Amelia’s Magazine | University of Westminster: Photography Ba Hons Graduate Show 2011 Review

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 review-Zara Ilic
Detail of photograph by Zara Ilic.

University of Westminster had the lion’s share of the Free Range showspace last weekend, store taking up the entirety of the huge hangar like space, symptoms which has lately been suffering a lot of roof leaks. Within those walls was a plethora of different photographic styles. I picked up on just a few in the show.

Tomas Hein Artefact
Tomas Hein porcelain figure
Tomas Hein looked into contemporary archaeological finds – from the former inhabitants of 43 Gerrard Road, Islington. After eviction only the porcelain statues of this Chinese family remained alongside some black and white informal family photos. Huge prints emphasised the pathos of his finds. His accompanying zine was featured on It’s Nice That. Find Tomas Hein on twitter here.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Louise Smith de Vasconcelos
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Louise Smith de Vasconcelos
Louise Smith de Vasconcelos looked into Awareness and Perception in a series of close up still lives, some of which were more discernibly objects that I knew and recognised than others.

Genevieve Rudd dementia
I was most taken by Genevieve Rudd‘s collaborative project with her grandfather James Pettigrew, named 64 Althea Green. Together they documented her grandmother’s decline into dementia, with slabs of paint overlaid on conventional photography in a semi crazed manner.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
Samantha Cawson also chose to create an installation with the bastardised photographs of the Victorian and Edwardian era – faces sewn over with coloured cotton threads. Weirdly, I had the idea to do this with some of my old magazine tearsheets only yesterday, when I was considering how I could have contributed original art to the Art Car Boot Fair. Though maybe not over their faces…




Beth Vieira calls herself a ‘lens-based artist’ and is interested in cinematic and narrative photography. ‘Coming from an academic environment, my work tends to demonstrate a conceptual reflection onto psychoanalytical and sociological dramas‘. Her three video loop installation was called Scouting for Boys and featured staged tableaux that called to mind the kind of generic imagery that is familiar to us from films and television. At first glance these appeared to be static photos but then eyes, breath, wisps of emotion revealed them to be alive and moving people. Subtley clever.

Ed Hannan rowley_way
Ed Hannan tackled that favourite photographic subject, the weird beauty of council estates – mounds of curvaceous and angular weathered concrete rendered beautiful in the loving detail. It’s a shame there’s nowt more to be seen online yet.

Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
The Garage struck a resonant note with me – Shanna Taylor‘s documentation of her father’s incredible hoarding showed how it has threatened to engulf his family (he’s built an extra garage where everything is getting mouldy and moth eaten). Rather uncomfortably it reminds me of my own tendency to hang on to absolutely everything… just in case it’s needed somewhere down the line, and also because I hate to create any kind of waste that might end up in landfill. ‘Much of what he has accumulated is junk…. However for him each item has such a high degree of perceived value that he cannot bear to part with it.’ Yup, I know that feeling only too well.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jorge Anthony Stride
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jorge Anthony Stride
Uncertain States by Jorge Anthony Stride featured a series of ethereal landscapes, quite similar in fact to Lydia Anna Stott’s work at Nottingham Trent. Even his written explanation was eerily similar too. I must say I am very drawn to this kind of photography – something about the dreamlike state of it is very appealing. There must be something zeitgeisty going on here.

Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
I loved Zara Ilic‘s Plitvika Jezera – a colour saturated documentation of the waterfall in a national park on the borders between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The waters change colour constantly according to the mineral deposits and angle of the sun, something which she has captured extremely evocatively. And to my excitement I was able to tweet her immediately to say how much I liked her work because she included her twitter profile on her business card. Yay!

Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
Aniela Michalec-Perriam worked with children to complete her final project – Pur-spi-kas-i-tee tackled the plight of kids with communication difficulties, saddled with trying to make themselves understood in a society that negatively stereotypes them. The children were all given the opportunity to contribute to their portrait in any way they liked. The blurring of faces and simple brightness of the resulting photos was very evocative.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jason Pierce-Williams
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jason Pierce-Williams
Lastly, Jason Pierce-Williams visited the studios of artists who are driven to make art despite the lack of commercial success. His candid portraits portrayed the stoicism of those artists who are determined to keep producing art regardless. ‘None of the artists portrayed are household names.’

All in all there was a very high quality of photography amongst Westminster students, but too many have rested on their laurels when it comes to promoting their work online – it was a massive struggle to find degree show images. Some students hadn’t even bothered to upload their images to the Free Range showcase pages, hence the reason that this blog features my relatively crappy photos of photos. Trawling the web in search of images I have also come to realise just how much help creatives need with learning Search Engine Optimisation – they really don’t make the most of it. I can’t stress how important it is to graduate with a strong online presence so that interested parties can track you down. Is it any surprise that Tomas Hein, with his great website, blog and twitter feed, has received such notable accolades already? If not now, then when?

Categories ,2011, ,43 Gerrard Road, ,64 Althea Green, ,Aniela Michalec-Perriam, ,Art Car Boot Fair, ,Awareness and Perception, ,Beth Vieira, ,Bosnia and Herzegovina, ,Council Estates, ,Croatia, ,Dementia, ,Ed Hannan, ,Eviction, ,Free Range, ,Genevieve Rudd, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hoarding, ,Islington, ,It’s Nice That, ,James Pettigrew, ,Jason Pierce-Williams, ,Jorge Anthony Stride, ,Lens-based artist, ,Louise Smith de Vasconcelos, ,Lydia Anne Stott, ,Nottingham Trent University, ,photography, ,Plitvika Jezera, ,Pur-spi-kas-i-tee, ,Samantha Cawson, ,Scouting for Boys, ,Search Engine Optimisation, ,Shanna Taylor, ,The Garage, ,Tomas Hein, ,Uncertain States, ,University of Westminster, ,video, ,Zara Ilic, ,Zeitgeist, ,zine

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Amelia’s Magazine | University of Westminster: Photography Ba Hons Graduate Show 2011 Review

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 review-Zara Ilic
Detail of photograph by Zara Ilic.

University of Westminster had the lion’s share of the Free Range showspace last weekend, store taking up the entirety of the huge hangar like space, symptoms which has lately been suffering a lot of roof leaks. Within those walls was a plethora of different photographic styles. I picked up on just a few in the show.

Tomas Hein Artefact
Tomas Hein porcelain figure
Tomas Hein looked into contemporary archaeological finds – from the former inhabitants of 43 Gerrard Road, Islington. After eviction only the porcelain statues of this Chinese family remained alongside some black and white informal family photos. Huge prints emphasised the pathos of his finds. His accompanying zine was featured on It’s Nice That. Find Tomas Hein on twitter here.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Louise Smith de Vasconcelos
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Louise Smith de Vasconcelos
Louise Smith de Vasconcelos looked into Awareness and Perception in a series of close up still lives, some of which were more discernibly objects that I knew and recognised than others.

Genevieve Rudd dementia
I was most taken by Genevieve Rudd‘s collaborative project with her grandfather James Pettigrew, named 64 Althea Green. Together they documented her grandmother’s decline into dementia, with slabs of paint overlaid on conventional photography in a semi crazed manner.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Samantha Cawson
Samantha Cawson also chose to create an installation with the bastardised photographs of the Victorian and Edwardian era – faces sewn over with coloured cotton threads. Weirdly, I had the idea to do this with some of my old magazine tearsheets only yesterday, when I was considering how I could have contributed original art to the Art Car Boot Fair. Though maybe not over their faces…




Beth Vieira calls herself a ‘lens-based artist’ and is interested in cinematic and narrative photography. ‘Coming from an academic environment, my work tends to demonstrate a conceptual reflection onto psychoanalytical and sociological dramas‘. Her three video loop installation was called Scouting for Boys and featured staged tableaux that called to mind the kind of generic imagery that is familiar to us from films and television. At first glance these appeared to be static photos but then eyes, breath, wisps of emotion revealed them to be alive and moving people. Subtley clever.

Ed Hannan rowley_way
Ed Hannan tackled that favourite photographic subject, the weird beauty of council estates – mounds of curvaceous and angular weathered concrete rendered beautiful in the loving detail. It’s a shame there’s nowt more to be seen online yet.

Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Shanna Taylor Hoarding the Garage
The Garage struck a resonant note with me – Shanna Taylor‘s documentation of her father’s incredible hoarding showed how it has threatened to engulf his family (he’s built an extra garage where everything is getting mouldy and moth eaten). Rather uncomfortably it reminds me of my own tendency to hang on to absolutely everything… just in case it’s needed somewhere down the line, and also because I hate to create any kind of waste that might end up in landfill. ‘Much of what he has accumulated is junk…. However for him each item has such a high degree of perceived value that he cannot bear to part with it.’ Yup, I know that feeling only too well.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jorge Anthony Stride
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jorge Anthony Stride
Uncertain States by Jorge Anthony Stride featured a series of ethereal landscapes, quite similar in fact to Lydia Anna Stott’s work at Nottingham Trent. Even his written explanation was eerily similar too. I must say I am very drawn to this kind of photography – something about the dreamlike state of it is very appealing. There must be something zeitgeisty going on here.

Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
Zara Ilic Plitvika Jezera
I loved Zara Ilic‘s Plitvika Jezera – a colour saturated documentation of the waterfall in a national park on the borders between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The waters change colour constantly according to the mineral deposits and angle of the sun, something which she has captured extremely evocatively. And to my excitement I was able to tweet her immediately to say how much I liked her work because she included her twitter profile on her business card. Yay!

Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Aniela Michalec-Perriam Pur-spi-kas-i-tee
Aniela Michalec-Perriam worked with children to complete her final project – Pur-spi-kas-i-tee tackled the plight of kids with communication difficulties, saddled with trying to make themselves understood in a society that negatively stereotypes them. The children were all given the opportunity to contribute to their portrait in any way they liked. The blurring of faces and simple brightness of the resulting photos was very evocative.

University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jason Pierce-Williams
University of Westminster photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jason Pierce-Williams
Lastly, Jason Pierce-Williams visited the studios of artists who are driven to make art despite the lack of commercial success. His candid portraits portrayed the stoicism of those artists who are determined to keep producing art regardless. ‘None of the artists portrayed are household names.’

All in all there was a very high quality of photography amongst Westminster students, but too many have rested on their laurels when it comes to promoting their work online – it was a massive struggle to find degree show images. Some students hadn’t even bothered to upload their images to the Free Range showcase pages, hence the reason that this blog features my relatively crappy photos of photos. Trawling the web in search of images I have also come to realise just how much help creatives need with learning Search Engine Optimisation – they really don’t make the most of it. I can’t stress how important it is to graduate with a strong online presence so that interested parties can track you down. Is it any surprise that Tomas Hein, with his great website, blog and twitter feed, has received such notable accolades already? If not now, then when?

Categories ,2011, ,43 Gerrard Road, ,64 Althea Green, ,Aniela Michalec-Perriam, ,Art Car Boot Fair, ,Awareness and Perception, ,Beth Vieira, ,Bosnia and Herzegovina, ,Council Estates, ,Croatia, ,Dementia, ,Ed Hannan, ,Eviction, ,Free Range, ,Genevieve Rudd, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hoarding, ,Islington, ,It’s Nice That, ,James Pettigrew, ,Jason Pierce-Williams, ,Jorge Anthony Stride, ,Lens-based artist, ,Louise Smith de Vasconcelos, ,Lydia Anne Stott, ,Nottingham Trent University, ,photography, ,Plitvika Jezera, ,Pur-spi-kas-i-tee, ,Samantha Cawson, ,Scouting for Boys, ,Search Engine Optimisation, ,Shanna Taylor, ,The Garage, ,Tomas Hein, ,Uncertain States, ,University of Westminster, ,video, ,Zara Ilic, ,Zeitgeist, ,zine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen: Live Review

Beth Jeans Houghton by Gemma Cotterell

Beth Jeans Houghton by Gemma Cotterell

Squeezing past the punters at the bar, I could see that the box-like auditorium of Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen was already full in anticipation at the arrival of Beth Jeans Houghton. This was the last night of the tour supporting her new album, Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, and, like her most recent appearance in the capital (Upstairs at the Garage), all tickets had long since gone.

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I’d first discovered Beth Jeans Houghton a couple of years ago, playing a set at the Windmill in Brixton. At the time, the young Newcastle singer was a hotly tipped one-to-watch on the nu-folk scene (though she would probably consider herself more un-folk) following the release of the Hot Toast Volume One EP, before she seemingly dropped off the radar. Houghton resurfaced last year, having signed to Mute, and could be spotted playing at the Camden Crawl and, later on, at the Lexington (sporting a tiger stripe onesie, as you do). Gone are the wigs that she used to wear at gigs, the acoustic guitar (she’s now electric, you see) and the battered suitcase that doubled as a bass drum, but that amazing voice is still unchanged.

Beth Jeans Houghton by Sandra Jawad

Beth Jeans Houghton by Sandra Jawad

Taking to the stage with her band, the Hooves of Destiny, there was bit of a jokey keyboard and drums Also Sprach Zarathustra moment before things got underway. The set was basically a run through of tracks from the album, with a few added goodies thrown in. Houghton was very much centre stage, with a sparkly blue dress, bouffant blonde hair and bright red lipstick, and her voice soared through songs like Dodecahedron and Liliputt. Some Afrobeat-style guitar introduced Atlas, which I’m fairly sure had a few subtly altered lyrics, and old favourite I Will Return, I Promise was given a sprightly makeover.

