18th October 2011 Issue III Volume XVIII
MARC N O R A M OTWO talks to the US’ comedians’ comedian
ALSO INSIDE >>
hion | Patrick Wolf
Lisa Hannigan | Halloween Fas
The Arts & Culture Supplement of the University Observer
contents Page 3 – Regulars
Gareth Lyons climbs onto his Soapbox and rallies against all that restricted internet and Aoife Valentine goes through What’s Hot and What’s Not once more.
Page 4 – Spiritual and Gender-related Advice Mittens has calmed down a bit this issue, so you don’t have to worry about any infected jam jars this time around. Meanwhile, Mr. Coltrane tells his trainer to put on more weights, amongst other manly things.
Letter from the Editors
Page 5 – What’s On
Otwo gets all high-brow on yo’ ass as James Kelly looks at the Dublin Contemporary Festival and Ciara Andrews has the inside scoop on the Darklight Film Festival.
Page 6 – Fashion
With Halloween just around the corner, Sophie Lioe guides you through some ‘effort-efficient’ costume options for you to consider. Donna Doyle takes a look into how high fashion designers are slummin’ it with the big high street names.
Page 9 – Food
Elaine Lavery tells you how to cater your Halloween, while Ruairi Robertson advises you on your healthy breakfast options for the morning after October 31st.
Page 10 – Travel
Our crack team of travel writers take a look at far flung location(s) such as Seoul, a forest in Kildare and an island that Cork didn’t even want.
Page 12 – Games & Technology
Sport is taking over as the latest reboots of the FIFA and F1 franchises get glittering reviews, and Steven Balbirnie gets us all up to date on the raging debate over downloadable content.
Page 14 – Cover Feature
Podcasting pioneer and noted funny man, Marc Maron talks to the big boss/squealing fangirl, Jon Hozier-Byrne.
Page 16 – Film & TV
In Film this week, there are reviews of The Help, Sensation and We Need to Talk about Kevin. Saoirse Ní Chiarigáin analyses Hollywood’s obsession with adapting toys into blockbusters, Stephen Allen handles the Top 10 and the Fatal Foursome take a break from arguing over television, to argue over Pixar films.
Page 20 – Music
James Vincent McMorrow gets to look all beardy and swoonworthy and, strangely enough, so does Lisa Hannigan. We also talk to the Hot 8 Brass Band talk about life in the Tremé, and Kate Rothwell has the chats with Patrick Wolf. Cormac Duffy eulogises Steve Job’s influence on modern music, five of the latest releases are put under the microscope and Rob MacCarthy gets all presidential in Mixtape. Plus, Show Patrol is there to tell you all the gigs worth seeing this fortnight.
Page 27 – Otwo Attempts...
We were originally going to form a boy band, but that was too hard. We were then going to try belly dancing, but that was too cancelled. Then Jack Walsh put his hand to Salsa dancing and that was just right.
Page 28 – Backpage Bants
Finally, Elizabeth Beecham gets your VoxPops and Kevin Lockard is taking the Ordinary Level.
Issue 3 – Down in the Tremé, WTF! What up, home slice, This week Observer HQ has latest releases from Coldplay and been gripped by election fever. Damon Albarn in Music, we take No, that’s not right. How about a look at what Hollywood’s latest Halloween fever? Wrong again. In has to offer in Film and we give truth, we’re quite boring curmudg- our verdict on FIFA 12 and F1 eons, content to get the paper out 2011 in Games. on time and dream about thinking We also organised some lastabout preparing to start our midminute interviews as well, so Issue term essays, but you wouldn’t know 3 has the likes of the Hot 8 Brass it from looking at Issue 3. Band and comedian Marc Maron. Fashion and Food both have Cormac Duffy caught up with a ghoulish theme this week, as the New Orleans brass collective, Sophie Lioe and Elaine Lavery while Jon Hozier-Byrne had a get you in the mood for All Saints’ “transcendental” chat with the creDay eve with their respective ator and host of the WTF podcast ideas for costumes and food. Of as it inches towards twenty five course, why wouldn’t you already million listeners. Then there’s all be excited? It’s only October 18th. the usual lolz and bantz you know Rob McCarthy gets the blood and love. Mittens, Dixon, Soappumping with some election box, What’s Hot, What’s Not are anthems (you’ll never guess what all only a page away. Plus those song he gave Dana) in this week’s loveable rogues that make up the Mixtape. That’s really as far as the Fatal Foursome get stuck into Halloween and election themes Pixar and the Duffington Post run, but we still had twenty-five focuses on Steve Job’s influence more pages to fill, so we had on modern music consumption to think of some more content. and the persistent allure of the That’s right; we had to have more old-fashioned record shop. ideas. Pluck them out of the clear All in all, Issue 3 is out of the blue sky, we were told. Ridiculous. bag and we’re ok with that, so Luckily enough, we’ve managed enjoy. to review a few things, such as the See you next fortnight, Aoife the Impaler and George
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT
soapbox ‘Not available in your area’ you say? Gareth Lyons rages about the not-so-free access to information on the internet
Almost three years after filming began, The Adventures of TinTin is finally being released here this fortnight. TinTin is actually about eighty now, but he’s still the young reporter you know and love. Complete with his everreliable sidekick, Snowy, he’s ready to solve whatever mysteries are thrown his way. It’s not released in America until late December – sucks to be them!
Return of the Irish Apprentice
Bill Cullen is pretending he’s a big deal again in another series of ‘De Apprentiss’. Not satisfied with stealing Donald Trump’s show, he’s also stolen Alan Sugar’s new format, offering successful candidates an investment in their business rather than a job. Complete with all the Bill-isms we’ve come to expect, it looks set to offer similar levels of unintentional hilarity as before. You’re fiort!
Opening of Healthy Food Outlets
According to some nice little signs on the doors of what used to be Nine One One and Elements, healthy food outlets are coming soon to campus. As much as we will all miss Nine One One’s mediocre sandwiches and Elements’ somewhat erratic opening hours, more choice is definitely to be welcomed.
WHAT’S NOT Wearing heels to class
UCD’s a big place and being tall here is not worth it if it means wearing skyscraper heels while walking to class across campus, i.e. up and down the countless sets of steps you’ll encounter along the way. A simple lecture change shouldn’t take twenty minutes and cause you pain in the process. UCD is not a theme park - there are no height restrictions. Heels are unnecessary.
Impending Essay Doom
You’ve known you had to write those essays since the start of term, but now they’re all due together and all the books you need are no longer in the library and about nine people have already reserved them ahead of you, making sure you won’t get to see them unless you end up repeating the class. Why all the essays at once, UCD?
It may only be October but it’s easily cold enough to start wearing hats, scarves and gloves again. As warm and cosy as they are, it’s almost hard to justify getting your woolies out on these slightly windy days compared with last year’s ice and snow. Time to man-up, already. by Aoife Valentine
‘World Wide Web’ (WWW) is an internet acronym which, it would seem, is consistently ignored by advertising executives. These three words should be repeated as if they were an advertising mantra. The internet was created upon the principle of connecting people around the world, to the point where we now have the ability to interact with nearly everyone on the planet all at once. When I select a video to discover that it’s not available in my area, I’m quite confused. There is no area. I’m on the internet. There is no land on which you might plant a flag. It’s floating all around us like a big invisible cloud of pornography and fanfiction spanning the entire globe. Mail, tweets, music and photos swarm from one respective machine to another in an invisible community of introverts that sits directly on top of our own. The first time I was denied access to content was when the trailer for The Incredible Hulk was released back in 2008. At first I thought it was an error. The trailer was promotional material for a movie. Why would anyone intentionally throw away the opportunity to entice someone to go see it? However, after refreshing the page a few times, I soon realised this was indeed the case. Presumably advertisers wished to stagger the release of content so as to focus and handle the specific needs for each foreign demographic as best as they could.They needn’t have bothered; within an hour somebody not affiliated with the movie had already uploaded the trailer again so that people overseas could watch it anyway. However, as bad as it is being on the wrong side when the virtual Berlin Wall comes down, it is the condescending message displayed instead of the video that gets me the most. That sad smiley or scrap of patronising dialogue using the word ‘Oops’ to make you feel like your computer is giving you the cheeky shrug of a cretin who knows they’re annoying you but still believes they are being cute. It’s hard to believe that Youtube itself is only six years old. In its short run it has managed to provide homeless man Ted Williams with paid voiceover work, make a household name of Rebecca Black and start Bieber-mania. With the exception of Black, each of these people simply had a camera and a talent. They showed themselves to the entire world and as a result, were rewarded. If you want to get noticed you have to show yourself to everyone without discriminating about who should see you first. As soon as you put something online you lose the ability to control who watches it. Just remember those three little words: World. Wide. Web. Maybe instead of trying to do the impossible and have the international denizens of the internet form an orderly queue, embrace the medium and release your so-called promotional 3 material so that everyone can see it.
Mystic Mittens’ feline fortunes Taurus May 14th – June 21st The stars are aligning for you this fortnight; you might actually make it to one of your 9am lectures, and there’s a free bag of Walkers Sensations on the horizon.
It’s week six and Mittens is sick of this semester. Hell hath no fury like a feline frustrated...
Aries April 19th - May 13th You will find a tenner. Leave it there and see what happens.
Gemini June 22nd – July 20th Your obsession with bass will lead you to the inaugural dubstep festival for fishermen. Cancer July 21st – August 10th You will be offered a lump sum to dispose of a certain masculinity columnist in a clean and discrete manner. Watch out, ‘cause he’s got some moxy. Leo August 11th – September 16th As Venus descends, you will develop a weird obsession with Wolf from Gladiators.
Hey Dixon, This week, Dixon I’m a small guy on a large campus and I teaches a beta-male find myself gravitating to alpha males, how to climb to the such as yourself, just allowing myself to blend in. While my friends get all the top of any social tang when we hit da clubs, I’m stuck in group. the corner, playing Angry Birds and looking like I’m allergic to human contact. Leave your questions for I don’t know what it is - maybe some the dashing detective on the primal beast has been awoken inside of Dixon Coltrane Facebook page me - but I’ve had enough of it. I need to assert myself more, but I’m not sure how. Maybe I should bulk up, or maybe not, ‘cause the gym is way over there and my arm is feeling really weird at the I’ll play it straight with you son; moment. I’m so stumped for ideas, could things just aren’t on the up and up. your testosterone-fulled mind help me But don’t wet your specs, pal o’ mine out a bit? – here’s Dixon Coltrane’s foolproof Thanks man, four-step fakeloo to get the fraus to Jimmy “I made a Situation in my pants” finger you as a real man’s man. After Little, Clonskeagh this, you’ll be the cock of the walk, or I’ll cross you two-bits. Listen here Little Jim, Step 1: Pin your diapers on – A I’ve been an alpha male for some man’s only as good as his shiniest time now, so let me tell you boy, I’m buttons, so spiff up those glad rags talking from experience. It ain’t and for God sake, put a crease in your easy being a small man in a big man’s trousers. No-one respects a smallworld – not that I’d know son, I’m town Joe wearing a brightly-coloured 6’3, or 6’5 if you count my fedora. hoodie like some sort of nancy tent. But I’ve dealt with a lot of small men Step 2: If the dukes adore you, in my time, and I understand how the dames will too – It’s alpha male, it must feel; every day, you wake up buddy, not alpha ankle, so you need wondering what am I worth? Will I to be in charge of the men if you ever find love? Do people make fun don’t want the skirt to give you the of me behind my back? Well let me bum’s rush. Try conversing with the clear the fog, Jimmy Boy; not much, boys about the hot new sports teams, probably not, and you bet I do. or some particularly memorable 4 breasts; rubes can’t resist a top-notch
Virgo September 17th – October 30th Your grandmother will choke on her fish starter at an upcoming family dinner, so it’d be best for you to brush on your Heimlich Manoeuvre, but only if you hate being bequeathed large inheritances. Libra October 31st – November 23rd You will click the ‘random page’ link on Wikipedia and be nonplussed by the outcome. In other news, you will run out of ways to procrastinate. Scorpio November 24th – November 29th That dream of having your own emu farm will become a reality, but there’ll be highs, lows and bird-flu outbreaks along the way. Ophiuchus November 30th – December 17th Are you still here? Well, pack your brass knuckle and get ready for a beating from the cosmos this week. I’m talking broken jaws and shit.
Sagittarius December 18th - January 20th Bloomsday was four months ago, so get rid of the ‘ashplant’ and stop pretending you’ve read Ulysses. Capricorn January 21st – February 16th You will be sent a hat in the post. You should wear it, it’ll perfectly cover up that dry scalp problem you’ve been having. Aquarius February 17th – March 11th Your musical based on the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation will finally get off the ground. However, the actor playing Picard will refuse to shave his glorious mullet off. Pisces March 12th – April 18th Beware of manholes as you read this, they’re full of men.
