Nostalgia (pt II)

Aoife Maguire

What is your best memory?

I managed a kids zone at a festival this summer and it was really really sunny one day and there were loads of circus people running round, and then there was kids running round and bubbles everywhere and stuff like that and it was just really damn beautiful and it was a really good day, that was cool.

Continue reading “Nostalgia (pt II)”

The Buskers of Glasgow

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“Can I just have a quick smoke first?” grins the ever-charismatic Gregor Hunter Coleman as we approach him during a break in his busking set one Friday afternoon. Gregor, we note, is something of a local celebrity in Glasgow nowadays, having become an almost permanent fixture in the city centre.

 

“I’m out here busking every day,” he confirms, glancing around the bustling street. Arduous as though this might seem – braving the biting Glasgow wind to bring covers of popular songs to the masses – Gregor is by no means alone in this game. Glasgow is, in essence, Scotland’s busking capital. If it’s not a slice of pristine indie pop greeting your ears as you ascend the steps of the Subway station, it’s a tuneful accordion or triumphant saxophone. Voices drift along every street, singing songs both jaunty and mournful. It seems there’s room for every genre in this thriving metropolis.

 

Despite his dedication to the trade, Gregor’s quick to inform us that performing on the street isn’t without its problems. “All my stuff broke yesterday so I had to replace it,” he says of his equipment. He also tells us that busking at night carries an element of risk – when darkness descends, there’s an increased chance of people stealing the day’s earnings from your case. He knows this from experience.

 

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Nonetheless, Glasgow’s busking scene suits him well. “Busking’s the only time you get paid what’s 100% yours,” he tells us earnestly. His statement rings with truth – playing in the middle of Buchanan Street doesn’t incur any agent’s fees, after all. Busking has also awarded him plenty of valuable opportunities. After hearing him play in the centre of the city, a woman requested that he play at her wedding – in the Lake District.

 

Any pre-wedding jitters?

 

“It’s a big day”, he smiles. “If I ruin the songs, then…”

 

It’s worth betting he won’t ruin the songs. In any case, Gregor’s certainly establishing himself within the music sphere, his endeavours now extending beyond the realm of street performance. He has gigged with Nicholas McDonald, Motherwell-native who was placed runner-up in 2013’s X-factor, as well as reality TV personality Jake Quickenden. He’s also aiming to get his band truly up and running, with their first show due to take place on December 18 at the 02 ABC.

 

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Life could’ve been quite different for Gregor had his family gone through with plans to relocate to Dunoon when he was younger. He reckons he’d “literally just be a farmer” by now. When asked what he’d like to do in future, Gregor smiles coyly. “I just want to busk and see what happens.”

 

It’s a similar story for Jackson Harvey. The twenty-one-year-old once busked every day, but is now channelling most of his energy into The Modests, a band he’s been with for seven years. On the occasions he comes into the city centre armed with his guitar, it’s for enjoyment purposes only. He’s graduated to venues now, having played “everywhere in Glasgow… except The Hydro.” We probe him to tell us about his favourite venue. “It depends what you’re looking for,” he responds sensibly. “The 02 Academy is great for the ‘big venue’ experience”. Meanwhile, he thinks Box offers a nice intimate atmosphere. Jackson’s foray into the music world began upon the realisation that he’s too uncoordinated to be a footballer. “I’m not ambidextrous,” he laughs. “I can’t play with either foot.”

 

Halfway down Buchanan Street, a crowd has gathered around Glasgow-based duo Wandering Sons. The song they’re playing is not just toe-tappingly good, but a real foot-stomper. It transpires that it’s an original: the first track on their new album, which can be downloaded from their Facebook page for free or picked up in physical form for £5. The original music is delightfully interspersed with an energetic rendition of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love.” Though technically proficient, Wandering Sons may strike as being decidedly unorthodox. Their guitar case is adorned with rubber ducks; the drummer, David, has forgone a proper drum kit in favour of plastic buckets.

 

The band’s history, it seems, is as interesting as their aesthetic. Lead singer Barney (20), originally from Belgium, met David through Church, and the pair formed as a two-piece in 2012. Despite their talent, Wandering Sons embody Glasgow’s trademark self-deprecating humour. Starting out, they considered themselves “the worst musicians out of [their] whole friends group.”

 

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It is soon revealed that their first time busking was in the Lake District, their efforts being met with a fairly enthusiastic response. “I think people were just being polite,” Barney says modestly. They admit that busking on Glasgow’s streets presents some challenges. It has been so cold on occasion that Barney has had to wear fingerless gloves while playing guitar. They’ve taken big risks for the band – quitting their day jobs and higher education courses – but things seem to be working out for them. They’ve toured mainland Europe and are beginning to gig seriously now, co-headlining shows with an Australian artist.

 

“We just do this and play gigs,” the boys say. “We love it at the moment… We’re making what we need to live.”

 

The band began to perform on the street after seeing others do the same. They praise the Glasgow busker scene very highly. “I don’t think I’d be busking [if I hadn’t moved to Glasgow]. There’s no busking scene in Belgium,” Barney muses.

 

As we approach Anna Shields – one of the only female buskers we’ve seen all day – we note a sign advertising a gig at the 02 Academy on the 11th of October. Clearly she’s doing quite well.

 

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“The first time I went busking my mum wouldn’t let me go by myself,” Anna says, recounting her first experience performing in the city centre. Consequently, her brother stood and watched her from the side that day. “I made £12… I was so excited!”

 

Though Anna busked “for the fun of it” back then, she’s got bigger things on her mind now. She formed a band at the start of the year with her boyfriend – who plays guitar – and their bassist friend.

 

When asked if Anna suffers at all in such a male-dominated industry – and, indeed, within a male-dominated band – she doesn’t give the answer we’re expecting.

 

“It’s actually quite good for me,” she says. At this point, she begins to talk about the male buskers who garner attention on the basis of how they look. “When people see us, they’re coming to see the music. People are there because they want to listen to us,” she explains.

 

Like the others, Anna is picking up gigs in a number of Glasgow’s venues. She’s played the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah hut on two occasions already.

 

Any hopes for the future?

