Monday, 21 March 2011

Culture Clash Blog - 21/3/11

Hello fellow culture fans!

Apologies for the lack of blogness from me of late. Work has got in the way of my cultural indulgences, but I'm back with a variety packed issue for you this week! I got to two amazing gigs in the last week or so, and have begun reading a new novel by Neil Gaiman, as well as taking in a film during our beloved Orange Wednesday last week. My first recommendation is as follows:


If you're not sure whether you like folk or not, this is an artist that will surely make you decide either way! Seth Lakeman is an artist who is a master of the fiddle and the folktale, combining both to create crowd rousing melodies and captivating lyrics.

This was the third time I'd seen the wondrous talent of Mr Lakeman in action, and this paired down performance did not disappoint. Instead of his usual 5 piece band including his brother on guitar, Seth appeared on stage with only a percussionist and another guitarist. However this simplified line-up only served to highlight both the skills of the musicians present on the stage, and the power of the melodies created.

This set combined both favourite older tracks such as Scrumpy's Set and Kitty Jay, as well as newer one's from his current album 'Hearts and Minds'. He even previewed some new tracks from a forthcoming concept album that is set to be inspired by people in history who have laboured with their hands.

I love the infectious nature of Seth Lakeman's style of folk. It is not geared to a certain generation, but appeals widely, and embraces both modern and traditional styles.

Check out some of his music via we9 at:


This was a really fun evening of varied music put on by Eagle Radio in aid of the Eagle Radio Trust.
It featured 4 bands, all of which really showed how high the calibre of the unsigned scene has become. The highlights of the show had to be Hotshot Sound Cafe and Our Lost Infantry.


Hotshot Sound Cafe have come a long way in the last few years, and now play with much more confidence and purpose. The only thing that jars slightly is the sheer range of styles. From a Muse cover, to an almost Coralesque track of their own 'Carnival' (which is pretty damn awesome!), they appear to have yet to find their niche. Their sound is however exciting, and they have a stage presence that really made the crowd get into the spirit of the evening.


Our Lost Infantry have something very unique going on with their style. They appear to sit somewhere between metal, indie and electro, and have a catchy beat and hook to their tracks which leave you singing the chorus lines way after the gig has finished. The highlight of their set would have to be the high note fuelled 'Starting Fires' which had the whole crowd singing along by the end of the track. I do love a track everyone can learn in the first 2 minutes of the song!

Check out Hotshot Sound Cafe at: and Our Lost Infantry at

My book of the week this week is another one slightly from the dark side...I will vary it up a bit soon I promise!! Neil Gaiman's American God's chronicles that story of Shadow, an ex convict who is trying to get his life back on track despite very adverse circumstances. Since he has come out of prison, the fates appear to have been getting in his way, as well as the supernatural. The book is laden with beautiful descriptions as well as a captivating plot, which moves from the past to the present in an elegant and fluid motion. The variety of style in the book is also appealing, as Gaiman utilises diary and letter formats, as well as traditional third-person narrative. The element of this novel that is most captivating me is the depth of the characters Gaiman creates. You may only meet some characters for a brief few pages, but they are painted so richly and graphically they stay with you long after you have left them in the previous chapter. If you are a fan of daring story lines and eloquent writing, American God's is one for you.                                       

My film of the week has to be The Adjustment Bureau. I know this might appear on the surface to be another conspiracy theory film, but this actually put a really interesting spin on it. It is based on a novel by the Sci-Fi author Philip. K Dick, who also wrote Blade Runner ( or more accurately 'Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?) What if you weren't in control of your future, but another set of people made those decisions for you to put you on the 'correct path'. Matt Damon's character comes into contact with these people when he tries to stray off what is deemed to be his correct path, when he meets the woman of his dreams. Surely he's meant to be with her if it feels like it's right...isn't he?
The excellent performances from both Emily Blunt and Matt Damon carry what could otherwise be a bit of an unbelievable plot along. You sympathise with the plight of two people having to deal with the notion that being together could destroy their futures, despite the feeling that together is how they should be. This real life issue against a science fiction setting works rather well, as the fantastical premise allows the viewer to explore the emotional issue of what is it to be in a relationship against a subplot that slightly over exaggerates the possible consequences. This over emphasis actually highlights what an important issue sticking to ones resolve against all odds is to the human condition - I came out of the cinema feeling quite moved by the notion that sometimes being together is all that counts...maybe that's just my over sentimental side winning out. Despite this and the occasionally perplexing plot - note the multiple doors to cross Washington DC in a matter of moments...yeah that could happen... I really did enjoy the performances and felt that what t the film was really trying to get at; the importance of freedom of choice and choosing what feels right in your gut regardless of what life throws at you; was a very valid and relevant one in today's climate.                                                                                                                       

That concludes my Culture Clash Blog for this week. Next week i'll be covering some ballet, the new album from Does It Offend You Yeah? and also a new book of the week. As always feedback is appreciated!! Thanks for taking the time out to read my blog and I hope it has been of some interest.

All the best



  1. Hot Shot Sound Cafe - I have not heard of. I will have to check them out. Thanks for the recommend. I just found a new band that I am really loving. The Wet Darlings. They are a bit alternative rock...maybe a bit metal, but I have to say not to shabby. Their current single is "So Long Lover".

    Love the movie Adjustment Bureau. Was a bit surprised to see it was a love story. Still really good flick.


  2. Thanks Courteney I will definately check out the Wet Darlings. Yeah, The Adjustment Bureau is a love story set to a sci-fi backdrop if you like. Quite a good mix I thought it worked :)