Dixon Coltrane REAL MEN SMOKE ON AIRPLANES breast story. Step 3: Don’t eat in front of anybody – Only mooks let people see them eating, Slim Jim, because just like bleeding or showing emotions, it’s a sign of weakness. You don’t need chemical nourishment, son, you just need the energy you attain from endless cigarettes, Old Fashioned’s, and your own sense of superiority. Step 4: Smile – This one’s the big easy, Jimbo; when you walk into a room, flash some pearlies. An alpha male owns each room he enters, and if you skulk in like you just got buzzed by some palooka with bigger
arms and a bigger ego, no dame’s gonna think you’re worth biscuits. See Jimedy Jim Jim? It’s as simple as my nephew, and twice as interesting. There’s no big secret to being a man’s man’s man, it’s all in realising who you are, and then realising that person is terrible and then pretending to be more like Dixon. In every moment from here on out, ask yourself; “What would Dixon do?”, and soon you’ll be top-cat in every group your tiny, girlish legs bring you to. Easy as duck soup. That’s the rub, Dixon Coltrane
As the Dublin Contemporary exhibition enters its final fortnight, James Kelly looks at what this exceptional showcase of art has to offer
ublin Contemporary is billed as Ireland’s International Art Exhibition, and rightly so. The works of over one hundred Irish and international artists are dispersed between some of the city’s most aesthetically pleasing venues, from Earlsfort Terrace to that artistic oasis in North Dublin, The Hugh Lane via The Royal Hibernian Academy, The National Gallery and The Douglas Hyde. The exhibition attempts to address the theme Terrible Beauty — Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance. The theme references Yeats’ poem ‘Easter 1916’, borrowing from his response to politics at the time to evidence art’s potential as a medium for social, economic and cultural commentary, and in doing so offers a glimmer of a smörgåsbord of this artistic genre, what’s to be expected. Curatorial consisting of works in wide variety Manager Aideen Darcy explains that of media (paint, sculpture, installathe current financial climate has had tion) addressing a multitude of topa definite effect on the exhibition. “I ics; a ceramic giant squid and a giant think if it was on five years ago, the ‘green’ coffin are but two of the woncontent could have been very differ- ders on show. ent. It could have been a very glamThe Royal Hibernian Academy orous affair […] everybody’s mindset and Douglas Hyde galleries are gowas very different back then.” ing down a more traditional, though The Earlsfort Terrace Complex no less arresting, vein. It’s all about (comprised of the National Concert subject here. Lisa Yuzkavage’s visHall, the purpose built Annex and ceral female nudes will unite both the Iveagh Gardens) is the heart of the high- and lowbrow, while Alice the exhibition, housing the works of Neel’s eerie Family portraits will resthe majority of artists showing. It’s onate with the staid middle ground.
The National Gallery is also exhibiting some of Dublin Contemporary’s paintings, though the contexts and contents are somewhat different to that of those above; they have a swastika-wielding cartoon rat (Manuel Ocampo), and somebody has tagged the walls. The Hugh Lane offers the closing words in this visual narrative; “PRIMAL FORMS OF STUFF” is tiled onto the gallery’s steps. This, along with similar pieces, constitutes Katie Holten’s On the Nature of Things. However, the photography and video installations of Willie Doherty
are the most faithful to the exhibition’s theme. Landscapes of his native Derry, with evocative, though minimal, lettering, and looped videos of broken people and desolate places are subtle political screams. Dublin Contemporary achieves what it sets out to do - it is art as social commentary, and it is this functionality that makes the collection worth celebrating. If you like art, you’ll love it. If you don’t like art, you might learn to appreciate it. Dublin Contemporary runs until October 31st.
Small films for the big screen Dublin’s Darklight film festival proves that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for hopeful filmmakers, as Ciara Andrews discovers
ilm fanatics and filmmakers alike will be flocking to The Factory on Grand Canal Dock this month to attend the annual Darklight Film Festival. Established in 1999, Darklight has developed on an international level over the past twelve years, allowing the festival to bring new and exciting work to Irish audiences.
Spread across three days, Darklight welcomes talent from all corners of the globe and showcases the best in low-budget independent films. As Festival manager Sinead Ní Bhríon explains to Otwo: “We don’t programme blockbuster films, it’s more like a special niche of smaller independent films”. The festival also places a strong emphasis on the different channels for financing, producing and distributing these films, instructing the filmmakers of tomorrow on how they can get their films made and seen. The days are filled with workshops and guest speakers who will recommend more left-field ways of getting your film into the public domain. Jeanie Finlay will be screening her film Sound it Out and talking about how she financed the film through crowdfunding websites, in order to promote and encourage the idea of a successful crowdfunding campaign. Andrew Sound it Out is showing in The Factory on October 22nd Heatherton, the man be-
hind one such website, Fundit Ireland, will be speaking about securing finance from friends, fans and followers across the world to make a successful film. Each year the Darklight festival is based on a theme, which compliments and guides the screenings and workshops. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Strictly Roots’ and Ní Bhríon describes the idea behind this theme as “a grassroots approach to filmmaking at ground level. It involves people getting their own projects made, cutting out the middle man and putting the eventual success of the film into the audience’s hands”. The films this year are made up of submissions from communities, collaborative filmmakers, and friends who have come together against the backdrop of global financial meltdown and managed to make moving, challenging and highly entertaining films. Out of all the screenings, Ní Bhríon recommends Sound It Out most highly. She explains that this is “a film about the last remaining record store in a town in North England. It was beautifully shot and really well thought out and it’s got an amazing soundtrack as well”. With a programme packed full of film screenings, talks and workshops, the Darklight Film festival is a must for any cinephile or hopeful filmmaker. The festival runs from Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd of October. One day passes are €10 and all access weekend passes are €20. 5
o you have yet another Halloween party looming and your creativity has been squeezed dry, but before you resort to throwing a white sheet
over your head, then why not try reinventing something that’s already hanging in your wardrobe? Quick, simple, and you won’t have to spend your pay
cheque on a costume that’s just going to collect dust after the party’s over. So there’s no need to panic, the perfect Halloween costume is al-
ready hiding in your wardrobe. Just be sure to wash out the fake blood and black lipstick stains before you wear them again!
A BRETON TOP A wardrobe staple for everyone, a navy and white striped top can serve as the perfect sailors outfit. Just throw on some shorts, white shoes and anything nautical looking. You could even fashion yourself an anchor out of some tinfoil from your kitchen if you have the time. Use some file paper as the outline and then cover with foil and hang from your neck - a sailor's necklace in no time.
A VINTAGE DRESS You may need to raid your mum's (or granny's) wardrobe for this one. Give a dramatic, vintage-style dress a corpse-bride twist with blood-red lips and as much black eyeshadow as you can for a gothic, ethereal, Jane Eyre-inspired costume.
NIGHTMARE A PLAIN WHITE TEE Test out your artistic skills by grabbing some black paint and drawing a skeleton on a white t-shirt. It's not as hard as it looks - just copy a cartoon image and keep it simple. If you're a medical student you could always dig out your textbook and be that bit more anatomically correct. To give your costume an edge, throw some neon paint over the top and you're ready to go.
A BOY'S T-SHIRT whether it's your boyfriend's or your brother's, steal an oversized t-shirt and hoodie without them noticing, and you've got the basis of an excellent rapper or sports costume. Style with some chunky gold jewelleryÂ and a pair of headphones and you could be the next Fresh Prince. Alternatively, wear some Converse and grab a baseball bat or glove, if you have one lying around, and you've got yourself an American sports costume.
LITTLE BLACK DRESS Push the versatility of that old reliable party outfit to the limit. All you need is an old black cardigan or cheap cape, which the shops are full of at this time of year. Cut batshaped wings into the material, pop some black lipstick on and don't forget to flap your wings!
Photographer: Caoimhe McDonnell Models: Maggie Rek and Ciara Fitzpatrick Stylist: Sophie Lioe Make-up Artist: Gillian Cottell
Versace for H&M
t is common knowledge amongst my friends that my most ardent ambition is to own a Chanel handbag. Inspired by Jason Donovan’s heartfelt rendition of ‘Any Dream Will Do’ in Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, I decided to abandon my college career, a promising path leading to NASA, and follow this dream. When it became clear that struggling to do an assignment half an hour before labs is not the same as acquiring thousands of euro, I quickly succumbed to failure, and soon developed a deep resentment for Jason Donavan. My lesson was learned – the untouchable, the inaccessible, the elites of high fashion are not for the little people. However, with an increasing number of influential fashion houses collaborating with high street stores, perhaps the luxurious brands of our red carpet heroes are not so unattainable after all. The contemporary high street is now sprinkled with designer pieces from home and abroad. Championing
the designer-store collaborations is Swedish megastore and student favourite, H&M. The outfit has joined forces with influential fashion labels from Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo to, most recently, Versace. Topshop, Zara, Forever 21 and Debenhams have all also featured impressive designer lines, enlisting the creativity of Brian Lichtenberg and David Koma. But after all the palaver, the drooling and daydreaming, is it really worth it? As we part with our hard-earned savings, brainwashed by pretty clothes tags, are we doing little more than rewarding a successful marketing ploy? One fact that becomes evident regarding the success of these collaborations is the limitation of the collection. The comparative success of ongoing collaborations in Debenhams, such as those with Matthew Williamson and Jane Norman, are less hyped and are marketed less successfully then limited edition projects from Sonya Rykiel and Karl Lagerfield, which cause fashionable frenzies and ultimate impulse buying. An inspiring collaboration released in February this year was the result of a collaboration between Topshop and David Koma. The Georgian-born designer is renowned for his show-stopping body-cons, the most infamous of which was sported by Cheryl Cole on The X Factor last year. His innovative designs introduce a futuristic feel to party wear and his creations are nothing less than striking. Koma’s Topshop showcase was eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint. It was signature Koma and featured thirty limited pieces with skirts, dresses and belts worth sleeping in the gutter for. Retailing on average between £100 and £300, the collection was pricier than usual but was acclaimed not only for its style, but also for its quality. Often it is the latter that is sacrificed with these high profile collaborations and thus Koma’s collection garnered deserved praise and success. The anticipated collaboration between H&M and Italian fashion label Versace has attracted much publicity, as was to be expected. Due to be released in November of this year, Russian Vogue published a preview of the collection last month, which was met with mixed reviews. Awash with leather and studs, neon and vibrant patterns, the collection is trademark Versace - glamorous, eyecatching and flamboyant. It features the label’s iconic black dresses and costume jewellery perfect for party season, while men are promised sharp tailoring, including “the perfect tuxedo”.
The pieces will, like the label itself, either be loved or loathed by the masses, and the few sceptical reviews thus far have come as more of a concern to the label than H&M. Although iconic, synonymous with haute couture at its most refined, Versace has its roots in the 80’s. The label lacks a contemporary appeal that perhaps the more innovative Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci enjoy. If the collection fails, the project will appear as nothing more than a desperate attempt by Versace to reach out to the mass market following years of debt and restructuring, which have made the label inaccessible. On the whole, the collection looks interesting and will offer the more experimental minions the chance to don the frocks of one of the most elite fashion labels at a fraction of the cost. The success of the collaboration now relies on the quality of the creations, and the necessary limitation of the collection. It is difficult to find evidence of an unsuccessful designer/high street collaboration in recent years. The fact is that no matter the reasons behind the campaigns – be it for the designer to reach out to a younger market or to elevate the status of a high street store, the success of these high profile collaborations is close to guaranteed. The opportunity for us laymen to acquire the most desirable
Karl Lagerfeld and model showing of the designer’s H&M range of threads is almost too much to resist. Sure, it may last one drunken night and cost a kidney, but as long as I know that there are only seven of them, having a Karl Lagerfield in my wardrobe makes me feel like a better person, marketing ploy or not.
