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The Lonely Arts Club
55 minutes | 3 months ago
Series 3, Episode 10: Carys Bray
Carys Bray is an author from Southport, Merseyside and she really does have quite a story to share with us.Carys’ story begins in Southport, where she still resides with her family. However, the life Carys leads now looks slightly different to when she was a child. We hear Carys’ memories of growing up as part of a strict Mormon family and how this became the inspiration for her first novel A Song for Issy Bradley. The novel was serialised on BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime and was shortlisted for several awards including the Costa Book Awards and the Desmond Elliott Prize. It won the Utah Book Award and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and was selected for the 2015 Richard and Judy Summer Book Club.Carys’ debut collection Sweet Home won the Scott prize and selected stories were broadcast on BBC Radio Four Extra. Her second novel The Museum of Youwas published in 2016 and her third novel When the Lights Go Out was published in 2020.We hear about Carys’ experience of going back to university as a mature student and how studying a Masters and PhD at Edge Hill gave her the confidence to become a writer herself.Available to download from Tuesday 8 December, hear Carys’ unique tales of navigating challenges of the Mormon community, where her drive came from to be a writer and what’s next for this talented author.
50 minutes | 3 months ago
Series 3, Episode 9: Derek Hatton
Derek Hatton became a household name across the UK after becoming a member of the Labour Party and being heavily involved in the Militant movement. Martin McQuillan goes back to the beginning to find out more about local lad, Derek, his early years and where his passion for politics came from.Whilst making himself known as a politician, Derek was also appointed as deputy leader of Liverpool City Council and became well known for defying Thatcher's government. "Well I came back to Liverpool and the first job I had was running what is still there now - the Bronte Community Centre by the Bullring in St Andrews Gardens and there was a big housing thing going on there so I got involved in that and then after that did two or three other things along the same sort of lines but while I was doing all that, that was when I was starting to get more and more political and I suppose although they were great, great jobs I had and great opportunities I had, none the less in the back of my mind, the whole development of my political thing started to get more and more and took more and more of my time in the thinking. And then I joined Labour Party in '74, I became part of Militant in '74 - there for five years. Was very active in the Labour Party and the trade union movement and eventually got elected as a councillor in 1979 the very same day that Thatcher became prime minister."We get to know all about Derek's influences as a politician and his views on politics over the years.
51 minutes | 3 months ago
Series 3, Episode 8: Chris Amoo
Universally known for legendary hits such as You To Me Are Everything and Can’t Get By Without You, The Real Thing made their mark on the music industry in the 70s, and we have the pleasure of being joined by band’s lead singer, Chris Amoo.In another of our virtual, lockdown episodes, we speak to Chris about all things music; where his inspiration came from, how he got into the industry and which way his career has taken him.Going right back to the beginning of the journey, Chris talks about growing up in Toxteth, what and keeping on the straight and narrow."A lot of the black Americans were coming in from the bases, bringing the music with them and that’s where we first started hearing really black soul music like the O’Jays and all that. Stuff that you wouldn’t normally hear on mainstream radio you know and this is what formed the way we saw music and it wasn’t until we got to a point where we thought we’ve got something here, we can perform on stage now, where you start having to look a little bit outside of Toxteth. So, as soon as we got our first agent in Liverpool, we realised that there was a world outside of Toxteth that we wanted to be part of."Download the episode now, to hear Chris talk about finding success in the music industry and how The Real Thing are still going all these years later.This episode was recorded virtually meaning the quality of the recording may be slightly different to normal.
57 minutes | 4 months ago
Series 3, Episode 7: Phina Oruche
This week on the Lonely Arts Club, we’re joined by actor, model and author, Phina Oruche.Born in Liverpool to Nigerian parents, Phina Oruche takes us on a journey as she explains how her family came to be in the city. We hear Phina’s experience of growing up in Liverpool and what it meant to her to be able to spread her wings.Phina’s path has taken her around the world, experiencing many different adventures. From modelling in London to acting in LA, it was back in the UK that the perfect role was waiting for her in hit TV series, Footballers’ Wives. I read “she’s a model, she’s obnoxious, she’s full of herself”, and I went, “oh my God, this is her”. ‘Cos you know…I always know what a Phina part is as soon as I read four words in, I know it’s my part and I was like [shouts] “Liberty Baker! Bye everybody…” and I left. I threw a party and went home. My friend, James said, “Phina, what would you have done if you hadn’t have got it?”, I said, “I would have told everybody I’d died” because I had this huge party. I’m like, “I’m going home to do this part”…I hadn’t even auditioned for the part.The fabulously entertaining Phina shares memories from her colourful career and working with some of the best in the business.Since coming back to Liverpool, Phina has continued to appear on our screens – most recently as part of LA Productions dramas Anthony and Moving On – and is now also a published author.
67 minutes | 4 months ago
Series 3, Episode 6: Andy McCluskey
We take a trip down memory lane as we chat with this week’s guest, Andy McCluskey.Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) have been around since the 70’s when two school friends decided they’d give music a go. With no huge aspirations to be a musician, one of the band’s founding members, Andy McCluskey, recalls tales of how a lot of the band’s fate happened by chance.Tony had the Human League on Granada Reports – he used to put bands on. And we thought, “sod it, we’ve met him. Let’s be cheeky and send a cassette, see if we can get on telly”. I thought this was like a myth until two years ago, I actually met Tony Wilson’s wife, Lindsay, and she confirmed that this myth was in fact truth. Apparently she got in the car with him and said, “alright love, what’s this bag of cassettes?” and he went, “oh, it’s the rejects, it’s just all the crap, people wanting us to release a record, it’s all the rubbish”. So she reached into the bag pulled out a cassette and she went “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, that’s a weird name, let’s put it on”, and he went, “oh no, they played the club last week, they’re rubbish love, two hairy scousers doing electric music”, and she said “well let’s play it anyway”, and she played it and went, “that’s a hit”, so apparently Tony Wilson lent over patted Lindsay on the thigh very patronising and went, “alright love, just for you I’ll sign them”, and that’s how you get a record deal [laughter] fished out of the reject bag by the wife.Speaking openly about the highs and lows of being in a band, the conversation moves onto more recent years of Andy’s career where he has spent more time as a music producer and songwriter for other artists. Andy’s involvement in establishing girl group, Atomic Kitten was instrumental to their success as he reveals why his career went down this route.Available to download on now, The Lonely Arts Club can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more podcasting platforms.All episodes are recorded following social distance guidelines.
59 minutes | 4 months ago
Series 3, Episode 5: Roger Shannon
This week, Roger Shannon joins us in The Lonely Arts Club.As the former Director for the Institute of Creative Enterprise, we invite Roger Shannon onto The Lonely Arts Club to tell us all about his time in the film industry and how he came to be a Professor in Film & Television.Local lad, Roger, takes us back to the beginning, sharing stories of growing up in Litherland, his rebellious years as a student and finding his way into the media industry.'I always remember when we graduated and at that time we were still in a sense part of a rebellious generation so we turned up but we didn’t go in front to get our scroll, we just sat the back and the Vice-Chancellor who’d been a metallurgical professor announced that “we’re so proud that Teesside Poly is now giving arts degrees and we’re so pleased that we are in the guard’s van of curriculum development”, [laughter]. Being political animals we coined this phrase, ‘guardsvanism’ as a way of trying to make fun of the place but it was a hard place I felt to be doing undergraduate work when there was no culture around you know for – like there is today – for students but in a way we had to build it ourselves. We did a listings mag, we set up a film society, so in the end doing those things was probably more important than the fact that they weren’t there in the first place and we kind of created things for ourselves."Chatting to Roger, Martin McQuillan finds out where the inspiration came from for getting into film, his rebellious student years and different career prospects along the way.
