On Cycling: 200 miles, Five peaks, One gear, And No Brakes

The CultureJukebox team attended the brilliant #SpinLDN festival at The Old Truman Brewery last weekend. A three-day binge on bikes, beers and beats.

It was our third time at the festival, and great to see so many old friends from the cycling world there. One new face at Spin though was Swiss rider Patrick Seabase. He was in East London to premiere his film – #SEABASE1910

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So, what is the film all about?Sponsored by Red Bull, it tells Patrick Seabase’s incredible story, as he takes on the challenge of his life. This involves riding the first mountain stage of the 1910 Tour de France in the French Pyrenees in a single day from Bagnères de Luchon to Bayonne.

This means five passes, with nearly 7,000m of climbing and a distance of over 300 kilometres. And here’s the rub;all this with one gear only, and no brakes. As someone who rides a fixed gear bike day-to-day in East London, this was my kind of challenge.

“I really don’t know how I made it…For the first time in my life I had doubts as to whether I was good enough to complete this challenge, whether I would be able to achieve what I had planned” ~ Patrick Seabase

A few more stats on the ride:

  • Journey time? 15 hours and 52.
  • Total distance? 309km.
  • Altitude? More than 7,611m in altitude.

There’s a nice angle to the ride too, a tribute to those men who on July 21, 1910, tackled the first mountain stage of the Tour de France and went down in history.

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So, what’s next for Patrick? We spoke to him after the screening and looks like he’s doing some rides further afield. Even mentioning a trip to Iran.. Anyway, check out a trailer to #SEABASE1910..

 

 

On Arts: OPEN SOURCE festival comes to Dalston

A new perspective on East London’s creative scene is coming to Dalston later this month. OPEN SOURCE is an artist-led initiative based in East London, specialising in time-based media and live events.

The happening will presenting 21 artists and nine specially commissioned works to a diverse audience. The organisers explain: “OPEN SOURCE 2016 will explore subcultures, identity, fluidity and self-determination, across the disciplines of video, painting, installation and performance”.

OPEN SOURCE is a collision of two worlds: art-world private view meets the public space of Gillett Square, with its domino players, musicians, families and skateboarders. It presents artworks in the midst of real life – and it is free and accessible to all.

Participating artists include Rachel Maclean, representing Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Simeon Barclay, showing this summer at the Liverpool Biennial, and Lawrence Lek, whose career has undoubtedly been on a roll since winning the Dazed Emerging Artists Award in 2015. Having recently shown at Glasgow International, he has also just been announced as a winner of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2017.

OPEN SOURCE will features a fantastic roster of artists and a strong curation of interactive projects. The press release offers a glimpse into what to expect: “An investigation into Hackney languages; an immersive video game installation; an invasive species of ice cream; a ride into Futuristic Dalston; an obsessive compulsive drone; a bombastic DJ set sampling West African archives; encrypted street posters coming to life; super-responsive T-shirts; experimental hair salons; fleeting manifestations of gender expression; an hallucinogenic tale of austerity and aspiration in a post-XFactor landscape; the story of a body falling to earth’s centre; and an after-dark infectious apocalyptic VJ set. OPEN SOURCE 2016 CURATORS: Emily Butler, Christine Eyene, Helen Nisbet, Joe Fletcher Orr & Doug Bowen, Richard Parry and Amy Sherlock. OPEN SOURCE 2016 ARTISTS: Larry Achiampong, Cory Arcangel, Simeon Barclay, Shiraz Bayjoo, Hannah Black, Flo Brooks, Helen Cammock, Leo Chadburn, Cooking Sections, David Raymond Conroy, Danielle Dean, Benedict Drew, Andy Holden, Joey Holder, Lawrence Lek, Rachel Maclean, Alice Marcelino, Richard Muller, Tai Shani and Mariana Simnett..” S

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Find out more online here.

On Film: East End Film Festival Announces Programme

Exciting news! The team at East End Film Festival have announced their festival line-up for 2016, and it looks really strong – themes around London people, protest and play. And much more.

It’s always one of my favourite festivals, I’ve been to see at least a couple of films every year since I moved to London in 2007. Anyway, what are the highlights for this year?

