25 January 2015

On The Scene // The Secret Circus #1 @ Parr Street Studios

The Secret Circus #1
[Parr Street Studios, [04/12/14]

Ohhhhhhhhh it's-

Finally, the highly anticipated Secret Circus has arrived – Music, Dance, Burlesque, Fire, Magic, and Spoken Word art forms all in one megalithic venue: Studio 2.

After years of wading through sweaty nightclubs, busted pubs, and dusty bars, clawing my way to the bar to down another round of 2-4-1-paint-stripper-vodka just to stomach the in-house music, a solution has presented itself at last! And it's all down to the persistence of two true community spirits: Eve Howlett and Chanel Samson. With the room already filling up nicely, Samson and Howlett in wit-woo festive circus regalia open the show with welcoming rhymes, introducing the first acts in what promises to be an extraordinary evening.

Speak Easy to Dance With Me

Spoken Word artists Jake Hawkes, and Tom George kick us off with two pieces each. Both are naturals on the stage, reciting home-spun poems about life, love, and... well, poetry. George's <Careless Wispa> caused a belly-full of laughs – an ode to a sickly-sweet love story using all manner of chocolatey puns. Spoken Word's a tough nut to crack these days, but I for one was very glad to see the art still alive in these two gifted artists. In a flash of fiction, the stage is cleared, and dancer Rachael Mellor hots up the stage with a sassy routine to Crazy In Love. Mellor flaunts some attitude-infused moves to a packed-out room, thrusting out arms, legs, and hips. The blood is warming up quickly, and next our eyes are diverted to Wills Lishman as he takes his position.

Now, Liverpool has done a lot for it's native artists, and continues to do so, but I have noticed that Dance isn't half as prominent as it should be, especially in a city as vibrant as ours. If you're reading this and know of a way to help give Dance it's rightful leg-up, do get in contact – we're as eager as you are, particularly after what we saw with Lishman.

Straight off the bat, Lishman's movements are impossibly refined; desperate, dramatic, and incredibly graceful. Sweeping, falling, gliding across the stage, he releases his soul for us all to see, fighting gravity in a dramatic, and very beautiful piece. An on-stage backflip sends a 'woahh!' across the audience, and Lishman draws his piece to a close to riotous applause. Big respect to both dancers – the big wheel of the Circus doesn't stay still for long...

Give Me Amore, Amore, Amore!

I'll quite happily admit that my notes for this next piece are somewhat scarce: I was a little busy watching the intoxicating Mimi Amore as she removed her clothes bit by bit. I'll tell you what I do remember though...

Amore doesn't just boil our blood with her deliciously co-ordinated Spanish Flower burlesque routine – she brings the whole audience under her spell. The one thing I was not expecting from Amore was how god damn funny she is! As soon as the word 'burlesque' is whispered from MCs Howlett and Samson, every male in the room shifts uncomfortably to the left as their partners sink their nails into their palms, but Amore captivated every body in the room with bursts of raucous comedy. Now and again, a piece of clothing would hit the floor, to which Mimi would signal for a politely gratuitous response – it was hilarious! To no surprise, the room had filled up to capacity by the time Amore took her bow, and the applause was immense.

Ooo can you feel those vibes? Ain't they just beautiful?!

Sipping whiskey and already rocking the stage, magician David Alnwick is just too fast to follow! This man is the king of misdirection – the term 'audience participation' quickly becoming audience dominance. On top of his impossible tricks, Alnwick commands an indestructible wit; he is charming, fluid, and insanely quick!

We were treated to a series of highly entertaining pieces which dazed, confused and elated the audience. Unfortunately, stage-hand duties called and I had to miss the dark arts finale, but you can you can catch dates for David Alnwick via his website, here.

Amore delighted us once more with a fan-atical Egyptian routine – a pleasure to watch from start to finish!

Sing Me To My Grave, I'm Done

Tonight has been one of a kind. I have never, in all my years venturing across this city's culture scene, been so impressed with the quality of acts, pacing, and sense of spirit in a single event... and this is only the beginning!!

After leading the crowds in a can-can procession to see Petra and her fire crew ignite the evening, we are drawn back inside from Back Colquitt Street to see the music. After the Parr Street chills, Nils Martin is precisely what we need. A quintessentially American warmth hangs in the air tonight – the vibe feels more like a festival than an inner-city event! Nils, sporting a tasty electric-acoustic, suitcase-bass drum and tamborine combo, replaces shivers with warm melodies.

