Album review: TEN by Toolroom Records

Published by Press Association


VIDEO: Toolroom Ten: Launching Toolroom Records

Rags-to-riches house label Toolroom Records are celebrating their 10th birthday – and they’re not the only ones at the party.

A triple CD ‘greatest hits’ collection features some of co-founder Mark Knight’s best work, including his groundbreaking remixes of Florence and the Machine’s You’ve Got the Love and Laurent Garnier’s The Man with the Red Face, as well as an array of jaw-clenching beats and bleeps by the likes of Faithless, Todd Terry and Digitalism.

To some it’ll be just another summer dance music compilation, but make no mistake – Ten demonstrates that Toolroom’s hands are among the safest in the realm of commercial house.



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The Scene Reeked of a French Romance, But without the Cameras or Background Music It Wasn’t the Same

We fell into an embrace and caught our breaths. I pushed my face a little further into the pillow and the adrenaline drained away, leaving behind a trace of something that wasn’t quite melancholy. Sweat cooled and dried on our entangled bodies. Her chest rose and fell. Beneath my left arm, her pulse fluttered. I silently counted the beats.

I realised that every bodily twitch signified our feelings towards each other. The desire to retain personal space, or the mutual comfort of contact. I thought about this after my toes stroked hers under the sheets. Did she wonder what I was thinking? Did I care?

The giggles and grins in the club. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The back seat of the taxi. It was supposed to feel empty. The drunken stumble through the front door. It was supposed to feel like nothing. The lamp knocked from the table. It was supposed to be punishing. What had we done? What had happened here? What was happening now? And what did it mean? I shut my eyes tightly, my head buried deeper in the pillow, and grimaced. I wanted to be asleep. I was already kind of pretending.

My arm brushed her pale ribbed skin and fell onto the crumpled bedsheets when she sat up and fumbled around for something, making the bed’s springs squeak. She unzipped her bag and got out of bed. Keys jangled. What was she doing? Was she leaving? I could feel her, still.

I took my head away from the pillow and looked at her. A rolled cigarette hung from her mouth as she pulled on her sweater and climbed into her jeans. Her blue Eastern European eyes glimmered like icy jewels. Why wasn’t she looking at me?

The scene reeked of a French romance, but without the cameras or background music it wasn’t the same. The room was big and quiet.

“Please,” I said.

She tied back her hair and picked up her jacket from the floor.

“Just stay, won’t you? Stay the night. Please.”

I covered myself with the duvet, realising that most of my body had been exposed for a while. She wasn’t looking at me anyway.

“Can’t stay,” she said.

Buckling her bag, she walked across to the bedroom door and opened it.

“Work in morning,” she said, and left.

I stayed up until it got light, watching the curtains quiver in the breeze and recalling the sound of her fading footsteps.


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Edinburgh Festival | Theatre preview: Whatever Gets You Through the Night @ The Queens Hall

Published by METRO

Until 25 August, 7.30pm/10.30pm, £13.50-16.50, The Queen’s Hall (V72), Edinburgh.
Tel: 0131 668 2019. www.thequeenshall.net

VIDEO: Whatever Gets You Through The Night: Edinburgh Fringe 2013 (Trailer 3)

Worrying about the future. Reading books abysmally slowly. Subconsciously browsing the social profiles of people I never liked or barely knew at school. Dreaming about being in soap operas. Googling abstract nouns. Going to the bathroom every once in a while. Trust me – these days, what I get up to past my bedtime is about as uninteresting to you as sex is to pandas.

But there are other people with lives more remarkable than mine whose activities in the wee hours are the very focus of Whatever Gets You Through the Night – a multi-disciplinary live event taking place at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall this week.

Part of the 2013 Made in Scotland showcase, this inspired production incorporates music, theatre, cabaret and circus as it shines a spotlight on the country during its most vulnerable and revealing time – between midnight and 4am.

“We are really excited to be bringing Whatever Gets You Through The Night to the Fringe,” said writer and director Cora Bissett, who by the way is no stranger to festival success, having scooped every major award in 2010 with her sex-trafficking drama Roadkill.

