As good as a nice cup of tea, and a sit down.

Monday, 13 September 2010

20 Years of Twin Peaks @ The Temple Works

"Through the darkness of future past
The magician longs to see
Once chants out between two worlds: 
Fire, walk with me."

David Lynch. After four decades of making controversial and unforgettable films, there cannot be many words in common usage which have not been applied to him and his catalogue.
However, if you were inclined to understatement, you might say he likes to sway towards "the unconventional."

From his first feature length, the deranged Eraserhead, to 2001's seminal Mulholland Drive, Lynch has always filled his films with equal amounts of humour, absurdity and unease. As is the case with the most visionary of film-makers, all of his works remain instantly recognisable - and undeniably his own.

His latest ventures outside of film have been equally bizarre, not least upon the release of his own brand of coffee, the "David Lynch Signature Cup." The tag-line being from Inland Empire: "It's all in the beans ... and I'm just full of beans."

Over time his fans have become a die-hard bunch, and have rewarded his efforts by giving him impenetrable  'cult' status. Evidence of this can be found this Saturday, 18th September, when the Leeds branch of the sect will gather together for an evening celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

A wonderful and 'most Lynchian' venue, the creative folk at Temple Works have turned the inside of the theatre into Twin Peaks, Pop. 51,201. Whether you fancy catching a live band at 'The Roadhouse,' or even want to bring a cherry pie to the 'R&R Diner,' there are activities to suit all levels of devotion. It's fancy dress competition too, with a prize for the best character costume.

Perhaps the best of all, it's for an excellent cause. Fire Walk With Me is a fund-raiser for the theatre, and will allow them to invest in a new PA system for the space.

Tickets are still available from Visit the website for further details.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Sarah in Wonderland

A good friend of mine from high school has recently become a jewellery designer.

Not only is that sort of thing that makes me so pleased for her, but it just so happens that her designs are truly lovely. They're the sort of thing that if she didn't make, I would be dreaming and wishing that someone did.

As Sarah puts it herself: 'I'm inspired by Alice in Wonderland, fairytales, afternoon tea, France, romance and literature.' I think of it as clever, pretty Jewellery for clever, pretty girls. 

Take a look:

Alice in Wonderland Red Red Rose Bracelet 
(I have the necklace version myself!)

La Fee Vert (Green Fairy) Necklace

I don't think I really need wax lyrically about it further, the pieces speak for themselves! Only to say that you can find her website here: and keep an eye on her blog also for giveaways and competitions: 


Tuesday, 7 September 2010


(Thanks to Matt Reid of Chickenhawk for this beautiful new banner.)

It's lovely isn't it? Well, it comes with some rather big news. I've loved doing the blog over the past couple of years, but it has run it's course. We were itching for a bigger challenge.

And so, as of 1.10.10 this blog will be no more. But I am extremely proud to announce the arrival of our new project:

The new website aims to branch out into a proper swish online community. We're going to be doing features and interviews with all the interesting folk we find, as well as talking about al the shitty music artists and new releases we like.

If you're an artist/photographer/writer/illustrator who'd like to contribute, or you'd just like to suggest what you'd like most to read about, I'd love for you to drop us a line. 

All enquiries to: natalie[at]wearelowculture[dot]com
or Review Submissions to: reviews[at]wearelowculture[dot]com

Ta for all your suppport,
N xx

Friday, 3 September 2010

This is British Cinema: A Night with Shane Meadows

Picture: Colin Baldwin
Shane Meadows’ appropriated title, ‘the Scorsese of the Midlands’, though no doubt meant as a compliment, fails to stick properly. Whilst his cinematography is certainly on a par with some of these greats, it is his character development that sets him apart from his American contemporaries. Scorsese films, Di Palma films, Stone films: however much we are confronted with the ‘grit’ of criminality, we still view it with an element of cinematic distance. The construction of Meadows characters from his endless workshops, in some cases casting individuals with no prior acting experience; results in an intimacy with his characters that has rarely been furthered. You know his people and put simply, you care about what happens to them.

Thankfully, the transposition from big screen to small screen did not hamper this much with the arrival of This is England ’86, Part 1. of which was screened last night at The Showroom, Sheffield.