Collaborative Couture With more and more high-street shops partnering up with high-fashion designers, Donna Doyle asks why exactly the resulting collections draw such attention
Donatella Versace (sitting) working on her H&M range
NOM NOM NOM
with Elaine Lavery
ho doesn’t love Halloween? Fitting snugly between back-to-school season and the depths of winter, this age-old tradition provides ample opportunity for a sense of occasion, one that is neither falsely manufactured by card or alcohol manufacturers, nor built up over two months and exploited by every commercial enterprise in the Western world (the C word, which in October, I consider significantly more offensive than the other C word). Granted, for students the days of trick-or-treating and apple-bobbing might be over, but Halloween does not have to be just another excuse for a piss-up. For me, Halloween is synonymous with food. Let’s begin with the obvious: the pumpkin. Most of us have retained the tradition of carving one out to make a ‘Jack-o’-Lantern’, but many are oblivious to its use as a culinary ingredient. I had to laugh last year – my aunt observed that in most houses the fight revolves around who gets to draw and carve out the pumpkin’s face, in ours it is over who gets the use of the scooped-out flesh to transform into something delicious. Some past experiments include: garlic pumpkin risotto, with basil pesto and crispy shallots; pumpkin pasta with mozzarella, Parmesan and cheesy pumpkin soup with crunchy croutons, sage and chives. I can attest that it is greed, and not frugality that motivates me, but for the really frugally minded, save the seeds, roast off and salt for a vitamin E filled snack. A little-known dish that is served up in many Irish households around Halloween is colcannon. This dish comprises of mashed potato mixed with kale (which is similar to cabbage), roughly chopped scallions, plenty of butter and salt and pepper. It is a great accompaniment to bacon (as in bacon and cabbage). The ritual at Halloween is to hide money (sterilised, of course) in the colcannon. There are, of course, remarkable health benefits to eating kale, as with any green leafy veg – plenty of iron to give you muscles like Popeye. Another Irish tradition with its roots in Samhain, the Gaelic harvest festival from which we derive our traditions today, is Bairin Breac, more commonly known nowadays as Barnbrack. We all remember the Halloween parties in primary school, when an art form was created in catching a glimpse of the bit of paper indicating
Halloween food You might be tricked into thinking Halloween is just an excuse for overdosing on E-numbers, but, according to Elaine Lavery, the real treats are to be found buried in tradition the piece with the ring in it. I don’t think anyone ever had so much as a mouthful of the brack itself. Love it or hate it, don’t judge it until you’ve made your own. Soak the raisins, currants and sultanas in tea for plumped up juicy fruit that will make for a moist cake. Slather in butter hot out of the oven for a teatime treat, or toast with butter and apricot jam for an indulgent breakfast. In the days of yore, the ring, symbolising marriage within the year, was not the only prize to be found in the brack. For some real fun bake the full range of objects into your brack (wrapped in greaseproof paper). He who gets the coin will be rich, the rag poor; she who gets the thimble is destined to become a spinster and a forewarning to he who gets the stick (half a matchstick), for he shall be beaten by his wife. If you consider all of the above pleasant reading material but have no intention of making any of it, there’s one thing I urge you to do. Buy a big net of monkey nuts and roast them, in their shells, in a hot oven for about twenty minutes for a delicious anytime snack. It takes no skill and literally costs peanuts. If you can afford to invest in a nutcracker, broaden your range with hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts.
Tired of the same old soggy bowl of cornflakes every morning? Nutrition student Ruairi Robertson gives advice on the best foods to start off your day
B There is something special about preserving a tradition which many have discarded. This Halloween take inspiration from our ancestors and celebrate the edible treats and traditions of this ancient festival.
reakfast is referred to as ‘the most important meal of the day’ for a reason. Eating a good breakfast kicks your metabolism into motion for the day, ensuring that your energy levels are up and your hunger levels stay down. We’re all too familiar with the undesirable routine of running out the door to a morning lecture with a slice of toast and a headclearing energy drink, but spending that extra ten minutes enjoying some proper food will ultimately prevent you falling asleep in that mind-numbing geography lecture or spending your precious drinking money on an 11am pack of Tayto and Snickers. Protein is known to keep you full for longer, more so than carbohydrates or fat. The most common source of protein in a normal breakfast comes from eggs, so next time you cringe at the thought of paying €5 or €6 on a packaged sandwich and a flapjack in college, consider a ‘sunny-side up’ fried egg when you crawl out of bed. If you’re a tree-hugging vegan, or just can’t hack the smell, a good old tin of Heinz beans will do the trick and provide you with that hunger conquering protein. A cup of coffee is considered breakfast for certain people, but although your ‘Venti, sugarfree, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha’ may fill you up initially, your stomach will have long forgotten it come lunchtime when the caffeine high has worn off. Instead, wean yourself off caffeine with a bowl of porridge or a couple of Weetabix, which are full of slow-release carbohydrates that will keep your energy levels up and wallets somewhat full. Finally, try to incorporate some fruit into your morning meal so that you start the day the healthy way. A smoothie or piece of fruit is to be recommended over juice which may contain the same vitamin content, but eliminates the essential fibre component. Once you’ve started a good breakfast routine, you might even find it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
DONADEA FOREST PARK, KILDARE
With an impressive castle and serene lake to admire, Donadea Forest Park is definitely a place worth taking a wander, writes Caitríona O’Malley
Cape Clear Island, West Cork In the third of a series on Irish holiday destinations, Eimear McGovern stays in a yurt and goes whale watching in Ireland’s most southerly inhabited island
onadea’s primary walking routes are the Aylmer Walk, the Nature Trail and the Lake Walk. However, several other paths snake through the thickets. Aylmer Walk, Otwo’s preference, is the longest at five kilometres. An important focal point on this jaunt is the ornate 9/11 monument. This replica of the Twin Towers is a memorial to a New York fire fighter with Donadea connections, and is a remarkable piece of work. Designed by Brian Swan, it was formally revealed to the public by the Donadea 9/11 Committee in September 2003. The monuments bear the names of lost NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority workers. Poignantly, flowers are frequently laid before the statues. Striking an imposing silhouette, the castle is a worthy feat of architecture. From 1550 to 1935, the Aylmer family called this place home. The pet cemetery is, understandably, one of Donadea’s more melancholic spots, but there are plenty of places to relax and take in the park’s picturesque landscapes. The lake is the velvet cushion on the park’s throne. Occupying a central area, it is dotted with ducks and large water lilies. A place of tranquillity and peace, its beauty may stir some poetic inclinations in you that you didn’t know you had. Christmas is a particularly special time in Donadea. Lights caress the trees, food stalls tempt you beside the rocky roads and children can visit Santa in the pretty log cabin next to the cafe. Snow’s embrace only enhances the forest’s allure. Parking in Donadea is four euro, and the forest closes at 9.30. That is, if you can tear yourself away from it by then.
ituated alongside the Fastnet Rock, Oileáin Chléire is a Gaeltacht community populated by roughly one hundred people. It is home to a diverse group of people from around the world who have been attracted to the island’s beauty. The islanders call Ireland an island off the coast of Cape Clear. Although Cape Clear has recently acquired a helipad, your average tourist will opt to travel on one of the three boats that sail to the island several times a day. Choose from a water taxi or the two ferry services from Schull and Baltimore. Upon arrival in the North Harbour, Bus Chleire awaits to take you anywhere on the island for a fee of €2. Accommodation options include self-catering apartments, guest houses and more studentfriendly alternatives, including a hostel and a campsite. The campsite is popular for its tepees and yurts that are available to rent on a nightly basis. The yurts suit those who are looking for a more luxurious trip, with double beds and hot plates included.
An Siopa Beag is the only shop on the island, which is also a restaurant, pub and café. However, this isn’t the only option for dining out. Ciarán Danny Mikes serves pub grub both indoors and in their beer garden, which overlooks the South Harbour. Although Cape Clear is regarded as a peaceful place, there is never any shortage of nightlife. Club Chleire has live music on Tuesdays, while Cotters has karaoke every night during the summer months. All that aside, Cape Clear offers a wide range of activities for both tourists and regular visitors. Particularly popular are bird and whale watching, both for which the island is renowned. Just as popular are canoeing, hiking and story-telling festivals. A visit to the goat farm, where you can sample some of the delicious goats’ milk ice-cream and cheese, is a must, while the museum is interesting if history is more your thing. A visit to Cape Clear Island is a magnificent, enjoyable and above all, undeniably unique experience.
TRAVELOTWO OTWO TRAVEL
Heart and S Seoul hoeless and serene, Otwo sits in front of a fifteen foot high Golden Buddha. Hundreds of people rise and fall in front of us whilst emitting a constant indecipherable chant. This is BongEun Sa, an oasis of tranquillity in the middle of one of the largest and most eclectic cities in the world. The Yin-Yang symbol’s presence on the South Korean flag is absolutely apt. Seoul is a city of opposites. Samsung headquarters neighbour an ancient palace, the raucous bustling streets give way to the quietness of a Buddhist temple, and on the radio traditional Korean bamboo flute music is interjected with K-pop, the nation’s more modern creation. This is a country in which to forget Western pretensions and accept that English is not always the language of favour. Carry around a card in Korean with the address of where you are staying. Go into a restaurant, pick a symbol off the menu and hope it’s not the braised silkworms. Spend a day (or night) in Namdaemun market, a tented metropolis of clothes, homeware and electronics. This 24 hour conurbation never rests, and when lost under fluorescent lighting in one of the adjoining vast jewellery workshops, 4am and 4pm are interchangeable. If you prefer your shopping trips to be those of a more air-
After the visiting its illustrious capital, Sally Hayden is Seoul-d on South Korea conditioned variety, Lotte World is the shopping centre empire for you. Inside this indescribably vast construction you will find shopping-centre essentials such as an ice-rink, several rollercoasters, and the building’s own custom-built island. Most memorably, and also serving as a reminder that South Korean health and safety legislation may not be quite as stringent as in Ireland, the basement that also boasts a shooting range. Walk in, show your ID, pick the rifle of your choice, and fire ten bullets at
a paper target, all for less than €25. Korean cuisine is delicious but perhaps not appealing to the Western palate, especially not before 9am. Avoid the sushi and grilled fish breakfast, but treat yourself to shared hot-pots for lunch and Korean barbeque for dinner. Chopsticks are unavoidable, Kim-chi (fermented cabbage) is served with almost every meal, and it is rude to pour yourself a drink. A few hours at the Korean War Memorial serves as a reminder of the world’s most secretive nation,
the South’s lost half, which lies just one hundred miles away. National pride and the echoes of a war not yet won emanate from all aspects of the exhibition, which features drawings by the South’s school children on the theme of conflict and reconciliation. Google map North Korea and your screen will display a blank. Still curious? Spend €50 on a day trip to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), stare across the void and try and fill in the gaps for yourself. Apart from an occasional kidnapping (the last was in 2000), in Seoul you could be forgiven for forgetting that the war ever happened. With Soju (tastes like watered down vodka) for 1000 won a bottle (that’s 80c to you and me) and a huge student population, Hongdae is the place to go to if you’re keen to sample Seoul’s nightlife. Just be sure to make it clear you’re not American. The US military have been a regular presence since 1950, and have made some local enemies, not for their politics, but for their drunken bad behaviour. Seoul is a city where barber shop poles signify brothels, StarCraft is revered as a sport, and a bus driver will bow to you in apology if the bus is late. The exclusively female Ewha Women’s University champions gender equality, producing Korea’s first female judges, politicians and leaders, yet wishes visitors luck finding a good husband. Starbucks is open all night, arguing is barely socially acceptable and street fashion is on a par with Tokyo. Seoul is certainly a world away from D4. Back outside the temple, meditation in the humid heat is disturbed by a sudden downpour of rain. Ying-yang: an Asian philosophy of complementary opposites. Even the weather understands. 11
REVIEWS DON’T PASS THIS ONE UP
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS Anyone looking for an authentic and enjoyable driving experience should look no further than F1 2011, writes Steven Balbirnie Title: F1 2011 Publishers: Codemasters Developers: Codemasters Birmingham Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita Release date: Out now
With the latest edition of FIFA just out, Ryan Mackenzie explains why it’s one edition you won’t want to miss Title: FIFA 12 Publishers: Electronic Arts Developers: EA Canada Platform: Playstation 3, 2 & Vita, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii, PSP, Mac OS, Xperia Play, 3DS, iOS Release date: Out now Around this time every year a new version of the FIFA franchise is released and, for the most part, it’s just a standard purchase for football fans. These games are usually good, but the problem has traditionally been that the changes made from year to year have been small and underwhelming. It always felt as though EA were holding back in order to lure people into buying the next edition. You couldn’t not buy it, but often it felt like you shouldn’t have bothered. FIFA 12 is different. If ever there was a football game that teetered on the edge of absolute perfection, this is it. The graphics are spectacular, the gameplay is incredibly realistic and the soundtrack isn’t too bad either. The first difference you’ll notice is the menu, which is now along the bottom of the screen. It has the same options, but much like the rest of the game, there’s more of an emphasis put on enhancing what was already there rather than adding new gimmicks. Career mode is also much improved, with new facets such as a youth academy and player comments – such as pleas for more playing time – adding to the intricacy and realism. The most impressive inclusion, however, is the addition of a dramatic transfer window and ‘Deadline Day’. As far as online gaming is concerned, the introduction of a Head-
to-Head league represents the greatest change. This adds more competitiveness to online matches and is simple to understand. For all these minor changes, gameplay is where EA clearly focused their efforts. Even though they’ve thrown out the usual jargon, like ‘Player Impact Engine’ and ‘Pro Player Intelligence’, the changes made are far more noticeable and have really worked out the kinks that plagued previous editions. The biggest difference is in defence, where you can no longer just hold the tackle button and let the computer do all the work. Now the onus is on you to position the defender correctly and time your tackle correctly. A small change though it may seem, it has the effect of changing the entire dynamic of how you play. The game is now more open and free flowing, making weaving Messi-esque runs a possibility. Other additions like precision dribbling and various new graphical improvements to player realism and movement further improve the gameplay. Although certain elements of the game can still be improved upon, FIFA 12 is arguably the best football game to date and if you’re a football fanatic, or even just a fan of the games, you’re sure to love it.
