Tag Archives: Boy

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.13: Joan Ellis

We’re already up to number 13 of our Creative Minds series, and this time we hit the jackpot by securing a chat with Joan Ellis, an author/copywriter/poet/philanthropist for whom the term ‘Midas touch’ is woefully inadequate.

 

Links

There’s more than one way to skin a cat… and several ways to get in contact with Joan Ellis;

Add her on FriendlyFace
Buy her novels on Amazon
Find out more on Joan’s official website

Click here to listen to more of Cooly Haste’s music (outro track – thanks Cooly!)

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.

Russell Brand: Messiah or Very Silly Boy?

His flowing locks and mesmerising oratorical musings have bewitched and bemused observers in equal measure, but is Russell Brand a vessel for peace or a hypocrite with a thinly veiled plan to extend his time in the public gaze? Dom Kureen gives his two pennies worth.

Russell Brand

Big Brother’s Big Mouth in the early 2000’s was the first time that Russell Brand entered my consciousness. Equal parts scruffy mane, over zealous mascara and ad-libbed colloquy, the erstwhile MTV presenter came across as superficially engaging, absurd and subversively humorous.

Admitting subsequently that he still regularly partook of a cocktail of illicit drugs, notably heroin, during that period, Brand was a bundle of impatient, childlike vitality and a suitable fit for the reality show spin-off.

A stint in rehab (he’s abstained from alcohol and recreational drugs since 2003) and procession of movie roles followed, Brand usually portraying characters closely resembling various stages of his own life.

Despite sporadically excelling on the big screen , such as during 2010 box office smash ‘Get Him To The Greek’, where he took the role of troubled rock star Aldous Snow, he has since admitted that he didn’t feel entirely fulfilled, niggled that there was likely a more poignant purpose for his existence.

This leads on to the current incarnation we see strewn all over television, tabloids and t’internet; a campaigner for justice and peace who has embraced Transcendental Meditation (TM) and ostensibly craves equality in lieu of needles, lines of powder or magic pills.

In his recently released tome, ‘Revolution’, Brand extols the virtues of peaceful disobedience, eschewing the current political system in favour of a fresh approach.

These proposals mainly revolve around notions of transparency from those making affective adjudications from the comfort of green leather bound sofas and analyses the practicality of a fairer distribution of wealth.

Brand’s detractors fixate frequently on what they perceive as hypocrisy from a bloke with allegedly more than £20m in the bank, who campaigns against capitalism from a mansion, adorned in outlandish clothing and replete with impeccably prim barnet, as if this vast affluence somehow prohibits him from representing those less fortunate.

He is also routinely subjected to attempts at discrediting his germinating legacy, with ‘The Sun’ newspaper and ‘Fox News’ particularly fervent about a lack of credibility therein; the former’s attempts growing progressively asinine, with front page headlines gleefully divulging that more than 60% of the tabloid’s readership don’t find Brand funny.

On a more personal level, the campaigning comedian’s cockney cadence became the object of ridicule for a large section of critics, with the term ‘Parklife’ regularly visible in comment sections below his videos, a reference to Phil Daniels’ estuary narration of Blur’s 1994 hit of the same name.

Brand was able to nip this in the bud with an amended rendition of the track appearing on his YouTube channel as a waggish slice of self-amusement from a figure now nonchalant about the inevitable derision widespread notoriety incurs.

An opportunity to edit the ‘New Statesman’ magazine was duly accepted and executed with relish in early 2014, the man who tweets under the tag of Rustyrockets receiving a slew of plaudits after appropriately electing to zero in on the topic of revolution.

More recently appearances among a variety of political heavyweights on ‘Question Time’ and ‘Newsnight’ have highlighted the fact that, while Brand has plenty of articulate and admirably intentioned objectives, there remains a tendency to drift into digressive rambling when he is placed under severe scrutiny on subjects where his grasp is cursory.

To identify these traits as contentions against recognising the transition of a highly intelligent, progressive soul from funny man to activist for revolution is to ignore the validity of his crusade.

Russell Brand never claimed to have all of the solutions, what he is sharing is a glimpse into knowledge and spiritualism gained over the course of a troubled childhood, drug addled youth and metaphysical transformation as he approaches his 40th birthday.

Russell Brand 3

The bulk, if not all, of his idealisms are borrowed from philosophers, gurus and science, something he regularly acknowledges. His goal is not to claim credit for the ideals he espouses, rather to use the power of celebrity to spread awareness and allow those who have been overly sheltered, by design or fear, a glimpse into another realm.

There seems little reason to doubt the authenticity of Brand, other than to mock for the satiation of ego;

The soothsayers will concentrate on his lack of acumen within the political minefield that he voluntarily ambles across clad in shiny Chelsea boots, his advocates will believe that his purpose is to act as catalyst to a long overdue global uprising.

What is certainly irrefutable is that Brand will remain entertainingly forthright for the foreseeable future, and if people are bold enough to look beyond the spectre of celebrity and prior misdemeanor, his message is indisputably a virtuous one.

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 Festival 2014. Part Two: Main Stagers

The 2014 Isle of Wight Festival’s improved ticket sales were largely contingent on the announcement of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who headlined Saturday night on the main stage.

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It was unfortunate therefore, that the Los Angeles based funk-rockers hit the stage more than 20 minutes belatedly and produced a so-so set with little crowd interaction.

Lead singer Anthony Kiedis sporadically took his customary leave of absence from the stage, compelling his supporting cast to produce a scattered selection of instrumental solos that were hit and miss over the course of the one and a half hour set.

