / early evening. The lineup, however, was excellent, and included a number of writers I’ve been impressed by in the past, notably Rab Ferguson, Laurence Reilly and ‘punk poet’ Henry Raby.

Anyway, Saturday rolled around and I had my reworked audiovisual tracks ready and while I knew there’d be a projector and screen, wasn’t sure about a PA so bunged my speakers – a pair of Labtec Spin 85s I’ve had for about eight years – into my rucksack before heading for a train. I’d road-tested them in the living room after they’d been in storage for a couple of years in the loft and was pleased by how much poke they had given their dimensions and wattage. I was reasonably well-rehearsed, but had elected to pick some passages at random in keeping with the spirit of both the book and the performance. The only real downer was that I’d developed conjunctivitis in my left eye, which was by now swollen and streaming. I also managed to get confused about train departures and arrivals in relation to the slot, so arrived more than an hour early to find the place dead.

At least I’d located the venue and this uncommon error on my part afforded me an hour in which to sip a leisurely pint of the Magic Rock Brewing Company’s superbly hopped High Wire West Coast Pale Ale (5.5%ABV) in the Brewery Tap and read some of Jim Thompson’s Savage Night while I reflected and mopped my eye, which was growing increasingly itchy and painful.

On my way back to the Customer Service Lounge, where the readings were taking place, I took the time to truly soak in The Trinity shopping centre. I ambled casually past the shops – standard fare and then some: H&M, Boots, Next, a new Primark to be opened later in the year – and made a lap of the watering holes I’d bypassed in my eagerness to hit the Tap. It was in passing these sleek, anonymous façades that I began to feel particularly uncomfortable, and peering in past my reflection in the plate-glass frontages and through blurred eyes into the interiors the the full horror of the air-conditioned nightmare that is The Trinity really hit me. The Trinity is a faceless, shiny architectural vacuum of personality that is in so many ways the physical manifestation of the multi-layered geometrical hells Ballard depicted in High Rise and The Atrocity Exhibition.

It wasn’t simply the construction and layout and the lack of soul, but the vapid, superficial nonentities it seemed to be packed with, all shouting at one another to be heard over the reverberated sounds of music and other people’s interlocutions and telephone conversations. This was all amplified through my own filters, and as such my response to the situation was more pronounced and more acute, but even had I not been feeling particularly edgy, I would have still felt an intense paranoia as I paced by traversal to make a suitably timely arrival at my destination.

Before the event got under way, I had the opportunity to chat with Henry Raby, and to speak briefly with Laurence Reilly, who informed me that reading The Gimp had left him somewhat traumatised. I deferred thinking what kind of effect the piece I as about to do might have. Frustratingly, I would have to leave before Henry’s session-ending multimedia piece, but Rab Ferguson would subsequently deliver a reading that was confident and solid and Laurence’s performance – and performance is the word – was immensely powerful: he guy really got out of his skin and into character.

As the first few of speakers took their turns following a brief introduction from curator and Pastiche editor Clare DeTamble, I found myself struggling, again with the space and the context, namely of a large bright-lit area resembling an airport lounge, with an pen front and situated off a large brightly-lit concourse. The customer service desk, compute terminals and large-screen TV with BBC News 24 playing silently but with subtitles all contributed to the disconnected sensation and the strangeness of the whole thing. Most of those present were either reading or had come along with a reader for moral support. The Trinity staff would occasionally answer the phone, but mostly milled about distractedly, but very few casuals crossed the threshold, and even fewer took seats.

It wasn’t entirely surprising: I found myself struggling as I watched the other readers. It was no discredit to their texts or performances that I was finding it difficult to focus on their words, as they were half-buried in passing noise and conversations. Even amplified, I suspect it would have been a challenge. And it was at this point that I realised THE PLAGIARIST REWIRED was the perfect piece for the setting.

Having endured torture of shopping mall, it was only right I should be afforded my revenge and wreak psychic havoc on the very location that caused me such existential alienation and distress. By the time it was my turn, I was adrenalized and raring to go. The lack of volume, the less than perfect angling of the screen, the small audience, the TV in the background, the weird, bright performance space that no-one could possibly describe as an auditorium… none of it mattered.

I paced the area in front of the audience like a man possessed, stamping one way and then the other, and then standing close to the front and presenting a confrontation stance. Behind dark glasses (handy at the best of times, essential for creating mystique and hiding the sick eye) I was wired and observed an array of expressions ranging from nonplussed to horrified. I was in the zone. The words flowed from me at increasing volume and pace as the images flickered and the shards of noise shot from the speakers – not nearly as loudly as Id have liked, but still, the effect was there. As the piece reached its climax, the words looped and fragmented, while the images strobed behind me and electronic white noise completed the sensory assault.

My other prior engagement back in York meant I had to slip out during the next speaker’s set, so I wasn’t able to stick around for feedback and to gauge the reaction. I suspect most of those who witnessed the performance thought I’d lost the plot. And that’s fine, because as I always say, plot’s overrated anyway.

 

 

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A Total Groove: Record Store Day 2013

Record Store Day has become an insanely big deal, and while it’s something of a double-edged sword for both stores and collectors alike – a debate I don’t feel the need to cover here – the fact is that I like RSD, and I’m certainly not alone.

While I have, in recent years, spend a lot less in record stores than I used to – partly because the opportunity isn’t there, partly because I simply don’t have the disposable income I once did and partly because I get sent a lot of music to review that I would have historically paid for – I do still put money into independent record stores whenever I can. I do so not out of a sense of dutiful charitability born out of sympathy (although there may be an element of that), but because they’re the places that tend to stock the stuff that I want.

