31st October 2012 Issue IV Volume XIX
The Arts & Culture Supplement of the University Observer
OTWO talks to Brian Weitz
> > e d i s n i o s l A
Ladyhawke | C
Cinema lks | Two Door Ta D E T f o r o reat
Mystic Mittens’ feline fortunes
Page 2 – Regulars
Otwo’s resident clandestine cat answers all your mystical musings; What’s Hot and What’s Not prevents social faux pas; and Edward Kearns gets really angry about advertising.
Page 4 – Travel
Madrid is our top destination for this issue, as Eva Griffin shows the best the city has to offer.
August 23rd - September 22nd
As Mercury passes over Uranus, you will regret taking your temperature rectally with such a flimsy thermometer.
Page 5 – Hidden Gems
Whether it’s musty smells or the words of prodigious literary giants you’re after, this issue’s Hidden Gems is on hand to detail Dublin’s best bookshops.
Page 6 – Games
September 23rd - October 22nd
Mc Pixel and Super Crate Box are reviewed, while Steven Balbirnie chats to Founder and Chief Creative at online games company, Six to Start.
Page 9 – Film
Otwo casts its critical eye over cinema’s latest releases, Duncan Wallace looks at the negative side of Halloween with his Top 10 shameless horror sequels, Casey Lehman talks about the more visual side of cinema and Laura Bell looks at the price of reality TV.
Page 12 – Special Feature
Boys of Foley Street director, Louise Lowe, and the founder of TED Talks, Richard Saul Wurman ensure your fortnightly dose of intellectual stimulation.
Page 14 – Centre
Stephen Connolly chats to the music giants that are Animal Collective about being massive hipsters.
Page 16 – Music
Prepare to be spoiled with interviews from Ladyhawke, Purity Ring, Labrinth, and Two Door Cinema Club, get into the Halloween spirit with Mixtape, hear all about Heather’s latest antics, and if that wasn’t enough, get the low down on the latest album releases.
Page 22 – What’s On
What’s On: It’s all gone Azealia Banks with this fortnight’s clubnight feature, as Anna Burzlaff finds out what Notorious is all about.
Page 23 – Fashion
Otwo is on hand to help with that all important job interview in this week’s fashion spread, while Emily Mullen regales us with her tales from life as a fashion intern.
Page 26 - Otwo Attempts
Conor Luke Barry is getting his nerd on as he tries his hand at becoming a Trekkie in this issue’s Attempts.
March 21st - April 19th
Your crush on Hugh Brady will lead to a library fire and a drug overdose... with sexy results!
April 20th -May 20th
If you want good fortune, you will leave a saucer of milk and some cat treats outside your window for the foreseeable future. Mittens will take care of the rest.
May 21st - June 20th
Halloween is a great time to show everyone your creative and funny side, so you will dress up as a slutty nurse and pass out on Harcourt Street.
June 21st - July 22nd
You’ll have to flee the country after the Marie Keating Foundation attempts to attack you with chemotherapy and radiation.
Your mother will fall in love with you and you will be forced to make your parents procreate, after you travel back in time in a DeLorean.
October 23rd - Novermber 21st
You will misinterpret the term ‘flick the bean’ and lose your job at the Heinz factory.
November 22nd - December 21st
You will develop an interest in American politics for the next week, then inexplicably stop caring once November 7th hits. How mysterious...
December 22nd - January 19th
A failed ‘Trick or Treat’ mugging will leave you with bruised ribs, and help you realise that taking candy from a baby is not as easy as everyone says.
Aquarius January 20th - February 18th
You will trip and spill all your water. You had one fucking job Aquarius, way to go!
July 23rd - August 22nd
Ignoring the best before date on your chicken from week one will lead to a violent case of diarrhea... with sexy results!
Page 27 – Fatal Fourway
February 19th - March 20th
I have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Just know this, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you, Stephen.
The contestants battle it out over who is the most sadistic villain in the world of fiction.
University Observer Volume XIX Issue IV Telephone: (01) 716 3835/3837 Email: email@example.com www.universityobserver.ie
Editor Emer Sugrue
Music Editor Emily Mullen
Illustrator Emily Longworth
Special Thanks Guy, Colm, Orla and Rory at MCD Promotions, Laura, Chantal, Caroline and Games Editor Deputy Editor Contributors Steven Balbirnie Stephen Connolly Amy at Universal, Ciaran Aoife Valentine at Warner Music, The end Niall Gosker of daylight savings time, Film Editor Eva Griffith Art, Design & Pringles, Cradle of Filth, Heathers Technology Director Casey Lehman Rachmaninoff, ParacetaEdward Kearns Conor Kevin O’Nolan mol, Mini smarties, Sopio Jack McGarry TV Editor Deck Four, Central HeatMichael O’Sullivan Laura Bell Chief Designer ing, Puddles, Seamus and Evan O’Quigley Gary Kealy Oswald. Rebecca Rennick Chief Stylist Duncan Wallace Sophie Lioe Otwo Editors Not Thanks Jack Walsh Conor Luke Barry The Norovirus and the Killian Woods Chief Photographer Anna Burzlaff weather. Caoimhe McDonnell Laura Woulfe
faaaaaaail What’s hot and what’s not
What’s Hot Autumnal leaf showers Despite being one of the leading causes of bone-fractures amongst pedestrians, and being a source of massively decreased visibility on roads, leaf showers are still the bomb. The fall colours also serve to mask the canopy of crisp packets, drink cans and empty naggins that would otherwise occupy our pavements. Essentially, leaf fall is nature’s way of brushing rubbish under the rug.
keyboard cat 2012 With the American Presidential elections just around the corner, no one has been so devoted and dedicated to their campaign as keyboard cat, who recently returned to our radars when it was announced that he would be running for 45th President of the United States. Keyboard Cat outlines his full manifesto through the medium of keyboards at keyboardcatforpresident.com. He is the leading candidate in public polls after last week’s foreign affairs policy debate.
urban outfitters - ‘you animal’ Collection Having tapped into the public’s undying appreciation for animalthemed kitsch, Urban Outfitters have now launched an entire range of home and fashion accessories that incorporate animal designs. Highlights of the collection include their zebra shower curtain, squirrel chalk board, owl bunting, penguin salt & pepper cellars, and poodle USB hub. One could easily do their entire Christmas shopping using this collection only. Just watch us. urbanoutfitters.co.uk
What’s Not Special edition hallowe’en confectionary Let us be entirely clear: we have no qualms with confectionery, nor do we have any qualms with Hallowe’en, or the excessive consumption of masses of confectionery at Hallowe’en. That’s what Hallowe’en is for. The unnecessary fusion of classic recipes with Hallowe’en hallmarks is the issue here. Toffee Apple Flavour Chocolate Fingers, Mr. Kipling’s Frankenstein Fancies, and Cinder Toffee Mini-rolls are all an insult in the face of Hallowe’en purism.
Postponement of community season 4
Originally scheduled to première on October 19th, NBC have reportedly held back the release of the new season of Community until further notice in order to give the show some ‘extra marketing’. Or something. It doesn’t even matter, the tragedy is still great. In related news, the new series of Whitney has also been postponed until further notice. This is reported to have bothered no one.
poor nitelink etiquette By this we mean the complete abandonment of any pre-existing societal ideas on what ‘decency’ is, so they can be replaced with the warped set of diminished standards that seem to be acceptable only on the Nitelink. For most, the Nitelink is an extension of the night they just came from, so if you didn’t manage to score in the club, you can continue to hit on everyone around you, systematically, for a half-hour journey. You may even offer to share your kebab with your mate of choice, if you’re feeling like a true gent.
soapbox As ads become less and less avoidable, Edward Kearns lashes out against advertising’s increasing invasiveness Ever seen the film Minority Report? As Tom Cruise roams shiny futuristic streetscapes, we see that scanners attached to advertising screens identify pedestrians by their eyes, and cater their ads accordingly on an individual basis. The screens even address their targets by name. Seems a bit creepy right? Advertising is everywhere. This is nothing new. Remember that giant nude male torso that hung over College Green for half the summer? That was simply the logical conclusion of over a century of work in perfecting the attention-grabbing billboard. Drinks companies in particular have produced often humorous and sometimes even aesthetically pleasing billboards. This is relatively acceptable. Indeed, even garish ads for blockbuster films on the sides of buses can be deemed innocuous, because all you have to do is simply look away. Then of course, the proliferation of 30-second ads on TV generally induces a quick bout of channel hopping, a diversion of attention to texting, or a complete zoned-out zombie state until the show resumes. Few can remember the last time they really watched a TV ad. Yet somehow this peace with advertising is becoming more difficult to maintain in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The ads are creeping in. For example, product placement has existed in films for a long time, but does it really have to be so pushy as to have Tony Stark munching a Burger King cheeseburger, complete with clearly visible packaging? Is it really necessary to have James Bond chug a Heineken in bed with the label conveniently facing the camera? This is going beyond realism and towards a jarring reminder to the viewer that film studios see them as a consumer. Google tailors the ads that pop up on your computer screen based on keywords in your searches and the location provided by your IP address. That’s just plain weird; undoubtedly effective, and you have to admire the marketing brains that came up with it, but weird nonetheless. Banner ads on smartphone apps are also quite invasive, taking up a neat but distracting segment of the screen. The pop-up Meteor ad on TheJournal. ie’s app goes a step further, occupying the whole phone screen until you close it, every single time you open the app. You’d be surprised how annoying this becomes. American sports coverage also deserves a dishonourable mention, with blatant sponsor logos everywhere, and the commentators actually reading out endorsements. Thank the lord we don’t have to deal with George Hamilton introducing the ‘Pizza Hut Halftime Special’ on RTÉ. Advertising methods can occasionally be pervasive in a positive way, like when you encounter those awesome people handing out free Galaxy bars on Nassau Street. A lot of the time though, modern advertising is alarmingly intrusive. The kind of all seeing, constantly invasive, sensoryassault ads in the Cruiser’s dystopia may not be as far away as you first thought. Madison Avenue is striking back.
With an often daunting level of things to do and see in Madrid, Eva Griffin is on hand to pick out the best the Spanish capital has to offer
s the capital and largest city of Spain, Madrid is one of Europe’s mustsee destinations. After London and Berlin, it is the third-largest city in the European Union and boasts a population of around 3.3 million. Steeped in culture and famed for its lively nightlife, a night or two in Madrid is sure to make for a spectacular weekend. One of the main attractions in Madrid, whether you’re into art or not, is the Prado Museum. It is one third of the city’s Golden Triangle of Art, the other two museums being the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and the ThyssenBornemisza Museum. The Prado houses an extensive and brilliant collection of European art, spanning the 12th century to the early 19th century. Walking around the expansive museum it comes as no surprise that it is one of the most visited sites in the world, as it truly is a feast for the eyes. Highlights include the vast amount of works by Velázquez; most notably Las Meninas, which is a remarkable example of Western art. While a full tour around the Prado is sure to exhaust even the most ambitious tourist, Madrid has so much more to offer if your feet can bear it. A leisurely stroll through the picturesque Paseo del Prado nearby will provide plenty of photo ops, and soon you’ll arrive at Plaza del Cibeles. This square contains many impressive marble sculptures with the focal point being the fountain, which has become a major symbol for the city. The majestic goddess and her chariot, along with the lions that precede her, are wonderful to look at. A panoramic view of this site can be admired from Calle de Alcalá.
to hop on as soon as it arrives or you may miss it. The Spanish subway trains wait for no one and never linger in a station for long. If there’s one place you cannot afford to miss during a trip to Madrid, it’s La Plaza Mayor. The arcades framing this impressive square are packed with shops and stalls; perfect for loading up on gifts and souvenirs. If you’re travelling light, or short on cash, it’s still a treat to wander around admiring the shop windows and soaking in the atmosphere. Here you’ll find plenty of other tourists bustling about in the open air, or quenching their thirst in one of the nearby bars. The area surrounding La Plaza Mayor must be experienced at night. Madrid is home to an energetic night-
prices ranging from 70 cent to €3 for a Caña (about half a pint), how could you resist? Another worthwhile attraction to visit is Madrid’s Royal Palace, which is now open to the public. While the beautiful exterior is reason enough to visit the grounds, arriving early is advised if you wish to view the interior. By lunchtime the queues to get in are ridiculously long, and you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the wait. Even if you’re visiting Madrid on a tight budget, make sure you take the time to see what shopping districts such as Sol have to offer. The area around Puerta del Sol, between Gran Vía, Calle Preciados and Calle Arenal, forms a truly diverse shopping quarter lined with both large
The metro is an effective way to travel around the city. Despite the less than perfect economic state of Spain at the moment, their subway service remains in impeccable shape and is quite cheap While Madrid is best explored on foot, the metro is an effective way to travel around the city. Despite the less than perfect economic state of Spain at the moment, their subway service remains in impeccable shape and is quite cheap. The longest you’ll have to wait is five minutes, but be sure
life, as tourists and locals alike hit the many intimate bars and clubs around the city. Steer clear of the large intimidating establishments and opt instead to spend the night in the tiniest place you can find. Once there, it’s essential that you try one of the local beers. Mahou is a favourite, and at
department stores and trendy fashion chains. While the prices aren’t always reasonable, a walk down one of Madrid’s main streets can provide you with a laid back afternoon of window-shopping. Headquartered in Madrid, El Corte Inglés is the biggest department store
group in Europe. It seems there’s a chain on almost every corner and it’s almost impossible to resist going in, even if your empty, dejected wallet screams out against it. Yes, the price tags may cause your heart to sink, but with such an extensive range of clothing, electronic and housing goods, it’s hard not to look. If after a visit to El Corte Inglés you’re still determined to remind yourself that you’re an impoverished student, indulge your inner geek and crush your spirit with a trip to Fnac. Conveniently, there’s one located across the street from one of the many El Corte Inglés stores. Fnac houses such novelty items such as a large, cuddly Yoda toy and numerous bobble-heads of icons such as Elvis, Tupac and Two-Face (Two-Face being the most iconic of the three, of course). The entire store is a smorgasbord of entertainment and electronic goods, though the prices are far from reasonable. Even after visiting Madrid’s famous museums and tourist sites, discovering its exciting nightlife and exploring its many shopping districts, there’s still so much more to see. The city is permeated by an undeniably chill vibe that is perfectly suited to welcoming tourists from all over the world. If there’s one piece of advice to impart: make sure to spend time immersing yourself in all Madrid has to offer.
