Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Bonne année!

Hey readers!

It's been a fabulous year for art - we've featured some good music, fantastic poetry and wonderful visual pieces here on TWW. Here's hoping 2015 is filled with the passion, spirit and talent we've seen through our featured artists.

All the best for New Year, you crazy, wonderful people!

Be happy, be creative, and be passionate xxx

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays you wonderful people! Wishing you a fabulous holiday season, with love, laughter and luck... Be happy, be cool xxx

Image by Will Montague

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Indos

The Indos. Fifty Shades of Blue.

We won't hold the album name against them - it's hard to align their alternative pop-mod-rock sound with the book. They sound familiar, like a band before my time, one whose music is played over and over in bars and pubs, making it something that seeped into my brain without conscious realisation. Of course, some tracks will encourage you to rediscover old favourites - Lovin' You Was Easy, a nod to The Kinks' You Really Got Me - had me singing lyrics incorrectly.

The five piece, made up of Michael Knowles (guitar and lead vocals), Jamie Gilchrist (guitar and backing vocals), Robbie Gilchrist (bass), Dando Myrillas (guitar) and Greg Atkinson (drums), have been hitting the Edinburgh music circuit hard in the last couple of years, getting attention every which way with their unique take on alternative music. Music lovers who complain about the state of pop music today will LOVE these guys. They are basically The Coral, The Who, The Kinks, The Kooks, and all the worthy The's rolled into a pretty package. It is small victory for music today.

The band will be launching their EP tonight at Edinburgh's Cabaret Voltaire, tracks will be available to download on the 3rd Nov, and CDs (yeah, CDs, because sometimes you just want something to hold) will be available at Twin City Records.

Keep an eye out for shows and videos, as these guys are set to blow up... Although I don't really see their shows ending with women doing strange combinations of the can-can and ribbon dancing. Well. You never know.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Open Submissions at Blackfriars, 1-7th December 2014

Blackfriars, the digital imprint of Little, Brown, is opening it's arms for a week in December to unpublished authors. Novels must be written in English, completed upon submission, and a minimum of 70,000 words.

Submissions must include a one-page synopsis of your novel, the first chapter, and an author biography. You can submit to the publishers, Ursula Doyle and Clare Smith, by emailing

Just be sure to get your submission in between 1-7th December 2014, and good luck!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

First Story National Writing Competition

FirstStory_HomeCompPoster_A4FINALFirst Story is launching an annual writing competition which offers secondary school students the opportunity to win a spot on a residential Arvon creative writing course and have their work published in an anthology.

The theme is 'Home' and teachers are invited to get their students participating and enter a separate competition themselves. Details can be found on the First Story website and teachers can download information packs here also.

Don't forget to have your entries submitted by the 5th December 2014!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Lost in the New World, pt 3

My grandmother cannot walk much, but she takes her stick and sets herself in the kitchen when we come. She will make us food and treat us, and let us keep our hands on her face. Her skin is soft like silk, warm, dark gold. We put our sunglasses on her and take pictures. We send our father pictures of her cooking his favourite dishes. They talk on the phone – she misses her son. He misses his mum.

It is a typical Indian family visit. My aunt is visibly stressed at running a household and business, but the edge is taken off with my mother there. The younger daughter-in-law can revert back to being twenty-something with the older-daughter-in-law there. There is catching-up, message-giving, present-opening. All the adults share information, but most of the kids are adults now too, so we listen in, sometimes commenting. We are brushed off.

There is tension at times. I contract a bacterial infection. This is the first time I have ever been ill in India. On previous trips, I have been brazen, drinking tap water and drinks with ice, not caring too much, but I have always been fine. Better than fine even. This time, I have been very careful, but it seems my immune system is finding this to be a completely new environment.

I become irritable; people start to annoy me. I fight with my mother, and get annoyed with my cousin. She is seventeen with a sprained left wrist, and my grandmother feeds her. I ask my cousin if she is left handed. She is not. She takes her plate and starts eating, silently angry. I am angry too. If we were at home, my grandmother would eat first.

I get worse as the trip progresses. I take antihistamines, opioids, painkillers, anything to stop me feeling dreadful. Or to just stop me feeling.