Martin's guitar multi-tasking is impressive, but his voice is a little bit lacking after all the previous excitement. He's a touch underwhelming, but the spirits are still soaring, drinks are still pouring, and too much extravaganza kills the conversation anyhow. A strong effort, but I'm geared up for the night's final act, The Good Host.

From their first song, TGH are killing it! I've written here: 'THERE ARE PEOPLE SITTING ON THE FLOOR!!' - a sight for sore eyes, and a sign of the Circus' beautiful success. Front-man Jason Baxter's voice never falters – warmly operatic, theatrical, and thoroughly professional. We're lulled, caressed, eased into rhythmic comfort with tune <Same Old Song> - TGH, even half the band at 4 members, are double the wonder. <The Barley> strikes up in oompahlicious perfection with the surroundings, so full of life Baxter rocks his hat off! And hats off to bassist and co-vocalist Tony who harmonises beautifully all throughout the set.

I can see collaborative artist Crafty Conscious gearing up for <Forty Lies>, I can see it in his cheeky grin as the tune begins. One of their newer songs, the pace is sinister – a breeding ground for that infectious TGH sound. Launching himself on stage, Crafty blazes into rhyme, words flowing like a river of angst and truth. The band burn magnesium bright, and Crafty disappears off-stage as quickly as he arrived – spectacular!

Parting Is Such Sweet Circus

What a gnarly bunch of freaks! Tonight has been sheer joy, and there's no shortage of acts ready for the next instalment of The Secret Circus – the FIRST THURSDAY of EVERY MONTH starting FEBRUARY 2015 – miss it, and the clowns will come getcha!

- J. C.B. Crawford

15 January 2015

#SRCZ Album Flashback #33 // Crash Test Dummies – ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’

When I first came across the Crash Test Dummies, it was in a similar manner to most. That is, with a deeply intoned mmm four times over. In case you’re not aware, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm is the still distinctly timeless song that got the band much attention beyond their native Canada.

Still periodically active, the band’s last release at the time of writing was in 2010 with the basic component of singer and songwriter Brad Roberts on board with new collaborators, but way back in the beginning, came perhaps the only ‘Dummies album that seems to have aged in anyway. Luckily, it’s a good kind of aged that reminds you of memories and scenery that may or may not have occurred to you.

Of course, debut albums are rarely too similar to later releases in any artist’s catalogue, and so it is that ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’ is a still refreshingly honest collection of folk tinged songs with the odd sardonic edge to them. Not as jokey as later ‘Dummies albums get, this album has suffered little in the quality department as the years have gone by, aging only slightly.

The album starts off with the rather gloomy undertones of Winter Song, expressing yearnings of the past via a trip to the country. The deceptively light tone hides a dark lyrical tone that will continue throughout their catalogue.  Similarly, the mournful but perfectly sad Superman’s Song (which we first came across via the similarly tones first season of Due South) despairs that the world will never see another man as good as the titular Superman.

But it’s not all veiled darkness, there’s some delightfully light songs as well that explore the previous mentioned darker aspects of life with a dark humoured lyrical touch. The Country Life concerns a move to the country to alleviate the pressures of city living on a relationship. Lyrics that reference cowboy hats are deeper than they appear, for sure.  The most effective song in this vein though is the perfectly pitched The Journey. With the key lyrics suggesting, almost sarcastically, ‘It maybe that I’d like to, but I won’t fall in love with you / We won’t spend the rest of our lives together/ But any way couldn’t we go on a trip together?’

But the darkest moments on here though reflect that most final moment in life, the funeral. Album closer At My Funeral is hard to judge on first listen. Written at such a comparatively young age, it’s astonishingly straight to the point and brave. As Roberts asks us ‘Won’t you come to my funeral when my days are done?’ in the chorus it’s a very potent moment on an album that veers dangerously close to being silly on occasion. As a debut album, the themes of many a future Brad Roberts/ Crash Test Dummies song are explored here, often in such a way that is unforgettable and extremely effective.

Paired effectively with the inspired choice of cover art from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Nineteenth Century illustrator Gustav Doré, The Ghosts That Haunt Me is a fine beginning to an often rocky journey for Crash Test Dummies.