61 minutes | 4 months ago
Series 3, Episode 4: Jo Caulfield
For the last few months as the country has been a lockdown of some kind, many of us have looked to TV and radio – comedy in particular – as a form of escapism. So it seemed fitting to invite one of the nation’s best-loved comedians onto The Lonely Arts Club.In this virtual episode of The Lonely Arts Club, Jo Caulfield, who is not only an award-winning comedian but also a writer and actress, displays her mischievous nature when telling us about her journey so far."A friend did an open spot at the Comedy Store and I went along to watch them and I remember the bill because it was Mark Lamarr comparing who weirdly I knew from the Rockabilly circuit; I didn’t know he was a comedian. And Jack Dee and Sean Meo. Sean Meo who is still a comedian writes very good, well-structured jokes and I remember watching Sean and thinking “that’s great but I couldn’t do that”, cos I don’t know how you write these joke things and then when Jack Dee was on I thought “I could totally do that”, because as far as I could see I didn’t see the art in what he did. I just thought, “oh, I moan about stuff too, I complain about everybody, I hate people. I could do this."Getting to know about Jo’s childhood and her first steps into the limelight is one of the talking points of this episode, however Jo also discusses making comedy for TV, writing for other comics, such as Graham Norton and her stance on politics in comedy.Catch this hilarious episode next Tuesday, when it will be available to download from Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Please note, this episode contains strong language.
61 minutes | 5 months ago
Series 3, Episode 3: Paul Askew
In a very timely episode, Martin McQuillan is joined this week by Chef Patron of The Art School restaurant, Paul Askew.This week’s guest joins us at a time when the Liverpool City Region was the first area to be subject to the toughest lockdown restrictions in the Government’s new tier system. Being at the centre of such changes for the city, Paul Askew speaks honestly about what impact this will have on the region’s hospitality industry and what positives can be taken from the situation.As one of the country’s top chefs, listeners can clearly hear Paul’s passion for the work that he does, so naturally the conversation moves on to discuss culinary art, how travel impacted his love of flavours and where the inspiration to climb the hospitality ladder came from.“I think our household was very much about looking after people and having a good time and I think I used to love that as well…so I think of myself as somebody who likes the food and drink side but I’m driven by looking after people and giving them a good time and making sure they’re OK and creating an environment that’s right for them. I suppose latterly, that’s what I hope I’ve done at The Art School.”Listeners can also hear why Paul is so passionate about sharing his expertise with the next generation and what ambitions he still has for his own career.As lockdown continues to put barriers up for the nation’s hospitality industry, we wish Paul and his team at The Art School the best of luck in such trying times.
59 minutes | 5 months ago
Series 3, Episode 2: Ngunan Adamu
This week on The Lonely Arts Club podcast, we’re delighted to be joined by Ngunan Adamu. Nigerian scouser, Ngunan, shares memories of coming to the UK as a child and adapting to life in a brand new city. “People have this kind of typical stereotype of what a migrant looks like and it's like are you running away from a war torn country or all these things but we weren't. We had a beautiful big house in Nigeria, we had a gardener, we had two drivers. We had a good family setting but what my Dad was thinking - forward-thinking - was the education system in the UK was better and he wanted us to have a choice of having a life in any country that we chose, so yeah I just remember getting here and just not liking it. Missing my grandparents, not liking school dinners...oh my God! They were disgusting, it was the worst thing ever [laughing]. I think possibly 10 times a year, I would say to my Dad and my Mum, "why can't we move back?" but I always class myself as a Nigerian scouser because both cultures – 'cos being scouse is a culture – both cultures are very strong and they've complemented me in so many different ways. I wouldn't have my sense of humour if I wasn't scouse but I also think my drive comes from being Nigerian.”Sharing heart-breaking tales of racism at an early age, listeners gain an insight into Ngunan’s childhood and what gave her the drive to follow her gut and pursue a career in journalism. We hear what paths Ngunan’s career has taken and how important it’s always been for her to follow her gut instinct. And although Liverpool is evidently a big part of Ngunan’s make-up she speaks openly about the racial issues that the city still faces today and how things need to improve.
