ars magna * * * // EDITORS //
NINA DE PAULA HANIKA ROBYN ASBURY // CONTRIBUTORS // DANIEL LEIGH JAMES HEAVEN DAHABA ALI HUSSEIN ARTHUR GOODWIN
* * * NOTE from the EDITORS:
It’s finally here: the end of another long academic year that has gone by like a flash. Freshers grappled with the realities of work, venting at their friends from home when they complained about that 1,000 word essay that they have three weeks to write. Finalists descended into being hermits, raging alcoholics, or both. We have slugged with heavy rucksacks through the rain and the snow; we have locked ourselves in our rooms, yearning to be outside in the tantalising sun. But now, you can wade through that pile of empty Red Bull cans, don something other than your Magdalene hoodie, and emerge into May Week 2013 – it’s certainly going to be a ball! We would like to wish you all a fantastic summer, and for those who are leaving us, good luck! // Robyn & Nina
You have been looking forward to those post-exam weeks for a whole year: the punting, the chilling, the punting, the chilling… Wait. What else is there to do? It all seems so appealing when you’re cooped up in your room or stuck in a library, especially one so cruelly positioned as to provide such excellent views of the punt-filled Cam. However the harsh reality, one that I have been so brutally exposed to as an exam-free first-year English student, is that Cambridge isn’t actually that exciting. Having had this realization as I passed under the Bridge of Sighs for the fifth time in a week, I decided to make it my selfless mission to seek out the best Cambridge has to offer. Since then, while most members of the university have been in the comfort of their faculties revising, I have devoted the time of my contact-hourless days and whole weekends, meant only for brunch and sleeping, to this task and have come up with the following exciting ideas. Firstly, make chocolate. Chocolat Chocolat on St. Andrews Street offers the chance to create and eat your own chocolate in the kind of pretentious activity normally reserved for the stars of scripted reality television. Not only will this tasty excursion elevate your social calendar to the level of Spencer Matthews and co., butit willsatisfy those cravings for chocolate that have been so ruthlessly ignored since leaving the confines of the library. Next, throw a party. This particular idea was inspired by my studies, a three-week assignment that proved to be one of the most strenuous tasks of my first year: watching Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. This visual feast left me yearning for ridiculous opulence and all-night partying to the genius of Jay-Z: now is your chance. Turn your band 5 room into a majestic mansion, stock up on ‘Taste the Difference’ sparkling wine and blast ‘No Church In The Wild’ all night…or at least until you get portered. Finally, get your tan on. You may think that the closest thing Cambridge has to those highly coveted Thai islands is the dubiously named ‘beach’ in the Village. However, rest assured, the Jesus Green outdoor swimming pool is as classy as any Saint Tropez Beach Club. With water temperatures already hitting 17 degrees and a sunbathing area surrounding the pool, it is the perfect place to pretan after being deprived of Vitamin D for weeks.
When entering into bookshops in our (supposedly) warmest months, do you ever get that shudder of dread as book displays scream, “Summer Reading for Women” or “Gifts for Father’s Day”? It’s insulting enough for men when it is assumed that they will want as little writing and as many bright colourful pictures as possible in their new Top Gear or football club annuals, but trying to promote rubbish chick lit,written by a one-time NaNoWriMo novelist, as the only summer reading women should do is gender stereotyping gone too far. When there are so many fantastic works of literature lining the shelves, why do bookshops force these awful pieces of writing onto poor, unsuspecting customers? Admittedly, the bookshops in Cambridge stereotype a lot less than many I have visited before. Usually, there is a small section dedicated to “women’s fiction”, as though women don’t have the brain capacity to understand the grit of Dickens or the wit of Wilde. Waterstones did have an intriguing section for Father’s Day, with a book entitled Manly Food for those so insecure about their masculinity that they have to reassert it with knowledge of fifty ways to cook a steak. The visit to Waterstones provided other fascinating insights. Treading on the dusty green carpet with the woody aroma of new books wafting through the shelves, there was a calm and relaxed atmosphere until I discovered a strange alternate universe at the back of the shop. The calming green ceased abruptly only to be replaced by a hideous deep pink, giving the room past this line an eerie glow. The only way to make it more obviously aimed at women would be to knock a signpost into the divide saying, “Beware, angry women with prams beyond this point”. Not only is this section divided by decor, it has its own checkout manned by a grumpy-looking woman who glares at anyone who doesn’t appearpregnant. Besides how intimidating this must be for fathers, if this was merely a section for children’s books, it wouldn’t be a problem, but they couldn’t resist including “Health and Fitness”, “Dieting”, and “Self-help”. Is it only women who want to remain healthy, or strive for self improvement? I feel I’ve digressed from my original point that gendered reading suggestions in bookshops are pitiful. If I wanted to skim through five dieting books to “get slim” for my non-existent holiday this summer or read a rubbish summer romance while the rain streams down the windowpanes, then I would actively seek them out. Sorry, bookshops, if you insist on shoving your suggestions for summer reading in my face, at least offer me a good Austen. Maureen Johnson, an American author, experimented by redesigning some ‘proper’ literature as though it was ‘women’s fiction” --
I saw padlocks on a coastal railing in Sorrento, Thick as mooring cable, And thought they must know Some fifty years of travelling lovers. I imagined the men with pipes And uncomfortable trousers and their girl in polka dots, Permed and sporting pearls or something She probably still wears round her neck. I wondered if theyâ€™d brought it with them, Or if some man with a fraying brace and a worn smile used to sell them there. Howâ€™d they manage to scrape out the carved initials in that Metallic hardness: with keys or knives or teeth? I wanted to write about them, but the words fell From me like rusted padlocks from a coastal railing, As though a man in overalls severed them from their moorings And let those rusty barnacles fall to the rocks below.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS UPCOMING SUMMER: Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940:
The inter-war period in Mexico produced some stunningly rich art, but rarely gets exhibited widely. Featuring some big names - Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s wayward but long-term lover) and José Clemente Orozco - the exhibition will also include Josef Alpers and Henri Cartier-Bresson, amongst others. I’m really looking forward to this. royal academy - july 6-september 29
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life:
Taking influence from Baudelaire’s 1863 critical exploration of Impressionism, the title of this exhibition attempts to highlight the French influence on Lowry’s work. Loved for his ‘stickman’ depictions of industrial Britain, Tate delivers once again with this one. tate britain - june 25-october 20
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes:
The ninety drawings and five paintings in this exhibition document Kossoff ’s frenetic obsession with the changing landscape of London. A member of the London school, these works track a lifetime lived in a city which clearly sparked much inspiration. annely juda fine art - until july 6
Dieter Roth Diaries
One of my favourite galleries, the Camden Arts Centre consistently puts on great shows, rivalling much larger competitors with a constantly innovative approach to their space. Organised as part of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival and originally put on at the Fruitmarket, this exhibition sees another side to the prolific German-Swiss artist, Dieter Roth, through his personal diaries. camden arts centre - 17 may-14 july
have a drink on jay:
*whiskey *bitters *orange *a marischino
*bourbon *mint *sugar
French 75 *gin *champagne *lemon *sugar
That’s what they say, at least. I wouldn’t know. I never go to my own – far too concerned with drinking in the sensuous summer breeze of the Hamptons that seems to hold the breath of a thousand champagnesoaked waifs. No matter - I thought I’d offer you a couple of tips on how your quaint little ball might be improved. I prefer to watch the comings and goings alone, from a single window. That’s the first thing I take issue with here at Magdalene. It seems like a damned lovely place but I’ve yet to find a prime vantage point. Two years ago I found it terribly difficult to look captivating and aloof. Although I suppose it saved me from looking like a socially awkward egoist who pays people to be friends with him, I should, perhaps, consider that a silver lining. Anyhow, it’s got to be bigger. I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.I’m not entirely sure what that means, but doesn’t it make me sound intriguing? That’s one thing that John’s has got on you; their obnoxiously large courts are perfect for slipping, unnoticed, amongst the revelers, and find something to stare at intensely. Last year, it was a girl who seemed to hold the world behind her eyes. The year before that, I made do with a bit of wall that had seemed to suddenly come alive in the moonlight, but that may have had something to do with the opiates. One thing I will say is that you’re getting the dress code right. For one night only, you become transformed into fearfully beautiful people. I mean, surely you’d rather be cloaked in an illusory patina of lonely luxury all the time; it must be terribly difficult limiting it to only one day a year. I once made a woman cry because I was wearing such a beautiful shirt. If that won’t make a silly fool of a girl go to bed with you, what will, eh? //With apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jay Gatsby - Nina de Paula Hanika