 

According to Anna a CD is now in the works, due for release next year. She’ll have to juggle this with the music degree she’s studying for at the University of the West of Scotland. “Even if I don’t make it as a musician, I still want to be involved in the industry.”

 

If you hadn’t been born and raised in Glasgow, do you think you’d still be doing this?

 

“I would probably still be doing music – but probably not to the extent I’m doing it,” Anna tells us. “The Glasgow scene is the best for buskers… It has the best busker scene in the UK.”

 

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This is a view echoed by Alexander, a Polish saxophonist who moved to Glasgow four months ago. He too has an extensive musical catalogue: besides performing in Buchanan Street alongside his guitarist, he has also played various gigs during his time here. He doesn’t seek out these shows as such – Alexander seems quite content with busking for the moment. “We live from music,” he says poignantly. “Busking is enough.”

 

Finally, we meet a guitarist who goes by the name of Mike. Mike’s still “finding his feet” on the busking scene, but his story’s a fascinating one. “God made me want to start busking. I used to run a lap dance club, but I had a dream one night… And now I sing to God. The songs and the words are for God.”

 

 

By Morgan Laing

Interview with The Basement Sessions

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Enter into Broadcast: a laid-back space with open fireplaces glowing from every TV screen, an impressive list of White Russians on a blackboard and friendly faces in every corner of the bar. A steep and narrow stairwell will take you down to the hidden underground. The roof there is so low you can barely stand tall. The room is so small people have to crowd to see the stage. Everyone clutches his or her plastic cups of beer in eager anticipation.

 

Then the music begins…

 

Kathryn and Calum are the founders of The Basement Sessions. They met when they were playing in the same band and remained good friends. In the beginning of 2015, they noticed there was a lack of live music in the Glasgow nightclub scene and decided to change that. Even though Kathryn is a full-time student in events management and Calum both works and plays his own music, they have managed to make their vision of bringing live music into a club setting come true. Today, The Basement Sessions arrange monthly gigs in the basement of Broadcast.

 

Kathryn: It is quite nice for the shows to be a bit of a treat. Once a month is perfect.

 

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Each night gathers around 130 visitors, eager to see handpicked bands from the Glasgow music scene.

 

Kathryn: The music scene is very vibrant in Glasgow. Right now, the techno and the garage scene are trending. But despite all the trends, there is always a place for live music. In the past 50 years, there has been a decline of it. But the last ten years, it has started to increase again. Live music is just something that will never die. It is just a completely different experience.

 

The Basement Sessions’ nights are always free. This makes it possible to move freely. You can go outside, come back in, sit upstairs for a while and then go back to listen to your favourite band. In addition, you don’t have to commit a full evening: you can pop in on your way out or on your way home. If you don’t like one band, you can come back and listen to the next.

 

Lately, Kathryn and Calum have started to move away from the one-man acoustic acts.

 

Calum: It doesn’t grip people on a Friday or Saturday night. People want to have a good time and dance. But we organise other events as well, so there is space for all kinds of different acts. We want the crowd to have fun and to feel free to move around like in a club with a DJ.

 

Kathryn and Calum have been involved in the music scene of Glasgow, so it has been quite easy for them to find great talents. As Glasgow is a small city, many bands are friends with each other and are willing to support one another. Their selection of bands is based on a mixture of word-of-mouth, Soundcloud, music blogs or the bands contact them on their own. They work hard to create a musically coherent night, with three acts: two bands and a DJ that complement each other. The DJ plays a big part, as their job is to wrap up the night. They can interpret what the crowd wants and knows how to create a fun and entertaining environment.

 

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Kathryn: We are not specifically looking for certain types of bands. It just comes down to what we enjoy, what we think will be received well by the audience. The Basement Sessions is a place where people can discover new talents.

Calum: We want to make a really good night for people to have fun. We don’t wanna loose sight of what we are doing now: giving up-and-coming local bands exposure.

 

In the past, The Basement Sessions have had themed nights, of which one was a hiphop special that attracted many people and talented musicians. However, Kathryn and Calum’s best memories are from a mini festival they arranged earlier this year in August.

 

Kathryn: We did a mini festival, showcasing the best bands and DJs that had performed for us so far. Alongside, there were some local artists and local clothes brands. It was a celebration of all the talents Glasgow has to offer. It became a huge success. It is nice to bring different talented people together. Everyone can network, learn from the event, from each other and gain new experiences.

 

If you want to brighten up your Friday night and experience something groovy: get off Netflix, change out of your pyjamas and grab some friends. You can still make it. It only begins after 11 pm. Head down to Broadcast on Sauchiehall Street for a night of dancing and sweet tunes.

 

 

The Basement Sessions have collaborated with GUM to create our Launch Party at The Art School on December 4th. Visit our event page to find out more and how to buy tickets.

 

 

By Sofia Linden and Saara Antikainen 

 

GUM Meets Barrientos

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On a rainy Wednesday afternoon in November, we are invited to Barrientos’ Studio on Union Street in Glasgow. Behind a mysterious door with a sign saying ‘Illyus’, we find ourselves in a cosy studio. It feels like a time capsule: sound-proofed from the on-goings of the outside world and with dimmed lights that blur the concepts of night and day. One of the walls is lined with synthesizers and opposite stands a large computer screen. Over a large mixing table, a couple of his vinyl EPs hang on the wall. We sit back in a comfy leather sofa and Barrientos shoots us a relaxed smile from behind the coffee table.

 

Barrientos is not like any DJ we have met before. When we ask him about his life at the moment, his first complaint is not having a bigger kitchen.

 

  • I love to cook! I never even allow my girlfriend into the kitchen. There is simply not room for two people in there.

 

We laugh at the breaking of gendered roles and our prejudice that Scottish people only eat ready-meals and take-out food.

 

  • My mom is Chilean, so I have grown up with homemade food. My mom hates ready-meals. She scolds me and still asks ‘Are you buying ready meals?’ to make sure I’m eating healthy. Anyway, I can’t eat crap food otherwise I can’t concentrate.

 

Barrientos has an unusual background for a DJ. He grew up in Glasgow, with an English father and Chilean mother, and fell into classical music at an early stage in life.

 

  • When I was in high school, I played classical music, so I spent a lot of time learning piano and flute. I used to go to the music school, RSAMD, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. I was really into classical music.

 

The gap between classical and dance music may seem distant, but Barrientos’ musical development began in his early teens, when visiting the music festival Rockness:

 

  • A DJ called Erol Alkan was performing in a tiny tent, with 400-500 people. He was completely in control of the crowds. Everything he did the crowd appreciated. I had never seen anything like that before. It was very tribal and he was really into it. I got shivers watching it.

 

From that day, Barrientos knew that he wanted to DJ, but his parents thought he needed something safe to fall back on.

 

  • I only wanted to do music, but my parents told me I couldn’t rely on music because it is an unstable career. At the time I didn’t want to hear that cause I had my mind made up, but my parents were just looking out for my best interest.

 

Even though Barrientos has been a DJ for ten years, he has still managed to finish an engineering degree, a medical master and now he is in the middle of a PhD.

 

  • It really freaks me out that it has already been 10 years since I started doing dance music. You need to be persistent. You need to know people. You can’t expect to have gigs if no one knows you. I always make sure I am nice to people so that they remember me as a nice person.

 

It certainly has been a long journey for Barrientos. His first gig took place in the basement of Nice’n’Sleazy’s, and after that, it was a steep learning curve. He never had anyone tell him how something is done, so he had to learn to use all the computer software himself, by reading magazines and watching tutorials on Youtube. After a while, he made more contacts and the ball started rolling. Rob Etherson from the duo Mia Dora listened to his tunes and gave Barrientos constructive feedback. Blogger Colin Brownbill of SynthGlasgow loved his music and promoted Barrientos on his blog. Finally, Mylo’s former manager Kevin McKay heard his mixtape for SynthGlasgow and offered him to remix Romanthony.

 

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Today Barrientos has reached international acclaim with tours to London, Ibiza and Austria, but he still loves the Glasgow scene.

 

  • It is such a ridiculously good city. It has a really appreciative crowd. If you come to a gig and you are pretentious, you will get told. Dance music is a big community here too. DJs know each other: we support each other. People really like a good night and many DJs are coming to play in Glasgow because of that.

 

It is difficult not to like Barrientos. He is an extremely talented, but humble person. When he talks about his music, he stresses that it is not about him but about the crowd. Just like his first experience of dance music at Rockness, his music has always contained a social element.

 

  • For me, writing music has always been for people, not for me. When you are having a club night, it is about people’s experience and their night. They appreciate your music and they are having a journey. I always try to remember that. I don’t want to be too self-indulgent with music.

 

We tell him it must be difficult to stay grounded after playing to crowds of 7000 people.

 

  • I’ve got friends who I have been friends with for years now and they always bring you ‘back to the ground’. It’s so good to have honesty around you. Also, playing to larger crowds you can kind of play anything to certain extent. With a smaller audience, you can see more reactions and if they lose interest they will leave. If you are going to the right direction you can see them get into it, you see they are enjoying it and filming it with their phones. It is more personal. I like to stay to the end, shake hands with the audience and chat to people.

 

Barrientos’ has recently thought more and more about what direction his music should take, which has resulted in some major changes.

 

  • You begin to realise the more you DJ and who you DJ with, the type of music that you like. I realised we weren’t playing our own music anymore. The music was going back to more like a European sound. But, it is difficult to change a sound entirely, so we have worked hard in the studio and slowly changed it. We have been writing so much. I am predominantly a writer: I write the music and Illyus is the head of production and styles the sounds. We are planning for next year at the moment cause it is not long left.

 

Next year is packed with amazing new releases that you won’t want to miss with singles on Suara Records, Toolroom Records, and Glasgow Underground, plus a compilation CD called Toolroom Live 04 with Technasia and Ramiro Lopez.

 

A strong ‘80s-style diva voice emanates from the speakers as Barrientos plays us one of his latest tracks. It is clear that he has put a lot of work into it. There are over 40 layers in the track and each sound is styled to perfection. We immediately find that we can’t sit still to this kind of music and start to long for a dance floor.

 

To be a successful DJ is more work than you can imagine. We begin to wonder if Barrientos ever feels like he wants to give up in the face of the competitive music scene.

 

  • Music is still fun for me. The last year it has become more serious, which is good. Even if I never get to the stage of having a career or doing it full time, I will still do music. If not DJing, then in some other form. For example, I devoted so much time to play piano and when it stopped, the music did not. It just changed form.

 

Two hours have passed while we were in the studio and chatting to Barrientos. It feels like only ten minutes. As we exit the building and enter the depressing Glasgow rain, we look forward to the GUM Launch Party on December 4th at the Art School Assembly Hall. We can’t wait to let down our hair, dust off our dancing shoes and dance to the groovy tunes of Barrientos, our very own and much-loved Glasgow DJ.

 

 

Tickets to see Barrientos perform at the GUM Launch Party can be bought at:

https://boxoffice.src.gla.ac.uk/product/gum-launch-party-glasgow-issue

 

By Sofia Linden and Saara Antikainen

An Interview with Rhodes – The ‘Wishes’ Tour

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Listening to Rhodes’ album ‘Wishes’, it’s fair to say that this is an introspective experience. The album takes you on a journey and it’s clear that this journey is meant to take place within- through all the suppressed memories, the subconscious emotions and the internal battlefields.

 

Tonight, a huge crowd gathers at King Tuts to see the man behind the music. The fact that it is a sold out show speaks volumes with regards to just how many people his music touches, and this becomes even more apparent as the atmosphere tightens the moment he sets foot onstage.

 

On his album, Rhodes sings and plays solo, but the ‘Wishes’ tour called for a four-piece band to support him. Despite this, Rhodes is able to maintain a stage presence as if it really were just him singing. Intimate would be a bit of an understatement, as it truly feels like Rhodes is singing to just one person and every person in the audience believes that it is them. His back up guys add that much more power to his performance and his voice rings clearer than it did on his album.

 

‘Breathe’ definitely stands out as it feels like it has the opposite effect of its intentions – rather than breathing evenly, it is as if Rhodes takes the breath out of the room. To say the least, he’s a captivating performer, who seems extremely comfortable in the spotlight. Yet every song is followed by a sultry ‘thank you’, with a rather shy tone – which is a bit surprising to hear after speaking to him for twenty minutes prior to the show when GUM got a chance to chat to Rhodes about getting in the right headspace, going solo, and his feelings about his debut album.