As the official tie-in game for the Formula One 2011 season, great attention to detail would be expected from Codemasters’s latest addition to the F1 series, and the developers have succeeded in not only fulfilling these expectations, but exceeding them. All of the teams, drivers and tracks on the Formula One circuit have been included. The game is also completely up to date with the current season as it includes the Indian Grand Prix, which will take place for the first time later this year, and has had the Bahrain Grand Prix dropped from its calendar to match the fact that it was cancelled this year. Overall team performances are also accurate and drivers have noticeable home country advantages. This game has also paid meticulous attention to technical details. F1 2011 has fully functioning and well animated pit lanes and crews, which forces the player to consider both the issues of fuel and tyre management as they race. Dynamic weather conditions also make tyre choice a crucial aspect of the game, and debris-related damage will realistically affect a vehicle’s performance. The game adds another layer of strategy with the introduction of two features which are relatively recent innovations in the sport. The first of
these is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) which allows for a temporary speed boost, while the second is the drag reduction system (DRS) which assists with overtaking. These features ensure that F1 2011 is a driving game that is just as much about strategy as it is about skill. Generally the game is faithful to Formula One’s rules, with the utilisation of a safety car and the ability for races to get red flagged - the first turn at Monte Carlo is particularly prone to red flag incidents. The one downside to this is that the CPU drivers don’t seem to understand the sport’s rules, often driving so aggressively and recklessly that in reality, they would no doubt be disqualified. Aside from the game’s technical aspects it offers a variety of modes that should ensure longevity. Single player features career, time trial and Grand Prix modes, while multiplayer allows up to sixteen people to race against each other online and a coop championship mode allows two players to compete as team mates in pursuit of the constructor’s championship. F1 2011 is probably the best racer since F-Zero GX.
DOWNLOAD OVERLOAD “PUBLISHERS CAN NOW USE THESE PASSES TO ESSENTIALLY FINE CONSUMERS FOR BUYING USED GAMES.” With the rise of digital distribution, downloadable content has become one of the most significant and contentious issues within the gaming industry, writes Steven Balbirnie
p until quite recently, the entirety of a game’s content was always contained on one disc, but this is no longer the case. It is now possible to download substantial add-ons for most games such as additional costumes, characters or maps. However, the fact that t h e ma-
jority of downloadable content (DLC) must be paid for leads one to question; has DLC been created to give games extra longevity, or is it simply a money-spinning gimmick? There is evidence to support both points of view, but there is no denying that DLC has become a highly profitable market. Ample proof of how lucrative it is can be is found by looking at sales figures for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s stimulus package. Priced at roughly €15, the stimulus package sold 2.5 million copies on Xbox Live within the first week of its release – that’s approximately €37.5 million made in one week purely from the sales of a downloadable add-on. Such an unprecedented figure proved that the DLC market could no longer be ignored. Attitudes to DLC have varied greatly from company to company, as some choose to maximise their profits while others choose to give away DLC for free, providing extra longevity for the player, while also garnering positive publicity for the developers. Valve’s decision to offer Left 4 Dead DLC free-of-charge on PC and Mac gained the developer considerable good press. Capcom on the other hand, took a very different approach to DLC for Super Street Fighter IV. When the individual prices for all of Super Street Fighter IV’s costume packs are added together they come to a cost in excess of €50, which is more expensive than the actual game w a s
upon its initial release. Such exorbitant prices will inevitably have a negative impact on a company’s image; though strangely, not necessarily on their sales. There is an argument to be made for publishers, who state that it is their right to charge whatever they want for their work as long as there are people willing to pay the price they are asking for. However, such an attitude ignores the question of just how optional we can really consider DLC to be in an age of widespread online gaming. DLC has introduced serious compatibility issues for competitive gamers as some players may not be able to compete against each other if one owns a particular add-on that the other does not. This problem has led to frustration among some gamers who feel that they are being punished for not choosing to buy an optional add-on. Some developers have introduced free compatibility packs to solve this problem, though in the absence of compatibility packs for a title, players end up separated into two incompatible tiers – those who are willing (or can afford) to pay for supposedly superfluous add-ons and those who aren’t. A greater source of frustration is the insidious rise of ‘on-disc DLC’. Rather than consisting of entirely fresh content, ‘on-disc DLC’ involves the consumer paying for download codes that unlock content already contained on the game disc. This highly controversial form of DLC forces the consumer to pay to use something that they already own. A notable example is that of the ‘downloadable’ characters on Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Despite being contained on the disc, they had a retail price of approximately €5 each. This type of DLC is a cause for concern as it points to what could develop into an alarming trend – companies releasing essentially incomplete games with a view to profiting from DLC that should have been
included as standard. This can already be seen through DLC announcements for games before they are even released. The controversy surrounding ‘on-disc DLC’ pales in comparison to the recent initiative of companies such as EA and Sony, who have introduced ‘player passes’. These ‘player passes’ are single-use codes that are essential to accessing a game’s online content, with additional passes available for download at a price of roughly €10. These passes have serious implications for the industry as they are a clear attempt by publishers to undermine the popular second-hand games market. Publishers - who, of course, do not profit from a game’s resale - can now use these passes to essentially fine consumers for buying used games. With blatantly exploitative practices seeming to have no detrimental effect on DLC sales it must be asked; are companies just being greedy or are they simply taking advantage of the stupidity of some consumers? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be the latter. Proof of this can be seen by the continued sales of Oblivion’s notorious horse armour; the success of which has baffled even the game’s own developers. DLC has the potential to be a positive component of the gaming industry if it is used to breathe new
life into old games for reasonable prices. However, unless we become more discerning as consumers, unscrupulous companies will continue to exploit gamers, using DLC as an excuse to charge higher prices for lower standard products.
t h e
Fresh from delivering the Keynote Address at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, comedian Marc Maron talks to Jon HozierByrne about the WTF podcast, his approach to comedy, and his role as a reluctant saviour of modern stand-up
ore than any other comedian, Marc Maron contemporaries; “[Comedians] live a very specific bridges the generational gap between the and very unique life … I’ve been living it for half of traditional American raconteur and the my life, and that connection enables a certain cominternational new-media entrepreneur. In a career fort around who we are and why we do what we do. spanning three decades, the New Jersey-born, selfComedians have a lot of time on their hands, and proclaimed “New Mexico Jew” has released four part of our job is to think about things, so there’s comedy albums, produced two half-hour comedy not much that we as comics have not processed. specials for HBO and Comedy Central, written Depending on anyone’s particular processing maa book, and appeared on Conan O’Brien no less chine, that’s where you’re going to get the personal than forty-six times (as well as almost every other details, the darkness or compulsions, that build that television show that allows comics to perform). At personality.” Maron sums up his comedy both elothe same time, he has pioneered the transition of quently and with a great deal of pathos; “I am who I stand-up comedy from the stage to the browser, am, and I haven’t been able to escape that”. hosting the twice-weekly comedy podcast WTF. Maron’s comedy has long served as a form of selfWith twenty-four million unique listeners, WTF therapy, working through some of the more hopewas officially named “the biggest and best comedy less periods of his life on stage, while all the while podcast out there” by Entertainment Weekly, and was taking the audience by the hand and leading them described as a “must-listen” by both Vanity Fair and through those same dark mental recesses. Maron the New York Times. Stand-up comedy is mid-way remarks as to how his earlier, more cynical style of through the uncomfortable transition between tracomedy was used not only to work through various ditional media and what comedian Patton Oswalt traumatic events, but as a way of compartmentalisdescribes as “the new comedy circuit”, and since ing those same emotions that material addresses; 2009, Maron has been on the forefront of the art “Sometimes darker [material] protects us. The form’s evolution. darker and the angrier I was, the more frightened I Maron’s work has long been grounded in remark- was. It’s easy to hide behind that cloak, as opposed ably frank introspection, and it is this same poignto offer a little more of yourself. ant, at times even searing honesty that has lent “I put a lot of shit up there, I’ve brought a lot WTF some of its considerable success. Each epiof stuff on stage that I’ve had no closure around, I sode begins under the auspices of a casual, meander- didn’t really have control of the feelings around ing conversation with one of the biggest names in them, underneath the joke … It’s really just a matter comedy (including Louis CK, Robin Williams, Ben of getting the emotions underneath that stuff in Stiller, Judd Apatow and Conan O’Brien to name place, so you are disarming it with your comedy. If but a few), before slowly transitioning into a someyou don’t have that shit in check and you’re just times celebratory, sometimes macabre exploration working through, it’s going to make people uncomof not only comedy, but comedians themselves. As fortable. That’s just the way it is. Christ, I’ve gone Maron puts it to Otwo; “Whatever draws us to this, years doing that kind of stuff.” and certainly makes us keep doing it, is a unique and This tonal darkness and vocal disillusionment sometimes delusional and dangerous thing.” with comedy itself is well represented in his previMaron’s comedy, which most famously examines, ous three albums, entitled Not Sold Out, Tickets Still in depth, his unconventional relationship with his Available, and the purposefully funereal-sounding parents, his divorce, and even his erstwhile drug adFinal Engagement. “That was the trilogy”, says diction, has a biting honesty to it rarely found in his Maron, “It was sort of planned. Not Sold Out was a
“THIS WHOLE UNDERTAKING, THIS WHOLE LIFE THING, CAN BE PRETTY HEARTBREAKING FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. I GUESS TRYING TO TEMPER THAT IS THE TRICK, AND IT CAN BE PRETTY TRICKY SOMETIMES.” joke I used to do, but, y’know, it was true. Tickets Still Available, again, true. And Final Engagement, at the time I did that, I was in the middle of a very bad time in my life, and I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I think what has happened was that that was the end of that guy. That sort of builds through those CDs, and now I think that I’m sort of reborn and am a little more comfortable in myself and in my craft. It’s a different approach for me now.” The release of his fourth, and arguably his strongest album to date, This Has To Be Funny, speaks to both his rejuvenated outlook, while maintaining the neurotic frustration that so defines his voice; “I wasn’t sure what I was going to call it. I was playing with things like ‘The Situation In My Head’, but that moment where I said ‘This has to be funny’ … It happens on the CD, and it was an honest moment and it just seemed to be a fitting title.” The CD is rightly named, considering Maron’s penchant for stretching and contorting emotional pain until he “finds the funny in it.” It’s also the basis for WTF’s considerable success; as Maron works through his demons, so too are the audience forced into recognising and confronting their own. When asked about the pseudo-therapeutic nature to the service he provides, Maron sighs, at once world-weary and ultimately hopeful that he is helping ‘his people’; “I’m happy about that. This whole undertaking, this whole life thing, can be pretty heartbreaking for a lot of people. I guess trying to temper that is the trick, and it can be pretty tricky sometimes.”
Maron admits that his style of comedy, informed as it is by the likes of Woody Allen, and even Maron’s previous mentor, sometime tormentor and comedy legend, the late Sam Kinison, is not to everyone’s taste; “when you do what I do, you’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and you’re not necessarily the regular comedy audience’s cup of tea … I don’t necessarily like watching comedians like me.” Maron refers to the difficult experience he has had playing to Irish audiences, citing his purportedly poor reception at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival; “My feeling about Kilkenny is that they’re not necessarily, you know, comedy audiences, they seem to be regional, and they seem to be there for an event. I’m not always confident that self-involved American neurosis, or just the way I approach comedy, is what they’re expecting … My particular problems look much smaller [when compared to] the scale of the history of Ireland. But that being said, there is a sort of rugged perseverance to the culture there, and I think I might have some of that, in my own way. Once I started talking a bit about Catholicism and some of the less ‘headier’ thinks that I do, things started to get better.” It’s Maron’s self-confessed ‘headiness’ that is displayed most poignantly in the upcoming documentary Marc Maron: The Voice of Something, a documentary following a day in the life of Marc Maron as he performs comedy in New York – the particular day in question being September 19th, 2001. “It was shot by a neighbour, who’s also an improv actor… About six months ago she said, ‘Well, I’m going to pull that footage together if you don’t mind’, and it’s an interesting little portrait of a day, seven days after 9/11, about me trying to, y’know, do jokes, and not ignore 9/11 a week after … It’s a lot more lighthearted than you would think.” With the film’s footage now a decade old, the release marks a career gone full circle for Maron. Since the film’s production, Maron has been married, divorced, and been to a comedic and emotional wilderness – a wilderness he escaped through his podcast; “Honestly, when I started, I didn’t know
“I AM WHO I AM, AND I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO ESCAPE THAT ”
what the show was going to be, I was in a pretty bad place, and I was kinda washed up in a lot of ways and at my wit’s end. Really, I just needed to do it, and I knew I needed to talk to other comics, I genuinely needed to talk to them. I needed some help. I needed to make things right. I needed to evolve, and that sort of became the thread of the show. I’m feeling a little better now. The list is getting shorter, I’m happy to say.” Through WTF, Maron has unified the comedy community in a way that hasn’t been possible before now, and it has placed Maron in the unusual role as stand-up comedy’s reluctant figurehead; “Well, I don’t know that I fully acknowledge it … In terms of being some sort of professor of comedy, or spokesman for comedy, I’m just happy that comics are seen as people, and I think that the podcast has helped define it as a community and along the way, that I sort of felt like part of the community. We really are a community. I’m thrilled that people are getting that much out of it.” Whether he acknowledges his newfound role or not, the community does; Maron was chosen to deliver the Keynote Address at the Mon-
treal Just For Laughs Festival last summer. “Well, it was one of those sort of situations that when I first got the gig I was like ‘why me? There’s other comics who can do this! To do a show for these people, for the industry, it’s awful!’” Maron refers to the moment where the enormity of his career transformation hit him on stage, and he very nearly broke down in tears; “I was very nervous, and it got kind of emotional. It worked out, I was very happy with it, and it was very powerful for me to do it. It was touch and go there, I got choked up, and when you’re standing there in front of your peers and the entire industry (a lot of whom I’ve resented for a long time), and all of sudden you get choked up. I had to turn around. There’s that moment when I’m like ‘Dude, are you going to cry through this? Are you really going to do that, or are you going to pull it together?’ That’s not your standard show.” Perhaps this moment best sums up Maron’s appeal; at once, immensely respected, a giant of international comedy, and yet utterly vulnerable, in a manner to which aspiring comics the world over seem to relate. Maron, whether by accident or design, unearths the darkness in comedy, and presents it, unedited, to his audience, be it on stage or online. In doing so, Marc Maron has emerged as the primary voice of a comedy counter-culture. To follow his own credo; “Sometimes it’s not about the funny. Sometimes it’s about the sad.”