In spite of those frustrating elements, there was undeniably a main event feel about the band’s presence, an A-List aura that comes with decades of successful output.

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The Kings of Leon managed to get everyone bobbing and weaving on Sunday night when they played “Sex on Fire” as part of their encore.

The three Followill brothers (and one Followill cousin) had their moments, although ultimately their gritty guitar shredding gradually wore down spectators and felt as if they were just going through the motions, like a karaoke album of Kings of Leon cover versions!

This is the second time in recent years that the quartet have been booked at the head of the Isle of Wight bill and the second time that they’ve been ok, never exhibiting the showmanship to pull up too many trees in their drawn out bouts of southern-rock stodge that rely too heavily on a few prominent single releases.

One band that did exceed most expectations were the spectacular Pretty Reckless, whose lead lady Taylor Momsen lived up to her post-grunge rocker billing with a series of f-bomb garnished observations between tracks, a welcome variation from the usual benign chit-chat bands feel obliged to spout and in stark contrast to the hesitance of the top-line acts here.

One of the most memorable main stage performances came courtesy of Matt Healy fronted quartet The 1975, who played everything from their self titled debut album, as well as a few less heralded compositions.

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Pumping out a divine concoction of passion and melancholy, the Cheshire based indie pop-rockers weren’t lacking in confidence or charisma.

A slimline Boy George fused reggae with old school pop to delight early revellers in the Big Top on Thursday evening, casting aside any doubts that the one time Culture Club icon still has the desire and calibre to dazzle when called upon.

Biffy Clyro were understandably the least heralded of the three main stage headliners and the least memorable to boot. Despite that fact, high-octane adaptations of “Black Chandelier” and “The Golden Rule” punctuated a breathless, well received set.

IOW Festival 2014 Dappy

Concluding the weekend’s top-line activity, Travis had the Big Top crammed for a superlative, affable gig that closed with the irksomely catchy “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”

The folky Glaswegians have a reputation for bordering on vanilla, but gave a hell of a send-off to fans who poured out of the fields following a second enormous ovation at the denouement of their most distinctive release.

On a humorous note, the egotistical Dappy, formerly of N-Dubs, had his set curtailed in its relative infancy, officially for his increasingly colourful language, although in truth probably just because he’s Dappy and nobody wants to be subjected to more than a few minutes of his wannabe gangster antics… And ting.

Looking solely at the three acts with their names in the largest font on the poster, it would be easy to assume that this year’s Isle of Wight Festival was a flop.

It’s only when one scratches beneath the superficial that they realise the immense stature of that which lurked a little deeper.

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 Festival 2014 Highlights. Part One: Local Bands.

The Isle of Wight Festival kicked off the 2014 summer season of live music with a posturing, strutting cocktail which catered for everyone who entered Seaclose Park during the course of the four days. Dom Kureen and photographer Sophie Robinson were present to check it out.

Ellie Price of Signals

Following last year’s disappointing ticket sales and mixed feedback, Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings knew that he had to flip a Royal Flush this time around in order to mend the reputation of a previously highly regarded event.

In 2014 Giddings and his fellow organisers got it right, providing a fully warranted spotlight for a burgeoning crop of local talent that is the most exciting in decades, whilst cramming the main stage headline slots and under card with an eclectic menu that surely had something to satiate even the airiest hipster.

Local Highlights

The “Platform One” and “Kashmir Cafe” stages in particular promoted the cream of Isle of Wight talent, allowing groups from the area pleasingly extensive exposure.

Fresh from their Bestival competition success, Ba.Dow hit the P1 stage three times over the course of the weekend, their catchy guitar riffs accompanied by Beth Ditto-esque vocal interpretations that resonated courtesy of lead singer/drummer Jodie Amos and ensured that they once again confirmed their status as one of the five most promising bands on the island.

Signals excelled in their final set of the weekend inside the Kashmir Cafe, despite front-woman Ellie Price suffering from a bout of laryngitis.

The four-piece, who have only recently returned from a successful UK tour, had the packed venue leaping around incessantly with a memorable rendition of the uber uplifting “Square Wheels” with bass guitarist Alex Vanblaere in his element within the crammed venue, upping his usual ferocity to compensate for Price’s enforced throaty reticence.

Ska practitioners The Ohmz engaged spectators with their customary high-tempo unpredictability and their place upon the “Life’s a Beach” stage was undoubtedly one of the booking masterstrokes of the entire festival.

Dan Duveaux
Dan Duveaux

Pleasurade disappointingly opted to call it a day, announcing they were set to go their separate ways following a conclusive gig at the festival.  It brought the curtain down on a four year stint that had gradually gained the talented quintet a decent following in local circles.

Their adieu wasn’t all sunshine and lounge chairs, with Adam Gaterell’s guitar refusing to play ball for the band’s send-off, fortunately he had a replacement in tow!

Others who stood out from the local acts were Duveaux who were booked to play a mammoth six times, yet still managed to attract hefty crowds until the end and Floella Grace, whose emotional recital left a lasting impression upon everyone who was there to enjoy it – she’s one to watch in the next couple of years.

On a broader level, Platform One and those who come from its conveyor belt have evolved massively during the past few years.

Where in the College’s infancy the output was diluted by a host of wannabe Nirvana tributes, there’s no doubt that the contemporary artists all have the potential and originality to thrive on grander stages.

This was the first Isle of Wight Festival that truly showcased the magnitude of local talent on offer, for that John Giddings and his motley crew should be commended.

Check back for part two, where Dom will be looking at the ‘big names’ who performed at the 2014 Isle of Wight Festival!

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.