Teen Art Out nr 7 Virtue and Vice Virtue and Vice… two concepts as old as creation. Can we really understand what their true meaning is? Has it changed in time? On paper, it is all easy and clear. Be good, be righteous and remain virtuous. However, reality is far too corrupt and corruptible. Hard to deine what that means as it seems, we are now trying to give it a shape, to lay a form on the abstract of this world. Heaven denied us its kingdom Tell me where we’ve gone wrong (Delain – Virtue and Vice) Eden was a place of peace and happiness, the perfect place. But, as chance has it, it “denied us its kingdom” when virtue was no more. Are to believe that vice is what made the world? Vices make us human. But most importantly, vices make us free! Vices represent our most basic will, our freedom to choose. However, that choice means we can just not be addicted to them. Lead your life as you want it to be, create your own virtues and stand by them. Whatever the prophecy Let it be, Let it be We’ll live all there is to live Be it pleasure, be it sorrow Whatever prosperity Lies in me, lies in me I’ll be all that i can be My forever starts tomorrow (Delain – Virtue and Vice) Life is not only composed of good things, but also bad parts. Nature is built like that. To live through the good and bad, to overcome all challenge. This is the intertwined state of life, both a vice and a virtue. They both live inside us, and ight, trying to get us to go their way. Let it be! Tomorrow is a new day and you can build a whole universe, to last forever. We invite you to discover an issue about this highly polemic theme, in which you will ind thought-provoking points of view. Feel free to create your own deinition and standpoint, maybe share it with us. Moreover, this time, we invite you to a treat of interviews with Epica’s Coen Janssen, Grasu XXL and many others. Simona Mihalca, Editor-in-Chief
ISSN 2284 – 6549 ISSN–L = 2284 – 6549 Our editorial team Editor in chief: Simona Mihalca Editors: Bianca Caministeanu Andreea Ene Ilinca-Ruxandra Tone Marta Boceanu Julia N. Hamermesz Elias Lazarus Michela Sereni Anne Popp Patricia Ruiz Moreno Pîrcălăbescu Mădălina Teodora Nicolau Mihai Carneciu Christinne Schmidt Adrian Moraru Pancu Raluca Dorina Ţaranovici Alice Mircescu Andreea Albulescu Photo credits: Cony Betz Julia N. Hamermesz Roxana Barbu Anca Anghel Cover design: Ruxandra Marin Cover graphics: Cony Betz Design: Dan Muresan
We reserve the right to select the submissions received before publishing. Contact www.artout.ro firstname.lastname@example.org
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Interview Epica Virtue and Vice Black and white Virtue / Vice Why eggplants donâ€™t fall in love Life as a virtue Vice and virtue The swirl of gossip and lies Do you love your guns The art of virtue, the art of vice Virtue and vice Beyond Vices - The opulence of virtues Step up Interview with Elize Ryd Cony Betz Social watch: mental health in society Evanesence: the chronicles of a great performance Jazz Manouche: the European Jazz Interview with Fernando Pizarro Anca Anghel - works Lost without a story Interview with Grasu XXL
Teen Art Out: I’d like to begin by congratulating you for having reached your irst decade, hopefully, one of many more to come. The fans are in for a treat with the Retrospect show. What can you tell us about that? Coen Janssen: Thank you very much! The fans are indeed in for a treat. We are going to put up our biggest show to date with the 70-piece orchestra and choir from “The Classical Conspiracy” and if that is not enough it will be illed with specials in songs, lighting and efects. TAO: How has The Classical Conspiracy inluenced you in the making of this show? What have you learned from that experience that you will apply this time? Is there something you’d do diferently? Coen: During the Classical Conspiracy we had to live up to the expectations of a “classical” audience since it was part of an opera festival. This meant that we couldn’t do everything we wanted. We couldn’t play our most heavy songs for that night. On the other hand we had to play these classical pieces, which was a great challenge which turned our great in the end. TCC was a good education for the Retrospect show. The process is kind of the same so it goes faster and you don’t have to learn everything from scratch now. Also we are looking more into the arrangements now to make them even better than last time. TAO: Will some of the older songs you have rehearsed for this show end up on your permanent setlist? Coen: That depends. We always try to make a setlist that has everything that Epica has to ofer. But since our discography is getting bigger it becomes more diicult to put every song on the list.
