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Shattering the glass ceiling – the rise and rise of Wet Leg

ALREADY one of the most exciting bands ever to emanate from Isle of Wight shores, Wet Leg have exploded into the global conscience during the past six months, with the release of deliciously irreverent singles Chaise Longue and Wet Dream  accumulating more than 2.5 million views on YouTube to date.

The enthrallingly offbeat Wet Leg – fronted by effortlessly cool duo Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale – have also been streamed across music platforms more than six million times, with third and fourth single releases confirmed within the past 24 hours to unbridled acclaim.

Kureen has spoken to the band, festival organisers and others within the industry as we basked in the reflected glory of the journey, starting with an interview we conducted shortly after their rousing Sunday afternoon Big Top set at the Isle of Wight Festival in September.

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The big interview

Kureen: You’ve exploded onto the music scene this year, but how  were the early days of Wet Leg?

Rhian: Our first gig was actually at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2019 on a much smaller stage. About 15 of our friends happened to be there. It’s funny to come back two years later on a bigger stage with so many people watching.

 

Kureen: Debut single, Chaise Longue, was recently released on vinyl, how did the limited edition run go?

Rhian: It was available on pre-order and sold out on the first morning of being available. I don’t know how many copies they produced though…

Hester: Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

Wet Leg performing on the Big Top stage at the IW Festival.

Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

 

Kureen: Were you both born on the Isle of Wight?

Rhian: Neither of us were born on the Island, but I moved here when I was eight and I always say I’m from the Isle of Wight as I don’t feel like I’m from Liverpool.

Hester: I was a baby when I moved here, so I feel like a fully-fledged Islander!

 

Kureen: I’ve seen you both performing in various bands in recent years, when did you form Wet Leg?

Rhian: I was doing solo stuff and at one of the first hurdles I cried two songs into my set, I wasn’t enjoying it. I asked Hester if she’d like to finish the run of shows I’d been booked for and we started playing together.

We decided to have fun making music that was a bit silly and I think we’ve achieved that.

Rhian: I went to a gig at the ‘100 Club’ in London the other day to see a band called Honeyglaze and the lady signing me in asked “are you in Wet Leg?” It was the first time that’s ever happened!

 

Kureen: Do you get anxious before you go on stage?

Rhian: It varies depending on how we’re feeling that day, when we played at the Green Man Festival we thought there would be nobody there, and (the tent)  was full.

Hester: When we saw how many people had come to see us I had a bit of a breakdown. It does feel weird having gone from doing shows with small crowds to these unexpected stages now.

Rhian: We didn’t expect any of this when we started Wet Leg, we just thought it would be small, sweaty shows and hopefully a few people would listen. It was really fun playing Big Top today.

Hester: It was surreal; I’ve only ever been on the audience side of that tent before today.

 

Kureen: Do you focus on the faces in the audience when you’re on the big stages?

Hester: I can’t look at anyone, just in case they look angry!

 

Kureen: Can you reveal how you came up with the name ‘Wet Leg’ or is it a guarded secret?

Hester: We made a really long list of names, some sounded cool.

We then got a bit busy with the emoji keyboard, which it turns out is a really good way to find band names – you can close your eyes and do it with two or more and see what comes along.

Rhian (pulls out phone to show some examples): Cry Donut, Factory Book, Angel Love, Alien Pumpkin… So there are endless possibilities and when you’re on social media you can use the emojis with your posts.

Kureen: I’m stealing Alien Pumpkin.

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Relentless rise from obscurity to stardom…

Subsequent to the interview, Wet Leg, who will be touring Europe and the US for the remainder of 2021, featured on the November 1st edition of BBC Two’s Later… With Jools Holland and have been named by Amazon Music as one of their Artists to Watch 2022, as well as featuring on VEVO DSCVR.

The band have also been announced as ambassadors for 2022’s Independent Venue Week, the annual event which celebrates music spaces around the country.

The great and good of the music industry have been fulsome in their praise of the duo, with musician, Iggy Pop, telling The Guardian:

“When I heard Chaise Longue by Wet Leg I got really excited: it’s cheeky, with a wicked groove, but it’s the vocals – they’re almost metronomic.

