The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Will Stone joins the cult followers of one of the hottest lo-fi new music acts around
Surreal is probably the best adjective to describe the experience of seeing LA-based Ariel Pink and his band Haunted Graffiti.
Their sound is hard to nail - think disco cut-up with occasional nods to early Floyd acid weirdness and a warped Beatles-esque knack for melodies.
York Hall's prom-like interior adds to the strangeness as it feels as if you've been transported straight back to the '70s or '80s and the fashion wear of all and sundry suggests a blend of those decades too.
Eccentric frontman Ariel Pink (pictured above) disappears backstage for the first few songs, where he films himself singing while the image of him mincing about is projected on a big screen behind the band.
Finally reappearing he takes hold of a large stage light and begins shining it across the hall from crotch level to the lo-fi dubbed disco tune of Fright Night.
At other times it's like watching an experimental horror epic as the stage suddenly becomes dominated by flashing white light out of which the silhouettes of the band members can barely be seen.
The fans - a gaggle of misfits it has to be said - have come out in force tonight and the apparent way to dance to this music is with your hands flapping about in front of you or above your head.
But it's easy to see why Ariel Pink have such a faithful cult following.
They've been around for years but have only recently garnered more popular recognition after signing to the discerning 4AD label, releasing their breakthrough triumph Before Today album in 2010.
Their latest album, this year's Mature Themes, is even better and it gets a good run tonight with Only In Dreams, Farewell American Primitive and Symphony Of The Nymph all played.
The title track which also gets an outing is probably the greatest indie track of the year.
Playing out to the haunting ambience of the near eight-minute Nostradamus & Me rounds of the night nicely.
Suddenly all the lights flash on and it's back to reality. There's no encore but was there really any need for one?