Friday, 29 January 2010

Short Film: Size 5 (2005)

Imagine Pictures LTD

“Size 5” is a Scottish movie (written, directed and produced by Norwegian, Joern Utkilen, but undeniably Scottish). It deals with life’s burning issues such as status anxiety, consumer rights and…the size of your balls.

It follows the story of “local Musselburgh hero”, Grahem Howie, as he battles with the trauma of having been sold a size 4 football in disguise as a size 5. Apparently size 4 balls are for kids? We didn’t realise they had sizes – “I’d like a round one, please?”

Highlights include:

Ø Grahem’s sister, her helmet and an orange.

Ø A series of brilliant tantrums.

Ø If you squint, it could be a really odd episode of Balamory.

Ø The shopkeeper sports a hot pink polo neck, headband combo. Timeless chic!

It’s seven minutes of tension, autism and cringe-worthy-fighting-with-a-seatbelt-brilliance. And there’s not a weird blue alien in sight.

The film has a very low profile online, but I've pieced together this much:

Director - Joern Utkilen
Writer - Joern Utkilen
Producer - Joern Utkilen
(Joern Utkilen is a 39 year old Norwegian born film maker, currently based in Dunblane who graduated with a Ba (Hons) in Film and TV from Edinburgh College of Art)

Grahem - Arron Usher
Grahem's Sister - (probably played by) Helen McAlpine
Grahem's "friend" - (either played by) Neil Kent or Martin Radich
Shop Keeper - (probably played by) Katrina Bryan

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

CONglamourART presents...a profile of Zac Pennington by Nick Jack Hudson

Nick Hudson 4 Zac Pennington: A Love Affair.

Zac Pennington is one of those coolly self-reflexive independent musicians who has adopted the Correctly-Abbreviated-Christian-Name Stance (CACNS, to those in the know), situating him in the enviable company of Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood and, um, a woman I used to work with called 'Eliz'. Zac Pennington is, in fact so cool, for this, and innumerable other reasons, that I am in fact considering signing off this net missal as 'Nich', just so as I might have the meagrest chance of sucking on the runt toes of even the lesser pantheon of the uber-cool within my lifetime. Hell, it's a start.

Pennington's band - previously comprising members of The Dead Science and of late fashioned from a piecemeal chamber orchestra - Parenthetical Girls, operate out of Portland, and over the course of three albums thus far, have presented such a seductive, sinewy, and beguiling case for experimental indie pop being very much alive and well, that I'm no longer sore over having missed the recent My Bloody Valentine reunion shows. Early patrons/collaborators included the aforementioned Dead Science crew, alongside Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, whose own wobble-throated psychodramas sit amicably alongside Pennington's oblique tales of ruined mothers, hysterically damaged sex, and incalculably clever pop-cultural references.

I first heard Parenthetical Girls performing a Smiths cover, and kicked blind by the ferocity and ingenuity of their rendition, bought the 7" despite my not owning a turntable. I then systematically bought up the three full-lengths, and within two days, a form of geek/greek love had erupted with all the adolescent swooning and mimetic posturing I might have affected were I around when Morrissey first jacked off with a gladioli.

It occured in two stages - first I heard Zac Pennington's voice - that tremulous, insistent androgyne, with its spastic leaps between falsetto and 'man/boy' registers; that voice, curled around such erotic, puzzling song-poems. The Salvation Army tuba-tastic 'Four Rooms', shimmering with a perfect algebra of internal rhymes and lyrical intrigue lasts little over two minutes, and is easily substantial evidence of why they should be everyone's favourite band, even if only for the duration of the song. Though I defy anyone to fall OUT of love with this posse once snared.

The second thing to hit me happened when I went browsing online for an image of our hero/ine, to be confronted with perhaps the most exquisitely beautiful man(?) I've ever seen - the cheekbones, the carefree flounce, the bespoke jumpers, the sculptor's lips, the sabotaged-whore photo of him in a wedding dress (the sleeve image from the ...Girls' Tori Amos cover, 'Jackie's Strength') - to doubly swoon over the emanations of one creature in the course of a single afternoon proved too much.

I retired to bed, fanning myself with a gladioli lest I faint, weak in the presence of beauty, as Alison Moyet might have it. I awoke changed. A fresh flounce to my step. The inability to keep my arms by my side when singing. And a sudden urge (albeit a revivalist one - my early works are basically backwoods wank fantasies) to layer a carnal sensualism all over my new lyrics.

This band turn me on in every sense imaginable - surely the duty of the pop song. For behind its sprightly perversions and hyper-literate narrative weavings, Parenthetical Girls make FINE pop music. I never thought, that in my late twenties, I'd still be susceptible to that most knee-buckling, stomach-fluttering phenomenon known as The Swoon. How refreshing to in this instance be proven wrong.

