Upcoming and Unvetted

1____ Salvage Rhythms | Sam Williams and Roly Porter (FREE) Are we mushroom or are we dancer? 

         Durational performance piece Arnolfini 16:30

_____ Elf Lyons: Raven (£15) Clown Comedian gets spooky Tobacco Factory 20:00

_____ PTS ϟ Laurel Halo, k means ++ (£8/£12/£14) Won’t lie would love a live set, but still damn

         excited Strange Brew 22:00

2____ As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (£6) You’ll endure 5 hours

         of 16mm family films, and you’ll enjoy it. Cube Microplex 12:00

_____ Tout Bleu / Repo Man / Tina Hitchens + Dan Johnson (£10) Swish Swiss Sounds & lively lovely

         locals Crofters Rights 19:00


4____ LEYA + Sarahsson + Dear Laika (£9) From start to finish this will be gorgeous and devastating.

         Do not miss. Crofters Rights 19:00

5____ StrangeBrew x Schwet: Ana Roxanne & First Terrace (£10/£12/£14) Music to dream to & music

         to twitch to Strange Brew 19:30

6____ Snow Poet: Wait For Me (£10.50/£18.90/£21) Just because you could take your parents doesn’t

         mean it’s not good  St George’s 20:30

7____ Ways of Attaching / 45th Parallel (FREE) (until 15th / 29rd Jan) Exhibition of fabric sculptures

         and blurred borders Spike Island 18:00 preview on 7th

_____ CANCELLED Liquid Library (£5/£7) Rocking the shit out of those “post” prefixes
         Exchange Basement 20:00

_____ Avon Terror Corps vs. Maple Death (£5/£7) You want it dark stay at the exchange, you want to

         dance head to the brew Exchange 23:00

8____ 169 Annual Open Exhibition (until 8th Jan) (£0/£4.45/£8) Varied showcase of submitted works


_____ ZINEZILLA 2: Zine Vs Kong (FREE) We like zines, who woulda thunk Strange Brew 12:00

_____ Close (£5/£8.50/£11) Kids be sad = Grand Prix at Cannes Watershed 18:30

_____ Liturgy LIVE (£13.20) Hard as fuck, let’s get scared! Strange Brew 19:00

9____ Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (£7/£8/£10.70) Hard as fuck, let’s get scared!

         Showcase Cinema De Lux 10:00


11___ The Handmaiden (£8/£10.70) the less said the better about this underseen Park Chan Wook

         Showcase Cinema De Lux 19:00


13___ Nicotiana Brittanica (part of South Bristol History Festival) (FREE) Illegal Cotswold tobacco

         farmers vs. the British Empire Tobacco Factory 18:30

_____ Triangle Of Sadness (£5/£8.50/£11) Östlund stop hogging all the Palme d’Ors Watershed 20:10

14___ Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp (£8-£16) This tropical 12-piece may have a novelty

         name but they’re not a novelty band Jam Jar 20:10

_____ Colours w/ Darwin, Enchanted Rhythms & Baby Cino (£8/£10/£3) Resident at Berghain’s Reef

         night, Darwin knows their stuff Strange Brew 22:00

15___ Is This A Dance (£10) (until 16th) Yes. For kids and their adults. The Egg, Bath 11:30 & 15:00

_____ Éliane Radigue (£5/£15) Nearly 70 years of expanding the medium Arnolfini 14:00

_____ Decision to Leave (£5/£8.50/£11) The master of genre’s new crime/love story Watershed 20:20

_____ BUBBLE w/ RP Boo, Touching Bass & Ben Hauke [Live] (£11/£13/£15) Last time RP Boo played I

         was more sweat than man, this is a good thing Strange Brew 22:00

16___ Gilla Band (£15.50) A loud undanceable blissfull mess :) Pretty sure Mandy Indiana support too!

         Trinity Centre 19:00

17___ Mad God (£4/£5) (until 18th) The demented result of spending 30 years making a stop motion

         film Cube Microplex 20:00


19___ Pink Narcissus (£5) A mysterious cult queer dream Cube Microplex 20:00

20___ Alabaster DePlume (£10/£14) He’s obnoxiously earnest but I’m still into it Lost Horizon 20:00

21___ The Rest of Our Lives (£10/£12) clowning, dance, and optimism for a change

         St Paul’s Church 19:30

22___ Bharti Kher: The Body is a Place (FREE) (until 29th Jan) Wildly complex bindi drawings Arnolfini

_____ John Carpenter Mini-Fest (£12.50-£45) No ‘The Thing’ :( but still a good time

         Bristol Improv Theatre from 12:00

23___ Aguirre, Wrath of God (£6/£10) Kinski literally squeezes the shit out of a monkey in this film,

         imagine that on IMAX Bristol Aquarium IMAX 15:00


27___ Thought in Motion (£7) BEEF serves up a selection of Edwin Rostron’s improvised animations

          Cube Microplex 20:00

28-30 Forbidden Worlds Film Festival: The Big Scream (£8.50-£75) Joyous selection of cult, B-movie,

          and bizarro horror Bristol Aquarium IMAX


TOUGH SELL Bunker Party @ redacted (28/08)

It's hard not to notice that things are increasingly fucked. In fact it’s so hard, that the effort of not noticing has become tiring to the point of exhaustion. Yet unfairly, guiltily, gladly, 2022 might have been amongst the best years of my life. As the world becomes unrecognisably grim, my immediate surroundings have sharpened into the shape of home, and I feel undoubtedly myself. The local Bristol arts community has a lot to thank for that.

