Sunday, 31 January 2010

snortin' and cavortin': Skins Party 29/01

Yes, the great teenage trainwreck Skins is back on our screens for a fourth series, still 'shocking' us with lewd images of immaculately-voiced shop mannequins taking drugs and being all cool and shit. Don't get me wrong, especially considering the location-bumming nature of the last post, it's great to see programmes set in Bristol, but I've just never got Skins.

Perhaps all these ridiculously beautiful youngsters a-snortin' and cavortin' makes me feel distinctly un-rock'n'roll and a bit old into the bargain, but the dialogue is clunky and the acting is awful. The whole pretentious thing isn't a gritty exploration of a dark, misunderstood young underworld, it's Channel 4's big suits trying to prove how edgy and ker-azy they still are by broadcasting a bit of coked-up nubile tit. (Can you tell I've been reading a lot of Charlie Brooker lately?)

So, it was with two minds that I approached the transparent-PR-athon of the Skins House project at the Old Fire Station. On the one hand, it's great to see emerging talent that's a little under the radar come to Bristol - Ou est le Swimming Pool, Two Door Cinema Club, Man Like Me, Chew Lips and various DJs - have, over the last two weeks, all been under the same roof and for great value, with tickets only at a measly quid.

On the other hand, the great unquashable cynic inside me was predicting crowds of gurning little shits, Nathan Barley-esque fashion horrors and an actual altar at which to worship Effy, Cook and 'the crew' before sacrificing yourself to the god of trashy television.

Friday saw Monkey!Knife!Fight! take residence, with the likes of Turbowolf, Man Like Me, Crystal Fighters and Pulled Apart By Horses gracing the subtly branded main stage, above and below, whilst DJ sets from Shitmat and Scotch Egg kept things ticking over nicely in the upstairs room.

A line-up like this can't really be sniffed at, and, musically, there was something for everyone. The dancefloors were full with a crowd that was noisy without being rowdy. (I didn't really get the chance to take that many photos, as it was quite busy and I was quite pissed, so here's the lovely sign again, from a slightly different angle.)

Big Jeff was there somewhere, and if it's alright for Big Jeff, then it's alright for me. The venue itself is wicked (the great red building sat just before Broadmead) with a spacious but not cavernous interior, and there are different rooms on different levels to stop you getting bored. Get rid of the wanky tv tag and it'd be perfect.

Thankfully the focus was on the music - there were no meet'n'greet autograph booths or 'special appearances' - which was enough to pull in all types of post-teenagers not necessarily willing to gobble down any old E4 bullshit poured down their awaiting throats, but make up their own minds about new and interesting music and a venue with atmosphere. (There were some sartorial 'attention seekers', it must be said, particularly an outfit Rupert the Bear's dad would have really dug and a girl with a cassette tape strapped to her head. Not making it up...)

Anyway, I just hope this isn't the future of live music - that we'll need to rely on multi-million pound corporations with their own agenda to provide these events - because then there'll be too much competition for normal people to get any sort of new and innovative ball rolling.

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously. Checking out new places and dancing to music and dressing up is good, and if there's a chance you can get on some cool tv show, then even better. Or whatever.

Monday, 25 January 2010


It's been one thing and another, which has meant I haven't been updating ye olde popdock as regularly as I should... but, here I am again and ready to post, post, post!

We've seen shed-loads of snow (where hasn't?) and are back to the now nicely comforting January drizzle. Never thought I'd be relieved to see it again, but oh, to be able to walk the Avon tarmac normally once more. Well, without extreme ice-trepidation. Normally for me.

Anyway, there's nothing better on the dark nights than to curl up with a good hot chocolate and get some supernatural telly thrills. And I'm not talking Hollywood-glam-vamp-camp-chic (or 'Pattinswoon', as one teen mag tagged him) but a vampire/werewolf/ghost story filmed on our very own doorsteps- in some cases quite literally.

Yes, the wicked Being Human is back on BBC Three for it's second series, and aside from all the flatmate jokes, Russel Tovey and the way the plot is building up a treat - which I'd love no matter where it was set, it's been extra fun spotting all the Bristol locations. It's a wierd feeling, but all of a sudden you realise that park or florists is on one of your regular routes, and it makes it strangely real. I know, it's full of each and every supernatural freak, but seeing it happening in your very familiar home city balances it out, and it's somehow quite believable.

I've been shouting things like "I walk along that bridge in the background everyday!" (sad) and I'm sure London folk get that feeling every day when they watch anything set in Britain, but it' s great to see acknowledgement of other beautiful British cities, and to have some quality programming coming out of the West country. Something not about cider or tractors.

It didn't have to be set in Brizzle. But it is. So, cheers Beebster, and let's have some more!

Right, excuse the dodgy screen shots... brownie points if you get them all!

...Well, they couldn't leave the suspension bridge out, could they?
(copyright all images BBC)