Album review: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa - The Official Movie Soundtrack

Published by Press Association


VIDEO: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa - Official Trailer

The soundtrack to British comedy of the year Alpha Papa may well have been torrented from the North Norfolk Digital archives, so closely it resembles the questionable musical preferences of its hero Alan Partridge.

In other words, it’s packed with tracks you don’t want to be heard singing while you’ve got your headphones on.

Alongside big hits by Chicago, Bryan Ferry and the Human League are the iconic theme tunes from Ski Sunday and Black Beauty, as well as a host of obscure one-hit wonders and soft-rock novelties.

Composer Philip Glass, producer Calvin Harris and house DJ Jakob Liedholm provide exceptions to the rule, but make no mistake – this record is a shameless celebration of terrible dad-rock.

A tongue-in-cheek release, it was never quite going to hit the back of the net. It's more Longstanton Spice Museum than Jurassic Park.



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Preview: Vintage Glasgow

Published by Metro

Friday 26 & Saturday 27 June, various times, prices and venues, Merchant City, Glasgow. www.merchantcityfestival.com

VIDEO: Vintage Glasgow promo video
(including Wayne Hemingway interview)

You know what? We Brits are cool. The Roaring Twenties, the Flying Forties, the Swinging Sixties, you name it – we’ve played a role in all of the significant cultural movements that have taken the world by storm, generation after generation.

Just ask fashion designer Wayne Hemingway, who is bringing his acclaimed Vintage event to Glasgow – and Scotland – for the very first time this weekend.

Part of the Merchant City Festival, this two-day bonanza will take over Candleriggs, the Old Fruitmarket and City Hall as it revisits the music, fashion, film, art and design of seven iconic decades from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Among the many highlights is the opulent Charleston Brunch, which – in the year of Baz Luhrmann’s box-office triumph The Great Gatsby – is bound to be a hit, as guys in dickie bows and gals in flapper dresses learn the dance while gorging over the most decadent 1920s cuisine.

Then there’s the Soul Casino – a vibrant musical celebration of 1960s Northern Soul, the soul fusions and disco of the 70s, the jazz-funk and boogie of the 80s, and all the fun in between.

And let’s not forget the many free events on offer. The Vintage Marketplace, featuring hands-on creative workshops, hair and beauty salons, and more than 30 stalls, will cost you diddly squat – as will the chance to watch some classic movies, including The 39 Steps and Bugsy Malone, on the big screen.

See, high fashion does exist outside the bubbles of London, Paris and New York. As Vintage Glasgow demonstrates, it’s very much in the fabric of how this beautiful city expresses itself – and if that’s not enough to persuade you into town this weekend, especially with the weather on our side, then I really don’t know what is.


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The Wind and Other Things

The train collapsed at the station with its evening clockwork. Paul hit the button and the doors slid open. He climbed off the carriage and onto the platform, carrying a sports bag that’s buckle creaked with his every stride. Minding his step on the icy outdoor surface, he kept his head down. It was cold. Paul watched the rear lights of the departing train get eaten up by fog as he fiddled with the platform gate’s latch, which was proving difficult to unlock through his winter gloves. Puffs of steam fell from his mouth and nose as he grunted and sighed with exertion. Up ahead, the road into town was invisible beyond the wet patches that glistened in the bleary spotlights emanating from the inside of the station pub. Everything else in front of Paul was very black and still.

Hearing footsteps behind him, he turned around and saw a woman’s nervous smile. Above her lips and nose, which the shadows flattered, she wore a beret. Paul noticed how her slim-fitting red trousers disappeared into her black boots, and her ears, of a paler red, were already sore. She was Vivian from work.

They mumbled their greetings. As they took off down the road, neither was entirely sure they wanted the other to be there. My lips are numb, said Paul.

Vivian laughed. She said she hoped the poor conditions would make the journey a little more exciting than usual. Together they were swallowed by the black.

I would lend you my coat, but… said Paul.

Vivian told him not to worry, accidentally bumping into his side and quickly apologising. She began to feel reassured that he was right there walking next to her, knowing she’d be terrified making the journey alone. The clip-clops of her heels were slightly faster than the thuds of his boots, as they tried to judge the path’s twists and turns – her by instinct, him by experience. Vivian felt like she was walking inside a giant coffin.

Do you often get this train back? she asked Paul. I don’t usually see you down here.