ankle strap sandle, zara, £49.99
floral cutout playsuit, topshop, £50.00 Deepa jacket, Monsoon, £89.00
Treats are so common that they aren’t treats anymore. You have a while before exams; tiny purchase. One exam done; shopping can be a revision break. Finished finals? Well… you’re damned anyway. This is arguably one of the more expensive terms. All of the money saved from Cindies is redirected to Garden Parties, Balls and June Events. Garden Parties are always complicated, except the Wyverns GP which thankfully comes with a prescriptive dress code. Clothes will be ruined with alcohol, vomit and some other more questionable stains, but at least they’ll be free from jelly. Dresses are a risky move; you want to preserve your dignity whilst you writhe around in the grass. No doubt the event will also be full of ill-fitting blazers and off-beige coloured chinos and shorts. The most stressful of all events is the May Ball. It is simply the bane of my life. As you will all know, I have experienced pain, stress and mental anguish in pursuit of suitable attire. I’m sure this is common: I would not be surprised if some (weaker) girls pull a Brittany and prance around stark naked. Hopefully security will be up to scratch. Having said this, I would rather suffer the stresses of attempting to differentiate myself from the crowd than have to submit to complete assimilation, the fate that awaits the gentlemen. All of the Magdalene ‘lads’ will experience the awkward moment when their best friend turns up in the identical Moss Bros suit. Men, accessories are key. Pair a scarf with some fancy gloves and swish a cane around; it will bring all the girls to your Fellows Garden. It’s one of the few times you will be able to parade around looking like a pimp, drinking champagne and surrounded by some classy hoes.
Superhero films are once again dominating the industry: Iron Man 3 has been a huge success and will soon be followed by the Nolan/ Snyder take on Superman and the hopefully not unneeded Kick-Ass 2. For me this genre reached a pinnacle last summer with Avengers Assemble and The Dark Knight Rises, both masterful contributions by two of the best current film directors. What made these films so good was their handling of tone: when you are making a big family blockbuster, it helps to be consistent. Joss Whedon’s Avengers took the light-hearted route; he saw the comic potential in an arrogant and witty playboy, a man who has been frozen since the 1940s, a Norse god and a man who turns into a big green monster whenever he gets angry. The legendary Chris Nolan went in the opposite direction; he turned a camp, theme-tuned man-in-tights into a serious exploration of good and evil, justice and injustice, and order and chaos. He somehow managed to turn a blockbuster into an art film. The other big-hitter last summer, The Amazing Spider-Man, was caught between comedy and intensity, so was less successful as a result. As a character Spiderman has the potential to go either way, but when New York was being trashed by a giant lizard it was a shame that no one could see the funny side.
// Daniel Leigh
One of the biggest tonal transgressors however is Kick-Ass. Films are allowed to oscillate, but if you are going from jovial to dark and intense, you have to earn the right to do so, or you will leave the audience unconvinced. Kick-Ass portrayed an 11-year old girl in a purple wig entering a room full of adult gangsters, yelling ‘come on you c***s’ and proceeding to kill them all to the soundtrack of ‘Bad Reputation’. This film appeared to be a piece of fun escapism, so when one of the characters is brutally tortured and murdered in front of his family, I was distressed. Not by the horror of the thing I was watching, but at how the film had suddenly and haphazardly ceased to be any fun. It seemed a strange and somewhat cowardly attempt to establish an emotional hook, and in reaction to being unfairly manipulated I actively resisted. I say cowardly because it is brave to do a film that is totally violent and outrageous and yet exists without a deep emotional engagement with the audience. Pulp Fiction would be a good example of this: some of its content is horrific, but the film’s tone is one of total fun. When it comes to the tone of superhero movies, the filmmakers really need to make up their minds. Or just give the job to Nolan or Whedon.
