Filmmaker and Participant Records co-founder William Markarian-Martin captures iconoclast, outsider artist Richie Culver in his mother’s house near Hull, revisiting the home town he spent his entire young adult life trying to escape.
The resonant barrage of concrète clatter and MRI machine churn of ‘Create A Lifestyle Around Your Problems’ swells at the beating heart of I Was Born By The Sea, the devastating debut album from iconoclast, outsider artist Richie Culver. Unfurling as relentless friction, a Sisyphean surge and retreat that evokes trying and failing, again and again, to break out of an itching cycle of frustration, the track’s DIY sonics sandpaper a malleable surface upon which Culver inscribes his observations from the fringes that take on cavernous emotional potency with each repetition of his dissociated delivery. Here, the artist looks back at the “hardest working man in the job centre,” this “habitual bastard,” the “most underrated person in your family,” pinned under the crushing weight of his home town, obsessing over the need to escape while battling the apparent absurdity of such ambition: “you and god on a rollercoaster.” For the accompanying visual Culver, alongside close collaborator and Participant Records co-founder William Markarian-Martin, fittingly makes a return to his mother’s house in Withernsea, the titular seaside town of his birth. “The video was shot in my Mothers home near Hull. Where I was brought up also,” explains Culver. “You can hear the Sea from inside the house in Winter. Sometimes you can’t walk on the promenade because it’s so wet & wild.” Captured with an unflinching and poignant fusion of grey nostalgia and tender catharsis, Create A Lifestyle Around Your Problems evokes a past battered by the rain, shaken by personal struggle and ransacked by Tory austerity. Footage of foam-flecked waves crashing across sodden concrete is obscured by the phrase “picture yourself succeeding,” as cold rain smudges a blurry lens.