“WHATEVER DRAWS US TO THIS, AND CERTAINLY MAKES US KEEP DOING IT, IS A UNIQUE AND SOMETIMES DELUSIONAL AND DANGEROUS THING” 15
REVIEWS THE HELP
Title: The Help Director: Tate Taylor Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer Release Date: October 28th
f there was any doubt as to where civil rights movie The Help is set, the first scene certainly clarifies the issue. Johnny Cash’s classic ‘Jackson’ leads us into the opening sequence and into segregationist 1960s Mississippi, where white upper-class women are sitting around playing bridge while quiet and obedient black housemaids work in the background.
One such housemaid is Aibileen (Viola Davis), a woman who cooks fabulous meals, but is forbidden to eat in white company. She cleans houses from top to bottom but is not allowed to use white people’s bathrooms. Her main occupation is caring for the children of the white housewives, who rarely acknowledge the existence of either her or her charges.
Eventually Skeeter (Emma Stone), in their cakes. a young progressive college graduAlthough there are moments that ate, comes to the fore and decides are heartfelt and genuinely touching, to write a daring novel from the the movie insists on throwing more perspective of these underappreci- issues at you, including broken reated servants. Although reluctant at lationships, neglected children and first, both Aibileen and her friend, cancer, to ensure it evokes a reaction. from ‘Church Circle’, Minny (Octa- What is most troubling however is via Spencer), give Skeeter their ac- that the issues of the white charcounts of their subjugated lives as acters are given the same weight as housemaids. the burdens of the black characters, Herein lays the problem with The leaving the central idea lost in a melHelp. By having Skeeter as the out- odramatic mess. let for the housemaids, the movie This portrayal of 1960s America implies that it took an educated is consistently uncomfortable and upper-middle-class white woman to sometimes insulting in that it is nevinitiate the civil rights movement in er truly affecting, despite the best Mississippi by deciding to write this efforts of the upper-middle class book. Furthermore, the movie takes women of Mississippi. a rather melodramatic approach to what is a delicate subject. It appears In a Nutshell: A Desperate that racial tension is played out by Housewives approach to the most characters consistently trying to important social movement in outdo each other; the white charac- American history. ters push for a bill of segregation in bathrooms, the black characters shit by Cian Tolan
Title: Sensation Director: Tom Hall Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Luanne Gordon and Patrick Ryan Release Date: Out Now
big problem with Irish cinema is that when it’s not just trying to be a Guy Ritchie-esque crime thriller it can be very hard to classify. Such is the case with Sensation. Billed as a black comedy, the film follows Donal (Domhnall Gleeson) - a bored, existential crisis-ridden young fellow - who comes into some money and decides to hire a prostitute. Before you know it he’s comforting his new lady-friend after an encounter with a rough client, taking her home and helping her start up her own escort agency. Generally when a film is labeled a black comedy, one would expect it to feature situations that wouldn’t normally be funny yet somehow make light of them. This isn’t really the case with Sensation. Instead what we get is a series of quite depressing scenes with some seemingly out of place moments of levity that mark desperate attempts to draw your attention away from just how dark the material is. The portrayal of Donal’s life in the generic Irish countryside is soul-crushing in its mundanity, but what is more terrifying is just how real it feels. The film is otherwise played pretty much as a straight drama, with only the odd humorous moment or cheesy one-liner to distinguish it as comedy. While in essence this is an Irish take on the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ trope, it has significantly sharper claws than its Hollywood counterparts. It is hard to recommend this film. As a comedy it fails; the jokes are too few and far between
SENSATION and their quality varies wildly, and yet as a drama it doesn’t really work either. The latter portion builds toward what should be an interesting climax but instead it just continues on to a sudden, melodramatic end that is completely at odds with the overall tone of the film. There is also a noticeable lack of subtext; Sensation isn’t really ‘about’ anything, except perhaps the fact that below our veiled social niceties, everyone is just a horrible person. This is likely the point of the redemptive
final scene, but there is no believable build-up to it. It simply happens and feels like a last minute conclusion that was thrown in merely in order to close a poor narrative. In a Nutshell: An interesting home-grown film let down by a glaring identity-crisis. by Richard Drumm
TOP 10 ANIMAL SIDEKICKS
They’re cute, cuddly and sometimes not to be trusted – Stephen Allen looks at the top ten animal sidekicks to be found in film
10. Damien’s Dog (The Omen) Did your dog hypnotise your nanny into killing herself because it believed you were the AntiChrist? Yeah, so did mine, that was an awkward moment.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT
KEVIN Title: We Need to Talk About Kevin Director: Lynne Ramsey Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, John C. Reilly Release Date: October 21st
here comes a point midway through Lynne Ramsey’s We Need to Talk About Kevin in which Kevin, the impenetrable teenager at the film’s centre, freely reveals his motivations for a series of disturbing actions. It’s a particularly confusing scene, one completely at odds when put in the context of the rest of the film - which puts its subtextual and narrative burden on the performances of its lead actors, largely refusing to hold the viewer’s hand. However, such a jarring shift in tone serves to highlight what a revelation the rest of Kevin is. Told from the perspective of Kevin’s mother, Eva (played to devastating effect by Tilda Swinton), the film is set predominantly in the first eighteen years of Kevin’s life, portraying the mental warfare that he inflicts on her. As a baby, he screams so incessantly that while out pushing him in his pram one day, Eva stops by some road works for an extended amount of time – the pneumatic drill is comparatively soothing. He’s so unremitting in his campaign against his mother’s happiness that one should wonder if he was simply born evil. It’s a question that plagues Eva as she’s slowly worn down by Kevin, terrified by his potential and isolated from a husband who is oblivious to the threat he poses. Kevin plays out a battle of wits and wills between the sociopath and his beleaguered mother. Swinton and Miller (who plays Kevin as a teenager) do most of the heavy lifting, but there’s a lot else to admire. Darting
between Eva’s life before and after a life-changing event, the film’s fractured chronology proves an enlightening narrative device, helping to colour one’s perceptions of these characters, whilst allowing the film to remain tonally menacing as the gaps are slowly filled in. The sound editing and cinematography are also superb; splendidly aiding Swinton in bringing the character of Eva to life and providing visual epithets that stick with the viewer and change in significance as the film progresses. Though it expertly builds to a shocking climax, it becomes clear that the true horror of We Need to Talk About Kevin lies in the anthology of events that precede it – it’s those telltale signs that haunt Eva as she attempts to rebuild her life. It’s an unsettling journey the viewer must take in watching this film. As horrific as it is impressive, We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of the year’s stand-out pictures. In a Nutshell: A masterful film and a frightening portrayal of motherhood. Don’t have kids. by George Morahan
9. Hooch (Turner & Hooch) You know, that one with Tom Hanks and the dog. Three guesses for which one I’m talking about. Yes, the one named after a popular term for alcohol. And, yes, this dog will damage your liver... by eating it. 8. Artax (Neverending Story) Let’s go on an adventure, Artax! No, I don’t want to go to the swamps of sadness again. You always get sucked into it because of your depression. Why is my horse depressed?! Why do we even hang out anymore? *gunshot* 7. Amy Adams (Underdog) BAM! This is what you get for not responding to my proposals, Amy! Please don’t judge me... 6. Every Dog (Hotel for Dogs) Hey, they managed to stay in that movie until the end, while keeping the acceptable levels of Disney cuteness. Most sentient creatures and some furniture would have imploded by then. 5. Toto (Wizard of Oz) Fought flying monkeys, hopped dimensions and even got paid double what the munchkins were earning. What more do you want? Yes, I would’ve gone with the flying monkeys too. 4. Jaq & Gus (Cinderella) You know, the mice who no one can remember the names of and only know them as the fat one and the skinny one. Quick! Try to remember which one is which. Here’s a hint; Jaq is the French one. 3. Samantha (I Am Legend) Sam hunted vampire/zombie things and managed to out-act Will Smith in life and death, but mostly death. Also, she hung out with him in a bath-tub while Smith clutched his shotgun... moving swiftly along! 2. Dug (Up) Well, this dog is... Wait a minute! ‘Dug Up’. Do you see what they did there? I must tell the people! Also, he’s cute and funny. 1. Abu (Aladdin) He’s a monkey, need I say any more? He could talk, dance and understand the existential dilemma of being changed into an elephant. Although, he might steal everything you own and leave you for dead. Truly, man’s best friend. 17
Adapting board games into films may have become a huge trend as of late but Battleship: The Movie is scraping the bottom of the barrel, writes Saoirse Ní Chiaragáin
Battleship stars Liam Neeson and Rihanna.
n a recent New Yorker article, Transformers which, thanks to a ity of recent toy adaptations are far, second only to Harry Potter and screenwriter Mindy Kaling out- previous promotional television se- manic action blockbusters. Much in the Deathly Hallows – Part Two. Delined a thoroughly dishearten- ries, entered the world of film with the same vein of action films of the spite damning reviews of both the ing experience with a major Holly- some degree of plotline already at- eighties, they revel in the hyper-mas- film and Michael Bay’s directorial wood studio. Kaling, known mainly tributed to them, most adaptations culinised, in the spectacle of destruc- work, the film earned an incredible for her work on the US version of within this trend are devoid of any tion and, it has to be said, the degra- $1.1 billion worldwide. The Office, pitched a low-budget, pre-existing narrative. Battleship dation of women. In addition to this, the film safe-bet romantic comedy, only to and 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra The Transformers saga is the industry isn’t entirely naive in be told by executives that the studio both have base militaristic themes worst culprit of such offenses; it thinking that brand recognition was “really trying to focus on mov- as toys, but beyond that they offer a delights in flimsily plotted orgies of will pack theatres. This marketing ies about board games”. great deal of creative opportunity in exploding machinery and oiled bod- strategy succeeds, initially, with This is the sad reality of the stu- adapting the toys into a visual, narra- ies. These features aren’t so much toy adaptations usually boasting dio system at present; it is actively tive piece. Rather than grasp this op- offensive and boorish as they are impressive first week profits in the turning away original material in fa- portunity, however, the trend seems simply dated; any relevance they box offices. Where it fails however, vour of costly game and toy adapta- to favour the approach of pinning might have had is lost on twenty- is in its inability to anticipate tions. Despite an outstanding track action and/or sci-fi clichés onto the first century viewers. the power of new media. After record of critical and commercial brand recognition of the toy and deIt must be stressed that these disappointed cinema-goers take to failures within the trend, Holly- claring the trite mess a plot, as evi- films are in no way intended to be the internet in droves to express wood continues to insist that the denced in G.I. Joe. The focus is for- high art, and nor should they be their dissatisfaction, toy adaptations people demand adaptations of their ever on the attractive power of the expected to be. What they are sup- see a dramatic decrease in numbers, favourite childhood toys. With the brand, as opposed to the merits of posed to be, however, are high qual- which ultimately leaves many of forthcoming Battleship, a cinematic the film as a work unto itself. ity products, and therein lies their them struggling to break even. The motivation behind the trend ultimate failure. re-imagining of, you guessed it, the Again, in attempting to instil a game ‘Battleship’, due for release in as a whole operates within a deDespite their shortcomings, it can sense of nostalgia and chasing a 2012, and rumours of future adap- pendence on the past. The ‘appeal’ be argued that the one positive which thirty-year-old method of achieving tations including Hot Wheels and of these films depends on the sup- can be gleaned from this onslaught of commercial success, the films Monopoly, the toy trend looks to get posed sense of nostalgia they in- “toy films” is a return to the spectacle render themselves redundant to worse before it gets any better. spire in their target audience. The of cinema. Devoid of character devel- a contemporary audience. They Unlike toy adaptations such as general idea is that if you enjoyed opment and anything resembling a belie the bumbling attempts of playing with the toys as a child, well-structured narrative, the films an industry that has ceased to you’ll enjoy the film adaptation as compensate with stunningly extrava- understand their target audience an adult, and your children can gant visuals. This, perhaps, accounts entirely, an industry that continues enjoy the inevitable merchan- for Transformers: Dark of the Moon to stab in the dark, trying to get its dise spawned by the franchises. reaching number two in the top ten finger back on the pulse of what Thus emerges an idealistic cy- highest grossing films of the year so people really want. clical relationship between the film and manufacturing industries, catering to a broad multi-generational consumer demographic. The entire endeavour screams of a desire to re-capture the synergistic marketing power of film in the 1980s. However, amidst the effort to emanate the commercial strategies that created co-dependent relationships between the film, record and manufacturing industries at that time, the films themselves have acquired an overwhelming sense of the decade that spawned their toy counter- Bratz: The Movie was released on August 3, 2007. parts. Typically, the major- It was universally panned by critics.
