Ex Libras

Originally published on Work:Ethic. All photos property of the author.

Anyone who followed Ex Libras‘ exploits making “The Shed” on their [sadly, now defunct] blog, Guerilla Movements, must have been impressed by their determination. Using their 3 meagre salaries they’ve assembled a creative space they can use whenever they want at no extra cost. It’s there that I had agreed to meet them.

Making the long journey across London, I have another chance to listen to their debut album, Suite(s) and it strikes me just how well suited it is to commuting. As I walk through the hectic crowds then sit among the faceless passengers on the tube it reminds me of how lonely life in London can be surrounded by thousands of people. Ex Libras‘ blend of guitar/synth electronica somehow captures this perfectly. After listening, you’re left with a feeling of emptiness, but that’s no criticism. It’s like looking out over a desert plain as it disappears into the horizon. The album can be hard to dip into, but when taken in one sitting the experience can be quite euphoric, albeit tinged with a heavy dose of melancholy.

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Esperi (aka Chris Lee-Marr)

Originally published on Panic Dots.

EsperiI recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Chris Lee-Marr, the man behind Esperi. I only became aware of him when his last single came out at Christmas, the gorgeous and poignant Made For Life, which was accompanied by a b-side called “Snowman” – the accompanying video to which lodged a lump permanently in my throat. The man has a talent for making beautiful music without being sappy or maudlin, with lyrics that make you mourn your childhood and yearn for a simpler time.

Esperi’s latest release was the instrumental single, My Tear Dissolved The View. The song was effective enough without watching the video that accompanied it, but combined with the video – floodgates. The press release that came packaged with the promo compares it to some of Richard D. James’ (that’s Aphex Twin to you and me – who, I would like to clarify once and for all, is just one person) lo-fi creations. They’re not wrong.

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Phil Nichol: Comedian

Originally published on Panic Dots.

This weekend the country gathers together to celebrate a Royal Wedding, but while your Grandma gets smashed on Pimms under the bunting, all the real people will be flocking to Camden on the 30th May to watch The Comedy Crawl. We’ve managed to wangle our way on to the press list for the festival, so we’ll be spending the weekend sashaying from venue to venue, pint in one hand, pen in the other, to bring you highlights from some of the world’s top comedians.

Until then, we’ve been hassling some of our favourite comics until they agreed to let us interview them for the site. First up is Canadian funny man, Phil Nichol, 2006 winner of the If.com Eddie award, respected theatrical actor and former member of musical comedy trio, Corky And The Juice Pigs. I managed to catch Phil on the phone a few weeks ago (after he’d just suffered the indignity of a bank cashier queue), and gently quizzed him.

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Dr Max Pemberton: Author and Columnist

Originally published on Work:Ethic. All photos courtesy of Matt Piper.

Max PembertonBefore I met Dr Max Pemberton, author of Trust me, I’m a Junior Doctor, its follow up, Tell me where it Hurts and columnist for the Daily Telegraph, I expected some hardened veteran Doctor, with a thousand yard stare to send chills down your spine.

Here was a man who wasn’t afraid to tell the rest of the world how utterly out of his depth he felt during his first year as a Junior Doctor. Not only that, he didn’t give a shit if his bosses or the government didn’t agree with his opinions, or the way he portrayed the NHS.

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Max Schaefer: Author

Originally published on Work:Ethic. All photos courtesy of Matt Piper.

Max SchaeferAs first novels go, Max Schaefer‘s Children of the Sun is refreshingly controversial. Most writers would shudder at the prospect of making their central character a committed fascist, especially considering today’s political climate and the rise in popularity of Nick Griffin and the BNP.

To make that same character a closeted homosexual reveals a depth of literary ambition that is lacking in a lot of contemporary authors. While he doesn’t share their penchant for stylistic punctuation (or lack thereof), Max’s style is reminiscent of Brett Easton Ellis and Irvine Welsh, sharing their ability to capture the idiosyncratic language of his characters while tackling subject matter that would leave a foul taste in even the most liberal reader’s mouth. I can’t wait to read his next novel.

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