All posts by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Isle of Wight: 30 Under 30

From the 1960’s through to the early ‘noughties’, the Isle of Wight was considered something of a production line for successful creatives. This was in part due to the prosperity of Level 42, The Bees, Jeremy Irons, Bear Grills, Anthony Minghella et al. Thereafter, the conveyor belt has been a  little less prolific.

The sweaty scent of resurgence is now in the air though, making it the perfect time to present a list of 30 gifted creatives under the age of 30 that are worth keeping your eyes, ears and nostrils peeled for in late 2017 and beyond. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below the article.

30. Hester Chambers – Singer/Songwriter

With breathy, Karen Carpenter-esque vocals, Hester Chambers has a simple, beautiful tone that is like marshmallow to the ears.

Ostensibly a bag of nerves right up until the moment she utters her first note, thereafter she morphs into a hauntingly captivating melody maker. Has most recently found a niche in collaboration with Summer festival royalty, the Plastic Mermaids.

29. Sam Morris – Musician

The BaDow bass guitarist is the brains behind the catchy riffs that have seen the three-piece rock outfit scoop multiple accolades since the current lineup was established in 2013, including winning a place on the Bestival main stage by beating off fierce, more experienced competition at an event at Northwood House.

As their status has grown, Sam’s own legacy has continued to flourish. Currently on a studio sabbatical to tour Europe, talk of a potential solo project has been rife around his native Cowes in his absence.

28. Carlie McGarity – Illustrator

Understated freelance graphic designer and illustrator who has romped onto the scene following a transition from retail worker to full-time artist.

In the year since that plunge towards uncharted territory, she has produced stunning images for the likes of Nakamarra, Chelsea Theatre and Duveaux amongst others.

Chalkpit Records subsequently snapped her up as an in-house designer, with her images splashed all over their website. Destined for even bigger and better things as her confidence continues to grow.

27. Doris Doolally – Creator

To pigeon hole Doris Doolally would be akin to clipping the wings of a unicorn. Her illustrations and creations have become a regular feature at BoomTown Fair since 2014.

Seemingly on a solo mission to bring the Dodo bird back into public consciousness, her spoken word performances are one of many other strings to her overloaded bow.

26. Dylan Kulmayer – rapper/music producer/video editor.

USA born, Isle of Wight raised Dylan Kulmayer released his debut rap EP, Retroverted Propulsion, via the platform of Soundcloud at the tender age of 18. Not content with that, the next phase of his development saw him produce his own beats and embellish his audio with punchy visuals, as rough edges continued to be levelled.

Currently at University, Dylan can usually be found on a film set or in the recording studio. The hugely aspirational 21 year-old workaholic has lofty sights set, with a much anticipated follow-up album in the works.

25. Laura Watt – TV Producer

Having studied for a career in production at Cheltenham University, Laura’s story is one of perseverance overcoming adversity, with a heavily populated and diluted marketplace resulting in ‘paying her dues’ as a runner.

Eventually she found her stride, selected to work on several reality TV series, most notably Big Brother, as well as a slew of other production pilots.

Ms Watt returned to the Isle as part of the Red Bull TV team that made a short documentary based around the 2016 Bestival.

24. Greg Barnes – Singer/Songwriter

South Coast Jack Johnson soundalike in flip-flops with a shock of red, ringed hair. Greg Barnes is at the forefront of the Ventnor music community, with his monthly events offering a platform for up and coming performers to hone their craft.

With an uninhibited  soulfulness beyond his years, most recent release Early Summer provided further evidence of a young musician with an ever expanding box of tools.

23. Buddy Carson – Spoken Word Artist/Musician.

Buddy Carson has been a trailblazer for the modern interpretation of spoken word on the Isle of Wight, a genre which has since spawned numerous local acts inspired by his emotionally charged delivery.

Now based in Bristol, a productive partnership with Emmy J Mac (of ‘The Voice’ fame) saw the duo become a fixture at events all over the UK, with the pair later focusing predominantly on mentoring youngsters keen to work in one of the creative industries.

22. Liam Burke – Singer/Songwriter

Liam Burke is a product of the Isle of Wight music college, Platform One, who has found himself touted for breakout stardom since he covered Stevie Wonders’ Fingertips aged just 14 at a Christmas show in New Orleans.

He specialises not in a specific genre, preferring instead to mesh dozens of them together to create something entirely original – often with instruments as far-fetched as rusty salad spoons, zeusaphones and stolen road signs.

21. Ivana Popov – Poet/Songwriter

Born in the Bahamas to French and English parents, Ivana somehow navigated a path to the Isle of Wight, before hitch-hiking across the globe by boat in order to escape again.

She didn’t stay away for long thankfully, and upon her return quickly became notorious for her amusing, offbeat poems and quirky ukulele ditties, including an album of animal related tracks that she occasionally dusts off at PETA meetings.

20. Lewis Shepperd – Musician

Lewis Shepperd is a musician from the isle of wight with a degree in commercial music. He has performed at various festivals and venues such as the Isle Of Wight Festival, Bestival, Camp Bestival and the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

He has been compared to Prince, not only for his lavish leopard skin robes and insistence on yellow M&M’s in his dressing room, but also a deeply intoxicating voice and elaborate range of self-penned tracks.