Dear Magony Aunt, My boyfriend and I have been going out for about a month and I want the relationship to move forward, but something weird happened recently. After going out to dinner, we went back to my room and started getting intimate. After about a minute he started coughing really violently and continued to do so for about 30 seconds. His face began to fracture under the force; pus spewed out of the cracks and his skin peeled off onto the bed revealing one big eye with tiny segments, no nose and a mouth with three rows of teeth. He coughed again and wings burst out from his shoulders sending his bones flying and smashing into the windows. His body was green and scaly all over. He then coughed one last time and vomited black mucus all over my naked skin. What should I do? Do you think this can still work out? Samantha, 2nd Year Modern Languages, St. John’s College Dear Samantha This is a common problem. The best thing to do would be to spend more time with him and perhaps give it another go in a couple of weeks. Lots of Magdalene love, Maud Dear Magony Aunt I just had a big fight with my long-term girlfriend. I don’t want us to break up, but the clash of opinions here might prove an insurmountable obstacle in the long run. We were discussing the role of the author in literary criticism: my girlfriend was adamant that the ‘author was dead’ and persistently referenced the work of the French Literary critic and philosopher, Roland Barthes. I passionately insisted that one cannot entirely disregard the person who wrote the text, for the work is effectively drawn from their psyche, which in turn is shaped by their experience. She then preposterously claimed that I had fallen prey to the ‘intentional fallacy’, at which point I stormed out of the room and have not spoken to her since. Please help me - the author of this letter is well and truly in the text! Jack, 3rd Year Natsci, King’s College Dear Jack Just remember the ultimate Empsonion principle of literary interpretation: all perspectives that can be justified are valid. Lots of Magdalene love, Maud
Dear Magony Aunt Instead of just making up people and problems in a feeble attempt at comedy, why don’t you start helping people for real? Dan, 1st Year English, Magdalene College Dear Dan Why are you so ugly? Lots of Magdalene love, Maud
Aries (21st March – 20th April): Song of the Summer: Elton John – I’m Still Standing (After Exams) Where You’ll Be In May Week: Life On a big night out, a dream of yours will come true.
Gemini (22nd May – 21st June): Song of the Summer: Kid Rock – All Summer Long Where You’ll Be In May Week: Fitzbillies There will be many new flavours of Tropicana for you.
Taurus (21st April – 21st May): Song of the Summer: Bryan Adams – Summer of ‘69 Where You’ll Be In May Week: Jesus Green A change of dress will help you impress.
Cancer (22nd June – 22nd July): Song of the Summer: Michael Bublé – Feeling Good Where You’ll Be In May Week: Grantchester Keep tweezers and string on you at all times, they will come in handy.
Leo (23rd July – 22nd August): Song of the Summer: Queen – Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon (After Brunch) Where You’ll Be In May Week: ‘The Beach’ Be wary of Magdalene ducks; they have acquired a taste for Pimms.
Virgo (23rd August – 23rd September): Song of the Summer: Ella Fitzgerald – Too Darn Hot (For British Weather) Where You’ll Be In May Week: Magdalene College Library You will really enjoy a Ramsay meal this week.
Libra (24th September – 23rd October): Song of the Summer: Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls Where You’ll Be In May Week: Wyverns Garden Party You will have a special dance at May Ball at midnight.
Scorpio (24th October – 22nd November): Song of the Summer: Alice Cooper – School’s Out Where You’ll Be In May Week: The Anchor Avoid the tourist with the yellow hat or you may end up in a pickle.
Sagittarius (23rd November – 21st December): Song of the Summer: Kathrina and the Waves – Walking on Sunshine Where You’ll Be In May Week: Fellow’s Garden Try to avoid talking to tourists; their misunderstanding of your sarcasm could lead to an unfortunate photograph.
Capricorn (22nd December – 20th January): Song of the Summer: ABBA – Our Last Summer (Of Freedom) Where You’ll Be In May Week: Fitzwilliam Museum There will be a nice surprise in your pigeonhole this week.
Aquarius (21st January – 19th February): Song of the Summer: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime Where You’ll Be In May Week: Punting Wear a skirt to a garden party for a change of fortune.
Pisces (20th February – 20th March): Song of the Summer: Cliff Richards – Summer Holiday Where You’ll Be In May Week: ADC Theatre Watch you don’t embarrass yourself in front of a celebrity! It could be costly in the future. back cover image credit: tim waijers
want to get involved?
If you would like to contribute to the next edition of ars magna , or would like to know more about this publication, please contact us at: contact:email@example.com blog:www.ars-m-magna.tumblr.com facebook: www.facebook.come/magdalenearsmagna
layout and photography by nina de paula hanika