FATAL FOURWAY What is the best Pixar film? The tables have turned after Jon Hozier-Byrne’s recent victory. Now the Foursome turn their attention to the works of Pixar.
Okay, so last week didn’t go exactly to plan and I wholly attribute my loss to the phenomenon of Firefly fandom. This group, of which I’m sure Jon is a prominent member, are essentially a cult who largely ignored the show while it was around, are only retrospectively loyal and now desperately try to raise money in the hope that one day it will be resurrected. Actually, this sounds awfully like some particular religion. However, I’m not going to let Jon’s membership in a dangerous cult and last week’s pummelling (in both the columns and the polls) deter me from declaring that the best Pixar movie is the fantastic Finding Nemo. Pixar has some really great films but what really sets Finding Nemo apart is the assortment of diverse supporting characters. From stoner-surfer turtles to mindless seagulls, each of the characters encountered is brilliantly imagined and uniquely funny. This is not even mentioning Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the dozy Regal tang, whose bubbly nature and humour is matched only by the vibrant aesthetics of the ocean backdrop. Finding Nemo is a truly heartwarming and hilarious adventure that remains at the apex of Pixar’s impressive CV. This one should be MINE! MINE! MINE!
When it comes to the Pixar’s glittering filmography, WALL-E sticks out like a sore thumb. Of course, Pixar had long been known for making animation that adults can enjoy and admire, but WALL-E in no way catered to children. The 2008 masterpiece followed the titular robot on his quest to find love after he had rediscovered natural life on earth, which is perfectly nice and all, but it largely does away with plot in favour of monosyllabic robots and an overwrought diatribe against man’s distaste for nature. Now, WALL-E can say little beyond his own name and that of his fembot love, EVE, and he is be strangely emotive in his passivity, but what lifts WALL-E above the pantheon of Pixar greats is the added visual flair of the animators and director, Andrew Stanton. I am in no way saying that the rest of the Pixar canon is not aesthetically progressive or striking, but with other Pixar features, one is taken aback by their technical breadth. With WALL-E there is an added visual scope that is simply dazzling and allows Pixar to transcend their standard palette. Set pieces such as WALL-E and EVE dancing in space are some of the most beautiful in cinematic history and prove that animation is in no way an inferior art form to, y’know, proper film.
Pixar can do little wrong as far as I’m concerned and if Up had never been made, I’d probably have had to fight one of you for your choice, but luckily for me, Up does exist and has claimed its rightful place at the top of all reasonable ‘Best Pixar Movie’ lists. Probably. The film is an incredibly sweet and almost disarmingly touching look at love, loss, and dreams. The opening montage is enough to move any grown man to tears – don’t even pretend that you didn’t all cry like Bambi’s mother died again - but more than that, the film is almost universal in its appeal. It may have been marketed at children, but there’s something for everyone to enjoy. It follows a grumpy old man’s adventure to fulfil his and his late wife’s dreams, complete with initially unwanted help from an eight-year-old stowaway named Russell whose mission it is to assist the elderly for his explorer badge. Carl, the old man, succeeds despite mishaps along the way, and Russell finds the father figure he was sorely lacking. Watching the relationship between young and old develop is somewhat poignant and uplifting. Up is the perfect blend between heart and humour, and it hides under your porch because it loves you. Let it stay.
Excelsior! Victory at last, with the good, cerebral men and women of UCD appreciating the nuance and brilliance of Firefly. I thank everyone who voted, except the people who voted for someone who wasn’t me. You guys suck. Now, as we’re all aware, Cars is clearly the greatest Pixar film. WallE? Utter garbage. Finding Nemo? A moist snooze. Up? I haven’t seen it, but I hear terrible, terrible things. All I know is that there’s an old man who tricks an egg-shaped boy into his house using balloons. Sick, sick stuff. Cars, on the other hand, is the product of gentle-hearted genius. It truly is the universal story; there’s these cars, right, and they all drive around without giving two hoots where their petrol comes from or how they reproduce. Then, the main car, the red one that everyone likes, comes up against an obstacle which he’ll have to overcome. It thrilling stuff. All right, sure, I have no idea how they built their cities, and I don’t know whether they’re meant to be an alien race on another planet that have, massively coincedentally, evolved to look a lot like the cars of Earth, or whether it’s a hellish vision of an automobile-themed apocolypse where cars have become sentient and have the human race enslaved and working in their underground petrol mines. Either way, it’s a classic.
Go on the University Observer Facebook page and have your say; what is the greatest Pixar film of all time?
The Hot 8 Brass Band’s Big Bennie Pete speak to Cormac Duffy about personal tragedy, community activism and appearing on Tremé
HOT 8 BRASS BAND T
he Hot 8 Brass Band have been a staple of life in New Orleans for almost fifteen years. Their sound, best heard on their 2007 album Rock with the Hot 8, unites strands of their hometown’s music, from Second Line parade marching music to the jazz of Louis Armstrong and the intense rhythm of funk pioneers, The Meters. They even found time to record a hugely popular reworking of Snoop Dogg’s ‘What’s My Name?’ Their identity, much like their city’s, is as much informed by their culture as the difficulties they have faced in life. Bandleader and founding member Bennie Pete explains to Otwo that the band’s biggest influence is “dealing with our day to day struggles.” The band members are all lifelong residents of New Orleans, and were all on the ground when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. When asked to recall the time, Pete pauses, clearly trying to find the words to capture the chaos. “It was a lot. There was a lot going on, some of us that were here had to be rescued. It was crazy man.” The aftermath and recovery were little better. Their concerns fell to “Our families, trying to keep the band together and maybe try and perform so we could earn some money. It was scary, just in the sense of ‘What are you going to do next?’” Rather than lament, they chose to try make a difference. Becoming activists in the New Orleans community, they helped out in projects such as ‘Save Our Brass’ and ‘Finding Our Folk’. Both of these showed the worth of their city’s culture and community to the band, the former focusing on “trying to save the brass band musicians and the brass band culture too.” For ‘Finding our Folk’ they toured around New Orleans raising awareness about those left homeless in the aftermath of the storm and promoting a new discourse about social change. The US media quickly seized The Hot 8 Brass Band as symbols of post-Katrina recovery, with coverage in national media such as the New York Times and CNN bringing the band
and their music to a new national audience. Dinerral Shavers, the band’s late snare drummer, appeared in Spike Lee’s acclaimed 2006 Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke, recounting his experience in the lower Ninth Ward, a district effectively destroyed in the wake of the floods. Later that year, Shavers was shot while driving in his neighbourhood, dying soon afterwards from the injuries he sustained. He was the third member of the band to have suffered a violent death, after the killings of their trumpeter Jacob Johnson and trombonist Joseph Williams. Shavers’ untimely death came at a time when New Orleans was experiencing a wave of violent killings, and soon served, along with the murder of filmmaker Helen Hill, as a catalyst for citywide marches against violence that dominated global headlines. To this day the Hot 8 continue to fight violence in their community by supporting ‘Silence is Violence’, a pro-witness protection group. “Still to this day we’ve a lot of cases in New Orleans where people testify about what they saw and the next thing you know they end up getting killed,” Pete says, citing the weakness and inaction of the judiciary as the main cause. For him Silence is Violence represented the community coming together to say “let’s stand up and not bow out in fear of the criminals”. While the campaign is making progress, maintaining the security of witnesses is proving an uphill battle. “People are coming forward but it’s still a fight to get those people well protected.” Shavers’ tragic death was recently put in the spotlight again after appearing on Tremé, the HBO drama focusing on the lives of New Orleans musicians in the aftermath of Katrina. The show has blurred reality with fiction in its use of true stories such as Shavers’, as well as featuring New Orleans musicians such as Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty and The Rebirth Brass Band. The Hot 8 were naturally an essential inclusion. “He wanted to capture the moment and the whole situation with Dinneral” Pete says, referring to Tremé’s creator David Simon, best known for his work on The
Wire. “I didn’t want to be the one to make that call. His family would have to see it on TV and relive it.” Shavers’ family approved the request, appearing in the show with the band themselves. “We felt as a band it would be a good opportunity for us to introduce the world to Dinnarel Shavers’ warmth as a person on a bigger level.” Pete has mixed feelings as to how accurately the show represents the reality on the ground. While praising its focus on musicians, he adds that “the image that came across, that it was sometimes just drama. Whoever it was [the writers] were talking to, it wasn’t real musicians. It was probably a few people who were close and gave their own interpretation.” He contrasts his experience with the show with times where media sought to appropriate “your culture and not want to pay you anything. Tremé was them approaching you, negotiating with you and offering you some money and opportunities.” He is also quick to point out that the amount of filming occurring in the city has been nothing but beneficial. “Nowadays, you might have more stars showing up at your gig. It raises the bar for you as a group and opens that door for you.” For all their troubles, the band are trying to move on. “We’re still kicking, still optimistic,” as Pete puts it. Their seemingly innate ability to make the most of their tragedies is admirably heroic, but also essentially human. Near the end of our interview, Pete sums up the unanticipated wonders that can arise from tragedy as he recalls the moment after Katrina as rebuilding efforts began. “People from different states stepped in and helped out. We had black and white people helping each other, everybody came together to help each other, to rescue each other. At that point, we were focusing on just the human race. It was beautiful to see in the midst of all that mayhem.” The Hot 8 Brass Band play The Village on October 27th. Tickets are priced at €20.
THROWN TO THE WOLF
any musicians change with the times, altering their sound depending on varying musical influences and yearly trends, but few releases are as timely as that of Patrick Wolf, whose upcoming EP matches its winter release to perfection. Brumalia began as a few songs that had a “December, November kind of feeling” and features “about six songs written without any light or sunshine … I just wanted to go back to a place of, nocturnal, spontaneous, dark material.” Wolf describes Brumalia as the “shadow” to his last release, Lupercalia’s, “light”, but the inspiration behind the EP’s solemn tone does not just stem from a convenient release date. Brumalia is in the final stages of its recording in London, although when Otwo talks to Wolf he has just arrived in Spain for a quick mini-tour before returning to add the final touches to the record. The electronic folk-pop enigma did not choose to record in the city simply because it is a musical hub however; London is his home town, which he admits gives him a different perspective of the city than artists who choose to move to the cultural capital. “It’s a kind of deeper understanding of the turbulence of it and I’ve said to myself ‘right, either I’m going to live right in the heart of it or I’m going to move out into isolation and become a different type of writer’ but for now, in my twenties, I’m very much attached, like an umbilical cord, to the centre of London.” Even when he is in the midst of recording, Wolf still finds time to dedicate to his fanbase. He organises numerous meet and greet sessions, describing these as a grounding experience; “it takes away the red carpet in between the audience and the performer … It’s nice to hear the little stories of why people are there,” and expresses great excitement about a competition where
he will select submitted remixes of his track ‘Time of My Life’ to post on his website and perform his favourite reworking on tour. “I kind of want to celebrate the stuff that is really breaking all the rules and is almost so chaotic that it’s unplayable to most people … It’s great there’s so much imagination out there.” While Wolf praises the social media that allows him to interact directly with fans and organise face-toface meetings and competitions, he has also experienced the drawbacks of being so accessible online; some of his admirers become excessively enthusiastic. “I can cope with people making random negative comments because that’s just part of being a human being, but when people are being over-obsessive and over-fanatical that can sometimes be more negative than a throwaway comment.” Yet Wolf freely admits that he too is prone to extreme behaviour. “I’m really a big fan of obsessive behaviour, passionate behaviour in life, and manic behaviour, but when it borders on slightly unhealthy it can be a little bit confusing and you’ve just got to ignore that.” Wolf is intimately involved with all aspects of his material; he works closely with the video directors, photographers and graphic designers who
produce the visual accompaniment to his music. The people who design his clothes are often not firmly established in the fashion industry but instead are students. “I work with a lot of undergraduates, people in second year and third year design, Bachelors and Masters, because they’re the kind of people that are still hungry to collaborate on stuff and not obsessed with commercialism.” Giving a young artist a chance to show their potential is an opportunity that Wolf endeavours never to miss, as he appreciates even after almost ten years of performing and recording that lucky breaks are often what define a career. Although immensely proud of his five albums to date, Wolf describes the high points of his career so far as “the work that has happened as kind of accidents of the albums”. These “accidents” include playing with Patti Smith and being asked by photographer Nan Goldin to compose a forty-five minute soundtrack to her celebrated work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, which Wolf performed in the Tate Modern in 2008. “The things you write about in your biography, it’s probably not going to be going on The Charlotte Church Show and singing ‘When Doves Cry’, it’s
going to be that moment I worked with Patti and Nan. There have just been so many great moments, creatively, and those are the moments I would tell my grandchildren about.” Wolf has just finished a pareddown tour in America, a set up that he feels is worth repeating in future. “You lay your heart down on the line and it’s just you and your songs and your stories, no fancy stuff, then you sometimes feel more vulnerable … I really stripped myself bare and the payoff was worth it.” The current tour however, will be at the other end of the dramatic scale that his fans know and love so well, with a six-piece band, a specially crafted stage and a designer accompanying the songwriter. This is no doubt a costly endeavour, but Wolf is adamant that it is money well spent. “While the money’s still there we’re just going to try and create a kind of utopia onstage.” Winter may be creeping into his music, but it seems that Wolf’s admirable ambition and encouraging attitude will shine through even the darkest of seasons. Patrick Wolf plays the Academy on the 24th October. Tickets are priced at €20.
