Live: Mr Jukes Serves up Sass and Brass

Live: Mr Jukes Serves up Sass and Brass

There’s a rather blurry photo of myself, my best mate and Jack Steadman at Leeds Fest 2014 about 161 weeks down my Instagram feed. We were waiting to watch Kelis, who was an hour late (probably still warming up her milkshake), when we spotted him climbing the tent’s central support pole. When he was finally coaxed down, we chased him through the crowd, snapped a quick photo, thanked him profusely, and then ran away, out of the festival arena, so overwhelmed at our audacity we forgot to stick around for Kelis.

She was supposed to join me on Sunday the 24th, when Jack Steadman would grace the stage again, newly christened as Mr Jukes- but she had resits. What a bummer.

Expecting to miss her the duration of the concert, I was thrilled to return home at midnight, tired and sweaty. I had danced my little booty off, as had the rest of us gathered at Manchester Academy 2. It seemed, as an audience, we even surprised Mr Jukes and his entourage, all of whom were grinning like fools by the time the night was through. Steadman even told us “No really, you are the best audience yet.” The beauty of a gig like that is, the more they enjoyed themselves, the more we did.

After a little routing around and finding out what had prompted this seeming rebirth of who was once Bombay Bicycle Club, I discovered à la his own article in the Guardian, that Steadman had travelled to America from Europe, only going east and not using air travel. It was on this global voyage that he wrote most of the music for his new Album, God First. He talks about his discovery of Japanese ‘jazz kissas’, apparently cafés with collections of american Jazz which was too expensive to own privately. It was here he heard the Grant Green track that inspire the song titled – you guessed it- Grant Green. This song, the album’s most popular single, is emblematic of the Mr Jukes sound; an electronic backbone reminiscent of BBC, and a powerful brass section that has the ability to take hold of your body and make you shake what your mama gave ya.

The whole gig was a firecracker from alpha to omega, but I particularly enjoyed their performance of Lauryn Hill’s Doo-wop That Thing. Perhaps it was the element of surprise, but when one female vocalist not only sassed her way through the chorus, but rapped the lyrics flawlessly, I was left in a state of awe. The talent on stage was truly incredible, each member having the opportunity to freestyle solo, followed by rapturous applause and whooping.

If I were made to pin point my favourite thing about the night, it was probably watching Steadman smile bashfully as we lapped up every lashing of funk and soul that was thrown at us. I’ve always hypothesised when listening to him sing on BBC tracks that you can literally hear the smile in his voice. That night, my theory was tested and proven. His smile was probably the physical manifestation of that amalgamation we all desire; he was doing the thing he loved so well that he was making an entire room love it too. That smile was the knowledge that, in Manchester Academy 2, his music had moved us all, to a literal extent. He hit it out the park.

Article originally written for the Mancunion.

A Movie Review, a Harrowing Message and a Plea.

A Movie Review, a Harrowing Message and a Plea.

The beauty of being a creative person is that things that you see can inspire you.

I’ve just finished watching a film entitled ‘Ask Me Anything’. It’s on Netflix, and so is available to anyone with their own or a friend’s password, and I would highly recommend you watch- particularly if you are a young adolescent, and particularly if you are anything else. Spoilers continue, so if knowing what happens in films get’s you down, go watch it and come back later- this is important. You will find it next to titles such as “Clueless”, or “Gossip Girl”.

The movie centres around the life of a pretty young blogger, taking a year out before University. She is young, adventurous, sexually promiscuous, and as I have already mentioned, very pretty. She blogs her life, first to no readers, then to 400, then to 4000. Despite having a boyfriend, she is having an affair with a man 14 years older than her, and throughout the course of the movie, begins another with a man who is 23 years older than her. She smokes weed with her equally beautiful friend. She gets a job with a Martin Sheen, who has committed one sex offence under a drug haze as a young adult- he genuinely seems nice.

We learn the entirety of this information through her blog.

Her father dies. It is uncovered, via a friend of hers with depression, that she was molested as a child. She starts therapy. She continues to sustain 3 sexual relationships, and falls pregnant. She is indecisive whether to abort the baby. She blogs.

As things simultaneously take a turn for the worse and start looking up, the chic-flick ends, and we hit the bedrock message of the movie.

The colour loses it’s lustre, the voice changes from a perky young girl, to a sad, scared woman. The blogger, who was using a fake name, has gone missing after getting a call from a blocked number. As the viewer, we notice the characters all change, as do the locations, and the general gloss. Her three partners were not all six-pack toting, well groomed men, those in relationships did not have beautiful wives- the Martin Sheen voice of wisdom, is in fact some other man, with much less gravitas and general grand-father friendliness.  Most of the things the blogger said were true, some weren’t.

