Medway Visions Film Festival is back!

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Medway Visions is back and it needs your films! Medway Visions promotes independent filmmaking from around the world but a big emphasis will be placed on local upcoming filmmakers who have produced a short film, feature film or music video that needs to be seen!

The film festival is a new venture by Rochester filmmaker Mr Young, himself a indie filmmaker who has seen his short films and his debut feature film screened at festivals around the world and broadcast on television.

Medway Visions – Year One was a huge success, bringing together local arts providers and using their strengths to bring a passionate audience the best indie shorts and features from around the world and, of course, from Medway.  Last year’s event can be found here:

http://www.themoontheeye.com/medwayvisionsyearone

In order to submit your film email medwayvisions@themoontheeye.com with:
Title, running time, a brief synopsis, cast and crew list, previous screenings.
We will then ask you to send a DVD in due course.

 

For further details please visit our website: http://www.themoontheeye.com/medwayvisions

or our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/medwayvisions

 

 

 

 

Transmit:Project – Are you the next big thing?

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Are you a musician/filmmaker/artist/photographer/organisation etc who would like more people to know about your work and what you do?

Perhaps you always wanted to know what musicians/filmmakers/artists/photographers etc live and work and create in Medway?

Would you like to transmit your art?  Would you like to project your talent?

Transmit:Project is a brand new project all about getting known.  Its all about providing a platform for upcoming and established artist and performers.  It’s all about having one place where people can go to find out more about the huge amount of talent that currently thrives in Medway.

This is going to be the place for local talent to be seen and heard.  This is going to be the place where audience inside and outside Medway will come to see what talent is around.  A while ago I wrote about some of the Medway scene with the popular Medway Visions articles.  I hope these will morph into transmit:project files as well as adding new ones all the time.

But it needs you.  Without talents to write about/broadcast then this project won’t get very far.  Make yourself heard.  Contact us.

Here’s how it works:

You send me a bio and some details about your work.

You send me a link to your work/send a cd etc.

With these things I can write about you.

You also send me a video file of you performing or a music video (musicians), interview/sequence of pictures of art (artists), sequence of photos (photographers) a short film (filmmaker).

With this I can post a clip of you/your work.  (If you can’t get a video file to me then contact me anyway and we can sort something out)

This will then be shown from the transmit:project broadcast channel:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8NHTvq6pzCSPZVfrOzDmzg

In time this project might spread out, but, for now, it’s all about Medway.  And what better place to start.  Transmitting art.  Projecting talent.

The Moon The Eye

transmitproject@themoontheeye.com

www.themoontheeye.com/transmitproject

www.facebook.com/Transmit.Project

Wild Whispers: Diary of a Filmmaker – Episode 2

You won’t need telling how important social networking is to filmmaking these days.  It has become an essential tool of the trade.  Facebook is great for getting friends and friends of friends onboard with your projects but it’s Twitter where things get really interesting.  I have had a Twitter account for years but only really started using it at the start of the year.  Almost instantly I started meeting all sorts of incredible people.  Yes, people who I might work with but also people who you can learn from.  As the old saying goes, independent doesn’t mean alone; and with Twitter you certainly enjoy a feeling of comradeship with other filmmakers, at all levels, working hard to make projects work.

It’s been a busy year for me full of networking and beginning new projects.  Of course, my main priority is to make a new short film and a second feature film but I also had released a DVD of my short films and my musical project 7th Adventure Recordings had just released a debut CD.  You can see them here: www.themoontheeye.co.uk/onlineshop

Also with new contacts and friends being made left right and centre a couple other projects barged their way to the front of the queue.  As well as this diary I also write a series of articles about the arts scene where I live in Medway, Kent, UK.  You can read them here:

www.themoontheeye.co.uk/articles

After writing about a couple of local musicians it grew into something interesting.  I was asked to make a video for the upcoming single by Medway band Stuart Turner & The Flat Earth Society.  I listened to the track and straightaway I wanted to work on the 1930’s feel of the song.  I shot, as I often do, very fast and edited within a couple of days or so. You can see the video to ‘Call Me Dave’ by Stuart Turner & The Flat Earth Society here:

Following this I was asked by Lupen Crook to make a video for the lead single from his new album.  The deadline was very tight on this on.  I worked day and night to pull off an ambitious shoot, people kept dropping out, as is often the way with non-funded projects but, if you have time you can get anything done.  You either need time or money.  We had neither.  In the end the idea had to be shelved.

It was a pity but also a bit of a relief as I could now take myself away from that particular project and get back to the long delayed writing. It was a struggle.  One of my problems (it happens to be a strength too) is that I have MANY projects on the go.  It became very easy to work on different projects but not really the ones I needed to.  Writing is hard, at least for me.  Any distraction would take me away from it.

Mr Young

Then came a family holiday in France.  A secluded little place, no internet.  It meant my online conversations, my networking had to cease.  It worked.  I started to think once more about, firstly, my next short film called Dreamplayr.  I needed to think about those characters, the situation, the problems.  I needed to stop thinking about my other projects for a while.  I needed to stop thinking about Twitter and Facebook and networking.  I even tried to write something but, and here is where it got scary, I couldn’t write a thing.  Well, nothing that was any good anyhow.   It felt like I really needed to get to the bottom, to totally switch off.  So, rather than panicking, I put my pen down and just let my mind sink to the bottom.  No doubt the vast array of French cheeses and wines on offer helped with that.  On the way home I could feel that, somehow, the story was ready.

Once I returned I switched on my computer and wrote Dreamplayr very quickly.  I’m happy with it.  It works.  I will cast and start shooting that very soon.

And so it seems that, for me at least, in order to communicate with the characters I’m writing about the only course of action is to retreat into solitude.   Perverse though it sounds to find out more about life and people we have to retreat from it.  At least for a while.

.Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

This article previously published by The Indie Times (www.theindietimes.com)

Creatabot Creatives Competition 2012 + Exhibition Open For Submissions

Creatabot Creatives Competition is open to all creatives in the UK.

