Upcoming and Unvetted

1____ Broker (£5-£11) (24th Feb - 2nd March) Shoplifters director Hirokazu Kore-eda tries to do a happy

         one this time Watershed 17:50/20:10

_____ Deems Experiment X Improv’s Greatest Hits (FREE) 2 Improv music nights enter, only 1 may

         leave Gallimaufry 20:30

2____ VHS Diaries (£5/£9) Doc charting the history of illegal arthouse VHS trading in Iran

         Arnolfini 19:00

_____ Tryani Collective (FREE) The trailer for their vocal arrangements is tantalising as hell

         Canteen 21:30

3____ The Banshees of Inisherin (£5-£11) (Until 5th) You can stop telling me to see it now                

         Watershed, time varies

_____ Close (£5-£11) (Until 9th) Kids be sad = Grand Prix at Cannes Watershed, various times

_____ Lynks (£12.50) Drag pop superstar + up-&-comers DAMEFRISØR supporting Exchange 19:00

_____ BUBBLE: Ayesha (NYC) + Nathan Worm + Charlie Stoic (£6-£10) Great producer, great DJ, great

         time Strange Brew 22:30

4____ Bristol Neuroscience Festival (FREE) Full day of talks – book ahead!

        Wills Memorial Building 09:45

_____ London Bulgarian Choir (£10/£15) This is your gran’s choir, but sometimes she’s onto something

         Redland Park United Reformed Church 19:00

_____ Los Savages + Redmoor (Sunglasses After Dark) (FREE) Dean Lane skate punks go surfing +

         local krauts go rocking No.1 Harbourside 21:30

5____ Pavor Nocturnus (£6/£7) Strange sounds from the basement. What’s he deconstructing in there?

         Exchange Basement 19:30


7____ How to Blow Up a Pipeline (£5-£11) Ocean’s 11 to save the world’s oceans Watershed 18:00

_____ But I'm A Cheerleader (£5) ‘God is good, God is straight!’ Just enough time to run to this cult

         comedy, mate! Cube Microplex 20:00

8____ Schwet with Sirom and Marlene Ribeiro (£10) ‘Imaginary folk’, real Slovenians                           

         Strange Brew 19:00

9____ Exercises in Exchange programme launch (FREE/£5) This film dares to ask would Scrooge

         McDuck be a crypto bro? Spike Island 18:00

_____ Haul (£5/£7) Dunno Haul but good supports & I trust Liquid Library Exchange basement 19:00

10___ Coby Sey, Tom Boogizm, FAUZIA, Swordman Kitala (£9-£15) A line-up more stacked than it has

          any need to be, no complaints Strange Brew 20:00

11___ Spoonie Rave (£6-£10) Appropriately sensorially whelming daytime rave Cube Microplex 16:00

_____ Strange Brew Presents DJ Nobu & Anina (£12/£14) Jumpy night-time rave for those who want

          some more whelm Strange Brew 23:00

12___ The Go! Team (£18) Pleased to report that they still hold up! The Fleece 19:30


14___ The Serfs (USA), Powerplant, EVA and The Pinch (£10) Sweaty synthy fun between postpunk &

         garage rock Exchange 19:00

15___ we were promised honey! (£8-£20) (Until 18th) Storytelling for the age of extinction from

         hotshot theatre company YESYESNONO Old Vic 20:00

16___ Terra Femme (£5/£9) Video essay of Early 20th century amateur travelogues scored by Sarah

         Davachi Arnolfini 19:00

_____ Wastell/Butcher/Marino; Territorial Gobbings; ZGTC (£4/£7) Truly fantastic line-up for the

         sonically curious Cube Microplex 20:00

17___ O.S.T. Nkisi, Dan Johnson, Lou Zon,Robin Stewart (£11) High concept trance

         Strange Brew 22:00

18___ Shanti Celeste All Night Long (£14) Bristol’s own queen of house returns Strange Brew 23:00

19___ Kodian Trio, Viridian Ensemble, RIM ACD (£6) You know the score, improv galore

         Café Kino 19:30

20___ El Khat القات [Glitterbeat] (£10) Off-kilter DIYemeni oddness, sounds wild

          Crofters Rights 19:30 

21___ The Talent (£13/£14) (Until 25th) Cause for celebration! Action Hero back on home turf with 1st

          stage show in 7 years Wardrobe Theatre 19:30

22___ Manchester Collective: Black Angels (£12/£15) Classical music can be scary too!                      

         Strange Brew 19:30


24___ Klüb Blancmange 2.0 - Jerome Hill + More (£6-£12) The bounciest techno around 

          Jam Jar 21:30

25___ Garden Folk at Purple Patch Spring Fair (FREE) Don’t have a partner for the spring dance? Nw

         there’s scarecrow making! Watercress Farm 14:00

_____ Club Blanco x Love International (£10-£16.50) Peach & Daisy Moon’s bubbly sounds are sorting

         the afterparty Coroner’s Court 23:00


28___ Piglet + Lou Terry (FREE/£5) Tender bedroom pop for tender souls Crofters Rights 19:30


31___ Wasted Death – Peruvian Necktie – Gnasch (£5) Putrid gutter metal, you love to see it     

          The Crown 19:00

_____ Aba Shanti-I meets Jah Youth (£8-£18) Deep roots selections to cleanse the sludge out

         Trinity 22:00

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Natq @ Spike Island (25/01)

I was pretty stunned by Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s video piece at Spike Island, 45th Parallel - I keep telling people he’s my newest art crush. Natq, coinciding with the exhibition, was a live ‘audio- visual essay,’ performed by Abu Hamdan in front and behind of two large screens, one of them being projected onto from behind, one from in front. He reads his speech while weaving in and out of them, such that he is often silhouetted by the light of the projectors.

The speech itself is dense and fascinating. It concerns Bassel Abi Chahine, a writer and autodidact historian who has obsessively archived objects, interviews and photographs from the Lebanese Shouf War. There’s a personal reason for this mission: Abi Chahine can recall his past life as a child soldier who died aged 17 during the war, and his archive serves as an attempt to investigate and reconstruct his visceral flashbacks to this period.

Abu Hamdan relates this story, as well as a psychiatrists’ field research into birthmarks and reincarnation, and a collaboration with a forensic archaeologist to construct a speculative portrait of what Abi Chahine’s past incarnation might have looked like. He teases out an argument that reincarnation might provide a channel through which voices can speak to injustice, where they cannot in the official fields of legal and political life — in the case of Lebanon and the Shouf War because of a controversial legal amnesty which absolved those guilty of war crimes. ‘Natq’ is an Arabic word which refers to various speech acts — but it can also refer specifically to the speech of reincarnated subjects, or mean ‘to speak truth.’

Watching this I’m reminded how thrilling it can be to engage with something so heady. I often go in search of art that’s affective, intuitive, body-based; but the dramatic art of an essay, to join ideas together with elegance and rigour, produces its own kind of affect. I’m moved, too, by this story. I don’t have a religious belief in reincarnation, but the idea appeals to me, and I like that this performance approaches it without skepticism. What can we see anew when we choose to assume a position of trust, however provisional? Whose voices do we listen to, and whose testimonies do we believe?

Funeral Parade of Roses @ Watershed (05/02)

I get frustrated with films that feel the need to justify themselves. Films whose aspirations only go as far as conveying a set message, as if the cinema was a classroom of students to be coddled. In some queer cinema I feel it’s the instinct that settles for representation rather than expression. Thankfully Funeral Parade of Roses is not this. Funeral is more than a film about a trans woman’s struggles, it is a film that is in transition itself.

Rather than settling for being a straightforward self-serious drama, its playful premise sounds like something John Waters would come up with: a gay Oedipus Rex in 60s Japan, playing on all the gender swapped Freudian desires that implies. Yet unlike Water’s gleefully trashy comedies, the film masterfully rides the line; being overtly silly yet personal and unnerving underneath.

I say the film is in transition because on top of its playful premise, the film is constantly playing with itself. It draws on Godard’s postmodern style but where that can veer into the annoying, the disorientation here seems thematically fitting (and fun):

Fourth wall breaks into documentary about the film you are watching become reminders that reality is second player to its presentation. Cryptic poetic text inserts become mantras for survival. Sudden switchups into slapstick become dress changes into something more camp. Extended hallucinogenic party scenes, verging on music videos, become expressions of queer community.

The result of all of this is that we are let into a whole queer world: this world, the same one as today. While watching I couldn’t help comparing Funeral to a fellow 1969 release that I saw for the first time recently, Easy Rider. I enjoyed how of its time it was, its dialogue and pacing so oddly wooden and disconnected that 1969 begins to seem as alien as the Martian deserts of route 66 they pass through. Whereas seeing how ahead of this time Funeral is did the opposite: it collapsed the distance traced out by the half century since its filming.

Unlike much of the cinema that succeeds it, this over 50-year-old film is too damn confident to ever settle for being less than it is and I am shocked I hadn’t come across it before. If it’s not already part of the film history cannon, then it needs to be.

How Shall We Begin Again?
@ Wales Millennium Centre (12/02)

On the stage in the Wales Millennium Centre there are somewhere between 30 and 50 dancers experimenting with their bodies; lifting arms, hopping, suddenly darting forward, coming together and apart. The stage is so deep that the dancers at the front appear at least twice the size of those at the back, and this space creates an incredible tapestry as our eyes dart person to person, catching glimpses of magic further back.

Most of How Do We Begin Again? is nowhere near this busy. Apart from these group interludes the 16-hour improvisation sees individual dancers get around 10-15 minutes alone onstage in a set pattern; a song (chosen at random from a list the dancer has selected), then silence (which they can fill with speech, or movement, or nothing, as they wish), another song, another silence, and a final song. In this format we see a whole spectrum of dancers from the enthusiast to the professional take their moment in the spotlight.

It's beautiful and exciting, funny and touching, to see how each dancer boogies, or thrashes, or flows, or grooves, a chance to give real focus to the wonderful ways people move. What really struck me was the slight air of melancholy alongside the joy. There is a lot of mention of how big the stage is – something that is intimidating, not just in the question of how you fill it, but the fact that even for professional dancers it is incredibly rare to be alone on such a major stage, dancing the way they want to the music they love – a chance like this isn’t coming along again. And that feeling of the moment passing, and not quite perfectly, adds a poignant aspect to the proceedings; one dancer checking in the silences if a friend has arrived yet, another mourning a song fading out before a well-loved guitar solo, another worrying they peaked too soon.

This underlines just how special this event is, a spectacle and a celebration, but also a very personal, intimate moment, meaning something just a little different to each person up there.

Spotted in Bristol

Kids lighting candles at a satanic altar just before the start of school      \m/ ( - L - ) \m/


Two sneezing cyclists stopping to bless each other


A haughty hound sat at a restaurant table for two, utterly disinterested in his plate of sausages


A man finding enlightenment by doing yoga in the middle of the road outside Tesco

Email us at toughsellzine@gmail.com with hot tips and strange sightings

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We are three housemates in Bristol, and we go to see lots of music / theatre / dance / art / film / comedy etc. It’s usually stuff at the margins of these forms, where more is shared between them than distinguishes them. This is a zine of events in the next month that we think we might go to, and reviews of events from the past month that we liked. It is: inexhaustive, biased, of debatable trustworthiness. This is a picture of us.