By Nich Hudson, 16, Apparently.

Nick Hudson's further work can be found here -

Thursday, 21 January 2010


As part of my work for XYZ magazine, I spent the first two days of this week in a drunken haze with queer punk/electro three-piece MEN. This resulted in a hangover, a review and an interview.

Thankfully, the hangover is now gone, but the Interview can be found here and the review can be found here...oh, and Kate Nash was there.

Joe xoo

ps, all photos are by my gorgeous accomplice Liz Chambers.

American Psycho 2: The Return of Urban Serial Killer Chic

By Joe Nockles

The sales are almost over and the new lines are in. This season is quite possibly the best for years. Everyone's back on form. Westwood has evolved. Burberry's gone bondage (albiet in a charming beige Burberry way). If you squint your eyes as you walk down Regent Street, you might be lucky enough to block out Desiguel. Interestingly, some of the standout pieces, and a few standards, create the perfect outfit for the 21st Century's Patrick Bateman. Let me explain...

As if in slow motion, a cigarette stub tumbles to the ground crashing into every particle of terror hanging in the air causing it to rotate like the buds of a Sycamore. Landing in a flourish of embers, its brief life is brutally and unapologetically brought to an end by the steel segg of a pair of Jeffery West Rochester Rafael’s. The right one. The signature 1½” heel of his blood-splattered left is still wedged firmly on his victims neck, squeezing out the last few gasps of air.

The last thing the poor helpless sap sees is the impeccably tailored leg of his assailant’s Paul Smith London Willoughby suit. As if a magnifying glass replaces his eyes’ dying lenses, his vision erodes until all that's left burnt into his retina is the crisp detail of the fine woven navy wool.

Smirking, the sartorial sociopath replaces the 6½” handmade Tanaka Nakiri cleaver onto its customised loop underneath his jet black, waxed cotton one-off Burberry poncho, which he wears primarily to aid his disappearance into the shadows, but also conveniently protects his Paul Smith Jacket, Vivienne Westwood Krall neck shirt and burgundy Ozwald Boateng tie from the torrades of human blood that emanate from the casual, vigorous lacerations of his unsuspecting, undeserving victims.

He glares through the lenses of his black Tom Ford R92’s with satisfaction. Now he's finally ready to attend the Leeman Brothers’ shareholder meeting he’s been putting off.


Boots: Jeffery West
Suit: Paul Smith London
Cleaver: Tanaka Nakiri
Poncho: Burberry - In store; 21-23 New Bond Street
Shirt: Vivienne Westwood
Tie: Ozwald Boateng - In Store; 30 Savile Row
Glasses: Tom Ford

Monday, 11 January 2010

Delphic – Acolyte

Released 11th January 2010

by Joe Nockles

Ubiquitous to the point of nausea, Manchester outfit, Delphic have been heralded as the “Sound of 2010” by nearly every critic in the country. Some have gone as far as to label them the pioneers of the new decade. If either of these claims are true, then I’m gonna stock up on Wagner operas and Gregorian chant and cut myself off from popular culture for the next ten years. Luckily, Delphic aren’t pioneers, channelling the Hacienda sound but revamping it with a ravey twist. Delphic are merely proof that the tip lists each January are compiled as much by savvy press officers as they are by lazy journalists. I swear that you could tip off a glorious Avril Lavigne comeback and somehow or other, via the power of the media, it would come about. Acolytes sounds like a hungover Foals playing Klaxons' slower songs on ketamine. At times the melodies are so neurotic they’ve reportedly induced epileptic fits in even the most resilient of Phillip Glass fans. Don’t fall for the press release cut-and-paste reviews. The decade ahead will define its own sound and Delphic certainly aren't it.


Vampire Weekend - Contra

Released 11th January 2010

by Joe Nockles

Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album won’t change the world and it doesn’t really attempt to. When their eponymous debut hit indie dancehalls in 2008, it sent everyone into a bit of a spin. A strange preppy boy from New York was squarking at us about punctuation in a nice shirt and chinos while another americana incarnate fiddled about with a steel drum. Middle class white kids were doing world music rhythms and strangely, it worked. Follow-up album, Contra, meaning ‘opposed’, couldn’t be more disappointingly safe. It carries on the aesthetic of the first album and makes no deluge into controversy. There are two very good tracks that shine alongside their bland colleagues: “California English” (Warped vocals. Gorgeous strings. Incredibly cool. Not remotely sing-along-able) and “I Think Ur a Contra” (Luscious finale. Grand scale string arrangement. Smells a bit like that dreadful ballad from Little Shop of Horrors, but they pull it off).

Most importantly, Vampire Weekend need to realise that they’re a summer band. What on earth are they thinking releasing in January? Come back in six months and soundtrack our festivals, please.