As far as we are aware, she isn’t found. The movie ends with the harrowing line ‘I ask myself, who would want to hurt my daughter? – The answer? Everyone.

When the credits rolled, the first thing I thought was ‘This is not what I signed up for.’ I was expecting pretty skinny girls, having fun, maybe life getting hard, but then Martin Sheen would give his wisdom, and it would all get better. However, when I realised that I was still mulling it over furiously half an hour later, it occurred to me that I understood the point.

In this modern day and age, so many of us post every bit about our lives online. It’s easy to invent them, but it’s equally easy not to- we can give it all away. Many of us hide behind a fake name- even if all we want to do is let out our feelings. For the bored, the confused, the angry, the depressed; the internet is our gold mine, just pop in an email and pick your own name. Like all things, the internet is good, and the internet is bad. The freedom is good, and it is bad.

The point of the movie, or at least how I see it, is that we question the blogger, we question the people in her life, and we question what could’ve led to her abduction. We question “Who would want to hurt her?”

 Could it have been the lovers? Could it have been the friend? Could it have been the Martin Sheen/Not Martin Sheen?

It could’ve been the people who found the reader’s youth and sexuality arousing, or those who found it hateful. It could’ve been those who sent her death threats for considering abortion.

It could’ve been anyone. “Everyone”.

 The beauty of this film is that the blog seems so unimportant to the plot, just the means through which we get to hear the thoughts inside this young girl’s head. But this in itself shows us how much the young girl overlooks her actions- not those in her life, but her actions online. As a viewer- I too overlooked! She was pretty and her life was pretty and dramatic, and I wanted to watch- where was the harm?

This is where the plea comes in:

I implore you to remember not everything you read is true. I implore you to remember not every perfectly instagram-ed life is beautiful. I implore you to take care of what you do on this world-wide web. Because it is just that, worldwide: anyone with a computer could be watching. And if it helps, think about this: do you want anyone to see the intimate details of your life? (This doesn’t have to be your address; a hacker no doubt could discover that easily enough on their own.) Would you want everyone to?

If you are reading this and thinking that, yeah yeah, you get the picture, your school tells you this daily, your parents follow you on Facebook- I beg you to watch the film. If you were right, revel in it, if you were wrong, I hope your eyes are opened.

I’m a teenage girl, and believe me when I say, I’m hardly different from the rest of them.


My eyes were opened.



A Mid Morning Discovery: Late Night Tales

A Mid Morning Discovery: Late Night Tales

One of the greatest banes of my life is study music.

Having always grown up with a radio on in the house, background noise seems to have been ingrained in my DNA. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate quiet, and certainly doesn’t mean I revel in great volume, but I’ve noticed I am always searching for the faintest sound; like cars in the distance when I’m on a walk, the hum of lawn mowers on a Sunday morning or the subtle thrum of my pulse against my pillow when I’m just about to fall asleep. But silence? Silence is not an option.

So, when I’m trying to force bucket loads of mathematic formulae or historical dates into my brain, I need something on in the background. Study music is a necessity for me.

But study music is extremely difficult to pin. I’ve tried radio, but I always end up listening to the hosts. Put on a song I don’t know: I end up listening to the lyrics. Put on a song I do know, and I end up singing them.

Not too long ago I discovered, through a website/application very close to my heart called 8tracks, that what seems to be called ‘chill wave’ and ‘trip hop’ (genres have never really been my mastermind topic) pretty much does the trick. Music with few lyrics to get lost in, an invigorating enough sound to keep me working, the list of checked boxes goes on. The only fault lies in the lack of variety: as one playlist ends, no matter how great it was, another with the same tracks in a slightly different order begins, and eventually frustration at hearing the same Odesza track for the fourth time breaks my concentration. This is by no means a fault of the website or the playlist curators, but just so happens to be the unfortunate side effect to what is otherwise a good medication.

I was mentioning this problem to my dad when he said to me ‘Right, you’ll have to get into the really hipster stuff.’ Begrudgingly, I feel the need to inform you that my father is what is known among my friends as ‘cool’. He has up to date music tastes as well as his love for opera, and as a result of this (although it was my idea) I went to my first music festival at the bushy-tailed age of twelve. Although it pains me to give him the credit he all too smugly takes, the majority of my music taste spawns from him.

