Culture talks /// Wullae Wright

Wullae Wright

Rock Britain begins a series of features where musicians talk about their favourite aspects of UK culture. In the opening feature Scottish singer and songwriter Wullae Wright shares his stories about his favourite film, book, art, place in the UK and also surprises you with a fact from Scottish life.

Films

A fairly recent British film, ‘Bronson’ has such artistic direction and raw acting style; I found it gripping and mesmerising. Charley Bronson was one of those figures I’d heard of as a young teenager, and he sounded like a myth. A man who could pull steel doors off their hinges; a prisoner all other prisoners feared, taking dozens of Police Officers to control him. I had always been intrigued by the man and myth. I wrote a song in 2010 for my album ‘In Cloud Cuckooland’ entitled ‘Convincing Mask of Sanity’ with him in mind.

One day walking home from work I saw a massive Billboard poster with ‘BRONSON’ in big letters and an actor stood underneath portraying him. I am very selective of films that I would like to see, but I definitely wanted to see this. I bronsonfinally got it as a gift after going on about the film continuously to people. I bought all the books on Bronson I could get, and found him and his life fascinating – particularly his stays in Broadmoor and other high secure asylums.

The film is incredibly well acted by British actor Tom Hardy. He is unrecognisable, playing the Bronson role so convincingly. Particularly from this film, I rate Tom Hardy as one of the best British actors today. His performance is terrific.

My favourite scene in the film is where Bronson is doing a dialogue between himself and a nurse in one of the asylums. Hardy has half his body dressed as the nurse with facepaint etc, and his other half as Bronson. He turns from side to side, acting out a heated conversation. The artistic timing and varying acting style is so fantastic to watch.

I’d highly recommend ‘Bronson’ to anyone who likes raw, independent arty films; after watching it a few times it has become one of my favourite British films.

Books

I have never been one for reading fiction. I like to read about real people, real events and real situations. I have read a lot of historical, political and psychological books in my time, but these are a world away from one of my favourite books ever.

I was rather dubious about reading ‘Yes Man’ by comedian and TV/Radio presenter Danny Wallace. My concern was would I actually find it funny? Would it make me laugh out loud, or would I begin to dislike the author as he may come across in a completely unfunny light? Fortunately for me and my sensibilities, this is the funniest book I have ever read. I actually cried tears of laughter at the many hilarious situations Danny finds himself in.

Simple put, ‘Yes Man’ is a story about how Danny Wallace feels like his life is dull and not going in the right direction. One day he meets a man on a bus who tells him to say ‘Yes’ more. Danny then almost religiously greets every opportunity and situation that comes his way with the answer ‘Yes’.

One particularly cringe-worthy and hilarious scene in the book is when Danny bumps into his ex-girlfriend who is going on a first date with a new gentleman. In line with polite etiquette the man invites Danny to join them for dinner – clearly believing no one would say yes under these circumstances. Danny says ‘Yes’, and there ensues a hilarious scene where an extra chair is brought to a candlelit table for two at a fine restaurant. The book is full of situations like yesman-book02[1]these, and is hugely entertaining to read.

I love this book because it is uncomplicated. It is not an academic book, it is not written in a style or prose that is only comprehensible by referring to a dictionary every now and again. The story is built up with hilarious situations and scenarios throughout, harbouring anticipation and wonder to what the outcome will be, and what next wacky situation he will find himself in. There is nothing egotistical about the book or its style. Wallace writes it from a very humble, simple perspective. You grow to love his willingness to try anything, and his haphazard approach.

Interestingly I have quite a good story attached to the author. Me and my friend, Mr Andrew Bryce are big fans of Danny. When Danny released his book ‘Friends Like These’, Mr Bryce and I attended a talk about his book in Dundee, Scotland. Danny was coming to chat about the book and sign afterwards. Mr Bryce and I arrived early and thought about getting Danny a gift – in case we met him. We thought about getting him socks, or a cookie-on-a-stick – which I once gave to actor Ross Kemp and he loved it. No cookies-on-sticks could be found, so we instead bought him bath bombs…obviously. Mr Bryce and I were sitting in the auditorium – about 2 hours before the talk was to begin with no one around, when a set of elevator doors opened along the corridor and out came Danny. Mr Bryce and I couldn’t believe it. We chatted to him, got photos, and gave him his bath bombs. Not even perplexed, he took them with delight. Later in his talk to the audience he mentioned Mr Bryce and I and the gift we had given him, which resulted in roars of laughter.

If you’ve never had a book that’s made you laugh out loud, then I’d highly recommend ‘Yes Man’.

Fine Arts

I am naturally more skilled in the arts than in any other academic or life skills – for instance I am terrible at Maths. From a young age I’ve had a keen interest in art; later this opening up to music too. I can be quite critical of art, particularly modern art. I am neither a qualified critic nor have a degree level of academia in art; however I know what I like and what I feel passionate about. From my own subjective point of view, I feel much modern art lacks any real substance or meaning; and rarely evokes any emotive strand in my body other than frustration.

