Culture Diary w/c 16-09-2019


Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from around the North of England and the rest of the UK – and loads of it’s free!

Monday – Stephen Malkmus @ Yes, Manchester – £17.50

Now 53, earlier this year ex- (and soon once again) Pavement leader, Stephen Malkmus released Groove Denied – arguably his best solo effort. Meanwhile, Sparkle Hard, last year’s SM and the Jicks release is equally arguably his best post-Pavement record full stop. A good time then to catch the godfather of slacker rock, as he hits Manchester this evening.

The Shock of the Future 4pm @ FACT Liverpool – £7.70

“I’m afraid there’s no market for such music in France. Don’t get discouraged, you are beautiful.” Paris, 1978. An ode to female electronic music pioneers such as Wendy Carlos, Suzanne Ciani, Delia Derbyshire and Laurie Spiegel, this is The Shock of the Future, directed by the Nouvelle Vague’s Marc Collin and starring Alma Jodorowsky. It follows Ana who, amid the boys’ club of the music scene and at the height of the new wave, turns to groundbreaking new sounds to cut through the chauvinist pack. From the Archive: C James Fagan on Delia Derbyshire, the Radiophonic Workshop and more: A New Sound: Delia Darlings


Tuesday – Midnight Cowboy (50th Anniversary Release) 6.15pm/8.40pm @ BFI Southbank, London – from £10.20

Directed by John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy remains the only X-rated film to win a best picture Oscar. That it also won Schlesinger Best Director and picked up Best Adapted Screenplay (Waldo Salt) tells you it was no fluke. Back in cinemas celebrating its 50th Anniversary, if you’ve never seen it, take this chance. Don’t, however, expect any of the schmaltz often associated with the films Hollywood chooses to recognise during awards season. Gritty and often bleak, it successfully punctures the American Dream – and yet, at its heart, it also manages to paint a touching portrait of friendship amid hard times.

Wednesday – SICK! FESTIVAL | Mats Staub: Death and Birth In My Life @ the Whitworth, Manchester– FREE

Founded in 2013 on the principles of facing up to the complexities of mental and physical health, SICK! Festival gets underway this evening at the Whitworth with Mats Staub’s Death and Birth In My Life. This UK premiere video installation, which presents ‘a series of intimate conversations about the most moving and challenging experiences in life’ was developed with intensive care unit staff. Expect challenging and, hopefully tender moments, from the work partly informed by the 2014 death of Staub’s brother.

 Photograph by Stephen McCoy, From the series Skelmersdale, 1984.  As seen in North: Identity, Photography, Fashion at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, from 6 January--19 March 2017

Thursday – SixBySix Launch 7pm @ Ropes & Twines, Liverpool – FREE

I recently had the privilege to speak with Don McCullin, and one of the things I wanted to know, was whether he thinks of photography as an artform. “I see it as photography,” he said. “I strictly believe photography is photography, and it doesn’t need to be fancied up – do you know what I mean?” (Read the full interview) Which is a roundabout way of telling you that tonight’s SixBySix launch, which includes Stephen McCoy, Colin McPherson and Stephanie Wynne, will feature a panel discussion on current trends and ideas in photography, intros to the works of SixBySix members, and a focus on Zoe Strauss, who has dedicated a career to exploring “the beauty and struggle of everyday life”.

Friday – Exhibition Opening: Still Undead: Popular Culture in Britain Beyond the Bauhaus 6.30pm @ Nottingham Contemporary – FREE

Amid large scale celebrations to mark the centenary of the Bauhaus and its ongoing legacy in its homeland, and dedicated programming from the BBC, there has (so far) been a less than significant response from UK galleries and museums. Making up for this oversight somewhat, next month sees RIBA’s Beyond Bauhaus – Modernism in Britain 1933–66, while Nottingham Contemporary’s Still Undead reflects on the movement’s international influence. Exploring how the school shaped British pop culture from the 1920s to the 90s, artists, designers and musicians in the exhibition include Leigh Bowery, Kraftwerk, Liliane Lijn, Lucia Moholy, László Moholy-Nagy, Mary Quant, Peter Saville, Oskar Schlemmer and Soft Cell, to name a few.

Holly Hendry, Gut Feelings, 2016, Installation view at Royal College of Art, London, UK. Photo: courtesy Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

Saturday – Holly Hendry: The Dump is Full of Images @ The Weston Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park – FREE

Artist Holly Hendry’s in demand. After last year’s Liverpool Biennial commission, Cenotaph, and a slew of 2019 exhibitions (including touring Cenotaph to the Tetley in Leeds), her latest stop is at YSP’s Weston Gallery, with a new sculpture installation. With a recent practice focussed on excavating and exploring often hidden, overlooked or subterranean worlds relating to the built environment, here (in her first kinetic work) she turns to anatomy, food and detritus. Look out for an interview with Hendry due in these pages soon.

Northern Lights Writers’ Conference from 10.30am @ Waterside, Sale, Greater Manchester – £35/£25

Should you have ever listened to the now sadly defunct podcast End of All Things, or follow developments such as the Northern Fiction Alliance (dedicated to putting ‘the output of Northern indie presses to new audiences and publishers around the world’), you will know that publishing, ever so slowly, is changing. This returning writers’ conference – featuring talks, masterclasses, panel discussions, practical, drop-in advice sessions – looks to further reveal the machinations of the industry for all. With panels on Diversity in Publishing, Support for Writers, and Pathways to Publication, it should prove a helpful and illuminating day.

Sunday – Sounds and Silence Cinema – Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail 7pm @ Phase One, Liverpool – £10

Hitchcock’s 1929 picture, Blackmail, is remarkable for more than its director. Hitch, barely into his thirties at the time, conceived of it as a silent film yet, in the face of the coming talkies, then reshot new and key scenes for sound and dialogue. Arguably the greatest British silent film, ironically, it is also the harbinger of a new era, one that the then up-and-coming hot new thing anticipated and boldly embraced. Presumably showing as the silent version, Blackmail is accompanied by an original live music score.

Mike Pinnington

Images, from top: The Shock of the Future (still); Mats Staub: Death and Birth In My Life; Photograph by Stephen McCoy, From the series Skelmersdale, 1984.  As seen in North: Identity, Photography, Fashion at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, from 6 January–19 March 2017; Holly Hendry, Gut Feelings, 2016, Installation view at Royal College of Art, London, UK. Photo: courtesy Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead 

Posted on 16/09/2019 by thedoublenegative