His debut single ‘Me’ has to date received 16,519 views on YouTube… 16,520 now that I’ve watched it. Despite this success he remains the same humble person that he was during his first job as a moonshiner in 2013.

19. Tina Edwards – TV Presenter

Tina Edwards fell into TV Presenting almost by accident. She had gone to London for a separate audition, when she was spotted and placed on a presenting course due to the huge potential those television executives present had seen in her.

Starting out with street interviews (some of those interviewed more articulate than others), she was able to hone her craft and become a producer for Balcony TV in London. Wouldn’t look out of place as the host of Channel Four’s Streetmate.

18. Isabelle L’Amour – Burlesque Performer/Model

Isabelle L’Amour, known to at least half a dozen people as the ‘South Coast Sweetheart’, is a UK based and award-winning international Burlesque & Cabaret performer, teacher and model.

Creator of The Blue Moon Revue, her show has had sell-out residency across the UK and hosted some of the biggest names in Burlesque, with Kitten de Ville, Natsumi Scarlett & Domino Barbeau all gracing her stage at various times.

17. Sarah Murphy – YouTube Fashion Vlogger

Sarah’s classic, old Hollywood beauty and style really shows through on her various social media platforms. She films everything from hauls to ‘look books’ for her viewers to enjoy.

The fashion vlogger, already boasting around 6,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, is also known for benevolent acts of kindness, something borne out in her life philosophy: “I always try to make someone smile every day, it’s so important to be positive in life and to be kind to people”

16. Jazzy Heath – Musician/Music Producer

With the Summer release of new single ‘My Little Island‘ proving her most well received to date, Jazzy Heath shows no signs of reducing the relentless pace that has raised her profile as a musician around the UK.

Performing sporadically with her band, Pretty Censored, the 20 year-old and her entourage have come a long, long way together since the hard times and the good – the good being when she was part of the backing chorus for Fatboy Slim at the Bestival in 2011 (the gag’s a stretch I’ll admit.)

Also a talented beat maker, she has yet to decide which path to focus on post-studies.

15. Kes Eatwell – Recording Artist

Kestrel ‘Kes’ Eatwell is one of the most capricious artists to emerge from Isle of Wight music circles in recent years.

He turned down a set at Bestival in 2016 after winning a local spoken word competition, an incredibly bold act that paved the way for him to head to London in search of greater glory.

A proficient freestyler, Kes has wit and vocal dexterity in equal measure to ensure that it’s surely only a matter of time before he’s forged a successful career within the orbit of hip-hop.

14. Charlotte Tobitt – Journalist

Charlotte (far right) during her Yoppul days.

Charlotte Tobitt is something of a triple-threat creative force, graduating from Kingston University (In London, not Jamaica) with First Class Honours in journalism, having already secured a music qualification from the University of York, as well as becoming one of the UK’s premier cat whisperers in 2015.

Working her way up the ranks of the Surrey Advertiser via the Isle of Wight County Press’s youth offshoot, Yoppul, Charlotte secured the MA journalist of the year gong at Kingston in late 2014.

13. Jack Whitewood – Entrepreneur

The brains behind the Ventnor Fringe Festival, Jack has been a regular champion for the Isle of Wight arts, hosting and funding an abundance of productions from his HQ at Ventnor Exchange.

The festival itself has evolved from humble beginnings in 2010 to a week long explosion of luminosity, sound and general quirkiness that envelops the entirety of the seaside town, temporarily transforming it into a postcard of the French Riviera.

12. Olly Fry – Actor/Playwright

Olly Fry is ostensibly a man who never sleeps – not far beyond his juvenescence, he has written, directed and starred in more than 40 plays already, and could conceivably follow in the thespian footsteps of fellow Isle of Wighter, Jeremy Irons.

His critically acclaimed one man show, I Hooky, an undercard highlight of the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival, served as a brutally candid, anarchic glimpse into the past tribulations of an actor sufficiently bold to blend bleak with blissful.

11. Charlie Jones – Singer/Songwriter

Raised on the Isle of Wight under the guidance of a high profile musician father, Charlie Jones was classically trained but discovered a love of electo whilst studying law in France.

Part of indie-electo quintet, Nakamarra, (a band named after this song by Hiatus Kaiyote) she’s blessed with a full vocal range, and her performances are theatrically expressive. Temptress, the band’s latest single, is an ode to innocence and expectation.

10. Alex Vanblaere – Music Man/Fashionista

Eccentric, wackily maned bassist who is the heartbeat of math-pop starlets Signals. Alex expertly tip-toes along the line between hipster and flower child, without ever coming across as contrived or overly rehearsed.

To fixate on this personality and musk would be to underestimate the prowess of his playing, which has seen him compared to legendary funkster Bootsy Collins.

9. Nye Russell-Thompson – Actor/Playwright

An engaging and charming personality who has performed his shows all across the UK, receiving a nomination for a Filmflare Award for his hugely popular Stammermouth show.

This spirited one man presentation focuses on the difficulty of suffering with a stammer by utilising a brew of dark humour, hopelessness and a concise storyline arch – all exquisitely showcased without ever threatening to cross into melancholy.

