Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Reader Profile: Al Hutchins

Stop Press! Joining the Amnesty international fundraising birthday party at Power Lunches next Sunday is the West Midland's finest wordsmith, Al Hutchins!

Birmingham-based poet and howler in John Peel-endorsed grinesters THE COURTESY GROUP-whose album received 4 stars in MOJO, and from Stewart Lee in "The Sunday Times".

Poems mainly about buses, romance and death in the West Midlands. 
John Cooper Clarke's a fan too and namechecks Al in the recent dcumentary "Evidently John Cooper Clarke" & has played The Courtesy Group group many times on BBC6...
Over the years Al's supported- in no particular order- Steve Tasene's "Klepto" (Bham Rep), Malika Booker, the late great Hovis Presley, Simon Munnery, John Hegley and Francesca Beard; performed with The New October Poets at The Poetry Cafe and Ledbury Poetry Festival, and been main support to pop group Guillemots at both The Alexandra Theatre (Bham) and Brixton Academy in London. 
John Cooper Clarke has said:

" I wish I could find the words to describe the level of enthusiasm I feel for Al Hutchins' work; I'm a big fan, but poems like, "Man Reading Gibbon On The Midland Red", "Loneliest" and "I Don't Wanna Do Or See Shit" come to mind. I only pick out these three to illustrate the breadth of which he's capable. But what can you say about poetry that poetry can't say about itself ?!"   

Al joins Tim Wells, Sid Griffin and Ralegh Long & the Primary Three to complete our lineup for this very special fundraiser.  There are a limited number of £3 advance tickets available here, otherwise there are tickets on the door at £5, with all proceeds going to Amnesty. The night kicks off at 7:30 sharp! 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Reader Profile: Tim Wells

If you don't have Sunday September 9th etched into your calendar as the date of the Bands & Books birthday charity fundraiser extravaganza, then you should probably do that right now!  In the meantime, allow us to introduce you to Mr Tim Wells, erstwhile Bands & Books DJ, and poet extraordinaire!  Tim Joins Sid Griffin, Ralegh Long & the Primary Three and Al Hutchins to complete our lineup for next Sunday's Power Lunches show in aid of Amnesty International.
  • Tim Wells has cultivated a laugh that’s more like a caress. He walks properly. He does not slouch, shuffle or stumble about. He knows that wide, floating trousers are only good for wearing on a veranda with a cocktail in your hand. His latest collection, Rougher Yet, is published by Donut Press.

After Tim's disc jockey masterclass at Bands & Books in October last year, we knew to expect something a little special from his playlist.  As things transpired, we've not enjoyed compiling one of these playlists as much as we have this one! Tim gave us a list of bands & producers covering reggae, Chicago blues, soul, doo wop and erm, Chas & Dave!   This was a joy to compile, and you should just sit back & enjoy this little gem:

Tickets for Bands & Books are selling fast, with only 50 available for pre-sale, so be sure to snap yours up now and save precious money! 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Band Profile: Ralegh Long & The Primary Three

Joining Sid Griffin, Tim Wells, and latest addition to the Bands & Books Amnesty International fundraising 1st Birthday party BONANZA Al Hutchins, is Ralegh Long & the Primary Three.  

Ralegh is a Bands & Books favourite having attended our inaugural show in Mile End way back in 2011, and we're delighted to complete the circle by having him & his band top the bill at our birthday party! 

Ralegh Long is an English Singer-Songwriter, guitarist and pianist. He makes records and performs either solo or with the Primary 3 (Richard Ellis - Bass, Will Lamport - Drums).  His debut E.P, Sprawl (2011) was celebrated for 'Placing the enigmatic within the classically melodic'. (Sweeping The Nation) and was supported with a U.K tour with Thomas White (Electric Soft Parade / Brakes).

His follow up, 'The Gift' is released late September 2012 and is a solo record of baroque piano ballads. Often compared to cult British luminaries such as Robyn Hitchcock and Epic Soundtracks, as well as stateside bands such as The Db's,  Ralegh writes timeless melodic pop songs.

