Sunday, 16 October 2011

MARTYN LEUNG: 'Occasional Inspiration, Mainly Perspiration'

Photo: Martyn Leung, 2011

I had to draw everyone's attention to the work of Martyn Leung, a photographer, journalist and hardcore gig attendee in his spare time when he's not working hard in the City.  Anyone who can manage to negotiate both these activities and be as thoroughly nice and interesting as Martyn gets my instant approval.

Martyn contributes examples of his awesome photography to a great little website called Wears The Trousers (www.wearsthetrousers.com) and I was fortunate enough to meet him at the ATP event, 'I'll Be Your Mirror', at Alexandra Palace in July. I was anxiously waiting for S.C.U.M. to grace the stage of the main hall, though seemingly was amongst a minority since most people were next door watching Godspeed you! Black Emperor. This was understandable since I could hear half their set sat against a very uncomfortable barrier in the main hall and they sounded pretty good even from there. However, S.C.U.M. has played only a scant number of UK gigs lately since the band has been swannying around Europe making these 'Signals' from the various cities that the band briefly inhabits, so there was no way I was going to miss the set.

Included within this series of Signals - and any echo of Throbbing Gristle or Genesis P-Orridge is in no way accidental since the band claim to be huge fans of the Industrial pioneers - are 'Warsaw', 'Berlin' and 'Paris'. Each has a distinctly different flavour to reflect the band's reflections on the respective location, though are all invariably drenched in the industrial drone, sprawling synths and woozy, yet somehow aristocratic, vocals from compelling frontman Thomas Cohen. 

All of them thus far have been available for free download, so be sure to check out the band's Myspace:


S.C.U.M. also released debut album, 'Again into Eyes' in September.

Anyway, I digress, but not without good reason, as it was both Martyn and I's interest in S.C.U.M. that got us chatting at the front of the stage, and he took some great photographs from the gig (one example of which is included above).

Martyn's blog, 'Occasional Inspiration, Mainly Perspiration' is a treasure trove of his photographic efforts, so I'd thoroughly encourage you to check out his work:


It's true testament to his unwavering enthusiasm, commitment to music and photographic instinct to get 'the perfect shot'. I remember when Swans came on-stage later on in the day at ATP, he managed to withstand their incredibly, almost painfully noisy set whilst I had to retreat outside for fear of permanent damage to my hearing. My exact phrasing at the time as I recall was that Swans were so loud that 'I thought my face was going to fall off'. Thankfully, Martyn's face remains in tact and it's just as well, since a photographer can't be much use without a decent pair of eyes. 

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