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Houghton was more than capably backed by the band, featuring the imposing Findlay MacAskill on violin and backing vocal duties, Dav Shiel and his galloping drums, Ed Blazey swapping between trumpet, a very posh banjo and guitar and bass player Rory Gibson’s frighteningly loud trousers. It was pretty clear that everyone was enjoying themselves, and a broken string and dodgy guitar strap did little to dampen the onstage banter. Houghton was in impish mood, telling the audience what MacAskill (a doctor) had been doing during the day (repairing some poor unfortunate’s nether regions) before conducting a survey of what people’s favourite words were (“discombobulation” seemed to score quite highly). There was also a prize for “funkiest dancer” up for grabs.

Beth Jeans Houghton by Claire Kearns

Beth Jeans Houghton by Claire Kearns

The set closed with Houghton and the Hooves joined by the support band, Goodnight Lenin, for a fully choreographed rendition of (would you believe) Madonna’s Like A Prayer, before being urged back on stage by the crowd for an encore and ripping through the joyously punky coda to the album finale, Carousel.

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With her much anticipated album finally released (and very well received), and now apparently based full time in Los Angeles, it looks like Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny will be riding on to bigger and better things.

Categories ,afrobeat, ,beth jeans houghton, ,Brixton, ,Camden Crawl, ,folk, ,Goodnight Lenin, ,Hooves of Destiny, ,Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, ,Los Angeles, ,Madonna, ,Mute, ,Newcastle, ,The Garage, ,The Lexington, ,The Windmill

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gig Review: Wichita 10th Anniversary Celebrations at The Highbury Garage


Peggy Sue Illustration by Emilie Lashmar

Wichita, price the record label that has brought us Bloc Party, The Cribs, Los Campesinos! and Simian Mobile Disco (to name but a few) continued its 10th Anniversary celebrations at the Relentless™ Garage in sunny Highbury. As a special birthday treat, early arrivals received a gift bag full of delightful Wichita goodies, including a Simian Mobile Disco vinyl LP and the new album from Peter, Bjorn and John. The resultant hubbub and excited rustling of bags did little to detract from a nice opening set from Meg Baird, whose delicate fingerpicking and lush, hushed vocals set the tone for a great evening of folk.

Next on stage was the more vivacious Peggy Sue, who didn’t hesitate to show a dazzled crowd why their debut album Fossils and Other Phantoms was so critically acclaimed. Opening the set with the captivating, percussive ‘Watchman’, Rosa and Katy really were a surprise and a delight – consider me a convert. Their luxurious, soulful vocal harmonies were only outdone by their impressive instrumental dexterity, alternating effortlessly between guitar, percussion, ukulele and accordion. With Olly’s marching drums ably complemented by the violin and cello of Becca and Emma, the highlight of the set came in the form of a particularly stunning rendition of ‘Yo Mama’, its chirruping, Gallic accordion and bluesy lead riff laying a spirited backdrop to Katy and Rosa’s spectacular voices. As the girls finished their all-too-brief set with a modest thanks to Wichita and the crowd, the sheer volume of rapturous applause (particularly in such an intimate venue) was a real testament to the performance. You can’t help but get the impression these two have only good things on the horizon.


Illustration by Jill Patterson

Last up were headliners (and perennial Amelia’s Mag favourites First Aid Kit, each taking to the stage in stunning gold dresses – Klara’s marbled with purple paisley, Johanna’s with a magnificent Persian pattern flecked with deep reds and autumnal browns. As someone who had heard little of their music beyond their fantastic cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ (Youtube it) and recent single ‘I Met Up With the King’, I was pleasantly surprised by their laid-back, distinctly acoustic folk-pop; mature, intricate lyrics and the sibling’s vocal harmonies – the combination of which results in a sound reminiscent of Tegan and Sara’s ‘So Jealous’ crossed with the aforementioned Foxes’ eponymous first album.

Despite coming off a little awkward at first, Johanna and Clara soon settled into a relaxed, warm-hearted banter with the crowd between songs as they made their way through debut album ‘The Big Black and The Blue’. It was settling in to be a perfectly pleasant – if unremarkable – set until, four or five songs in, Kara brazenly unplugged her guitar and the sisters emerged from behind the microphones and belted out a beautiful rendition of ‘Ghost Town’ to the muted room. The stripped down version of an already great song perfectly played to the intimate setting.

