Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Exhibitions, Video

Billy Liar gets the Blu-ray treatment

By Stefano on March 25th, 2013

billyliar-blurayAs any Smiths fan knows the classic early single, William It Was Really Nothing, was Morrissey’s homage to the masterpiece of British new wave movies Billy Liar.

Well, a few years after the death of Keith Waterhouse who penned the novel in 1959, the film is to be celebrated again with a feature-packed Blu-ray edition plus a couple of screenings.

In case you have never seen it, the film is one of the very best early 60s movies and tracks the life of Billy, played by Tom Courtenay, as he lives a rather dull life in his humdrum northern town. All he has to keep him from going crazy is a wicked imagination – which delivers some wonderfully surreal moments in the movie. And then into his life pops Julie Christie, aka Liz, and he has a chance to escape.


Waterhouse also wrote a second Billy Liar novel – Billy Liar on the Moon – in which our hero is now married (but having an affair) and ensconced in a new town in the Midlands. Even though it is not a patch on the original it is a fun read and ties up a few loose ends from the initial book.

Maybe it is time for a third installment of the story with Billy as a very grumpy seventy year old – any takers?

Anyhow back to the reissue of the film.

According to Electric Roulette the disc comes with the following extras

• Remembering Billy Liar with Tom Courtenay and Helen Fraser
• Interview with Richard Ayoade
• A look through the Keith Waterhouse Archive with British Library Curator Zoe Wilcox
• Interview with Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley
• Stills Gallery
• Trailer

It costs £13.99 and is vaauible on May 6th.

And it can be seen live here.

Sunday 14th April, National Media Museum, Bradford, 10.50am
Friday 26th April, British Library Conference Centre, London, 18.00pm


Exhibitions, features, Gallery, music

Review: David Bowie is, Victoria and Albert Museum (March 23rd to August 11 2013)

By shinychris on March 21st, 2013

David Bowie is - Victoria and Albert Museum

Picture 3 of 18
Picture 3 of 18

Original photography for the Earthling album cover, 1997. Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with David Bowie. Photograph by Frank W Ockenfels 3. © Frank W Ockenfels 3

I’ve always loved David Bowie. From Ziggy Stardust via the Thin White Duke to the smartly dressed Hamlet-inspired creations of the Serious Moonlight Tour. Even the movie roles in The Man Who Fell To Earth and (very differently), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.  These ‘characters’ shaped the style and attitude of my teenage years, while Bowie’s music of the period touched me like it did all angst-ridden teenagers all over the world with its predominant themes of alienation/otherwordliness/isolation (delete as appropriate). And although my love of Bowie has waxed and waned since the 1990s, I was still like an excited kid in a sweet shop to get a preview invite to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the David Bowie Is retrospective – along with thousands of other mostly 40 and 50 somethings.

What’s striking about the exhibition is that it’s not just about Bowie, but very much about the world that shaped him and consequently us all. So for example we see his early influences such as artists Gilbert and George singing ‘Underneath the Arches’, mime artist Lindsay Kemp who Bowie was a student of during the 1960s and several films of the ’70s, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001: Space Odyssey and his extremely disturbing Clockwork Orange. If this gives the impression of Bowie as a cultural magpie who borrowed from here, there, everywhere that’s probably because he was – and is. That’s not to say there isn’t a focus on his own work too. There are his own child-like sketches of the dystopic ‘Hunger City’ which was the inspiration for the Diamond Dogs tour of 1974, handwritten lyrics from many of his biggest hits as well as iconic photographs of Bowie from the period, taken by celebrity photographersbowie_stripped_bodysuit like Terry O’Neill and Brian Duffy (most famous for the iconic Aladdin Sane cover).

There are also interviews with those who have worked with Bowie over the years, perhaps most notably record producer Tony Visconti who talks about the work process with Bowie and basically how easy he is to get along with. There’s even a section on ‘The Verbasiser’, a computer program that Bowie helped develop which randomly chops up words from various stories to make the process of song writing simpler. “It’s like the storylines you get from dreams without the boredom of having to sleep,” explains Bowie.

Then of course there are the stage costumes – around 60 of them in total. While some of these are magnificent, particularly the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie along with Alexander McQueen for the cover of 1997 album Earthling as well as Yamamoto’s Striped Bodysuit from Aladdin Sane (see pic), others – like those from the Serious Moonlight tour and the jumpsuit from the famous Top of the Pops Starman appearance – look disappointingly washed out. Time may not have diminished Bowie as an artist with The Next Day being (nearly) as good as anything since 1983′s Let’s Dance, but it seems to have taken its toll on just about everything else. As Bowie himself once sang: “Time – He’s waiting in the wings, He speaks of senseless things, His script is you and me boys.”

Brandish was a guest of Sennheiser who provide the GuidePort sound system for the Bowie is exhibition which runs at the Victoria and Albert Museum from March 23rd to August 11th. Tickets cost £15.40 (concessions available).

Related posts:

David Bowie’s The Next Day – The Best Comeback Album Ever
Sennheiser launches Momentum limited edition headphones inspired by David Bowie 




Noma Bar ‘Bitter Sweet’ Exhibition at KK Outlet.

By ThomasHewetson on April 5th, 2010

After publishing ‘Negative Space,’ graphic designer Noma Bar has made some of the artwork featured in that book into a physical reality. Featuring 3D wood cuts, installation pieces, screenprints and light boxes. Running until April 30th at KK Outlet, it should be well worth a visit. More preview images available at Creative Review.

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