13 January 2015

#SRCZ TV Catch Up // Broadchurch: Series 2, Episode 2

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill, Matthew Gravelle, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Phoebe Walker-Bridge, Eve Myles, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James D’Arcy, Meera Syal

Written by: Chris Chibnall

 The story: After the shocks of episode 1 - Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) pleading not guilty and DI Hardy (David Tennant) hiding the ex-wife of Sandbrook murder suspect Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy) - and the Shakespearean gathering of the cast  at poor, murdered (and now exhumed) Danny Latimer’s grave, episode 2 examines Joe Miller’s trial and DI Alec Hardy’s foolish mission to put right the mistakes he made in Sandbrook.

All drama to some extent requires the willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer and none more so that this episode of Broadchurch. There have been some typically pedantic comments in the Twittersphere about legal procedure and rightly so. We know in real life that a court case would never happen so quickly on the heels of an initial (and shocking) not guilty plea. We also know that a witness is not allowed to sit and listen to a case in open court before they have given evidence.

If writer Chris Chibnall does this, it’s possibly because 1) who would want to watch a drama about a year-long wait for a court case and 2) it all adds to the dramatic tension. If it’s all technically and legally nonsense, then let’s be big about it and let it go in order to follow the narrative.

However, this is where episode 2 of series 2 really does challenge the viewer in a way that we really can’t move past so easily; the final denouement showing Hardy’s cack-handed attempt to entrap Lee Ashworth while Beth Latimer’s (Jodie Whittaker) waters dramatically break all over the streets of Wessex as she confronts former friend Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman).

It had all started relatively well, too. Judge Sonia Sharma (Meera Syal) was decent and full of empathy right before dismissing Joe Miller’s confession on the grounds of police brutality (wife Ellie did a “Bruce Lee” on him), blowing a massive hole in the prosecution’s “wall of evidence” against him and leaving poor Beth Latimer to explain her husband’s affair and throw enough suspicion over him to perhaps give a jury cause to find Joe not guilty.

Alec Hardy was outed in the press as “Britain’s Worst Cop” and he does a sterling job of living up to the title here. The notion that any cop with more than a single working brain cell would think that his crackpot idea to use Claire (Eve Myles) (a woman he’s painstakingly hidden for seven months, let’s not forget) to get former husband and creepy hill-stalker Lee to confess to murdering the two young girls in Sandbrook was in any way good is just staggering.

As Hardy sets up the meeting in Ellie’s former marital home, you watch in the certain knowledge that it is doomed before it starts, even before the distraught and heavily pregnant Beth Latimer waddles into view. True enough, with Ellie and Hardy distracted, Lee and Claire disappear without a trace and the credits appear. It’s all a bit soap-opera-ish and not the most satisfying ending to an episode in what has been up to now a very high class drama that has brought us enough drama, emotion and character to keep us watching for a second series.

It wasn’t all over-stretched drama, though. There’s a particularly poignant scene between Claire and Ellie as they share stories about the murderous husbands and how they first met over a bag of chips. Ellie convinces Claire to help Hardy in order to put things right; something Ellie herself desperately wants to do.

There’s enough here for us to tune in for episode 3 to see what’s happened to Claire and where Joe’s trial will go next, as well as the repercussions on those who surround them. let’s just hope that we don’t have to suspend our disbelief quite as much as we’ve had to this week.

Doctor Who? This week we see the lovely Meera Syal appear as trial Judge Sonia Sharma. Syal played Nasreen Chaudhry in the Matt Smith two-parter The Hungry earth/Cold Blood in 2010

Awkward Moment of the Week Ellie’s knock-back by the SOCO officer who’s now, erm, seeing someone.

Questions, questions, questions Was Becca Fisher this much of a sexpot in series 1?

What is it with that bluebell?

Creepiest moment Lee Ashworth on top of a hill telling Alec hardy he wants his life back before uttering the sinister “Sorry about your health” line.

Best line Beth Latimer to QC Jocelyn just before the trial, “None of us have got anything left to hide?” Oh, do you bloody think so?

(Andrea McGuire) 

12 January 2015

TV Focus // Previously on Broadchurch - A Summation of Series 1 For Confused Viewers!

Previously on Broadchurch… 

After our review of the first episode of Broadchurch series 2, we had some strongly worded feedback that the story was baffling for anyone who hadn’t seen series one. Therefore, dear readers, we at #SRCZ Towers have put together an update on the story so far so that you can enjoy series 2 in possession of enough information for it to make sense.

So what’s happened so far?