The brief for 2012 is “Gadgets and Gizmos”.

There are 6 categories for the competition:

Short Film

Photography

Fine Art

Literature

Music

Mixed Media 

(for anything creative that does not fall into the above categories)

Entries will be judged by the following Creatabot contributors:

A winner will be selected from each category and presented with a “Creatabot Creative of 2012” plaque.

Appropriate work will be put on exhibition for the whole of December 2012 at Strood library, Kent. 

To enter please upload your work or an image of your work to

http://creatabotcreativescompetition.tumblr.com/submit

By 19th November 2012

If you have any issue with uploading please send your work to natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Terms and conditions: Entries must be received by 1st November. Judges cannot enter. You can enter as many pieces as you want to into multiple categories.

Area:   UK   Britain   East of England   East Midlands   London  North East   North West    Yorkshire    Scotland    South East    South West    Wales   West Midlands

Wild Whispers: The Diary of a Filmmaker – Episode 1

It dawned on my fairly recently what a long hard struggle it is being an independent artist, possible more so being an independent filmmaker.  I thought, if only I REALLY knew what it was like in the world of filmmaking would I have done things differently?  I’m not sure.   In these articles I will document how things are in the indie film world.  I plan to shoot a feature next summer.  Will it happen?  HOW will it happen?  Well, dear reader, with any luck you shall be privy to the process, the ups and downs, the ins and out, the triumph and despair of such ventures.

I first decided I wanted to become a filmmaker when I was at college.  For a while before that I knew that I didn’t quite think in the same way as my peers.  I think I wanted to be a pop star but not playing an instrument, being able to write a song or even hold a tune put paid to that.  Then I saw a few films that left a mark on me.  I saw how film was going to become my form of expression.  It was more than that though.  It wasn’t just about telling a story, it was about creating a FEELING.  Even now, I’m not interested in art that just tells stories or in art for art’s sake.  I need to discover a FEELING.  I think that’s it, my overriding desire as a filmmaker is to create a feeling in films.  That’s the only way I can explain it, at least for now.

My first thoughts were ‘how will I make it in this industry?’  A mistaken thought.  There is no film ‘industry’.  Hasn’t been for a long time.  Not in the UK anyway.  Eventually I realised that there are creative people who work on films and filmmakers who create films from the bottom to the top.  I realised, after a brief flirtation in the erm, ‘industry’ that it was the latter camp I fell into.  So from now on it was a case of working full time to pay the bills but filmmaking was always my REAL career.

And that’s when the dawn hit me.  I was an outsider.  My role was to pull various fragments together from inside my head and from the real word to make things happen.    Years of hard work, years of working as an outsider to, well, pretty much everything.  The long slog.  This is a potted history, I will reveal more about these films, and the process of making them, over time.  First up, I made a few short films with varying degrees of success.  No funding, just using what was available to me.  Even back then it became fairly clear to me that public funding was a tricky issue.  I don’t have anything against public funding at all.  It is fairly obvious that it’s a deeply flawed system though.  Still, that’s a discussion for another day.

After a while it dawned on me that I needed to make a feature film.  Public funding simply wouldn’t be forthcoming for what I wanted to do so I set off to the Arctic to make a documentary about life up there.  How does that work?  Well, I volunteered for a charity and that effectively paid for my film.  The in-kind budget was around 10,000UKP.  Naturally, as is the way being an indie, I did the project for free.  Which was fair enough, of course, nobody asked me to do it.  It was my own project.  The film took some time to edit but ‘East 3 – Exploring a Frozen Frontier’ premiered in New York in 2007, went onto play in Chicago, toured the UK and then screened on UK television.  I was even interviewed about it on BBC Newsroom South East.

A few more short films followed (by now I was getting better at promoting them and they were all broadcast on UK TV).  The method and philosophy remained the same, shoot with what I had to hand, create a feeling.  This year I realised I had gone as far as I could with my old short films and so packaged them up into a compilation DVD ‘Caged Fire – The Short Films of Mr Young’  It felt right to say goodbye to these films as I now need to focus on a new set of objectives.  Yes, more short films but a feature film too.

Now, we come too making the second feature.  This time, a narrative film.  The question is, ‘how does one get from where I am now to making a feature length story?’  Will it even work out?  I have no idea.  Not yet.   I guess this diary will reveal all.

So, would I have done things differently?  I doubt it.  It’s very hard but also very rewarding when you follow your own path.  Right now the only genuine path for the independent filmmaker is the one you make yourself.  It’s a wild path with only whispers in the wind to help.  With any luck though I might see some paths that have been cleared already and I certainly hope, with the wise and not so wise words in this diary, I may just clear a path or two for you.

You can buy both  ’East 3 – Exploring a Frozen Frontier’ and ‘Caged Fire – The Short Films of Mr Young’ here:

www.themoontheeye.co.uk/onlinestore

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

Area:   UK   Britain   East of England   East Midlands   London  North East   North West    Yorkshire    Scotland    South East                South West    Wales   West Midlands  

A Medway Vision Special – Why Medway Needs a Film Festival

Yes, I know.  I’m a filmmaker.  It’d be strange if I DIDN’T want a film festival in Medway.  But the fact is, Medway needs a film festival and what’s more there are some very pertinent reasons why:

1/  Strategy – One of Medway council’s priorities is to harness the creative industries to bring cash and other nice things into the area.  What better way to do that than to set-up a festival that draws punters in and gets them drinking and eating in local venues?  Good for creativity, good for the local economy.

2/  Skills sharing – It’s not just about money either.  It’s about building confidence, skills, pride and hearing voices.  Local people from all walks of life can get involved, from the volunteers who help set it up to the local talent who can display their hard work.  Alongside this, local and not so local filmmakers can share skills with a variety of local communities in order to develop voices, to develop the Medway story, if you will.