Hidden Gems: Bookshops
It’s time to develop your intellectual side, as Laura Woulfe unearths the best bookshops Dublin has to offer The Secret Book and Record store 15a Wicklow Street
The Winding Stair 40 Lower Ormond Quay Interestingly The Winding Stair is one of the oldest independent bookshops in Dublin and despite its location in the heart of the city, as soon as you walk into this store you will feel like you have stepped back into the nineteenth century. The shop stocks both new books and second-hand, ranging in genres but mainly focusing on fiction and poetry, with hundreds of fantastic novels to choose from. In order to help you choose from this wonderful collection there are hand-written reviews of selected books stuck onto the bookshelves, which really adds to the friendly ambiance of this enchanting bookshop. There is also a range of hand-made pocket poetry books, notebooks and cards which are all beautifully decorated with antique, Victorian patterns. For all vintage lovers, this shop is ideal. Not only is there a range of unique books with handsomely embellished façades and charming, ageold illustrations, the shop also has wonderful antique wooden floors, shelves, chairs and tables, establishing a sultry, cosy atmosphere which you won’t want to leave. Fortunately, there are two sets of tables and chairs located just at the window of the shop, where they invite you to sit, relax, read and listen to the soft classical music in the background. What’s more, they serve tea, coffee or even a glass of wine.
The Gutter Bookshop Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar The most mainstream of the four, this bookshop is a contemporary yet quirky establishment, offering everything that big chain bookshops offer but with a little more personality. The Gutter Bookshop is, paradoxically considering the name, a clean, well-organised store, decorated with crisp white walls and bookshelves which makes browsing for the perfect book easy and efficient. Nonetheless, the store’s individuality shines through presenting itself with interesting finishing touches such as the faux grass rug in the children’s section. What sets The Gutter Bookshop apart from all of its competitors however, are the friendly staff and their commitment and interest in helping
Books Upstairs 36 College Green The first thing you’ll notice when you enter Books Upstairs are the lofty bookshelves which extend almost completely from floor to ceiling and still, it seems astonishing how many various interesting genres and books that this small shop is able to showcase. On first impressions, Books Upstairs seems to be a traditional independent Irish bookshop as the shelves to the right of the door are concerned primarily with Irish interest, with famous writers such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde dominating, whereas the shelves on the left are laden with assorted popular fiction novels. Therefore it is a great
you find the perfect book. Similar to The Winding Stair, this book shop has a number of hand-written book reviews on the shelves to help you find exactly what you want. They also have a table full of staff picks, which are guaranteed to be excellent, captivating reads. Numerous monthly book groups take place in the amiable and cheerful store and in addition the staff also organise various other events throughout the year which in the past have consisted of numerous book launches and even book speed-dating. As one further piece of advice, when the festive season approaches, do your gift shopping in this shiny gem, as not only do they provide a vast collection of literature, they also serve mulled wine and biscuits for the customers each and every Christmas.
Tucked away in Wicklow Street, beside the Nourish Health Store, lies the entrance to this authentic little haven of books. Absent of all aestheticism, this shop is pretty much just stacks and stacks of books, new and old, piled into one chaotic room. However, if you persist in your quest to rummage through this messy collection you will perhaps come across the most wonderfully eccentric, not to mention cheapest, books you have ever read. The store is filled with books of every genre including a wide range of dirt-cheap comics for the little Marvel nerd inside each of us. Literature such as How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard, a vital necessity for any English student, makes this place a veritable treasure chest for those with the patience to explore it. While there is an attempt to categorise books in some areas of the shop, in general the books are just strewn from one end of the room to the other (except for that itsy-bitsy record section). For this reason, it’s best to go into this store with an open mind rather than searching for a particular title. Embrace the chaos. Warning: This shop does come with a particularly curious smell, which can be a little fishy at times. Don’t let this put you off; the interesting book collection is worth enduring this questionable odour.
surprise when you delve further into the depths of the shop and find the extensive range of genres that makes Books Upstairs so worth mentioning. Among these are literary criticism, psychology, history and science, but what really stands out are the more alternative selections of feminism and gay literature. Consequently, Books Upstairs effectively juxtaposes traditional Irish literature and history with a range of books relevant to our ever-developing modern society. On the upper section of the bookshop, there is also a wide range of journals to be found, mainly concerned with current Irish literature and poetry, and to top it all off there are a number of socialist journals for any of you left-wing enthusiasts out there.
Mc Pixel Publisher Developer Platforms Release Date
Super Crate Box
Sos Sos PC, Mac, iOS, Android Out Now
ou know you’re in for an interesting experience with a game when the opening screen says: “Warning: it is highly recommended to take breaks while playing this game. Longer play sessions can damage your brain and gameplay experience.” The utter madness of Polish developer, Mikolaj Kaminski’s Mc Pixel more than lives up to this audacious claim. The game’s premise seems to have been inspired by the scene from the 1966 Adam West Batman film where Batman is running around a crowded pier while holding a bomb over his head. “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb,” sighs Batman. The eponymous Mc Pixel would certainly agree. Mc Pixel sees you taking control of the title character across over 100 Warioware style micro-games in which you have only 20 seconds to try to dispose of a bomb by any means necessary. Using a point-andclick format, you manipulate objects and your surroundings to try to avert the impending explosion. The game has an intensely bizarre internal logic so your actions more often than not have unexpected and hilarious consequences. These consequences can range from Mc Pixel using a chicken to beat an old man to him kissing Obama. Sometimes you want to fail levels just to see whatever absurdly random event will occur. Indeed, the game actually
rewards you for finding all of its joke fails, as this is the only way to unlock the bonus levels. The bonus levels are even more ludicrous than the rest of the game. They’re chock full of pop culture references to Star Wars, Minecraft, Simpsons, Portal, Dragon Ball Z, Mortal Kombat, the Powerpuff Girls and Pokémon among many others. The game’s aesthetic is an endearingly retro pixelated style that would look at home on the Commodore 64 or the Atari. The game’s music is also incredibly catchy, and has the ability to get stuck in your head like the themes from the early Mario games. In terms of extras, Mc Pixel offers an endless mode, the ability to create your own levels which then have the chance of becoming future free DLC for all players, and the utterly incomprehensible fart along mode. While the game’s humour is quite often crude (as was Warioware’s), it forms a logical part of the game’s tapestry of insanity, and only the most stoic of gamers will be unable to find something to laugh at. What Mc Pixel delivers in spades is something that not enough big budget releases deliver these days: a fun experience. Testament to this is the fact that Mc Pixel is the first title to be greenlit on Steam. Not bad for a game that started life as an entry to a 48-hour games development competition. By Steven Balbirnie
t’s quite natural for something to become more and more complex as it evolves over time and video game design has been no exception to this rule. In an age of blockbuster titles created by teams hundreds in size and rapidly iterating technology, this certainly isn’t primed to change any time soon. With increased growth comes a greater chance of collapse but the industry’s widespread marketplace success is definitely a good thing, for without it, ambitious, genredefining titles would no longer be viable. That said, it’s often nice to look backwards rather than forwards, to trace the lineage, and appreciate a simpler time. Super Crate Box takes this warm nostalgia and distils it, producing a substance pure in retro delight. There is no story. It’s just you and an endless onslaught of enemies in a battle to survive and achieve the highest of scores. In order to score, the player needs to collect the titular crates and doing so not only results in a point bump but also gives the player a shiny new weapon to toy with, whether you want it or not. Weapons are crucial for survival and the culling of crowds, each one more apt for dealing with certain enemies or certain situations. Over time, your arsenal will increase and get more powerful but also more difficult to use effectively; the rebounding ‘disc
Publisher Developer Platforms Release Date
Vlambeer Vlambeer PC, iOS, Vita Out Now
gun’ will lead to numerous unintentional suicides. Speaking of difficulty, its blunt brutality is somewhat of a system shock at first. Modern games have conditioned us with gentle difficulty easing luxuries but none of those are here; if you’re hit, you’re dead. Frustration is obviously a factor then but the game’s flow helps to nullify this with instant restarts. You’re too busy attempting to retain your renewed life amidst the chaos and collect that next crate, to really let the anger sink in. So many indie throwbacks use pixel art and chiptune to establish their retro trappings, that one would be forgiven for thinking their potency as a device of audiovisual pleasure is starting to wane but surprisingly, that’s not the case. Super Crate Box looks great, bursting with charm and character and arguably, sounds even better. Above all else though, it nails the fundamentals: movement is snappy, jumping is precise, and shooting and slashing are irresistibly satisfying. Taking these superbly realised mechanics in consideration with every other fine facet of Super Crate Box and you end up with both a reverent homage to games gone by and one with enough of its own playful identity to warrant considerable praise. By Niall Gosker
Dead Men Running Adrian Hon, Chief Creative Officer at Six to Start Games talks to Steven Balbirnie about the app which crosses the genres of fitness and horror currently taking the world by storm: Zombies, Run!
drian Hon is probably most famous for designing and producing the massively popular alternate reality game, Perplex City, while working at Mind Candy. In 2007 he left Mind Candy and co-founded Six to Start Games with his brother Dan (now interactive creative director at Wieden+Kennedy), and it wasn’t long before their company was garnering critical acclaim. Innovative titles such as We Tell Stories and Smokescreen won the company various awards. Six to Start Games’ most recent franchise, Zombies, Run! continues this innovation. In Zombies, Run! you play as a character known as ‘Runner 5’. Your objective in the game is to go on scavenging runs for basic supplies to aid the burgeoning post- apocalyptic Abel Township, all while evading the clutches of the walking dead. As you run, you automatically collect items that you can then assign to your base when you return home. Each of the app’s missions lasts between 20 and 30 minutes, and the game’s story unfolds as you progress; but you need to be careful because if you can’t keep up the pace you risk being devoured by your undead pursuers. The game also allows you to sync your progress online via its ‘Zombielink’ service so you can share it with your friends. When asked about the origins of the concept for a game as unique as Zombies, Run! Hon explains that it arose from a synthesis of ideas that were both technical and artistic. “It came from a couple of places. I’ve been a runner for a long time now, but it didn’t come naturally. I only really got into it with the help of gadgets like the Garmin Forerunner GPS watch, which at least helped you see how much you were improving. The problem was that they didn’t make running any more interesting or fun, and even when GPS tracking apps became commonplace, no one seemed to be making running games for smartphones, so it was something that I’ve wanted to do for some time.” “The other half of the inspiration came from our co-creator and writer Naomi Alderman, who fairly recently joined a running club,” says Hon. “When they asked people why they’d joined, some people said ‘to get fit’, others ‘to lose weight’, but one person said, ‘to survive the zombie apocalypse’! We put two and two together, and that’s where Zombies, Run! came from!” The idea clearly struck a chord with the public, as upon its release earlier this year, Zombies, Run! swiftly became the top grossing health and fitness app in the Apple app store. Hon, while surprised at the scale of the app’s success, believes that this was because they were catering for an audience, which up till then, hadn’t been engaged with by developers. “Obviously we were delighted. We knew that the idea was popular, but we didn’t know it was that popular. I think the reason why it was so successful is because everyone already wants to improve their fitness and for a lot of people, going out running is the cheapest and most obvious option, except for the fact that it can also be really boring. So an app that only costs a
“Everyone already wants to improve their fitness and for a lot of people, going out running is the cheapest and most obvious option, except for the fact that it can also be really boring. So an app that only costs a few pounds and makes running far more fun and effective is a great proposition for a lot of people” few pounds and makes running far more fun and effective is a great proposition for a lot of people.” Following on from the success of the first game, Six to Start Games have now developed and released another Zombies, Run! app, this time specifically designed to help people with little or no running experience get into it. “Zombies, Run! was for people who already did a bit of jogging and running, whereas Zombies, Run! 5k Training is for total beginners who have never really run properly before. It includes 25 workouts spread out over eight weeks, designed by running experts, that will help people go from complete novices to being able to run a 5k distance in one go.” The new app will also not be a standalone title; instead its plot will further develop the storyline which was established in the first Zombies, Run! game. “It takes place before the events in Zombies, Run! but features many of the same characters and places, so it’s a great introduction to the story for new players, and it’s also a fun way for existing players to get more story as well!” With season 2 of Zombies, Run! also already currently in development, Adrian Hon and Six to Start Games look set to forge further ahead in the horror fitness genre which they have so ingeniously created. Zombies, Run! 5k Training is available to buy now at the App Store for €3.59 and the original Zombies, Run! is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone for €2.99
REVIEWS Director Starring Release Date
Sam Mendes Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem Out Now
chase sequence is nowhere near an original way to begin a Bond film, but this one feels slightly different. It’s emotional, desperate and the audience knows as little as the characters do of the severity of the situation. These shots not only open the 23rd Bond film, but represent the current state of cinema’s longestrunning franchise. With Skyfall, it is evident that director Sam Mendes is attempting to answer the questions that have plagued the franchise since the release of 2007’s Quantum of Solace. Namely, is the Bond series still relevant in the age of Jason Bourne and Christopher Nolan? Quantum put Bond in an uneasy position, it undid everything Casino Royale remade in creating a modern Bond that would not only delight cinema goers but also recall the classic Bond moments that everyone loves. One of these loves is Bond himself, and Daniel Craig has mostly gotten
Skyfall over the second movie slump. His Bond is now less snarly and crisp, more ill-at-ease with what he has chosen as his profession. Mendes’ film develops Bond’s back-story further, as it allows Judi Dench’s M to quite nearly take first billing. A full character flourishes, one that is not only threatened by the films events, but may be ultimately to blame. The script, coupled with Dench’s performance, has allowed her character to evolve significantly from what had previously been a half-comic mainstay of the series. To close the triangle we have Javier Bardem’s Silva, wonderfully portrayed with a variety of nuances
and personal tweaks, so good is his performance that it comes together rather eloquently, and in a way that almost shouldn’t work but does. Skyfall’s themes are at heart the idea of time and age; how long exactly a mindset can be maintained until it becomes obsolete. Mendes shows this to us through differences between the Ian Fleming novels and today’s world, littering Skyfall with old ideas in a new age. Chief among them is the film’s most visually alluring set piece, a Beijing high rise. Bond treads through the shadows to catch a sniper unawares, and LED images flash across glass panes surrounding the interior of the expanse.