TAO: Looking back after 10 years of the band’s existence, what did you expect to be as it is today? What is the biggest surprise, though? Coen: When I started the band I didn’t actually know what to think of it. That we came this far is a surprise although we worked very hard for it. During those years I had the privilege to visit places I normally wouldn’t have and played all festivals I used to go to as a teenager so a lot of my goals have been checked. TAO: What do you think are some of the unique and long-established traditions of the band? Coen: The way we great each-other and the way we wish each-other a good show are small traditions within the band. There are of course also the usual one-liners and quotes we use all the time. No big things though. TAO: This tour is taking you to some very exciting new places. How exciting is it now to get to visit new places? Coen: That is the best thing there is. I’m so much looking forward to visit China and Australia for instance. It is good to learn how different people live their lives in diferent parts of the world. It makes you wiser so to speak. I guess everybody should see the world so that you can place yourself in it a lot better. As a western European you are spoiled, but you only ind out if you visit other parts in the world. TAO: What are some of the best gifts you’ve ever received from your fans? Coen: That they still are coming to the shows of course. But I get a lot of cuddly toys for my daughter which I really like (and she too of course) I think it is special if the fans even think about that. We also get some nice art now and then, beautiful hand-made stuf. 5
TAO: How hard would it be both for the band and the fans if you wanted to change your style or image? Coen: Depends how drastic you are going to change it right?! People don’t like change but over the years we changed a lot I think. Change is normal and a useful process. If you make the same CD every time, it only gets boring.
memory longer than the positive ones… And now a few more “popular” questions: TAO: Who used to be your hero growing up? Coen: I really didn’t have a hero but I like Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater a lot. TAO: Do you watch any TV shows? Coen: Sometimes, not a lot. I watch some series and some Dutch talkshows TAO: Who are some people you’d love to meet? Coen: The fans all over the world TAO: Who is your favorite historical igure? Coen: The ones who did good. TAO: What was the subject you hated the
TAO: Why do you think that so much hate arises in the metal fandom? Unfortunately, Epica has been dragged into this kind of negative fan behavior. Coen: Trust me, it is not only in the metal fandom. Probably the bigger they are, the more shit they have to put up with. Everyone gets negative comments about them but this has become a more “open” thing since everyone with a computer can say anything without having to stand for it. It is so easy to drag someone down anonymously without having to support that opinion. Unfortunately you cannot please everyone so some people might be let down, if they want to talk shit, go ahead, can’t do anything about it. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt sometimes. Negative experiences tend to stick in your 6
most in school? Coen: Math, I totally suck at it. TAO: And lastly, as we are a Romanian magazine, we have to ask how you like our country and if you have any plans to come back. Coen: No plans right now but hopefully we can do another tour in Eastern Europe soon. I like Romania, it has a very diferent feel than The Netherlands and the last place we went (Sibiu) was very nice. TAO: Thank you very much!