8. Annabelle Spencer – Musician

Annabelle Spencer is 17 years old; she plays 7 instruments, writes her own music, teaches and has a voice that sends chills down the stiffest spine… I’m not jealous, I’m honestly not – those are tears of joy.

In addition to a range of her own material (including recent release Feather on the Tide), she covers all genres from bubble gum pop to rock depending on the mood, all of this whilst still studying at Platform One and maintaining follicles that would make Macy Gray envious.

7. Rhain – Musician

The artist formerly known as Babooshka Baba Yaga has come a long way since her initial live piano recitals which began to spread her name along the south coast, thereafter finding her calling as an operatic solo artist and integral member of the Plastic Mermaids.

It is with the latter that she broached the local mainstream, with their rousing Magnum Opus, Beyond the Cosmos After Death, a track which provides an ideal vehicle for Rhain’s extensive vocal dexterity.

6. Sepia – DJ

Sepia, or Theo Bennett to those who know him best, carved his reputation as a blockbusting DJ in Brighton, Bristol and… Brading (as well as other places not starting with ‘br’) and has enjoyed extensive  airplay on Radio One.

Sharing a stage with names as high in profile as James Blake and Joy Orbison, Sepia’s output generally has an uncomplicated veneer, with smooth transitions accompanying beats full of vitality.

5. Lauran Hibberd – Singer/Songwriter

With the afore mentioned Red Bull TV Bestival documentary (see no.25: Laura Watt) issuing a sub-section dedicated to her, Lauran Hibberd’s momentum threatens to elevate her to juggernaut status among fellow poppy-folk music makers.

After recently supporting Clean Cut Kid, and fresh from the Bestival main stage Lauran’s ever-growing Industrial Folk sound hints at a grander live vision, captured eloquently in her recordings to date.

4. Louis Checkley – Jazz singer

An award winning vocalist from Wroxall, Louis has carved out a niche for himself within the Brighton jazz scene with his often witty and elegantly wrought tunes infused by a piquant flavour of soul.

Though steering clear of vocal gymnastics, Louis’s ample range is light in tone, conversational in its approach and, with an effortlessly dulcet lilt, stands out from the crowd enough to earn its place among premier contemporary jazz singers, aptly demonstrated by his reaching the summit of the Balcony TV Worldwide charts in 2014.

3. Dayita – Innovator

A non-conforming human glitter ball who can’t be pigeon-holed by genre, Dayita materialised on festival stages around the Isle of Wight in the summer of 2017, providing a vivid audio/visual experience that invigorated a principally pop-rock landscape.

Her recent single release, Six Seconds, was an explosion of silver glitter, seductive articulation and Pinnochio-falling-down-the-stairs backing beats apt both for nighttime club use and daytime radio play.  Wonderfully kooky.

2. Adam Pacciti – Film Maker/ Online Personality

A master of the viral video, Adam Pacciti first surfaced on a national stage when releasing his Girl of My Dreams video, where he claimed to have been rescued from the zombie apocalypse by a dazzling dame paddling around his pineal, subsequently scrawling a (deliberately indistinguishable) sketch of her and urging viewers to assist in the search.

The publicity of more than half a million views across social media saw Adam featured on a glut of national television programmes, notably ITV News and GMTV.

A second viral endeavour, via a billboard in London pleading for a job, aligned with his increasing clout as a presenter of Whatculture, blazed the spotlight more brightly upon him, before his recent departure from the group led to speculation that he’s set to open his own wrestling company. Watch this space.

1. Sarah Close – YouTuber/Musician

A product of Ryde School’s music choir during her childhood, Sarah Close began posting covers of songs onto YouTube in the late noughties, aged just 14.  Four years later she relocated to London to attend The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, where she studied music and songwriting.

Sarah released her debut single ‘Call Me Out’ in March of this year, which charted at number one on the UK Official Physical Singles Chart, the first Isle of Wight solo artist to achieve the feat. 

Releasing follow-up, Only You last month, her YouTube channel is swiftly hurtling towards a whopping 800,000 subscribers.

Think we missed anyone out of the list? Leave a message in the comment section below and please throw Kureen a like on Facebook!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Hip-Stir: Scotty B saves the day + new song

Welcome to another hip-stir fellow Peace Warriors! A little story about my good friend Scotty B, and a treat at the end of the video. Picture ten little children standing around me and Scotty sat on his Cajon drum as you listen to it.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

The Distraction War

The war on drugs continues apace, with a split between those championing a further crackdown and others who think it’s all a bit of a hullabaloo, Dom Kureen gives his two cents.

Psychedelic alien
Drugs are bad Dom!


T
he sentiments were well morally virtuous but misguided on a plethora of levels, as my girlfriend caught wind of my past experiences with Ayahuasca, a psychedelic medicine first reported by 16th Century Christian missionaries from Europe, who encountered South Americans using it and described it as ‘the work of the devil.’

Renowned for its healing powers, the brew, also known under the names Yage and Daime, acts as a hallucinogenic compound of the Tryptamine family – notorious for creating insightful, enlightening states of mind.

