On my radar: Jason Williamson's cultural highlights

Kadish Morris
·4-min read

Jason Williamson, lead vocalist of English electronic punk music duo Sleaford Mods, was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1970. He moved to Nottingham in 1995, where he began working with rock band Spiritualized and electronic duo Bent. In 2009, he met Andrew Fearn and they released the first Sleaford Mods album, Divide and Exit, in 2014. They have since been called “the voice of Britain” by their fans and “the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band” by Iggy Pop. Their latest album, Spare Ribs, is out now on Rough Trade Records. The band will tour the UK in late 2021.

1. TV
The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC iPlayer)

Over three episodes, this series talks about Rupert Murdoch’s rise and fall, including that massive scandal with Rebekah Brooks. It also looks at the inauguration of Tony Blair into the fold. Murdoch didn’t usually go with [people] perceived to be socialist leaders, so I thought that part was interesting. We now know Blair is very much a centrist, but this series covered his initial invitation to a Murdoch party. It was powerful, the way it showed footage of Blair stepping on to a boat, and there was no going back. It’s really interesting to see how power influences modern politics.

2. Nonfiction
Sing Backwards and Weep: A Memoir by Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan.
Singer-songwriter Mark Lanegan. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

It’s about Lanegan’s life, his childhood, the history of his band Screaming Trees, and the eventual heroin affliction that he went through. I wasn’t really a massive fan of the band, but the book is really good. It calmly and matter-of-factly hammers out the experience of a heroin addict. It also paints the scene of the early days of grunge in Seattle, which was really interesting and struck a chord. I connect with the idea of people having a hard time trying to get somewhere, and being affected by childhood trauma. [The book is] a realistic portrayal of someone trying to get somewhere in music.

3. Food
Porridge

I can’t live without it, to be honest. I’ve tried toast – it’s no good. My mum made it better than my dad. My dad was terrible. He would just boil it. My partner does the same. You just put it in a pot and stir it slowly over a low heat until it thickens. I use oat milk. It’s got to have set, thick honey in it too. I need it to operate: I clean everyone’s room and get all the kids’ clothes out, and you need a bellyful of something.

4. Music
Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding in Roath Park, Cardiff, Wales
Aldous Harding: ‘a bit random but in a good way’. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

I’m bang into her at the minute. I’m listening to her second album, Party. That’s not left me all year, more so than anything else, music-wise. I listen to lots of drill and grime, I follow [music websites] Trench and GRM Daily, but with this album, I’ve gotten back into singer-songwriter stuff. I saw her at a festival in Tasmania at the start of 2020. She was brilliant: off-the-wall, a bit random but in a good way. It’s folk, a little psychedelic, very minimalist.

Twitter logo
Twitter logo

5. Social media
Twitter

I know everyone uses it, it’s no shakes, but I spend seven hours a day there. The discourse on it is quite varied and draws me in, whether it’s the current political situation or trying to keep positive through Covid. You can vent your frustrations. You can go there for laughs. I tend to spend most of my time in that space. It’s kind of your only outlet to argue with people you would never be able to approach in real life, like celebrities and politicians.

6. Film
Baskin (Can Evrenol, 2015)

Fadik Bulbul as Sister Butcher in Can Evrenol’s Baskin.
Fadik Bulbul as Sister Butcher in Can Evrenol’s Baskin. Photograph: Ifc Midnight/Allstar Picture Library

I’m interested in the idea of what hell is. I’m not a religious person, but I am a big believer in hell on Earth. This film tells the story of a van full of coppers driving home one night through the woods. They stumble on a satanic ritual and walk into this brilliant depiction of hell. Absolutely chaotic. People animalised, multiple deaths, you name it. Visually, it’s really unsettling and surreal, but a real comment on human nature.