Directors Starring Release Date
of her and her friend April’s (Jane Levy) vacuous need to go to “hottie” Aaron’s Halloween party. Wren searches for her brother, recruiting some friends along the way to help. Hilarity ensues. Except that it doesn’t. This could have been an incredibly touching story of a girl trying to find herself as a person and pulling the pieces of her personal life back together after the death of her father. Instead, we get this unapologetic tripe that is not only unfunny, but also quite rapey. The gags come from tired old
In a Nutshell: One of the greatest modern Bonds; every scene makes you remember why you’re a fan. Please leave your exploding pens at home. By Jack Walsh
Josh Schwartz Victori Justice, Chelsea Handler, Johnny knoxville, Jane Levy October 29th
Fun Size efore the film began, we were treated to an exclusive; the video for Carly Rae Jepson’s new single. It was a nice ditty, sweet and forgettable, a sure-fire pop hit you’ll find yourself humming for days. It would be nice to say this set the tone for the film. However, it really did no such thing. Fun Size is the story of Wren (Victoria Justice) as she tries to find her little brother after losing him while out trick-or-treating. This is all set against the backdrop
Bond uses these images to get to the bad guy, fusing his old world technique with modern artwork. For all its glitz and glamour, Mendes continuously harkens back to the forgotten age of spy films. While he is aware and creates a visually stunning film using a variety of modern techniques and devices, sometimes all you need is an old radio.
tropes; the geek has a crush on the hot girl, both of their friends are idiots yet have a thing going by the end of the film (would you look at that? A massive spoiler), the little brother is a terror who cuts out pieces of knitted fabric, (Yes. Knitted Fabric. A juvenile detainee in the making right there) and so on. Not a single one of the many attempts at a joke were funny. It’s almost as if, in an attempt to please a larger audience, the filmmakers decided to throw in a couple of slapstick idiotic moments to keep the kids happy and
then throw in innuendoes for the older patrons. This would have worked, had they not managed to turn the entire film into an innuendo. The lost brother gets recruited by a shop attendant to tepee his girlfriend’s apartment, Wren runs around shouting about her brother in a supremely unconcerned fashion, eventually ending up at the party anyway, standing by the pool and debating whether or not to kiss the geek, their friends are off getting it on in the single creepiest scene in a film full of creepy scenes, and the shop attendant gets naked. In the meantime, the little boy has been abducted by an MMA fighter in a blonde wig (Knoxville) and locked in a closet. As for where the mother was: a college party with her 26-year-old boyfriend and his friends who fart on her.Excuse us, we need to go shower. In a Nutshell: Kill it with a big, shit covered shovel. By Michael O’Sullivan
evisiting the 1984 short that got him fired from Disney, Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion feature is the movie he wanted to make back then before budget difficulties forced him to shoot it with live actors. Backed by Disney again and armed with an enthusiastic group of stars and promising newcomers, Frankenweenie showcases Burton’s unique vision at its most nostalgic. Seemingly set in a suburb identical to that of Edward Scissorhands (1990), Frankenweenie revisits and pays homage to the various expressionist and classic horror films that influenced Burton’s singular cinematic style. References abound, from the Bride of Frankenstein hair on a poodle to shadows climbing stairs, posed like Nosferatu. Though this pastiche will certainly fly high over the heads of the film’s target audience, the era to which Burton pays tribute lives on in his distinctive aesthetic. Burton’s stop-motion animation is nothing new (several puppets are even recycled from his older Director Tim Burton movies, such as a giant Starring Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau rat from Nightmare Release Date Out Now Before Christmas) but it lends a certain tangibility to the almost alien, stylised world of New Holland. The small town misunderstands young Victor Frankenstein’s ‘science project’ that resurrects his dog, marking him as an outcast when all he wanted was his dog back. Victor’s alienation and the mob mentality of the townspeople, fueled by Danny Elfman’s (a frequent Burton collaborator) exaggerated score, lead to a Frankenstein-inspired climax. Another Burton favorite, Martin Landau, stands out as the Vincent Price-like science teacher Mr. Rzykruski who inspires Victor to experiment with the electricity that eventually brings his beloved dog back to life. His character gives the film its moral center in a brief line of dialogue, basically saying that small minds like the convenience afforded them by science, but fear its questions. Landau’s character then disappears from the film, but his words live on as a prediction of the mob scene at the film’s climax. Landau, coincidentally (not), won an Oscar for his portrayal of another horror icon, Bela Lugosi, in Burton’s Ed Wood (1994). The supporting cast of Victor’s schoolmates adds plenty of Burton’s trademark creepiness to an already eerie film. The fat kid, “E. Gore” the hunchback, the Japanese stereotype, crazy psychic cat girl, and the Eastern European could stand in for various aspects of horror history if we wanted to give the film the benefit of the doubt. The characters, however, generally cross the fine line between clever and annoying that Burton likes to flirt with. Like an unfortunately large amount of his work, they are simply creepy for creepy’s sake. In a Nutshell: It is what it is. Fans of Burton’s other work that will get the references will be satisfied. Everyone else will just be unimpressed. By Casey Lehman
shamless horror sequel cash-ins By Duncan Wallace
10. Troll 2 (1990) Bearing no connection to the original Troll besides the title, Troll 2 is the movie this kind of list is made for. That said, vegetarian monsters deserve some originality points and at least the tagline admitted “One was not enough!” 9. Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985) It’s the type of title that makes you question the sincerity of the genre listing, and ask whether it is not a segue into the tongue-in-cheek traditions of the Evil Dead series. Matters aren’t helped by the original title: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch. A confused, turgid attempt at werewolf lore is the order of the day in this shoddy sequel. 8. Survival of the Dead (2010) This Diary of the Dead sequel returns to George A. Romero’s question in Day of the Dead: ‘What makes zombies different from you and me?’ The contradiction in this premise, and indeed the title, is obvious: they’re um… zombies. 7. Jaws: The Revenge (1987) A shark, possessing unusual physical properties such as being as large as a whale, and being able to roar like a big cat, embarks upon a homicidal campaign to avenge the antagonist fish from the previous flicks. 6. The Final Destination (2009) It’s a bad sign when films attempt to hide the sequel number from the title. This is the fourth in the franchise, pitting a fresh group of hapless, paperskinned, glass-boned victims against Death. Nothing new here besides superfluous 3D. 5. Friday the 13th Part VIII (1989) Jason Voorhees goes on vacation to New York, where he wanders around killing people. But what’s the point in a holiday without a break from the dayjob? His demise at the conclusion is (gasp!) only temporary. 4. The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011) If you didn’t get your fill of mouth-to-anus amateur surgery from the original, you can see what it’s like with even more victims in this meta-sequel. SPOILER: It’s all a (perverted) dream. 3. The Hills Have Eyes II (2007) How would the mutant cannibals of the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes fare against the muscle of the US army? Fairly well, if you replace American soldiers with bickering, untrained, under-equipped stock horror vicwtims. 2. Hallowe’en Resurrection (2002) Wasn’t Michael killed off in H20? Unfortunately, Jamie Lee Curtis merely beheaded a paramedic. This revelation is but the first loop on the rollercoaster of shamelessness that is the eighth film in the franchise. 1. Alien 3 (1992) The Alien franchise goes back to its horror roots and, in doing so, (literally) kills off anything connecting it to James Cameron’s original. Roll in the evil corporation, the plucky protagonist whom no one believes, and nondescript, idiotic victims and you get David Fincher’s lacklustre début. At least liquid metal is guaranteed to put Ripley out of her misery… isn’t it?
The Persistence of Vision As a primarily visual medium, film has always had to balance the art of the visual with competing new elements. Casey Lehman charts the development of the art from silent films up to modern blockbusters
e take for granted that we will see and hear certain things when we go to the cinema today. More importantly, we expect that a film’s dialogue or narration will tell us everything we need to know about what’s happening on-screen. We forget, in this sense, that film is a primarily visual medium. Between the silent era and the present, there have been observable fluctuations in directors’ reliance on visual storytelling. Before sound, films had to rely mainly on visual presentation to communicate their narrative and message. In the era of “talkies” precipitated by The Jazz Singer (1927), the poetry inherent in the moving image slowly faded as American directors and scenarists developed the snappy dialogue familiar to fans of actors like Cary Grant in films such as His Girl Friday (1940). The art house vogue of the 1950s and 60s saw a resurgence of the visual in film as directors like Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal ) and Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon ) blazed new trails in what could be done with the camera in the medium. This trend faded within a few years, however, as the advent of the action blockbuster heralded a new direction in visual storytelling, with the macho posturing of explosions and gunfights replacing the artful workings of the preceding generation. Recently, though this visually bombastic, yet artistically barren, blockbuster is alive and well in films like James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), visual artistry survives in a
fruitful, if somewhat marginalized, independent cinema. The silent era was an age of experimentation: directors and producers were constantly asking what this new medium of the moving image could produce. Lacking the descriptive power of spoken dialogue (a luxury afforded to that ever-present competitor, the theatre), filmmakers in the early days of cinema relied instead upon the image, the photographic reproduction and manipulation of reality, to tell their stories. This particular brand of dramaturgy was perhaps best exemplified by F. W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh (1924), a film in which almost no words were used to present the story. Instead, Murnau used expressionistic framings and camera movements to advance the plot. With a tale of modern, urban life, Murnau presented the foibles and, indeed, the fate of his hero as a product of the environment that man inhabited. The images on the screen provided the audience with a clear picture of the winners and losers produced by the hustle and bustle of 1920s society. With this artistic climax in mind, it was inevitable that cinema, after the advent of sound, should regress to the verbalizations of the novels on which many of its early successes were based. When The Jazz Singer introduced synchronous sound to the cinema in 1927, Hollywood was quick to jump on the trend. Rapid advancements in film technology led to industry-wide adoption of sound as the new norm, and the
talkie was born. Though other countries (such as Japan, whose great director Yasujiro Ozu made silent films as late as 1936) were slow to adopt or develop sound technology of their own, the exporting power of Hollywood’s Big Five (Paramount, Warner Bros., RKO, MGM, and 20th Century Fox) meant that American talkies became the ideal by which other productions were judged. With this standard set, dialogue-heavy films dominated a variety of genres throughout the 30s and 40s, from the wittiness of screwball comedies like Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve (1941) to the rapid back-and-forth of gangster films such as Little Caesar (1931). This trend also necessarily meant a decline in visual concerns, with directors and cinematographers experimenting less with framings and camerawork as the actors and their performances became the main attraction in films of the era. Here we see some overlap in tendencies, as the archetypes of the gangster film bled into the new genre of film noir in the late 40s and 50s. Though clever dialogue was often still present, films like Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep (1946) incorporated heavy doses of silent-era visuals to create the distinctive look of film noir. It is also at this time that the “art house” cinema became a force in American motion picture distribution. As mentioned above, Kurosawa, Bergman, and their respective compatriots constituted a shift back towards cinematic visual artistry. Bergman especially harkened back to the silent era, utilizing the impressive winter landscapes of his native Sweden as reflections of the barrenness and
isolation of his characters, exemplified by 1963’s Winter Light. More recently, we can observe a unique cross-pollination between
We can observe a unique crosspollination between the art house and the mainstream in the cinema of today the art house and the mainstream in the cinema of today. When the action blockbuster came to dominate the movie market after the mid-70s, the art house trend faded into relative obscurity. Subsumed into the more general ‘independent cinema’ movement of the early 90s, art film continues to have a strong effect on the mainstream, with big-ticket filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas citing Kurosawa, Bergman, and others as major influences on their work (Lucas, for example, admits that the idea for Star Wars  came from Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress ). This division of the market seems to have reached a relatively stable equilibrium in Hollywood, where independent/art features by directors like Woody Allen and Wes Anderson do not compete directly with the “big” films of James Cameron, due to a tightly scheduled release cycle, dividing “Oscar Season” from “Blockbuster Season”. Art and economics, then, can continue to exist side-by-side.