Where my former flame showed naïvety was in stating with certainty a debunked generalisation and refusing to acknowledge alcohol, cigarettes, preservative packed fast foods or prescription medication as ‘drugs,’ a view endorsed by the majority of mainstream media and a government whose best interests are served by demonising anything that falls outside of their constitution.

In addition, to claim that all of these illegal substances are ‘bad’ expressed an innocently jaded outlook, one that had been propagated for the benefit of big pharmaceutical companies, who bring a gargantuan chunk of change into the current system.

Albert Hoffman: creator of LSD is considered the Godfather of psychedelics.
Albert Hoffman: creator of LSD is considered the Godfather of psychedelics.

 

In September, 2012, Channel Four conducted their own experiment: ‘Drugs Live:  The Ecstasy Trials.’ In which 30 people from various backgrounds and cultural dispositions were taken to a medical lab on two separate occasions – alternately ingesting a placebo pill and one containing 83mgs of pure MDMA (the subjects were kept in the dark as to which was the active drug.)

Although it was difficult to gauge the credibility of the trial, due to the controlled doses administered and prohibitive conditions, 29 of the 30 people tested (including a vicar, actor, drug counsellor and novelist) found that their overall experience was a positive one.

The sole individual who reported negatively about the experience was a former S.A.S soldier who admitted that in retrospect he had resisted what he perceived to be a forced, artificial state of consciousness as a result of his ingrained training.

Mind-set plays an intrinsic role in the value of all medication; it’s the reason why sugar pills and empty capsules have cured ailments such as headaches, anxiety and nausea in the past.

Matters of the mind also account for why alcohol, tobacco and sugar are widely regarded as ‘safe’ staples of society, despite accounting for so much illness and death.

Alcohol is at the forefront of more than 8,000 deaths per year in the UK, whilst psychedelic drugs are linked to fewer than 20 – still, a person who can quaff copious amounts of booze is often revered, while one who sporadically dabbles in hallucinogens is too freely labelled a junkie.

‘Vice’ is a website that promotes a regular ‘On Acid’ series, in which an individual swallows a tab of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and goes to an event under the influence, with a camera crew documenting the narrative that unfolds as a result of this enhanced mental state.

Although, as with the Ecstasy Trial, the forced settings are probably not conducive to getting the best from Albert Hofman’s mellow yellows, it is a brave/foolhardy form of journalism that makes for engaging viewing.

The problem with heavily regulating psychedelics and other drugs is that it inevitably results in a surfeit of street vendors, who have been known to cut their products with household cleaning agents and other toxic ingredients that are far more harmful than a properly regulated batch of the desired prescription would be.

There are also ‘legal highs.’ These usually involve self-proclaimed kitchen chemists taking an illegal drug, slightly tweaking the atomic structure and printing some fancy packaging to take it to market, often with tragic consequences – bath salts were one such drug that set off psychosis in dozens of users and were the at the root of an array of  horrific, cannibalistic scenes.

McDonald's: Legally pump out their interpretation of food.
McDonald’s: Legally pump out their interpretation of food.

Then there’s the modern strand of Desmorphine, known on the streets of Russia as ‘Krokodil’, a lethal concoction of codeine, paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochloric acid, iodine and the red phosphorous from matchbox strike pads.

A cheap alternative to heroin, the home-made substance is injected into a vein and rots flesh from human bodies due to its toxicity. There are some graphic videos regarding this on YouTube if you think you’ve got the stomach for it.

Of course ad-libbed substances like these are destructive and addictive, but their rise is largely a result of tried and tested drugs being unobtainable, unless one decides to deviate from the prohibitive laws currently in place (which you shouldn’t, obviously.)

While Kureen.co.uk certainly isn’t endorsing the easy availability of ALL drugs, it does feel that, in light of MDMA’s promising track record as a tool for therapy, it could certainly be beneficial to experiment further with it under controlled conditions.

Cannabis oil is another potential remedy that has tons of research to suggest that it could provide a legitimate cure for some forms of Cancer and all manner of other illnesses. Sadly although it is legal, anything relating to ‘weed’ is too demonised in many people’s eyes for it to be considered a feasible option when burning the illness away temporarily is still a viable alternative.

Prescription: GP's are free to dish magic pills out at their own discretion.
Prescription: GP’s are free to dish magic pills out at their own discretion.

Ketamine, Marijuana and some forms of DMT obviously have benefits far beyond what many are aware of. It is when they are abused that they become a danger, nonetheless they’re all worth trialling extensively.

When you consider the data that’s readily available, the hackneyed phrase of “drugs are bad” is fuelled by ignorant conjecture. It only accounts for communique almost entirely reliant upon half-truths. This phoney fear mongering continues to serve its purpose, to distract the spooked masses from corruption elsewhere.

The war on illegal drugs is portrayed as fundamental to the sparing of dozens of victims each year…

And the conflicts that sacrifice millions of innocent lives just happen to be easier to lose in the shuffle as a result.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Featured Charity – Shelter

When I was a child I was told by a teacher at my primary school that I should fear and ignore homeless people, they could be dangerous or infectious and they’re probably violent drunks waiting for their bodies to fail and a demise that will go unnoticed.