3/   Special times, special measures – As I have been arguing in these articles, Medway is in a special place artistically right now.  This needs to be capitalised on.  Film festivals mean creative guests, means more networking, means more creativity.  It’s a win, win situation.

4/  Prestige – Most self-respecting places the size of Medway have film festivals.  And I believe we are more creative than most.  Many of these festivals start off small, some even remain small.  But the point is, knowing your town will be hosting a selection of the best moving pictures from around the world AND running them side by side with local work that’s equally as effecting can only be a good thing.

5/  Promoting and watching film – I don’t mean the standard Odeon fare.  That’s easy to see.  Just go to the Odeon or pop the tele on if that’s your bag.  I mean the more leftfield stuff, the challenging films that build from the film festivals to become important pieces of cinema.  Surely we want to be part of that?  Surely we want access to films not available at the cinema chains?

6/  Education – What better way to convince the next generation, or even this generation of film fans, that there is more to life than chain cinema films?  Independent features, international documentaries, short films, music videos…you can almost taste the excitement can’t you?

7/ It’s already started – Yeah, I couldn’t resist.  I’ve already set up the webpage www.medwayvisions.tumblr.com in the hope that the creative people of Medway come on board and that the audience will be willing to come and watch.  My film company The Moon The Eye will run the show but I can’t do it on my own.  Heck, I wouldn’t even want to try.  It needs people, organisations on board to lend a hand in whatever way they know how.  Yes, it NEEDS you.  It’s here, but it will only work if we ALL get involved.

So, who’s with me?

.

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Mr Young

A Medway Vision 9 – Capturing Reality

Over the course of these articles one name keeps popping up.  So many times I would ask an artist to send a picture of themselves and time after time the email back would say ‘oh could you credit this to Phil Dillon, it’s one of his’ Phil Dillon has, over the course of the last few years single handedly captured the look and feel of this ‘Medway Vision’, this startling, vibrant and fiercely independent artistic scene.

Phil Dillon has produced some astonishingly powerful images that somehow capture the grit of real life but never makes them dull.  His subjects convey a sense of drama and excitement that is very tricky to pull off.  Phil manages it with apparent ease.

Phil began “carrying a camera around all the time” in 2006 “I was interested in changes in my local environment, and how the seasons and time of day affect the way places are lit by the sun. Then I got interested in how Medway had changed over time and started digging old photos out of the MALSC archives and recreating them. After that, I began to consider what regeneration would bring and what it would take away forever. It was while I was reshooting the archive stuff that I approached the Brook Theatre because I wanted to get up on the roof. The staff were very interested and extremely helpful, and this resulted in me being given an all areas tour of the building and subsequently being offered an exhibition. That’s how I became a photographer by accident”

Working with just natural light, you can see Phil’s photography adorning album covers by bands such as The Len Price 3, Groovy Uncle, Theatre Royal, Crybaby Special and the Monsters, Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society and Wheels, among others.  But, for me it’s the hundreds of live photos Phil has squirreled away that make me most excited. Looking at pictures, such as the one of Lupen Crook, he clearly knows how to take the tension from a room and coolly pop it into his camera.

Maybe it’s his musician background (Phil had been in bands for years before concentrating on photography) that makes his pictures say so much about live music.  Maybe it’s his love of live music.  Phil explains, “I like real life and the moments it allows us to capture. I try to point up things you might not have noticed about a place, or show it to you from a different perspective. With music, I try to take pictures that capture something of the music itself, portray the performer and make you want to hear the music”

When you see his pictures they speak more about that artist than any written review ever can.

Although not influenced by any particular photographer Phil admits that his love of music means that “a lot of Mick Rock, Kevin Cummings and Linda McCartney (massively underrated)” informs his work.  Phil has had three exhibitions to date: 21st Century Cave Painting in Medway (2007), Exposure (2009) and Two Sides of the Same Coin (with Daisy Parris) in 2011.  In addition to these, he has contributed to a number of group exhibitions by Medway Eyes.

But what of the future, where next for a man charged with capturing the essence of this ‘Medway Vision’?  “I’ll do something biggish in 2013, I think. My work gets released all the time, either digitally through my Flickr portfolio or physically through the CDs and records they appear on. I’m thinking about doing another exhibition, or perhaps a book in both digital and physical formats. The working title is ‘On The Record / Off The Record’.”

Phil Dillon captures these Medway times so perfectly, so dramatically that we can only hope that this planned exhibition and book comes off because, frankly, our lives would be poorer, less real if you will, without it.

You can find out more about Phil Dillon and his photographs at: www.phildillon.co.uk

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

A Medway Vision 8: Monster Ambition

Taken by Phil Dillon

It’s so often not just about the talent.  It’s about work rate too.  The distinctive artistic blossoming of the Medway Towns, that vibrant feeling that something special is happening, the ‘Medway Vision’ as I call it, can’t merely happen from wanting it to happen.  Work goes into it.  A lot of sweat needs to be leaked if you are going to get your art seen or heard.  If hard work brings rewards then up-coming Medway band Crybaby Special and the Monsters will be reaping heap loads very soon.

The band only came into being in September last year but have already played in virtually every venue the Towns have to offer culminating in the release of their first ever EP ‘Man in the Woods’.  And let’s not forget all their London and other Kent gigs.  Starting out as an acoustic two piece (Josh Carson, Jason Stafford ) they wrote a few songs and spent one day rehearsing (yes, ONE day, these boys want things done fast) before debuted them at an open mic night.   In the words of Josh Carson “it’s been non-stop ever since, with Lewis Crennell joining the band on drums at the end of January 2012”.  Before this, the band was just one man, singer Jason.  He performed solo as Crybaby Special for the best part of a year before deciding he wanted to play as a band.