With product placement becoming the norm on our television screens, Laura Bell investigates the worst offenders to find the true price of reality TV
n the eve of Kim Kardashian’s $20 the “MasterChef effect”, a rapid and massive surge Hills as “mainly real and unscripted.” million, 72 day-long marriage to in the number of high-end cooking appliances beAll of this is supplicated by the way television then-fiancé Kris Humphries, a very ing purchased in the wake of the programme’s has the power to cultivate viewer norms, enabling important discussion took place in Australian broadcast. To put it in perspective: the a vicarious experience of human interactions and the Kardashian household, the de- sales of tools featured on the show have risen by a validating certain types of behaviour, ‘guido’ fistfacto set for the seven-season long run of the prime conservative 480%. pumping included. The likeability of reality show time reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Peripheral product placements are more elusive, characters is shown to have a direct effect on how Kris, the Kardashian matriarch, informed her and are ostensibly more concentrated on building well consumers accept the attitudes and brands husband that she never realised just how intel- brand familiarity than on selling one particular promoted, with reality programmes that have a ligent their 14 year old daughter is. When Kylie’s product. This form of advertising generally takes positive effect on mood featuring significantly plan for a family holiday to Hawaii was judged too advantage of what is known as “the False Fame more sponsors than shows more serious or factual expensive, Kris was stunned to learn that her young Effect”. A study conducted in 1999 found that after in tone. It is then no surprise then, that the exploits daughter had discovered a great website called being exposed to a variety of fictional brand names, of the Kardashian sisters sell far flung holiday desLivingsocial.com, where they could purchase their the next day the subjects generally recognised the tinations far better than documentaries about the entire vacation for 50% off! brand names they had been exposed to, but in their pervasiveness of Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever in the With the advent of technology that allows view- majority, did not specifically recall them from the Democratic Republic of Congo. ers to fast forward through commercial breaks and previous session. A number of similar experiThe relationship between programme and adverthe ever increasing number of people watching ments have been conducted since, with a singular tiser is of course, cyclical and mutually beneficial. their favourite TV shows online, product placement and deeply unsettling outcome: the brand choice While brand sponsorship of a drama or sit-com is being seen by advertisers as an increasingly valid of millions is directly affected by the information should ensure a higher quality show, reality teland prosperous way to market their evision has low production values, products. The Reality TV Insights funnelling profits straight into the Survey found that 94% of viewers are pockets of executives, producers, 60% of viewers have purchased an item after influenced by what they see on reality and their celebrity stars. On CNBC’s they have seen it featured in a show television. A massive 60% have purlist of “Primetime Shows with the chased an item after they have seen Most Product Placement”, 10 out of it featured in a show, while others 11 of the listed shows fall into the cathave tried new foods, travelled to new places, and supplied to them by television, despite a conscious egory of ‘reality’, with American Idol boasting first purchased new books. With reality programming inability to remember the time, location, and even place and a startling 577 paid placements over 39 as the second-most watched genre of television in the actuality of the placement. episodes. the western world, overshadowed only by sports, While a certain level of media literacy allows Put simply, advertisement is the lifeblood of the these figures represent a significant proportion of adults to be more discerning about their brand genre, supplying the profits that create the vehithe television-watching population; and by conse- choices and to identify any poorly concealed at- cle. It fits neatly at the head of the laundry list of quence, their considerable spending power. tempts to sell the iPhone 19S, this information questionable morals propagated by reality proDespite the rather overt example of in-show serves to highlight how this type of advertising can gramming, the normalisation of superficiality and advertising from the Kardashian wedding special, take on a subconscious aspect, the ‘message from aggression, casual degradation. Reality culture has not all product placements are as conspicuous. our sponsors’ becoming implicit. The effect is per- become ubiquitous in the West, a fact that stresses Studies show that if viewers become aware of a haps most dramatic in children, who are impres- the importance of our awareness of the messages, poorly disguised placement, their overall reaction sionable by design and arguably, not experienced commercial or otherwise, that it seeks to convey towards the brand in question is overwhelmingly enough to distinguish between the subliminal and to us, and that of being hyper-critical of their connegative. The most effective results are garnered the endorsed, the real and the fictitious. Case in tent. “I don’t want my daughters watching The from placements that are either blatant and undis- point: in the United States, eight of ten teenaged Kardashians,” says President Obama. I can’t blame guised, or so subtle that their presence hints at the girls from the age of 11 described reality television, him. subliminal. An example of the obvious at work is with the given examples of Jersey Shore and The
The Boys of Foley Street has caused a storm in the Irish theatre world. Its director, Louise Lowe, talks to Anna Burzlaff about new methods and old questions
young girl sits on a toilet seat, combs her hair, and tells the story of her rape. A man is brought down a lane and beaten while you film the incident on a camera phone. This is The Boys of Foley Street and this is theatre at its most harrowing. Arguably the star of Dublin Theatre Festival, The Boys of Foley Street is just one chapter in an extremely ambitious project to document this innercity area’s development over the past century. “Are you afraid?” and “What are you looking at?” are but some of the questions an audience member can expect to be confronted with during the play, as they are brought by foot or by car to several locations surrounding the area. ANU Productions and its creative directive, Louise Lowe, are the forces behind the whirlwind project, looking to arrest a public that has grown somewhat complacent over the past years. For Lowe and her team it’s all about starting a dialogue; it’s all about beginning to ask questions. With the centenary of Irish Independence fast encroaching reflections on our development as a nation and society are inevitable. Although the play is set in the 1970s it is designed in such a way that past and present blur. There is a palpable sense that the action of the play could be action of today, and so Lowe intended it. “We’re not trying to reconstruct, we’re not trying to recreate, we’re not trying to re-enact: all those things would be a little bit too weird I think. It’s about trying to look at the past through the lens of now, and to really understand that and to understand why it’s perpetuating. I suppose that’s what we’re looking at as a cycle of perpetuation. To question why, why these things aren’t resolved, why it hasn’t been resolved.”
Often to alert an audience, one must shock an audience. Just as Henrik Ibsen confronted the bourgeois theatre goer with difficult and pertinent issues of society in A Doll’s House, so too does Lowe over a hundred years later confront the middleclass Dubliner with problems we all too easily ignore. It would be difficult to leave The Boys of Foley Street without questions, not just questions on theatre or form or production, but much deeper questions on society and crime and development. Certainly to learn about where we’re going it is vital to learn where we came from. This notion is key to Lowe and forms the core of her project: “I think in order to move forward we have to understand how and why we are.” Lowe is far removed from the pretentious and ostentatious theatre director one has come to expect. The Foley Street native is humble, grounded, and steadfast in her dedication to the area. With four generations of her family from there, this is a project that lies very close to Lowe’s heart. Her passion is resolute, and the excitement she holds for the city and its development is clear: “Dublin is great. I wouldn’t live here if I didn’t like it. I do love it and I do feel an affinity to it.” Yet Lowe’s love for the city does not cloud her judgement of it. There are problems, undoubtedly, that have yet to be solved. For the director the emphasis is really on opening a dialogue. “I am just curious as to why, despite regenerating it four times, and renaming it and rezoning it, that we have to keep regenerating it and rezoning it.” Lowe has been undeniably innovative in her methods of theatre. As an audience member you yourself become complicit in the actions of the play; you play a role and you hold a responsibility.
For her the action of sitting in the dark and watching the play unfold is perhaps too passive. Question as to why do I need to be here and what is purpose of me being here arise, in other words, why am I sitting in the dark watching? The Boys of Foley Street is about treating the audience differently: “I suppose for looking for answers and starting dialogues it’s really important to find a way in which we can engage in a different way.” Lowe removes the cloaks of invisibility and relays a tale in which the audience is active, all without any sense of didacticism. “Whatever experience it is, is the one that you create. And placing the audience into the centre of that practice is really vital. Considering them and not being didactic in any way is really vital, because I hate being told what I’m watching. ” As a nation we like to think of our growth in positive terms. Looking back to the early years of the Free State one can easily list the number of improvements in Irish society. Nonetheless there still exists areas where attempts at change have failed and old vices have resurfaced time and time again. Dublin has developed in leaps and bounds, but perhaps Dubliners themselves have become too complacent in their acceptance of social problems, asking too few questions so vital to progression. Lowe, through her work for ANU productions, has begun a dialogue and is confronting complacency in a most dramatic manner. For the director questioning and understanding are essential if we as a society want to develop. As she aptly concludes: “I suppose I’m just tired of society avoiding places and avoiding people, and I suppose it’s my tiny effort to start conversations.”
Richard Saul Wurman After addressing the L&H, Richard Saul Wurman spoke to Killian Woods about TED Talks, WWW and failure
n architect by trade and recipient of the 2012 Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award, Richard Saul Wurman now describes himself as “gainfully unemployed” and in his journey to understand the inner workings of whatever tickles his fancy, has managed to turn his gainful unemployment into a full-time occupation. For 13 years, Wurman practised architecture at his own firm until he was drawn to investigating the complex intricacies of topics that interest him. Wurman realised that everything he knew was told to him by someone else and he hadn’t discovered or worked out anything for himself. He began to ask himself questions about the simple facets of life and these questions manifested into 83 books on broad range of topics, from sports to healthcare and guidebooks to cartography. Elaborating on his reasons for writing, it is evident that his passion doesn’t lie in the topic, but in understanding: “I do a book for the opposite reason that most of you are studying or most of you think somebody does a book. And that is, that they all come from my ignorance and curiosity. I do a project because I don’t understand a subject. A journey from not understanding, from not knowing to knowing, is what I put between the covers of my book or project.” The motivations behind Wurman’s books correlates to his frustration that there is too much information in the world that is both indecipherable and inaccessible at the same time. He cites the “big data” provided by the Google search engine as the essence of this problem. “There are 300, 400, 500,000 citations of me on Google. If there are roughly 10 or 11 citations on each page, then there are 30- 50,000 pages. That’s ridiculous because you’re not going to go past the first page. They are not organised in a fashion that you can search. “It can’t show you the latest thing, the best thing, organise by the books I’ve done or by the conferences. You can’t find your way through it. It’s junk, all junk, big data. But we think we should understand so we have
information anxiety because it’s that gap between what we can really understand, which is very little, and what we actually understand. Learning is truly remembering what you’re interested in.” Understanding is power to Wurman, and his ability for deep visceral understanding is what makes him such an interesting personality. When he speaks about TED Talks, he clearly struggles to identify with the organisation today and is adamant that it has lost its vision. “TED was a hobby; that wasn’t my life. And I certainly don’t identify with the TED Conferences. In the 1980s, due to work I spent a lot of time on airplanes speaking to people and the only interesting people were those in the technology, entertainment and design industries. Everyone else was so boring. “These people did not realise that they were in the same business. None of these three professions could do anything without the help of the other two. So, I created a clever name, TED (Technology, Entertainment , Design), and invited interesting people like Steve Jobs who brought along the first Apple Macintosh and Herbie Hancock, the jazz pianist who composed a piece of music on the computer for the first time.” However, TED to Wurman was not just about speakers explaining their
people use them to put a piece of paper down so they can read to you. Speakers shouldn’t read to you. So I subtracted that because I didn’t want them reading speeches and wanted them vulnerable.” Like most of his projects, Wurman got bored of TED Conferences and admits: “If I was to go back in my life, I would not have done as many TED Talks conferences; 18 of those, I should have probably done in five”. However, he still enjoys organising such events, like his upcoming Prophesy conferences, to be held over five sequential Mondays in 2013, and
When he speaks about TED Talks, he clearly struggles to identify with the organisation today and is adamant that it has lost its vision ideas, it was a revolutionary format of speeches that exposed the individual and made them embrace their vulnerability on stage. “Innovation can be done by subtraction or addition, like an iPhone. The iPhone is not an invention; it is a combination of different inventions. TED was innovation by subtraction. “When I did the first TED in 1984, I subtracted lecterns because their role is to protect your groin and make you feel less vulnerable and because
his latest event WWW held in early September. For WWW, he subtracted even more cues, limiting the opportunity for speakers by taking away the presentation screen and placing them in a typical conversation situation on a stage. But, most of all, he subtracted time. “I put two small couches close together on a stage and invited extraordinary people that I know. Many of them didn’t know each other and they just faced each other, not the
crowd. I opened the conference by saying: ‘Welcome to the great leap backwards. This whole conference could have taken place 2,500 years ago in Greece with Aristotle and Plato talking.’ “There were no rules. They spoke for 18 minutes, five minutes, an hour. There was no schedule. I was the schedule. I sat in on conversations and when I got bored told them to move on. It was improvisation, intellectual jazz.” Wurman’s sophisticated concepts are difficult to describe and writing a piece on his ideas is sort of an injustice. After his talk at the L&H Society he is quick to ask: “Was the event was okay? Did it go well?” Even for a man who claims to have embraced that he can be socially unacceptable, does seem to worry if he has gotten his message across. Although he doesn’t normally field questions from an audience, he commented at being particularly stimulated by his “failure to explain a concept” to an audience member and said he would reflect on that “failure”. Wurman shows no signs of stemming his passionate drive to understand different aspects of life and society. This motivation is summed up by his parting message. “At 77 years of age, it is not particularly interesting for me to do something again, because I’m going to die. It’s not interesting to do something better, it’s interesting to discover a different path.”
