London, You Are Beautiful: TSF Presents Artist Mary Swan

 

 

20160328_114003Ms. Swan, like many of our previously featured guests, showed up on our Union Jack-themed radar by total chance. During a recent visit to Twitter, we saw one of her posts featuring one of her works and we thought, straightaway, “This woman has loads of talent and she deserves to be shone in a proper spotlight.” Without a moment of hesitation, we contacted her and invited her to visit Anglophile Studios. Ms. Swan proved to be a most amiable and utterly pleasant guest. She even brought some samples of her work which she most generously gave to us as parting gifts. As we enjoyed an afternoon tea, we chatted with Ms. Swan.

1. What do you think makes your work distinctive? And when
you paint, do you do it for your own happiness or because
you’re excited to share it with others or both?

I guess you could say it’s ‘in the blood’.  I am a 4th generation Londoner so I feel very close to London (East especially) where my relatives and descendants come from.  I hope that inherent atmosphere comes across in my work.  I work because I need to on a very personal level.  I have worked in offices for my bread and butter for most of my life, but this is what I was born to do.

2. What are your favourite art museums in London? Do you
often visit exhibitions to garner inspiration or
motivation?
The Tate Britain and the National Gallery are both major wells of inspiration and places of wonder for me.  But I also love to visit the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury (just across from the British Museum) for its history of cartoon and collection of wonderful drawings.  The Mall Galleries in Pall Mall are also great to visit to see what is happening now and are very supportive to new artists and the major art societies.  These are all places of inspiration and meditation when at a low ebb or if I need to consult the masters if I am phased by a problem in my work.  Everything every artist needs to know is contained there I believe.
3. Do you need to paint in silence or do you have background
distractions, like the telly or music? When you’re
painting, how do you feel as you see a creation that was
previously in your mind become a reality?
I find music helps if I’m finding it difficult to still the mind.  No music in particular to be honest.  It depends on what stage I am at in my work also.  Sometimes I can relax and work on autopilot so am happy to listen to a talk show but that doesn’t happen too often! 
Mostly it would be easy listening, but that could be to do with my age!

4. Given that you mention, on your website, that London
largely influences your work, what about the city compels
you to paint? Are there particular sections of London that
you hone in on?
I may have already answered this question back in the beginning, but it’s where I’m from, has made me who I am and holds so many memories for me.  Good and bad.  I have also read a great deal about East London in particular.  It has a very special place in my heart.

5. What makes you proud to be British?
I am proud to be a part of something that has been very special to a lot of people worldwide.  Like all nations, we have and have had our problems.  But overall, for all that our ancestors may have got wrong at times, when I walk around my city, I believe we produced something pretty special.
6. Do you constantly think about painting or do you have
moments where you need to switch off?

I never switch off to be honest.  There is always a ‘view’ in my head when I am walking around doing the most mundane things.  Whether its weather conditions, someone’s stance while waiting for a bus or a beautiful view.  It’s so ingrained that I can’t separate myself from my work.  But a great question!  Thank you, this one really made me think.

7. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty has asked
you to choose a book and luxury before she casts you off.
What do you choose and why?

The book would have to be Atkinson Grimshaw’s Painter of Moonlight and a bale of paper to draw upon.  I could always make colours from leaves, plants etc and fashion a drawing impliment out of wood or seagrass!

8. Since you’re being interviewed by The Shipping
Forecast, we can’t help but ask; have you ever listened
to the R4 programme and, if so, what do you think of it?
I have always found it a great source of comfort and a leveler at the end of a long day.  It’s been a part of British Life for so long and reminds us of those whose livelihoods depend upon the conditions at sea and general weather conditions.  It reminds me of how fragile life can be when pitted against the elements .

9. If you could invite any painter, alive or deceased (the
latter would, for this occasion, obviously be alive), to
dinner at your home, who would you invite and why?