Graffiti artist Banksy definitely thwarts that tainted view and horrid feeling I have about modern art. I respect the artist for their anonymity, keeping the art about the art. The obvious and underlying statements Banksy’s work has can be an incredible paradox – powerful and moving whilst terribly humorous. Graffiti art is not a new or pioneering style in the art world; however Banksy’s work is unique. Banksy’s modern stencilled combinations are already iconic, with Banksy_Napalm_HR_400kintelligent political and social messages. They have meaning, they are well thought out concoctions, and they evoke different feelings and thoughts – you engage with it.

My particular favourite works of Banksy are the Mona Lisa with the Rocket Launcher, and Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse and the Vietnamese Girl holding hands.

With the Mona Lisa piece, I love Banksys use of satire with a classic painting to make a modern political statement in such a humorous way, is intelligent and creative. It is a captivating piece, and is ingrained in my mind.

The Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse and the Vietnamese Girl holding hands struck a particularly uncomfortable chord with me. The devastation felt by innocent Vietnamese people due to the chemical bombing and war in the 1970s is a terrible and shameful tragedy, and the picture of the naked girl fleeing encapsulates that so well. Banksy combining this with two symbols of Capitalist America – Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse, holding her hands with smiles on their faces, to me, helps illustrate how ridiculous and horrible politics in this world can be.

There are very few artists like Banksy, who have such an impact on the art world and have such important statements and messages. In my opinion, there are so many pretentious artists who waste our time with pointless metaphors about their pointless, meaningless work. Banksy, in my opinion, is one of the best artists of all time.

Places

I have lived in the UK my whole life, and have travelled abroad to some wonderful cities and locations such as New York and Paris. I have visited some absolutely fantastic locations within the UK too. Some places have such vivid memories, and are extremely beautiful to be a part of.

obanI have a particular fondness for the small town of Oban, Scotland. Apart from McCaig’s Tower towering proudly over the bay, there is little else in terms of big attractions. I have visited there only a handful of times, but each time I go I always end up leaving thinking “I could happily live there”. As soon as you get off the train, everything is right there for you – picturesque bay, small shops along the seafront, idyllic small houses scattered along the hillsides, and a general beautiful calm. The sort of place I’d love to live when I grow old. Any time I have visited, it has always had such a tranquillity and serenity. I am one of those people who likes to quietly enjoy my holiday with no fuss, away from the moronic bussle of some locations. There are also some fantastic restaurants in Oban if you choose to go out at night. There is the fantastic dark seafront backdrop that flickers the street light reflections, where the water can be heard gently murmuring.

I have lots of fond and vivid memories sitting by the seafront cuddling my wife laughing and enjoying long conversation about our future lives together. There were occasions where no one was around, the sun setting, no wind and the temperature calm. On those occasions we could have sat in silence there for hours, and been quietly content and happy.

For me as an individual, Oban allows me to get away from everything. Quietly hidden away in the small peaceful town. It is the sort of place that unconsciously prompts me to contemplate my future.

If you were to surprise a UK visitor with any fact from British way of life/traditions/culture, etc, which fact would you share with them?

A fairly comical and satirical fact I’d like to pass on to a visitor to the UK, would be that in Scotland do not approach or converse with the Neds.

Classically in Glasgow and the other big cities of Scotland, a Ned (Non-Educated Delinquent) can be found wearing a baseball cap tipped upwardly at an angle of 25-30 degrees – sometimes at the extreme of 60-90 degrees, actually defying gravity. They wear clothing fashionable in the mid-nineties including tracksuits. Innovative but with no real purpose, the Ned also wears their socks over their trouser bottoms. Lastly they fashion some kind of branded trainers. An important part of this ‘uniform’ is in the branding; it has to have a popular label attached e.g. Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc. They also tend to drink the fine wine known as ‘Buckfast’. Their skin tone and quality is normally depleted and grey, with have vocal tones akin to a duck in pain.

I suggest that as a visitor, stay away from these sort of people – which can be seen congregating around alleyways, One-O-Ones, and parks. They tend to be ‘on’ something when you see them, such as an illegal substance. If they do unfortunately approach you, the best deterrent to get them away quickly is to use politeness and intelligent conversation. They don’t understand it and it will destroy whatever remaining brain cells they may still have at the time. They may also ask you to give them 50 pence to go and visit their Auntie in Clydebank and other various locations. This is a lie, and I would strongly advise you never to take any money out in front of them.

The Ned population nowadays can be found to have a more varied dress ‘sense’ and filters through to the younger generation who mix it with current trends. In summary, best just to stay away from these strange, wasteful characters.

Advertisements

Have a say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: