Saturday, 19 December 2009

Pandering to the Patrons

My mother explained that since she's basically funding my pursuits down south, she should have some say in what I produce: "Shakespeare didn't want to write his histories, Joe, he did them for his patrons. I am your patron and I want a poem!"

So I wrote her a poem:

That Be The Verse
by Joe Nockles

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother:
"What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be wealthy?
And here's what she said to me"

"Why have you cast yourself as a girl Joe? I don't understand. This really isn't what I had in mind! Now man up and try again!"

When I was just a little boy,
I asked my mother:
"What will I be?
Will I be handsome?
Will I be wealthy?
And here's what she said to me"

"Oh for god's sake! You're not a little boy anymore, Joe. You're 21. You can't be a child all your life. One day, you're gonna have to get up and stand on your own two feet! Now grow up and try again!"

When I was just a young adult,
I asked my mother:
"What will I be?
Will I be bread line?
Will I be dole line,
begging for a cup of tea?
And here's what she said to me"

"Why have you lowered your expectations? The world's not that bad is it?"
You'd be surprised, Mother.

When you were just a little girl,
You asked your mother:
"What would you be?
Would you be happy?
Would you be wealthy?"
And she said:
"No one's happy.
You'll be a social worker just like me"

Esben and the Witch

I went to see Esben and the Witch at Cargo in Shoreditch. Instead of buying a ticket like normal people, I went up to the desk and said: "Hello, I'm from XYZ magazine. I'm on the guest list. This is my photographer. Can we come in please?"

It was brilliant.

This is the resulting review.
Photography by Liz Chambers

Saturday, 12 December 2009

CONglamourART Review of 2009

by Joe Nockles

Welcome to The CONglamourART Review of 2009...
This is an opportunity for me to come out of the CON ART pretence and speak to you a bit more directly about the year we're leaving behind. How exciting!

That means, less talk of Credit Crunches and more gonzo anecdotes of 30 minute relationships soundtracked by American wall-of-sound artists in the basin of a field. No mourning Micheal Jackson, because you'd all much rather I recount how Franz Ferdinand cheered me up from break-up blues, yes? Or how three electro legends and a handful of the best friends a boy could ask for came together to make for the best night out ever.

Frankly, 2009 has meant a lot more to me than recession politics, Obama-rama and expenses scandals:

Seven Life Nuggets

I entered the year in an immense rave in York hugging a childhood friend and a few hours later was dying from self-induced alcohol poisoning (a hangover) under a duvet in the coldest sitting room in the Northern Hemisphere.

A terrible break-up turned into a brilliant friendship...twice.

I broke my foot and had a 'Rear Window' style 8 weeks (I've always wanted to be James Stewart).

I attended my graduation with the trendiest accessory at the time, Swine Flu, and sweated through 4 layers of ceremonial garb.

I met a genius in unlikely circumstances, fell in love and went on to plan our lives together (we're getting a place in Brighton in 2010 and one day we'll have a Leonberger).

I moved to London. Quit a course. Started a brilliant one. Got a shit waitering job. Served lots of famous people. Became underwhelmed by the site of famous people, until I met Helena Bonham Carter and melted.

For the first time in my life, I have a pretty good idea of how I can expect the rest of it to pan out and I'm really fucking excited.

Ten Best Live Shows (and one disappointment)
(In chronological order)

Franz Ferdinand - Rough Trade Records, London
January 19th

A secret FF gig showcasing tracks from the third album shakes me out of day five of break-up moping. The next day I met up with the ex during Obama's inauguration. If symbolism ruled my world, Barack would have been assassinated there and then. You see, we got together the day he was voted in. Our lame duck relationship would have spanned Barack's glory days. Instead of explaining this to him, I just recounted how amazing the gig was the night before.

Wax:on, Leeds - Erol Alkan, Boys Noize, Diplo - Leeds University Union
May 30th

I spent three years at Leeds University NOT going to Wax:on. Either I went to the best one of them all, or I'd been missing out on some ridiculously good nights. This was the last one my housemates and I (Sans Miss Jones) would be able to go to together and was thus laden with emotional significance. Strangely, the three aforementioned DJ's realised this and played exactly the right songs at exactly the right times.

How on earth could they have know that there were 5 (4) people there insanely bonded by King of my Castle by Wamdue Project and the Boys Noize remix of Feist's My Moon, My Man?


Animal Collective - Park Stage, Glastonbury Festival
26th June

I made a concerted effort at Glastonbury this year to avoid the Pyramid stage and see exactly what I wanted regardless of who else was going. As a result I spent my Friday night solo at British Sea Power in the Fields of Avalon and Animal Collective at the Park. That was the best decision I've ever made.
At BSP, I found myself buying a "truffle" from an elderly hippy for £5. Expensive treat. Tasted Like crap. Lead to a strange night.
I later conquered my fear of heights with the help of a 6 year old girl (I think I was hitting on her mum) and raved like a bastard for the entirety of the Animal Collective set, during which I met a boy who's name I will never know. We fell for eachother's "charms" instantly and were inseparable for the rest of the gig. At the end when the lights came up and the band left the stage, we both felt a bit more attached to reality and suddenly became embarrassed by our actions. We made awkward morning-after style apologies and went our separate ways.

Rufus Wainwright - Pavilion on Albert Square, Manchester
July 12th

This weekend was good enough already. On the Friday, my mother and I attended the world premier of Rufus' debut opera, Prima Donna. We came close enough to Rufus, Jorn, Kate and Martha to touch the sleeve of their jackets (and I'd like to say we stopped there). The opera was brilliant. The set was stunning and the simplicity of the storyline carried itself effortlessly.

On the Saturday, I got a call from the ticket office and on the Sunday evening I was sat in a tiny marquee watching my legend (albeit with an annoying beard, which has since been shaved) perform his songs with the occasional accompaniment on his mother on piano. Very excited about the new album. Zebulon is a bit brilliant.

Pet Shop Boys - Obelisk Arena, Latitude Festival
17th July

By no means, a relic of a the 80's propensity to produce tacky pop. The Pet Shop Boys are serious artists who know what they're doing and are experts at doing it. The show became less about the songs and more about the epic fluidity of the set.
Needless to say, I sang my heart out to It's a Sin with the sort of conviction which should only be displayed if I had a clue what the song was about.
The nearest I've come to enojoying a stadium gig.

Grace Jones - Obilisk Arena, Latitude Festival
18th July
Grace Jones doesn't really perform for the audience. A friend commented that she wanders around in a black leotard rambling incoherently at the audience about how she needs a drink or a spliff or a fuck, changes her "hats" and might sing a song, if you're lucky.
She is, however, the gayest woman in music and she was the cherry on top of a brilliant day.
Earlier on, we'd met Patrick Wolf, Bishi and thier entourage. Patrick was charming although too tall and he had shit teeth. I temporarily stopped loving him for aesthetic reasons and listened to his music. It was alright.

Nick Hudson - St Mary's Church, Brighton
14th September

I attended a concert. It was a bit good. I liked the artist a lot. So I kept him.

Our anniversary is September 14th.

Efterklang and the Britten Sinfonia 'Performing Parades' - The Barbican, London
28th October

The first concert my husband and I attended which he wasn't on stage. Danish band, Efterklang, performed thier seminal Parades album with the backing of a full orchestra. It was mesmirising and euphoric and one of those occasions when you leave thinking, "why is the British media incapable of recognising actual brilliance in its music?".
I bought the LP of the show for my man's birthday. I paid for it online in Danish Krona. The band kindly signed it for him. They're really nice guys.
The day after the gig, they played in Leeds in Mine. I can't imagine them without the orchestra.

Patrick Wolf - London Palladium, London
15th November

I've reviewed this night once already, so I won't bash on about it too much. However, I'm tempted to say that this is a much better review.
I've seen Patrick four times this year and each has its merits. Koko was a stunning come back and an excuse for him to experiment with the Britney microphone. Cockpit was cool despite broken foot. Patrick was stripped down (and not in the way we'd come to expect) and a lot more talkative with the audience. It felt less staged than Koko. Unfortunately, his road crew weren't sympathetic enough about my broken foot to let me backstage. Latitude was glorious. He stayed faithful to fans and won over a whole lot more. Shame about Rusty Superstar though. And why didn't Bishi duet?
The Palladium....well....there are no more words. It was incredible.

A Not So Silent Night - Royal Albert Hall, London
9th December

I won't go into too much detail here, because I'm writing my proper review of this at the moment.

Please note my maturity in using a picture of Kate and Anna, because the night wasn't JUST about the gorgeous, talented, recently shaven, soon-to-break-up-with-Jorn-and-find-me, Rufus Wainwright....It's about the whole family and especially about Kate McGarrigle's Cancer Trust.

Until then: DROOOOOOL, swoon, tear, drool

Now for The Dissapointment Round

Deadmau5 - Dance East, Glastonbury
27th June

I had heard such great things. He had so much going for him. I bloody love people wearing massive things on thier head. But I'm afraid to say, I thought he was dire.
The music was boring and completely undancable. The dickhead wore a black mouse head without considering that the back drop too was black so he could barely be seen. Stupid.
Luckily 2ManyDJs were on soon after and they made everything perfect....wait, why haven't they made it onto this list? SHIT.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bobby Con Says....What?!

by Joe Nockles

Bobby Conn is a brilliant man, who unfortunately doesn't warrant the epigram "the man who needs no introduction". Thus, I must introduce him...

So, instead of attempting to condense this great artist's work into a series of cliches ("a modern day Bowie, locked in a 60's Top of the Pops time warp", "more King Crimson than camp lilac", "an avant gardener who nurtures Damon Gough until he's a blossoming tulip, then drowns him in weed killer like the stupid hat wearing twat he really is"), I bring you this. The first two are videos he's made on life's important issues: Satan and drugs.

Confused? How's this....

You know how the longer you spend in a casino, void of clocks and natural light, the more you come to accept that time has in fact been suspended? I guess that's my logic in this. The more I/you/we watch this man, the more I/you/we will learn to accept him.

Not sitting? Try this...

Amazing, yes?

Welcome to the world of Bobby Conn fandom! We ask that you refrain from smoking indoors and dogs must be kept on leads at all times. Enjoy your stay.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I Dreamed a Dream - Susan Boyle

(Syco Music 2009)

By Joseph Nockles

If you are unaware who Susan Boyle is, let me tell you, you are my idol. I’d like to know the name of the estate agent that got you such a fantastic place under that rock and I’d like to move in next door. Unfortunately, I’m too late, Susan Boyle has infiltrated the consciousness of every innocent person on the planet faster than chlamydia in fresher’s week (and we’re sorry to report, she can’t be gotten rid of with a round of antibiotics).

In August 2008, a bizarre middle aged woman with diagnosed learning disabilities overcame her fears and shuffled onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage. With a name as beige as her dress and an attempted sassiness as cringe worthy as Morrissey doing the Time Warp, Susan Boyle was systematically mocked and ridiculed by Simon Cowell, Ant, Dec and the studio audience. When they eventually shut up and let her sing, however, the laughter stopped. Apparently, 10 million ITV viewers and the Britain’s Got Talent team were completely unaware that talent doesn’t have to come in a size zero and a 34DD.

A year and a half later, Susan Boyle presents I Dreamed a Dream, an album of covers from various ends of the musical spectrum designed to showcase her spectacular voice. It will inevitably be bought by the same people who helped Alexandra Burke beat Jeff Buckley to Christmas number one last year and for those very people it will make for a lovely souvenir of the day they were surprised to hear the voice of an angel emanating from the body of a dinner lady. Unfortunately, it’s a really boring album with some horribly tacky arrangements and it’ll probably be little more than the world’s best-selling drinks coaster by Boxing Day.