With the dawn setting upon their new album, Stephen Connolly learns of Animal Collective’s humble beginnings and gets to grips with the concepts behind Centipede Hz
o some, they are one of modern music’s only innovators, combatants hacking through today’s hordes of banality to a 67/9 time signature. To others they are purveyors of shallow introspective noodling, fit only to accompany the organically-sourced patisserie experience. Irrespective as to what opinion you may have, one thing is certain: Animal Collective are popular, whether they care or not. All your friends will insert the group’s name into conversation, often where appropriate, and what’s more, they hold the unwavering, twinkle-eyed approval of the influential Pitchfork Media. That omnipresent overseeing deity of modern alternative music, Pitchfork is a God that both giveth and taketh away, with an omnipotence, the malice of which has not been witnessed since the Old Testament. Three of their albums hold a 9.0 rating or higher on the site, the remaining six huddling around the prestigious 8.0 mark. What are they doing right? Brian Weitz is the one with the opulent beard behind a teetering bank of keyboards, lit solely by the miner’s headlamp he has become famous for. Weitz, Josh Dibb and David Portner (better known as ‘Deakin’ and ‘Avey Tare’ to fans, respectively) attended the same Park School high school in Baltimore, later meeting Noah Lennox, or ‘Panda Bear’, to form Animal Collective. Sales of AA batteries have never dipped since. Sales of Brian Weitz, or ‘Geologist’ to give his baffling title, one allegedly gained due to a misunderstanding during his college years, busies himself with being both acting manager and, more mysteriously, ‘electronics’ in Animal Collective, a job description on which he elaborated: “There are melodies there in our music, you know, traditional instrumentation and such… but we always like the songs to be a bit more environmental, more visual and textural, I guess. But not purely beats and synth. If you hear a weird sound on there, it might be me, stuff that I’ve probably done on my own, particularly in the interludes and kind of acts like a glue in the sonic world.’’ Despite
a husband and father. Despite this, the group tour relentlessly and have done so for over a decade. They are currently within a break in their busy tour schedule comprising dates in the United States and much of Europe, deigning even to pay our blighted island a visit this November. The ensemble have in fact recently expressed a certain reluctance to trot out their hits onstage; the jittering, freeform set comprised almost exclusively of-then unreleased material at Californian music festival Coachella in 2011 evoked both fury and admiration. “We’re more comfortable now than
be something that is a joy for us to play also. Some songs we don’t play simply because they don’t fit in with our new material. You want the entire set to be this cohesive thing.” From listening to Weitz, it seemed obvious that keeping the audience as amused as the band requires a balancing act. “We travel now with a large crew you see, with numerous video screens and some stage furniture and while we realise we aren’t the most exciting people on stage and that we don’t really like stage banter, our set is still very high tech and as a consequence we generally can’t really move far from our places on the stage for too long. If we’re going to keep people amused there needs to be something there, perhaps visually stimulating, so we’re always trying to make it more fun. I guess that’s the most significant way in which our live act has evolved over the years.” “On the other hand, we knew [this record] was a reaction to the live performance experience of Merriweather. In the end, while the songs were fresh and fun to play live, by the end of our third year playing them live we knew the songs and equipment very well. There was a massive amount of samplers and backing tracks and perhaps the performances weren’t that physical. Once we didn’t have anywhere to go and we had felt we had improvised over the songs and stretched [them] out as far as they could go, they weren’t as fun; we need to feel some kind of danger. We decided that if we were going to embark on a another record cycle where we write a record and tour the songs for a couple of years they ought to be fun, more challenging and high energy no matter how many times we play, written in such a way that would have an element of physicality to their execution that would always be challenging and high-energy, and that’s more evident with the latest album. To help that we got together right from the very beginning of the creative process with these songs, together in one room writing them, rather than sharing ideas by email correspondence.’’ ‘Energy’ comes easier to some than others, however. The citadel of KAOSS pads, samplers, Moogs synthesisers, guitar pedals, sequencers, and vocal effects processors, required to reproduce the cha-
We always try to streamline and be a bit more minimal and it’s a constant battle with ourselves- everyone would like their parts to be louder. Everyone’s part sounds loudest to them live, and when it comes to replicating what they hear on a record …it’s hard his relative humility, you could say the eccentric ‘textures’ he colours the songs with are one of Animal Collective’s hallmark features. Quite unlike the average denizen of a psychedelic electronic group, Weitz is in the decidedly stable position of holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Science, along with a Masters degree in Public Administration in Environmental Policy from Columbia University, as well as being
we used to be, to acknowledge that we’ve a duty to include more of our older songs for the audience. Sometimes however with new material we’re eager to show off where our band is going next. We struggle to not feel as if we’re pandering to the audience, as that wouldn’t be fair to them either. I wouldn’t say it’s status abuse. With some songs like ‘Fireworks’, it took us forever to got tired of that song, four or five years at least, so it needs to
otic arrangements heard on Animal Collective’s records ensure that their set list becomes a rather static affair: “It’s always been a sort of struggle with us, always struggling to be more versatile live, but increasingly we’ve found our sets becoming more high tech; we used to be better at being able to switch about our set lists. We can’t really pick up a guitar and [spontaneously] launch into one of our songs, and if we don’t have a certain piece of
equipment to hand we can’t play certain songs, which is certainly frustrating.’’ The collection of debutante songs aired at Coachella were in fact previews of the group’s latest release Centipede Hz, their first proper album since 2009’s breakthrough, Merriweather Post Pavillion, not counting 2010’s deranged soundscape
and it’s a constant battle with ourselves. Everyone would like their parts to be louder. Everyone’s part sounds loudest to them live, and when it comes to replicating what they hear on a record …it’s hard.” Music is so readily obtained today, and so easily and freely encountered and shared. Surely when a stream of a new album can be as easily switched
noise, you’d hear these distorted noise sections and we were also into movie soundtracks and movie sound design. I don’t know what drives someone to sound like that, but we were trying to find music that combined these elements, and we couldn’t find it anywhere. We decided to make it ourselves.” As the conversation wore on, the brittle micro-
To be honest, we never expected a lot of people to like our music anyway. It’s never been about this urge to gain people’s approval Transverse Temporal Gyrus, which was, in Weitz’s words, “never really intended for a release, I mean it lasts six hours…” When circulated by the media and group alike around its early September release Centipede Hz sported such cautionary taglines as “difficult”, “dense” and our favourite, “hard to swallow”, perhaps to be expected when members of your band outline the concept to be “an alien band from another planet sampling certain sounds from Earth.” Are such labels justified or just lazy? “Well I don’t argue about difficulty, but it’s certainly dense. Hard to swallow is subjective, and I think that was Josh; he wasn’t around for Merriweather. I think he was conscious of it being a hit, and this isn’t as immediate as he was preparing himself for. It’s hard for us to realise this. You see when I listen to it, it all makes perfect sense; [it’s] not hard to follow at all. But I’ve listened to others and I guess I have to acknowledge now that it must be... But it’s dense, certainly. Everyone in the band has ideas, and we try and cram as many in as possible. When you know all of those ideas there, sometimes it’s easy to fool yourself that it’s very obvious and translatable to the listener. It’s always something that’s a part of Animal Collective. We always try to streamline and be a bit more minimal
off as on, and entire songs skipped on the basis of an unwieldy initial seconds, music that in any way lacks in immediacy risks being overlooked in an age of demanding consumer habits? “Yes,” Weitz admits. “But it’s a worry you’d have with any record. I listen to records online for 30 seconds, and it could even be something very poppy and if it’s not what I’m in the mood for, I’ll skip ahead too, everyone does it. I think there are a lot of positives to the way music is distributed nowadays, mainly in the way it has affected listening habits, especially mine. To be honest, we never expected a lot of people to like our music anyway. It’s never been about this urge to gain people’s approval.” As one attempts to follow the contorted time signatures and discern the myriad of garbled melodies intertwined on Animal Collective’s latest record, and indeed their entire catalogue, it’s difficult not to remark at the sheer complexity of the music they have composed. What drives them to make things so difficult? “Well we were in band that was traditional, when we started when we were 15 with you know, bass, drums and a singer. We covered Pavement songs and sounded like Pavement, listening to The Grateful Dead and early Pink Floyd, even Syd Barrett records, but even sometimes on Pavement’s records you had some sort of strange
waves relaying it began to lose their way, disheartened by the inclement weather or perhaps just not fans of neo-psychadelia, and failed to carry Weitz’s placid musings on electronic sampling any longer. It became clear that adieu must be bid as the conversation began to bear a resemblance to the new album. Where will we find Animal Collective after another three years however? The group’s principal songwriter, David Porter, remarked, rather eloquently, that Merriweather Post Pavilion, had the overall feel of passively gazing at the stars, whereas Centipede Hz, feels like hurtling towards the stars in a spaceship. Following this pattern of increasing astral proximity we look forward to the next record delivering a kaleidoscopic account of nuclear fusion at five thousand degrees Celsius. What’s obvious to us however is that Animal Collective intend to press on in their intrepid journey into the obscure for the foreseeable future, glancing only occasionally into the rear view mirror to see who’s following them.
Animal Collective play Vicar Street on November 6th. Centipede Hz is out now.
Following the release of her new record, Ladyhawke talks fears, world tours and roadies with Evan O’Quigley
adyhawke is happy, and feel it was the worst show I’ve ever elaborates. “That I’ve had the same anxious before I play. [I can be] anxthere should be no sur- done, and my band will say, ‘Oh my band, same tour manager, same road- ious on a treadmill, anxious in the stuprise as to why. Her latest god that was the best show we’ve ever ie. I love that familiarity. It’s comfort- dio, and particularly anxious making album Anxiety, released in done.’ So it’s weird, I really do notice ing for me, like a support. They all get the second record. I’m not anxious all May, has opened to posi- people in the audience and it really a chance to know me very well. We’re the time, but I do have my moments.” tive reactions across the globe, and shows sometimes.” never shocked or surprised by anyAnxiety, while still being a pop she has been touring worldwide since It may also be for this reason that thing we see, because we’ve all known record, is darker and more rock-inApril. she finds it difficult to write while on each other for so long.” It is the pres- fluenced than her self-titled debut alThis is a relief, as the last time tour. “[On tour] I can’t really think ence of these familiar people, which bum. Brown however, is at odds with Ladyhawke, born Pip Brown, toured, about writing at all. The last tour was have allowed Brown to go on exten- the general perception of the public feelings of anxiety and nervous- a big American tour, and I do feel that sive tours, despite the omnipresent as to what constitutes pop music. ness began to crop up. “After that gave me a big injection of creativity. I feelings of anxiety and discomfort “I’ve always looked at pop-music as first record, I toured for two years. felt really inspired to write, like I was that touring creates for her. being really anything that is catchy. When I finished touring, when the ready to continue to be creative. That Despite this apparent anxiousness Metal can be pop. Metallica can be whole cycle was over, it was 2010. didn’t happen after the first record, on stage, she also feels that there are pop, for example. Some of them are It was quite a long time of super catchy, even though touring. When I finished, I it’s metal. Nirvana is a was so exhausted and I felt great example of a grunge I can be very anxious before I play, basically or all the time, band that is also pop. Kurt like any music was not going to happen. I felt a bit was obsessed anxious on a treadmill, anxious in the studio, and particu- Cobain brain dead, and I went back with pop like Abba and larly anxious making the second record to new Zealand, hung out The Beatles, and it’s rewith my family, and decided ally reflected in his song not to go straight back to a writing. His songs are acnew record. I couldn’t even pick up where I was very uninspired.” many positive aspects to going on the cessible to everyone because they are a guitar at that point, I was so tired For Brown, song writing has to road. “I have a lot of fun all the time catchy, and catch emotions, and strike I needed to take a massive step back come naturally, or nothing will come … You get to see the world, especially a nerve. Pop music can cross a broad from everything, and hang out with of it. “I really try when I have these if you tour around America. You drive spectrum of genres. The hook that apthe family. Once I got started on the moments of being happy and excited, for the whole thing, so you get to see peals to people, I’ve always thought as record, I got a flow going.” because you don’t always feel like all the landscape; you get to see all pop music”. Yet Brown still has mixed feeling that. So I take advantage of it when I these little backward towns. That’s Listening to her latest record, it about touring, explaining: “I get quite can,” she explains. the one part of touring I really enjoy, is clear that Ladyhawke is breaking bad stage-fright, depending on where This is part of the reason why seeing all the different places, and ground in pop music, combining inI am, and how nervous I am before Ladyhawke has toured with the same collecting fridge magnets from every fluences from vastly different genres, a show. I always, before a show, look band for the past five years, using the tour,” she laughs. whilst dealing with her own anxiety out, and if I’m nervous I’ll focus on same co-songwriter, Pascal Gabriel, It is this nervousness on stage that issues. One can only hope that she someone in the back whose texting, whose home-studio she uses in pref- her new record derives its title from; continues to channel these difficulties or not listening, and think ‘Oh my erence to large studios which she de- the appropriately named Anxiety into creating an exciting and inspiring god, he’s not enjoying himself,’ and I scribes as “too intimidating,”. Instead deals with feelings that Brown en- new kind of music. get really bummed out about it. It’s preferring her home surroundings as counters all too often. “I decided to all in my head though, it’s not even her “ideal scenario.” call it Anxiety, because it’s sort of me Ladyhawke plays the Academy, Dublin, real. Sometimes I’ll play a show and “That’s a huge thing for me,” she poking fun of it myself. I can be very on November 6th. Anxiety is out now.