And so, endless gigging led to their first EP ‘Man in the Woods’  The EP was recorded in February 2012 with Mik Whitnall (Babyshambles guitarist) and Adem Hilmi (who also records Babyshambles and Peter Doherty solo). Mik even plays on three of the 6 tracks.  Their sound has been described in a number of ways.  As Josh points out “Bob Dylan on Crack…Creepy, Eerie, Spider, Jiggery…Folk Punk sung by Fagin…our favourite though is probably Exuberant Garage-Folk-Punk from the Medway Delta from Bug Bear promotions who put on gigs in London” Oddly enough those descriptions sum up their sound pretty well.

However, seeing as Mik Whitnall from Babyshambles produced the EP you can’t help but hear the Pete Docherty influence too.  Add to that, if you will, a bit of ska as imagined by Midnight Oil and you’re getting the picture.  But, as cute and cool those Babyshambles/Ska tracks are it’s their most original sounding work that excites me most. The almost middle-eastern tinged title track feels most vital.  It’s not only the best track on the EP, but, if there is any justice, it will be on repeat play on radio stations throughout the summer.

Judging by the continuous cycle of gigs then the EP seems to have cemented their following.  But you know full well that these lads are not going to be happy with that.  There is an ambition here, a desire to get to the top.  This is already a touring band, a band that develops its sound the more it interacts with its audience.  Josh confirms “our plans for the future are to too just carry on as we are by playing at every given opportunity and anywhere we can”

It’s ambition; it’s hard-work; it’s about having a vision.  A Medway Vision.  Crybaby Special and the Monsters will carry on growing and adapting and reaching out to whoever wants to hear them next.  I think it was Paul Weller that said something like the people who ‘made it’ are the ones that didn’t give up.  If true then you can be sure that sometime soon, Crybaby Special and the Monsters will have ‘made it’.

‘Man In The Woods’ EP is available to buy from iTunes:

http://itunes.apple.com/album/man-in-the-woods-ep-ep/id525040739

http://www.facebook.com/crybabyspecialandthemonsters

http://crybabyspecialandthemonsters.tumblr.com/

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Area  South East

A Medway Vision 7 – Broken Genius

What’s in a name?  A mask?  Identity?  Hailing from Rainham, Medway musician and painter Lupen Crook is, quite simply, captivating.   Lupen Crook is not his real name of course.  It’s Matthew Pritchard.  But, if it’s a story about being driven to create that compels you – the Medway Vision if you will, then Lupen Crook is all we need to know about.

Lupen Crook is a prolific painter and musician.  Oh, and his makes his own animated music videos too.  Flirting with fame and being one of the NME darlings for a while, he is one of the jewels in Medway’s creative crown.    But if it wasn’t for that name change it might never have happened.  Lupen explains his early days, “I played with Chris Garth (now of UPCDOWNC).  Later, when the Tap n Tin hey-day was in full swing I was performing initially with Bonzai Reservoir (whose members included Chris Austin of Tape Error), and when that imploded I started out as Lupen Crook.”  It was this ‘implosion’ that began a new chapter and it was here that his artwork also took root, having to cobble together band posters with little materials or money, and the same went for his DIY album releases.  Lupen Crook became an artist just trying to do the best with whatever was to hand.

Initially signed to the Tap n Tin label, the EP ‘Petals Fresh From Road Kill’ was released as 500 vinyls all with hand-painted sleeves. In true independent style, he has since self-released via his own label Beast Reality, the most recent being 2011’s ‘Waiting For  The Post-Man’.   Describing the process Crook states, “Beast Reality started out much the same way as everything else, having no one else to do it for me, so I did it myself. My good friend, web-designer and writer Stuart Hardy ended up getting on board and together we’ve honed the self-release approach over the last few years, experimenting with each release and thinking on our feet.”  It might have worked out differently.  In 2005, NME got behind Lupen Crook and featured him on their 2005 Cool List compilation.  A star was surely born?  Well, yes and no.  Lupen decided to go it alone.  Using his own record label, using his own vision.  Fame eluded him but his art was intact.

Lupen Crooks’ music defies category.  How many times does an artist say that their work doesn’t fall into a musical category, only for you to listen to it and then realise that it’s about as generic as a Rom-Com.  Lupen breaks the mould.  Try as I might there is no chance of me being able to tell you what ‘category’ his music fits into.  Take his latest album, ‘Waiting for The Post-Man’  It starts off sounding like Bowie, takes a strange neo-gothic u-turn, shuffles about near the area labeled ‘folk’, then heads off to 80’s electronics before getting all World Party-ish with it’s pop melancholia.  If there is one thing I could describe it as, it’s just singer/songwriter pop.  Brilliant pop.  Rarely have I heard the sound of a record with so many tunes on it not to have hits.  But then maybe that’s part of the problem.  The record industry does like its categories and my guess is Lupen Crook’s genius for writing from the hip will be admired for a long time without anybody actually being able to pin his sound down and sell it.  Lupen confesses,  “musically, it’s eclectic. They are folk songs in the sense they are stories, but then it has always felt very punk in spirit. Basically, it’s free.”

As for his paintings, they capture an essence of Medway as much as the music and lyrics.  They show the beauty and majesty of Medway but always with the knowledge that the heartbeat of these Towns is often the rough-around-the-edges social chaos that we so often see on a Saturday night.  Looking at his paintings I keep thinking of something he said and it makes sense; “my influences have always been my surroundings – people, places, shapes, sounds – the mistakes I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt, the things that have hurt me – everything that makes an impression on me inevitably ends up becoming an influence.”  As an artist I understand that, as a fan of music and painting I can see that ethos clearly in his work.

Last year Lupen had exhibitions of his artwork in London and Medway (at Rochester’s Deaf Cat Café). This year he is continuing to paint, although he does promise that there are some new musical projects in the pipeline. While Lupen is holed up creating we can catch a glimpse of his work in and around the Towns.  Currently Nucleus Art Gallery in Rochester is exhibiting his work. Aside from that, he is performing a one-off gig at London’s The Borderline on 9th June supporting Jim Bob from CARTER USM and the video he made for the song ‘Chasing Dragons’ is set to be shown at London’s Progressive Art Centre. The show is called ‘DIY POP VIDIO’ and it’s being curated by Medway artist, poet and musician Sexton Ming.