2013 promises the first full studio record with the Primary 3, which has the working title 'Set to Music'.

You can catch Ralegh Long, Tim Wells, Sid Griffin & Al Hutchins in a musical/literary/poetry smash-up on the 9th September at Power Lunches on Kingsland Road.

There are just 50 tickets available for pre-order, so be sure to get yours today - all proceeds from the night go to Amnesty International, meaning you can help fight oppression wherever it exists in this world whilst enjoying a superb night of live music and literature! 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Reader/Band Profile: Sid Griffin

Back from our Summer hols, having had a restful time witnessing the exertions of Team GB from the exhausting heat of Istanbul; team B&B is delighted to bring you news of our September 9th Amnesty International fundraiser! 

If you haven't yet booked your tickets, now is the time to do so, only 50 are available for pre-sale, and they're going fast!  Your ticket not only gets you access to a night featuring live performances from the majestic Tim Wells and the peerless Ralgh Long & the Primary 3, you will also get to see SID GRIFFIN:
Sid Griffin is perhaps best known as the leader of alt-country founders the Long Ryders back in the 1980s in Los Angeles.

Since those heady days Sid has written four books; Gram Parsons: A Musical Biography (1985), Bluegrass Guitar: Know The Players, Play The Music (2005), Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band & the Basement Tapes (2007) and Shelter From The Storm: Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Years (2010). In addition Sid wrote for BAM, the L.A. Times, German Rolling Stone, Gosh!, spent ten years writing for Q, wrote for Mojo starting with issue two, has authored several late night BBC Radio 2 specials including a memorable one on The Carter Family which was narrated by Dolly Parton (!),  and he also did the research, interviews and wrote the script for the Warner Bros/BBC TV documentary Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel.

In 2002 he flew to Florence, Italy to received the Piero Ciampi Award for service to the arts, accepting the award on national radio. He is a native of Kentucky, a graduate of the University of South Carolina and now lives in Camden Town, north London. He has compiled and annotated over forty collections, anthologies or reissues for various record labels such as Rhino, Warner Bros, Universal and PolyGram, perhaps most notably Flying High, the well-received collection by his old friend Gene Clark (the Byrds, Dillard & Clark).

Sid Griffin is a raconteur, a solo performer of note with two solo CDs out, a mandolinist with “alt-bluegrass” heroes the Coal Porters, the resident musicologist on BBC 6 Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie Show and a political junkie of the first order. He has no chemical dependencies and is a vegetarian. 

Sid will be telling us stories about Bob Dylan and singing us some songs. We can't wait to see you there!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Bands & Books & Amnesty International & Pussy Riot

The 1st Birthday Party for Bands & Books on Sunday September 9th will raise money for Amnesty International. This means that aside from the wonderful talents of Sid Griffin, Tim Wells & Ralegh Long and the Primary 3, you will also have a chance to help an organisation whose purpose is to protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.

Amnesty carries out the most unbelievably awesome work, including recently campaigning for the freedom of Bands & Book's favourite feminist punk protest band Pussy Riot.  If you're not familiar with the story of the arrest and detention of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich, it would do you no harm at all to read a little more on the subject.

Bands & Books is not known for political activism, but when we see bands getting arrested for reading poetry in a church, we get upset.  For that reason, we are proud to support Amnesty international and stand shoulder to shoulder with luminous balaclava clad feminist activists the world over! 

You can help to free Pussy Riot here

You can support Amnesty International, and catch some unbelievable live music and reading here

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bands & Books 1st birthday party

Bands & Books is 1! 

We're throwing a party on September 9th at Power Lunches, to mark the wonderful occasion of our 1st Birthday!
Doesn't time fly?  

Join us for an evening of literature, music, poetry, drinking and fun, all in aid of Amnesty International!


Power Lunches
446 Kingsland Road
E8 4AE

Sunday 9th September 7:30-23:00
How much?
Tickets from just THREE POUNDS (+ booking fee) here (or £5 on the door)
Who’s playing?

Sid Griffin - Musician and Bob Dylan Biographer (reading and performing acoustic set)
Tim Wells - Poet
Ralegh Long & The Primary 3 - Band
Al Hutchins- Poet

Should I go?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Special Summer Party Line-up Announcement!

If you're heading down to the Bands & Books summer party this week, you're in for a treat!  Not only will you get to see bands Fountains and Tied To The Mast, writers Stuart Evers and Zoë Howe, but you'll also experience the Audio/Visual mastery of Graphic Novelist & musician, James Eve.

James Eve is a musician and illustrator. His serialized online graphic novel Universal Son combines songs with comic narrative to tell a unique story, set in the current climate of music industry meltdown:
    “I was writing these songs that all seemed to have a linking thread, and to place them in a graphic story seemed like both a natural and innovative thing to do What seemed interesting to me was the way songs can tell a very different story to any other form of art – and to present them with a graphic narrative really highlights that - in the same way music is used in film.”
We'll be displaying audio/visual extracts from Universal Son throughout the night, but if you can't wait until Thursday, you can get a sneak preview here
James also contributed to Bands and Books Spring by playing all the music between acts, we then bullied him into turning it into a spotify playlist, which you can check out here:

Bands & Books Summer Party takes place at Dalston's Power Lunches from 7:30 on Thursday 21st June, you can get cheaper advanced tickets here, or pay £5 on the door. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Reader Profile: Zoë Howe

If we could design someone to perform at Bands & Books from scratch, we'd probably include in the spec that she should have written a book about the Slits and played percussion with Mick Jones.  But that would just be being too demanding right? 

Zoë is the editor of Iceland Music Export, and has written biogs, press releases and sleevenotes for artists including Bardi Johannsson, Command V, X Ray Spex and The Slits. Her writing has featured in The Quietus, Company, Classic Rock, BBC Music, Channel4Music, ITV, NME, Jazzwise, Notion, Contemporary and WENN. 

She has interviewed artists as diverse as Poly Styrene, Biffy Clyro, Mariah Carey, Pete Townshend, Macy Gray, Anna Friel, Suggs, James Chance, Wilko Johnson, Maximo Park,  Mugison, The Slits, Human League, Adrian Utley (Portishead), The Raincoats, Keith Levene, The Blockheads, Amon Tobin, The Tiger Lillies, Duke Spirit, The Twang, Pauline Black, Gareth Sager (The Pop Group) & Son Of Dave.

In 2010 Zoë made a series based on music and psychogeography for Resonance FM. The archives can be found here. She is  now working on a book  with Wilko Johnson and Cadiz Music, who produced the award-winning Julien Temple Dr Feelgood film Oil City Confidential. Her first novel is also coming to life...

Howe often appears at Gavin Martin's Talking Musical Revolutions, & she has played drums and percussion with artists including Anne Pigalle, Yumi Hara, Viv Albertine. Steve Beresford and Mick Jones. She recorded with Albertine and Jones at his Rock 'n' Roll Library in Ladbroke Grove in 2009.

Zoë has appeared as a talking head on E4, Planet Rock, BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio, and has read at festivals including Stoke Newington Literary Festival, Un-Convention, Ladyfest, Writing On The Wall & Secret Garden Party. She is on the She is on the advisory board for Un-Conventional Women, a music event which takes place at the South Bank Centre in 2012.

Zoë has dedicated a YouTube channel to classic music writing: Rockanory - the Jackanory for Music Lovers. 

Zoë's latest book, 'Looking Back At Me' - the oral history of Wilko Johnson - is out on May 30th via

'There's no official guide to rock'n'roll parenting - the best (musicians) have is 'How's Your Dad?'.'  The Independent
'Howe does a superbly comprehensive, humorous job. Lively, warm and sensitive.'  **** Kris Needs, Record Collector

'Possibly the most important Brit-rock book of the year.' Gavin Martin (Daily Mirror /  NME / Rock's Family Trees) 
'A perfect representation written in the same spirit as them, absolutely spot-on in true kamikaze Slits fashion,'  ***** Kris Needs, Record Collector 

Having taken great pleasure in Booking Zoë for our summer party we were instantly excited about putting together her mixtape. Here's what Zoë had to say about her writing influences: 

Songs / bands that influence my writing: it depends what I am writing - if I am writing a band biog or working with a particular artist then I will listen to their music and the music they loved, were influenced by or were associated with - for example when I was working with Wilko Johnson from Dr Feelgood, I not only listened to the Feelgoods (which was no chore, I love 'em!) but also Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry (ok, I admit I was cheating, I listen to them all the time anyway...but you know). With the Slits book, I'd listen not only to the Slits but also Lilliput, The Pop Group, Prince Far I, the Raincoats, Public Image Limited, Flying Lizards - all artists who feature heavily in my record collection anyway. The Who and Pete Townshend's solo work has always inspired me, at once muscular and sensitive, questioning and incisive, and I also find the openness and often mystical bent of Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green and beyond) puts me in a good frame of mind for writing. They were all poets anyway.

You can catch Zoë at the Bands & Books Summer Party alongside Stuart Evers & bands Fountains & Tied To The Mast.  Book your tickets now!  Meanwhile, have a listen to Zoë's mixtape:

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Reader Profile: Stuart Evers

We first encountered Stuart performing in the basement of the Queen of Hoxton at a night notable for the warning signs on the way in, informing everyone they would be subjected to the potentially harmful effects of live smoking. This turned out to be a requirement for performers wishing to exercise the legal loophole allowing them to smoke indoors. The performance itself was a reading from Stuart's debut book, 10 Stories About Smoking, which came out on Picador in 2011.  Did we mention it was utterly fantastic?

Stuart Evers was born in a small north-western town in 1976. Picador published his first book – Ten Stories about Smoking, which won the London Book Award – in 2011 and his debut novel, If This is Home, comes out in July. His interests include Columbo, country soul, giving up smoking and Walthamstow.

We didn't just want Stuart to read his book though, we asked him to tell us about his favourite bands via the medium of *internet* turn it up & enjoy:

You can catch Stuart performing at the Bands & Books summer party on June 21st at Power Lunches in Dalston.

Austerity Britain Edit: buy your tickets in advance and save £££

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Band Profile: Fountains

The Bands & Books Summer party is drawing near, if you haven't cleared your diary for Thursday 21st June at Power Lunches in Dalston, there is a superb reason to do so right now; Fountains will be performing exclusively for your aural pleasure!  

We are really looking forward to seeing these guys, but you don't need to take our word for it, here's what the chaps over at Hello Empty Room have to say about their hot-off-the-press E.P.

The (predominately) London-based five-piece conjure up a damn-hot lo-fi-shoegaze cauldron, full of fuzzy guitars floating pleasantly in the velvety background. Now I’m aware Rory Attwell has recieved approximately 700 mentions on this blog, but let’s make that 701; for the noise-producer extraordinaire has also produced their debut three-track EP, titled No Sleep. Alumni from Brattwell Recordings including Veronica Falls, Male Bonding, Colours etc.
If you’re into your early New Wave influenced post-punk leanings this’ll be right up your late 70′s blacked-out alley. The lovely ‘You’re Not Welcome’ in particular borrowing from Joy Division in terms of Jon’s vocal presence, close-atmosphere and sumptuous bass-riffs; though greeted with a warm handshake by The National maybe? Huh, didn’t think I’d be writing that. For a more up to date reference point, see Toy. Who are also fucking excellent by the way.
What’s more, you can download the EP for free currently on their bandcamp, so you definitely should do just that. For the more enthusiastic – dare I say smarter – types a blue cassette is available to buy, but is limited to a run of 50 copies, so be quick.

As is Bands & Books tradition, we asked Fountains for their literary inspirations, and singer Jon gave us a snippet of his favourite books:

- The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
-  The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde 
-  Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson

You should totally go and download their E.P. so you know all the words in time for the 21st. Meanwhile stay tuned for some more band & reader profiles over the next few days.  Next up Stuart Evers.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Bands & Books Summer Party 2012

Get down to the delightful Power Lunches arts cafe on the 21st June for the official Bands & Books Summer Party, starring:



DJ & Graphic Novel projectionist:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bands & Books Spring - in pictures

The first Bands & Books of 2012, and the first one in our new home of Power Lunches in Dalston took place on Sunday the 29th May. Thanks to everyone who came down, thanks to Abigail, Zolan, Sibyl & the rest of God's Mama, Morte Point, James "Evey" Eve and the guy who did the sound. And the barmaid. For those of you that didn't make it, here is a little taste of what you missed. 

God's Mama Loves you
Abigail reads exclusively from her new novel Golden Boy

Morte Point pack 'em in
We saw this grown man roller skating up Kingsland Road at 2 AM. On a Monday
The Next bands & Books will take place at the MIGHTY Power Lunches again on Thursday 21st June.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Band Profile: God's Mama

I don't think I have the right vocabulary to describe just how much we at Bands & Books HQ are looking forward to this one! Let's just say we're jittering about and listening to this epic performance on Tom Robinson's 6 Music show, and generally feeling woozy. 

Yes WOOZY, that's what I came up with. 

Now, for those who have yet to encounter God's Mama, here's their bio (spoiler, think of the perfect possible band for Bands & Books; that):

Where so many female vocalists in Really Heavy Bands play on the contrast with whispers, drawls, or exaggerated girlishness, Sibyl Madrigal, a Texan performance poet, growls and snarls to match the post-punk / slowcore grind, making this a mixture of Swampland and Spiderland ...
... 20 years ago, Kim Gordon deadpanned: “England didn’t invent punk-rock; girls did.” True, the girls of this decade’s post-punk revival have lasted longer than most, but God’s Mama point to the flaw: where are the older Women making punk? (written by Michael Mellor, Nov 2010)

Sibyl Madrigal, the group’s lyricist and singer, is an infamous performance poet who has worked with players including Lol Coxhill, Paul Rogers, Pat Thomas and Alex Ward for many years. Her work has shocked and delighted discerning audiences from Dallas to New York to London to Edinburgh to Amsterdam ...
Alex Ward, the group's guitarist, discovered at the tender age of 14 by the late great Derek Bailey, was born to play. a sickeningly talented multi-instrumentalist who has played with Eugene Chadbpourne and come to the attention of anyone of note.
On bass, the band features the moody magic of Darren Morris, who works with DJs and producers including Tim Goldsworthy (DFA Records & Massive attack), Ashley Beedle, David Holmes adn Jagz Kooner (Reverend And The Makers, The Whip). His bass beats like the very pulse of God's Mama's own heart.
On drums, Lee Morris is arguably the most bitchin' powere drummer in the world of rock! And yes they're brothers too.
The first album is on sale at Ray's Jazz, Foyles (3rd floor) and Sister Ray's, Berwick Street, London.
We are the tightest, mightiest, strangest band to bend the rock world in years, at least since Janis Joplin's first furtive fumblings with Patti Smith.
God's Mama blesses you.
See God's Mama very much doing their thing alongside Morte Point, Abigail Tarttelin and Molly Naylor on Sunday 29th April (THIS SINDAY) at Power Lunches in Dalston. 
See you on Sunday! 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Reader Profile: Abigail Tarttelin

Bands and books has three rules:

1: Bands
2: Books
3: Drinking

Helping us to comply with rule #2 is Abigail Tarttelin:

At 24, Abby is a Huffington Post blogger, Books Editor at London fashion mag PHOENIX and one of the youngest published novelists in the UK. Her book FLICK, a big ball of quirkiness, sex, drugs, humour and sorrow, bashed onto the scene in 2011, receiving rave reviews from, amongst others,, who predicted FLICK to be a 'slow burn cult classic'. Abby has read before at many a Literary Death Match and is looking forward to the mash-up of music and words that is Bands and Books. Visit her online at:

Just as we're interested in our band's reading lists, we like to get some insight to our reader's musical proclivities.  Abby sent us a list of some her favourite songs, and by the magic of the internet, you can enhance your browsing experience by listening to them RIGHT NOW:


You can catch Abby in person reading at Bands & Books Spring edition next Sunday, so get yourself down to Power Lunches, we kick off from 7:30!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Band Profile: Morte Point

Fresh from a brooding debut performance at London's 229 the Venue, we're psyched to present Morte Point. Expect tumbling rhythms, spacious, menacing guitar work over delicate vocal melodies and throbbing bass lines:

 'Morte Point are the kind of band you'd see in the bar of a Lynch film: noirish, dreamy and unsettling. They take their cues from rock's minimalist past, but the shadowy world they create is entirely their own. Plaintive vocals are underscored by hushed music ranging from dolorous minor key melodies to droning build-ups, but in all of which: Every. Note. Counts. ' 

We asked Morte Point for some literary reference points, and quickly learned that this is possibly the most literary band we've ever worked with - a perfect storm of Bands & Books:

Richard (Guitar):

At the moment I'm just about to finish Philip Roth's Everyman, and my next books will be Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and Scarlett Thomas' Our Tragic Universe, both of which I'm taking on holiday. I also recently re-read The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles and Simon Reynolds' Retromania - a brilliant analysis of our nostalgic music scene.

A recent discovery is Edward Thomas' poetry, and I rediscovered Raymond Carver's short story collections. I'm looking forward to reading Cathedral, which I just bought. I also loved the film of The Hunger Games, which is a great adaptation of a fantastic children's novel.

I was recently inspired by the triumvirate of novels from American heavyweight authors Jonathan Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides: Freedom, A Visit From The Goon Squad and The Marriage Plot are three of the best novels I have ever read and proof that the American novel is as healthy as ever.
Writers I am intending to read soon: 
James M Cain
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bowen 

Saphia (vocals):

Where to start!

I think it would be fair to say that our music is inspired by a number of books and their characters. With particular songs we've been influenced by 'Infinite Jest', Cormac McCarthy, Anne Sexton, 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn', Ted Hughes, Annie Proulx, Virginia Woolf. All of the good depressing ones!

I'm currently reading ‘The Growth of the Soil’ by Knut Hamsun. I’m quite fond of epic novels from other eras that sprawl through the dramatics of a family history, love, war, sodomy and all. So 2 of my favourite authors are Steinbeck and Gabriel García Márquez.

I just finished re-reading ‘The Sound and the Fury‘, it’s wonderful and always bizarre,  I love it when he Faulkner writes about the smell of the night and the sound of death. I’d have to echo Richard about Jennifer Egans ‘ A Visit from the Good Squad’ and Franzens ‘Freedom’ which I recently read too, both amazing, as well as 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy, which was beautiful.

On a more upbeat level, the graphic novel 'Kiki De Montparnasse' it’s wonderful too.

We are the book band.

Catch Morte Point playing with God’s Mama, alongside performances from writers Molly Naylor and Abigail Tarttelin at Bands Books Spring, Powerlunches Arts Café on Sunday 29th April from 7:30, pre-order cheaper tickets here

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

We're BACK!

After a hiatus enforced by the meandering waters of life, we're back in a big way!  Bands & Books is delighted to announce its new home in the basement of Dalston's stupendous Power Lunches
Excited as we are about our new home, we are also excited with the line up - more of which later. First things first, dates: Bands & Books April is going to take place from 7:30 on Sunday 29th.  You can pre-order tickets here for £3, or it's a fiver on the door.  Or you can email me at with the words
 AUSTERITY BRITAIN in the subject line, and you can come in for free, provided you promise to help out with marketing and/or miscellaneous jobs that need doing on the day.

We have, I think, our best lineup yet! 

As usual, we'll be profiling each of our acts in the lead up to the night, but in the mean time, here's a sneak peak at what you can expect:

Abigail Tarttelin

Can't wait for this one - see you in April!

Bands & Books x