In series one, 11-year-old Danny Latimer was found dead on the beach at the foot of the cliffs in the town of Broadchurch. Made to look like an accident, Danny’s death was actually more sinister and a post mortem reveals that he was strangled and his body dumped.

The head of the local police, Elaine Jenkinson, brings in Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) to oversee the investigation, much to the annoyance of Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, (Olivia Colman) who wanted the job.

Ellie Miller, her husband Joe and son Tom are close family friends with Danny Latimer’s family - mum Beth (Jodie Whittaker), dad Mark (Andrew Buchan), daughter Chloe and the now deceased Danny.

The hunt for Danny’s killer brings great interest from the press. There’s journalists Maggie Radcliffe (Carolyn Pickles) and Olly Stevens (Jonathan Bailey) from local paper The Broadchurch Echo. Olly is Ellie Miller’s nephew and he’s a bit ruthless in his desire for a big story that’ll get him noticed by one of the nationals.   

Speaking of which, Karen White (Vicky McLure) of The Daily Herald is in town to cover the story and gain some professional credibility. And she knows a fair bit about Hardy’s last case, the botched Sandbrook murder investigation.

Everyone in the town of Broadchurch appears to be highly suspicious and could be Danny’s murderer. Dad Mark has no alibi, but it turns out that he was bonking hotel manager Becca Fisher (Simone McAullay). Mark’s mate and co-worker Nige (Joe Sims) is as shifty as they come - big, bald and angry and carries weapons around in the boot of his car. Could he have killed his best mate’s boy?

Local Vicar Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) does his best to keep the community together, but his general awkwardness arouses suspicion. He’s also a recovering alcoholic. Which can’t be good for a vicar.  Local weird, angry dog lady Susan Wright (PaulineQuirke) lives in a caravan near to where Danny’s body was found. She looks like prime suspect number one until her own rather tragic tale unfolds and she disappears.

Will Mellor (yes, that one) does a cracking turn as local strange person, telecoms guy and self-confessed psychic Steve Connelly. Connelly is so unnervingly right about much of the case, that you start to wonder if he knows so much because he is the murderer. Local shopkeeper Jack Marshall (David Bradley) has a criminal past that’s revealed in the press and he’s hounded by the town so much that he throws himself off the same cliff that Danny was found at the foot of. And Danny’s best friend (and Ellie’s son) Tom (still with me?) acts all moody as it’s revealed he and Danny had fallen out and he’s smashed bits of technology to hide something. But what?

Turns out it’s all red herrings as the real killer is revealed to be Ellie’s husband Joe Miller, who was trying to cover up an inappropriate relationship with Danny and didn’t want his wife to know.  Faced with a load of evidence, Joe confesses everything to DI Hardy. Ellie rages at Joe while Danny’s mum Beth rages at Ellie, convinced that Ellie must have known that Joe was the murderer all along.

As the series closed, Beth faced the future pregnant with another baby and trying to reconcile with Mark; Ellie moved into a hotel with her children, and Hardy was lucky to be alive after a life-threatening heart attack almost saw him off. We’ve also discovered that Hardy’s wife was responsible for the collapse of the Sandbrook case and that Hardy covered up for her, making himself look like the bad guy in the process.

So, here we are post episode 1 of series 2 and along comes Joe to shockingly plead not guilty and we know we’re in for another fraught couple of months as the tale continues to unfold.

Now we’re all caught up, let’s press play on episode 2….

(Andrea McGuire) 

05 January 2015

#SRCZ Catch Up // Broadchurch: Series 2, Episode 1:

Spoilers Potentially Ahead!

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill, Matthew Gravelle, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Phoebe Walker-Bridge, Eve Myles, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James D’Arcy

Written by: Chris Chibnall

The story: Broadchurch series two picks up from series one where Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle), husband of copper Ellie (Olivia Colman), admitted to the murder of young Danny Latimer. An open and shut case if there ever was one. Well, not so much. And DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) has a past case come back to haunt him.

Series two of Broadchurch has been surrounded in such secrecy that not even the cast knows how it’s going to pan out. At the end of series one, we were asking where could it possibly go after Joe Miller’s admission.  Would we have a new story? A new murder or mystery to solve?

Just as you think that the Latimer murder has all but had a bow tied around it, writer Chris Chibnall surprises all round in just the first ten minutes by continuing where we left off.  As Danny’s grieving family gather in court for what seems to be the simplest of cases, Joe Miller takes everyone (including his own solicitor) by surprise by pleading not guilty.