 

Glasgow University Magazine: How are you finding the tour?

Rhodes: It’s cool. I’m feeling it a bit now. I mean this tour has only been going for about just over a week. I know I’ve been talking like ‘oh the tour starts on Monday’, but really I’ve been touring for months. But it’s great, it just feels like every night it’s getting a little bit closer to where I want it to be and that kind of thing.

 

GUM: And where do you want it to be?

Rhodes: Just with the band and stuff like that, because I spent a lot of time playing on my own, just with a guitar. In my head I kind of have this vision of how I wanted it to sound. I’ve kind of created that within the production on the album and it’s about translating that to the live setting.

 

GUM: Has it been a really long process trying to reconcile everybody?

Rhodes: Yeah, yeah it has. Finding the right people was quite hard and going through different people is kind of hard for me to do because I get really close to people and attached to the sentimental side of hanging out with someone. Suddenly you realize it might not be working musically, and that can be really difficult. But no, these guys are amazing and we’ve been working hard. It’s tight now. The guy [James Kenosha] who produced the album with me was at the show last night and he was so pleased. He’s like my second set of ears. Because obviously when I’m on stage I can’t tell how it sounds out front so it’s nice to have somebody there who probably knows the songs better than I do because he’s literally sat there, mixed it and gone through every take.

 

GUM: That’s one thing with venues too- artists can’t tell how they sound on stage versus when you’re in the audience. So what do you think of King Tut’s in terms of how you sound?

Rhodes: Yeah, I’ve never played here with a band, but I always really love playing here. I think the sound guys are so good. They seem like such veterans at what they do.

 

GUM: Do you have a favorite city that you’ve played so far?

Rhodes: I like a lot of different places. I haven’t done that much traveling before doing this. So traveling around Europe is amazing. I love going to Paris and Amsterdam is an amazing city to play in. It’s one of those places where I had a misconception of what it was going to be like before I went- and I went there and realized it wasn’t just druggies.

 

GUM: I know tonight’s been rushed, but do you have a pre-show routine that you get into or something to get you in the right headspace?

Rhodes: I think it’s really important to try and switch off and leave everything behind before going on stage. I think it’s really important to leave any worries or troubles or little things you’re thinking about in your mind. It’s hard to do anything when you’re preoccupied. So I’ll probably go back to my hotel room and just read my book for a bit and just chill out for a while. I do warm-ups on my voice and make sure I’m feeling good. I wasn’t naturally singing before and I’m still finding it a little hard. It’s really important that I’m on that particular thing for that hour I’m on stage and make sure that I’m completely. My mind starts wandering on to other things and it’s horrible.

 

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GUM: The songs on ‘Wishes” are quite personal right?

Rhodes: They are very personal, yeah. I can’t really imagine any other way. I mean I don’t really write stories. It’s more about overcoming fears, family, friends and relationships that I’ve had-not just romantic ones but more people close to me drifting apart and growing up and leaving town- things like that. All of those things I think a lot about before I start to write. I was going through this time where I felt like things weren’t really going my way, and I felt to blame for that, like it was my fault. I had to just detach myself from the world I was living in because there was no other way of me finding out what I was really supposed to be doing and where I was supposed to be because I was so caught up in this world. At the time I was playing bass in a band and just enjoying myself a bit too much. So I just detached myself and spent a lot of time on my own. I was working during the days and then writing at night- getting a lot of time to think about how I ended up where I was.

 

GUM: You were playing bass in another band- what was that like trying to break away from that and do your own thing?

Rhodes: It was tough because they were my best friends- they still are my best friends really. I felt like I was turning my back on them. I felt like I was letting them down and I think they were really upset. I think I dealt with it in the wrong way- my only way of really doing it was just by turning my phone off and being like ‘I just can’t face this’. So it wasn’t the best way of doing things.

 

GUM: Going back to your album, what was the hardest song for you to write?

Rhodes: I think ‘Breathe’ was probably one of the hardest songs to write because it’s about something so sensitive. I wrote it for a friend and it embodies the sentiment of what I was writing about when I wrote the album. It’s just that importance of being there for one another, helping people out, not being too afraid of asking other people to help you out if you need it. My friend had depression and it’s kind of hard to watch. I think the songs that I’ve written are very intentionally left open to interpretation. Some people get the actual meaning and some people apply their own meaning. I like that a lot. I’ve always liked that in music too. You know sometimes you’ll have a favorite song, and you’ll be singing along and you’ll know the words, and you’ll be like ‘oh I love this bit’ and then you read the lyrics and you realize you’ve been singing the wrong words. Music touches people in different ways and that’s the beauty of it. It’s subjective and you can take what you want. I think that’s very important. It’s not that I don’t like talking about the songs, but I prefer it when they’re just listened to- because that’s what they’re for.

 

 

GUM: Do you think that there’s a song that audiences love to hear the most from you?

Rhodes: People seem to like hearing ‘Breathe’ quite a lot. I always find it kind of hard at my gigs because everyone’s just so silent. To me I’m thinking, ‘are they enjoying it?’ Now I think they’re being silent in a good way. So it’s really hard for me to tell, but it varies from place to place- it’s quite strange.

 

GUM: Someone quoted you saying that ‘Close your eyes’ was a song about your own stage fright- is that right?

Rhodes: Yeah, it wasn’t so much stage fright- I didn’t have stage fright because I was always on stage. It was a fear I had of actually singing. I was so, so frightened of singing. I never even sung backing vocals. I still hate listening to myself. With the album I spent so long- so, so long recording the vocals. I kept re-doing them because I wasn’t happy with them, and I’d have all these fits of rage, crying, and all this shit. And James went off and mixed them and he ended up using some of the first few takes on every song. It just goes back to not over thinking things. Sometimes you can try and be too perfect and that detracts from what people actually like about what you’re doing in the first place. I don’t listen to my own music. I mean sometimes. I had this thing when I started writing the songs- I was drinking quite a lot at the time. I don’t drink anymore when I’m touring- otherwise I lose my voice. I used to get drunk and listen to the songs, and smoke and that was my way of feeling comfortable, listening to what I was doing. I still find it so hard listening to my voice. ‘Close your eyes’- that phrase comes from when someone said to me, ‘think of where you feel the most comfortable singing- when you’re on that stage you just need to close your eyes and imagine lying on your bed, playing your own songs. That’s kind of the mechanism I started used to cope with that. But then I thought that that sentiment can apply to so many different things, any fear, any sort of troubles. I tried to broaden the lyrics so they weren’t all about me.

