Saturday, 21 November 2009

lonelady - a study in perversity

another proud moment for modern bluestockings, as one of our own unleashes her twisted genius on to the world....

lonelady of the brunswick chapter releases the debut album Nerve Up on warp records in february 2010. her first single is available now to buy or download. listen to immaterial here and read paul morley’s reaction....

meanwhile my young assistant maureen ward shares her thoughts on the making of the album and the creation of the studio in ancoats that she helped build for the occasion, a place they habitually referred to as the cell...

lonelady - a study in perversity.

ancoats. a rotting factory on the rochdale canal. winter 2008.

the sickly bouquet of bruised walls, a deep topography of powdery blown paint deposits, decoration transformed into excavation, flemish pieta pantones, air flecked with a million nameless swirling spores, conversation suspended in shards of icicles. rivulets of condensation trickle down a splintered window...

what little view there is through the tiny panes of shattered glass is defiantly none post-bomb manchester; a bricked up council estate awaiting the dubious pleasures of urban renewal, rows of gas canisters stock piled for some unnamed apocryphal horror behind barbed wire, the lurid mural of a ladies wrestling club hovering threateningly above the litter strewn canal, the drifting huddles of swans and geese the only witness to our unremitting foolishness - the gargantuan task of forging a homemade recording studio in a crumbling corner of a dilapidated mill, hewn from the tattered remnants of whatever mangled artefacts were to hand along the canal or dragged from beneath the brooding skeletal hulk of the resident gasometer...

...a perversely self imposed prison cell.

the daily trudge along the tow path, physically, symbolically turning our backs on the spectacle of the glossy cityscape. we ponder the contradictions of a city totally enamoured of its own mythologies yet woefully blind, nonchalant to the vicissitudes of these idealised landscapes - defiant birthplace of industrial and technological revolution, its non conformist radicalism the engine of social change and reform, yet equally home to unbridled entrepreneurialism, ostentation and rampant capitalism; two sides of the same coin perhaps. this schizophrenia, this contradiction is what makes the city what it is, is its maddening, fundamental nature...

like all Mancunians they were in a state of constant irritation that so much went on in the capital, whereas anyone could see that Manchester was in every way superior. george melly

i would like to live in Manchester. the transition between Manchester and death would be unnoticeable. mark twain

two portraits, two visions; one brash, entrepreneurial, in thrall to bright sparkly distractions - harvey nicks, selfridges, labels, gadgetry, cheryl cole, sky bar, panacea, fuck me heels on deansgate – tawdry symbols of wealth, status and street savvy; the other dark, monochrome, gothic, moody, motorways, satanic mills, cemetery gates and angel meadows, dead pop stars and disappeared night clubs….

brunswick. a north facing tower block window. winter 2009.

LL on my laptop in my high rise crow’s nest, i am teleported back to ancoats in the depths of winter, scrubbed, swabbed down, purple chilblained fingers warmed only by a daily pot noodle or huddled over a meagre flask of coffee; making something out of nothing, not so much searching for the light in the pouring rain as revelling in the perversity of its inhospitable barren beauty.

LL strips back the cheap veneer of glass and tinfoil, of ambition and lies, a self appointed sonic archaeologist digging away, peeling back layer after layer of suppressed topography until she has uncovered, recovered the brittle, workaday ordinariness of a manchester that has been trampled, buried and renovated until it is unrecognisable. a painful vulnerable process more root canal work than excavation, stripping away not only thirty years of expensive cosmetic surgery but exposing raw, ragged memories, ideals and nerves now wriggling, bare, helpless; the dove-grey patina of the old city that lurks beneath. a new kind of beauty is revealed, alive with the rich hues of slate and mauve we’ve been persuaded to outgrow, discouraged from appreciating.

immaterial tingles with the anticipation of youth, harking back to dreamy days when every moment was an adventure, every new dawn a promise; melancholia with a dash of optimism

repulsion jabs through my fingers as i type, its jagged brittleness emphasised by the hopeless inadequacy of what passes for my speakers.

marble twists relentlessly into my wizened heart with the shards of its serrated melancholy, a paean to every pang of suppressed remorse that lies hidden & crusted over after a lifetime of grown up composure.

nerve up is a paradox of hollow sumptuousness, its sparse eerie spaces ringing with a spiky anti-sexiness that’s riddled with erotically charged danger.

music is as personal as a favourite book. it conjures up longings, memories, emotions both welcome and best left alone. it takes us effortlessly to times, people and places we’ve cherished, forgotten or neglected. lonelady pickles out a manchester we seldom choose to revisit. she is harsh, discordant, uncompromising, imperious, unconcerned with approval, a study in perversity - stripped of those endless makeovers and gaudy recladding all that is best about the city is laid bare, if it could only be persuaded to stop dressing up like a whores boudoir, available for hire 24/7 in its desperate need for national and international endorsement.

where once we were first, modern and original, we are now corporate, branded, lapping up those international names that grace our high street, more sheep than shepherd, more herd than innovators.

LL claws at our subconscious, scrapes back our pretentions, the hollow sumptuousness of her prison cell a new route to our lost dignity.

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