Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Order your copy here.
On the day we photographed NQ for the cover, the River Mersey almost broke its banks.
Eight miles from the talent company’s East Manchester headquarters, in the quiet suburbs of Didsbury and Northenden, a major incident was declared as Storm Christoph raged and more than 2,000 homes had to be evacuated during the peak of the pandemic’s second wave. According to Dave, our convivial on-set medic and Northenden resident, it was the most rain he’d seen for 31 years.
Thankfully, families were safe as defences held, just centimetres from flooding. But still, it felt a formidable piece of symbolism for what we wanted to capture with this, our Spring Issue: a reminder that life, too, endures, always promising to rise and overflow.
That’s certainly the case for NQ, whose story is that of battling both Covid-19 and a country tilted in favour of the South, to create the most exciting music Manchester has seen in more than 25 years. It’s true, also, of their co-cover star FKA twigs, who in December revealed that she was suing her former partner, actor Shia LaBeouf, for sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. Today the 33-year-old artist is preparing to release perhaps the most brilliant and vital music of her career, sharing it all in conversation with her friend Michaela Coel, creator of the extraordinary BBC series I May Destroy You.
Like the great pull of the river, we hope their stories demonstrate to you that life keeps going – even when the world around it appears to have other plans.
Until next time, hold fast.
Matthew Whitehouse, Editor
London, February 2021