Initially, he sorted me out with a little playlist that he had made for a yoga instructor at his gym. It consisted of tracks that I always denote ‘luxe’. If it conjures up images of Aston Martins cruising smoothly down sunny and magnificent Italian coastal highways, it usually falls into that category. Some such tracks are ‘At The River’ by Groove Armada and, my favourite from the playlist, ‘Daydream In Blue’ by I Monster.

The playlist survived about 10 days of constant play on repeat before I was singing along and yet again distracted. Sorry dad, but it was too good to last.

And then the miracle happened.

Someone on an early-ish show on Radio 6, I’m inclined to say Cerys Matthews, mentioned the Late Night Tales albums and played something from one of them. My dad, who heard this, immediately came to myself (who was listening to his playlist again on my stereo, but this time with my unplugged headphones to block out some of the sound so I could focus on trig) and heralded his discovery. I nodded, finished my equation, and shuffled over to my computer to find the albums on spotify.

After listening to about 20 minutes of the Jon Hopkins edition, I was pretty much sold.

Now, I do realise Late Night Tales is not a new discovery. In fact, it was established in 2001, under the original name ‘Another Late Night’, the first compilation being by Fila Brazilia, a fusion funk meets dance meets all sorts duo from Hull. With the collection by Jon Hopkins being its latest, the next in the series will be ‘Late Night Tales presents After Dark: Nocturne’ assembled by returning curator and DJ, Bill Brewster. Meanwhile, of those I’ve listened to so far, the Friendly Fires compilation has to be my favourite, embedded below.

Another cute little quirk about the albums is that most include a cover by the artist curating the album, and at the end feature a spoken word type story, read by a leading British actor, such as Brian Blessed or Benedict Cumberbatch. While the former is fun to pick out, for me the latter provides a moments study break after roughly an hour and-a-bit’s revision.

This brings me back to my initial point: study music. How does it tick the boxes? Well, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself. Its not all ambient synth-the music is certainly interesting enough to distract me, and there are some songs with lyrics. Yet somehow, maybe it’s the way that the tracks seamlessly blend together, I can stick an album on, set about revision and be brought back around an hour or so later by the voice of Sherlock. And theres enough of them to avoid becoming too familiar.

It seems a necessity to point out, that while they work for me for studying during the day, the aim of these albums is the ‘ultimate’ late night playlist. Fila Brazilia’s initial album is considered ‘The Rolls Royce of compilations’ by GQ magazine, and I can easily imagine listening to it at 1AM.

But I’m a morning person, so next time I’m up that late could be in a while.

I’ll keep you posted


A First Post Full of Promises

A First Post Full of Promises

So, here we are.

After a very unproductive, yet relaxing weekend, I’ve decided to start my very first blog post. It seems to make sense to go over why and what I will be writing.

Having just started my A-levels, 2014 ended somewhat stressfully for me, and as everyone does on new years I decided to change my routine. So as the clock ticked over to 0:00 on 01/01/15, I swore myself to a bunch of wildly ambitious New Year’s resolutions, that I had no chance in hell of keeping. Today, as I brushed the dust off my trainers, it was startlingly obvious I had not been to the gym every day as promised, and pushing the marshmallow fluff guiltily away from me (and yes, I eat it directly out of the tub) was the clearest indication of how well my ‘clean eating’ had gone. It began to dawn on me that I had kept none of the resolutions I had so quickly vowed – not even my primary wish – to avoid ‘stressing out’ about school.

But, as of today, I will change that.

Writing things down has always been a great aid to me, be it revision notes or feelings in the diary that sits by my bed side. While that diary is a great outlet, and I would heartily recommend everyone keep one – there’s something about publishing these promises to a public domain, exposed to scrutiny and slander, that I believe might help me keep them. You read it here, let’s see how it goes!

What will I be writing about? Pretty much everything and anything that interests me enough to write. I will, as I vowed in January, be taking more photos, the blog serving as an incentive to take more care over them. I will be talking about music, both new finds and old re-discoveries I make. I will be keeping a log of the books that I read, and generally squeezing every drop possible out of the sponge of life (that’s a fatherism, many of which I’m sure I will be sharing with you at some point) through the medium I love the most, writing. As for a schedule, I won’t be setting any strict rules, but hopefully you will hear from me at least once a fortnight.

The link below is to the magnificent Huey Show, from Radio 6 Music on 21/03. It will only be available for 28 more days, but if anyone catches this in time, it is an especially excellent example of the magic of 6 music.

The Huey Show

So, that’s all from me today, fingers crossed I can keep this up! Thanks for reading, and I’m sure you’ll hear from me soon.