54 minutes | 5 months ago
Series 3, Episode 1: Colin McKeown
We're delighted to be back for series three of The Lonely Arts Club. To kick off this season, Martin McQuillan is joined by TV producer and founder of LA Productions, Colin McKeown. Proud scouser and Edge Hill honorary doctor, Colin, recalls being given an ultimatum by his Mum as she told him that a career in Butlins wasn't for him and instead he needed to pursue his education. We hear how Colin's journey in education and the TV industry unfolded as he shares funny tales of his career that took him all around the world. Since being back in Liverpool, Colin has been involved in fantastic projects and was a member of the original team that helped Brookside develop into one of the nation's most-loved soaps. All episodes are recorded following social distance guidelines.
54 minutes | 5 months ago
The Lonely Arts Club: Best of Series Two
As we prepare to launch series three, we look back on the second series of The Lonely Arts Club.Series two was mostly recorded whilst the UK was under lockdown restrictions, meaning a lot of guests joined us virtually. And although the quality of some of episodes vary slightly, the series was still packed full of funny anecdotes and words of wisdom.Author, presenter & founder of Indian street food restaurant, Mowgli - Nisha Katona MBE. Nisha takes us through her journey of growing up in Lancashire and practicing as barrister for 20 years before making the life changing decision to open her first Mowgli restaurant in Liverpool. BAFTA Winning Screenwriter - Joe Ainsworth. Initially wanting to be a singer, Joe tells us how his passion for writing took over and how he ended up working for soap operas such as Brookside and more recently, Holby City. Business developer & host of The Anfield Wrap podcast and filmmaker - Neil Atkinson. Neil takes listeners through the journey of where The Anfield Wrap began and the story behind its success. We hear about the wider meaning of the podcast and what it means to Liverpool fans in a more cultural sense. Art curator, writer & director of Liverpool Biennial - Fatos Ustek. Starting off in Turkey in the 1980s, Fatos tells us how she studied hard and dreamt of becoming a mathematician. We hear about the transition into the arts, which has allowed Fatos to travel and work around the world before coming to Liverpool. Founder of production company, Pinball London - Paula Vaccaro. Paula takes us on her journey from growing up in Argentina to establishing her own production company in the UK. We hear what it takes to be successful in the media industry. Musician & guitarist of Echo & The Bunnymen - Will Sergeant. Will reflects on where his love for music and style came from and how his visits to Liverpool music venue, Eric’s inspired him to create his own unique sounds leading him onto achieving global success with Echo & The Bunnymen. Author & award winning journalist - Brian Reade. Brian speaks openly about the bigger moments as his journey through journalism began to unfold. Poignant memories for Brian include his involvement in campaigning for the Hillsborough disaster and once spending the day with sporting legend, Muhammad Ali. Co-founder of Doc Society (formerly Brit Doc) - Beadie Finzi. As Beadie discovered her passion for filmmaking, we hear how her career started and where the dream of The Doc Society first began.Radio & TV presenter - Janice Long. Janice takes a trip down memory lane as she reflects on growing up in Liverpool. Starting off her media career in the studios of BBC Radio Merseyside, we hear how this path then led Janice to become one of the first female broadcasters on BBC Radio One.Former Managing Director (Channel 4) & CEO (Channel 5) - Dawn Airey. Heading up teams that commissioned programmes such as Supermarket Sweep, This Morning and Father Ted, Dawn tells us all about the ups and downs of being in such powerful positions. Playwright - Willy Russell. Taking a trip down memory lane, Willy recalls the horrors of school as a youngster in comparison to the joy he found in going back to education as an adult where he found his passion for writing.
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