HomecultureOn my radar: the cultural highlights of Lias Saoudi | Culture
On my radar: the cultural highlights of Lias Saoudi | Culture
Lias Saoudi is the frontman of the rock bands Fat White Family and Moonlandingz. Born to an Algerian father and British mother, he grew up in Scotland and Northern Ireland before moving to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Since forming in 2011, Fat White Family have released three acclaimed post-albums. unhealthy punk and are known for their provocative live performances. Together with author Adelle Stripe, Saoudi wrote Ten Thousand Excuses: Fat White Family and the Miracle of Failurea biography of the band released earlier this year by Orion.
The Absolute Mixture: Shit Art Positive by Matthew Bown
This is a compendium that is the world’s first comprehensive book study on scatology in art. It begins in the medieval period, but focuses mainly on the 20th century and the theory of disgust. There’s an incredible amount of stuff in there: Paul McCarthy, Duchamp, GG Allin, of which I’m an admirer. Anish Kapoor also makes an appearance. I find it irresistibly heroic, in a sense, the idea of someone setting this task on himself and going so deep. Depending on what kind of guests you have around for tea or whatever, it’s the last seat on the coffee table – the ultimate conversation starter.
We at Zaffar Kunial
It is an exquisite little collection of poems. It’s really close to the bone – about the kind of experience where you’re half northern worker and half Muslim immigrant and the inevitable disconnections – things don’t come close at all, in a way. There is a poem called The Word, about the way his father speaks. There is a strange sympathy: you are dealing with an alien, and you are partly alien, and everything is inconclusive. I don’t think I’ve read anyone who can cut it open and dissect it so well. It is incredibly painful, a lot, but there is ecstasy, as it is pure catharsis.
Sarah Davachito Church of Saint-Eustache, Paris
I went to this concert last October. It was the most incredible setting: a church with the largest church organ in France. Sarah Davachi plays incredibly sparse ambient stuff, all drones layered with electronic and acoustic elements, but really minimalist, subtle. Sonically, for me, it’s a bit like returning to the womb. I kept my eyes closed the whole time and fell into a kind of trance. I remember having a vision where I was going out with my Algerian grandmother, but she was a little girl and she was showing me the mountains of Kabylia. It was a real journey.
Rob Doyle’s autobibliography
Basically it’s her reading story: she chooses 52 books – Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Svetlana Alexievich’s The non-female face of war – and goes through his personal relationship with each of them. They are all very fragmented, but as he progresses she begins to descend into more obscure and autobiographical sketches. So what starts out as a kind of stereotypical rereading ends up getting quite shocking, exposing snippets of borderline self-exhibition and self-tearing. But it also pretty much serves as an incredibly useful guide to what you might read next.
Discussions (Dir Mick Jackson, 1984)
I thought now would be a great time for everyone to review Wires, Sheffield-based Armageddon, now that the Cold War is back in fashion. It’s a weird time for suddenly being a prospect again, as if things weren’t bad enough. The fact that it’s set in Sheffield somehow really adds to the pain. I associate that accent with my mother, so there’s an inherent innocence in all of the characters that makes it absolutely visceral. I think if it were more synthetic and Hollywood, it wouldn’t evoke the same terror, but because the ’80s production is a bit shoddy, it feels more believable.
Purple Mountains of Purple Mountains
I’m in a kind of musical bind at the moment: I’m listening to ambient or Bob Dylan. But I thought about choosing David Berman’s latest album, Silver Jewish, released in 2019. It’s probably the biggest suicide note in music history: listening to the lyrics, the conclusion you draw is inevitable, which means you have to having had it in mind, that he was about to leave. It has to be one of the bravest and most daring records he’s heard in years – it’s the brutal honesty combined with the sour spirit of lyricism that does it for me. I can’t stop listening to him.