Sunday, 23 September 2012

A chat with Sam Metcalf about the Nottingham All Dayer 2012

When I first started writing Brilldream, my inspirations where the book All Men Have Secrets, Sean Price's sleeve notes for the Be True to your School compilation and the writing of Bob Stanley. I soon added A Layer of Chips to the list. Sam Metcalf's blog is a touching, funny, self aware and passionate point of pop reference. Sam is also one of the curators of the Nottingham pop all dayer, which is this weekend. You should go. I had a brief Q&A with Sam about the all dayer and that thing we call pop.

Q: The Nottingham all-dayer must be seriously hard work. Is it still a fun thing to do?

A: It’s not really that much hard work, to be honest! Sure, there first few hours of the actual day itself is a bit stressful because you just want to make sure everyone turns up and that people come through the door. But gigs always work out in the end – mainly because people are usually dead nice.
Having said that I wouldn’t want to organise the whole thing on my own, and that’s why I’m grateful that Andy Hart and Ian Evans are also promoters on it. Andy has worked on every all-dayer bar one since we started it in 2008, and Ian has helped organise the last three. It’s good to have some other people around to share the stress and logistics of it all. But, really, I enjoy it; it’s like picking a fantasy football team putting the whole thing together.

Q: What’s your most favourite moment out of all the all dayers?

A: That’s a tough one. Seeing Gregory Webster play at the very first all-dayer was brilliant. But I suppose most people talk about the last four bands at the 2010 all-dayer at Bunkers Hill (which you came to!). The whole day was a bit manic because the venue had double-booked us, and we had to move everything downstairs into the bar area. Everyone was really helpful, though, and the place was packed by the time Horowitz came on. They were followed by Betty and the Werewolves, a storming set by Milky Wimpshake and then Allo Darlin’. The atmosphere was brilliant. One of those times you’ll never forget about.

Q: What are you most excited about seeing at this one?

A: Everyone! It’s hard to pick, really. Though, because I missed them at Indietracks, I think I’ll have to say The Hobbes Fanclub. Although I can’t wait to see Shrag again, and it’s going to the last gig Standard Fare play for quite a while, so they should put on an ace show. Oh, and seeing Marc and Graeme Elston play together is going to be a bit special.

Q: A Layer of Chips has being going a while now hasn’t it? Do you find it hard to devote time to it?

A: Increasingly so. I’ve been thinking of knocking it on the head for a few months now, an I might do after the all-dayer. I just don’t have the time to write anything at the moment, what with life and things getting in the way. I hardly get time to listen to any new music – never mind write about it. Poor me.

Q: What inspired you to write A Layer of Chips? You started off as Tasty fanzine didn’t you?

A: Tasty started in 1999 as a printed fanzine. Back then I worked from home as a journalist, and was never really that busy. I did about 25 printed issue of tasty (it was roughly bi-monthly) and sent them out for free. Tasty is still going online, but I handed it all over to my friend Shane in 2006, and he handed it on to someone else a couple of years after that. It’s a bit strange to see it there online, still going, but I’m glad it is.
Before that, and when I moved to Nottingham in late 1992, a friend and I set up a music magazine called Atomic, which was really, really successful. We used to print 20,000 copies of each issue! That's completely unimaginable these days. That stopped when my friend’s girlfriend became pregnant and he had to go off and get a proper job.
A layer of chips started off as a printed fanzine too, but that soon stopped because I didn’t have time to do it properly. When my partner, Lisa, became pregnant with our son Ted early 2009, I found I had loads of time to myself in the evening, because all she wanted to do was come home and fall to sleep. So, I started the blog.
It’s just hard to find any time to update it at the moment because of work and childcare an stuff getting in the way. I think I’ll definitely have a break soon.

Q: What has been your proudest moment whilst doing ALOC/Tasty?

A: Oh, I don’t really feel proud about anything I’ve done. I only witter on about bands I like, after all. I feel immensely proud of bands like Pocketbooks, Standard Fare, Allo Darlin’ and the rest, because I see that they evoke such wonderful emotions in people. I often like to stand at the back of gigs I put on and, for a few seconds, just watch people watching the bands. I’m not a pervert – honest. I’m very proud to call some of the people in these bands my friends, and I was I had one hundredth of the talent the have, and the ability to make people smile, laugh, dance and cry.

Q: Do you ever worry that one day you’ll wake up and not be in love with indiepop anymore, and find yourself unexplainably compelled to take up gardening or fly fishing?

A: My hatred of gardening will never abate, and I’ve already done the fishing thing when I was a teenager. I’m more worried about the lure of golf. If you ever see me entering a golf club, then burn all my records in front of me.

Q: This is a tough question, but what is it that you love about music?

A: I love music for lots of reasons. Although it doesn’t define who I am, I can sort of trace different periods of my life through it. That’s a pretty rare and wonderful thing. Also, I like how the same piece of music can mean completely different things to different people, yet at the same time bring so many different people together. I also like how indiepop in particular is like some kind of secret world that I can step into from time to time. Two of my best friends aren’t into indiepop or music at all, and it makes me value spending time with them when I do. I wouldn’t want all my friends to be into the same thing as me, because as lovely as the indiepop scene can be, I wouldn’t want to it to be my entire life.

Q: If the NME phoned you up tomorrow and offered you a job, would you take it?

A: No. It woud mean moving to London for one thing. I’m not going to sit here slagging NME off, and I’m not of the opinion that there was some kind of “golden period” of the paper. That’s just nostalgia playing tricks with people. Slagging NME off is pretty pointless; it’s like slagging Coldplay off. NME isn’t the biggest enemy; it’s just a business like everything else. Always has been. I wouldn’t want to work for it, mind. I wouldn’t want to treat writing about music I loved as a job – the day it becomes something I have to do is the day I stop doing it.

Q: Finally, what is you favourite book, record and cheese?

Book: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back by Lenin. Record: Meat is Murder by The Smiths. Cheese: Cheshire (dull, I know).

The Nottingham all dayer is Saturday 29th of September. More details here:-

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