The opening Gala – Alleycats

A must for any cycling film fans. London-based filmmaker Ian Bonhote makes a rip-roaring debut feature in Alleycats, a thriller that takes the audience on a thrilling journey through the streets of London from the seat of a bicycle. Alleycats promises to be a riotously entertaining, tense gauntlet ride through the streets of London, featuring a flock of rising British talent. Tickets are here.

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The Crime Scene strand

Launched in 2000 by Adrian Wootton, Crime Scene heralds all things crime-related on film. Telling us about the current state of society, this series intends to go beyond detectives and noir, whilst still celebrating the genre. Exploring narratives of resistance and identity in a world where big business and government define laws through money and control…more than ever the Crime Scene represents the journey of the little man or woman up against the stacked odds of deprivation, corporate power and the State.

Films that have caught my eye include Marcus Fleming’s Six Rounds and Jake Gabbay Kingsland, both focused on London, crime and boxing.  Adrian Tanner’s Redistributors – a thriller for the age of the Panama Papers, about modern-day Robin Hood style hackers – looks brilliant too. Another provocative film in this strand is Kettling Of The Voices, by Chester Yang. This documentary looks at the student movement in the UK, and the erosion of the right to protest.

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Days Of Refuge strand

This year, the East End Film Festival shines a light on an issue of monumental global relevance – the plight of refugees. Exacerbated by ongoing humanitarian crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere – today, Europe faces one of its greatest moral tests in its response to the needs and circumstances of persecuted and displaced people from all over the globe. Presented in partnership with the Refugee Council, UEL and Refugee Week, A Day of Refuge is a chance to examine and debate the refugee crisis, the response of developed nations to genuine human need, and the responsibility of filmmakers examining the refugee experience on film.

Eye-catching films include Ketermaya by Lucas Jedrzejak. The programme tells us “In the camp of Ketermaya children play and dream, just like any other children. Beneath the surface, things are not so easy for these Syrian kids, who have fled fighting, chemical weapons and chaos.”

Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea is also a vital picture, a documentary following a 12-year-old boy who lives on the island of Lampedusa, a symbolic border crossed by thousands of migrants in search of freedom.

The Darkest Universe

The super talented Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley follow the BAFTA-nominated Black Pond with this picture about troubled sibling relationships, alienation and aliens. Here’s what the programme says: “When his sister Alice and her boyfriend disappear on the canalways of London, Zac desperately sets out to find her. Featuring Joe Thomas and Simon Bird, The Darkest Universe is a brilliantly distinctive, emotive piece of comedic filmmaking, featuring some of Britain’s most exciting young comic actors.” The Darkest Universe is part of East End Film Festival’s competition line-up.

 

 

There’s so much going on, i’ve really not done this year’s festival justice. An annual multi-platform festival held in London, the EEFF presents a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. The EEFF’s mission is to discover, support, and exhibit pioneering work by global and local independent filmmakers, and to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences. It attracts an audience of 30,000+ each year, join them and find out more online here.

 

On Creativity: The Karachi Files, In Berlin

Where do great ideas and creativity come from? For me, it’s always about unexpected collaborations. So, was super intrigued to hear about the Karachi Files gig in Berlin this month.

What are the <em>Karachi Files</em> and what is the story? This one goes back to May 2015 when a forward-thinking group of electronic musicians from Pakistan, the Maldives and Germany followed in the footsteps of brothers Hannes and Andi Teichmann, otherwise known as Gebrüder Teichmann, the Forever South crew and the Goethe-Institut to meet in Karachi; Pakistan’s industrial capital, harbored on the Arabian Sea.

But this was no holiday. The creators and selectors soon got to work. A house was re-moulded into a temporary recording studio. This physical space soon became a place to meet, inspire and be inspired, record, play, eat and sleep. Musicians, together with a photographer convened, and the outcome of two weeks would transpire into the Karachi Files.

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I was lucky enough to get some time with the super talented Bilal Khan (Rudoh), one of the heads behind Forever South in Karachi. This is how it went down:

Q) Have you worked with Berlin/European artists before? What’s your perception of Berlin as a creative city before this project?

Bilal said: “This was my first time working with European artists in a more creative environment. I lived in London for a bit where I spent time as an engineer at studios recording bands and mixing tunes. I found that generally in Europe, quality standards of sound and the process of recording/composing music are done on a much higher standard to what we’re used to in Pakistan. So for us, to be able to utilise professional equipment to record and create music, was refreshing and a great learning experience. Soundcamp was surely more about compositional explorations and playing the role of a musician and a producer.”

