30 Silver Street, Reading, RG1 2ST

Interview: Big Untidy Pressgang Special

Damien's picture

Pressgang, the “folk band like no other” with a long history of playing at the Rising Sun Arts Centre in the past, are sort-of coming back together this week for the Big Untidy Pressgang special.

To find out exactly what that means, we spoke to Mark Foulkes from Big Untidy about Pressgang, the Big Untidy as a whole, and why it fits right here at the centre.

RSAC: For the uninitiated, can you give our readers a bit of background of what exactly the Big Untidy is?

MF: The Big Unitdy is a monthly night, run by Barry and I, where we try and mix genres to the point where you might have a metal band, followed by a poet, followed by hip hop followed by Morris Dancing. This gives the evening a somewhat chaotic vibe. Which we like. Started by Barry as a fanzine, which developed into a website and the night came next.

RSAC: So no way to say what people would see at an average Big Untidy night, then? 

MF: Well… hopefully no such thing as an average night! Each one will have its own character. You will see 3 or 4 performances, each one being distinctive and complementing the next – despite being very different. It will be fun but people tend to be respectful to the performers and actually listen. Occasionally the nights will have a 'theme', to help hold it all together such as the Pressgang one or the 'Guitar Special' which is coming up.

RSAC: Pressgang have a lot of history with the centre. How did the idea of a Pressgang special come about?

MF: All down to John Forrester really. He played a BU night and really enjoyed being at the show and back at the centre. He thought it might be possible to pull a night together consisting of a few solo performances and a get together. He spoke to the rest of the band and it kinda 'happened'. 

RSAC: Was it difficult to pull off? Any resistance from any of the members of the band?

MF: I’m not sensing any resistance at all. Everyone is up for it. I do think that all the ex-members are keen to be seen as artists in their own right though rather than “ex-members of Pressgang”.  Hence structure of the gig.

RSAC: Structure, eh? So what kind of a night should we expect this Friday?

MF: There will be five separate solo sets from all of the members of the band. As far as I can tell they will mainly be acoustic. This will be followed by a short set of Pressgang songs with all the band mates on stage together. Fits really well with the ethos of the night. It will be packed so book early from the Pressgang website if you can!

RSAC: What makes the Rising Sun the right venue for the Big Untidy?

MF: Ha! The Rising Sun is perfect for what we do. It is the right size and has the 'friendly yet interesting' feel. The volunteers and the venue are really supportive and they tolerate the chaos really well.

RSAC: And finally, what else does Big Untidy have up its sleeves for the rest of the year?

We have the excellent Ravioli Me Away in July (Experimental feminist cartoon pop) a brilliant "guitar special” featuring Jim Ghedi in October and a free Christmas version of the night in – wait for it - December.


The Big Untidy Presents “Pressgang Special” is this Friday. Doors 7:30pm. £5 entry,

Latest news

Lawrence's picture

This Weekend's Events (12th to 14th October)

Hi Everyone

With the nights drawing in, what better place to spend them than a friendly, well-stocked and welcoming bar complete with its own fire?

Damien's picture

Join us for a drink in the week

With the nights drawing in, what better place to spend them than a friendly, well-stocked and welcoming bar complete with its own fire?