No hesitation, John Atkinson Grimshaw.  He captured the atmosphere of the city like no other I have seen.  Having seen many of his original works, they have never failed to knock me off my feet.  They are dexterity and grace without the feeling of showing off.

10. What is your opinion of street art and what do you think
of Banksy?

I do think some of the work is stunning and very clever and understand how the phenomenon has grown in cities. But really do not enjoy seeing buildings, windows and transportation being defaced. I initially found his work entertaining as it was very subtle, enjoyable.  But as he is now a well-established artist and his work is worth 100,000’s, it’s time to commit the work to canvas or other portable surface and stop painting/stenciling on buildings in poor areas and creating a bunfight for ownership of the artwork between local councils and property owners.  This is not being clever or ironic Sir!

11. Who are your top five favourite artists?
John Atkinson Grimshaw
Frederick Church
Odilon Redon
Ronald Searle

Quentin Blake

12. If you had to go one day without painting, how would you
spend that day?

Sailing with a very large Pina Colada!
(These are the parting gifts bestowed upon us by Mary)
Blightyfinal
Fogo3
Newhaven
To view more of Ms. Swan’s amazing work, please visit http://www.maryswanart.com
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Spring Is In the Cl(air)e – TSF Chats with Acclaimed Biographer & Literary Critic Claire Harman

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After a short and lovely hiatus that included preparations for April’s posts, we return to Anglophile Studios refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to put the kettle back on (the PG Tips and biscuits have officially been replenished).

Over a fortnight ago, after being introduced to her work courtesy of our Chief Executive’s girlfriend, we were honoured to host Ms. Harman, an award-winning biographer, literary critic and poet, in our humble dwellings. Ms. Harman, currently touring in support of her new book “Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart”, was terribly generous and considerate to chat with us as we sat for a cuppa and a few biscuits.

  1. As you researched Charlotte Bronte’s life, what facts/details surprised you, educated/enlightened you? Did you find that, once the research was done, you thought that you better understood who she was, not just as a writer but as an individual?

Many things struck me afresh in material I thought was familiar:  there was so much in Jane Eyre, for instance, that I hadn’t noticed before, particularly the stringency of Jane’s feelings about equality. It’s not just an ideal in her mind, but a pre-existing fact. That was very radical for the time, and threw light on Charlotte’s amazing farsightedness, and also her isolation from her contemporaries. And Charlottes’ own feelings of barely-suppressed anger and frustration were really notable all the way through her early letters. She’s a very striking example of someone who fully understood her own potential and almost saw it wasted.

  1. What prompted you to write a biography about Charlotte?

I’ve been fascinated by the Bronte story as long as I can remember, but thought that probably everything had been said about them. When the complete edition of Charlotte’s letters was finished in 2004, though, I dropped that notion. There seemed to be many more layers to the story to be explored, and I got drawn into the material as a reader in a very rewarding way. Then, I had a friend who kept saying I should write about her, and after a while I wanted to shut him up!

3. You’re an established, well respected literary critic and author. When you’ve written and when you write your own material, do you view your work with the same critical perspective that you view the writing of others with, or when the author part of your personality is working, does the critic side switch off?

In a way, the critic side is fully integrated with the author side, which is to say, I rarely let anything go without working on it to the best of my ability.  And when I’m looking at other people’s writing, I tend to sympathise with the work that has been put in, however successful or not it is.  If you write yourself, you can judge very easily how much effort has been made to do as good a job as possible, and how much difference that makes.

4. Being both a poet and prose writer, what do you enjoy most about the creative process? Where do you seek inspiration or does it seek you?
The whole issue of inspiration is extremely elusive, because I feel that I slog away all the time in a very professional manner, and yet stuff emerges that makes you think, ‘Where did that come from?’ Especially with the not-very-many poems I’ve written over the years, some of which express things I didn’t know I thought, perhaps didn’t think, consciously. For me,  it’s much easier when I’ve got a lot going on in my head, rather than having a lovely afternoon in a hammock. I need to be whirring. And first thing in the morning is the best time for things slotting into place.