I know it is wrong to blinker ourselves to the action we need to take to right things where possible. But “where possible” still leaves an awful lot of room for time consuming overwhelming ineffective mourning. Increasingly I’m finding that that time can be better used to promote and feed into the things that I’m thankful for around me.

And what better way to do that than to throw a financially ruinous party in a big fuck off bunker and fill it with some of Bristol’s (and Manchester’s) most talented (and lovely) people. We’re talking a gig so DIY I inadvisably built the bloody toilet, piping and all (which is probably why it broke, sorry!).

With the help of my friend and co-organiser Joe we managed to get everything ready for a good 10 hours of music from submersive sound artist, Bearer; 5-piece improv jazz giants, Big Fuss Ensemble; fervent feedbackersfeedbackers, Carnivorous Plants; pounding industrialist, Lazarski; eclectic purveyors, Big Fuss Duo; electrolyte draining electro-ist, Regression; Jungle evangelist, Dompap.

I can’t possibly sum up the whole sordid gig but I’ll mention something in Carnivorous Plants’ set that really chimed with me and what I’ve been indulgently banging on about until now.

Carnivorous Plant’s self-described “dawn metal” reshapes the normally oppressive walls of take-your-pick “dungeon-y adjective” metal into something ecstatic. Using just a gong, an abused guitar, and veils of distorted vocals they lit up the old dank bunker into a hallowed space. Leaving their reverberating instruments behind they led a procession through the room until reaching the end of the tunnel where unknown unbidden revellers joined the chorus, throwing bricks against walls and adding their voices to the beautiful cacophony.

Something about the reshaping of something oppressive and unrelenting and turning it into something bright and communal lit up a smile on my face. Outside that WW2 bunker the world was and is still fucked, but who when the bunker was being built could imagine it would one day be this. A massive thankyou to all involved (and a big fuck you to whoever padlocked it).

Alexandra Spence, Brigitte Hart, Viridian Ensemble @Strange Brew (08/09)

There’s something lovely about when acts transition straight into one another. I’ve seen it twice in the last month and it was delightful both times. At the Louisiana it was unsurprising that collaborators Dolebury Warren transitioned so smoothly into the full Big Fuss Ensemble, with the movement from moody ambience to scattering improvisation bridged by a field recording of late-night train works.

At BEEF’s night at Strange Brew the smoothness of the transition was much less of a given – the artists had never played together before, and only decided not to have a break between them on the day. But as Brigitte Hart came towards a close, her bottles mudlarked from the Thames spinning and mic’d up to create beating, almost harsh percussion, Alexandra Spence took to the stage.

What was most delightful was how similar actions and ‘instruments’ from each performer created such vastly different sounds, because one of the first things Spence did was hold a spinning device (a fan?) to a tiny bottle creating a glassy, ethereal tone.

Spence’s performance was incredibly physical. Utmost care was given to making each sound, at first isolated and sparse, and gradually layered and lush. Watching Spence raise a tuning fork to her ear before raising it to the microphone, or setting it aside; seeing the minute variations of tension bringing objects together; it was like watching a skilled artisan select only the perfect materials to make a flawless violin, or a masterful paintbrush.

As these carefully selected sonic waves mixed with the rain outside, we were carried away on a meditative, dreamy ocean of sound.

Civilisation @ Arnolfini (16/09)

I’ve seen Jaz Woodcock-Stewart and Morgann Runacre-Temple’s dance theatre piece 6 times now - almost certainly the most times I’ve seen any one piece of performance. A friend of mine remarked how nice it was to watch something without the kind of manufactured dramatic tension that is presumed a necessary ingredient of narrative fiction; we just get to spend some time with someone who is grieving - no great plot per se, not even much in the way of emotional catharsis (the most the woman lets go is when ripping apart the umpteenth bouquet of flowers delivered to her flat — which she does with more curiosity than passion). We watch instead the mundanities of grief - navigating automated phone menus to HMRC, (‘please select the reason for your call’ — ‘deceased’ — ‘and are you calling about your own tax?’), surfing affectless Youtube videos (that seaweed hunting video from Dragon’s Den), meticulously folding up her late partner’s clothes (Marie Kondo’s technique).


But what keeps me coming back is something else, more unnameable, at the heart of the piece. Underneath what we’re seeing, there is a mysteriousness that, 6 watches in, I still find impossible to parse. I haven’t mentioned yet, of course, the fact that these understated actions taking place in a hermetic fictional world are interrupted by the presence of three dancers, never acknowledged by the actress. Nothing as straightforward as ghosts, they are nevertheless there to haunt. How and why they are there — with their slow motion pliés, a kind of line dance to Scott Walker’s ‘Jackie’, the movements of folding and straightening translated into a kind of super fast semaphore — is one great mystery. The other is the title. Civilisation. How are we meant to read all this? How wide is its lens? ‘A forensic study of one woman’s grief’ doesn’t seem to cut it. The outside world is too present, too insistent in wounding the integrity of space. When, dressed in all of her partner’s clothes at once (notice the Green Day t-shirt, and so much plaid), she picks up the phone and speaks - at incredible, unnatural speed, a borrowed transcript of a politician - what exactly is going on here? She certainly ceases to be exactly herself. A kind of literal elision with the dead man? It’s a formal rupture, a moment which banishes the possibility of any straightforward reading. It’s the thing I crave from performance; the inscrutable, the unfinished - something that will keep a piece alive long after applause signals its end.

Spotted in Bristol

A lava lamp filled with Barbie heads


A bus whose electronic display read only ‘Forwards’


A guy in a kebab van wearing a chef’s hat at least 40cm tall


A Boxer dog standing up and eagerly supping from a pint until stopped, then licking the dregs from their paw


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.