 

GUM: Do you try to constantly write or do you take time to sit down and write?

Rhodes: I like to sit down and finish things. The idea of writing on the road sounds appealing but it’s not easy because you’re just constantly doing something. When you’re in the van it’s just cramped and it’s weird. So I do need to be in the right headspace.

 

GUM: Do you have any artists that you’re dying to collaborate with in the future?

Rhodes: I’d love to collaborate with someone who’s a real classic, or someone who’s a real heritage singer. I’d love to work with the National, or Justin Vernon, or something like that.

 

By Gina Pieracci

Fashion: Keep Your Hat on – An Interview with Jenevieve Berlin

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An interview with the wonderfully talented millinery designer Jennifer Martin.

 

With the Scottish Fashion Awards on the horizon, it’s a time to show our appreciation to those Scottish Designers who have captured our imaginations, as well as our hearts for many years. Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Holly Fulton and Louise Gray are only some of the big names being nominated for awards this year. However what I think makes the SFA really exciting, and gives it that fresh, youthful kick encouraging us to look forward and embrace the fashion royalty of tomorrow is the recognition it gives to those up and coming designers who have shot up onto the scene in the past few years. One of those designers is Jennifer Martin, the brains behind the explosion of colour that is Jenevieve Berlin Millinery. The brand re-introduces the art of elaborate millinery to the younger generation, it does this by combining an old fashioned theatrical flair, somewhat like that of the “My Fair Lady” ascot era, and throwing in a bit of 80’s and 90’s hip hop culture, some neon and really creating sculptures more than just hats, encapsulating the energy of today’s youth culture.

 

I spoke to her over the phone, she was welcoming and engaging and being based in London now, started the conversation with a comment on how comforting it was to hear a Glaswegian accent, there’s no place like home I suppose. I asked;

 

So what made you want to become a designer, is it something you always wanted to do or did it find you?

 

I’ve always loved fashion, principally costume design. I can remember being attracted to bright teal and sequins when picking fabric in Remnant Kings on Byres Road. My mum used to make my costumes every Halloween and I still have her old sewing machine. My Nana taught me to knit and sew, and my Aunty taught me to draw, illustrate, and paint. I started off making me and my sister’s dancing costumes to save money, and the head pieces went with them. I then started to make them for others in the dance school, and JBM grew from there.My mum calls me Jenivieve, and I love Berlin. I feel the city encapsulates every aspect of the brand. The revolution of Berlin echoes my mission to develop millinery and bring it to a younger audience.

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Jenevieve Berlin has been nominated for the Accessory Award at The Scottish Fashion Awards, I asked her how she felt about being nominated for an award at such a prestigious event; “I’m thrilled to bits.” She said “A Scottish fashion awards nomination is an honor to any Scottish designer. It is a high profile event and allows up and coming talent to be exposed to a wealth of publicity. Brushing shoulders with major fashion designers, photographers, and communicators is an invaluable experience, and I can’t wait to get involved yet again!” You see, despite the fact that Jenevieve Berlin is really still very young,  it is already wiping out the competition having been nominated for multiple awards, two years in a row.

 

 

What piece of work are you most proud of?

 

I am proud of all of my collections, I can’t single out one piece, it’s too hard. However, the pieces I am proudest to have worked on belong to the most famous milliner in the world. Last summer I interned with Philip Treacy for four months. During this time I was park of the artistic and workshop team that produced his SS14 show during London Fashion Week. With Michael Jackson’s clothes and a Swarovski sponsorship, the show was deemed the biggest during fashion week.

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It certainly does pay off then. Surrounding yourself with inspiration really does push you to harness that inspiration, challenge your imagination and get your teeth into your own work. I know this because the more and more I spoke to Jenni, the more I wanted to get home and just start making things. On that note, I asked Jenni who her favorite designers featuring in the Scottish Fashion Awards this year were.“I love Christopher Kane” she said

 

 “I can remember him coming out of our dance studio when he was still at Central St Martins. He was a childhood friend of one of my close friends and I still remember him admiring my head pieces. He was encouraging and complimentary. Louise Gray is another favorite, I love her bold ostentatious shapes and patterns. Also the accessories she uses are in your face. Very JBM!”

 

Her darlings however, and ours here at Glasgow University Magazine after our super successful shoot for this issue are of course “her Obscure Couture Ladies”. “They are amazing” she exclaims. Having collaborated with them on a few occasions she talked of how creative they were “They keep me on my toes” she says, “and being Glasgow girls, we’re not wilting flowers”

 

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We ended our chat with Jennifer’s words of encouragement and wisdom to any aspiring designers out there, poetically she preaches

“I think it’s important to do something unique, but I’m a little biaeds. I’ve always liked to stand out from the crowd and this is mirrored in my work. Young designers, always do as you please, create what you want and never listen to peeps who put you down. I was told by my art teacher I’d never get anywhere in fashion, and JBM proves that teachers don’t know everything”

 

On that rebellious note, reflective of the raw edgy energy of her designs I thought, she then told me that the brand will be opening up a boutique on Asos marketplace. You can also vote for Headwear by Jenni Martin  to win Stylist magazine and Triumph Lingerie’s maker’s competition.

 

 

-Megan Duffy Black Gallcher

Interview: Kowton at Dimensions Festival

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Kowton- photograph by Kenneth Shaw

GUM caught up with Kowton, the Bristol based, up and coming DJ/Producer who dominated the Mungo’s arena at Dimensions. His sound nods towards techno and house but like many great artists it is difficult to pigeon hole him and his set reflected his plethora of influences. Alongside Peverelist he is behind the Livity Sound a label; which holds wax in high regard and pushes limited, vinyl only releases. Despite being Bristol based, Kowton has strong ties to Glasgow, having played alongside Off Beat at La Cheetah and most notably his release ‘TFB’ on the All Caps Label.