Where next for Lupen Crook?  When you have come this far down the road, when you have worked hard to create the output of ‘Lupen Crook’, where does the next stage take him?  “As for actual goals in my life, keeping my head above water and the wolves from my door whilst continuing to create things; be that music, art, videos – whatever feels inspiring at the time.”  Listening to Lupen Crook, you get the impression that these sounds could ONLY have been written in and about Medway.  His paintings, the same.  If any artist can be classed as the ‘voice’ of Medway’s dark underbelly then Lupen Crook is surely it.

Lupen Crook plays The Borderline, London on the Saturday 9th June supporting Jim Bob from Carter USM.  Tickets £12 http://theborderline.co.uk/listings/date/2012/6/9/

‘Waiting for the Post-Man’ is out now on Beast Reality Records priced £10  http://www.lupencrook.com/

For more information about Lupen Crook’s paintings visit:  http://www.brokenarts.co.uk/

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Area – South East     London

A Medway Vision 6 – Elusive Images

Rochester is beautiful.  We all know that.  The historical buildings, the river scene; it’s all been photographed and painted so many times and rightly so.  There is a photographer in Medway, going by the name of Obee, who continues this tradition but adds a new twist.  Obee’s images have a traditional feel but, by using a variety of techniques such as time lapse, creates a more surreal look, making those images that we have all seen so many times suddenly feel more mysterious and elusive.

And yet Obee still makes the pictures fun and easy to enjoy.  Obee explains that he decided to quickly document the Medway towns “my goal was to set a day three times a month where I would take my bicycle and camera out and archive towns and events recommended by friends. By 2010 I had amassed a small archive of Medway and surrounding Kent and found I had developed an avid following by the local community, so much so that I started to publish a weekly blog of my fun adventures and where I was heading to next to keep people up to date”

Previous to this Obee started out in 2004 photographing unsigned bands in the London metal/rock scene.  He soon discovered the 

potential of Photoshop and began to manipulate the raw images.  Obee then began to take advantage of the myspace band promotion movement by providing visuals such as online banners, EPs, Tshirts, flyers, gig photography and album covers.  Early 2008 Obee left London and moved to Medway, where he began to meet other artists found what OI too have noticed; a growing hive of creative activity and a varied music scene.  Obee soon developed his very own ‘Medway Vision’.  No doubt inspired by the beauty and interesting features of the area Obee decided to concentrate, so far at least, on landscape shots.  He explains “I wanted to try and get some good old fashioned photography back into my portfolio and capture some of Medway purely for its grand history.”

His style is warm yet haunting at times.  Obee explains “photography of landscapes are currently my signature style with full clear broad colourful spectrums pushing vivid imaging to the max. Another technique I define my works with is infrared and time delay, a skill that was more used on pre-digital cameras. To allow 6 minute exposures with only the furthest end of the light spectrum can produce some of the most haunting images. Human traffic vanishes into a thick fog leaving just the buildings and the camera as witness.”

Obee seems to believe in the ‘Medway Vision’ I have been noticing, this desire to create, this special creative time we seem to live in.  His attitude to his work is refreshing, honest and modest too, “I have a firm belief art is by no means hard if you are genuinely open and passionate about your environment and those you share it with.”  Seeing Obee’s work, those views we are all so familiar with but shot in a different way, is like seeing yourself in a mirror but with a new suit on.  You know it’s you but it looks fresher, more relevant for the 21st Century.

The goal of Obee is to keep shooting events and places in Medway and he hopes that there is a possibility of an exhibition of his work.  If that happens and you want to see Medway with fresh eyes then you will want to be first in the queue.

For more information visit:  obi3380.wordpress.com

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk


Area – South East

A Medway Vision 5 – Preserving Pop

Some places in the world are defined by music labels that, somehow, managed to capture a moment in pop history.  Think Motown (Detroit), Sub-Pop (Seattle) and Factory (Manchester) and, well, you get the idea.  Medway could well be on the verge of getting its very own defining record label in The Preservation Society Presents run by Neil Burrow.

Neil, Artist Manager and Record label boss at The Preservation Society Presents, has worked in the music industry for 21 years as a manager and label boss. Having worked with likes of The Bluetones and Jesus Jones, amongst others he is used to hit records and fostering success for bands,

The label was started in 2010 initially as an outlet to release records by Medway band Theatre Royal; they have since expanded, signing Dead Lovers from Dartford and Medway hip-hop act Kids Unique.

Neil believes that Medway is a special place right now “there are loads of great bands in Medway & wanted to give them a way of releasing records. It brings a focus to the local scene which can only be a good thing”

“The acts on the label are quite eclectic. Broadly speaking, Dead Lovers and Theatre Royal are alternative pop bands, Indie I suppose, but they take in Psychedelia, Folk Punk and County. Kids Unique are a Hip Hop band, but as well as Hip Hop, funk and dance music they are heavily influenced by lyricists like Morrissey and Nick Cave as well as acts like the Beta Band”

In keeping with the ‘Medway Vision’, that feeling of independence and artistry that permeates the Medway towns, TPSP is fiercely independent but is not afraid to ensure commercial success too.  As Neil points out “we have an emphasis on melody and hooks and working closely with our artists to try and create an environment that allows creativity to thrive but we also utilise commercial angels. We do not want to be pigeon holed by genre, we’ll release anything as long as we think It’s good and believe in the record.  We are proud of our independence & what we are trying to achieve”

This year will be a busy one for Neil and TPSP.  Three albums are planned for release this year from Theatre Royal, Kids Unique and Dead Lovers as well as a whole host of singles and free giveaways. On top of this there is the, frankly, already legendary, monthly singles vinyl club where two artist release exclusive recordings on ltd edition 7” vinyl.  There is a feeling about these releases that remind me of early Sub-Pop records.  Vital purchases and will probably be worth a fortune in years to come.