The spectacle didn’t stop there. Perhaps buoyed by the song’s thunderous reception, the girls then proceeded to hilariously produce four tickets to this weekend’s Latitude festival, before plucking four volunteering fans from the crowd for a heart-warming demonstration of the brave souls’ lyrical knowledge, with a pair of tickets going to the two winners. It certainly brought the evening to life, as the crowd – now buzzing with excitable chatter – cheered on their favourite contestant. And although you had to feel bad for the unlucky guy and gal who left the stage empty handed, it was impossible not to be charmed.

Closing off the set with the lovely lilting melodies of ‘I Met Up With The King’ was a perfect end to the evening (and no, I wasn’t biased by it being the only song I knew all the lyrics to). Emerging from the Garage and shuffling sleepy-eyed towards the Tube with a bag full of music treats, I couldn’t help but feel contented: beautiful music, memorable chatter and an irrepressible charm to the whole occasion – it perfectly summed up Wichita as a label. And the celebrations aren’t over; the likes of Los Campesinos! (a truly great live act), The Cribs and Johnny Foreigner are still to come later this week. On the basis of last night, it will be well worth a look.

Categories ,Bloc Party, ,First Aid Kit, ,Gig review, ,Los Campesinos, ,Meg Baird, ,Peggy Sue, ,Tegan and Sara, ,The Cribs, ,The Garage, ,Wichita Recordings

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Amelia’s Magazine | Au Revoir Simone at the Garage: Live Review

Au Revoir Simone by Rhi Pardoe

Au Revoir Simone by Rhi Pardoe

It’s that time of year when the NME Awards once again roll into town – a series of gigs showcasing the great and the good of the current and up-and-coming music scene at assorted venues around the capital. Tonight was the turn of Williamsburg’s finest, Au Revoir Simone, currently mid-tour promoting their new album, at the Garage on Highbury Corner.

The Garage was already pretty busy when I got there, darkened and swirling with enough dry ice to prompt flashbacks to student disco nights, but I was just in time to catch some of the opening set, from the intriguing Mariam The Believer.

Au Revoir Simone by Ruth Joyce

Au Revoir Simone by Ruth Joyce

In the decade since they first got together, the trio of Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D’Angelo have produced some shimmering sounds with their keyboards, drum machines and vocal harmonies, picking up a lot of fans along the way including, somewhat improbably, cult film director David Lynch. Au Revoir Simone’s fourth album, Move In Spectrums, has given the band’s already lush synth pop sound an extra sheen, as witnessed on the LP’s lead single, the double A side of Crazy and Somebody Who.

Au Revoir Simone by Sylwia Szyszka

Au Revoir Simone by Sylwia Szyszka

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Tonight was the first time I’d seen Au Revoir Simone in a couple of years (I’d caught them play Union Chapel and the Scala a while ago, but missed the sold out show at XOYO last September). Backlit on a darkened stage, the band kicked off with the cascading keyboard riffs of Just Like A Tree, which was followed by another track from the new album, the eerily 80s sounding Gravitron. There were actually quite a few songs from Move In Spectrums dotted throughout the set, but also a number from 2009’s Still Night, Still Light as well – Only You Can Make You Happy made an appearance, as did Knight Of Wands and, amongst others, the insistent Anywhere You Looked. Still Night, Still Light is probably the album that sits best with the band’s new long player, and I’m pretty sure none of their earlier tracks got a look in tonight.

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Au Revoir Simone by Calamus YY Chan

Au Revoir Simone by Calamus YY Chan

With their keyboards arranged side by side, and assorted drum pads dotted around, there wasn’t too much room to move on the Garage’s reasonably small stage. Vocal duties were mainly lead by Erika Forster, though Annie Hart took over for a few songs. There was also a bit of bass guitar swapping between the two as well, and Hart also persuaded the lighting guy to brighten the room so she could get a photo of the crowd on her phone! The band finished off with another song from Still Night, Still Light, the crowd pleaser Shadows, before an inevitable encore to the cheers of the throng.

Au Revoir Simone now head off for the final leg of the tour with some North American shows, and we just hope it’s not too long before we see them over here again.

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Categories ,Annie Hart, ,Au Revoir Simone, ,Calamus YY Chan, ,David Lynch, ,Erika Forster, ,Heather D’Angelo, ,Mariam The Believer, ,NME Awards, ,Rhi Pardoe, ,Ruth Joyce, ,Sylwia Szyszka, ,The Garage, ,the Scala, ,union chapel, ,XOYO

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