Berlin seemed like a place where there’s always room for new creative landscapes. The clubbing culture, along with people’s open-ness and acceptance of new sorts of art and ideas, have been constantly breeding newer sub cultures, constantly recycling ideas into other forms. After I had finally seen Berlin I felt the same, that it caters to everyone, there’s something there for everyone.

Q) What is so special about working with new artists from around the world? How does it affect your work?

Bilal explained: “I feel like working with musicians from anywhere is always a great learning experience. I’ve gained valuable insight on work flow and how to make certain sounds, solely due to collaborating with such a diverse array of artists. I picked up new ways of sampling, such as working with objects to create rhythms from taprikk swazee. I remember being in total awe after seeing Hannes T use his Euro-Rack setup. I’m trying my best to save money for a 1 one row eurorack for myself.”

Q) What can musicians and creative people working in Europe learn from the way you do things?

Bilal told me: “It is definitely working with Power issues because Karachi’s power supply is notorious for unstable voltage supply, which can be detrimental, even fatal to the musical equipment. Also, the general lack of electricity, which is majority of the gear we use is portable, usually pocket synths and small drum machines. But besides that, we have a real shortage of good gear, mainly due to shipping costs and heavy import duties. The unintended consequence of this situation was the strong DIY nature that cultivated and developed our scene. Since our media industry doesn’t regard sound as an important aspect of tv or film production, it’s hard to find studios with well calibrated acoustics or the minimum required specifications for a professional equipped studio. The attitude is complacent, which makes it harder for us to find places to mix and master our tracks to a professional standard. It’s been a super “Do it Yourself” scene from the get go.”

Q) Finally, we don’t often hear many positive stories about creative and cultural happenings from Pakistan. It feels like a really undiscovered and mysterious place for many European people. How does the sense of place and belonging shape your imagination, innovation and creativity?

Bilal’s final answer: “Karachi is a little hectic to live in and it has it’s ups and downs. The city is densely populated and is usually getting a bad reputation all over the world because the media mostly pays attention to the bombings and political news. The constant bombardment of such “bad news” would have made most people more cynical , yet the people of Karachi are warm hearted here and are very hopeful about having things take a turn for the better. I guess that hopefulness in some ways seeps into ones music through the social surroundings they are part of , for a lack of a better term, it’s got this “I don’t have a dime in my pocket and nothing seems to be working, but it’ll be all good one day” feel to it.”

The Karachi Files is a collection of electronic fused works – bringing together colourful and varied cultures, all inspired by its remarkable setting. So, what about the music? The Karachi Files delivers a rich variety; a series of tracks from electronic club music to electro acoustic experiments. The album is released in May 2016, and will be the first release on the Teichmann brother’s new label NOLAND.

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The Karachi Files performed live in Berlin on the 14th May during “From Inside To Way Out”, a three-day festival at HAU, Berlin, with a special view on Pakistan, including the works of a wide range of musicians, filmmakers, photographers, journalists and artists. Background information is here.

On Beer: The House Of Peroni’s return to London

‘Amare l’Italia’ ..

.. ‘For the love of Italy’. The House of Peroni is making a glorious return to our capital this summer, with a six-week long residency at Proud East in Haggerston, East London.

This summer’s House of Peroni event is called ‘Amare l’Italia’ – meaning ‘For the love of Italy’ – and opens its doors from Thursday 19th May to Friday 1st July.

This year’s event is a celebration of great Italian talent. It will be an immersive journey for people to discover how some of Italy’s most creative ambassadors are inspired by their love for their home country.

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The residency Master of Taste will be the critically acclaimed Francesco Mazzei, chef patron at newly refurbished Sartoria in Mayfair (and previously at L’Anima). Francesco is inspired by Southern Italian cooking – as described in his latest cookbook ‘Mezzogiorno’ – and celebrates the abundance of his homeland’s rich ingredients as well as his own memories of growing up in Calabria.’

Working alongside him as the Master of Mixology will be award winning Simone Caporale. Formerly assistant head bartender at The Artesian at The Langham Hotel, Caporale will be bringing his unique vision and innovative flair to the drinks menu, creating an eclectic range of delicious Peroni Nastro Azzurro infused drinks to enjoy whilst relaxing with friends in the summer sunshine.