As Patrick Wolf shows his darker side just in time for Halloween, Kate Rothwell speaks to him about the highs and lows of his near-ten year career
“I’M REALLY A BIG FAN OF OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOUR, PASSIONATE BEHAVIOUR IN LIFE”
I AM A PASSENGER Lisa Hannigan speaks to Saoirse Ní Chiaragáin about dream duets, spray can paint drums and maturing as an artist
ome-grown singer-songwriter Lisa HanHer new confidence isn’t unwarranted either. nigan has come a long way. Far from her As a musician she continues to push herself days of gracing Damien Rice’s tracks outside her comfort zone, taking on such projects with her distinctive vocals, she has established as writing music for Neil Jordan’s 2009 film, herself as an artist of note in her own right with Ondine. “He asked me to write a song for the end her unique brand of “plinky plonk rock”, a term of the movie, for the wedding scene, just a pure coined by Hannigan herself. Speaking to Otwo love song. So that was interesting for me to be however, she’s quick to admit that the decision to writing a song not from my own experience. It was go solo wasn’t an easy one to make. a different process.” “It was daunting. I’d never been the briefly stud“I just want to write iedHaving leader of a band or recorded in a stuArt History in Trinbetter and better songs. ity College (though dio before. So it was daunting, but nothing worth doing isn’t.” that music I think as a songwriter insistent Now, three years on since the rewas always her true pasyou’re always chasing the sion), Lisa’s creativity lease of her debut album and currently touring with her latest record, Paselusive perfect song” has never been limited senger, she exudes confidence and an to songwriting alone. unwavering sense of dedication to her work. “I just From the lovingly hand-stitched artwork for her want to write better and better songs. I think as a debut, to the current video for ‘Knots’, she dissongwriter you’re always chasing the elusive perfect plays a creative imagination unafraid to explore song. It’s a wonderful craft to dedicate your life to.” different media. “The video was great fun. I had Passenger has already received high praise in this idea that all of the instruments would be the press and looks set to earn the Mercury Prize- played with paint. So the drums are like the metalnominated singer greater exposure. The album’s lic spray cans down the bottom, the bass is a big first single and current radio favourite ‘Knots’ is purple super soaker, and then the horns are a big indicative of a change in Hannigan’s style, some- orange streak that comes in halfway through. That thing which is apparent throughout Passenger as was the idea, anyway. I’m not sure that translated a whole. Though boasting the intricate layers of in the video.” instrumentation we’ve come to expect from her One of the most striking things, perhaps, about music, the tempo and tone mark something of her growing independence and confidence as an a departure from previartist was her decision to self-release Passenger on ous work. “I feel like her own label, Hoop Records. “I just wanted to it’s a very natural put out my record myself. I wanted to own it and progression. I don’t own the copyright, instead of a record company know whether it’s owning it. So now I do own it and I can license it more polished than to people. It felt better to me to work with people, Sea Sew,” she says, rather than work for people.” before laughing and This desire for collaboration is nothing new adding “I feel I’m in Hannigan’s work. In the past she’s worked just better now than with esteemed musical acts such as Snow I was.” Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Cathy Davey
Lisa in the video for ‘Knots’ and, most recently, with Ray LaMontagne on stand-out track ‘O, Sleep’. “I really wanted to have a proper duet on the record. Not just to have people singing harmonies, but properly singing together,” she explains. “So I wrote ‘O, Sleep’ and Ray was the top of my people to ask, but I didn’t think he’d be available.” By a pure stroke of luck LaMontagne just so happened to be free, lending his vocals to the track while Hannigan and her band were in the process of over-dubbing Passenger. When asked who she might collaborate with in the near future, she simply laughs and states, “Obviously, I’d love to do a song with Tony Bennett.” With the warm reception Passenger has been receiving on the US leg of her tour, Hannigan looks forward to returning to Ireland in the winter to perform her new material. “It’s been really nice over the course of the tour to see how people started to know the words to all the songs. The songs seem to really work well live, which is always a worry when you write something and you record it and you think maybe it just won’t work; that it might not translate in that way.” Though usually at home in small, intimate venues, her homecoming gigs promise to be slightly larger scale. “In December we’ll be playing Vicar Street and hopefully the Savoy in Cork, so it’ll be bigger venues come Christmas time.” Lisa Hannigan tours Ireland this December, playing the Button Factory on the 20th, Vicar St. on the 22nd and Whelan’s on the 23rd. Passenger is out now.
Will you love me, McMorrow? Irish folk singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow chats to Aoife Valentine about songwriting on the road, the magic of the Olympia and almost giving up
hoice Music Prize nominee James Vincent McMorrow released his debut album, Early In The Morning, almost two years ago, in February 2010. Before he had even begun writing the album, he came close to accepting defeat after he allowed the opportunity to record the album in a studio with all costs covered to slip away. Convinced that the studio route just wouldn’t suit him, he went his own way and spent all his own money trying to make it work, but had little success. Eventually he returned to Ireland and at that point, he admits, he was “very close to calling it a day” as it seemed like he “wasn’t meant to make a record”. It was then that the now infamous seaside house that would become his secluded hideaway for the next six months was offered to him. He moved in, but had no exact intentions to make an album; he had simply come to certain realisations. He explains; “The time in my life that I was happiest up to that point was just existing in my own little space making music for no other reason than to make music. It wasn’t like I had any particular goal in mind - it was when I set those silly industry goals that things just went all wrong... This is how [making the album] needed to happen.” The writing process for his second album is already underway, but now he doesn’t have the option of hiding away until the record is complete. He has just completed his first headline tour in America and is about to embark on a European tour that will keep him occupied until the end of November. That doesn’t leave him much time to retreat into seclusion, but it’s not something he planned to do a second time.
“It’s gonna be a different kind of record, way more collaborative... I’m writing the songs as I go. I hear them differently now because obviously there are other people in there, the way they’ll play is different to me. It’s a whole new thing for me and I’m really enjoying it.” It’s well documented that McMorrow’s song writing process is painfully slow, a habit which must cause difficulty when his mind can’t be focused solely on writing a new record, but he maintains that this an art he has mastered by now. “I guess every musician develops a rhythm for their song writing and understands the animal that it is. I know what to do these days to avoid as much frustration as possible. With me the key is to never be working on one thing for too long and to always kind of have four or five songs on the go that slowly come together at the same time.” With such a hectic schedule, McMorrow would perhaps be forgiven for feeling a little fed up with it all, but he is nothing but grateful for the experience. “We’re always in new places and there’s always new crowds. Those things are compelling. To me, we’re way beyond what I would have deemed to be successful for the record so at this stage it’s all fun. We were in the US for two weeks and we drove from New York to LA and never in my wildest dreams last year did I expect that to happen. You hope for it but you don’t expect it. Everything is a bit of a win at the moment.”
In between everything else, McMorrow has made time to get involved with various charities, which he feels is an important thing to do, especially in his position. “There’s certain things that have come my way that sound like the right thing to do. With Amnesty International, it just felt important to lend whatever meagre voice I have to the process so I’ve done some things for them.” He also recorded a track for Silver Lining, an album produced by youth mental health organisation, Headstrong. Recently that song has been doing the rounds online and McMorrow has taken advantage of this. “Unless you write this article in the next two minutes it’s not going to ruin the surprise but I get to call the Headstrong people now and let them know that it’s going to be in a big ad in the UK. I’ve managed to get the record label to give the fee to them, so that’s going to be pretty good. It’s a nice thing to be able to do.” The end of this month marks McMorrow’s return to Dublin to play two shows in the Olympia, which holds a special place in his heart. “The Olympia is where I’ve seen pretty much all of my favourite shows. It’s sort of a place that even in my childhood was sort of omnipresent
because you’d go to musicals and pantomimes and stuff at Christmas with your family and I always have these vivid memories.” He continues: “Even last year during the snowstorms, I went to see The National there and the place is just sheer magic. Everything in there is always memorable so the prospect of playing even one show there filled my heart with joy and to do two is just ridiculous.” Once the European tour is complete, McMorrow goes straight into pre-production for the second album. He had hoped to record it in January, but with so much going on, he admits that’s probably an overly ambitious plan. “It’s not going to be recorded until February or March, but the early stages feel exactly like I hoped they would feel so that’s got to be a good thing.” James Vincent McMorrow plays the Olympia Theatre on October 21st and 22nd. Tickets are priced from €21. Early In The Morning is out now.
ALBUM REVIEWS Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire
DRC Music Kinshasa One Two
Markéta Irglová Anar
Coldplay Mylo Xyloto
Having quit music in 2009 (which by his hyper prolific standards meant releasing only one album a year), the return of alt-country hero, Ryan Adams, is a muted affair. His struggles with hearing damage acquired from Ménières disease have led him to record the gentle Ashes & Fire in a simple home setting. The vocals, guitar, percussion and piano formula Adams pedalled in his glory days is leaned on so heavily here that it renders most songs indistinguishable. High points of the album include ‘Do I Wait’, which, despite some melancholic undertones, makes for a subtly catchy melody due to a stronger presence of percussion throughout. The upbeat lyrics of ‘Chains of Love’ exhibit positivity and optimism, but there is a feeling of dissatisfaction when the song ends after a mere two and a half minutes. It’s a dissatisfaction many will be left with at the album’s close.
DRC Music is a collective of producers assembled by Damon Albarn to collaborate with contemporary Congolese musicians. The proceeds of this project will support the humanitarian efforts of Oxfam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kinshasa One Two has that rare quality of charity music; it sounds as good as its intentions. The tracks on the album are an intriguing synthesis of electronica and distinctively African rhythms, with strong vocals set against a backdrop of rumbling percussion. Each song has its own appeal, but some tracks really stand out. The opening number, ‘Hallo’ is a superbly chilled duet by Albarn and Nelly Liyenge, while ‘Lingala’ has the elegiac quality of a Four Tet mix, and ‘If You Wish to Stay Awake’ is a brilliantly dark, ambient piece. This is all perhaps an acquired taste, but one certainly worth acquiring.
In a Nutshell: Too distant and too dull.
In a Nutshell: Great music for a worthy cause.
Anar sees Markéta Irglová test her musical abilities alone, without her longtime other half, Glen Hansard. Irglová’s debut solo album proves quite the jump from her outings with The Swell Season - without Hansard’s domineering presence to demand all of your attention, she really gets the chance to shine and it’s not an opportunity she lets slip away. The album feels intensely heartfelt and personal. For the most part, it’s just Irglová and her piano, leaving little room for her to hide. Her lyrics are pensive, seemingly reflecting on loves both past and present, almost with a deep sense of longing, which is particularly evident in ‘Now You Know’ and lead single, ‘Go Back’. When you listen to the album from start to finish, it lags a little in the middle and starts to feel quite repetitive. However, penultimate track ‘Dokhtar Goochani’, an Iranian cover, sparks interest again. Individually however, the songs are almost all exceptional.
Coldplay have a bad rap amongst young people and deservedly so. They’re musical kleptomaniacs with a penchant for desperate lyrical pandering. Nonetheless, they have an infuriating knack for writing gorgeous melodies that defy their lack of originality, as proven on their latest album, Mylo Xyloto. All justifiable resentment melts away when faced with the climbing chorus of ‘Paradise’ or the infectious ‘Major Minus’. It’s strange to think such unabashed populism can be so irresistible five albums in. However, Mylo sees the band exploring some new routes to the top of the charts. A glorious collaboration with Rihanna (‘Princess of China’) is sure to find Chris Martin rocking the white man’s overbite in a stadium near you. Love them or hate them, Coldplay have produced another collection of well-crafted pop gems that are sure to keep their bank accounts extremely well-lined.
by Greg Talbot
by Steven Balbirnie
Björk Biophilia A-
Even though this album is but a piece in the elaborate puzzle that is Björk’s Biophilia project, it is a huge undertaking in itself. Commencing with the breathtakingly delicate ‘Moon’ and reaching its close at the stark ‘Solstice’, each second between is as thrilling as it is unpredictable.
In a Nutshell: Charmingly exquisite.
by Aoife Valentine
All the record’s best moments see her revamping her Homogenic formula of strings and trip-hop beats, blurring the acoustic with the electronic for a unique, complex dialogue. A mini-orchestra of custom instruments is involved, with the chiming “Gameleste” of ‘Crystalline’ backed by furiously processed breakbeats, and ‘Sacrifice’ fusing the metallic tones of the “Sharpsichord” with a stuttering glitch rhythm. Alas, Biophilia’s pervading lyrical celebration
In a Nutshell: A pleasant record with some new variations of the Coldplay formula.
by George Morahan
of nature pales in comparison to its sonic achievements. ‘Cosmogony’’s impressionistic take on the creation myth and the environmental warning of ‘Sacrifice’ fall flat where the album mainly succeeds. It’s a blessing the other tracks have enough depth to last a lifetime. In a Nutshell: Not flawless, but endlessly fascinating.
by Cormac Duffy
MIXTAPE ELECTION ANTHEMS
With the presidential election just around the corner, Rob Mac Carthy offers a song to soundtrack each prospective candidate’s campaign Dana Rosemary Scallon Dana – ‘All Kinds of Everything’ Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Painfully boring and uncreative though this selection is, it does at least mirror how painfully dull and uncreative poor Dana is. Without being too cruel to the Eurovision songstress, saccharine lyrics like ‘Snowdrops and daffodils/butterflies and bees’ do seem to sum up her, shall we say, ‘parochial’ approach to politics. Martin McGuinness The Prodigy – ‘Firestarter’ ‘Firestarter’ is one of those faceshredding Prodigy songs that spits in your eyes and drags you down an alley to show you whats-what. This is certainly how McGuinness is viewed by his detractors, as a “trouble starter”. The onus is now on the Sinn Féin man to convince us that he’s not so much a ‘Firestarter’ as a ‘Ceasefire-starter’. Gay Mitchell Frank Sinatra – ‘That’s Life’ Needless to say, Ol’ Blue Eyes is not the musical counterpoint to Gay because they share an iconic sense of class and style. Instead, this song should teach Gay to accept that no matter how many different posters you put up, defeat is inevitable. Let’s just pray he does not ‘pick himself up and get back in the race’ in seven years time. Seán Gallagher Pink Floyd – ‘Money’ All the Dragon’s Den star wants to do is bring a bit of money back to poor aul’ Ireland. But perhaps someone should tell him that, as President, there’s piss-all he can do about our economy. Better still, maybe he should give the lyrics a listen (‘Money so they say/Is the root of all evil today’), abandon capitalism and go live with Dana in the Garden of Eden. In fact, maybe that’s our best option…
Mary Davis Kaiser Chiefs – ‘Little Shocks’ ‘Little Shocks’ is the rather tame new lead single from musical has-beens Kaiser Chiefs.“Who?” I hear you ask. On an unrelated note, Mary Davis is a rather tame new presidential candidate from political has-beens Fianna Fáil. “Who?” I hear you ask. David Norris Eric Carmen – ‘All by Myself’ Possibly the most self-pitying song ever written (ignoring Radiohead’s discography) it may as well have been purpose-written to soundtrack Norris’ presidential campaign. With constant attempts from all directions to destroy his dream of becoming president, it seems the perfect musical backing for a depressed Norris to curl up in the foetal position to. That said, the Israeli judiciary would probably advise ‘I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)’. Michael D. Higgins Black Eyed Peas – ‘My Humps’ Ah, Michael D, Ireland’s favourite politically-charged garden gnome. We all have a soft spot for the chirpy little man. But Otwo can’t be the only one who’d love if he really sexed up his presidential campaign. All we’re asking for is one party-political broadcast where Michael D is straddled by Fergie as she sings about her “lovely, lady lumps.” Seriously Michael D, give sleaze a chance.
THE DUFFINGTON POST In this instalment, Cormac Duffy ponders how record stores hold such appeal despite having numerous flaws The recent passing of the great Steve Jobs saw his deserved canonisation as the man who changed our relationship with music. Jobs did for digital music what Henry Ford did for the car, perfecting it and producing it for the whole world to use. For all the change that the iRevolution brought to music, I still found myself in two brand new, distinctly oldfashioned record shops the week of Jobs’ passing. Dublin’s E3 Music and Elastic Witch have both defied common logic and are confidently setting up on the deck of the supposed Titanic of the physical music business (with Apple as the iceberg of this poor metaphor, of course). It seems that in the digital age, record stores still hold some sway in the hearts of fans, myself included. When I step back and think about how many flaws they have however, I’m not sure why. Think of it like this. Imagine trying to explain a record store to someone who knows only the Internet. So you tell them it’s like iTunes, if iTunes was in 3D and cost twice as much. And instead of simple files that can fit in your pocket in their millions, music comes on discs of arbitrary capacity and size. The best part is that they’ll slowly turn your favourite songs into screeching scratches and jittery skips (unless you listen to Aphex Twin, in which case the difference is negligible). This is all assuming the shop has the album in question, which is like assuming nothing goes faster than the speed of light. It might be perfectly logical, but stock buyers, like cheeky Swiss neutrinos, love to defy expectations to mess up your day. So why bother? Maybe it’s the mythology. It’s where bands are formed, and lost classics are unearthed. It’s the one place you can find your soul mate when your hands meet reaching to grab the same Astral Weeks 180 gram gatefold vinyl. It’s the Promised Land for music lovers who want to show their support for a band and argue with the supposed oracles of the staff about which Can album is the least overrated. I fear my love for record shops can be traced all too easily to seeing High Fidelity at an impressionable age. The idea of working with such large quantities of music, having access to whatever you want was a dream in my pre-broadband life. Today, that unlimited quantity of music is available to music fans everywhere, thanks, in part, to Jobs. And for all its benefits, I take comfort in the fact that when this world of excess music gets too intense, I can always retreat to the warm glow of the record shop.
Show Patrol 18th October
Ash - The Academy 7:30pm - €20 Croupier - The Workman’s Club 8.00 pm - €10
The Straits - Olympia Theatre - 7.30 - €29.50 Josh Groban - Grand Canal Theatre 7.00pm - €49.50 Pugwash - The Button Factory - 7.00 pm - €14
Gig of the Fortnight
Grand Canal Theatre - 7.30pm - €34
Justin Vernon’s outfit come to the Grand Canal Theatre on the back of their critically acclaimed second album, the self-titled Bon Iver, Bon Iver. With their debut featuring tunes like ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘Flume’, the indie-folk band have become a household name in recent times and cemented their popularity when Bon Iver reached number two in the US Billboard Chart. Not bad for a man who reportedly used to sell mobile phones in Galway.
Bottlenote Festival 2011 - Smithfield Square - 8pm - €8/€10 Bon Iver - Grand Canal Theatre - 7.30pm - €34 Vyvienne Long Whelan’s - 8.00 pm - €15
Bottlenote Festival 2011 - Smithfield Square - 8pm - €8/€10 James Vincent McMorrow - Olympia Theatre - 7.00pm - €21
Tieranniesaur - The Grand Social - 8.00pm - €10
Bottlenote Festival 2011 - Smithfield Square - 8pm - €8/€10 The Legend of Luke Kelly - Pavilion Theatre - 8.00pm - €21.25 James Vincent McMorrow - Olympia Theatre - 7.30pm - €21
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Olympia Theatre 7:30pm - €49.50 Alex Mathias Quartet feat. Jake Hertzog - JJ Smyth’s - 8.00pm - €10
24th October Britney Spears - The O2 - 7.30pm - €54.80 Patrick Wolf - The Academy – 7:30pm €20
Cut Copy - The Button Factory - 7:30pm - €22.50 The Mairtín O’Connor Band with Cathal Hayden, Séamie O’Dowd and Jim Higgins – The Grand Social - 8.30pm - €17.50
Dublin City Jazz Orchestra - Civic Theatre - 8.00pm - €15 The Dead Flags – Whelan’s - 8pm - €10
Harlem Gospel Choir - Draiocht - 8.00pm - €31 Maria Byrne and Special Guest Maeve Higgins - Whelan’s 8pm - €10
Billy Bragg - The Button Factory – 7.30pm - €23 The Ambience Affair Workman’s Club 8pm - €12 Lisa O’Neill - Whelan’s - 8pm - €10
The Original Rudeboys - The Workman’s Club - 2pm and 7.30pm - €14 Professor Green - The Academy - 7pm - €29 Surgeon and Dez Williams - The Twisted Pepper 10.30pm - €12/15
Kyle Eastwood Whelan’s 8pm - €29 Michael Kiwanuka - The Grand Social 8pm - €14.50 Digitalism - The Academy - 11pm - €29
Will Young - Olympia Theatre - 7:30pm €44.20/49.20 Jerry Springer - The Opera - Grand Canal Theatre - 6.30pm €17.50 - €30
by Stephen Miller
THE SAW DOCTORS
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“one of those things every man should experience at least once”
reland is in the grip of a social epidemic, one that has penetrated our culture in such a profound way that it has simply become a fact of life. This is the idea that Irish men simply cannot dance. Granted, most Irish men do have a very limited dance repertoire (hazy drunken head banging, the occasional dodgy shuffle, talking your way out of watching Black Swan) but I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about true, honest dancing. Social etiquette has deemed it uncool for men to dance. However, this view is only limited to men themselves, as every one of my female friends has described their ideal boyfriend as having some sort of dancing capabilities. Male opinion can be broken down as follows: 1. Can and will dance. 2. Can, but won’t dance in fear of judgement or criticism from peers. 3. Can’t, but would like to learn. 4. Can’t, won’t, never will, shame on anyone that does. Anyone who’s a one, two or three I personally think is a hero, and don’t worry, number fours aren’t real men anyway. All of these factors beg the question: simply put, why don’t men just give dancing a go? That is why in this issue, Otwo have nabbed your average, ordinary, can’t-dance-to-save-his-life Arts student in an attempt to show that, quite literally, anyone can be taught how to dance. More specifically, my challenge was salsa dancing. First things first however: preparation. Due to being given this task at the last minute (and also thanks to a complete lack of dancing knowledge) I really wasn’t sure how I was supposed to dress. Well, my Adidas runners do have ‘Samba’ written on them, so that was pretty close. For the rest I went with stereotypical UCD fashion (complete with fake Ralph Lauren polo shirt) in an attempt for the everyman look and approach. With my exhaustive preparation complete, I headed down to the International Students’ lounge (just below the Restaurant), dragging along a fellow fresher (let’s just call him
It takes two to tango, but a lot more than that to salsa. Jack Walsh learns why real men can dance Ciaran B., no, that’s giving away too much, C. Boylan, there we go) for the experience. We arrived late to be greeted by the Spanish Society instructors who ushered us into the back of the class. Thus began a night that would turn out to be more fun that I had expected. As this was only
the second lesson and most of us were new, we started with some very basic steps. Salsa, we were told, is a very natural form of dance, but it takes a while for the body to get used to it. Like anything, practice is key, and one of the instructors admitted that it takes far more than simply an hour
a day, but after seeing these guys and girls in action, it’s easy to tell that the training is worth every second. Basic steps did wind up being tricky, as this was my first ever lesson, but I like to think that I began to improve by the end of the individual work. Things were going pretty well until we began dancing in pairs. Dancing in solitude was relatively pain-free, as in pairs people can closely examine just how bad you are. No doubt, in my pairing, I was the one poor dancer letting down the pair. So that everyone could get to know each other better, the instructors organised us into lines, facing our partners and switching every now and then. This started off great, until I realised that I was in the girls’ line, and couldn’t get out of it as there was an uneven number of guys. This meant two things: A. I wasn’t allowed to lead and B. all the steps and manoeuvres I had learned I now had to do backwards. I doubted that this would work too well, but it genuinely allowed everyone to get to mingle, highlighting the social benefit of trying something new. Despite the fact that my manly frame clunked through the ladies’ steps, everyone was incredibly friendly, and simply smiled through my shambolic attempts to try out a few hot salsa moves. As the lesson was coming to a close we were led through an uptempo warm-down, all to the beat of some suitably stylish salsa music. Afterwards I bid goodbye to the class, and whilst I may not have been particularly good, the instructors were imploring me to come back and to bring some more friends. Looking back on the lesson, it was easy to see why salsa dancing is such a popular form of artistic expression. Anyone interested in the dance, or simply in meeting new people, should definitely try their hands, arms, legs and feet at it - it’s one of those things every man should experience at least once, like team sports, Middleton whiskey and opening bras one-handed.
OTWO Elizabeth IF YOU by Beecham COULD START ANY UCD CLUB OR SOCIETY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“Creepers Anonymous.” Brian O’Riordan, 3rd Year Arts
“We’d start a UCD Napping Society and have special sleep rooms on campus.” Julie & Sorcha, 3rd Year Arts
“I’d start a Tea Soc, where you just make loads of cups of tea for everyone” Adam Lee, 3rd Year Engineering
“I’d start the back of the library appreciation foundation” Sarah de Feu, 3rd Year Archeology & Geology