hen introducing yourself to one half of the most exciting, new electronic music duos today, it’s never a good omen to be welcomed with a deafening silence on the other end of the phone. Luckily it was a telephone’s mute button and not the personal introduction that was the problem. This time speaking to Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick is as easy going as the music he and his fellow band member, Megan James, create. Originally from Montreal, this Canadian duo are currently riding the tidal wave of innovative, animated and youthful artists crashing into today’s music scene. Beginning his musical career in the band Gobble Gobble, Roddick began to experiment more and more with his own ideas whilst touring with the band: “I continued to play with the band for about three years, and then through that time I started to write some of my own music on the side. Eventually when some of that started to take form I got in touch with Megan and asked whether she’d be interested in singing over it.” And thus Purity Ring was formed. Despite his reluctance to elaborate on the band’s interesting name (supposedly chastity doesn’t actually have relevance), from a young age, Roddick was always aware of his musical interest, and upon branching out from the band unit of Gobble Gobble was more than happy “to be involved in a new project where it felt I was really one of the main writing forces behind it.” Along with such musicians as Grimes and Nicholas Jaar, Purity Ring are falling into a new category of music, under the guise of ‘witch house’ and ‘dream pop’. Without much explanation of those somewhat foreign ‘genres’, it only takes one listen to their debut album Shrines before you realise these are the perfect descriptions for their music. Purity Ring struggle when it comes to defining their genre themselves. “We make some kind of pop music. It’s like when people hear something that’s unfamiliar to them, they automatically have to try and tear out what it is. I think that’s kind of unnecessary, just let it be what it is. I try to avoid that kind of thing and just make and listen to the music that I like.” From their sound to their live performance, Purity Ring exhibit an aura of mystery about them. They’re very much something new, and this veil is exactly what makes the pair so appealing. With both audio and visual features of the band working together, it’s no doubt that their live shows are not your usual drum and vocal coupling, most notably in the custom-built, tree-shaped device
As the cloud of mystery fades, the elusive Purity Ring chats to Rebekah Rennick about tree-shaped instruments and where that name really came from
Roddick bangs at during their set. He explains: “The idea was that we wanted a way to perform the main parts of the songs, like the main melodies and stuff like that. And I’m very much a drummer, and not a keyboard player, so I’m just more comfortable being on stage and hitting things. The idea was to create an instrument I could play percussively and also have it be a strong visual so the crowd could connect and watch and understand what is going on.” The most refreshing thing about Purity Ring is not only their youthfulness, but the depth of emotion and general swag oozing from their debut. From the haunting lyrical flutters of James’s vocals on opener ‘Crawlersout’ to Roddick’s instrumental cushioning enveloping you all the way to closing track ‘Shuck’, one would wondered whether they anticipated the abundance of praise coming their way from NME to Pitchfork. “You can’t really expect that sort of thing because I think if you are expecting it, that’s a bad place to be.
I think you just have to be content with it yourself and then once you’re content with it, and believe it’s really something you wanted to do, it doesn’t really matter what critics think or anything. But obviously good reviews are very welcome!” However, has anything changed since signing up with newly resurrected label 4AD? Has the pen-to-paper deal altered the autonomous musical license they had for this album? “We’re still very much in control. They’re an incredible label because they have a lot of people working for them, and know exactly what they’re doing but they very much let us be ourselves and anything we want to do or don’t want to do, they won’t stop us.” Possessing a sound that resembles only a small minority of artists before them, it’s difficult to know what type of music influenced James and Roddick growing up. “I definitely went through numerous phases, of course I had a classic rock phase,” he admits with a hint of regret in
his voice. “But once I got to the age of about 13/14, I got really into Radiohead and Bjork, Sigur Ros. They’re still my favourite artists, and love everything they’ve done but I’m kind of more interested in pop music now, that’s what influenced the record more, just how to make everything sound more immediate and ear catching.” And without any hesitance, Roddick assures me Jay-Z would be his dream collaborator, as if that was the obvious choice. With six months of touring pencilled in and an album more like a collage of euphoric beats, Purity Ring are on track to becoming a steadfast competitor in the irrefutable race of musical integrity. With a bid farewell to Roddick, with no other telephone mishaps disturbing our chat, it’s very difficult not to believe that statement.
Purity Rings album Shrines is out now, they play The Button Factory on November 29th.
LABRINTH Ahead of his Dublin show, Labrinth takes some time out to speak to Edward Kearns about globe-trotting and genre-hopping
abrinth is the new breed of pop artist, a one-man production line; writing, producing, performing and helping to release hit songs, both for his own and those by other artists. Working with the likes of Tinie Tempah, Professor Green, Wretch 32 and Emeli Sandé, his curriculum vitae is as broad and varied as his musical style. Despite this, he has no plans to stop anytime soon. “The thing is, I’ve got so much stuff in me, so I don’t think I’m going to stop for a while, so people can expect to hear loads of different sounds from me. Hopefully, eventually we’ll get to a place where people are like ‘That’s just Lab, he does what the fuck he wants, man’. That’s where I want to be at.” With his own album Electronic Earth, released last March, proving to be an instant success, his widespread appeal he determines is down to his courage and through following his instincts: “It definitely helps to be brave.” The album features songs that explore a wide range of genres from sweet, melodic pop ballads to dubstep-influenced club bangers like ‘Earthquake’. Labrinth’s love of electronic dance music shows through in his material, but he maintains that he is “more of a dance-music-with-song type of guy.” He wants to give his audience something to sing along to, and he takes a traditional approach to the craft of song writing, down to the instruments he uses. “I’d rather guitar
first. Guitar, piano…you know some days I’m a bit of a schizophrenic creator, like you know, the way I make music. One day I’ll be like ‘I wanna make just loads of musical songs’ and I would get on my guitar or piano and just write something like that. And then another day I’ll be like ‘I wanna make some futuristic crazy kind of beats.’ So it just varies every once in a while, man.” Labrinth is a man with got oldschool credentials. Some listeners assume that his take on ‘Express Yourself’ is an N.W.A. reference, but he reveals that it was much more influenced by the song’s 1970s progenitor, Charles Wright. “I like a lot of old-
clothing, I crowd-surfed, had some crazy little guitar solos in the middle, so it was all mad fun, man.” He’s sold out quite a few of the shows already, which has been quite exciting for him. “We’re sold out in Bournemouth, we sold out in Bristol last night as well. Basically, me and my team, after every sold-out gig we like to have a cocktail, so I’m going to be an alcoholic by the end of this tour.” The music industry has changed a lot since the heyday of these artists. People don’t rush to buy CDs, or records for that matter, as they used to, so artists need to diversify and find new business models to be success-
After every sold-out gig we like to have a cocktail, so I’m going to be an alcoholic by the end of this tour school funk, and like, Commodores, some of their funk was sick. Earth, Wind and Fire, that kind of stuff. And I think, of course, Charles Wright is loads more old-school than them, he’s more in the James Brown days, but I definitely have a love for funk.” After a whirlwind visit to Australia and New Zealand for the Parklife festival tour, he’s straight back in the UK and Ireland with his own headlining tour, and if his summary of the opening night in Bristol is anything to go by, it appears to be going quite well. “It was sick. I lost a few pieces of my
ful. Labrinth has harnessed his success to branch out into the label side of the industry, starting with his own imprint, Odd Child. “I’ve got two artists called Raf Riley and Etta Bond, and they’ve got a group called Emergency Room together. And yeah, they’re doing amazing. They’re on the tour with us right now so I’m really happy about that. I’m able to take some of my own artists and push them forward, and then using my tour as well, I’m giving them the kind of recognition that they might not be able to get on their own.”
Labrinth is also in tune with the importance of social media. “I think it’s really important for your fans to be able to connect with you. I think every artist finds it quite difficult to be able to do that all the time, you have to be like constantly on your phone, constantly texting and being on Twitter. But at the same time, for me it’s like a relationship, it’s like having a girlfriend. You want to make sure she knows you’re alright; you want to make sure if she’s not with you on tour, she’s able to see what’s going on. And that’s how I feel with my fans anyway; it’s a relationship. You’ve got to make sure that that connection is constant, so that’s what you’re allowed to do on Twitter and Facebook and stuff like that.” So he keeps composing, touring, texting, singing. “I need to do it myself,” he says. “I’m just going to go wherever my heart takes me, man. Whether that’s going to make me a very successful artist I don’t know, but as long as I’m being as honest as I can be, hopefully my fans will respect me for that, man.” Labrinth rolls into Dublin at the end of this month, and he’s already anticipating it. “I love Dublin,” he says, “Love Dublin, love Belfast, I’ve got cousins in Belfast and Cork, so yeah it’s a family affair over in Ireland.” Labrinth plays The Academy on October 30th. His album Electronic Earth is out now.
Two Door Cinema Club Two Door Cinema Club talk touring, mother’s pride and dinner with Emily Mullen
his year has been a mammoth one for stay grounded for a long time. The band’s touring travelling can be tough sometimes but at the end of Two Door Cinema Club, from circum- schedule is gruelling to say the least; days off have the day, we get to this, so it balances it out. It was venting the world on tour, to watching become few and far between for the threesome. just a sort of learning experience on how to deal their new album Beacon rise to the Yet, while it may be non-stop, the thrill of touring with each other. Like we spend every day together number one album spot at home and has yet to fade: “We still find it exciting,” explains and then we came off tour and we decided to live abroad. If nothing else, it’s clear this threesome Sam Halliday, the band’s guitarist. “The schedule together, write together every day while attempting from Bangor, County Down have been very busy is pretty crazy, we’re here for about six weeks, and to not kill each other!” boys. we’ve done just over three now. So we are starting Despite the strain that touring exerts on both Catching up with them in the middle of their to get on each other’s nerves and things and there’s their relationships and their album production, Pan-American tour, with a dodgy phone line and not too many days off, so yeah we are looking for- the touring before Beacon certainly helped the band what seems like a never ending stream of police ward to our next day off, which is in Vancouver.” formulate ideas: “I think it was good that the tour sirens blaring in the background may be part and This constant touring has given the band an went on for so long, because it gave us so much to parcel of perils of interviewing world-renowned unusual day to day routine, with simple tasks like write about and because we had starved ourselves musicians, yet Two Door Cinema Club shy away sitting down at a table for dinner, or doing the of that creative process for so long, it just crystalfrom any notions of grandeur: “We lised our ideas and helped us to unare trying to prove that we are cool. We are trying to prove that we are cool. We’re just derstand what we wanted Beacon We’re just like everybody else!” to be.” like everybody else! This was certainly clear during Touring for Two Door Cinema the patchy conversation. The boys’ Clubs seems to be a necessary elehumbleness is painfully evident ment of the writing process, using throughout. For them success is making their washing, holding a certain reverence with them: the tumult and conflict that it creates as musimothers proud. They even find themselves hoping “We’ve got to do things like that, go back to basics cal ammunition. Whereas most write of love and that their crew don’t think that they’re becoming to sit down have a simple meal together as a band, heartbreak, these guys draw on what they know, divas because of their fame, something that can’t to keep things normal.” and what they have experienced over their months be said for every band today. The effects of touring have impacted on a lot on the road. Indeed fame is something that has not had any more than the band’s routines. Constantly on the There is something very poignant about their overbearing effects upon the boys, perhaps due to road and in tight quarters with one another for new album, with another dimension being added their crew keeping them in check, although the weeks on end have played a roll in their music and to their otherwise standardised indie-rock sound. band attribute this to not paying any attention to relationships with each other. “The writing this They have worked hard for what they are now media hype: “We are sort of in our own little world time around was different, with the first record it enjoying, and though the only difference success on tour, people are like ‘uh, you’s are skighting was a case of we’d written songs over a few years makes to them is a bigger bus and not having to around the place’ but no, we are just on our bus. and we picked the best ones and put them on a have “McDonalds three times a day.” Let’s just hope We do a show and then we move on. We were in record and with this one we hadn’t really written a that they continue to avert their eyes from magaNew York, doing promos the first week we were lot in the two years we’d been touring and we were zine articles and turn the television off when they here, and we didn’t stick around to see our promo in our own little touring world. see themselves. work in the physical form, you know see ourselves “We only had three songs and we had to lock in magazines or watch the television shows or any- ourselves away in a house together and write for thing like that, we just do the stuff and move on.” a few months. So I think it was more not really the If keeping busy distracts a band from the allure album revealed I think it was more about how we Two Door Cinema Club play the O2 Arena, Dublin on of fame, then Two Door Cinema Club are set to all appreciate how much you miss people and how January 19th. Their latest album, Beacon, is out now.
mixtape ‘TRICK OR GET SICK’
Halloween is a time when inhibitions are disguised behind bouffants of strange hair, slag costumes and potent rum. Emily Mullen has lovingly carved out a mix tape which you should listen to before you lose your inhibitions inside that morph suit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ – One Direction Such a melodious bunch of unbroken voices singing the lines ‘Don’t need make-up, to cover up’, ‘Your turning heads when you walk in the door’, ‘If only you could see what I can see’ and ‘Everyone else in the room can see it’. See what? Has the Black Swan YouTube make-up tutorial made you look less like Natalie Portman and more like a badger in a skunk costume? ‘It’s What’s Inside That Counts’ – The Mighty Boosh When Howard sings the lines ‘It’s not the peel it’s the orange’, and Vince chimes in with ‘It’s what’s inside that counts. It’s not the jacket it’s the tater’ it makes you feel instantly better about your decision to make your Halloween costume with the help of a glue gun and some tinsel, and not go the slag route of buying them online. Sure ‘It’s not the crust it’s the filling’, that’s more important on Halloween night, right? ‘Devil in Disguise’ – Elvis Elvis has his finger on the musical pulse, even in death, if that’s possible with the evident lack of a pulse? ‘Look like an angel, walk like an angel, talk like an angel, but you’re the devil in disguise’ are wise lyrical words. Elvis was perhaps not talking about the abundance of slags in angel costumes on Halloween night though.