Photocredit by Heilemania (Stefan Heilemann)
Virtue and vice „ Our virtues are most often praised but our vices disguised. ” ( François duc de la Rochefoucauld ) According to Aristotle, people need to be- Therefore, for every virtue there are innucome better, to be made good. Unconscious- merable vices. The biggest diference in perly, they must seek the path to perfection, sonalities results from the ability to restrict translating their life and acquiring their pre- the distance between virtue and vices, like a destined happiness. But what is the mean- way to uprightness. ing of perfection? Everyday, a new challenge Obviously, intellectual power does not alawaits you, but you see the same mirrors, ways win the mysteries of our souls. Indeed, the same idealism. The feelings for human- you can ind a surprising way to convert ity and for predestination appear when you virtue into a necessity. „Don’t try to be difind contradictory ideas, when it’s possible ferent. Just be good. To be good is diferent to make a deep diference between human enough”, said Arthur Freed. This is your misvirtues and vices. This is the tendency to ac- sion. Those who embody the gateway to real virtue are the men of the old families, raised quire integrity. Presently, virtue means power, which came in a cruel period, in courage and devotion, in to signify, as well, moral goodness: the prac- stalemates, when they only could hope for tice of moral duties and the conformity of a better time. Their patience defends the inlie to the moral law, uprightness, and recti- tegrity and defeat the chaos. tude. There is no order without virtue, and Nevertheless, no one can cross the destithere is no humanity without vices. Plato ny if he lacks conidence, courage and does declared that there are four chief virtues of not have temperament and intellect, while the soul: justice, prudence, temperance, and community requires development. People fortitude. Today, there is an extensive signif- are so diferent! They still keep equilibrium, icance; therefore, you feel wisdom, courage, because it’s all about right and wrong. Sometimes, they do unthinkable actions, but this chastity, and justice. Virtues are in general beneﬁcial features, is their origin. and obviously, ones that a human being There are some people who do possess great needs to have, like his continuous thoughts, virtues and who are loved and admired by for his own sake and that of his fellows. In- the entire world. You can ind this way! Try tellectual virtue may be developed and im- to change the world and prove that the light proved through systematic instruction that comes from each soul, that people can build implies awareness and patience, through the virtue as a rescue from their own fears. moral virtue, that grows out of custom. You Vices like: ignorance, cowardice, concupisneed talent and desire to discover the most cence, injustice and tyranny are nothing, impressive power of virtue: maintaining it compared to the biggest power: to be good. in a well-deined center, because there is no This is what perfection means: „Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” (William Shakeperfection! Truly virtuous men constitute a minority. speare). Dorina Ţaranovici Sometimes, our vices surpass us, like a trap in the way to relection of predestination. 7
Virtue and vice I’ll be all that i can be, my forever starts tomorrow The present, today, now. What does this mean for each and every one of us? I think that every generation sees their present with subjectivism and often with negativism. As it is expected, the current matters are always greater than past issues. Current generation is certain that money and social recognition are of greater importance comparing to moral values, self-esteem and even freedom ( principles for which many of our ancestors fought and even died ). Is this hunger for money a virtue or a vice in our generation? I think it would be the fairest to say neither. It is simply our necessity, an animal instinct which tells us that if we have more of those pieces of paper called money, we will survive. There are many people who consider the present generation a failure and that modern society will collapse in a not so distant future. However, we mustn’t forget that society is actually us. I am a part of it, my family is, you and all those you know are. Yes, I am a small part of society, but so is a soldier on the battleield, a revolutionist ighting for his freedom or an astronaut in space, yet individuals are those who change history. Why not start a „revolution” yourself? However, let’s try to identify our problems, our society major vices and then seek its virtues. More and more crimes are commited, new wars are started for nothing, acts of unimaginable cruelty and unfounded violent abuses are becoming more common, but I think that the biggest vice of the current society is that it stimulates the animal instinct 8
that drives us into not caring about anyone or anything in order to achieve our goals. All those laws mentioned above have a single cause: the thirst for power. The lion, the king of the jungle, kills its competitors in order to be the supreme leader of the pack. The hyenas attack in packs just because it’s the only way to bring down their prey, igthing each other close to death for an extra piece of meat after the prey is caught. The only difference between the modern man and the animals referred to is the inal goal. The lion has supremacy inside his pack as a goal, the hyena has the food and man has money and power. What is he willing to do for them? He would let others starve, he would oppress them, would let them homeless and without food and he would even kill them, if that leads to fullilling his goal.