 

 

What was the highlight of Dimensions for you?

Just playing there was amazing, each time was a highlight! Whether it was as Livity Sound, on the boat or at the Mungo’s stage on the Sunday, each set went really well. The amazing location adds so much to the atmosphere; I can’t imagine I’ll get to play anywhere as unique or intimidating as the moat for a little while.

 

Were there any downsides to Dimensions?

The food off site was horrendous every time we ate – I think a couple of people even got ill from it at one point. The Hessle crew maintained there was an amazing fish restaurant somewhere but we never found it.

 

How does playing at festivals differ from clubs- do you alter your set accordingly?

I think its important to be a bit more fun really, if there’s ever a time to be a bit more obvious and draw for the anthems its at a festival. Obviously you want to stay true to your sound but playing DJ tools to thousands of people can come across a bit dry at times.

 

Who did you enjoy seeing the most?

Scion and Tikiman was fantastic, I’m as much of a fanboy as everyone else when it comes to them. I thought everyone on the Hessle stage on Friday was sick, Funkineven smashed it, Anthony Naples killed it on the boat and Chris Farrell finished the Mungo’s stage perfectly.

 

The Subdub boat party was the highlight of my festival; did you manage to catch any boat parties yourself?

We did a little Idle Hands one with myself, Peverelist, Ron Morelli and Chris which was super fun. It had sold out but wasn’t rammed so there was plenty of space and the music was great throughout. From there we headed straight onto the Hessle boat and that was great too.

 

Do you reckon you’ll be back next year?

I hope so! Please book us again Simon, please…

 

Finally, what is your top festival tip?

Pedlo’s with water slides! I don’t really like slides or water but those were ace.

The Livity Compilation drops on the 14th October and you can catch Kowton alongside Peverelist and Asusu at the Livity Sound night at Sub Club on Friday 18th October.

 

http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=20612

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kowton/423436710022

 

– Lucy AB Molloy

 

The Philosophy of Neuroscience

From security guard working the graveyard shift to neuroscience blogger snatched up by the Guardian, Mo Costandi tells GUM how all of it was an accident, and how his first book will certainly not be his last.

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It’s Friday lunchtime, sitting at my kitchen table an icon pops up on my laptop screen, missed call: Mo Costandi. I panic, redial, and we connect over cyberspace and greet each other through the fourth wall of skype. I had been an avid reader of his blog Neurophilosophy for some time now, happy to see neuroscience propelled to the front page of scientific endeavours. Interestingly, the interview could not have come at a better time, with the Obama Administration launching a project to map humanities greatest asset, dubbed BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies). Although the enigmatic nature of the brain has long intrigued scientists, it is only in the last forty years with the invention of the MRI that we been able to really delve into it’s secret world. Indeed, George H.W. Bush dubbed the 90’s ‘the decade of the brain’- or was that George W. Bush? “I already feel a bit embarrassed” Mo confesses, “in the introduction of the book that I posted up on Neurophilosophy I wrote that it was by George W. Bush rather than his father.” The irony of the blunder had me laughing, but Mo seemed genuinely distressed with the the slip; and with his first book, 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know, due for release, pressure is high to succeed.

“Its coming out in 3 months” he explains, “it all happened very quickly, I spent ten weeks writing it over summer and submitted the manuscripts. January was spent re-reading the page proofs.” He relays the information with a precision that exposes the rigorous, sometimes tedious, but ultimately essential peer review system prevalent in the scientific community. “Probably 2/3rds of the book was written off the top of my head, then of course I had to double check whether I’d got all the facts straight and that I’d used as many up to date papers in my research as possible.” The book attempts, in fifty chapters, to cover the fifty most important discoveries of neuroscience in the last one hundred years; no easy feat considering the leaps and bounds the field has taken in the last two decades.

Yet for half a century it was the simplest concept that divided the scientific world; cell theory, the idea that all living organisms consist of cells. It is clear to see the dedication Mo holds for his subject, when before it seemed as if he were reciting facts, now his face becomes truly animated; “So there were two groups basically, one that said the brain must consist of cells like all other living things, the other group said well no, we can’t see them under the microscope, brain tissue must consist of a continuous network.” We’ve all heard of neurons, the fundamental building block of the nervous system, but few know of glial cells. “Glia seem to be as important as neurons for the brain’s ability to process information, and this is something that most neuroscientists still don’t appreciate” Mo explains, “we’ve basically ignored glial cells for the whole history of neuroscience!” It seems that not only are glial cells able to form connections of their own, they also dictate the way neurons communicate with each other. This is the kind of discovery that motivates Mo’s writing, Neurophilosophy started seven years ago: born out of necessity it is now his main focus. “I basically got kicked off my PHD two years into it and I ended up working as a security guard. I was doing twelve hour shifts just sitting on my arse all day- or all night- with nothing to do, so I just set up the blog to pass the time and people started reading it.”

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Inside Bahrain; an Interview with an activist

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Mizriya Maryam Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is a Bahraini human rights activist. She is the daughter of a prominent Bahraini activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and the vice president for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Freedom House has awarded Maryam and her father for their determination in the pro-democratic struggle in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

 

We’ve recently passed the second anniversary of Bahrain’s Jasmine Revolution uprising, marked by yet another death of a young dissenter from wounds induced by a security force birdshot into the rioting crowd. How do you see the situation in your country right now?

 

Unfortunately the human rights situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate. Due to the reality of local and international impunity, which officials of the Bahraini regime enjoy, little progress has been made to put an end to the ongoing almost daily violations.

 

On the other hand, the protests have not stopped. On the contrary, they continue almost on a daily basis. People understand that they’re in this for the long haul, but they also firmly believe in the idea of “no government can outlast its people”.

 

The unwillingness of the government to acknowledge some opposition and, in instances, choose to repress certain voices, has seemingly pushed many, mostly poor Shiites, to extreme political convictions. Bearing in mind the current state of countries like Egypt or Tunisia, do you also now also demand a full-blown revolution, or still believe in institutional cooperation towards pro-democratic reforms?