“You could ask 100 people to sing it and it wouldn’t sound the same.”

DJ and Festival curator Rob da Bank at the 2021 IW Festival.

Speaking exclusively to Kureen, Radio One DJ and Bestival founder, Rob da Bank waxed lyrical about Wet Leg’s unabated ascent.

He said: “The Isle of Wight has a special place in my musical heart for lots of reasons and every time an Island band gets recognition it’s exciting.

“This year (that has been) happening for a few acts, but Wet Leg have shone brighter than all. I know Rhian from the Plastic Mermaids choir days and as soon as I heard her sing I was struck by her incredible voice.

“Obviously the girls are also annoyingly very witty, clever with videos and their image, and know how to write a very, very catchy song. One of my top tips for 2022 for sure!”

John Giddings at IW Festival 2014

Isle of Wight Festival organiser and promoter, John Giddings, is another to rave about the band.

Giddings was the driving force behind the IW Festival being resurrected in 2002, more than 30 years after it had last been held.

“It is great to see emerging talent from the Island,” he told Kureen.

“The girls are great and well deserving of their success.

“They went down a storm this year – and we have booked them for 2023 higher up the bill.

“One of the great things about promoting the festival is that it gives us a chance to help local talent, (Wet Leg) will go far”

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Influence on/with other local musicians

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight based musicians have expressed their own delight at the success of a band from these shores, hoping it may blaze a trail for other Island acts to follow in their footsteps.

Beth Brookfield, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from the Island, has found herself inspired by the success of Wet Leg and other female-fronted bands from the area in the past couple of years.

Beth Brookfield is one of numerous local musicians inspired by Wet Leg’s recent success.

Beth told Kureen: “The music industry has seen a rise recently in successful women fronted bands from the Isle of Wight making a statement such as Lauran Hibberd, Coach Party, and now Wet Leg.

“As an artist from the Island myself, and having gone to the same music college as Wet Leg, their success is so motivating and shows that Island bands are being noticed.

“I have found myself singing the hook ‘Baby do you want to come home with me? I’ve got Buffalo ‘66 on DVD’  from their song ‘Wet Dream’ over and over again!

“I played the Isle of Wight Festival this year, which was just incredible but I aspire to play the Big Top soon just like Wet Leg did this year.”

Tom Farren, a founding member of Plastic Mermaids, a band with whom both Rhian and Hester have been affiliated, believes the success of Wet Leg is no accident.

He said: “What seems like overnight success is actually two brilliant musicians making incredible music for a very long time in different forms.

“I was very fortunate to be involved musically with them both.

“They deserve everything that’s happening and “I’ll be watching from the sidelines with a sandwich and a beer”.

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So far, so good – but what next?

Wet Leg recently announced details of a UK headline tour, where they will perform at nine different venues in April next year, including Bristol’s Trinity Centre, the O2 Institute in Birmingham and Scala in London.

Before then, a relentless schedule sees them spending January to March touring both the UK and Europe. They recently confirmed they will be supporting rockers, Idles, during their travels.

On Monday November 29, Wet Leg’s third single ‘Too Late Now’ was selected as Radio One’s Hottest Record in the World on DJ Clare Amfo’s evening show. 

This accolade was followed by the duo’s announcement of a self-titled debut LP, which will hit the shelves on April 8.

The New York Times is among the latest titles of note to add to the growing list of admirers, stating:

“They’re one of those new bands whose sound and aesthetic seem to have arrived fully formed, promising exciting – if totally unpredictable – things to come.”

Further tour dates, this time in North America, have also been confirmed for Spring 2022.

In the meantime, both ‘Too Late Now’ and another single, ‘Oh No’, have been made available to the public, with the Wet Leg juggernaut gaining ever more momentum.

Two genuinely talented and hard working musicians, who more than paid their dues, have risen to a prominent position within the industry they love, here’s hoping this is only the start of their domination of global airwaves.

Read more: Wet Leg earmarked for mainstream success after debut single

To find out more visit: www.wetlegband.com

Additional image credit: Hollie Fernando Photography and Domino Records.