‘This is Halloween’ - Marilyn Manson A Halloween mix tape is incomplete without its spoonful of Manson, the mere thoughts of him is enough to make the more temperamental of students’ skin crawl and their blood to turn rancid. The perfect accompaniment to any Halloween costume. ‘Fireworks’ – Katie Perry ‘Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?’ If this song has taught us anything, it is that to succeed in life you must disguise your plastic bagness and transform yourself into a firework. Just like Katy Perry has developed a mysterious penchant for candied California Girls and nipple tassels, you too can disguise your personality behind Halloween props. ‘Bonfire’- Childish Gambino This hallowed eve why not start a ‘bonfire, burn the lights out, I’m burning everything you motherfuckers talk about’. That’s a lyric. I’m not encouraging you to burn down Newman before the midterm essays are due. Or am I? Out of interest have you ever heard of a concept called subliminal messages? ‘Firewater’ – Django Django So many firewaters will be consumed on Halloween night, that an abundance of firevomits and subsequent firecollapses will occur. Django Django were onto a winner with that allusion.
Heathers Hello everyone, So our last article left off around the end of our Irish tour and we’ve been quite busy since. We’ve been doing a lot of songwriting which has been nice! This time last year we were living in London recording our album Kingdom so it’s good to be home this autumn. We haven’t done a huge amount of writing since then so it’s great to have time for it now. And making it even more interesting is the fact that we’re not just writing for ourselves. The publishing deal we have means we get to write for other artists and that brings with it its own challenges, but it’s also a lot of fun! We played on RTÉ’s radio show South Wind Blows this week. We had such a lovely night. It had a very Jools Holland feel to it and we got to play alongside some very talented musicians such as Damien Dempsey, Delorentos, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Ed Romanoff and SOAK. Still haven’t bumped into Gay Byrne, but one can wish. If you feel like checking out any of these bands, you definitely should! Our wonderful band-mates Tom and Boomer are returning to Ireland this week for some practising and music-ing. We’ll be getting set for some dates in December which we’ll be announcing over the next few weeks. Very exciting! Most importantly, Hallowe’en is approaching. Our most hated and loved time of year. This year we’ve decided to go all out. It’s either going to be Tia and Tamara of Sister Sister or Cilla Black and Cilla Black of Blind Date. We tend to stay indoors on the night itself as Louise has an irrational fear of bonfires but we may just venture out this year. After hearing that the County Council decided last year to give estates daffodil bulbs if they agree to leave the bonfires out of it, I think it’s about time to greet the holiday with open arms. I’d like to take this moment to recall something which our school principal used to say to us every Halloween in primary school. Please be safe, don’t get blown up by fireworks and don’t jump into any bonfires! Until next time, Ellie and Louise xxx
album REVIEWS Balthazar - Rats Grade: B
Balthazar have emerged from Belgium with a belter of a second album. They may sound obscure, but these guys have serious game. Rats is as smart, focused and sonically appealing as any indie-pop album you’re likely to hear this year. They set the tone with the smooth opener, ‘Oldest of Sisters’, featuring jazzy drums, group vocal harmonies and horns. Yes, you read that right; actual horns, an addition that surprisingly works. ‘Later’ rolls along with a propulsive bass line, while the band gets spooky on the more down-tempo ‘The Man Who Owns the Place’, revelling in gin-soaked imagery of love and madness, set against creeping atmospheric strings. If you can imagine Bon Iver with Phil Selway on the drums and Nick Cave singing, you’ll be somewhere on the right track. Despite all the echoing acoustic guitars and cigarette-ravaged vocals, the songs do follow the accepted verse-chorus-verse pop song structure, aside from the ambitious instrumental section on ‘Any Suggestion’. This simple pop format allows the band freedom to experiment whilst still remaining in the accessible pop framework. Indeed, one of the best things about this album is the band’s ability to have fun and experiment at the same time; ‘Do Not Claim Them Anymore’ talks about “twisted fear” over a bouncy beat. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and this makes listening to Rats an even more enjoyable experience. In a Nutshell: Fun and richly textured, Balthazar deserve a bit more recognition. By Edward Kearns
Errors - New Relics Grade: C+
Errors’ New Relics is an album that is heavily indebted to the sound of the ‘80s, which could be indicative of an indie landscape currently consumed by nostalgia. As so many other indie darlings have mined the music of the ‘70s and the ‘90s for inspiration, Errors have derived their own interpretation from the left field sounds of ‘80s pop. Blurred, washed-out female vocals are set atop thick waves of synth on tracks like ‘Relics’ and ‘White Infinity’, which recall the heavily textured work of dream-pop luminaries the Cocteau Twins, whose lush sound reverberates throughout New Relics. ‘White Infinity’ is possibly the highlight of the album, building from solitary keyboard stabs and stuttering drums into a gorgeous soundscape of swooping vocals and elegiac guitar lines. The steady, relaxed pace of the songs creates a cinematic, melancholic feel to the music and lets the carefully constructed melodies breathe. Since most of the tracks here are almost identical in both construction and instrumentation, it is a testament to Errors’ skills as songwriters that the music rarely becomes monotonous. The real weak points of the album are the listless, burbling synth led instrumentals ‘Engine Homes’ and ‘Gros-Bon-Age’. ‘Hemlock’ is also a rather meandering affair that unsuccessfully sacrifices melody for texture. Despite these mishaps however, the absorbing, beautifully produced world of the title track‘New Relics’ rewards repeated listens, while the album as a whole offers a sound that is thoroughly different and often deeply affecting.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Grade: B+ The last release from Montreal’s giants of post-rock, Godspeed You! Black Emperor was 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O. After various side projects such as Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the band reformed and began touring again in 2010, raising expectations for any potential new release. The announcement of Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, their first new album in ten years was typically lowkey, with vinyl copies appearing on the merchandise table after a gig in Boston. In keeping with the tradition of the band’s previous albums, this record has few tracks, though what is there, is of considerable length. ‘Mladic’ is a strong, dramatic opener for the album with furious electric guitars played by Efrim Menuck, Mike Moya and David Bryant, and frantic drums by Bruce Cawdron in his last outing as the band’s drummer. ‘Their Helicopters’ Sing’ is a sinister song with some superb violin work by the exceptional Sophie
Trudeau. This is followed by ‘We Drift Like Worried Fire’, which opens with the soothingly hypnotic bass of Thierry Amar and Mauro Pezzante before the drums and guitars up the tempo and drive home a stunning conclusion. This album shows that even after ten years Godspeed You! Black Emperor haven’t lost their anger or intensity, and these songs rank alongside the best of F#A#∞ and Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada. In a Nutshell: Post-rock at its finest. By Steven Balbernie
In a Nutshell: Derivative, albeit frequently excellent synth-pop. By Jack McGarry
Club Night: Notorious
With the virus of chart music taking over more and more clubs, Notorious introduces some much needed hip-hop and R’n’B into the equation, writes Anna Burzlaff
h e n No t o r i o u s B.I.G. sang the wo r d s “ T h r ow your hands in da air, if you’s a big player,” it’s doubtful that he envisioned his lyrics being recited posthumously in Dublin’s Temple Bar. It’s also doubtful as to whether the east-coast rapper thought he would be the basis for an Irish club night’s name. However, strange as it may seem, B.I.G. and Dublin have undergone somewhat of a transatlantic union with the establishment of the new club night, Notorious. Taking place every Thursday in the Button Factory, Notorious is a weekly four-hour tribute to all things R’n’B and hip-hop. Katy Perry and The Script may hold the sway for the mainstream masses, but for those of us who know Snoop Dogg as more ‘Gin ‘n’ Juice’ and less ‘California Girls’, it can be hard finding a suitable club night. Notorious provides the ideal
outlet. This is the place where you can indeed, in the words of our homie Azealia Banks, “Kick it with ya bitch who come from Parisian.” Notorious is a night made out of love for the hip-hop genre, as founding member, Jamie Rath, attests: “More than
the venture. “With any club night, you have nights where you don’t have the crowd you wanted, essentially that there isn’t enough people in the club,” says Rath. “They’re kind of offputting for the reason that you kind of want to give-up.”
anything we love the music and that’s why we’re doing it.” Nonetheless good music does not always ensure a good night, and hiphop is not necessarily a genre one would regard as ingrained in Irish culture. Pulling people away from what they’re used to and trying to get them to try something new was perhaps the most difficult aspect of
Despite a slow start, Notorious has persevered and created a name for itself amongst the plethora of club nights Dublin has to offer. “We stuck at it and now we have a pumping night with great tunes, from my perspective, and a great crowd as well.” Hard work pays off, and Notorious now boasts a loyal following of hiphop veterans and recent converts
alike. The night is playing host to some of the fastest rising names in the genre such as the UK artist, Devlin, and Dublin native, Lethal Dialect, and has continuing aspirations to keep showcasing bigger and bigger talent. When Dead Prez shouted the words: “It’s bigger than hip hop, hip hop, hip hop, hip” they clearly had yet to attend Notorious, a night where hip-hop and R’n’B reign supreme. Whether you’re new to the genre or someone who still treasures their Destiny’s Child ‘04 World Tour t-shirt, Notorious is sure to provide a welcome break from other mainstreams events. Just try to remember while you’re bouncing to the beats of Jay-Z, that you are not in fact a rapper from Brooklyn, but a student who goes to UCD. Notorious takes place in the Button Factory every Thursday from 11pm.
THE DARK SPARKLY UNDERBELLY OF INTERNING
With the world of fashion interning being ubiquitous with hard work, long hours and bitchiness, Emily Mullen recounts her experience of working with one of Ireland’s leading designers
erhaps an overworked subject in fashion columns is the dark and gruesome underbelly of interning. For so many years we have been inundated with magazine articles recounting the horrific working conditions of so many interns. Books, films and an entire media whirlwind have swept up and presented the world with an idea of what fashion interning really is. This media portrayal is remarkably accurate; painting it as a bitchy, sluggish and altogether menial career, yet I entered into fashion interning with my eyes wide open, and with what I thought were my wits about me. I had watched The Devil Wears Prada, read countless accounts of traumatised fashion graduates, and still had not been phased by it. Fashion, I believed, was what I wanted to do with my life. Though it appeared to be evidently superficial and painfully narcissistic; for me, the rewards far outweighed the drawbacks. Such a bitter sweet realisation came upon me, when eventually after weeks of hounding design-
Although when I placed a receipt into the hand of my employer I expected to be paid back, in reality my funds were never actually remunerated. And although my days were supposed to begin at 10am and end at 5pm, and there was always an early morning and evening errand for me to run before I went home. Sure working alongside fine silks and princess satins was an incredible experience, but when you have to categorise upwards of 10,000 items, silk and satin lose their allure after about the 110th dress. So do fashion shows. Once you have witnessed the havoc that happens backstage; the model hissy fits, the mess and the shouting, fashion shows drift far from the spectacle of perfection that we are lead to believe, and become just merely a spectacle. Of course unpaid fashion internships happen, and their legality is frequently debated, yet it is a remarkably difficult feat to find a designer that has not thrown about the phrase ‘unpaid fashion internship’. The notion of a paid fashion internship sounds a bit redundant in my mind because you’d
ones who are perhaps not fully dedicated to centring their careers on fashion, naturally plummet to the bottom. This is an industry that’s all about drama and glamour and big egos, not entirely surprisingly; however, most interns still put in 80-hour weeks for free, and with pleasure. Unpaid work placements are the most common route into a competitive industry, yet the line between advantageous experience and unacceptable exploitation is often blurred. There seems to be a huge element of luck associated with interning, it’s random and that’s not fair. Work experience in the fashion industry is entirely unregulated, so the line between gaining knowledge and being treated unfairly is difficult to draw. Long hours are sometimes expected, and there is only so much you can learn from organising the stockroom and doing the coffee run. The whole experience was remarkably clichéd. Would there be an Anne Hathaway-like promotion waiting for me if I kept persevering or if I got a makeover? No promotion or debt repayment was
This media portrayal is remarkably accurate; painting it as a bitchy, sluggish and altogether menial ers with emails and phone calls, I was accepted to become an intern at the fashion bastion that is Brown Thomas. My internship with an Irish designer in Brown Thomas was not the glamorised position that you might imagine those shiny brass doors contain; it did not hold the key to my success as a designer but merely my morose understanding of what that success would take. Beginning at 7.30am sharp and ending the day at 9.30 in the evening, with some spontaneous ‘take a half hour off’ breaks; it was physically draining. I had errands such as taking couture dresses to exclusive dry cleaners, picking up ribbons, jewellery and shoes from shops halfway around the city. As I was expected to fit the bill for upfront, it was financially draining too.
