Following a sell-out European tour as frontwoman for Skunk Anansie, it has been announced that Deborah Dyer will be performing her solo act as Skin on Saturday 8 July at Pride In London.
Skin, 49, will be performing a DJ set on the Radio Diva Women’s Stage which will be held for the first time in Leicester Square. The move to this more prominent location will provide the largest women’s stage in Pride In London’s history, which organisers expect will attract crowds of up to 5,000.
Since 2007, Skin branched out into producing and djing electronic dance music. She found her niche in techno, minimal and tech house, and has honed her skills at some of the most respected parties in the industry, including Carl Cox’s Music is Revolution in Ibiza, and collaborated with Nicole Moudaber.
Skin, who is openly bisexual and an advocator for women’s rights, will be joined by 23 other strong female artists sharing their musical talents. These include British newcomer Lots Holloway who released ‘World’s On Fire’, a melodic-pop single with a gritty political overtone, New York’s alternative rock group Betty, and Sarah Walk who’s poignant lyrics are refreshingly delivered in her unique androgynous vocals.
Polly Shute, Pride in London Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships,said:
“The acts set to perform on the Radio Diva Women’s Stage this year are amazing. They’ll be bringing the energy and entertainment to this iconic location for the first time and will make sure it’s a day to remember. We’re also thrilled to be working in partnership with Radio Diva and sponsors that include AB InBev, Amazon Music and Vodafone, who have helped make this happen.”
The Radio Diva Women’s Stage runs from 12:30 until 19:30. To view the full line-up and for further information click here.
You would be forgiven for thinking there is nothing worth visiting in Hackney Wick apart from the occasional art exhibition and a few hipster bars offering the latest craft beer and food fad. Although the area has undergone a clean-up over the past five years, the area remains a sprawling industrial and development eyesore. But look closer and you will see that building site hoardings and condemned buildings offer a canvas for street artists to take back ownership of an area destined for gentrification.
One such building is the derelict Lord Napier pub on White Post Lane, which has become the focal point for street art in Hackney Wick. Somewhat ironically it was here under the painted phrase ‘Meanwhile in East London lunatics decorate a building’ (remaining from the Hackney WickeD art festival in July 2016) and the aggressive gaze of a Mighty Mo and Sweettoof collaboration that I met with the street artist known as Subdude. He was busy pasting an illustration of a glum-looking person with a speech bubble that reads “It takes no genius to be a conformist.”
“It’s just a message of protest,” said Subdude.
“I hope done with some humour too. It’s word play and it’s trying to make people smile and laugh.”
Subdude’s work evolved from an accumulation of these stylistically very direct satirical written statements. His first (completed a few years ago) was ‘robbery is the sincerest form of business’ which he spray-painted using a stencil on Rivington Street near Cargo in Shoreditch. Laughing bitterly SubDude told Rebel Rebel how his work did not go quite to plan because the next day a robbery took place right next to it and a journalist wrongfully construed that the thieves had sprayed the graffiti.
“That kind of freaked me out a bit,” he confided. “So then I stopped doing anything for a while.”
This was partially the reason he switched medium for the most part of his street art, moving to fly posters designed using Adobe Illustrator.
In 2016, he began to combine his phrases with illustration. Subdude explained that for every artist there is a struggle that is reflected in their work. Candidly, he told Rebel Rebel his struggle with manic depression was reflected in the forlorn “little dude” he designed for his posters (which he was told by a friend resembled him).
The sceptical phrases that have accompanied this image have reflected his dubious views of politicians and corporate greed. He explained that his inspiration for his first statement ‘robbery is the sincerest form of business’ was born when in 2009 the then British Prime Minister David Cameron said “we are all in this together” which angered Subdude.
“The protest is through my work and I could do a lot more like everybody but that’s what I do best I think.”
His work became more controversial when he began featuring a series of posters of President Trump with phrases that include ‘Fake Views‘, ‘Tangerine Tyrant‘ and ‘Bad Hombre‘ swapped the significance of his phrases with the images involved. These very dynamic and demanding images cannot fail to stand out and firmly grasp your attention. Even more so given the state of world affairs with Donald Trump’s contentious presidency and also Brexit.
Subdude said that the latest designs of a series of Theresa May in bondage-wear with phrases such as ‘Make you obey‘, and Vladimir Putin respectively, similarly attired but accompanied by ‘Hates a pussy rioter‘ generated a mixed reaction.
He said, “I have like 500 positive responses to Theresa May, but then I’ve had a few saying it’s misogynistic and sexist. People did not realise that I ran it alongside Vladimir Putin and that I am not taking the piss out of women!”
Subdude is not one of the first and will not be the last to create politically inspired street art. Since the birth of civilised society people have used ‘graffiti’ or ‘street art’ to convey their beliefs directly without the need for much more than something to scratch out a symbol in a public space.