Joe and Danny’s family each set out to find the best QC to represent them, which leads them to Sharon Bishop and Jocelyn Knight (acting heavyweights Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Charlotte Rampling), two women with their own shared history. With each convinced she can win, we must remember to breathe as we await the day these women face each other in court.

In an intriguing side story, we discover the real reason that DI Hardy came to Broadchurch in the first place as he recruits Ellie to help him to protect Claire Ripley (Eve Myles), the former wife of the prime suspect in Hardy’s last murder investigation in Sandbrook. Lee Ashworth was suspected of murdering cousins, Pepper, aged 12 and the still missing Lisa, 19 but wife Claire’s false alibi allowed him to walk free.  Now Claire lives in fear of him finding her, while Hardy is using her as bait. For what, we dread to think. Ellie is astonished at his actions even as she agrees to help him.

Olivia Colman as the completely alone Ellie Miller is extraordinary here. Her own life and family devastated by the actions of her husband, she is eyed with suspicion by almost everyone, including her former friend Beth Latimer and even her own son, Tom, can’t bear to live with her.   Jodie Whittaker as Beth Latimer, the other devastated mother in this tragedy, continues to astonish in her portrayal of a woman ravaged by grief and guilt, but this time with rage at the circumstances she finds herself in bubbling just below an already stormy surface.

Making a return in series two is Vicar Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill), who is now apparently canoodling with Mark Latimer’s ex-lover, hotel manager Becca Fisher (Simone McAullay). We’ve also been reacquainted with journalist and Danny’s cousin, Olly Stevens (Jonathan Bailey) and Mark’s hot-headed work chum Nige Carter (Joe Sims).

With the scene set for the next seven episodes, almost the entire cast assembled at the church cemetery like a Shakespearean chorus to witness the appalling sight of Danny’s body being exhumed, while the menacing figure of Lee Ashworth watched from atop a hillside.

Where this story goes next is anybody’s guess. Certainly the cast doesn’t know; the actors were handed the script a page at a time to prevent them knowing what happened next and it seems that multiple endings have been filmed. What we do know is that Chris Chibnall has made sure that we’ll be gripped with speculation fever for the next seven weeks as this tale continues to unravel.

Doctor Who?: Writer Chris Chibnall has previously written for Doctor Who and its more grown-up spin-off show Torchwood. Here he’s put together a cast with a big Doctor Who background, including (*deep breath*)...Arthur Darvill (who played Rory Williams), Olivia Colman (Prisoner Zero), Matthew Gravelle (Torchwood: End of Days), Eve Myles (Torchwood’s kick-ass Gwen Cooper), Adjoa Andoh (Sister Jatt/Francine Jones) and of course, David Tennant, who played the tenth incarnation of everyone’s favourite Time Lord from Gallifrey.

Questions, questions, questions: Is the caravan where Mark Latimer and Tom Miller meet to play video games the same caravan that Pauline Quirk’s Susan Wright lived in series one? And if so, why has she suddenly disappeared?

What’s the history between Sharon Bishop and Jocelyn Knight?

What’s the significance of the bluebell in the card that Ellie found at Hardy and Claire’s bolt hole?

Awkward Moment of the Week: Hardy’s cack-handed attempt at supporting Ellie when her husband shockingly plead not guilty to murder, “Wanna hug?”

Creepiest moment: Joe Miller on why he’d changed his plea, “Nobody’s innocent. Everyone’s hiding things.”

Best line: Joeclyn to Danny’s family, “Knowing the truth and getting justice isn’t the same thing.”

(Andrea McGuire) 

01 January 2015

Different Sounds // Blue Tapes 15 – Father Murphy : ‘Calvary’

As you’ll know by now we do like cassettes and cassettes are what miniature label Blue Tapes do well. With every release as intriguing as the next, what have they come up with for January? Well, something rather timely. Italian trio Father Murphy have created an eerily fascinating Tone Poem called Calvary that is based around the concept of constructing a cross from wood.

With percussion recorded in Czechoslovakia, banging and metal constructs recorded in a children’s park in Stockholm and other sounds recorded in various locations in America this is truly downward looking project in sonic terms. Put into the live setting we can imagine this may be quite spectacular, it’s point certainly going to hammer home easily.

There is a distinctly dark feeling at work here, almost like venturing down a never ending spiral staircase into an ever darker underground realm. Taking into account their previous release’s requirement to listen to at least two sides of the vinyl simultaneously this is probably the exact intention! But all taken into account, there’s a very deliberate process here.


