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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

‘The bomb is the past, Rio 2016 is what counts’ – The Times

In Interviews, Newspaper Contributions, Sport, War on September 14, 2015 at 8:55 am

Micky

Interview: The Cat Empire – Notion Magazine

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on October 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Gabriella Swerling catches up with The Cat Empire’s fiery lead singer, Felix Riebl, on their world tour and doesn’t expect to find a tame pussycat.

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I have always wanted Felix Riebl to invite me to his bedroom. Never did I expect it would actually happen, but more of that later.

As I wait for the band to finish their sound check, I can hear Felix huskily purring the opening lines to ‘The Rhythm’ into the microphone:

“…And my knees were shaking and my jaw was dropping and my eyes were squinting and my smile was growing and my pants were bulging and my hands were sweating and my chest was beating so I cry, ‘excuse me, what is the secret to your soul?’” Read the rest of this entry »

Gig review: The Cat Empire @ The Ritz, Manchester – Mancunian Matters

In Interviews, Leeds and Manchester Local News Contributions, Music Reviews on October 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

By Gabriella Swerling

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The grimy back-streets of Manchester were transformed into the streets of Rio in an underground rave that brought out the snake-hips in everyone last night.

The Ritz – yes, that’s right, that venue oh so famed for its foam parties and freshers’ week snogs – played host to the carnivalesque party-animals, The Cat Empire.

The Aussie cool-cats were back in town to promote their latest album Steal The Light on their biggest international tour yet – playing more than 60 countries and three continents in just four months.

In an explosion of melody, groovy ska blues and humanitarian jazz doctrines, The Cat Empire blasted out their genre-defying fourth album as well as playing crowd-pleasing old favourites such as Two Shoes, The Rhythm and Sly.

Their new album is full of the same emotional range and latino-gypsy-ska as the previous three with the title track Steal The Light, completely stealing the show.

MM managed to grab hold of lead singer Felix Riebl before he headed on stage to perform to thousands of his adoring fans and asked him why he thinks the band have managed to stay around for so long.

He said: “It doesn’t matter what we’re playing as long as people are dancing.”

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NO BRA INTERVIEW – Fashion Soundtrack

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on October 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

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Photo by Heidi Slimane

No Bra. That’s right, she really does let those puppies free. The weird and wonderful alternative-techno singer catches up with Gabriella Swerling to talk digital revolutions, narcissism and sexual fantasies.
“On a date with the devil, the devil asked me ‘sing me one of your songs’, I said ‘well they’re not really songs, more like shouting’, the devil said ‘never mind, I’ll fuck you anyway.”

Perhaps a little more out-there than your other female soloists No Bra throws caution to the wind, sticks a metaphorical finger up to your Beyonce’s, your Joni Mitchell’s and your Lady Gaga’s, and relishes in performing a Virginia Woolf-esque stream of consciousness that flits from various musings to general sounds and groans. ‘Speak-singing’ is, I think, the technical term.

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VOGUE’S FASHION NIGHT OUT MANCHESTER #FNO – Fashion Soundtrack

In Fashion, Interviews, Leeds and Manchester Local News Contributions, Magazine Contributions on October 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Vogue’s fashion night out was a fabulous northern affair yesterday evening. The Manchester event began in Hugo Boss’s store with a fashionista shindig. There was plenty to keep shoppers busy – from fashion talks with Roksanda Ilincic and Jonathan Saunders at Harvey Nichols to Pixie Geldof DJing at H&M and The Maccabees performing at Emporio Armani. Meanwhile industry names offered their fashion wisdom – Kate Phelan’s styling tips in Topshop, Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey gave a trend talk at Kurt Geiger and Bay Garnett shared packing tips at Louis Vuitton. See the street style coverage and industry insight courtesy of the gorgeous Gabriella Swerling….. vogue
Henry Holland: “Manchester’s always been close to my heart, it’s my home city so I think it’s great bringing attention to the Northern fashion scene and that Vogue’s decided to hold Fashion Night Out here.” Read the rest of this entry »

INTERVIEW: MINUTE TAKER – Fashion Soundtrack

In Interviews, Music Reviews on August 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

If you haven’t already heard of him, Mancunian-based musician Minute Taker, aka Ben McGarvey is not only the latest one-to-watch on the Northern music scene, but he has also found the time to lead the ‘digi-folk’ revolution with his glockenspiel and synthesiser in tow. Gabriella Swerling catches up with him for what turns out to be an unexpected counselling session.

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Minute Taker is a multi-talented singer-songwriter and producer whose otherworldly beats have garnered comparisons with the likes of Björk and Bat for Lashes. Ben McGarvey is an unassuming yet charming Shropshire-born lad whose peculiar and haunted imagination is unveiled only when he performs under his pseudonym. Bizarrely, Minute Taker and Ben McGarvey are somehow the same person.

It is precisely this Jekyll-Hyde-esque polite shyness and creative genius that makes Minute Taker’s latest album, Last Things, released 15 April 2013, all the more intriguing. He released his first album Too Busy Framing in 2008 under his own name, and against his gut instinct. “I just didn’t really feel comfortable when it came to promoting it,” he says. “I think because my music is so personal, by using my own name I just somehow felt too exposed, so I decided to find a stage-name that I liked instead.”