And that’s not all.  Alongside plans to open a TPSP rehearsal studio in Rochester, Neil is also promoting a new event coming to Rochester on 28th July 2012. Based on the hugely successful SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, this new event called Music Event One (ME1, geddit?!) will utilize the main stage in the castle (capacity of 4600) as well having 10 other venues along the High Street putting on various music , literature and art events. Neil explains “this first year is 1 day, next year 2 days building up to a 3 day event in 2014” Neil sensationally announced earlier this month that the headline act is to be John Lydon’s PiL.  Quite a scoop and one that will give this new festival the exposure it richly deserves

When you live in an age of independence, as I believe we do here in the Medway towns, then you need people to support that.  Luckily, for the Medway music scene at least, Neil Burrow is one of those people.  For years to come expect bands from all over Medway to long for their music to be introduced as ‘The Preservation Society Presents…’

Kids Unique debut single ‘Seymour Evil’ is out now on digital download.

Vol 1 of the singles vinyl club is out now featuring Theatre Royal and Kids Unique

 

Volume 2 features Dartford’s Dead Lovers and Margate’s Pantomime Villains.   Both can be bought exclusively through the website: www.thepreservationsocietypresents.com.

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

 

Area – South East

A Medway Vision 4 – Blues Misadventures

You probably think you know what blues music sounds like.  You’ve probably seen lots of bands in pubs with a blues-based sound.  You know the sort of thing, tribute acts; white men with a love of the blues singing about what it’s like to be a poor black man in 1930’s America.  You’re absolutely right.  It sounds good but it’s not REAL blues, music of genuine pain, anguish and hardship.  Happily, real blues does still exist.  And not just with that Detroit genius Jack White.  It’s right here in Medway too.  And this being Medway, it’s rather unique and somewhat brilliant.

Sounding like a blues singer from the Deep South, Stuart Turner has one of the most distinctive voices in music.  Straddling that fine line between Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits and out and out ‘man deranged’, Stuart brings new meaning to 21st Century Blues.  And it’s the first time I have ever heard blues sound scary.  Seriously, the combination of the man’s voice and the anguished lyrics take you to places you never thought blues could.

It has been said that to sing the blues you need to have suffered.  Well in that case Stuart qualifies.  That voice is not just an impassioned howl of feeling.  Stuart recalls, “I was diagnosed with cancer in my throat and had fairly extensive surgery leaving me with an interesting singing voice and a lot of things to write about.”  Many people would have given up.  Turner used this misfortune to his advantage.

After finding his voice again and working how he could use it he began gigging and met with Kris Dollimore (ex Godfathers, Dammed, Del Amitri).  They became friends and Stuart went on to produce Dollimores first blues solo album (’02/01/1978′) and helped him set up his own Sun Pier label. In return he offered to put out an album of Stuarts ‘A Gallon Of Water Makes A Mile Of Fog’.  Stuart now sees the album as “too long, too odd, too sweary, it got some great reviews, but sold badly” A second solo album, (File Under Carnal Knowledge’) sold better, and he was getting known around Medway as well as gigging all around the country. Stuart met Robbie Wilkinson from Medway band Theatre Royal who became his live lead guitarist, then writing collaborator, then half of the ‘Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society’.   Robbie and Stuart wrote and arranged a set of songs and produced ‘Gin and Bitters’ the first STFES album. Released by Medway based Brigadier Records, they then recruited Ray Hunt and Dave Sawicki and gigged the album, recording half a follow up as they went. “It sold modestly” said Stuart “but we got some radio and a good live reputation.”

Photo taken by Phil Dillon – www.phildillon.co.uk

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society are not just a blues band though.  Their repertoire covers rock-a-billy, indie and pop.  Not to mention the sax on their last album ‘Gin and Bitters’ sounding a little like the soul of Dexys Midnight Runners.  Oh, and did I mention he plays ukulele live too?  But it’s the bluesy chug that works best for them, especially when mixed with indie-inspired pop dynamics.  Listen to ‘Essex’ from ‘Gin and Bitters’, simply the best 3 minutes Stuart has committed to record so far; it’ cocky, it’s raw, it’s bouncy, it’s all you need from a song.

However, as brilliant as that album was, the curse of the blues musician seemed to be hitting the band hard.  Stuart recalls how “Mark Lemar quit his radio show just as we were negotiating a session, gigs got cancelled from under us, ill health forced Dave out 

of the band and his replacement Jez, while a good player, never gelled as well and there was a personality clash with Ray”   Problems over?  Stuart wishes.  “Then there were a series of Jez-drunk-and-incapable gigs, Ray quit, just after we finished recording the as-yet-unreleased album ‘On the Brink of Misadventure’ and just after we were really getting a strong live following.  At the very next band gig Jez had to be carried from the building during the support act and I was forced to fire him.”

Bad luck indeed, but thankfully Stuart and band are raring to go and ready to put their new superb album out.  It will be out in April and if this album does not sell by the bucket load then there’s something wrong with the world.  The usual combination of urban distress, bouncy blues and indie attitude makes this a great record.  Listen to a sneak preview of the track ‘To The Nighthouse’ here:

http://soundcloud.com/stfes/to-the-nighthouse

With gigs lined up, Stuart says “this is a point of flux and anything might happen, it really is worth fighting to get this album heard” Perhaps, and most remarkably of all, Stuart accepts that this is what he HAS to do.  It’s that Medway Vision again, that desire to create.  There’s no giving up for an artist like Stuart, the music is in his blood and if fame comes then that’s a bonus “if I only ever play the Man of Kent a few times a year, but those gigs continue to be rammed, then in some way I have an ongoing achievement. Hopefully though we can go on to do more than that.”

I’m a big fan of Jack White and when I saw Stuart Turner for the first time I had that similar feeling of wonder, that feeling you get when you know you’re seeing something special, someone who means it, someone who is singing from the soul.  Jack White is, famously, a fan of Billy Childish and his raw rock and roll.  One suspects that if Jack had the pleasure of hearing Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society he would have another favourite Medway band.  This is not karaoke tribute blues as witnessed in so many bars up and down the land.  This is as real as it comes.  Stuart Turner has lived a life, he’s seen the bottom and because of that he’s breathing new life into the blues.  Once again we’re seeing a Medway Vision, an artist who makes the music because he has too.  His bad news is good news for the rest of us.

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society release their new album ‘On the Brink of Misadventure’ on Brigadier Records later this month.

For more information visit: http://www.myspace.com/stuartjamesturner

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye


Area – South East

A Medway Vision 3 – Authentic Legend

Every now and then you hear of someone who should be more well-known than they are. Medway painter and poet Bill Lewis is one of them.  I’m not talking about seeing some ones work and thinking, ‘oh that’s quite good’ rather, I’m talking about someone who, once you realise what he has done, you realise he is a legend.

Bill Lewis is one of the founding members of both The Medway Poets and The Stuckist Movement of painting.  The Medway Poets were founded in 1979 by Lewis along with those other Medway legends Billy Childish and Sexton Ming.

Stuckism was founded in the 1990’s by Bill and 12 others (again Billy Childish) in response to the post-modern ‘event’ art of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  In fact, the name ‘Stuckism’ comes from a conversation Emin had with Childish.  During a phone call, Emin mocked Childish and his painting friends for being ‘stuck, stuck, stuck’ in the past.  And the name, well, stuck.  Bill Lewis and the other original Stuckists, or ReModernists, decided that this new art lacked authenticity.

When asked if he still considers himself a Stuckist, there is little doubt he knows that he will always be one of the founding members of that group, “but I’m more interested these days in the wider aims of the ReModernist experiment. The integration of spirituality into art and the attempt to avoid slipping back into post-modernism”.

When asked about his painting style Bill says “some people have called it Magical Realism but I’m not sure that fits. My paintings are like a magic mirror that I hold up to see what I am like inside. The imagery in them often takes years for me to decipher. Sometimes I never fully understand them”

“Some writers and artists tell me they have no influences but then humans have a great capacity for self denial. They think they are being original. Nothing is original. The best we can hope for is to be authentic. Authenticity comes from love. The things we love influence us the most”

I have always made pictures but I did not start writing until I was at school. I used to draw on everything as a kid and after covering the wall next to my bed my parents bought me sketch books to stop me drawing on the rest of the walls. But poetry and fiction are my main artistic outpouring.

For me, his paintings are fascinating.  One in particular reminded me of the Inuit art I had seen from the Canadian Arctic when I was making my first feature film, East 3. However, it’s his writing that appeals most of all.  It seems that this is where his true voice is.  Looking at some of the poetry on his website www.billlewis.co.uk it strikes me as very honest.  It carries that element of all great poetry in that it seems to speak to you personally without ever knowing who you are.  It carries a beat to it that is often missing from modern poetry, Bill notes “we have lost the music in our poetry. Poems should sound good to the ear as well as work on the page”  This is probably why his work sounds so good when performed as his YouTube clips testify.

If there is indeed, a Medway Vision, a new spirit of independence and artistry then Bill Lewis, quite simply, is one of its godfathers.

A new book of poetry “In The House Of Ladders” by Bill Lewis is out now and published by Greenheart press (an imprint of WOW Medway magazine). Price £10.

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

A Medway Vision 2 – Spontaneous Soundscapes

Since my first article I have been absolutely overwhelmed by people recommending talented creative people to me, or people agreeing with me about the Medway independent scene.  It does indeed seem that I’m onto something here.  Medway is on the march.  So let’s continue with our list of its artistic generals.

This week I have been introduced to the sound work of a band known as Hand of Stabs.  A band?  Like a rock band?  No.  Not at all.  Imagine a soundtrack to a surreal film.  Or a soundscape to an evening walk in the woods where you THINK you’re alone but you’re not sure.  Hand of Stabs are avant-garde, yes, but don’t let that put you off by thinking that the music is impenetrable.  It has a beat, but it’s the beat of nature, the beat of darkness, the beat of Medway.  For that reason alone, this is essential listening.
Mind you, they probably won’t thank me for calling them a band.  They call themselves a ‘sound art collective’.  Hailing from Rochester their site-specific improvised work is recorded at points of significance around Kent and the South East providing a connection to sacred history and landscape. Inspired by regular, often night-time explorations through these spaces, they are creating a series of ‘aleatorical’ soundworks.  In other words, much of their work is left to chance.  Spontaneous.  Improvised.  Directly from the soul if you like.

Hand of Stabs are called, intriguingly, Captain R. Standish, Jocelyn von Bergdorff and James Worse.  Standish and Worse have both been active in a number in bands and von Bergdorff was active in the cassette underground during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The idea of playing together came together around year ago.  Their work is influenced by the writings of the historian naturalist and engineer, William Coles Finch (1864-1944), Resident Engineer of the Brompton, Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester Water Company and his vivid descriptions of Edwardian Kent in his books ”In Kentish Pilgrim Land” and ”The Medway River & Valley”.   Their sound is a reflection of the significance we place upon our surroundings.

One recent performance at the Hulkes Lane Brewery came about because their friend’s great-great-grandfather a storeman at the Brewery in 1863, hanged himself there. He had been barred from the Brewery’s social club over some minor infraction and the ignominy was too much to bear. His death meant that his wife and nine children, who lived in a two-roomed tied-cottage on Hulkes Lane, were made homeless and sent to the workhouse. The feelings that these stories evoke allow Hand of Stabs to create their soundscapes.  Less story-tellers, more mood-tellers.

Other performances so far have included, the open air at Kits Coty and at the studios of Turner Prize nominated artist Yinka Shonibare as part of an installation by Luke Otteridge.  Hand of Stabs are continually looking for opportunities to play in interesting spaces to interested audiences and are very receptive to suggestions.  Think about your favourite places and now imagine it with the emotions of the location played out in sounds.  Like a dream.  Or a nightmare.  Powerful stuff.

With two CDs already out “The Geometry of Dust” and “Aktion #2: Hulkes Lane Brewery”, this year has just seen the release of a lathe-cut vinyl LP featuring Hand of Stabs and a collaboration with Medway legend Sexton Ming in his alter-ego of Jude Hagg entitled ‘Old Bluster saw the Beauty’.

Two weeks in and we have discussed two new groups, both creating dark sounds.  Is this a theme of Medway?  Exploring the dark side of life?  It certainly appeals to me as a filmmaker.  But as I’m finding out, that’s the great thing about the Medway Vision.  It’s diverse.  The dark side of life is there for sure, but as we shall see in the coming weeks there is also a lighter side.  Keep listening because darkness needs light.

“The Geometry of Dust” and “Aktion #2: Hulkes Lane Brewery” are out now priced £10.  For more information on Hand of Stabs contact: spoon-unit@blueyonder.co.uk

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Area – South East

A Medway Vision: Words and Sounds

Let me explain myself. I’m an independent filmmaker living in Rochester. Over the course of, well, however long they allow me to write these articles, I’m going to highlight one of Medway best kept secrets. One at a time I will focus on a local artistic talent within the Medway towns.

There seems to me something brewing around here. Whisper it, but it might even become a ‘Medway Scene’. Filmmakers like me, poets, musicians, visual artists, photographers, writers are busy creating. That, taken on its own, is nothing new. But there is a buzz, a real sense of artistic change in the air. The Fuse Festival is fun but this is something else.

I have lived in a few places, big places like London and Birmingham and for a little while now I have felt something unique about Medway. The art that is being made around here feels raw, exciting. It’s an independence of spirit and a DIY ethic. The NEED to create. It feels like Medway means it. It feels like Medway has something to say. A Medway Vision. Over the coming weeks I hope to prove that…

First off, let me introduce a group of beat poets I have been working with. There are three of them, they call themselves, perversely, a trinity. I can’t tell you their names. They work in secret. Determined to only write poetry and discuss nothing else, they asked me to produce their first CD of poetry. The go by the moniker of 7th Adventure Recordings and mix a surreal and dark set of words to an even more surreal and darker set of beats and noises.

I have worked with one of them before, secretive even then, he went only by the name of Polarghosts. He provided soundtracks to three of my short films. I liked his style, dark and dream-like, nightmarish really. When he told me about his interest in beat poetry my ears pricked up. He had grouped up with two others who shared a passion for beat poetry and together they wanted to redefine what poetry and beat poetry was. Beat poetry came out of the post-war USA in the 1950’s. Using music, often jazz, as a backdrop the poets usually performed stream of consciousness writing to a hip crowd. The legacy lived on but transformed and the melding of music and spoken word paved the way for rap music in the 1970’s.

Beat poetry in its own right kind of fizzled out. But the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg are still revered. 7th Adventure Recordings are presenting, what they call, beat poetry for the 21st Century. The music is still sometimes jazz in form, but it’s all electronic minimalism and has more in common with techno music. The words are not about 50’s America and the post-war lost ’beat’ generation but do share the stream of consciousness feel that those earlier poets had. Even the sub-title of the new CD ‘Poetry for the Blank Generation’ conjures images of the original beat poets but repackages it, Generation X-style, for a new generation of misfits.

Their new CD is something of an ‘EP’. 8 short poems with distinct identities, 9 minutes running time. Their words strike to your very soul. It’s like listening to a character in a dream. You can hear them and understand but you are never quite sure what they mean. Partly scary, partly uplifting, the CD is unusual in that it looks and feels like a new EP from a band including cool artwork. But it’s poetry. This really is poetry with a difference.

I have seen poetry performed a few times. It was ok but pretty dull and bourgeois. I was always attracted to beat poetry as it contained a raw energy. And who can resist the romantic image of the beat poets from 50’s America, travelling, drinking, free to create and thereby define a generation. Ok, I’m guessing that this bunch of Medway beat poets won’t be defining a generation, but if you want to explore a dark and surreal underbelly rather than listen to poems about funny people on a train or how the pretty the countryside is then this group might just become your favourite new poets.

7th Adventure Recordings seem destined to remain secretive and have no plans to perform their work live. That seems a pity, but, as with so many Medway artists currently at work, their vision is what makes them tick. Their vision is what makes them vital. Their vision is what is making Medway bubble with ideas and passion. And we wouldn’t want that to change.

Their new CD by 7th Adventure Recordings, ‘Curious Fascinations – Poetry for the Blank Generation’, has just been released and is available from www.themoontheeye.co.uk or www.7thadventurerecordings.tumblr.com priced £3.

Mr Young
Independent Filmmaker
www.themoontheeye.co.uk
www.twitter.com/Mr_Young
www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Short Films of Mr Young – Screening – 26th May 2012 at 4pm – Chatham

To celebrate the release of the new compilation DVD ‘Caged Fire – The Short Films of Mr Young’ – the UCA Pop-Up Gallery, Chatham, UK, present an evening devoted to Mr Young’s short films.

Mr Young has seen 6 of his films broadcast on UK TV and screened at over 30 festivals and screenings over the world.

The event and DVD release draws a line under past achievements for Mr Young who is currently developing two new feature films.

Is this the end for Mr Young’s short film adventures?  Probably not.  Two new short films have already been written and there is a couple of new music videos in the pipeline with up-coming Medway bands.

The DVD release will contain a new version of his very first film, plus a rare chance to see the first ever video by Brighton indie band The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster.

Mr Young will present each film and there will an opportunity for a Q&A with the acclaimed filmmaker and copies of Mr Young’s first feature film DVD East 3, his CD collaboration with 7th Adventure Recordings and the new Caged Fire DVD will be available to buy.

Location – UCA pop up gallery – upper level of Pentagon Shopping Centre – Chatham

Time – 4PM on 26th May

Area – South East