Punk hellraiser Lydia Lunch: ‘I’m chronically misunderstood but I get off on it’

The runaway, singer and counter-culture icon is hitting 60 and is as incendiary as ever, touring and raging against polluters and politicians in a rip-roaring book Lydia Lunch turned 60 this year, but age has done little to dim this counterculture icons lust for life. Decades after her start as the nihilist 16-year-old frontwoman of 1970s no-wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, the New York-born apocalyptician is a revered veteran of the US underground: a writer, spoken-word performer, musician, actor and artist. Lunchs style is raw and incendiary, all sex and death and taboo-busting feminist rage. And in 2019, the sexagenarian is as unapologetic and active as ever still writing, touring, collaborating and performing. Lunch is in Colchester when …

Nico in Manchester: ‘She loved the architecture and the heroin’

She had been a top model, then sang with the Velvet Underground, and in 1981 Nico moved to Manchester. Her friends there share their touching, alarming memories of a true bohemian An imperious blond German ex-model with a voice once described as like a body falling through a window, Nico was already extraordinary by the time she leant her vocals to songs including Femme Fatale and All Tomorrows Parties on the Velvet Undergrounds classic first album, produced by Andy Warhol. Soon after that, she embarked on a solo career, and made records, such as The Marble Index, that were even darker, with despairing lyrics and a wheezing harmonium accompanying Nicos Teutonic tones. By this time, she was no longer blond …

Sterile or stirring? Britain’s love-hate relationship with new towns

Paternalistic social engineering or make-Britain-great-again utopianism? A new archive film compilation takes a look at the UKs controversial postwar towns People sometimes say to me, You must get a terrific kick out of having been responsible for a huge thing like a new town, said Sir Frederick Gibberd in an interview in 1982, 35 years after he created the new town of Harlow. Well, I get a lot of misery out of it, in fact. I go around and think, My god, thats unbelievably bad, and it could have been so good. If that was what the designer thought, imagine how everyone else who moved to Harlow felt. The interview comes in a short film at the end of Stevenage, …