The Dog Ate Jenny’s Homework

[The wonderful Jenny Soep returns this week with more of her spellbinding illustrations, and one or two interesting matters to raise. This post was originally pencilled in for last week, hence some of the dates needing correcting, and Jenny apologises and explains further below. Even though Jenny did in fact get the article to me on the Sunday as promised; in the end, unfortunately, it arrived a little too late to be published: my inbox records the email’s arrival at 11:58pm!]

Hello there. A Sunday Supplement, written on the Sunday. I’m not best known for my regard for deadlines and always live on a last minute shoestring. I was once described as having ‘a somewhat elastic sense of time’. It’s true. I live on my own little planet which runs on Jenny Time. But it is never boring and a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. Which apparently is great for artists. Which I might be. But it’s also how I draw live music.

I feel very privileged to be writing something for this blog. It’s a fantastic blog and I’m crap because I don’t read it enough, much as I don’t religiously follow anything in particular. But I’ve seen enough of it, and know enough of the taste of its writer to know that he gives an intelligent and considered fuck about music and it’s creators. It’s also refreshingly honest.

Now being this ‘music illustrator’ – existing in this little niche I’ve been creating for myself – I’ve been asked to submit the Sunday Supplement with completely free reign on what I could write about. Last time I commented on the fact that I wasn’t going to write anything and was purely going to have a visual journal of Matt Groening’s fabulously put together ATP festival, which was wonderful to the point of my being a little hysterically radiant after witnessing so many quality bands I liked. I did however write a shite load more than was initially intended.

This time I am going to offer drawings of lesser known local bands from Scotland who I feel should get a mention. So I’ll supply images of the following musicians/bands I particularly think are destined for greatness, if not pretty much there already. They are all worth checking out.

Washington Irving, a folk pop group, young fresh and getting richer in sounds and words and self each time I see them. They’ve recently released an EP, with a great cover designed by Ryan Hays, called Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home.

The John Knox Sex Club who incidentally share the drummer with Washington Irving. They are so good live, front man Sean Cummings whipping himself into a frenzy with rantings and gnashings of teeth. I haven’t heard their recorded stuff yet, but they’ve got a very nice looking CD box which I quite fancy aquiring super soon.

Adam Stafford, Y’All is Fantasy Island and Size of Kansas band leader, film maker and creative collaborator. The film The Shutdown, directed by Adam and written by Alan Bissett, recently won the San Francisco International Film Festival award for Best Short Documentary. The soundtrack is of Alan’s unmistakeable Falkirkian voice augmented beautifully by Adam’s soundscapes. It’s great, I just saw it today at the marvellous Words Per Minute at Creative Studios in Glasgow which saw a top little solo headline performance from Adam.

John B McKenna is another great chap of experimental sounds and wordsmithery. I’ve drawn him playing by himself, and in collaborations. This picture was drawn live and projected on a big screen as interior decor for the Verden Whistle Test event in Edinburgh a teeny while ago. Great little project by the Ten Tracks initiative.

A girl, I need a girl. Well I’m going to include my little digital sketch of Lucy Cathcart Frödén from The Social Services which I drew on my new iPod Touch. It’s not the best drawing in the world, quite obviously. But I’m learning. And I really liked their music. Will draw them on paper and aim to get all of them next time. But this is when they were playing at Mono last Wednesday (2nd June).

Panda Su. She’s great. This is a digital drawing I did on my Nokia mobile phone. I’m sure you’ll have heard great reviews of her. I’m not known for my wordage of music. I’ll leave that up to the most excellent wordsmiths that exist already. The pictures I post online aim to be a stamp of great music and if it’s not really my sort of music, there’s definitely an intriguing story attached that’s worth looking up. The pictures serve as pointers for you to look them up, or as memory triggers for a gig you have attended.

So there you go, an element of a few technologies and styles of drawing, and a tiny smattering of those local bands in my immediate musical consciousness.

However, the real issue burning in my mind at the moment is one unrelated to any great bands I’ve drawn recently, and is also a reason for the tardiness in this posting.

Yesterday (Saturday 5th June) I attended the demonstration in Edinburgh to free Palestine, decry the killings aboard the aid flotilla, and request an international boycott of Israel.

My week started with an awareness of limited knowledge on the situation, and has since concluded with hopefully a much more educated understanding.

When the time came at the end of the march and demonstration – a massive turnout of 5,000 people – for significant speakers to say a few words, I had to agree with most of what was said. Certain valuable points were met with roars of approval from the crowd of demonstrators, however their lack of voice to support one impassioned speaker with his hope to retaliate to Israel’s recent act by returning in increased numbers of ships but with lethal intent. ‘We will kill you!’ was met with silence from the listeners which though still spoke measures, should have been peppered with disagreements.

I do not believe in ‘getting even’ which is what another speaker suggested, but the overall message rang true. Israel needs to accept talks with the democratically elected Hamas to heal the fractured state of Palestine and work on a solution of communal living in peace. South Africa managed it, Northern Ireland managed it, and as much as Britain and the USA have played their part in the mess in the first place, and though the atrocities committed by both sides must not be forgotten, they now need to assist in persuading Israel that it is a necessary action for the peace and well-being of these two states.

The aim behind the aid flotilla was to gain international attention and focus on the totally unjust situation Palestine is in, and work towards ending the blockade.

As Henning Mankell put it (the Swedish writer of Wallander and one of the peace protesters aboard the aid flotilla):

So as not to lose sight of the goal, which is to lift the brutal blockade of Gaza. That will happen.
Beyond that goal, others are waiting. Demolishing a system of apartheid takes time. But not an eternity.

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