I first came across the term 'auto-portrait' (French translation for self-portrait) at Linda McCartney's retrospective photography exhibition in Montpellier, France, April 2014.
The term resonates with my interest in self-portraiture not as mere throw-away selfies or narcissistic self-obsession, but as a deeper examination of a person at a particular moment in time, a glimpse beyond image, even a window into the soul.
Marlie Centawer, Self-Portrait - Misirlou, Glasgow, Scotland. June 2016
“I Am The State” - The Blinders at Liverpool Sound City Modern Sky UK Stage, District 5 May 2018, 7:15-7:45
There comes a time when sea changes and paradigm shifts emerge within a culture, where artists reflect the very time into which they are born and die all while creating some new vision for a new generation. Such is the case with The Blinders, a punk-rock trio from Doncaster via Manchester; a band who weave their influences and belief in the power of rock to adorn, disturb, and create with a new raw sound the world has been waiting for (one that is long, long overdue).
Headlining the Modern Sky stage at District for Liverpool Sound City 2018, the atmosphere immediately shifts from light to dark as Thomas Haywood (guitar & vox), Charlie McGough, (bass), and Matty Neale (drums & backing vox) emerge from the shadows. Their look, a blend of hippie free love and dark suited underworld highlights three beautiful boys who resemble exquisite Greco-Roman statues in the moonlight of a stage lamp.
Neale’s primal pounding of the skins backed with his menacing focused stare takes possession of the crowd, drawing them in as Haywood slinks across the stage, a menace of doom adorned in slick, thick black eye makeup strewn down his cheeks, swigging a bottle of red wine, imbibing and spitting before taking the mic. Their first number “Gotta Get Through” is a hypnotic meditative snarl that sets a mosh pit in motion of such vigour not seen since 1993. The contoured thumps of McGough’s bass lines tie together the powerful sound of Haywood’s undeniably impressive guitar playing and menacing riffs.
Their sound, a dance of apparitions, is a blend of punk-prog-rock influences that seem to haunt them like a beautiful ghost, ranging from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown (‘Fire’ played as their pre-set music and inspiration for Haywood’s stage make-up), Joy Division, even Rush. Haywood sings in a baritone so smoothly striking and reminiscent of Jim Morrison that one half expects The Doors frontman to be waiting in the wings softly whispering lines of poetry from lost personal notebooks into this lads ear.
With their full length debut release around the corner, The Blinders have amassed such a devout following with their iconic music videos and impressive live performances. The frenetic District crowd sings along to every number as if the lyrics are embedded on the back of their lidded eyes. Their songs elicit deep responses - “L’Etat C’est Moi” is a call to arms in the surveillance state and in “Swine” Haywood chants ‘there is no hope’, translating the same bleak sentiments of punk pariahs like Johnny Rotten’s, ‘no future’ (The Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”) from the reaches of time but for now, a new audience of fresh faced youth ready to take on everything they cannot stand.
The Blinders promise beauty in melancholy, sex, death, and darkness, and their set resembles a caged creature unleashed for a brief thirty minutes, leaving the crowd thirsting for more of that brilliant Bacchanalian moment. The Blinders are here to save rock and roll, the shadows are written on the wall as the crowd wanders outside of District treading softly into the dusk. It’s a new dawn. It’s a brave new world.
Played on 6music and described by ex-editor of NME, Q, Mojo and Word Paul Du Noyer as “cheering and addictive”, Thom Morecroft is a scruffy cherub of a folk-pop singer-songwriter from Shrewsbury, precariously hidden away somewhere along Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter.
Having just successfully crowd-funded the release of an EP in January, and then put together another for late April, Thom has just finished his first UK tour and is currently recording new material.
He is the regular MC and open mic host at The Jacaranda Club in Liverpool.
Jimbob James Coakley is an original folk - protest singer and poet heavily inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Donovan, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Simon & Garfunkel, Patrick Sky, Dave Van Ronk, Bert Jansch, Tom Paxton Rick Von Schmidt and others.
With a catalogue of original music, poetry is also written originally in a way of the likes of Ginsberg, Thomas and Burrowski.
The debut album "Present Days Of the North" is currently getting finished of and will be available soon.
A folk enthusiast, mixing traditional and contemporary music, Charlie McKeon is making old things new and new things old. A singer-songwriter originally from and based in Liverpool, he plays colourful original music, alongside unique interpretations of traditional Folk songs from Ireland and America. His guitar playing has been likened to the Celtic style of Paul Brady, as well as that of Nick Drake.
Emilio Pinchi is a 23 year old human being living in Liverpool. His music is ‘direct, hard hitting, witty, sarcastic, and full of self-deprecation’ (DervSwerve).
Influenced by Elliott Smith and Broken Social Scene, Pinchi home-recorded and released an EP called During Voided Hours in October 2017. The title track and lead single was championed on BBC 6 Music by Tom Robinson.
The record was accompanied by several live dates around the UK, including performances at Liverpool Music Week and Enlighten Festival, support slots with the likes of Juanita Stein (Howling Bells), and several BBC Introducing Sessions.