Tag Archives: Queer

A Conversation With Slum Of Legs

“The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world. I wanted to clear up the slum of legs.” A quote from Eero Saarinen, the acclaimed Finnish-American architect and industrial designer on his neo-futuristic tulip chair, designed in 1955 for the Knoll company. At first glance, it may be difficult to equate a post-war space-age creation with a queer, feminist noise-pop DIY band. But when lead vocalist, Tamsin Chapman unfolds the story behind her band’s moniker, everything makes perfect sense. Slum Of Legs says this about themselves and their music, “One of our songs is a live séance. We’ve performed on a Norwegian mountain and in many, many basements. We like pylons and onstage pile-on. We’re interested in modernist architecture, art & literature. We use collage & cut-up in our artwork and this also reflects the fractured nature of our songs and how the 6 of us, who all bring completely different influences to the band, have been stuck into a blender with the controls jammed. We are a giant pop-psych, punk monster with twelve legs. Our songs are melodic and dissonant, anthemic and experimental. Our debut album ‘Slum of Legs’ is a manifesto for compassion and defiance in a confusing, unrestful world”.

Violinist, Maria Marzaioli, drummer, Michelle Steele, and Tasmin Chapman joined Norman B via Skype for a conversation. Although one fan describes Slum OF Legs as “The Fall meets The Raincoats in this noisy, bloody-minded, defiant, lo-fi collage art-punk” we wanted to look beyond the references and learn who the band really are. Three of the six members, Kate, Emily, and Alex couldn’t make the group chat, all the same Tamsin, Maria, and Michelle were eager to speak for everyone. The conversation weaves from discussing the band’s beginnings to writing the songs, to performing live and ending up in a “slum pile-up”. We also explore sensitive topics – being transgender; the unreasonable demands put upon women; illness and low self-esteem. All the, while their audacious honesty and humor come across as Tasmin Chapman recounts on starting the band, “I went to a festival and there were all these bands with lots of beards & I thought this is boring! I wanna form my own band!” Adding, So many beards. So much smell of farts”.

Don’t miss this conversation!

Show #368

Funny, With A Message


When Katie Met Cassidy and Blown are two new, clever-funny novels. Both are very much set in the present, each book reels off timely iconic observations and pop-culture references without a hint of self-consciousness. Their fast-pasted comedic well-constructed narratives with believable characters draw the reader in, while almost slyly revealing a deeper, thought-provoking message. In When Katie Met CassidyCamille Perri proudly writes about, as she says, “her queerness” without preaching, pontificating or even pandering. She knows the LGBTQ community inside out and she takes the reader into what is most likely for many, a mysterious scary world. Perri devises a simple love story for the plot. There’s Katie, born and raised in Kentucky, now an aspiring, late- twenties lawyer in New York. She’s a good girl, a people pleaser and a rule follower.  Katie finds herself sitting in a disoriented haze across a boardroom table from another a lawyer in a sharply tailored man’s suit, who on first look Katie mistakes for a man. This is native New Yorker, Cassidy, a confident, beautiful woman who seems to break all the rules Katie has tried so hard to follow. A hot passionate love story unfolds between two women, yet Camille Perri skillfully avoids cliches and stylized caricatures. Instead, her message is, no matter what your gender or sexual preference, when you’re in love you share the same emotions as anyone else in love. It’s a straightforward notion, but even in this modern age, there are still too many amongst us who would rather call it a love that dare not speak its name.

With five comic novels, all with one-word titles: Raw, Baked, Moist, Delicious and Salty (recently adapted into a major motion picture, titled Gun Shy, starring Antonio Banderas), Mark Haskell Smith excels at cooking up a supremely weird atmosphere and spicing it up with equally weird sex and violence. With Blown, his latest novel, Mark Haskell Smith goes all out with a wildly entertaining satire of corporate greed, sexual desire, and crime in the global financial services industry. Exceptionally funny, ribald and sharp-eyed, Blown starts as a simple case of embezzlement and explodes into a fatal high-stakes gamble for money and the pursuit of happiness. With his trade-mark knack of creating a cast of believable if not eccentric characters, in realistic but extraordinary circumstances, Smith gives his quizzical take on greed and human frailty. All the while the reader cannot stop laughing.

Make sure not to miss Norman B’s spirited interviews with two keenly talented and engaging authors on the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

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