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Hence my apprehension when a few years later, aged about 10, I sat in the front seat of my father’s car as he picked up a man with no shoes on his feet and hardly a tooth in his mouth, driving him across more than half an hour of land to his desired destination.

Suddenly I was curious, the stranger had seemed pleasant enough. He certainly hadn’t made any threatening or violent gestures towards my old man or I, it didn’t seem to line up with the scaremongering of past role models.

Soon I realised just what a horrible plight homeless people face and how many different ways there are to end up in that situation, we’re all only a couple of bad moves from scavenging in bins for discarded bread crusts.

That’s why Shelter are this month’s featured charity, the easy access to information that they provide for those in need of residence is unprecedented in the UK and a cause that deserves to receive more recognition than it currently does.

If you’re feeling generous then please take a peek at the Shelter website and Facebook page, if you’re in fine spirits then take it a step further and offer to volunteer or get involved in other ways – every kind gesture is so appreciated.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Top Ten BBC3 Sitcoms of all-time (with clips)

With BBC 3 going off-air in the autumn of 2015, scores of terrible sitcoms will now likely never see the light of day. In amongst the tripe there have been some belters though, Dom Kureen shares his top ten BBC 3 sitcoms.

10. Uncle (Launch: 2014)

 

Loosely based on Man Stroke Woman’s ‘Uncle Jack’ sketches, Uncle follows the evolving relationship between a struggling musician and his until recently neglected 12 year-old nephew. A satisfying blend of dark humour and heart-warming narrative kept the first six episodes fresh, a second series has been commissioned.

 

9. The Smoking Room (Launch: 2004)

Written by Brian Dooley and starring Robert Webb, The Smoking Room won a BAFTA in 2005 and ran for two series from 2004-2005. Set in one room, the snappy repartee between characters never allowed it to drift.

 

8. How Not To Live Your Life (Launch:  2007)

Hitting screens in late 2007, How Not To Live Your Life ran for 20 episodes and focused on the futile existence of Donald “Don” Danbury (Writer and actor Dan Clark), a man stumbling through life with no clear purpose or direction.

 

7. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (Launch: 2001*)

Although not to everyone’s taste, Two Pints had a nine series, 80 episode lifespan that started in 2001 on BBC 2 and moved to BBC 3 a couple of years later. The Runcorn based sitcom provided a springboard for the careers of Sheridan Smith, Ralf Little and Will Mellor.

 

6. Bad Education (Launch: 2012)

Starring and written by Jack Whitehall, Bad Education centres around the often misguided teaching styles of Alfred Frufrock Wickers and his relationships with other eccentric figures at the fictional Abbey Grove School in Watford, including sketchy headmaster Shaquille “Simon” Fraser (Matthew Horne.)

 

5. Him & Her (Launch: 2010)

A sitcom about a lazy 20-something couple and their run-ins with various irritating friends and family members. Joe Wilkinson’s portrayal of Dan Wilkinson – Becky (Sarah Solemani) and Steve’s (Russell Tovey) socially awkward neighbour, is the best thing in the show.

 

4. Pulling (Launch: 2006)

The brainchild of Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, Pulling was a creative success, even if the ratings were a little disappointing. The sitcom focuses on the lives of three single, female house mates and their attempts to…  erm, pull.

 

3. Gavin and Stacey (Launch: 2007)

 

Ruth Jones and James Corden hit the jackpot when they co-wrote Gavin and Stacey, a tale of a long distance relationship that brings the two lead protagonists together. Ultimately, a star-studded supporting cast outshine the colourless lead pair.

 

2. The Mighty Boosh (Launch: 2004)

After years of stage and radio shows, The Mighty Boosh finally hit the small screen in 2004, picked up by Steve Coogan’s company, ‘Baby Cow Productions’. Although sometimes panned as student-y silliness, the programme built up a decent following and created numerous vivid, memorable scenes for viewers.

 

1. Nighty Night (Launch: 2004)

 

A black comedy, Nighty Night follows the movements of narcissistic sociopath Jill Tyrell (Julia Davis) who has become obsessed with her neighbour Cathy Cole’s (Rebecca Front) husband Don (Angus Deayton.) The first series won a Banff award and Davis, who created the show as well as starring in it, received a Royal Television Society Award for her portrayal of the twisted lead.

Disagree with Kureen.co.uk’s top ten? Let us know which sitcoms you think should have been included or discarded in the comment section below.

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

11 of the most uncomfortable interviews of all time! (with videos)

Many dream of one day being able to mingle with the stars… But what about those times when it all goes horribly wrong? Dom Kureen takes a look at eleven of the most uncomfortable interviews of all time!

*WARNING: MOST VIDEOS CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE!

1. Michael Parkinson creeps out Meg Ryan

Parky’s usually affable nature seemed to desert him when he interviewed Meg Ryan on his show in 2006, with a patronising, banal line of inquisition replacing the usual charm.

Ryan seemed perplexed at what the veteran broadcaster was trying to achieve, later referring to him as a ‘nut’ and labelling it the most difficult interview she’d ever suffered.

2. Bill Grundy riles up the Sex Pistols

Visibly under the influence of several ethanol based beverages, English television presenter Bill Grundy could barely mask his contempt for ‘The Sex Pistols’ and their entourage during a segment for the ‘Today Show.’

