The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Low Culture

Low Culture Podcast 20: Gazelle Twin On The Enfield Poltergeist
John Doran , April 8th, 2022 08:04

This month for Low Culture subscribers, John Doran speaks to Elizabeth Bernholz, aka Gazelle Twin, about how a 90s TV show about the Enfield Poltergeist has informed her work as a musician

This month's guest on the Low Culture podcast is none other than Elizabeth Bernholz, aka Gazelle Twin, who was the first person to be tQ's artist of the year twice.

As well as Unflesh (2014) and Pastoral (2018) we were also big fans of her JG Ballard-influenced audio visual performance Kingdom Come (2016) and her more recent work with feminist drone choir NYX on Deep England (2021). This month sees the reissue of her excellent but often overlooked debut The Entire City.

We catch up with her while she is in deep research mode as she plans what may become her next album and when we ask her what she would like to talk about, her choice is something that she has already been thinking about a lot recently.

Her Low Culture pick is the mid-1990s prime time documentary show on the unexplained Strange But True? presented by Michael Aspel.

The series ran between 1993 and 1997 and essentially presented paranormal occurrences in a fairly open-minded way, using actors to dramatise certain scenes. Its remit was fairly wide covering vampires to aliens, via near death experiences, angelic encounters and psychic animals.

Elizabeth chooses one episode in particular – that which made the deepest impression on her when she was a schoolgirl – called 'Enfield Poltergeist'.

In the podcast she describes how the show provided some much needed distraction when she was at a particular low point in her life – "a peak, peak bad time, emotionally, physically... mental health stuff, body dysmorphia coupled with bullying".

But these stories, especially that of the Enfield Poltergeist, helped fire up her imagination. Growing up in a household that had a very open mind about the paranormal and having potentially seen a spectral visitor herself when she was young, the show opened a door to a new world for her... one that still stands ajar to this day.

And this leads on to one of the most fascinating conversations in the series so far. The pair discuss ghost sightings, what this means in psychological terms, and how do the horror stories of each generation help us to take the temperature of society's health at that time.

All of this spectral conversation leaves just enough time for John and producer Alannah Chance to discuss their cultural picks for the month, which are, respectively, Benjamin Myers' The Perfect Golden Circle and PETRONN SPHENE's EXIT THE SPECIES.

This responsibly produced and socially distanced podcast was recorded by Alannah Chance 100% remotely.

To listen to The Quietus' new Low Culture podcast, you'll need to become a subscriber and sign up to the Low Culture or Sound & Vision tiers. You can find out more about why we're introducing the subs and all the amazing perks you can get here and join via the checkout below.