  1. What makes you proud to be British?

The NHS, which for all its infuriating shortcomings, is still the most humane use of taxpayers’ money imaginable. Our literature. And cheeses.

  1. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty has asked you to choose a book and a luxury before she casts you off. What book and luxury do you select and why?

Oh dear, what a difficult question. I think it would have to be the Collected Stories of Vladimir Nabokov, which is one of the books I have multiple copies of, so that I don’t have to be without it either side of the Atlantic. It’s one of those inexhaustible books that you can read over and over again with awe and delight, always finding something new. For a luxury, I’d like the means to make tea, although the milk might be a problem. Perhaps a passing goat or almond would oblige.

7. If you could travel back in time, for 24 hrs, and spend the first half of the day with Charlotte Bronte and the 2nd half with Jane Austen, how would you spend that time with each of them?

I  think a walk would be best in both cases. I’d try to get Charlotte Bronte to take me up onto Haworth Moor as she did Mrs. Gaskell and perhaps show me where she buried her letters from Constantin Heger, and I’d ask Miss Austen to perambulate Chawton village and tell me all the neighbourhood secrets and scandals. We could end up at the pub, as I’m sure Jane Austen liked a tipple.

8. As one who enjoys language and watching words come to life, on a page, how do you compare the writing (in terms of content and style) of current day authors and poets compared to those in those in the Regency and Victorian eras?
Well I don’t, really. I’m much more at home with 21st-century style and freedom of expression, naturally, but do think that the Victorians had a more vital sense of vocabulary than we do, on the whole. There’s a terrible narrowness about language these days, and a lot of our new words seem ugly and idiotic, though perhaps that’s because I’m thinking of jargon, which every age has and which rarely survives long.

  1. What attracts you to a book that provokes you to invest the time to read it all the way through?

I seldom give up on a book, so a lot of pre-judgement must be in play. I don’t like books that look casually written, or that have suspiciously catchy premises. But there are so many titles which I’ve had ardently recommended to me that I can’t think I’ll ever run out of suitable reading.

  1. What is your dream project in terms of your own writing?

I’d very much like to write about Alice Munro, but whether she’d like it very much is another question.

11. Which do you prefer, pen and paper or computer?

The computer, though I do a lot of pencil note-making in the early stages of composing something and always have pencil and paper in my handbags. I used to think it would never catch on, writing on a computer, but I’ve become very reliant on word processing over the years.

12. What is more challenging; critiquing the work of others or yourself?

Others, definitely, because one is usually critiquing it in public, and it matters much more to be accurate and fair.  Self-critique is usually private, and followed by pleasant second thoughts about how you’re not so bad after all.

13. What’s next for Claire Harman?

I’m working on a proposal about another 19th century subject and actually have about three other emerging projects too, but can’t be more specific than that at the moment. I do love writing literary biography and hope I can afford to keep doing it. I envy fiction writers who don’t have to spend years researching each book, and people with childless wealthy great-aunts who want to leave them houses in London.

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To find out more about Ms. Harman’s work, please visit her website at http://www.claireharman.com

 

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Our Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Watch Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

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As ardent Jane Austen fans (in addition to owning her 6 novels and some bonus books, we also have the Sense & Sensibility audiobook…ON TAPE..read by Kate Winslet, a Jane Austen tea towel and Jane Austen-themed book marks), it was difficult for us to ingest (figuratively, of course) the news that, not only had a book been published that satirized Jane’s classic novel by adding the walking dead…but that it was now being adapted into a feature film?…..we collectively thought, “Ohhhhh noooo…this cannot be.”

Then..in a recent moment of curious intervention, we were compelled to see the film..twice. We not only enjoyed it the first time round, we actually enjoyed the follow up viewing even more, for the following reasons:

10. We could actually imagine Jane sitting in a dark cinema screening room, watching this film, and enjoy seeing the Bennet sisters being bad ass zombie slayers.