Winding up the punk rockers from the get-go, the interview descended into two minutes of cuss words and provocation.

3.  ‘Dr. D’ David Schulz slaps John Stossel around the chops

Taking exception to what he felt was a disrespectful line of questioning, WWF wrestler David Schulz open hand slapped interviewer John Stossel twice, knocking him over with the force of the second blow.

Schulz later stated that the federation’s promoter, Vince McMahon, had sent him out with clear instructions to rough up the smug journalist, a claim refuted by the company.

4. Harry Redknapp ain’t no wheeler dealer!

Having witnessed his Tottenham Hotspur side lose to Wigan Athletic, Harry Redknapp was left fuming when Sky’s Rob Palmer labelled him a ‘wheeler dealer’ in the post-match interview, a reference to his transfer market acumen.

Redknapp didn’t see it that way and fired off a couple of f-bombs, before being persuaded to come back and conclude the conversation with the shaken interviewer in a more civilised manner.

5.  Crispin Glover goes loco on Letterman

Most famous for his role in ‘Back To The Future’, Crispin Glover appeared on  ‘The Letterman Show’ to promote ‘River’s Edge,’ his upcoming release.

Ludicrous scenes soon ensued, with the live audience and host not sure what to make of it all. Some speculated that the actor was tripping on a psychedelic drug of some sort… In actual fact he was promoting a character from another of his films – A fact that a miffed David Letterman hadn’t been made of aware of beforehand.

6. James Brown gurns and sings his way through CNN interview

Having been released on bail following serious spouse abuse charges, James Brown did an interview with Sonya Friedman for CNN’s ‘Sonya Live.’

Rapidly plummeting into a screeching, singing, slurred attempt to promote his upcoming tour, nobody was quite sure WHAT ‘Mr Dynamite’ had ingested pre-show, but he was clearly high on more than life.

7. The Bee Gees walk off Clive Anderson Talks Back

Taking umbrage to a couple of barbs from host Clive Anderson, eldest Bee Gee, Barry Gibb, became progressively more bothered throughout the interview.

The main bones of contention were probably Anderson insinuating that the band were ‘(s)hit makers,’ and making fun of their previous moniker, ‘Les Tosseurs’.

In one final awkward twist, Maurice was unable to detach his lapel mic’ and stood there tugging at his top long after his siblings had exited.

8.  BBC News interviews the wrong ‘Guy’

In May, 2006, ‘BBC News’ scheduled a live interview with internet guru Guy Kewney. When air time arrived however, they astonishingly called a completely different man, also named Guy, into the studio.

Guy Goma, a graduate from the Congo, had been waiting for a job interview when a BBC Executive mistook him for I.T buff Kewney, An uncomfortable few minutes unfolded live for the nation.

9. Mark Wahlberg gets sozzled on the Graham Norton Show

Hollywood A-lister and former boy band affiliate, Mark Wahlberg, appeared on the Graham Norton Show in early 2013, seemingly three sheets to the wind from the get-go.

Relatively composed at the start, he gradually became less coherent and seemed to have irritated fellow guest Sarah Silverman by the time the credits rolled.

10. Mike Tyson gets vulgar for no reason

Speaking to CNN’s Russ Salzberg prior to a fight against Francois Botha, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson didn’t appear to be his cheery self, responding to mild inquisition with a string of profanities.

Tyson went on to win the bout without too many problems, but behind the scenes (not for the first time) things were falling apart at the seams.

11. David Blaine mesmerises Eamonn Holmes

Widely considered the world’s greatest illusionist, David Blaine appeared on GMTV for an interview with irritating tub of lard Eamonn Holmes.

What unfolded over the next several minutes was widely reported at the time to be Blaine under the influence of alcohol and severe sleep deprivation.

It later emerged that the trickster may have been messing with the media, a stunt that he’d been known to pull previously.

There are numerous other interviews that warrant honourable mentions, including Andy Kaufmann and Jerry Lawler’s (staged) appearance on the Letterman Show – let us know in the comments below some that you think we should have included!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Retro Gaming: Top 10 Super Nintendo Games

Retro gaming is big business at the moment, everything comes back into fashion as they say – so what did Dom Kureen pick as his top ten Super Nintendo games of all time? Read on to find out!

Mario Kart

Of all the consoles that I’ve had the pleasure to own or experience, my favourite remains the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA SNES.)

With the advances in gaming that have taken place in the past two decades, it would be easy to scoff at the simple graphics and limited depth of the 16-bit era, viewing it as an eyesore fit only as a reference for how far games consoles have evolved since, with the current power players, the Playstation 4 and much maligned Xbox One, hammering home that point.

Still, that would be to dismiss the simple fun and focus on gameplay that defined the SNES, it was a brilliant machine that was responsible for memorable titles being released with reassuring regularity.

The return of retro has seen a boom in popularity for the machines from the Megadrive/SNES/Gameboy era, as once again those vintage devices are dusted off and given an airing as some sort of ironic fashion accessory.

With that in mind, I felt that it was only right to do a top ten of all SNES games, let us know if there are any that you think should have made the list, but weren’t included.

Please note that games such as Earthbound and the breathtaking Chrono Trigger were never released on the UK SNES and are therefore not under consideration.

10. Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

Street Fighter 2 Turbo

With fighting games all the rage in the 1990s, the SF 2 series found its way to the forefront of the genre, despite the likes of Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct also making successful transitions from arcade to console.

The turbo edition of the game not only added an option to change the speed of combat, it also enabled the use of the four boss characters from the previous SFII game – of which M.Bison was undisputedly the most dynamic.

With slick cartoon graphics and easy-to-learn moves, this incarnation beats its sequel, Super Street Fighter II, on to the list, with the worthless additional characters adding very little to the latter. The only real competition comes from Mortal Kombat 2, but this just edges it out of the top ten.

9. International Superstar Soccer (1995)

As far as footballing games went on the Super Nintendo, most had followed a similar format, with small, pixilated graphics and muffled sound dominating games like Striker or Kick Off.

ISS changed all of that, with big bold sprites and even the occasional phrase such as ‘free-kick’, ‘throw in’ and best of all ‘gooooooooooaaaaaalllll!!!’ spouted by a wild commentator for good measure.

Easy to get to grips with and boasting international teams set up exactly as they had been in the 1994 World Cup, this added new layers to previous carts dedicated to the sport.

Perhaps best of all, the game had a scenario mode, which had matches set up at specific points, with the objective usually to overturn a difficult situation or hold on for dear life with a poor side against the likes of Holland or Brazil. One of these even has a biased referee who sent off two Italian players, so you begin your challenge with only nine men on the pitch!

Interestingly, this game was the predecessor to the more famous Pro Evolution Soccer series, which in 2013 still rivals Fifa as the must-own football game.

8. Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Donkey Kong Country - [Front]

A controversial choice, as most DK fans prefer the second part of the trilogy. For me, the incredible visuals and imagination of the original still give it the edge.

With a brilliant two-player mode, in which team-mates can tag to switch control midway through stages, this was innovative on numerous levels and reinvented a character who had for the most part been reduced to the role of a bad guy in doddery 8-bit games, something alluded to with tongue firmly in cheek during this version of the big ape’s antics.

Developers, Rage, spent 22 years designing this game and it shows. With its pre-rendered 3D graphics and three files to store progress in, DK Country was a must-own title, which helped to reinvigorate the Super Nintendo brand after sales had dipped during early to mid-1994.

7. Super Metroid (1994)

The third entry of the Metroid series, Metroid 3, better known as Super Metroid was indisputably the best of the three games.

A sideways scrolling platformer, which features run, jump and gun gameplay, players progress along their journey by adding new features and weapons as the difficulty increases, making the final embers of play a formidable prospect to overcome.

A huge challenge, with more than enough variety to keep any platform fan interested in the long term, Super Metroid is still considered one of the finest examples of what can be done with limited graphical and storage capabilities.

6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

How do you follow a timeless classic such as Super Mario World? By revamping the setup and letting his dinosaur pal take over at the helm!

With pressure to produce a new Mario adventure after a three-year gap in Europe, Nintendo decided upon a prequel where Mario was a baby, as opposed to the plump plumber that had captivated his fans in the first four installments.

This shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The hand-drawn backdrops stand out a mile and if Yoshi is struck by an enemy there is a countdown to collect infant Mario as he drifts away and whines. This makes it a tad easier to recover from errors than the previous adventures.

5. Super Bomberman (1993)

What could be more fun than blowing up your enemies with strategically placed bombs? It’s the age-old question that most scholars eventually put forward in one guise or another. Super Bomberman finally gave SNES owners the opportunity to do exactly that, with this exciting and bold offering.

With a terrific multi-player option allowing up to four people to get involved at any one time, this is frighteningly addictive with three different modes and a captivating storyline to keep players on their toes.

The various items that can be picked up include a boot and boxing glove, which both add unpredictability to your attacks. Meanwhile, progression towards the holy grail of maximum acceleration and full compliment of bombs means that the story mode takes some time to defeat, virtually guaranteeing hundreds of hours of entertainment in the process.

4. Super Mario All-Stars (1993)

Super Mario 3

Yes, this choice might be a bit of a cheap shot with all of these games re-releases from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but to have the first three parts of the Mario story on one cart, as well as the Lost Levels addition, was a shrewd move by Nintendo.

Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 are the standouts here, not losing any of their greatness in the conversion. The other two offerings are still above par and scrub up well.

With the graphics upgraded from the originals and the music revamped, there is no doubt that here we have a special collection, which helped to introduce newer fans of Nintendo to some of the classic games of yore, whilst gifting veterans a nostalgic journey down the railroad tracks.

3. Super Mario World (1992)

After releasing the superlative Super Mario Bros. 3 last time out, it would have been safe and easy for Nintendo to deliver something similar here, what they decided instead was to instigate a near 180 degree sea change and deliver a fresh take on things in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Bowser has once again captured the Princess and it is Mario’s job to save the day. This time his dinosaur pal Yoshi comes along for the ride, swallowing enemies and using different-coloured shells to acquire various special powers.