Picture: Colin Baldwin
A great deal of time was invested into making the experience authentic. The interior was kitted out like a Working Men’s Club down to the minutest details, with scooters revving up outside the doors, vol-au-vent buffet and stubbed-out rollies in plastic ashtrays. The choice of The Showroom as a venue was in part down to the relocation of filming to Sheffield. ‘The [Nottingham] estates we shot the film on were just about to be torn down after the original film,’ Meadows explained, ‘I hadn’t been to Sheffield before but as soon as I came I fell in love with the landscape.’

Picture: Colin Baldwin
Alongside Meadows and the serial’s Producer Mark Herbert, most of the cast of part 1 were in attendance, including Thomas Turgoose (Sean), Vicky Mclure (Lol) and Joe Gilgun (Woody).

To give a brief synopsis, the four parts are one hour each in length, allowing the story to play out much farther than the original film. Part 1. begins with the impending nuptials of Woody and Lol, and Sean’s exit from school with few prospects on the horizon. As could be predicted with any Meadows production, Part 1. reaches the banality, the humour, the sadness and darkness of real working-class life. The depth of development with characters such as Lol shows promise for the further 3 installments, particularly from the excerpt that was shown of the continuation of the end. It is not without its faults. The relationship between Sean and Smell never seemed to make much sense, yet despite this it sees a continuation in Part 1. And some of the costumes seem a little elaborate, perhaps a little too eager to get a cross-section of all 80s sub-cultures.

All in all, the devil really is in the most microscopic observations, and it is this that makes This Is England ’86 compelling. The dialogue is often clumsy and rather stunted, and the scenes don’t always achieve cogence. This is the opposite of what you have come to expect in cinema but then, life is awkward: it isn’t always carried out with a dramatic flourish. This is England ’86 has a common beauty - the flashes of remembrance that surface when watching it for anyone who grew up through that strange and difficult decade. The crap beaded seat covers supposedly meant to make cars look posh, Panda Pops, those awful brown patterned bus seats. You almost can hear yourself saying some of those cringeworthy adolescent assertions, too.

With the death knell for the British Film Council ringing out, it’s sad to think that the next Meadows may not have the support to carry out his or her vision. Meadows’ continues to prove that there is a real vitality in British cinema which needs to able to thrive.

Picture: Colin Baldwin

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


You may have already seen the adverts. In case you are out of the loop: The cast of Shane Meadows’ brilliant and moving drama This Is England return to our screens next month as a 4-part miniseries.

The original film, which saw of a group of teenagers coming-of-age against the politically extreme backdrop of the 1980s, left things at somewhat of a crossroads. This is England ’86 picks up their lives in the year in which Chris de Burgh is at number one, Top Gun is filling the cinemas, VHS is trumping Betamax, the World Cup is raging in Mexico and over 3.4 million Brits are unemployed.

Meadows choice to continue the story wasn’t coincidental: “not only did I want to take the story of the gang broader and deeper, I also saw in the experiences of the young in 1986 many resonances to [society] now: recession, lack of jobs, sense of the world at a turning point.”

For now things look very promising. As you can see by the preview above, the popular cast is reassembled, with a few newer editions. But going one better for anticipating fans, The first episode will premiere at the Showroom, Sheffield on Thursday 2 September, attended by cast including Thomas Turgoose, Vicky McClure, Andrew Shim and Joe Gilgun with a special introduction by director Shane Meadows.  For this rather special event, the Showroom will be turned into ‘Working Men’s Club,’ complete with a set from a local Ska band.

The Low Culture will be there in force and we will be offering all the highlights from the event next week For more information and exclusive previews visit

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


We have returned from our ramblings in Skipton. See our photographic evidence:

There were highs, lows and men in Y Fronts...

So yes, Moor Fest. As we have mentioned, it can be a little unpredictable. In fact it seems ever since TLC has been in attendance it has been grappling with an identity crisis. Is it a family festival or one for dance loving space-cakes? Does it concentrate solely on local bands or try to offer a wider selection from further afield?

Well, 2010 seems no closer to any sort of realisation. There are no official figures for this, the party line usually being: 'It completely sold out.' But it seemed even smaller than last year’s crowd, with the camp site occupying only a stamp-sized area. The relocation from the larger site in Ilkley may have had some influence on this.