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 top festivals which impact Airbnb prices the most

Airbnb owners are charging up to 105% more to stay at their properties during festival weekends, according to new research by www.money.co.uk.

The study investigated the average nightly price of rentals on Airbnb over the dates and locations of the UK’s biggest festivals throughout 2021. The prices were then compared to the corresponding dates of the previous week to reveal which festivals increase Airbnb prices the most.

You can view the research in full online.

 

 

TRNSMT Festival sees Airbnb hosts in Glasgow charging more than twice as much for their rental properties (104.67% increase) during the festival in comparison to the week before.

TRNSMT is a non-camping festival, meaning alternative accommodation has to be found, which is presumably why it saw the greatest increase in Airbnb prices over the festival weekend.

In second place was Parklife, another festival taking place in a city-centre location with no camping available, so it is no surprise to see Airbnbs in Manchester being booked up quickly, despite increasing rental prices (90.53%).

Tramlines followed behind in 3rd position. The Sheffield based festival saw Airbnb rentals increasing their prices from £132 the week before the festival to £185 during the event, as once again no camping facilities were offered.

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.

Listen to band’s first new single for 37 years!

A band, which belatedly found success after being discovered by a New York record label in 2020, is set for its first new single in 37 years.

Cassie rehearsing in the 1980s.

Formed on the Isle of Wight in 1978, power-poppers Cassie split in 1985.

The original line-up consisted of guitarist Nigel Hayles, lead vocalist Debbie Barker (now Coles), bassist Eric Biggs and drummer Hugh Kim Lewis.

Recently the band has been collaborating with former Pumphouse Gang & The Choir guitarist, Phil Oswald, writing and recording two brand new songs in the UK and in Istanbul, Turkey.

The new single, Don’t Let the Music Stop, is due to be released digitally today (Wednesday).

The four-piece were initially managed by Wilf Pine, former manager of Black Sabbath, who arranged an original signing to AKA Records and their only single release, Change My Image, in 1982, which became instantly obscure on release before the band went their separate ways in 1985.

That seemed to be that.

Decades passed and, astonishingly, among a backdrop of bratty bubble-gum-power pop resurgence, New York’s Reminder Records stumbled upon Change My Image, contacting the band about the prospect of re-releasing the track to a wider audience.

It flew off shelves in England, Japan and the US.

Reminder Records were keen to release more of the band’s original material, but it was assumed it had all been destroyed in a fire at Hugh’s house.

Thankfully, Debbie delved into her attic and discovered music tapes from numerous recording studios in the early 1980s.

These long-lost tracks were subsequently released on Christmas Eve, 2020 as new chapters continue to be written for a band basking in the light of belated success.

Don’t Let the Music Stop is available to purchase at www.reminderrecords.com and across all streaming platforms.

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.

Young cancer survivor conquers epic 500-mile charity cycle challenge

A 19-year-old charity cyclist has conquered his challenge of riding almost 500 miles from Largs in Scotland to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, only three years after receiving a stem cell transplant to treat Hodgkin lymphoma.

Nicholas Earley, who was first treated for cancer in 2017 and relapsed the following year, achieved the epic feat alongside older brother Matthew, with the pair arriving back on the IW on Friday (September 3rd), just six days after departing the west coast of Scotland.

The brothers were fundraising for the East Cowes-based Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust; the Piam Brown Ward; the Wessex Children’s Cancer Unit at University Hospital Southampton; and Teenage Cancer Trust, which all supported Nicholas during and after his treatment.

So far, they have raised almost £4,400, smashing their £3,000 target.

Nicholas and Matthew Earley.

Nicholas said: “That first sailing trip was amazing, I got a bit of confidence back, it was a good fun week in and around the Solent. I just wanted to give back to some of the charities that have helped me, including the Trust.

“Whenever there was a hill or a challenge, we just made it funny, trying to take the dampener off the whole scenario. Also having music in one ear, just to help us get through it, and obviously everywhere was new too, so that kept us going.”

Nicholas and Matthew enjoyed an emotional ‘homecoming’ as the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust put out the bunting and hosted around 30 of the brothers’ family, friends and supporters, who gathered outdoors at East Cowes Marina to welcome them back on Friday.