With over 100 ways of completing levels and tons of hidden pathways, there is little danger of getting bored until the task of completing the mighty game is complete. The only downside may be the lack of a two-player option, but that is a minor yawp in an otherwise terrific game.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past (1992)

Regularly cited as the best SNES game of all time and among the greatest ever on any console, Zelda comes within a gnat’s whisker of topping this list.

If you have enjoyed Zelda games in the past, either pre or post A Link To The Past, then the chances are that you’ll love this as well. As an adventure game Zelda is an explorative journey of discovery in which players uncover more with each phase of play.

With an original score to rival any computer game music of the time and graphics that are visually pleasing, this is clearly a game with which great care was taken. It isn’t all surface value though, as a substantial dose of carnage and vast array of bad guys to conquer ensure that this game should satiate even the fussiest fan.

1. Super Mario Kart (1993)

So we arrive at the peak of the mountain with Super Mario Kart, the most accessible, joyful and simple racing game ever created.

Where Mario Kart excels is the variety in courses, game modes and drivers. With Championship mode playable at either 50cc, 100cc or 150cc level, it offers the opportunity to gradually sharpen your skills until you are ready to face the epic struggle of courses such as Rainbow Road.

Better still, the battle mode offers a two player experience with few peers, with each driver aiming to inflict damage on their rival via shells, banana skins and magic stars, until one kart has managed the three hits required to secure victory.

With the karts all matched up fairly well (eg: big guys such as Bowser have a high top speed and can bash small ones around the course on impact, but lack acceleration and control and Toad vice-versa) there is always a new challenge awaiting as you try to master each skill set.

So there you have it. Do you agree, disagree or are you just confused by the retro scene? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Featured Artist: Sterling Hundley

After a short absence, our regular artistic feature returns to the website. Today Kureen is honoured to share the work of illustrator, writer, painter and entrepreneur Sterling Hundley.

Sterling Hundley 2

Sterling Hundley’s images pay homage to fellow American N.C. Wyeth’s famous illustrations for the 1911 edition of Treasure Island published by Scribner and Sons.

Hundley’s illustrations focus on moments of dramatic tension in the text. His subjects are captured in mid-motion and rendered in a palette of sombre colours and textures that capture the violent undertones of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic text.

The judges of the 2015 V&A Illustration Awards were mesmerised by this book and described it as: “Richly coloured, atmospheric and stylistically consistent”

Hundley is currently Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia.

His mixed media approach combines traditional oil painting with  digital image editing in Photoshop; a technique that, he hopes, updates and repackages Treasure Island for a 21st century audience.

Text courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum of art and design.

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To see more of Sterling Hundley’s work visit his website —> HERE <—

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

101 Great Albums. No.9: Kendrick Lamar – Section.80

Section.80 is an often overlooked part of Kendrick Lamar’s impressive back catalogue, coming as it did just a year before the critically acclaimed Good Kid M.A.A.D City, but offered the first (inconsistent) sample of the rapper’s desired direction.

Lamar focuses the majority of 16 breezy “chapters” upon specific life events, refusing to accommodate generalisation, and thus conjuring lustrous couplets that knit tightly between exquisitely arranged soundtracks.

Chapter Six refers to the unpretentious pleasure of cruising around in a car whilst clouds of Mary Jane pour freely through ones lips (the most middle-classed description for blazin’ up I could muster).

Kendrick Lamar

With a blissfully soulful beat and repetitious lyrics, the song jabs hypnotically at the listener’s senses, breaking from archetypal flow with its linear structure, whilst also containing the requisite chitty-chatty bridge associated with contemporary rap releases.

Admittedly the first three songs on the album, the delectably titled F**k Your Ethnicity, Hol’ Up and A.D.H.D, are the sparkling apex of the piece, and to have continued in the same vain would have guaranteed further accolades upon release.

This is a bit of shame, as the rest of the album has plenty to offer, and had tracks been dispensed with a little more care, the divide may not have been quite so conspicuous.

The good and excellent certainly outweigh the mediocre, although admittedly a quarter of the one hour output could probably have been trimmed without negatively impacting in any way.

Section.80 is a must for Kendrick Lamar enthusiasts, and a definite for any hip-hop fans keen to avoid the stereotypes churned out Ad nauseam through the 21st Century.

The first three tracks and Chapter Six nail their intention without wasting a syllable, while Keisha’s Song, Rigamortus and HiiiPoWeR remain among the young rapper’s finest work to date.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Featured Charity: WaterAid

WaterAid’s history stretches back to 1981, when on 21 July they were officially established as a charitable trust.

WaterAid 2

In the last 33 years, they have gone from strength to strength, evolving into one of the most respected organisations dealing solely with water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

Over the course of those three and a bit decades money and support has assisted in influencing policy and practice to ensure that the vital role of water, hygiene and sanitation in reducing poverty is recognised globally.

Thanks to the amazing and continued commitment of WaterAid supporters, by the end of 2013  they had reached 19.2 million people with safe water and 15.1 million people with sanitation.

 

WaterAid’s four global aims are;

1. To promote and secure poor people’s rights and access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

2. To support governments and service providers in developing their capacity to deliver safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

3. To advocate for the essential role of safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in human development.

4. To further develop an effective global organisation recognised as a leader in our field and for living our values.

 

To donate to this amazing cause please click —–> here <—–

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.