Every week, said Paul.

My boyfriend used to drive me back, but, well, he doesn’t anymore, Vivian said after a while. She inhaled sharply and coughed – the chilly air too harsh for her lungs.

He lost his car about a month ago, she said. I got in at a different time last week, but I think I’ll get this service from now on.

Lost his car? asked Paul. How?

Yeah, not actually lost it, just had it taken off him. He’s an idiot, said Vivian, again bumping into Paul, and again apologising.

It’s okay, he said.

A passing car’s headlights illuminated the distant but menacing silhouettes of a stranger further down the path.

How sinister does that look? said Paul.

They heard gasps of breath getting louder and closer, and sensed someone was running toward them.

Watch out, mate, said Paul. Vivian said hello at the same time. The whites of the jogger’s startled eyes sparkled momentarily before them, then he dodged past quickly and carried on up towards the station, saying nothing.

This is unreal, she said, shaken, adding that they would usually be able to see the streetlights that lined the road.

I wonder what else is out here that we can’t see, said Paul. I’ve seen foxes around here, he added. They feed on the roadkill and whatever they can wrestle from people’s shopping bags.

You’d better not be trying to scare me, said Vivian, before she tripped on something and almost fell over.

Sorry, he chuckled. Are you alright? Paul held Vivian as she regained her balance. She released her grip on his sides, and he stepped on an object on the grass underfoot. It felt like a tree branch.

She nodded, which of course he couldn’t see. And so they went on, the buckle on Paul’s bag still creaking. Looking across to his right, Paul tried to mentally assemble the skyline he knew was there but couldn’t see. Fields of long grass and tilled earth, a power station, telegraph poles, in a great patchwork, for miles and miles. The cold breeze beat down on his left cheek.

You know I said my boyfriend lost his car? Vivian said.

Paul said yes.

Vivian paused for a few moments. She narrowly avoided a road sign’s pole on her left.

Well, he didn’t. I don’t actually have a boyfriend any more. We broke up three weeks ago.

Oh, said Paul. I see, I’m sorry.

I don’t know why I made that up, she said. It’s just everything’s changing. But sorry, I should have been honest with you.

Paul said that she shouldn’t feel bad about it, that he understood. He felt obliged to tell Vivian about his fiancĂ©e. How she left him suddenly for a mutual friend – something he initially took well, but eventually needed to take six months off work because of. He talked about the stress and the drinking, and the thing that helped him turn a corner – a poem he wrote about her, which he later burned.

He recited the poem to Vivian. It wasn’t long.

I’m amazed I still remember it, said Paul. That was three years ago. He smiled and shook his head.

Sorry, that was unnecessary, he said, though he felt better for sharing it.

No, she said, her voice breaking. She was relieved Paul couldn’t see the water filling her eyes. She hoped her tears wouldn’t freeze. That’s sad, she added. But beautiful, thanks.

Vivian’s side brushed Paul’s, then she grabbed his arm. They both felt much warmer. He was relieved she couldn’t see his blushes. A glossy road sign indicated they were approaching the town centre, and that their journey through the black was nearly over. Soon it’s not going to be like we’re talking on the phone to each other, she said. It feels like a long time since I saw your face.

You’ve not missed much, said Paul.

They came through the fog, and Paul looked at Vivian. He saw how the orange of the sodium streetlights glowed on her silky skin, then he noticed something else.

Vivian, where’s your hat? he said.

I don’t know, she said, feeling her scalp. It must have come off when I tripped back there.

You’d think you’d have noticed with it being so cold, said Paul. Shall we go back for it?

Do you really think we’ll be able to find it? said Vivian. He shared her pessimism. Some fox has probably taken off with it by now, she added. They both smiled, and looked into each other’s eyes, watery from the wind and other things.

Well that was an experience, said Paul, standing at the entrance to an apartment building. The light in its foyer flickered on, sensing his presence. I guess I’ll see you around at work.

Sure, Vivian said. She beamed. He wondered whether he should hug her. Turning back towards the building, he reluctantly decided not to. They hadn’t known each other long.

Take it easy, he said.

Let me know if you find my hat, she said.

He said he would.

The key found its way into the lock. Paul yanked the door open and slipped inside, removing his gloves. He couldn’t stop thinking of Vivian. He sensed an opportunity was being missed, and every upward step he took felt like it was in the wrong direction.

He thought about going back for her. For the first time in years, he’d shared a moment with another person that needed to be ended with a kiss. Yet he remained stranded on the staircase, moving neither up nor down, as the moment passed away from him and further through time. Running back out there in the freezing cold, crying her name, was a scene that belonged in a film, he thought. He wondered what smiles like hers, when they said goodbye, meant, and thought he might have read it all wrong. He felt pathetic.

When a feeling in his gut grew, he knew what to do. Gripping the banister, he went down the stairs. His pace picked up, and he felt a rush of euphoria, the dizziness fading. The door of the apartment building flung open, and Paul ran out. Reaching the corner of the street, his arms flailed as he slipped to a stop. And then he just stood there, watching Vivian’s figure take its form through the mist. She faced him.

As Paul started walking towards her, his hand brushed against an unfamiliar object protruding from his pocket. Without looking, he realised what it was.


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Why It’s a Tragedy That the UK Jack Kerouac Convention in Rotherham Was Cancelled

Published by Sabotage Times

It might have been the only weekend in Rotherham when drainpiped hipsters wearing berets would be safe in numbers.

In July, two all-day events were planned in the South Yorkshire town to celebrate celebrate an icon of the Beat Generation, American writer Jack Kerouac. Academics and special guests – including Carolyn Cassady, a prominent figure in the literary classic On the Road – were to be involved in a weekend of presentations, displays and entertainment at New York Stadium, the home of Rotherham United FC. All proceeds would go to charity.

A formal gathering didn’t seem in the spirit of anything the nocturnal, shagging, intoxicated Beats did – but hey, it’s kind of like when anyone wears a Sex Pistols T-shirt for their office dress-down day. I was up for it.

“Thank you to everybody who tried to make the event happen. We met some lovely people,” tweeted the organisers of the UK Jack Kerouac Convention as they announced its cancellation due to poor ticket sales. “Sorry we didn’t make it. You are all appreciated.”

There must be a plethora of similarly ambitious events that have befallen the same fate. A couple of cocky salesman probably once tried to tap into the car-boot market in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Maybe a dance troupe once gathered in the West End to hold auditions for a bold new production – Hillsborough: The Musical.

You have to question the logic of hosting such an artsy event in Rotherham, where things perhaps haven’t regenerated as well as they should have done since the mining days. Rotherham, where the EDL has staged marches. Rotherham, where the Chuckle Brothers are from.

But the organisers must have known this. Why wouldn’t locals be interested in discovering this revered author and learning a little about the life, inspiration and hope immortalised on every page of his novels? they must have thought. We only get one life, so why not take a risk?

The cast of Beat Surrender, a play about the writer, which had been scheduled to take place on the Saturday

I can imagine some of the few Rotherham residents who, for whatever reason, were receptive to their message. School-leaver Carl, who now won’t be driven to up sticks and explore the world, having instead spent the weekend being persuaded to follow his father into the factory. Kate might have met some people who would encourage her to pursue her secret writing passions, and become the author she’d dreamed of becoming since reading the Goosebumps books in primary school. But, because the Convention was cancelled, she just ended up having no excuse but to go out on the lash with her embarrassing friends, and meet a trucker who she’ll be too frightened to ever leave.

And others, who’ll just be left with a low opinion of a town that prefers to perpetuate its own misery than embrace other ideas.

I guess we just live in a world where a Jack Kerouac Convention in Rotherham always did sound like a euphemism for an event that was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.


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Album review: Love Your Dum and Mad by Nadine Shah

Published by Press Association


VIDEO: Nadine Shah — Dreary Town

It’s difficult to know where Nadine Shah fits in.

As a strong-voiced female solo artist, she’ll probably be compared with Natasha Khan (for more reasons than one, as they are both of part-Pakistani heritage) but actually, many of her tracks evoke memories of Jeff Buckley – particularly recent single To Be a Young Man.

The singer's stirring vocals on Dreary Town undoubtedly illuminate her as an original talent, and under the guidance of producer and co-writer Ben Hillier – who has worked with Blur, the Horrors and Depeche Mode – Love Your Dum and Mad is a beautifully crafted artistic statement.

It may be that Shah is too experimental to make a mark on the mainstream at this early stage of her career, but this record should still be regarded as one of 2013’s most promising debuts.



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