Sunday, 26 January 2014

That which is done, cannot be Undone

In the run up to Christmas I wrote a piece for the excellent Manchester magazines The Shrieking Violet on the theme of alternative versions of cities, specifically Manchester through the eyes of Jeff Noon in the Vurt books and London through the eyes of Neil Gaimon and (in more detail) Ben Moor.

This marked something of a departure for me, writing wise, as despite being a fan of Sci Fi and Fantasy narratives, I don't tend to write them or write about them. Mainly because I've always suspected I wouldn't be very good at it.

It took a while to suspend this fear when writing the magazine article, but I was determined to do so because I'd spent the summer months of 2013 being absolutely obsessed with and addicted to Ben Moor's Sci Fi comedy Undone, a process made even more difficult by the fact that innumerable friends and acquaintances had become obsessed with Breaking Bad around the same time.

Undone was a radio series that went out on BBC7 between late 2006 and early 2010. It's third series has been repeated on BBC7's replacement, 4Extra, and a repeat of series 1 is due to air next week. I hope series 2 and 3 will follow.

It's good to hear that the producers and schedulers at 4Extra haven't forgotten about Moor's classic series, which was after all the longest running commissioned series on BBC7. Tasters have been airing all last week on the station, reminding listeners not only that this was a show where both Sarah Solemani and Tim Key got to cut their teeth but also that the endearing Moor (who plays Tankerton Slopes in the series) was really onto something with his concept.

Undone begins with the arrival of 21 year old Edna Turner in London from Towcester. Edna is due to start a three month trial as a journalist at the London listings magazine Get Out! and, as with all newcomers, is finding her new home a bit odd. Things become odder when she meets the enigmatic Tankerton Slopes, who introduces her to Undone, a surreal parallel version of London where there literally are Faceless Bureaucrats, a Pet Tricks club where cute furry animals perform amusing stunts, seemingly of their own volition, and bizarre magazines and TV shows such as Get A Move On! (the magazine for impatient people) and Molotov Cocktail Party (a magazine show that reviews the days riots and disturbances around the world).

Undone works on a number of levels, it is Alice in Wonderland in some respects and a very funny satire on the London media world on another level. It features likable characters, imaginative and creative storylines, twists in the narratives and charm that is rare.  

Undone series 1, episode 1, goes out at 6:30pm on Monday and continues at the same time throughout the week on 4Extra.  

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New for 2014: Peggy Sue, 'Idle'

Peggy Sue (formerly Peggy Sue and the Pirates) have been busy. Their new album, Choir of Echoes, will be released on 27th January. In the meantime, current single 'Idle', with it's solemn and soulful folk vocal refrain, choppy guitars and 20s burlesque inspired video, is available, providing a hint of what's to come.

The bands album launch in St Pancras Old Church might be sold out, but the band are touring the UK in April. They're in Brighton at the Green Door Store on 7/4, in Coventry at The Tin on 8/4, in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen on 9/4, in Glasgow at Broadcast on 10/4, in Liverpool at Leaf on 11/4, in Sheffield at The Harley on 12/4, in Bristol at The Old Bookshop on 14/4 and in London at the Oslo at 15/4. Support comes from Eyes & No Eyes.

New for 2014: Silje Leirvik, Silver and Gold

Silje Leirvik hails from the north of Norway, where her debut album With the lights turned out so beautiful has a loyal following.

She hasn't released anything in the UK yet, but an album, Endless Serenade, will be available soon. In the meantime, this track, 'Silver and Gold', has been made available as a taster.

The sound is warm, textured sixties esque folk pop and rock. She has a powerful voice that is warm enough to carry this particular sound, and the quality of the songwriting suggests that she could be one to watch in 2014.