To celebrate Nicholas’ achievements, you can still donate to his Just Just Giving page or find out more about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust online.

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.

From Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight — the best places to find buried treasure in UK

With 8,775 pieces of buried treasure being found in the UK since 2012, where are you most-likely to discover hidden treasure around the UK?

The team at Jewellery Box has used UK government data on treasure and portable antiques statistics to find the number of treasure and portable antiques discovered in and around the UK since 2012 – and Isle of Wight is the best place to find buried treasure.

You can view the full research here.

What has the research revealed?

💎 The Isle of Wight is the best place to discover buried treasure, with 129.3 finds on the island per 100,000 people since 2012.

💎 Norfolk is the second best place to find buried treasure, with 100.3 finds per 100,000 people since 2012.

💎 Dorset is the third best place to find buried treasure, with 87.2 finds per 100,000 people since 2012.

💎 The county with the most finds overall is Norfolk, with 917 finds since 2012, followed by Suffolk with 581 and Essex with 570.

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.

Extinction Rebellion women break windows in climate statement at ‘world’s worst bank’

Eight women lined up at the European office of JP Morgan in Canary Wharf earlier this week to break two windows with hammers and chisels.

Wearing all black, the women used painted hammers with the words ‘life’, ‘love’ and ‘care’ on them to break glass at what Extinction Rebellion has labelled the “world’s worst bank.”

Before doing so they stuck stickers to the windows that read ‘In case of climate emergency, break glass’.

Care was taken to make sure no one inside or nearby the building was put at risk of harm.

After the glass was broken, the women sat down in front of the bank in a circle and waited for the police to arrive. They were wearing patches that read ‘deeds not words’ and ‘stop the harm.’

London’s Canary Wharf.

Wednesday’s action is the continuation of a campaign by people taking similar acts of careful and deliberate property damage at banks responsible for funding and accelerating the climate and ecological emergency.

Barclays, HSBC and JP Morgan have been targeted to highlight the banks’ respective business models, which the group says is pushing the planet to breaking point.

Sally Davidson, who took part in the action, said: “Climate change and the extraction of fossil fuels are causing untold damage to people’s lives and livelihoods, and damage to a pane of glass is insignificant in comparison.

“If this act of property damage is necessary to raise the alarm about the greater destruction caused by the financial investments of JP Morgan to public attention, then I am prepared to do it.”

The action is part of Extinction Rebellion’s Impossible Rebellion, with the group calling for intervention on the City of London and demanding an immediate end to all new fossil investments.

The action at JP Morgan comes after several days of occupations held by Extinction Rebellion across London, where they state that levels of police violence against peaceful protesters have been increasing.

Kureen has approached Barclays, HSBC and JP Morgan for a response.

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.

Isle of Wight town hoping to secure city status in 2022

Newport — the Isle of Wight’s county town — could throw its hat into the ring to be granted city status as part of honours being awarded for the Queen’s 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

A motion calling for Newport to join the likes of Swindon, Milton Keynes, Dudley and Reading in vying for the coveted title will be discussed by the Isle of Wight Council’s Cabinet next Thursday (9 September).

The proposal, put forward by Councillor Martin Oliver, who represents Shide and Mountjoy ward, already has the backing of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council.

In a report published yesterday (Wednesday), Cabinet members are being recommended to support the motion and lead the preparation of a bid.

This would be subject to the Shaping Newport Steering Group agreeing to assist with the application as the council has limited capacity to allocate to the work necessary to prepare a bid, the report states.

Isle of Wight Council leader, Lora Peacey-Wilcox, said: “This bid for city status is an opportunity for us to celebrate everything we know is important about Newport and reflect its status as our Island’s county town.

“City status really does bring greater kudos and hopefully help attract investment into the town.”

She added: “A bid for city status should also be seen as recognition for the whole Island and look to build on the sense and value of community that has been enhanced in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and that will be necessary as the Island works to recover from it.”

Local authorities across the country are being encouraged to prepare nominations for “city status” for towns within their areas as part of the civic honours competition, launched to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

The bid must be submitted to the government by 8 December before recommendations are made to the Queen by ministers.