9. Because of reason 10, we now wonder if Jane meant to include the zombie slayer element, but didn’t think, in the end, that it would increase book sales (not that she probably gave a toss about that). Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing idea. Also, this isn’t really a reason so much as a motivating factor.

8. The gorgeous cinematography makes Regency-era England look gothic, haunting, mysterious and, as the film’s poster’s title card reads, “Bloody Lovely.”

7. One gets to watch Sam Riley (who was unquestionably robbed of an Oscar nomination for his ingenious portrayal of Ian Curtis in the mesmerizing Joy Division biopic Control) present an entirely different (and highly amusing) version of Mr. D’arcy…sorry, Colonel D’arcy.

6. Watching Matt Smith (the previous Dr. Who) steal all of his scenes as Mr. Collins.

5. This is a film that is meant to be appreciated on the big screen, and because it quietly passed through cinemas, we suspect not everyone who was curious enough to go see it and didn’t, didn’t get to enjoy the experience of witnessing strong and empowered females ripping the undead a new…(well, you get the point) on a 20 foot screen. Still, watching this film on DVD should be a treat.

4. Whilst it’s directed by a Yank, P&P&Z exemplifies cheeky British humour

3. Bella Heathcote as Jane Bennet…enough said

2. Lena Heady as Lady Catherine de Bourgh…enough said

1.  Lily James (Lady Rose herself) as Elizabeth Bennet…enough said

 

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March Is International Lucy Leave Awareness Month (this post contains no artificial flavours, additives, preservatives or product placements)

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“So, why bands from Oxford? What’s so special about bands from Oxford?” we were once asked. Whilst we consider this is a valid question, we feel like our answer can be culled from any of the bands we’ve spotlighted over the years. But in actual fact, there’s an even more compelling answer within the posts we’ve written about bands from Oxford. Drums, bass, guitar and vocals. This raw and simple configuration, if all of the elements come together in a fluid dynamic, can sound AMAZING. And in our humble opinion, every band that we’ve heard, that hails from Oxford, consistently sounds AMAZING. And Lucy Leave is yet another example of this claim.
We recently invited this upstart trio into the cosy and homey dwellings of Anglophile Studios. Pete, Mike and Jenny are three of the nicest individuals we’ve met and we were honoured to have them in our presence. Below is the end result of our chat.
 1. What circumstances brought you together and how was the name Lucy Leave chosen?
Well, we’ve played together in various guises and combinations for many years – Mike and Pete are brothers, and Jenny and Mike first played together in a big band. We’ve wanted to form a psych band for a while, in fact we made a botched attempt a few years ago – but Pete recently moved to Oxford and we were able to get together to write and rehearse regularly. One of the things that inspired us to get our act together was watching Balloon Ascents and Count Drachma a couple of years ago and realising what a great scene it was, with lots of great bands, fans, and a lovely sense of community.

 

The name thing… well, we’d booked our first gig (in April last year) and we still didn’t have a name – we had this idea that it should refer to something, but not necessarily mean anything, like The Fall basically, so we were desperately scouring the backs of records. Mike wanted us to be called ‘Team Spirit’ after a song on Robert Wyatt’s second album, but there was already a US band with that name! So we settled on Lucy Leave, which was a Syd Barrett song that Pink Floyd recorded for their first demo. One of the projects that we all did at one point was a Syd Barrett/early PF tribute band so it meant something to us on that level, and Syd remains a big influence on us all.

2. Who or what inspired all of you to become musicians?

Jenny – The Beatles were massive for me as a teenager. When I was about 13, I just listened to them constantly and soaked it up, and picked up a guitar because of that. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t need to hear anything else. Later, it was a lot of Motown and Stax, and then The Smiths, of course. In retrospect, though, I think I owe a huge amount to my parents’ record collection – lots of 60s R&B, and the Northern Soul and punky end of stuff from my dad, and Led Zep and Deep Purple on my mum’s side. To this day they can’t agree, but I definitely got the best of both worlds.