31 December 2014

#SRCZ Review of the Year 2014

As is traditional at the end of a year, #SRCZ assembles a selection of highlights from the past year. 2014, as with any year, had much to offer with some high profile returns, local scene highlights and much more…

January saw the addictive second season of The Bridge come to BBC 4. With the departure of co-lead character Martin Rhodes announced later in the year, we’re curious as to just what the third season will evolve into. Additionally, Sherlock concluded its occasi0nally divisive third season with the return of certain arch villain.

February saw #SRCZ venture down into that there London for the rather packed celebration of Scandinavian drama that was Nordicana. Despite the huge overcrowding issue, we really did enjoy seeing stars of Borgen, The Bridge and more in person for some often revealing panels. Urban artist Love ArtUK also mounted his second Valentine’s themed exhibition to a packed opening day crowd.

March was the month that saw Threshold Festival come back to fill the various venues of The Baltic Triangle. Over three days we saw music, science, art, street parades involving aliens and much more before our very eyes. Business as usual then! In more televisual terms, the underwhelming but still enjoyable return of Jonathan Creek occurred. In odder terms,  Flemish detective/thriller drama Salamander concluded its first season on BBC4.

April saw the rather excellent exhibition Down In The Galley from Liverpool based artists Tomo and Katie Craven announced and with its perfectly tucked away venue it was surely one of our art highlights of 2014. At the other end of town, The Nordic Church hosted SNØKRYSTALL with our reviewer particularly enjoying sets from Ragz Nordset and Silent Cities amongst others.

Down In The Galley

May saw new albums from Blondie (The excellent Ghosts of Download and the rather unnecessary but understandable Greatest Hits), Us Baby Bear Bones ( final EP Ursari) and Meshell Ndegeocello ( with the soul warming Comet Come To Me) and the rerelease of one of our favourite books Everybody Dies, by Ken Tanaka & David Ury.

Flyover Fest 
June saw the first Liverpool Street Art Festival in the form of MarkIt. With a huge number of artists locally, nationally and further out and a perfect atmosphere it was a very social, very inspiring and very successful weekend we think. (Some of the work is still up in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle if you’re down that way) We also got ever closer to the in the end rather pleasing reunion of Monty Python for ten shows at London’s O2. Musicially, we saw another excellent release from Ali Ingle in the form of EP A Life Unlike Yours and the rather bizarre but entertaining Niggas On The Moon from Death Grips featuring none other than Björk!

July saw an unloved flyover in Liverpool become the scene for the first Flyover Fest, organised by Friends of the Flyover and it was a rather joyous day indeed with familiar faces, pizza and entertainment. Death Grips also announced their end with a handwritten napkin note in a typically off kilter manner. Musically, Jessica Lea Mayfield released her rather good album Make My Head Sing and in a more theatrical manner, the much loved Giants returned to Liverpool.

 August saw the much anticipated and rather daring return of Doctor Who with a feature length premier episode that introduced a new grouchier Doctor in the form of Peter Capaldi. We were also present for the launch of Balance Vocal Studio in Liverpool, a new venture sure to lead to some excellent voices!

September saw the second year of Wirral Earth Fest, with our Editor as one of the key organisers, and with sunny weather, a specially commissioned world premier composition from OperationLightfoot, people and music a plenty and a truly collaborative effort from various organisations it was a grand success! We also caught the very excellent Ani DiFranco at Manchester Cathedral on a European Tour to usher in her latest album Allergic To Water.

October saw us review the ever unpredictable Prince’s two new album Art Official Age and the long expected Plectrum Electrum with 3rdeyegirl. We concluded it was worth the wait but it’s doubtful they’ll be another Purple Rain in commercial terms.

November saw our favourite movie of the year released on DVD. 20,000 Days On Earth saw Nick Cave, as quotable and eloquent as ever, live out his 20000th Day on Earth as imagined by directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. If you haven’t see this movie yet, you must! The return of the rather excellent second (And final? It’s hard to say…) season of The Fall to BBC 2 with a run that at times pushed believability but never disappointed. Oh, and the rather audacious slap in the face of an ending? We loved it!


December saw us look back at the year with our Essential2014 series of features (Albums / Singles / EPs /Television) . It’s been a good 2014! What will 2015 bring? You’ll have to wait and find out!