Read the Cabinet report in full at: https://iow.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s3724/Report.pdf

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.

Adopt don’t shop – new homes sought for RSPCA animals after National Dog Day

The RSPCA is appealing for new homes for shelter dogs in its care hot on the heels of National Dog Day, which took place on Thursday August 26, as it calls for people to ‘Adopt not shop’ for new pets.

Research has estimated that around 130,000 dogs come into UK rehoming charities every year with dogs being surrendered by their owners for a variety of reasons including ill-health, housing, financial or time constraints.

Yet, despite being a nation of dog lovers, with an estimated population of 9.6 million pet dogs in the UK, adopting a dog is not always an immediate choice with many turning to breeders to purchase a pet.

Only 17% of dog owners acquired their pets from UK rescue or rehoming centres compared to 31% who acquired their dog from a UK based breeder of one specific breed.

Choji, one of the dogs waiting to be adopted at the Isle of Wight RSPCA centre (credit: RSPCA).

A further 22% opted to purchase their dog from a private seller (PDSA PAW report May 2021).

As part of its rehoming process, the charity ensures the animals in its care have been fully assessed by a vet and provided with any treatment before they are adopted.

The dogs are also neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and wormed.

The charity operates a careful rehoming process to ensure both the animals in its care and those seeking to adopt are the perfect matches and receive the right help and support.

More information can be found at www.rspca.org.uk/rehomepet/process

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.

Police warn of several new scams for Isle of Wight

Police have issued a scam warning for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this week.

High value items online

Police are urging those selling high value electrical items online, particularly on Facebook Marketplace, to be vigilant following reports of people pretending to be ‘buyers’ and walking away with the goods after convincing the seller they have paid via bank transfer.

There have been a total of 21 incidents since August 14 across Hampshire.

Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, a drone and a watch are amongst the items stolen, ranging in price from £370 to £3400.

Those pretending to be ‘buyers’ have answered a seller’s advert quickly and when they have turned up to collect the items, they have convinced the buyer they have paid by showing the transfer on a banking app.

Be wary when selling items online.

When the sellers have said they can’t see the money in their account, the ‘buyers’ have convinced them it will appear soon and have left with the goods.

On some occasions, the ‘buyers’ have taken a photo of the seller on their doorstep and asked them to produce ID.

Advice for online sellers

Always check and be completely satisfied the money is in your bank account before you hand over the goods. Genuine buyers will accept that this is correct practice

Have someone with you at home when prospective buyers attend, or arrange to meet them in a public place

You do not need to show anyone ID. There should be no reason to pass over your personal details / ID to a prospective buyer

If you believe someone has attempted to scam you in this way, please try and note down a description of the people involved or vehicle they travelled in and make a report.

Report any suspicious activity via our online reporting tool https://orlo.uk/TnxF1

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.

Where to rent? Cheapest UK towns and cities revealed

New research shows that rental demand vs supply is up across the UK’s 50 largest towns and cities.

 With lockdown restrictions now removed entirely, many people are using the opportunity to re-evaluate their lifestyles and look for a new start.

Brighton has seen the biggest increase in demand vs supply (up 101% year on year), followed by Poole and Edinburgh, both increasing by 81%.

The new study shows an increase in rental prices across the UK.

In fact, all of the top 50 UK towns & cities have seen an increase in demand vs supply year on year (YOY). It’s a similar story across London too, with demand vs supply up 71% across the city.

To help people navigate their next big move, SpareRoom has released an affordability guide for key UK towns and cities.

These range from average room rents under £400 a month in Liverpool (£395) and Huddersfield (£365) to London, where average rents in some areas reach almost £900 a month.

The full list has been made available to Kureen, and can be viewed here.

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director, commented:

“The past 18 months have totally changed our attitudes to work.

“The coming months will hold some changes in terms of how and where we want to live. That could be great news for some towns and cities, that have historically suffered from a skills drain, as young people head for bigger cities.

“We may find, when we look back on this period, that Covid and remote working did more to rebalance the economy across the UK than any government initiative did. It might be one of the positive changes to come out of what’s been a tough 18 months.”

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.