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Tickets are now on sale, and more information via The House of Peroni website.

 

On Comedy: Just For Laughs announces big London debut

I was lucky enough to work four summers at the Edinburgh Fringe, so it was great to see a new comedy festival launch press release land in my inbox this morning. Here’s what going on (and it’s amazing news for London comedy fans)…

 

Just For Laughs London is a brand new festival experience, brought to you by the creators of the world’s most famous comedy festival Just For Laughs in Montreal; the largest multi-venue comedy event in the world, attracting the greatest names and crème de la crème of comedy talent.

And it is coming to London between July 13th and July 24th.

The original festival is both an industry launch pad (kick-starting the careers of Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Louis CK and many more), and a place for the globe’s greatest joke slingers to flex their comedic muscles.

The centre of Russell Square will be open daily as a free festival of street performers, magicians and art installations. The Paradiso Spiegeltent and the UK’s hottest new venue The Mix will play host to the festival hub ticketed shows and 900 capacity venue Logan Hall is just two minutes away, where the biggest names will be holding court.

“Just For Laughs in Montreal gave me my first big break in America,somehow a VHS tape from the Comedy Store had got into the hands of the main comedy booker for JFL and if rumours are true an old piece I used to do called ‘The Egg Story’ was watched by every member of the team and I was signed up the next day to play The Nasty Show. That led to my first hour there which led to more bookings in New York which led to my first HBO Special. The rest is history.” ~ Jim Jefferies

Jim Jefferies as one of the headliners. The festival also features a diverse range of funny talent, from Bethnal Green’s Gina Yashere, to America’s Got Talent surprise star Piff The Magic Dragon, and even an appearance from immortal national treasure Eddie The Eagle.

 

The festival also features a brand new show from Milton Jones and Marcus Brigstocke’s lastest work. Check out the full festival line-up here.

On Cycling: Five-star show “Lance” comes to Spin festival

Edinburgh Comedy Festival award nominated show Lance is coming to next week’s Spin festival in East London.

The show is just one of the highlights of a real celebration of our cycling culture. Spin features the latest innovation in cycling technology, expert talks on the future of cycling, the best of the capital’s coffee scene, street food, craft beers, live music and much more.

Anyway, as someone who has grown-up loving both cycling and comedy (here’s a cycling comedy thing we made a couple of years ago) this Lance show immediately got me interested.

Here’s the blurb: “In 2003, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France title, and a young boy in West Yorkshire believed in him. Now a character comedian, he (the boy) comes to Spin London with a heartfelt and hilarious story of growing up, betrayal by professional athletes, and redemption..”

The show was nominated for Best Show at the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and its star Kieran Hodgson starred in BBC2’s Making Dad’s Army over Christmas, and even featured in the movie Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Lance was The Guardian’s Number One Comedy Show 2015 “An absolute gem of a comedy show – about teenage cycling, sullied dreams and migrating from the north. Every line of his script is wired for laughter”.

Kieran is performing Lance at Spin LDN on Friday the 20th of May at 3pm. Some further show highlights are here: http://spinldn.com/spinldnhighlights/

Spin returns to The Old Truman Brewery (near Brick Lane) on May 20th until May 22nd.

 

 

Our Neighbourhood: The Aldersbrook Jumble Trail returns for June 2016

The Aldersbrook Jumble Trail returns on Saturday June 18th – promising vintage bargains, music and a community festival vibe.

Last year’s event was one of the capital’s most memorable Jumble Trails, with more than 1,000 people visiting Aldersbrook in East London (close to Wanstead, Forest Gate and Leytonstone) to take part in the area’s first event of its type.

It saw almost 80 stallholders selling a mixture of vintage clothing, upcycled furniture, toys, some eye-opening artwork, a wide variety of cakes and homemade samosas.

The 2016 event is promising to be even bigger, involving more of the local community. Confirmed stalls will see people selling locally made jewellery, homemade jams & chutneys, furniture, houseplants, children’s toys and much more. And all at bargain prices too.

The Aldersbrook Jumble Trail 2016 will also feature a Jumble Trail hub; with music, street food and space for more community stallholders from surrounding areas who want to come to Aldersbrook to be part of the Jumble Trail. It promises to be a real festival atmosphere.

