Falling In Love

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Steve McQueen is one the greatest artist of his generation. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 (ahead of the of Tracey Emin) and directed the critically acclaimed movie ‘Hunger’ in 2008 which depicted the true story of IRA member Bobby Sands. Now he’s made his way back to the big screen with ‘Shame’ centred around a sex addict living in New York who’s life is falling apart. Most recently he directed ‘Widows’ an amazing movie which didn’t get the attention it deserved. Steve McQueen is a huge source of inspiration for me and I was honoured to have the opportunity to interview him a few years ago for HYPEBEAST, you can find a small excerpt of the interview below, I hope it inspires you as much as he inspires me…

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What is it about the subject of sex addiction that intrigues you? Because during the film as his addiction becomes more and more rampant he becomes more alienated. Although he says himself “that’s an alienation I’m completely happy with”

What fascinated me about it was the fact that this addiction [in some ways] you need someone to facilitate it [not all the time of course]. But I just love the idea of that drama with two people, one wanting something off the other person. And that so called control and also the same time it was about the struggle and not knowing you had a problem in the first place. When I first heard about sex addiction I found it quite funny of course, I laughed. Then you realise this person similar to an alcoholic, in order to get through the day needs two bottles of vodka. Similar to Brandon, he can’t do anything without reliving himself how many times a day. That’s kind of sad, it ceases to become funny.

I think to fall in love with someone is pretty brave. That person could break your heart.  I think for him somewhere along the line he didn’t want that to happen or the possibility of being vulnerable.

Many of the scenes involve a degree of nakedness, physical nakedness and emotional nakedness. Tell me how difficult that may or may not be to work with a cast. One imagines acting without your clothes on not too comfortable?

No, but then they’re not very good actors are they. If Michael was walking around with a bazooka and he showed an AK-47 no one would say anything, but its one of those strange things where the bizarre is normal and the normal is bizarre. He’s an actor and we have to get to the emotional depth of the character. And also this isn’t 1951, a lot of people don’t wear pyjamas, they get up in the morning and they’re naked. They’re up, they’re calm and they’re comfortable, end of story.

There have been comparisons made between Michael Fassbender and Marlon Brando in terms of physical performance. I think people now view Fassbender as arguably one of the greatest screen actors of his generation. Do you see any connection between their acting styles?

Yes I do. He’s a man, he’s a man’s man, he’s bold and he’s physical. But there’s a certain fragility in him which is so beautiful. That I think you can project yourself [as an audience member] onto him and see yourself. He can bring you in; he doesn’t push you away he brings in you in, he’s not afraid to show his vulnerability, which is beautiful.

Tell me about Brando’s relationship with Sissy. There’s a key conversation with Brand and Sissy at one point where she says “we’re not bad people but we come from a bad place” – one of the things I admire about the film is you’re explicit as to what that bad place is.  Although it seemed to me the film had certain suggestions as to what it might be. Tell me what that line meant?

I wanted to make their past familiar rather than mysterious. But I didn’t want it to be a let out for what Brando does in the movie. It’s their past. When we meet people in our lives we know nothing about them other then what they present. And sometimes there’s tales of the past in the present when you’re with them. Similar situation arises in the film when Carey Mulligan sings ‘New York, New York’ to Brandon. It’s the only time when he has to listen to Sissy, he can’t move, he can’t escape, he’s forced to sit there and listen, he has to.

In terms of where you go from here, two features films both critically well received, do you see feature film making as the primary part of your future career or do you still see yourself as a visual artist that happens to work in film?

No, no I don’t want people to allow me to have to choose. I don’t want that, I want to do what I want to do. Next time I might want to dance [laughs]. It’s not even a joke, I feel as an artist or as a person who wants to do stuff, you should just do stuff, whatever that stuff is. There’s no real barrier or dividing line between what you can and can’t do. I just don’t see it.

32 Books+ I Read In 2018

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I’m no fan of New Years resolutions, I find the idea of suddenly changing your ways on an arbitrary date a bit pointless and ultimately not conducive to actual IRL change. That being said the last time I did it was back in 2012 and one of my New Years goals was to read more books. Even though I hated school and got voted “class clown” 3 years in a row (big up Royal Docks Community!) I always found reading quite pleasurable, but like many others post-University the last thing I wanted to do was read another book for enjoyment purposes, that experience burned me out.

Everything changed when I randomly stumbled upon ‘The 4 Hour Week’ by @timferriss – Cringe title aside that book made me realise time is our only non-renewable resource and spending all of it glued to social media wasn’t the best use of it. I used to spend days on end scrolling through feed after feed frantically looking for something I couldn’t find. To remedy the situation I decided to commit to reading at least 2 books per month for 1 hour a day. To make things easy I scheduled my reading time around my commute to work or during my lunch breaks.