Fast forward to the present sunny day in March, back outside the Lord Napier Pub where Subdude is now fly pasting a striking poster of Sir Philip Green (another controversial character who has recently been the subject of a wave of scrutiny in the media) with the caption ‘Sir Fill-Up Greed’ followed by ‘Have yachts Hate have nots’.
Asked whether he would feel the same way about his work if legality was not an issue, Subdude said:
“You don’t do this thing unless you enjoy taking a risk in some way and that makes you feel alive.”
He told me of a statement a girl he knew had said that resonated with him:
“If it’s not going to make your heart beat faster what’s the point?
“When I am doing the art that makes my heart beat faster and yeah maybe it is in the threat of arrest.”
Although he still admits that at the age of 43 he would prefer not to be arrested.
The Old Truman Brewery in East London was buzzing in more ways than one when thousands attended a tattoo convention on February 17.
The Tattoo Collective convention which was organised by the magazine Tattoo Life showcased 150 selected tattoo artists from Britain and Ireland who offered a diverse range of styles. Crowds from all walks of life were in attendance which reflects the change in popular opinion towards tattoos that has grown over the past two decades.
Tom Reeve, 30, from Beckenham who admits to having spent close to £10,000 on tattoos was getting his eleventh whilst at the convention. He told Rebel Rebel about his favourite tattoo and why he was returning to the same artist for a portrait on his hand.
“A friend I worked with got a portrait tattoo by David Corden and I thought it was incredible,” he said. “I decided I had to get a piece by him. Even though I had never met him before he invited me to stay at his house and I stayed there for three days. We got on like a house on fire. I flew back on fourth to Edinburgh about 5 times.
“That was my favourite experience because as it was such a big piece I got to know him well. Whereas some other tattoo artists I have had made me feel like they have only been there for the money and want to get you done and out the door.”
David Corden, from Edinburgh, is a tattoo artist who’s specialism is portraits. He passionately explained that the more specialized a tattoo artist becomes and is personally sought out by clients, the more they have in common which makes him feel like he is at work with his best friends.
He said: “If you don’t have a good experience you like the tattoo less.
“You should never be today’s wages. Getting money from what I do is a magical bonus but I often forget at the end of the day to take payment. Usually the client reminds me!”
Anu Laluna, from 1770 in Brighton, describes her fascination 16 years ago when she first started seeing tattoos on people that had stepped away from the mainstream:
“I identified with that crowd more than the mainstream. All the punks and the rockers and all the freaks. That is what got me interested. It was never about the self-expression which is so popular right now. It was more like Keep away from me! I’m a punk!”
“There are all these modern trends that are flying around and I think tattooing fits into that category somehow. It has become a modern trend, which has a life span but true tattooing will never go away. It is always going to be around because it always has been around before trends were even invented.”
The Hippodrome in Kingston-Upon-Thames was transported to Kingston Jamaica on Thursday (April 6) when New Slang hosted a rowdy performance from Gentleman’s Dub Club.
The nine-piece, all male dub band that originates from Leeds have been making themselves known on the reggae and festival circuits across the globe. Not only have they headlined shows but also supported iconic artists such as The Wailers and Roots Manoever, and last year secured a spot at number one in the iTunes Reggae Chart with their second album The Big Smoke.
With an impressive catalogue of performances under their belt (including Glastonbury, Outlook and Boomtown Fair) the gentlemen had no problem hyping up the small crowd at New Slang in an intimate set that showcased their new album Duptopia.
Gentleman’s Dub Club delivered a phenomenally high-octane performance that warranted more than the solo crowd surfer (who may have made the boys’ night from their reaction). Their stage presence was natural and it was a joy to see a band who do not take themselves too seriously whilst still nailing every song and extended solos.
The opener, ‘Let a little love’ from the new album received a loud reception from the crowd and started the night off with a warm, relaxed, syncopated reggae beat with a rich sub-bass that lazily meandered its way through. The lyrics reflected popular themes from the genre of overcoming struggles in everyday life by letting a “little love in your life.”
The new song ‘Dancing in the breeze’ (now already at 66th place in the UK iTunes Top 100 Reggae Chart) was a crowd-pleaser with the crowd singing along with frontman Johnathan Scratchley to the catchy, carefree lyrics and mellow melody. The percussion sound clips and brass were well-balanced, whilst the funky guitar solo drew cheers.
Without a doubt ‘High Grade’ (which controversially gives a cheeky nod to the reggae culture’s popular marijuana themed lyrics) was the highlight of the night, sending the audience into a fury.
True to their name the band were perfect gentlemen and were happy to sign albums and pose for photographs with fans.
Stewart Grant who was at the show told Rebel Rebel:
“Despite the show being less busy than the typical New Slang event (probably due to half term), this event turned out to be a pretty sweaty gig and allowed everyone enough room to bounce around!
“The sound was great and the band put on a good show.”
The band have a busy tour ahead of them with shows lined up all over the UK, Morocco, France and Croatia.
The new album Dubtopia is out now on Easy Star Records.