Of course, larger independent stores still usually carry more stock than smaller ones, and have more buying power when it comes to things like Record Store Day. For this reason, I could have easily been tempted to make the trip to Leeds, raid Jumbo and Crash and return home with an armful of vinyl from my ‘wants’ list plus another armful of stuff to flog on at three times the price, thus covering my own expenditure, plus train fare and even potentially leaving me with a near profit.

Instead, I stayed local and hit The Inkwell. Why? In recognition of the fact that it’s a great little boutique shop. In recognition of the fact it’s my local record store, the one I drop into and invariably leave with something cool whenever I have any spare funds. In recognition of the fact that it has a community vibe. And in recognition of the fact that Paul, the owner, asked his customers for suggestions, recommendations and requests for items to order from the RSD release list. That’s a cool thing to do. Not having the budget to get a rack full of everything, it made sense. Moreover, look after the regular customers, and they’ll look after you.

I arrived for opening, and left happy with a clutch of singles, including a copy of the Twilight Sad 7” I’d recommended (one of only 500 numbered copies) and The Fall’s single.

In the afternoon, I went back to check out the two live acts who were playing: the ubiquitous and prodigious Mark Wynn, and purveyors of tinnitus-inducing garagey grunge, …And The Hangnails. Again, although scheduled as part of the RSD goings-on, The Inkwell hosts shows from time to time, either for the launch of local bands’ releases or just because, which is another reason stores like this (not that there are many stores quite like this) deserve support.

Mark and I exchanged goods: I traded him a hot-off-the-press print copy of This Book is Fucking Stupid for a copy of his new vinyl pressing, Social Situations, a split release with The Sorry Kisses. He proceeded to deliver one of his marvellously idiosyncratic performances, interspersing songs of social observation and gloriously off-kilter anecdotes with banterous ramblings that are awkwardly hilarious and hilariously awkward.

…And the Hangnails weren’t as loud as I might have expected and were nowhere near as loud as Swans the other week, but for a room with a standing capacity of 20 or so, the powerhouse 2-piece were pretty fucking loud. The shop got extremely warm and I began to worry the vinyl might melt (although by this time, only four or five RSD exclusive releases remained). Some kids looked uncomfortable and left, probably because they couldn’t hack anything as gritty and authentically rock ‘n’ roll as Hangnails (they’re certainly not White Stripes or The Black Keys), but the rest who stuck around really dug it. …And rightly so.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is rock ‘n’ roll. And this is what Record Store Day is really about.

 

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…And the Hangnails crank it up to ten and a half in a confined space

 

Check out The Inkwell here.

Check out …And The Hangnails here.

Check out mark Wynn here.

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibr.co.uk

Buried Alive

So last night I watched A Place to Bury Strangers play at The Cockpit in Leeds. I can honestly say that I haven’t witnessed a show quite like it before – and I’ve been to see a fair few bands.

It wasn’t just the volume, although the sound desk was probably liquefying and the dense smoke on stage was as likely to have been emanating from burning speakers as from smoke machines. No, it was everything, a total assault on all the senses.

Somehow I’m supposed to write a cogent review… but sometimes it’s easier to show than tell.

The sound is pretty much non-existent on this piece of footage I shot close to the end of the set, but if you imagine standing next to a jet engine while watching it, you might be getting halfway to replicating the experience.

 

Amp wreckage

Lost in Music: Christopher Nosnibor’s Picks of 2011

I could wax lyrical about what an exciting year it’s been for music (if you look in the right places), or ramble on about how, having been exposed to so much new music and having attended an insane number of live shows in the last 12 months, that it’s hard to remember it all, and it would all be true. But it’s also rather redundant.

Similarly, I could give a brief two-line summary of each of the items in these lists, but I’d only be repeating myself, given that I’ve posted reviews for everything here. In fact,. I’ve posted in excess of 400 reviews since the year started. Most of them can be found at Whisperin’ and Hollerin’, but there are others scattered here an there across the Internet, notably at Music Emissions and here on my blog.

Suffice it to say that rather than being designed to impress with my ultra-cool or right-on selections, these lists are entirely personal based on what’s stuck with me or impressed or excited me during 2011 – which is why the albums that will make all of the other lists, such as those by Wild Beasts and Kasabian, both of which I panned, aren’t here.

Gigs are listed in chronological order; albums are in no order whatsoever. I couldn’t really pick a favourite, and they’re all great.

 

Gigs of the Year

Tears of Ishtar / The Falling Spikes – Fibbers, York, 19th February 2011

British Wildlife Festival VI – Brudenell Social Club / Royal Park Cellars, Leeds, 5th March 2011

Interpol – O2 Academy, Leeds, 22nd March 2011

TV Smith & the Valentines – The Duchess, York, 23rd March 2011

Earth – The Well, Leeds, 1st April 2011

Hawk Eyes / Castrovalva / Blacklisters / Dolphins – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 22nd April

Rolo Tomassi – The Well, Leeds – 11th May 2011

Unsane – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 11th July 2011

Melvins – Leeds Irish Centre – 2nd November 2011

The Twilight Sad – The Duchess, York, 20th November 2011

 

Bubbling under: The Primitives / The Duke Spirit / Club Smith / Alvin Purple / Honeytone Cody / Viewer / Her Name is Calla

 

 

Albums of the Year

Amplifier – The Octopus

Cold in Berlin – Give Me Walls

Take a Worm for a Walk Week – TAWFAWW

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Gay For Johnny Depp – What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Will Kill You

Scumbag Philosopher – It Means Nothing So It Means Nothing

We Are Enfant Terrible – Explicit Pictures

OvO – Cor Cordium

Dark Captain – Dead Legs and Alibis

Mika Vainio – Life (… It Eats You Up)

 

Bubbling Under: far too many to mention!

 

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And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk