Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Save The Common Place!

Posting this on the behalf of Dom of Leeds collective Chinchilla and the mighty CHOPS. Leeds has a healthy underground music scene, renowned for its drone based improv and noise rock, and is a key part of the UK's DIY infrastructure. So the potential closure of one of its best venues is more than a local matter. Sign the online petition and leave your comments. Take it away Dom!

The Common Place is a volunteer run venue, activist centre, meeting space and vegan cafe in Leeds.

Chinchilla have put on a load of gigs there, including involvement in the monthly Funder Strikes x2 bands and club night.

The Council have revoked The Common Place's Club licence, which is the major source of funding for rent, etc. The Council believe that the Club does not satisfy the conditions for being a ‘qualifying club’ in relation to a qualifying club activity to which the certificate relates (section 61, Licensing Act 2003). This doesn't exactly give a reason for why they have revoked the licence, but it probably has something to do with The Common Place showing a film called 'On the Verge', which is a film about Smash EDO, an anti arms/anti war campaign from Brighton. "The film has become notorious, not so much because of the material it contains but because of the reaction of police forces and local authorities to it. Made for less than £500, the film tells how a small but committed group of activists, smashEDO, are taking on the Brighton base of an international arms manufacturer and, in the process, their local constabulary. The police, who are not shown in a good light in the film, intervened to stop the movie's premiere at a cinema in Brighton, and since then police officers and council officials have been paying calls to venues across the country where On the Verge (so called because the smashEDO protesters were confined for a while to a narrow grass verge opposite the factory they were targeting) is due to be shown, suggesting that it is not a good idea to show the film." (The Guardian -

We believe that the Council's actions are totally unwarranted. The Common Place is the only independent, self-financed community, cultural and political space in the city centre. As a private members club, it serves as a vital resource for hundreds of local residents as well as supporting voluntary and community activity, particularly around homelessness, housing, environmental, womens' and asylum issues.

By revoking the Common Place's Club Premises Certificate, the Council is removing the Common Place's ability to generate much-needed funding through licensed events, meaning almost certain closure. We believe this is exactly the kind of venture Leeds City Council should be supporting to increase active citizenship in the city.

If you could spend a minute of your time signing this petition to the Council, it could help make the difference.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Student Radio Awards 2008

Beard Radio is delighted to be one of Subcity's nominations for Best Specialist Programme in the BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards. We're very flattered to be chosen. You can listen to the clip we've submitted, as well as those of the other nominated Subcity shows here.

Hopefully we'll be back with more Beard radio in the new term. In the meantime, we're working our little beardy socks off to bring you the long-awaited Beard issue 7. Huzzah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Live! Tonight! Team Brick! RememberRemember! Guanoman! Noma!

We're not promoting this, but we're great fans of the artists involved, so we're only too happy to spread the word. Yes, tonight sees Team Brick return to Glasgow for his first solo show here in almost a year. Team Brick's debut album proper is due for release at some point this year on Geoff Barrow's label Invada. Like his live show, it's hard to know exactly what to expect, other than total brilliance. Psychedelic noise, looped and delayed instruments and objects (whatever he has to hand really), heavy riffage, manic skronk are all a possibility. One certainty, however, is his intense, hugely powerful vocals. He's a Bristolian Mike Patton, a West Country C Spencer Yeh!, intoning Biblical threats, projecting stentorian odes and screaming blue murder. Whatever, he rules and you don't want to miss him. Here's what he did in Glasgow last year...

RememberRemember, signed to Rock Action, needs no introduction. Beautiful minimalist post-rock, spun from loops of guitar, glockenspiel, toys and whatever else he has lying around.

Super psyched about the live return of the mighty Guanoman. It's been a year since his last show, but this bizarro rock thunder beast has been busy concocting new prog-doom epics and siring a Guanochild. Huzzah!

Completing the bill is Noma, creating buzzing drones and ambient brain massage with a guitar and reclaimed home electronics. Watch out for his pink vibrator!