Mike – Brian May basically. Ziggy Stardust, and, later, Pink Floyd. That’s what inspired me to pick up a guitar, because it sounded so badass, and I wanted to be badass. And I found it, and still find it, to be such a freeing and expressive thing. And the thing that’s constantly inspiring about it is that I’m still learning – discovering new music, hearing new things in old records – all the time.

Pete – My brother started going to a weekly band forming course at Rugby College when i was about 12 years old, we called it gig zone, they needed bass players and so my brother dragged me along one time.  One of the teachers there, we still called him hairy John, let me play on his fender bass, I’d never seen a fender before and I remember really being into it. This experience and the people around me at the time inspired me to become a musician.

3. The fact that you have just three tracks on your SoundCloud page suggests that this band is very much a work in progress. What kind of direction are you wanting to take your music in?

To some extent we can’t agree, and we’re making it up as we go along! But we’ve got a fair few songs lined up, and just recently we’ve been experimenting with the recording process, which we’ve learned a lot from. I think we’ve settled on a way of doing things, for now at least. But it’s bound to change as we do more… we’ve just released a mixtape, as a sort of precursor to our first EP proper, which will be released in a few months’ time we hope. Musically, I guess we’re just feeling our way, taking cues from our favourite bands – we’re constantly inspired by the new things that we hear.

4. What do you love most about Oxford’s music scene? Which band or bands, from Oxford’s past and present, do you enjoy?

Balloon Ascents we’ve already mentioned – we love their weird pop music, it’s a perfect balancing act of fun and intensity, and they wear it so lightly, even though they’re brill. Kancho are amazing, really brutal basically, like Fugazi or something. Slate Hearts are also one of our faves – similarly noisy, they spur us on to play harder and harder. And Esther Joy Lane – great songs with great personality and depth. There’s a real nice bunch of experimental electronic acts out there too – After The Thought and Lee Riley come to mind. And we saw Kone at Audioscope recently – really great, like Sonic Youth but quiet. I’m sure we’ve missed some people out.

The past, well, Radiohead obviously loom large, and I think some people find that frustrating, but we just adore them so, and I’m going to use that word again, it’s pretty inspiring to be starting out in the same town they did. Have you seen Jon Spira’s documentary ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’?? It’s great.

5. What venue, either in or out of Oxford, would you love to perform in and why? Who do you dream of headlining for?

Well we’ve seen The Wedding Present and Julian Cope and Warpaint play at the old Zodiac on Cowley Road so obviously that’s a great place in town. One day the John Peel stage at Glastonbury – Peel is a big touchstone for us, and we’ve been to Glasto many times between us and had so much fun there, and discovered a lot of great music. Let’s be honest, we’ve all dreamed of stepping out on to the Pyramid.

6. You’re on Desert Island Discs and you’ve reached the bit of the interview where Kirsty asks you to choose a book and a luxury. What do you pick and why?

Uh, a teapot for a luxury?? And The Little Book of Calm.

7. What makes you proudest to be British?

David Bowie

 8. If music didn’t exist, what would be the alternative pursuit?
I guess we’d be saving the world in some other, less effective way. Politics maybe?

 9. What musicians are you currently listening to and does that music provoke moments of divine inspiration?

Bowie, obvs. And Bowie related things – Iggy, Eno, Fripp, Fripp and Eno. Deerhoof, a lot. Pega Monstro, who Pete discovered when they supported Deerhoof on tour, are great. Tame Impala, Grimes and Taylor Swift. And Sinatra. Oh, and Part Chimp – possibly the greatest band in the known universe. And Sonic Youth. Well I don’t know about divine, but lots and lots of moments of inspiration.

10. If you had to go one day without playing or listening to music, how would you spend that day?

Feeling panicky.

For your listening enjoyment, we share with you the gifts that Mike, Pete and Jenny gave us before they departed.
We also cordially invite you to check out Lucy Leave’s epic mix tape, Jesus Walks Funny:
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If Liam Bailey Digs Him, So Do We – TSF Shines Our Union Jack Spotlight On Natty

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We must give full credit to the lovely and fabulous girlfriend of our Chief Executive Anglophile, for she began our day with a divine moment of inspiration.

Natty is his name, reggae is his genre, North London is his home and it seems Liam Bailey (one of our favourite musicians) is one of his fans (which means we just became one too).

His sound feels like a warm breeze on a perfect summer day. As we heard his latest single, I’m Alive, it honestly made us feel like we were even more alive than we already knew ourselves to be. That, ladies and gents, is the power of truly original music.

Adding to his musical talent, Natty is also a massively generous and hospitable bloke, which means he’s already occupying a special place in our collective hearts.

We cordially invite you to view the video for his aforementioned single:

This is followed by his impressive live performance of Bad Man:

 

To discover more, please visit Natty’s web site at http://www.nattymusic.com.

Here’s the link for his charity work: http://nattymusic.com/charity-work/

 

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Our Particularly Special Interview with The Aureate Act

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Twitter + random chance = how The Shipping Forecast has been introduced to fan-tab-ulous bands, primarily from Oxford, that we would not have otherwise had the pleasure of discovering.

As February seems to be the month of celebrating love, we would love to do our part in celebrating the phenomenal music that the legendary city of Oxford seems to produce with seemingly no effort at all.

That said, we are proud to present our chin wag with The Aureate Act’s guitarist, Nat, a most amiable chap that we welcomed into the warm and cosy confines of Anglophile Studios. As always, we treated our guest to a quintessential afternoon tea.

1. How was the band’s name chosen?

The word Aureate means grandiose and bold which we felt represented the prog-inspired music that we were initially focusing on when we formed back in 2014. Adding ‘Act’ to it was to show that this flamboyant style of playing was solely for show and that we ourselves dont identify our personalities along such lines.

2. What do you particularly love about Oxford and does the city
influence your music in any way?

We’ve all lived in and around Oxford for most of our lives. We go school here and do the lions share of our performances in the city. Needless to say then that Oxford must have rubbed off on us somewhere down the line. However, I feel this has been by osmosis rather than directly influencing our sound.

3. Who or what inspired you to become musicians?

Most of us started our music by learning  orchestral instruments. The discipline enshrined by learning a challenging wind or string instrument and the style of rehearsals done when playing in orchestral groups has aided us a lot in becoming better musicians and a better band.

4. Is there a particular venue, in Oxford, where you love to perform?

Our big sound lends itself to venues like The O2 Academy and The Bully. However, the general comfortable feel of the Jericho Tavern makes it the venue we feel most at home in.

5. Who are your favourite acts from Oxford (either current or established)?

We’ve noticed its typically the young bands that excite us most in Oxford. Maybe because we can identify and get along great with them. Bands like 31 Hours, The Russian Cowboys, Pixel Fix and Balloon Ascents are the best to go see live. We were very disappointed to hear Wild Swim calling it a day earlier this year. They were the best band the city has produced since Foals and have left a gap yet to be filled.

6. Describe your songwriting/rehearsal process. How do you know when you have a promising song in the works?

Typically our songs will spring for a single idea. Maybe a guitar riff or a synth texture.From there we’ll all add our individual ideas and it’ll blend into something that may be far flung from the original concept. We know its good when we enjoy playing it. Rehearsals are pretty disciplined – probably from our classical training. Thus we can get a lot done in our very limited free time.

7. What band do you dream of opening for and why?

Well if we’re thinking big then its got to be Radiohead. Simply a stunning band who have inspired us greatly. Without a doubt the masters of interweaving guitar
lines. Every album has its own character and each member adds something unique and original to the sound. We’re very excited for their next album and really hope they’ll be headlining some British festivals as well as the European ones they’ve already signed up for. 

8. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty Young has asked you to select a book and a luxury before she exiles you to your island. What do you choose and why?

Naturally the 5 of us would disagree and argue over this forever. However, I’m going to go for On The Road by Jack Kerouac. The sense of adventure it evokes would be needed on a desert island. The luxury would be a Martin acoustic guitar – David Gilmour on Wish You Were Here-esque!

9.What makes you proudest to be British?

We’re a pretty international band with heritage from America, India, Tunisia, Germany, Belgium and Devon in our blood. So we’re not that worked up about ‘Great Britain’. That said, the quality of music that has come out of this small island is incredible.

10. You’re given a choice of headlining either Glastonbury or Reading/Leeds. Which one do you choose and why?

Definitely Glastonbury. I’ve been to Reading a couple of times and whilst its great as its local and all your friends are there its failed to book interesting bands for years. Glastonbury seems a bit more for us. Its got a far broader spectrum of music and the music takes far more of a focus there. 

11. Describe your music in one concise sentence.

Prog-Psychadelia with a twist of Radiohead and untraceable IDM influences.

12. What song by any of England’s most iconic acts do you wish you had written?

Echoes by Pink Floyd. That moment when the lead guitar line comes in, towards the end, after about 10 minutes of ambience and gloom is just about the most powerful moment in music for me.

13. What is the band’s biggest goal?

We dont have limits to our goals. In the short term we want to master our composition skills. At the moment what we write is very organic and essentially a series of ideas put in a vaguely coherent order. With the freedom allowed by our gap year we’ll hopefully be able to think a bit more about what we’re writing and how it all fits together.

The Aureate Act will be performing at the iconic Jericho Tavern, in Oxford, on 25 March.

As a parting gift, Nat gave us a track from the band’s EP, Madman’s Well. The album can be heard, in full, on the band’s Soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/theaureateact

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Band bio courtesy of Nat

The Aureate Act, as a full band, have been around Oxford for around 2 years. They started in various different formats, beginning with Dom and Nat around the age of 12, before expanding outwards, hoping to compensate for their awkwardness and youth with an emphasis on creativity and composition. They recorded their first demos a few years ago to much encouragement from Nightshift, who described them as a “young band with the imagination and will to go and do something pretty special”, and have since then released their first E.P proper, Madman’s Well in 2015 to similar praise.

Their music is dark, melancholic, and violently chilled, with all the sounds of the 70s except the ones you didn’t like; Radiohead-esque guitar counterpoint, often with a sort of ‘epic quality’ like that part in Echoes; atmospheric, delayed guitars, synths, and a major IDM influence you probably can’t recognise.

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We Fondly Remember Alan Rickman

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Two days ago, we awoke to the surprising, shocking and terribly sad news that Alan Rickman, a stalwart of British film and theatre, had died of cancer, aged 69. In that moment, we collectively recalled the fantastic performance (of the many Mr. Rickman delivered over the course of his prolific career) he gave, as the humble, generous and genuine Colonel Brandon, in the Emma Thompson-scripted, Ang Lee-directed film adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel “Sense & Sensibility.”

In addition to his signature cadence and intonation (he didn’t just speak words, he caressed them as if he was preparing to make love to them), Mr. Rickman demonstrated, with each project he undertook, his undeniable devotion to the craft of acting. He simply owned each role he took on.

By way of paying tribute to an enormous talent and one of our favourite actors, we present one of our favourite scenes from “Sense & Sensibility” and a Q & A Mr. Rickman did (with former S & S co-star Kate Winslet) whilst promoting his last directing effort, the brilliant independent period film “A Little Chaos” (which starred Ms. Winslet).

Mr. Rickman, you will be greatly missed and the void you have left behind will never be replaced. In our collective and humble opinion, it doesn’t need to be. You were one of a kind and you will forever be one of Britain’s best – RIP.

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