 

The people on the streets, one of the main groups being the February 14th Coalition are demanding the stepping down of the regime, regarding the self acclaimed king of Bahrain as being directly responsible for the ongoing violations. On the other hand, the political societies, whose popularity is decreasing as more people start to support the coalition, are demanding reforms and a constitutional monarchy.

 

As human rights defenders we do not have political asks. Our demands are more directed towards accountability, justice and the protection of human rights. The demand for accountability includes the heads of the ruling family; which means putting the king, crown prince and prime minister on trial.

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Interview with an Ambassador: Iain Ferrier Lindsay

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Iain Ferrier Lindsay has been Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain since 2011. Having joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the 1980s, he has since represented the United Kingdom on diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, Japan and Bucharest, among others.

 

What is the British embassy’s stance on the political turmoil that has been troubling Bahrain since the crackdown on the Jasmine Revolution-related protests in 2011? 

Our view is that sustainable stability in Bahrain can only be achieved through continued reform.  We support the reforms, which are underway and urge the Bahraini government to show greater energy in implementing reform.  Progress has been made in some areas but there is still a lot more to be done, e.g. on implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.  But there needs to be movement on the political track as well as the reform track.  We therefore welcome the resumption of political dialogue in early February and encourage all parties to remain involved in the process.  The only way to promote peace and stability in Bahrain is through an inclusive dialogue that addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis and helps to build the trust and confidence necessary for longer-term reconciliation.

 

In 2005, Tony Blair officially stated that Britain and Bahrain have a ‘strong, warm and longstanding relationship.’ Given the current times of political crisis Salman al-Khalifa’s government seems to be troubled with, as well as allegations of accounts of rights abuses, is this strong relationship still the case? 

Britain has had a long-standing and close relationship with Bahrain, going back nearly 200 years.  We are Bahrain’s oldest and most trusted partners outside the region.  Bahrain is of great strategic importance for the UK.  Therefore Bahrain’s stability is critical for our interests.  Given, as I say above, that we believe that sustainable stability can only be achieved through continued reform and given the closeness of the relationship, not just with the government but across the spectrum of Bahraini society, it is natural that the UK should want to help Bahrain to reform.  So, yes, the relationship is still close.  But, as with all good friends, we are honest when we see things which we believe are wrong.  So we are not an uncritical friend.

 

The unwillingness of the government to acknowledge some opposition and, in instances, choose to repress certain voices, has seemingly pushed many, mostly poor Shiites, to extreme political convictions. Given United Kingdom’s experience of repression in Northern Ireland, what would your advice to the authorities be, for this particular issue? 

Bahrain needs reform and political dialogue.  There are legal opposition parties in Bahrain.  They are currently taking part in the political dialogue that is underway.  While I agree that the events of the last 2 years have led to an increase in radicalised young Shia I do not believe that they are representative of the Shia population at large.  I think it is still the case that Al Wefaq, the main Shia opposition party (who are in the talks and who won nearly half the seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections) still commands the loyalty of most Shia.  But the risk must be that if there is insufficient reform and the political dialogue gets nowhere that more people, on both sides of the sectarian divide, will adopt more extreme positions.  Some observers in Bahrain say that the country resembles Northern Ireland in the late ‘60s.  What the UK’s support for reform and dialogue is intended to do is to ensure that Bahrain does not stumble into becoming like Northern Ireland of the ‘70s or ’80s.

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Review: RDGLDGRN

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Last night GUM headed down to O2 ABC to catch RDGLDGRN’s Glasgow debut on the first leg of their European Tour. Fair Fax Records’ hottest Hip-Hop signing garnered support from a small but enthusiastic crowd. Considering the quality of their music and their collaborations with the Legendary Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams, I was surprised that the venue wasn’t packed out. By the way this band is going, I suspect next time they hit town tickets will move faster than Usain Bolt.

The headliners took it upon themselves to come and chat to the crowd before they hit the stage and Red remarked they were ‘humbled to have the opportunity to tour and play to their fans, seeing as a couple of years ago they’d been unemployed jamming in their mom’s basement’. Working with Pharrell had been ‘an inspiring and easy process as they arranged the basics of track within just 25 minutes!’

The warm up was provided by Hector Biserk an unpretentious albeit unlikely combo of a bassist, drummer and MC who’s tracks ranged from angsty anti government ‘Police State’ to the relentlessly catchy ‘Let it go’. Think Jamie T x Rage Against the Machine coated in IRN BRU- you can catch them live at the West End Festival on the 8th of June.

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By the time RDGLDGRN appeared everyone had drifted away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Their set was eclectic and energised. The lyrical dexterity of MC Green was intermixed with Gold’s rock infused bass and Red’s softer vocals with drums provided by ‘White Face’ (who’s name stems from a tongue in cheek, PC defying homage to Dave Grohl). They were totally comfortable on stage and it felt as if we were overlooking a jamming session in their backyard. There is something instantly likeable about RDGLDGRN and they would be ideal for a mid afternoon slot at a summer festival.

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After the gig the guys were keen to see more of Glasgow, so we took them down to La Cheetah in the hope of giving them a taste of Nightwave’s new night ‘Nightrave’. Unfortunately it proved too popular by demand so we headed to Subculture, where Domenic spun quality techno until the early hours. They certainly enjoyed themselves and we can’t wait till they’re back in town. In the mean time You can check RDGLDGRN’S latest single ‘Million Fans’ here:

 

 

 

Words: Lucy Molloy

Photos: Matthew McAndrew: http://matthewmcandrew.com/?p=3123

 

Q&A: Rehab Clothing

GUM caught up with Rehab Clothing, Glasgow’s hot new sellers on the scene, to talk about their new business venture and passion for vintage!

Photos by Cammy Henderson (styling caroline smyth, model is victoria middleton)
Photos by Cammy Henderson (styling Caroline Smyth, model: Victoria MiddletonTell us a bit about Rehab Clothing – who are you and when did you start up?

Hi Steven, care to introduce yourself?

“My name is Steven Dick; I graduated with a 2:1 Business Honors degree in June. Rehab Clothing was formed in October; we operated in a pre-launch stage throughout October and November selling via pop-up shops and individual listings on Marketplace. This was key to network, establish a contact list, build relationships and implement a clear direction. We launched officially on the 21st of December via our online marketplace shop.”

