THE BEGINNING

Believe it or not, no one can live on music alone.

monapizza

NO ONE CAN LIVE ON MUSIC ALONE

“I don’t really like music.” People who say that are strange, right? Alien almost. You’re certainly not going to be friends, so it’s probably best to move on to someone else; someone who can at least appreciate that, actually, Radiohead aren’t depressing at all. From within obsession it sure is hard to accept actual truth – in this case that music isn’t one of life’s necessities. Just like football isn’t, or film, or the theatre, or most pastimes that get out of control and end up defining us. They all make life a hell of a lot more enjoyable, but if they were snatched from us tomorrow, we’d manage. The same can’t be said for food – if grub goes, we all do.

‘Foodies’, as they love to be known, have the best of both worlds – obsessing over something that actually matters, in a keeping-us-alive sense, although they have their own aliens, of course: people who say, “I eat because I have to, not because I enjoy it.”

Michael Coley is a ‘foodie’ and a ‘muso’, and under the guise of Belly Kids (named after a Food For Animals track) he’ll publish a cookbook later this month that combines the food of love with the food of… well… food. The Mona Pizza is a collection of twenty recipes from eighteen bands, from BEAK>’s Mackerel in Pita contribution to A Grave With No Name’s Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry and High Places’ Vegan Chocolate Cake.

“There was this magic switch that just suddenly clicked in my head and I thought, ‘yeah a band recipe book!’” says Michael. “I know people treat food as another necessary chore, but for many more of us out there cooking is an art. The more people I met, the more I realised I wasn’t alone in being passionate about music and food, so it seemed natural to explore the two, together in one place.

“There was such a huge response from those people that I contacted,” Michael continues. “Every band seemed to be a foodie or a fanatic of some sort. It lead me to believe that if you take serious time out to explore music, records and sounds then you are more likely to make an effort with what you eat – it has to be related in my view.”

As bands signed up to the project, they’d more often than not recommend another bunch of musicians who they thought would like to get involved, and so Michael would forward his growing collection of imaginative concoctions (Human Hair’s Warlock Brownies contain rum, apple and hashish) to illustrator George Collum, whose melty cartoons are paramount to The Mona Pizza’s DIY aesthetic.

There was no brief at all. “To say that all these recipes have to be vegan or complex or funny or serious just seemed really false,” says Michael. “The fact that the book is full of vegetarian recipes is testament to the link between [music and food]. I remember Megan from US Girls emailing me saying she was sorry but she really only had a meat recipe and I had to tell her that was okay.”

Other bands who’ve shared their favourite recipes for Belly Kids’ first independently published book include Bitches, Trencher, Kit, Drum Eyes, Shearing Pinx, Talk Normal, Grass Widow, Japanther, Solar Bears, DJ Donna Summer, Emmy The Great, Punch and Roseanne Barr, who Michael has just released a split cassette for with Glaswegian punks Gropetown.

“I’m the type of person with 7 million ideas floating around my head at any one point,” says Michael. “I’ve loved getting involved with gigs, shows and exhibitions and just figured I could take these ideas and do something fairly individual and fun. The Mona Pizza was my first brainchild and that has just pushed me on to plot four or five other projects. Tapes, books, prints and records are all planned.”

By Stuart Stubbs

Originally published in issue 30 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2011.

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