She added: “It showcases the diversity and breadth of writing and songwriting talent across Scotland, as well as incredible acting, dancing and circus skills – all woven together into one big, gorgeous, complex, funny, touching tapestry.”

90 minutes is all it takes to portray the fantastic contrasts of this fair land in bedazzling fashion.

A heartfelt goodbye on the shores of Loch Lomond, a love affair between two people who’ve only met on Skype, a stoner going through a fit of paranoia, a man searching for a lover in the ‘palace of light’ and revellers getting their hands on treasured trays of chips and cheese are among the late-night tales told by a selection of lost souls, party animals and dreamers in this devilishly funny yet intensely moving spectacle.

“It's a show which is a huge sum of many parts, and reveals Scotland in its many different lights and characters,” said Bissett.

Featuring specially commissioned works by 'post-electro' trio Errors, theatre maker Kieran Hurley, writer Alan Bissett and many others, there are also live performances by the likes of vocalist Wounded Knee, beat-boxer Bigg Taj and alternative rockers Swimmer One.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night was a sell-out sensation when it ran at The Arches in Glasgow back in June, and it’s bound to become a highlight of what’s remaining of the Fringe (how quickly has this month gone?) before it goes on a nationwide tour.

Therefore, it’s your duty to catch this masterpiece while it’s on your doorstep.


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In Howl Woods

Everything smelled of grass. The bottom of her sleeping bag, her hair, all of her clothes, even the stuff she hadn’t unpacked. It was everywhere. At least twice in the night she’d climbed over girls’ bodies on her way to the outside toilet, and had awoken that morning with her eyes crusty and an ache in her neck and left shoulder. She brushed down her combat shorts and stood up in the tent’s doorway. And stretched. Imitating the nonchalance of the others, whom she supposed probably felt similar discomfort, she coped.

The Brownies had spent their first night in Howl Woods. Daisy was in the Fox Group with the likes of Hannah Crosby and Georgina Matlock, who had been appointed leaders on account of being older. Daisy knew they’d been going through her stuff, but she’d said nothing. She was too young to have her complaints taken seriously.

Wiping her nose on her yellow jumper, she stood with the other girls as they waited for Brown Owl to fasten the flag to the pole and begin the morning meeting. Overgrown shrubs marked the end of the field, and that’s where tents were. They were small – both from a distance, and considering the number of other girls who’d slept together inside them. Daisy’s was second from the left. From her place in the circle, she saw that its entrance hadn’t been closed properly. A waterproof coat lay on the damp, trampled turf just outside the doorway, fluttering against the old white canvas flap. She thought of her dear grandma, who tended to spend the end-of-summer weeks casually swatting flies and humming songs while the radio in the corner of her kitchen played soft voices. The smell of baking, the cat’s curiosity. Daisy just wanted to sit there with her grandma, eat her cupcakes and talk about school. She didn’t want to be in Howl Woods with mean people. The coat was her grandma’s.

The wind side-parted Daisy’s hair as Brown Owl barked announcements. Two supervisors shared what was clearly an adult joke, their cold laughter making them appear less approachable. One of them tied her streaky blonde hair back tight and looked Daisy right in the eye.

Daisy straightened her posture so she wouldn’t be picked on. Over the other side of the circle she saw Mary and Annie whispering and smiling, and tried to make eye contact with them so they’d feel like she was also in on whatever they were in on.

“After breakfast you’ll be going orienteering in your groups,” Brown Owl said. “So I hope you’ve already washed.”

Daisy hadn’t. Behind her, Hannah’s mother pulled up her blue trousers upon exiting the toilet tent. The sun broke through the thin clouds, lighting up the field. Daisy stood up straighter.

Brown Owl smirked. “In these conditions, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all,” she said. “It’s a perfect day.”