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‘Lunatic running the asylum’ – EXCLUSIVE – The Sun

In Interviews, Leeds and Manchester Local News Contributions, Newspaper Contributions on June 27, 2013 at 11:23 am

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Published in The Sun p13 27/06/13

Prostitutes and the recession: How David Cameron’s cuts are affecting British women – The Independent

In Comment and Opinion, Features, Interviews, Newspaper Contributions, Women on May 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

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The sex industry like most others is feeling the effects of the credit crunch. But in a grim role-reversal, it’s not the booming industry that’s suffering but its workers. As the cost of living rises and wages remain ruefully stagnant, increasing numbers of women have turned to prostitution in order to support themselves.

Its lucrative potential to put a meal on a plate or a bill in an envelope has meant that from the depths of these Dickensian hard times re-emerges the archaic truism: women are driven to prostitution by economic misfortune.

I spoke to a member of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) which campaigns for the protection and decriminalisation of prostitutes, without endorsing or morally sanctioning prostitution itself. They told me that in light of Mr. Cameron’s cuts, “every time there’s a benefit cut, it forces women onto the game.”

The sucker-punch effects of the economic climate and the scathing cuts to welfare and benefits are even driving many women who had left the trade and turned their lives around to return in order to feed their families. As one travelling sex-worker who works with the ECP explains, “Prostitution is certainly not the worst job I have ever had. I have worked on the fish market and as a cleaner where I was working for people who didn’t care if we were cold or tired or how we were spoken to. I was fed up of being a cleaner, bar maid and shop assistant, often all on the same day.”

There is a gross misconception about prostitution in the UK; about what type of person a prostitute is, and who could never be one. Many have been thrown out of their homes, raped, and are not yet old enough to claim benefits. Many others are women who are forced to supplement their incomes. As the think-tank The Resolution Foundation reported in October 2011, more than one in five employees earn less than a “living wage”.

Another member of the ECP’s network, a part-time street worker, blames benefit cuts and job losses for driving women onto the game, along with negative stereotyping for the lack of awareness surrounding prostitution today: “Everybody has their own view of what a prostitute is. In reality it is your sister, your neighbour, your mother, that has struggled to feed, clothe, heat a home and provide a safe environment for the people she loves. This is becoming more apparent with all the benefit cuts and job losses. The reason it has been so well hidden is because of the criminality of it. That is it.”

Most sex workers are mothers who think “just this once”, “just this week” to cover a heating bill or make something a bit special to eat. Then we get stuck in something we can never get out of. I never thought the first time I went out that I would still be here at my age. Now I have a record so can’t get another job. It was because I care that I did go on the street.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Allen Stone: son of a preacher man converts to soul man – Notion Magazine

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on February 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

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What do you get if you cross a born-again atheist with the spirit of Stevie Wonder? 25-year-old Allen Stone, a blue-eyed gospel-soul singer-songwriter who’s set to become a big star in 2013.

Allen Stone isn’t happy with modern music, and he wants you to know it. “It’s just so cotton candy and cookie cutter,” the US soul singer says from behind tendrils of hippyish, wavy blonde hair. “It’s all about love and sex and clubs and it doesn’t really do anything – it doesn’t really inspire people or kids my age to do anything – besides go to the club and grind on each other.”

Stone is on a mission to put the meaning back into popular song, and is harking back to the birth of soul music for inspiration. “Back then, when somebody would write something in a song, people would listen to it – and it would mean something,” he declares. Inspired by the music born out of an America rocked by the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, and an affinity with the children spawned by the groovy Woodstock era, Stone is taking on a music industry that he believes has lost its soul. And as he spreads the word, people are listening.

His 2011 single Unaware was a viral sensation and has racked up almost 2 million YouTube hits. The video, which was recorded in his mother’s living room, led to a string of US television performances, with many critics labelling him “one to watch”. True to his ethos, the lyrics of Unaware discuss the current economic climate: “Every day the deficit grows, you spend more than you own.” They reflect our generation’s struggles – the credit crunch victims condemned to toil through Dickensian hard times.

Despite admitting that the Unaware video “has helped me out immensely”, Stone is less interested in YouTube fame than he is in being “the best live performer that I can possibly be”. In a digital age where anyone with a laptop and an acoustic guitar can upload the seven-hundredth take of their four-chord, caterwauling ballad onto the internet, Stone refreshingly challenges the would-be popstars to “get on stage and hold an audience’s attention”. Read the rest of this entry »

My Life in Food: Ken Hom – The Independent

In Features, Food, Interviews, Newspaper Contributions on February 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

‘If I ever feel the pang of homesickness, I eat something with rice. It’s my comfort food’

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Ken Hom almost single-handedly introduced British people to Chinese Food and the joys of the wok. His first TV programme, Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery, in 1982, was a huge success and the book of the series sold millions. Still a regular feature on our screens, his documentary on the noodle for Korean TV won a Peabody award and in 2012 he presented the BBC series Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure. His guide to Chinese New Year is available from kenhom.co.uk and his Chinese meal range on sale in Tesco.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit? Most used?

My cleaver and my wok. Simply because that’s really all you need. I grew up very poor, and we had a tiny kitchen and my mum made everything with just those two pieces. She would make fabulous three-course meals. A Chinese cleaver and a wok are really all you need to cook anything. It’s also the reason why I don’t have anything I don’t use. If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what? With £10 I would go to a fresh market and just get all the fresh vegetables I could. I would start with onion and garlic, because once you have those, you have a base. I would stir-fry vegetables, throw in a couple of eggs and have a wonderful meal.

What do you eat for comfort?

A little bit of rice. I think if I ever feel the pang of homesickness, I would have something with rice. There’s something comforting about eating rice. I love salty things. I’m not one of these people who craves sweet things. I love savoury
things, and so anything salty is really wonderful. So, stir-fry a bunch of Chinese greens, with garlic on top of rice – delicious to me.

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