be hard-pressed to find a fashion internship that wasn’t unpaid. Interns are indisputably a necessary part of this industry. Without them sequins would not be sewn, collections crafted or fashion shows shown. In many cases, the intern does learn useful skills and the experience can often help him or her land a job later on. But in some cases, young, impressionable college students are forced to spend those unpaid hours doing bizarre, traumatising and degrading things that have little if anything to do with the field in which they were hoping to gain some valuable experience in. Naturally interning is a steep learning curve and being thrown into the deep end of fashion does cause interns to sink or swim. The weak, or the
ever mentioned in my six months of interning, and when I eventually became fed up, there was a new, squeaky-clean version of me to take my place. I wished my replacement all the luck in the world. Perhaps she had what it takes to be a fashion intern, perhaps it is a question of sacrifice and the lengths to which some are willing to go in order to secure their dream job. Yet I was left with a niggling sense that this is more than just a question of perseverance, and that power and position are being used within an industry for somewhat exploitive gains. Maybe it’s not just about funds or physical resilience, perhaps there is a bigger question at hand, and perhaps it’s time we begin challenging the process instead of accepting it.
Fashionable First Impressions
Nicole wears: (all Penneys) Pink blouse: 18€ Grey skirt: 10€ Shoes: 15€ Claire wears: Peplum skirt: 35€ (A|wear) Black top: 40€ (A|wear) Pumps: 8€ (Penneys) Jacket- 25€ (Penneys)
Sophie Lioe ensures you make all the right first impressions as she walks you through how to dress for that important first interview
Purple blouse: 15€ (Penneys) Trousers: 40€ (A|wear)
Blouse: 40€ (A|wear) Skirt: as before Bag: model’s own
o you’ve managed to get yourself an interview for that dream job, or perhaps an internship. You may still be in shock that somehow your dodgy CV, most of which you wrote in sixth year in school, has fooled recruiters and bagged you that all-important interview. The only question now is what to wear. The working wardrobe is something which students aren’t exactly familiar with. When faced with the daunting prospect of having to actually speak in an interview, it’s important to ensure you’re feeling as confident as possible, and an appropriate outfit will work wonders to boost your selling power. For our male counterparts, dressing for interviews is that bit less cumbersome. For women, it is almost a minefield. Trouser suit? Pencil skirt? Heels or flats? The options are endless. Whether you’re going for a part-time job in retail or a traineeship in a top-shot law firm, your wardrobe choices don’t have to involve splashing the cash. If you happen to find yourself overwhelmed with job offers and multiple employers are scrambling to get a piece of you, buying just a few staple items can bring you straight from one interview to the other. Dressing for the work place doesn’t have to mean swapping your personal style for some kind of generic corporate nightmare. As long as you stick
Models: Nicole Crockford and Clare Murphy Photographer: Caoimhe Mc Donnell Stylist: Sophie Lioe
with certain formal pieces, you can play around with colour, texture and accessorising as much as you like. Firstly, get yourself a shirt in a nice chiffon-type material; the kind that are everywhere at the moment. Keep it super on trend by choosing one with an embellished collar, though be careful to tone down the embellishment according to where exactly you’re looking for a job. You don’t want to scare off your potential employer with lots of studs and spikes. Block colours are also a good idea, since the shirt material carries a level of elegance and formality, yet a solid colour will get you noticed and show off a hint of individuality. This can then be paired with anything from a simple high-waisted, knee-length skirt to a pair of cropped tailored trousers. Opting for separates when it comes to dressing professionally means it is easy to chop and change according to the formality of the job position. Jackets such as this classic Chanel-style one are great to add another level of formality to any outfit. Finish off the look with simple jewellery and a business-like bag. As for the question of heels, go with whatever you feel comfortable with; just try not to trip on your way in.
BEING A TREKKIE
’ve always found it surprising that I’ve never been a fan of Star Trek. Back in my more impressionable days, my pale and brittle physique combined with my crippling social anxieties made me the perfect candidate for their stereotypical demographic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve met tons of people who are either painfully ashamed or obnoxiously proud to have been raised by Star Trek. I felt it was finally time to give it a fair chance, and there was no better place than the hot ticket in London town, the Star Trek convention. I couldn’t bring myself to dress up in all the Star Trek garb, lest I caught sight of my reflection and was forced
The place was massive, hundreds if not thousands of overexcited men and women scuttling around from stall to stall, buying everything from those little badges that the people wear on the show to some other stuff that was probably also from the show. One of the more interesting features was a replica of the set of one of the series Starships where you could get your photo taken, allowing you to sit in the captain’s chair and briefly imagine you’re employed. Another draw was the huge amounts of cast members that you could get autographs from and take pictures with, such as everyone’s favourite character, that lizard guy that William Shatner fights briefly in one episode.
man to sign a picture of his own face. But these weren’t just any men, so I was told. These were ‘The Captains’, who it turns out are the equivalent of multiple reincarnations of Christ, if Christ charged £30 for an autograph. It seems this was the big draw of the convention. It was the first time that all five of the Captains from the various series were gathered together in the history of ever. Well, in Europe. But it was still quite an exciting event, if you’re into that sort of thing, which (if you’ve been following) I wasn’t. Having said that, regardless of how Star Trek illiterate I may be, even I recognised the bald, proud head of a stylishly dressed Patrick Stewart. Though I was dismissive of these
upon me my very own phaser. Then I would be crowned the new Captain, given my very own Starship, and be led to the convention stage. I would become this nerd convention’s new Messiah; I would be the one signing little pictures of my face. With trepidation I approached his throne to accept my glorious new role. He said hello, signed my piece of paper and I was swiftly hustled along. I didn’t even get a phaser. After this crushing disappointment, I felt I’d had enough of living this lie. The Star Trek way of life just wasn’t for me and, in some ways, that made me envious of these fanatics. I don’t even like loved ones as much as they adore Spock. These people like Star
Perhaps he would look me in the eyes, call for his posse and point at me saying “This is the man”, before kneeling before me and bestowing upon me my very own phaser. Then I would be crowned the new Captain, given my very own Starship, and be led to the convention stage. I would become this nerd convention’s new Messiah to beat myself up. Rocking my civilian clothes, I made my way into the convention centre, and walked through the huge shutter doors into another world. By another world I mean one that’s pretty much the same as our own, except you can buy tons of Star Trek merchandise. Clearly this was the event that some these people had been waiting for all year, potentially their entire lifetime. One such man had clearly been saving his pennies for this day, producing a wad of rolled up fifties from his fanny pack.
After aimlessly wandering for a while, I was drawn towards what seemed to be the centre of the event, taking my place at the back of the huge gathering of people waiting to get autographs. There must be some sort of crossover between Star Trek fans and those who actively enjoy queuing because I’ve never seen a group of people more ecstatic to be waiting in a line for at least half of their day. It was reminiscent of the hideous queues of Disneyland but instead of getting to ride Space Mountain at the end you get to pay a
guys idolising a group of actors two seconds previously, seeing Stewart in the flesh brought on the urge to trade in my dignity for the chance to have this bald headed demigod briefly acknowledge my existence. After waiting for 17 hours, clutching a little picture of a smiling Captain Picard, I was finally near the top of the line. I couldn’t help but imagine how our interaction would go down. Perhaps he would look me in the eyes, call for his posse and point at me saying “This is the man”, before kneeling before me and bestowing
Trek as much as I like circulating my blood flow. They were in their Mecca, away from the cruel judgement of the real world that labels them “nerds” or “geeks” or “people who have failed to grow up and are clinging on to their youth by purchasing material goods”. Maybe these people had it right all along. For what is life but finding something that makes you happy, something that makes each day a little easier? Or maybe they should all stop being such little nerds and go out and get laid (*high fives self*). By Conor Luke Barry
most evil villain
Hans Gruber - Die Hard
Voldemort - Harry Potter
Unborn Spawn of Satan - Rosemary’s Baby
Christof - The Truman Show
Conor Luke Barry
There are few bad guys that make you want to back them over the protagonist. There is only one bad guy who makes you want to back him when the protagonist is Bruce Willis. Played by the king of the brilliant baddie actors Alan Rickman, Hans Gruber is the epitome of cool evil. Hans Gruber is the head of gang pretending to be a terrorist group to disguise their real goal: a heist. Gruber tricks everyone around him into letting him access the vault of Nakatomi Towers so he can steal the $640 million in bearer bonds stored there. And this was in the ‘80s, so think how much money that was then. While his motivations are standard theft, he does it with a swagger and style that far outstrips Willis’ McClane. His plan is faultless, down to planning for the SWAT team to cut the power to the building to disable the final lock on the vault, all while producing the coolest lines. After the company boss Mr Tagaki refused to tell him the vault code, Gruber shoots him in the head and informs the employees: “I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way... so he won’t be joining us for the rest of his life.” Die Hard is one of the best action films ever made, and has a lot of great elements, but nothing compares to the effortless cool of the villain, Hans Gruber.
Emerging victorious from the last Fourway, with my happy-go-lucky break up film in 500 Days of Summer, I’m now here to show you how versatile and awesome my tastes are. Who cares about yer man from Die Hard, the crazy guy who created a fake world for one man, or Satan’s spawn, when there’s Voldemort. When you think that mankind cannot bear to say a person’s name for fear of he’ll do to them, you get a sense of the ultimate terror this man causes. Where do you even begin when trying to encapsulate all of Voldemort’s evil? Well, when you consider the fact that the destruction of the wizarding world truly began when Voldemort tried to kill a tiny baby, having already killed its parents in front of its eyes, there’s really very little need to take it further. I mean, you could almost understand all the genocide and mass murders of pregnant mothers and annoying teenagers, but Harry Potter was a poor defenceless baby, just standing in his crib, wondering if Voldemort was going to play Peek-a-boo with him. Not only that, but when the worst killing curse didn’t kill Harry, Voldemort made it his life’s mission to spring up in every form possible, each more innocuous than the last, from reptiles to diaries, to the back of teacher’s heads, and try again and again to murder him. All Harry was trying to do was get a wizarding education and into Ginny’s pants. To top it all off, Voldemort doesn’t even have a nose. Clearly the epitome of all-evil.
Who would like to be impregnated by Satan? Answer: No one. Why? Because the unborn spawn of Satan is terrifying. Mia Farrow’s prenatal foetus in Roman Polanski’s masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby, is one of the most horrifying and disturbing figures of cinematic history. At least when it comes to other evil characters, there’s somewhere to run and hide; with the spawn of Satan there is nowhere to escape because he is inside Mia Farrow’s uterus. This is the child of Satan, i.e. it is pure evil in every way. It is so evil in fact, that it manages to destroy Mia Farrow’s life, turning her into some deranged lunatic, before it is even born. Not only that but it also presents the prospect of perhaps the most painful childbirth of all time. The notion that Voldemort, a character that wimpy Daniel Radcliffe of all people can kill, is somehow more evil than Satan’s unborn spawn is laughable. I’m not even going to compare Voldemort and Satan’s spawn because it’s insulting to Satan’s spawn. It’s impossible to watch this movie without a lingering sense of perturbation throughout and there are countless moments of pure terror. Could this be read as the perils of embarking on a relationship with Farrow’s then boyfriend, Woody Allen? Perhaps. The spawn of Woody Allen is maybe the only thing that could seem slightly more terrifying.
While all of my fellow Fourway-ers are going the obvious route of picking evil characters that are actually evil, I think you’ll find the more sinister type is one who thinks he’s the good guy. Such is the case with Christof, the creator of the Truman Show in the film The Truman Show (surprisingly). He controls ever aspect of the fake town Truman lives in, watching over him constantly. His God complex, his paternal instinct for Truman and the fact that he can control every single aspect of a whole feckin’ city makes him the most terrifying character in fiction. It’s more sinister because he’s convinced he’s doing a nice thing, providing him with a lovely little fake world to live in. He can’t understand why Truman wouldn’t want to live there, why he’d be ungrateful. So when Truman tries to escape on a boat Christof replies “Hell no, mofo” (that may not be the exact dialogue) and proceeds to manipulate the weather in an effort to murder him. Let me repeat that, he uses the weather as a weapon. It’s the equivalent of a slasher film where the main character’s been hunted down by an axe wielding maniac, but instead of an axe Christof controls everything Truman has ever interacted with. Hell, he could probably just tell his hired minions to kick Truman’s ass. And he doesn’t even have to leave his chair. Terrifying.