The sun disappeared and the wind returned before Brown Owl finished her sentence. Mary looked over at Daisy and smiled. They lost eye contact when Annie said something to Mary, and in that moment, Daisy understood that Mary didn’t know how unhappy she was to be there. She wished Mary and Annie hadn’t been so lucky as to be placed in the same tent. She wanted Brown Owl to pick on them for talking. Daisy recalled how, whenever the three of them walked home from school, Mary and Annie walked together, in front of her, down the narrow bit of the path that wasn’t wide enough to fit three people. Every afternoon. Like it was a given. It was never the other way around. She recalled one time Mary and Annie walked home without her after she had to stay behind in French. They hadn’t even waited five minutes for her. She recalled how Mary and Annie shared a desk in Maths, which also went unquestioned. She wanted these things to change when they got back.

Brown Owl said there was one more matter that needed to be raised with the group that morning.

“I think someone misplaced something last night or this morning,” Brown Owl said.

Rotating so that everyone could see, Brown Owl presented a pair of knickers.

“Does anyone recognise these?” she said.

A few girls laughed. No one confessed to owning them. The supervisors scanned the circle for signs of guilt, but everyone looked puzzled. Squinting, Daisy saw the knickers were striped red. She thought that they looked like hers, before it dawned on her that they were hers. Fear spread through her small body, like some disease.

“Nobody?” Brown Owl said. “At all? Come on.”

Silence fell over the circle. The wind stopped. The sun illuminated Daisy’s blushes when it came out again.

“We can’t start the day until somebody steps forward. Can the owner of these please stop wasting our time,” Brown Owl said.

Daisy realised that Hannah and Georgina must have gone through her stuff. She kept all her dirty underwear in a plastic bag, which they must have found in the side pocket.

“It must be one of you.” Brown Owl said. “Come on.”

She turned the knickers inside out, revealing a dirty mark on the gusset.

“Oh my god,” said Hannah, covering her mouth.

Mary looked at Daisy. She knew. Most of the circle adopted various expressions of revulsion. The two supervisors snorted. Brown Owl paraded the knickers around the middle of the circle, and Daisy tried to react like the other girls, feigning disgust and shaking her head. She willed the moment to pass. She could feel that Annie was staring at her.

Brown Owl stopped to examine the knickers. Brown Owl fingered the label, and then turned to the group.

“Daisy Meredith,” she said above all the sickened cries, holding the knickers aloft. “Thank goodness your mother wrote your name on the label.”

Some time later, way after Brownies, Mary, and Howl Woods, Daisy said: “I spent the rest of that weekend in the tent, and cried for about a month when I got home. Honestly!”

The guy next to her smiled vacantly. It was the wrong type of smile, she felt, for that particular moment.

“It was awful. I’d brought this photo of my family with me to camp. I cuddled it every night in that tent.” Daisy went on.

He laughed. There was more to it, but she couldn’t find the words, and he wasn’t really listening. After a while, a different guy got up off the sofa and asked if anyone wanted any snacks from the shop, and that was that.


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Edinburgh Festival | A Laughing Matter @ theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Published by METRO

Until 10 August, 5pm (not 4 Aug),  £6 (£4.50 concessions), theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (V53), Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 510 2384. www.thespaceuk.com

I used to spend a lot of time considering what my deaf father isn’t able to do. He’ll never know what my voice sounds like, for instance, or how a Scottish accent differs from an English one. He’ll never hear birdsong float in through the kitchen window while his morning cuppa brews. He’ll never be moved to tears by a piece of music.

These days, I try to focus on what he enjoys to the full – and value the things we can do together. Thanks to Hush Theatre’s A Laughing Matter, this now includes going to the Edinburgh Festival.

“The nature of A Laughing Matter is a comic performance which delivers a near-comparable experience for the deaf and able-hearing,” said actor Lewis Gadsdon.

Taking place at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall until 10th August, the show explores the art of the comedy double act. Tickets start at just £4.50, for which you’ll be lucky to get two lattes in some parts of town this month.

“We use clowning techniques with a twist and squeeze of classic silent comedians such as Chaplin, Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy,” Gadsdon added.

“We’re intrigued to bring this production to the Fringe as we’ve genuinely never seen anything like it before. We can’t wait for the audience’s reactions and feedback.”

So it looks like me and my old man’s first Fringe experience together is just around the corner – will you be joining us?


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