And the good news, is there is still time to register a stall. It takes place on Saturday June 18th, and the details are online: http://jumbletrail.com/event/AldersbrookE12

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For those that don’t know, the Aldersbook Jumble Trail is a not-for-profit community event. The £5 stall fee covers the website’s running costs and contributes towards printing the flyers, posters, signage and organisation of the whole event.

 

On Festivals: Brooklyn Beer’s Epic Beer Mansion Comes To Dalston

The creative folks at Brooklyn Beer are throwing a big East London party with a difference this week.. The brand’s Beer Mansion is a special multi-room experience and is unlike any beer festival you’ve seen before.

The CultureJukebox team are there, this one looks like an event not to be missed. It takes place at M.C. Motors in Dalston on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14. Tickets are just £10 and are available here.

This beer festival is a unique beer-fuelled choose-your-own-adventure immersive experience. Here’s what the invite says: “Plunge into the Barrel Aging Room with the inimitable Gabe Barry for a look inside the magic of barrels with some of our rarest and most experimental beers. Rethink all things dank, bitter, and tropical in the IPA Room with some help from local brewing friends, a few bottles of our own, and a killer vinyl-only DJ. Grab a handful of food and beer pairing tips with Brooklyn Chef and Head of Culinary Programming Andrew Gerson and one of his most tactile dishes. You might even run into Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver prowling the grounds. Step outside to the Courtyard for live music from The Graveltones and Messenger (streamed for the folks at home by Hotel Radio), games, fresh pizza from Voodoo Ray’s truck, and yes, you guessed it– more beer!”

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The £10 ticket offers access to the mansion, beers from Brooklyn Brewery and some local brewing friends, and plenty of other surprises. See you there!

#LondonMash

 

 

On Documentary: Sheffield Doc Fest announces 2016 line-up

Have been lucky enough to work from Sheffield Doc/Fest three times, and it’s always one of our most progressive, exciting and inventive film festivals. The line-up for this year’s festival has just been announced.

This year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place  between June 10th and 15th and is now in its 23rd edition. This year’s festival includes 160 feature and short documentaries, an alternate realities line-up (more on its transmedia, virtual reality and new digital frontiers programming in a separate blog next week), and a series of on-stage interviews and debates with leading filmmakers and industry figures.

Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next will open this year’s festival, with the legendary filmmaker coming to Sheffield  for the first time since 1998. The UK premiere and Q&A will be live streamed to 114 cinemas across the UK through distributor Dogwoof.

I was at the festival when they did this for the Pulp film premiere, and there was a special energy in the room. Great that the festival is sharing some of its brave programming nationwide.

This year, Michael Moore is also giving a festival masterclass (joining stellar filmmakers such as D.A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Nino Kirdatze and more in a big learning programme).

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Sheffield Doc/Fest is certainly the place to be for new work. There are a total of 27 world premieres, 15 international, 19 European and 52 UK premieres with documentaries from 49 countries including Mexico, Cuba, China and Peru.

The festivals main competition is made up of twelve titles. I’m really looking forward to the premiere of Ashish Ghadiali’s The Confession – this picture is a first-hand account of the rise of modern jihad told through the eyes of Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg.

Samira Goetschel’s City 40 will receive its European premiere in competition at Doc/Fest, exploring the human and environmental costs of the nuclear industry through the lens of one of Russia’s largest closed-nuclear cities.

Other titles up for the festival’s biggest prize are  Brian Oakes’ Jim: The James Foley Story, about the US journalist murdered by ISIS in 2014; Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened, about the terrible beauty of war-ravaged Afghanistan; and Jerry Rothwell’s Sour Grapes, revealing how an Indonesian immigrant defrauded the international wine world.

One picture I’m really looking forward to isPeter Middleton and James Spinney’s Notes On Blindness. This will be accompanied by virtual reality project Notes On Blindness: Into Darkness.

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A Ken Loach retrospective is sure to be hugely popular. As will its line-up of amazing speakers; including Lord David Puttnam, Joanna Lumley and snooker champ Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The festival will close with the UK premiere of The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger. The documentary, which received its world premiere at the Berlinale in February, portrays John Berger, the UK writer, art critic, painter and poet whose novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize. The film is divided into four chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of his life and work. It will close the festival, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Swinton and Dziadosz.

There’s so much to see and do at Sheffield Doc/Fest, recommend checking out the website for all the details. And as promised, a more detailed blog on its Alternate Realities programme will go live next week.