And every year since then I’ve upped the ante book by book and I’m proud to say in 2018 I managed to read a TOTAL OF 32 books and 4 audiobooks! I wasn’t sure about posting blogging about it, I didn’t want give the impression that I’m gloating or that I think I’m better than anyone, that’s not what I’m about. But my hope is this serves as motivation for the people out there who complain about the amount time they spend on their smartphones glued to social media, there is a solution. For some you reading isn’t an option, whether its going for a walk for 30-60 minutes with your phone on airplane model, whatever it is try and find something that takes you away from your screen for a designated period time I promise you your life and mental health will be better off for it.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” – so if you’re want make one resolution this year I implore you to unplug from the internet, at least for an hour a day.

Peace Is In Staying The Course

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Wow, weird how life turns out. One moment you’re trying to figure out what the hell happened, the next your forget whatever injustice occurred in the past whilst frantically trying to understand how you got here so quickly.

Not to toot my own horn or anything but I was a huge part of the Dalston scene a few years ago, I used to organise parties for friends, sometimes i’d even pluck up the courage to DJ at some of these parties and generally spend most weeks walking up and down “the strip” in search of fun! But all good things must come to an end and after 5 years of non-stop everything got really quiet. No more random emails for promoters or bar owners requesting my services. Mostly due to my reluctance to adapt to the changing environment and partly due to other factors outside of my control, I was out, banished from “scene”. I’d be lying if i said my ego didn’t take a dent, but I had to accept that my time was up, the new kids coming into scene needed to write their own history and I never wanted to be the old guy in the club trying to be down with the kidz, that’s gross!

During that time I realised that I actually enjoyed DJing, I wasn’t just in it for the clout, I loved everything about the culture that surrounded it, from the design of club themselves to the politics of programming parties, it’s all really fascinating and I would very much like to participate regardless of where it was or how many cool points it would earn me. This lead me down an interesting path where I’m now DJing every Friday in a local pub and once a month in a cool little bar not to far from where I live either. I get to play music I love for a small but enjoyable audience and they pay me for it, wild! And because of the good reputation I’ve built up for myself DJing away from the hipster crowds, it’s all come back full circle and I’ve been approached to DJ a couple times next month at The Three Compasses in Dalston, ha! Full circle…

I’m not sure what lessons can be gleamed from this but I think it might have something to do with patience and genuinely not caring what people think. If you have both and you truly love what you do you’ll get there, trust me!

Or you can listen to Gary Vee explain it better than I can.

The Mexican Godfather

I’m sure you’re aware but incase you’re not, Narcos season 4 is out now on Netflix and it’s just as good as season 1 if not better. It focuses on Mexico and the rise of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo aka The Godfather. It’s an amazing series, I don’t know how they do but somehow the writers of this make you root for the bad guy instead of the brave detective hell bent on stopping on “El Padrion”Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.

I Want to Die An Optimist

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“These were DJ gigs that a lot of people would probably say, ‘Oh, that’s a shit DJ gig,'” she said. “But for me, it was really my school. In some of the pubs I would have to set up the PA myself. So I learned all these different things. I fine-tuned my mixing to a point where I was mixing all these different styles, and being able to do that was such a school to me. I value it so much.” – Violet

I value Violet so much too. This interview she did with Resident Advisor is incredibly honest and full of optimism, it’s super refreshing to hear someone of her stature talk so positively about the most mundane things and how it impacted her career. You can read the interview in full here.

And if you want to hear a DJ currently going through “school” playing in a local pub and loving every single minute of it, come hear me play at Tapped! this Friday more here.

Creating Opportunities for Women

A lot has been said about female representation within the underground electronic scene. I’m not sure what my opinion is on the whole matter but I don’t tip my hat to the industrious women out there trying to rectify the situation in any way they can. From zines aimed at inspiring a new generation of DJs and promoters (Pink Noise Zine) to women led programming online radio stations, it appears as if things are changing for the better. A great illustration of this is the above short film by Jasmine Higgins looking into the burgeoning scene across Australia. It’s a great watch and reminds me why I feel in love with the electronic music!

Kids See Ghost

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Say what you like about Kanye West politics, after his performance with Kid Cudi under the ‘Kids See Ghosts’ moniker it’s fair to say he’s the greatest artist of his generation. When you account for the timeless music, cultural impact and his exploits in fashion, Kanye’s talent is obvious. I’m a huge Kanye fan and I’ve accepted I’m never going to agree with everything he’s going to say and more important outside of the “arts” I don’t care what he has to say. I don’t go to him for my political hot-takes. As long as he’s able to provide awe inspiring moments of beauty such below at Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival I’m good!