Where did the idea come from, how did you get started and why?

“I decided to go travelling across Italy and South East Asia for four months after studying; it was during this time I decided to start up Rehab Clothing when I returned. I had an interest in starting my own business from my studies and always maintained an interest in the fashion industry. As a keen vintage shopper myself I spotted an opportunity in the marketplace where we could add value.”

What do you sell?

“We sell unique vintage wear, everything from leather shorts and trousers, this seasons must have monochrome, 1980s dresses, vintage tees and blouses, vintage sportswear and military shirts and jackets.”

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Interview: Make Do

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With Chambre 69’s out-of-the-blue closure a void was left to be filled in the Glasgow club scene. GUM caught up with Ahsan and Cheesy, one time Chambre booking manager and all round tech wizz respectively, who took it upon themselves to launch a new pop-up club appropriately named Make Do.

Meeting at the new Hope street venue on the evening before their 19th January launch (opposite the seldom noticed grandeur of Central Station), GUM descended into an empty space stacked with monitors and cables that was soon to be morphed into a venue christened by the likes of Offbeat, Cottam, Axel Boman.

“We created Make Do because chambre closed and we had lots of exciting promoters  looking for a space of that size” Ahsan clarified “Glasgows pretty lacking in medium sized venues that can cater to people being able to come in and be encouraged to come up with creative uses of the space.”

The pop-up aims to continue what Chambre was made famous for, namely the diversity of the space that allows promoters to come in and transform it to fit the needs of each individual night.

“One of the main benefits that Chambre had was that you could really make your own night” they explain, “to come in and change it up, and put in whatever production you wanted, flip it around and design it the way you liked. We wanted to offer the same thing with the Make Do space and build upon the Chambre ethos in that sense.”

Flexibility of this nature in a club is often hard to come by, and requires a solid team with enough expertise in their fields to avoid any glitches. “Cheesy is quite renowned for creating really great production in clubs, whether it be light features or visual installations” Ahsan chips in. For those of you who made it to the launch you might have noticed the stack of TV’s playing loops of old film clips next to the speakers, a Cheesy signature. “Having him on board means that promoters know the high level of technical know-how that he brings to the table.” he continues, “which is definitely a key point”.

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Christo Geoghegan: Behind the Lens

Why is traveling so alluring? Perhaps it’s the excitement of departing from the routine of our daily lives,  or of experiencing things previously unimagined; it’s something we all dream about at one point or another. With globalisation propelled to the extent that a journey to the ends of the Earth is not only affordable, but mostly achievable in under a day by plane, the idea of the truly remote seems to be a myth of the past. London based photographer and filmmaker Christo Geoghegan spoke to GUM about what travel means to him, and how he goes about capturing the lives of those who live in some of the last isolated places on Earth.

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  • What prompted you to become a travel photographer, any specific instance where you felt you knew this was the thing for you?

I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a travel photographer. Whilst almost all the work I do is indeed abroad, the basis of the work isn’t about the notion of travel. I’m not trying to capture the essence of a country, but document a particular group of people living within it. I spend around 10 months to a year researching and organising a story I’m working on, so it’s very much less about travelling around and photographing the country as a whole. At the moment, I’m very much dedicating my work on communities that are marginalised in some way, or those whose way of life is under threat.
The reason why I choose to work further away from home is not because I am in search of the exotic other, but because I feel that an outsiders perspective, without internal bias, allows me to document and photograph in a more well rounded manner.

  • You’re on your way to Mongolia on Thursday to continue your project on the Kazakh nomads, what made you decide to return?

Last time I went to visit the Kazakhs in Western Mongolia, I was only there for a month. It gave me a decent amount of time to give an outsiders account of their way of life, but still was only enough time to scratch the surface. I’m hoping my second visit will be able to start doing just that. I want to be able to tell more personal stories from the nomadic way of life, rather than the brief overview I managed to photograph last time. I’m also hoping to start work on a short film out there. So this is the second of many visits to come!

  • What has been your favourite experience whilst traveling with the nomads, and anything particular that you’ve learnt?

Without a doubt the sheer kindness I’m greeted with every day. I found from travelling a lot and from working all over the world, that those with the least, are willing to share the most. I would travel to the far corners of the Kazakh state of Mongolia and would always be ushered into houses, thrust a large meal in front of my face, and poured an endless flow of tea. That sense of community and willingness to help strangers is just something that’s been lost in the West; everyone is so guarded.
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Interview: Chouchou

The Glasgow fashion scene is bursting at the seams with creative talent, so it’s no surprise that Italian-born designer Silvia Pellegrino decided to start up her own label here. Chouchou creates unique hoods with a couture feel which appeal to the city’s fashion-forward, individual style. Unsurprisingly, Pellegrino’s range of Hollyhoods have attracted quite the following, and GUM were lucky enough to feature one of her striking pieces in our latest issue. Flick to page 20 of our ‘Blackout’ feature to see the Hollyhood Rose in action. We caught up with the designer again to talk hoods, hoods, hoods!

photo by Chris Park

How did Chouchou get started?

It started when I was an intern for a company called Kucoon in LA in 2007, that was one of the best experiences of my life, I met so many talented designers. I find in California there are a lot of inspirational people, so working for Kucoon was the best thing that could have happened at the time, and when the internship was over the designer Andrea Spratt asked me: “do you want to stay?” and I was really tempted to just say yes. At the time I was so determined to start something of my own so I went back to Italy and invested my savings into the creation of our first S/S collection, and this collection for one reason or another was going to be shown here in Glasgow. So, at some point I decided it would be a great idea to move to Scotland altogether because I always had great connections here. I moved here in 2009 and started the company here in 2010 and it just grew from there

How did you come up with the name? What does the name Chouchou mean?

The name came  from another trip that I did in South Africa, passing through Paris. The word Chouchou came out and my French friend explained that it’s a term used with a person you love. Chouchou means loved one. Once I was doing a market in Italy and this now famous photographer came up to me and said: “What’s your company name?”, and I said Chouchou and he said to me, “Wow that’s so much fun”, because in Naples when you see a hot girl on the street and you know her name you simply go: “sciu’sciu’!”. (read as Chouchou)

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