I am fed up of it all. It is in the mid-forties, I am feverish, I cannot stomach more than a bite, and am constantly cramped over the toilet. Everyone keeps asking if I am OK, if I want to go to the nearby hospital – it’s a top medical college, they’ll fix you. But no – I want to be at home, I want to talk to my local GP, and lie in bed, drink Lucozade and eat grapes. I want cold weather. I want to be away from my mum, and away from my sister. I want to go home, but more importantly, I want to be away from here.

It’s not just the obvious things – I’ve grown up, others have grown up, India has grown up. In fact, the urban jungle, the hustle and bustle, the connectivity of it all may be completely different to the India I once knew, but it is familiar. It is like home. Only grander. And everything moves faster. It makes me feel little, and it makes me feel lost. Not spiritually, or emotionally, but physically, as if I have no idea where I am.

I have changed, and India has changed at the same time. There seems to be no connection between us anymore. It is trying to be something that I know, and I am looking for that old place. I tried to love this new place, and at times, I have. But mostly, it is like a new world, one that I am too undeveloped for.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Lost in the New World, pt 2

The flight to Punjab is probably better than any domestic flight taken at home. It would probably beat the short-haul Europe flights too. Everything is clean, comfortable, and we are in the air for forty minutes. Tickets: a pound, a minute.

We begin our descent, taking in expanses of farmland below us. Land, pick up our bags, exit past more rifles. I hang back a little, ready to surprise my grandfather – I haven’t seen him for five years. It is exciting – an extra guest, yes, but another grandchild means a little more love, and a little more joy.

Driving past roadside shops, I see signage for Gagan Wine. At first I take a few pictures to send to my namesake friend. After about the tenth sign, I start concocting drinking games in my mind. I would have been passed out in a drunken stupor within the half hour drive had I had a bottle with me.

We get to my aunt’s house – there is a lot of love between her and my mother, her little sister. The resemblance is uncanny, the genes strong, and I am introduced to my cousin’s son, who looks exactly like another cousin’s son. Harry is naughty, and won’t sit still. He runs away from us, and hits his mother when he doesn’t get sweets. I honestly thought children in India were better behaved, scared of their parents even, but apparently he is only scared of his teacher. I tease him with threats of calling ‘Ma’am’ if he does not start behaving. He hides behind his mother’s salwaar.

We waste no time, and after refreshments and estate talk, we are back out, walking through the market alleys, finding the entrances to stores between stalls, ready to part with money for more wedding shopping. Each of the stores has a downstairs with readymade Indian suits to be picked out and bought, and upstairs, most of the floor is covered in cushioned blocks, so we can sit as materials are pulled out to be shown, and stitched to size. As bridesmaid, I sit and watch my mother and aunt haggle, and my sister be forced to stand up from the cushioned floor every time the assistants want to drape the materials over her, and show her just how beautiful each item looks. I take pictures, documenting it all for back home.

The shop assistants bring us drinks, Mountain Dew and Pepsi, and offer to run out and buy us snacks. It’s a nice twist on champagne and bridal dresses. I snap pictures of the “Contains no Fruit” information on the bottles to send home to my little sisters. They will see what I find funny. Eventually, measurements are taken, suits are paid for, and we leave, strolling back home.

My aunt tries to persuade us to stay the night, but we will be staying a little more in the city. She takes us around the corner to Singapore House, the home my maternal grandfather built when his family moved away from Singapore. I take her keys and show myself about the grand house – most of it unoccupied, kept for visiting family and my great-uncle’s share of the estate. Part of the third floor is lived in, but my uncle is not home.

My aunt begrudgingly agrees to let us sleep at a hotel, but insists on feeding us dinner first. She is hospitable to us girls, but doesn’t have the chance to be with her sister – my mother has made herself at home. She offers to make something fresh, and then quickly, as if the thought is inappropriate, changes her mind. Should she send out for pizza? Do the girls want McDonalds? My mother doesn’t get a chance to respond – we want to eat Indian. Over the next few nights we try out the famous dhabas of the area. We don’t just eat the food, we inhale it.

We spend a few nights at a specially made NRI residence outside of the Golden Temple. We aren’t quite non-residential Indians, and my mother is not Indian-born, but they are kind and our ethnicity makes it the same thing for them. We are literally fifteen steps from the Golden Temple, and my mother visits at night, before bed, and goes for 3a.m. strolls when they start the day again.

She asks us if we would like to accompany her – my sister goes along occasionally, and sometimes on her own, but I decline. It is odd for me to say no, and my mother notices although she does not broach it. Something has changed since the last time I was here. I am no longer the eighteen year old searching for God, or even taking in this culture, my culture. I am not a hybrid identity, or a lost soul, searching for a sense of home. All of this is different to the India I once knew, and I am different too.

I go to the Golden Temple twice only, as I would go to a temple at home – when everybody happens to go whilst out together. I feel sad that the wonder has changed. I wish I could go back there, be a little confused, but so open to everything and anything. I wish I could go back to being hopeful. But in the last five years, the growth of cynicism has never been so clear. I am alien to myself, to my family, to what I once was. My grandfather is nice about and keeps me company. He hasn’t seen me in years, but he can recognise that something is wrong.

Some nights I walk out by myself. I walk down the alleys, buy bits from the little stores – ponds face wash, top-ups for my sister’s ‘India phone’, bangles. I become a familiar face. Even the tea shop at the bottom of our hotel start to remember our orders.

Despite the sadness and the loss of something recognisable, the stay within Katra Ahluwalia is fun and exciting when we commence wedding shopping. My sister and I, although in our twenties, are like little children around my mother and grandfather. We are mischievous, and pair together on every rickshaw. We take photos, and narrate adventure videos. She speaks on the phone to her fiancé a lot, with me screaming in the background. We are amazed by the literal translations – we know Punjabi, but until now, we never took time to recognise that tea without sugar translates to bland tea. We teach the young shop assistants terms like ‘Cheerio’ and ‘Ta’ because they want to practise their English. We make jokes following trains of thought and cultural references – we speak in our own secret language. It lifts my spirits to rediscover a part of India that is like the India I knew as a child – bumpy roads, dry heat, something almost rural, in a ridiculously populated way. But between it all, every time we sit down in a shop to tick off a wedding to-do, my sister transforms into the glowing bride-to-be, flattered and somewhat overwhelmed, and I, into the focused bridesmaid.

I articulate her style to my mother, the tailors, and another aunt – my father’s cousin – who has joined us for the shopping. She knows the best places to go, and secures the best prices. My grandfather sits behind us, sipping tea, on the phone to my grandmother. They speak every day, and every meal time she calls to see that he has eaten, and that he is fine. He cannot keep secrets from her, and lets pass that I am here too.

I connect to the wifi at the bridal store, and Skype my younger sisters as styles are pulled out for viewing. They give their opinions too. Eventually, the tailor brings out a hand-stitched silk piece that has been specially designed for a Canadian bride. My sister falls in love with it. Reassuring her that she is not stealing someone else’s piece, and that he can create another, the bridal outfit is commissioned, and we sit for a further half hour chatting about weddings with the owner. He knows there are three more girls to go, and he is securing returning clientele.

Like a positive omen, everything else falls into place. Wedding bangles are selected and sized – they file the inner-side of bangle to fit perfectly. Ivory colour shavings fill up the table, as the bangle maker glances at my sister’s wrists, immediately knowing the size she needs. Tailors glance up at her, and select out the pieces that would do her justice, to complete her bridal wardrobe. We buy garlands, rangoli, and all the extra traditional pieces needed for the ceremonies. Drinks containing no fruit are drunk, mosquitoes don’t bite, mineral water does not taste like plastic – this new, wifi enabled, credit-card taking India is starting to appeal to me despite an initial sadness. After a few more days in the golden city, a little more family time, we head out to Chandigarh.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Lost in the New World, pt 1

A travel essay

We arrive in Delhi – it is eight o’clock at night, it is summer, it is dark. The security getting through is strict, and guards stand by the exits with rifles. I stock up on bottled water from WH Smith, flick through The Economist: jobs are scarce, India is failing its youth. It feels just like home.

Leaving Indira Gandhi International, it is like a museum or an arts school, murals of dancers and elephants in orange and yellow are plastered over charcoal grey columns. It is clean. It is crisp.

The drive from the airport introduces a new face of the city. It is scary – not from broken roads or brazen pedestrians, the scary that I am used to and that was often documented with a ‘Whee’ as I swung around the back of rickshaws as a child. No, this scary is from an urban jungle built up in the form of multi-lane highways, thousands of cars, crossroads and a driver running every red light we meet. I am reminded of how big Delhi actually is, and how small London is in comparison.