Being packed with crusty folk the stalls were suitably hippy in flavour. There was some lovely grub to be had as well as some weird and unpronounceable herbal teas. But the downscaled site meant that all points of interest could be covered in roughly 30 seconds, and through the day at least, there was a lot of sitting around with not much to do. On one hand it's nice to be able to see all the bands you're there for, but the shortage of quality, exciting acts across the entire bill meant that it was a fitful and uneven couple of days.

Friday's weather was miserable but it certainly didn't dampen the spirits of the little flower children playing in the sand pit, or the people walking round in fancy dress. Tall Ships were the first offering that TLC saw on the Earl Hickey Tribute stage (we've no idea why it's called that) and they were amiably pretty, though not likely to set anyone's world on fire any time soon.

The evening's controversy (and entertainment) unsurprisingly came from champion idiots Kong, who shortly after their performance were banned from playing the festival ever again. What did they do? Well, in order: accidentally assaulted a pregnant woman, called the crowd 'a set of fucking boring hippies' and incited a stage invasion which saw the security shoved off the stage. Whilst they may not have endeared themselves to any promoters here, most of the crowd seemed to find it hilarious. All in a day's work for them, but the memorable highlight of the weekend.

Saturday's fun kicked off in the evening with brilliant Jon Jones and The Beatnik Movement, whose sleazy guitars and howling pigeon-chested frontman have been a fixture on the Leeds scene for many a year. For us, their garage rock n roll was a cold flannel on the headache we got from the offensively loud Dubstep tent. Dubstep fans: apologies, but a serious question to you: how do you appreciate it when you are drug-free?

With this in mind, there are rumours that next year, Moor Fest will shirk it's inclusion of bands in favour of a completely dance/live DJ line-up. It may lose a handful of people still in attendance for the live music, but a good indication of the crowd's preference showed in the half full band tents. Not least at Male Bonding on Saturday, whose fun set was witnessed by approximately 1 man and his dog. It's a shame that a decent band newly signed to Sub-Pop couldn't interest more revellers, but that fact is telling of the inconsistencies at play here. With a singular idea behind it and a discerning booker, Moor Fest could appeal well to one particular audience. But at the moment, it's stretched between too many concepts. Let's hope that next year, someone can come along and stop it from flailing in the mud.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Moor Music, No Problems

Moorfest 2008, @ Addingham Moorside, Ilkley

Yes, it's that time of year again! A brief countdown to that curious little hilltop gathering, Moor Music Festival, happening this very weekend @ Heslaker Farm, Skipton.

Moor Music Festival ( has provided a quirky alternative to the bigger summer gatherings for a good while now. Home to circus tents, cabaret performances and a legendary Silent Disco, it's the perfect low-key antidote for those with corporate sponsorship fatigue.

In keeping with the general DIY spirit, its previous line-ups have seen some wicked independent artists. 2010 follows suit nicely and things kick off on Friday with:

Copyright: Martin Cogley

The unholy! The stinking! KONG: who will tear you a new chest cavity . Manchester's weirdest have lately been enjoying praise for their album Snake Magnet, even standard schmindie-rag NME paid attention, giving it 8/10. The uninitiated should expect a proggy, dark live show with lots of surreal conversation.

Photo: Iain Thompson

Saturday brings some wonderful art-pop in the form of Errors. Going on tour with fellow Glaswegians The Twilight Sad in the Autumn, they are admirably lean live, and also benefit from some lovely Christmas jumpers. 

Photo: Steve Gullick

Our top pick of the weekend is this. If you haven't seen the mighty Male Bonding already, then we urge you to show up to this on Saturday. They've not been going for all too long but man, they are furiously fast and insanely catchy - you know, everything exciting about proper punk. Plus, they play live at an even higher breakneck speed. We at The Low Culture are getting very het up about this one, sexy time!

Well, we wish you all a great, safe festival! We will be there in force from Friday afternoon to document everything. Just heed this final warning: girls might want to rethink the (lame) 'festival chic' hotpants/sunglasses look. As returning folk will know, up on t'moortop you are very much at the mercy of the elements. Take your waterproofs and don't say we didn't tell you so. 

See you there!