We enter into a private complex around eleven, and a personal tailor has stayed open late for us. Satya Paul pieces litter her rails, and she talks to me about Arcadia brand – she does work for them too. She quotes my sister Rs. 800 for each post-wedding outfit she is getting made – around £10 each. She takes credit cards. As our trip continues, it seems everywhere takes credit card.

We stay with family friends for the night – both are corporate, both in finance, both achieving post-graduate certificates. The stay is comfortable, there is wifi, we WhatsApp, we Skype home – we are here! It smells like India! We will take a flight to Amritsar in the morning.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Between the mainstream and the indie scene

As the title suggests, I am taking a minute to talk about some artists that are between the indie scene and mainstream. I love a good band or solo artist, and I am big believer in sharing good music. There are of course some very talented people out there who hover between internet fame but no so much with traditional outlets, so let me introduce you to some wonderful artists worth knowing:

1) Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox

What it says on the tin! Bradlee, a composer and pianist, has taken to adapting popular music to big band style tunes with Postmodern Jukebox. Perfect for anyone who wishes they were born in the first half of the 1900s. Listening to SB&PJ you'll want to start organising prohibition parties and shopping for flapper dresses. However, the best part of their covers is they vary their style. Mainly known for big band, they have also covered songs in country, Yiddish, and 1950's sock hop style.

Covers to note: 'Drunk in Love' (big band style) and 'Talk Dirty to Me' (Yiddish style)

2) Dead Cat Bounce

The band split last year but they are definitely worth the mention! Consider The Lonely Island. Now imagine they were Irish. Yes, that. I mention them because, although they are disbanded, you can listen to them over and over on YouTube and enjoy their special brand of comedy music. The lads are said to still work together on writing films, so who knows, maybe they shall grace our lives with their music once again.

Songs to play on repeat: 'Rugby' and 'Christians in Love'

3) Birdeatsbaby

This wonderful orchestral-rock-pop quartet are quirk and talent personified. They sound big - epic in a way - and wonderfully dark. Care to see what I mean? Listen and learn more here.

Songs to note: 'The Trouble' and 'Rosary'

Sunday, 13 July 2014


It is a strange kind of euphony: passionate but mellow, like a whisper bellowed, echoed, sending vibrations through our feet, up to our hearts and all over. That is the best way I can describe something so wonderfully indescribable.

We've been waiting for this album - Heart will Haunt was the first track featured on Thewonderwound - and The Bedroom Hour have not disappointed. There is that little sound reminiscent of Kings of Leon but with a distinct British edge; it is fuller, younger, smoother.

It is quiet, but packed with talent - the drums, keys, strings and vocals are balanced throughout so that no single aspect overwhelms or is lost, and it is this that gives Hinterland a gorgeous, smooth quality. You could listen to this album again and again just for that smoothness in sound, but you will be taken by the talent and the psychedelically nostalgic melodies they promised us.

The album drops tomorrow, and you are in for a treat.

Songs to watch out for: Nocturnal and Heart will Haunt.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Urban Decay

Dead space converted into an art garage, sheets clipped onto the ceiling separated a messy work space from the displays. It was split in two; the words 'Acid House' and 'Girl on Fire' split the respective displays. Kush Chorlie on one side - her trippy pieces offering insight to her generation's relationship with music, and by extension, the influence of acid house on music today. On the other side, Joanna Thompson's recreations of sixties inspired culture: sex, drugs and politics.

Like her inspiration, Chorlie's collection was disjointed but wonderful: a throwaway bench salvaged, restored with images of the Beatles and starfish; an empty gas canister, remodelled into a Native American deadmau5 display; the Marlboro man. It was odd, to say the least, but it came together like the minimalistic aesthetic of house with psychedelic drugs - a pairing that works, creating something new, colourful, exciting.

Thompson's collection was based on sixties culture -  Edie Sedgwick, Andy Worhol, Christine Keeler and John Profumo formed the basis of her work. The most stunning of her pieces, her take on the famous Lewis Morley shot which was taken amidst the scandal of the Profumo affair. The image was re-shot with Chorlie in place of Keeler, and then painted on red velvet with the words "Nothing has been proved..."

To see more images from Chorlie and Thompson's art show, follow on.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Art Show

This is an opportunity to see an artist, destined for fame, in her early years. Flicking through her portfolio, you wouldn't believe Kush Chorlie is just eighteen. Her skills are polished, her talent, raw. A bright spark, her knowledge of art and culture informs her personal style - making it not only an extension of herself but a script to gen Y's perspective of life and art and everything worth paying attention to.

Date/Time/Location: 09/07/14, 16:30-onwards, Burnham Upper.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cape Open Submissions: 1-30th June 2014

Writers, novelists! It's time to get those manuscripts polished and ready, because Jonathan Cape are on the wo/man hunt and have open submissions for fiction in June.

So, get those drafts ready... If you've got a finished work, brilliant! If not, unfinished work are still accepted. Novellas, novels and shorts are all fine, so there is a lot of scope for talented writers. Good luck!

Check out all you need to know here.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Elephont in the Room

What a glorious day, our favourite bluesy-rock band, RBRisers, are planning to drop their new EP, The Elephont in the Room, in days upcoming. If you haven't checked out their brand-spanking-new video on YouTube, go, it is a wonderful distraction or see below. Also available for a listen is my favourite track from the album, Same Old Road, over to the other side.

Physically copies will be out shortly after the digital release, but you can follow the boys on twitter and Facebook for updates.In the meanwhile, enjoy the music!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Jace Kim

Jace Junggyu Kim: an incredibly talented Canadian-Korean artist, making contemporary the traditional painting in his series Apologies.

The artist's use of material - mixing oil and accrylic, ink and spray - against the juxtaposition of the refined faces and chaotic brush strokes creates a series that is engrossing, wonderfully passionate and stunning.

Each image, similar enough to be catalogued in one series, tells an it's own story, each face perfectly balanced with it's own colour and chaos.

Kim's series is on display Ayden Gallery (Vancouver, BC) until the 4th May 2014, so if you are reading from the Great White North, or are planning to visit soon, take a trip down Pender Street and check out the beauty and talent.

View more from the series here, and find out more about Kim and his art here.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Saturday Night at The Water Rats

Review: 3 minute read

Last night the Rock Bottom Risers played an intimate set at one of London's most famous music venues, The Water Rats. The little place in King's Cross houses a low stage, a pub out front and a history of great indie musicians playing there before they got a little less indie.

An audience of dedicated fans, and some new ones were introduced to songs from the band's upcoming EP, Elephont in the Room, which made up the half-hour set.  The band was endearing, their songs a unique blend of bluesy rock, with nods to the greats, and even a little folksy type middle 8 that prompted a lot of country-western dancing in the middle of International Jungle. A technical proficiency - drummer John Butcher played flawlessly, looking either completely focused, almost entranced with his drumkit, other times staring off into space, muscle memory taking over as he crept off to the wonder land, and guitarist, Kane Scott boasted technique switching between feathering and sliding in bouts of rockish-ness.

Civ James Clegg did a solid job as frontman. He interacted with the crowd, picking out the guys who double clapped, and throwing girls into violent dance with his Johnny Depp eyes. But he wasn't the only one channeling Hollywood; Greg Kirby had a Fran Capitanelli kind of vibe going - a little too cool and smooth, but it balanced Scott's animated actions on the other side of the stage (the swaying bops and faces he made definitely added to the performance).

Back Behind the Line proved to be an audience favourite, perhaps demanding the biggest reaction. Understandably. A lot of different musical influences were obvious in this single, but combined to make something beautifully fun, something that makes you want to get up and do anything or everything. It didn't just evoke emotions, it encouraged a sense of action. So everybody moved.

It was an interesting set up - you see each band member individually and you wouldn't place them together, but they got on stage, and start playing and you just had to smile and sway along. They are one of those bands that really enjoys playing - you can see it in their faces - and in the genuine respect they show their audience.

There were a couple instances of feedback, but a band in their stride, it didn't throw them off a second. There was a lot of drunken dancing, and some very worrying sober dancing. It was an intimate gig, with a special feel, closing with shouts of "One more! One more!"

The songs to watch out for: Same Old Road and Back Behind the Line.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Art defined

“Art is what we call...the thing an artist does.
It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.
Art is not in the ...eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.”

- A wonderful note on art, by the author and speaker Seth Godin.

Monday, 20 January 2014

They Loved It

I was going to write another poem.
But they don’t take you seriously
When you’re being serious.

So I threw in the world bitch...

They loved it.