We all know that there is a certain level of wealth that we can reach by providing value-added to the society ( construction work, health, justice, agriculture an so on. The problem is in particular with a certain class, so-called „1%”, formed of people who own a lot more revenues than the other 99% of the world population combined. At that level ( with some exceptions ) noone is providing value-added, but only creating capital through the impoverishment of others ( capital markets, mortgage markets, fuel markets and so on ). 9
The harsh reality strikes us every day, but there are deinitely human virtues that may save us. It all starts from the individual. Each and every one of us has to ight this animal instinct and accomplish our goals without having a signiicat impact on others. How do we do that? By moderation and contentment regarding his own condition. We must stop once an acceptable welfare level, at which we can say that we need nothing more in order to live a decent and satisfying life, was attained. This is, however, a very rare concept for the forever dissatisied and always willing for more human. Paradoxically, if we want to live a better life, we need to stop aiming for a better life once we reach an acceptable standard of living. I am no supporter of communism, in which everyone was forced to live under the same conditions, and I even advocate for freedom of choice and the opportunity to develop the social and career condition, but a well-known principle of natural equity says that, from a certain level, any increase of an individual welfare level would automatically lead to a decrease in another one’s. And I think that is the level we need to be thankful with and accept as a maximum point. It may seem too little to change the world, but if the simple desire of always having more brought us to the society we are living today, why wouldn’t stopping this animal instinct change it? Thereby, be all that you can be, start doing something today so that your better forever can start tomorrow, and surely you will be happier and thankfull for everything that you got. Adrian Moraru 9
equilibrium point. Some don’t understand it and they keep going further. They jump from one lie to a good deed, their prickly skin quickly warning the future disaster. When you set foot on that ledge, will it hold the weight of your past? Let’s face it; it’s nothing more than a veil, luring you into a trap – the trap of perfection. You’d say only fools fall for it, but that’d mean we’re all just fools. Perfection? Who doesn’t want toPawns at on least touch it, feel its warmth and ine all are, n texture? But would you risk falling Yes, we a into an abyss, betraying your soul just ly this im to have a glimpse of this superior gift? looking a No, don’t try to be black or white only, es its po but never try to mix the two of themnot in blac complete equality. We all need a bit moral of cre immorality for dark days when this is the everythin only relief we have. We also need a shred angels d of moral excellence, otherwise our soul we’re on would darken and our memories would What ca fade into black. Happiness in misery, how nally igu hard could it be to achieve? ing? To between Mihai Carneciu whelms down an Take one breath o sip once sought-a perfectio But no, never be fect bal and virtu just can’
Strong words, capital meanings. Each human-being faces both sides of its personality: the one which reveals its virtues and most important qualities and the other one which shows its imperfections and vices. It comes naturally; in fact, this is what really deines us: the continuously rotation among good and bad. In favor of whom do we take position, to which point can we clearly separate both sides, without any immixtures? Where does virtue end, and vice begin? Can we even consider only one side, the one relected by our own personal-examination or should we accept the idea of a already planned destiny? And the other ones, how much do they have to say in our guidance towards life? How well do we accept critics regarding our behavior and personality? Do we listen, do we follow up the advices which have been given to us? Which sources can we gain or lose more, virtues or vices? Hard to decide, as man-kind has a very technical way of adopting a chameleonic side, in terms of critical, crucial or deciding moments. Even if we let ourselves carried away by a carefully wrapped up image, we must come to a point whether we decide if is worth it or not, if someone must be primarily qualiied and taken in consideration for their virtues, and secondly judged for their mistakes. This is a measure not so adequate to be applied on every person. It takes a lot of experience, human intuition and a proper eye to investigate, in other to decide which qualities you put irst, which facts have a more valid account. Furthermore, in order to establish a more clearly border between the two, in this article, we will con12
when is the proper moment to start asking questions and relect? The real problem arise when we don’t have a real model to look up to, in consequence, we don’t know which thing is good, which is bad, which virtues or vices are to be taken in count and applied to ourselves. So, from the beginning, our personality tends to establish wrong qualities: if my mother says a curse, or my father yells at my mom or doesn’t listen to her, or shouts at her when he has a point to prove, or both parents are smoking, in my presence, why should all this facts deine the word “wrong”? Why can’t i look at my father and say that he is actFirstly we will take in count the ing ok, he knows how to drag the portrait of family and friendship. attention, how to lay down some In this speciic area, the people house rules and how to install his we most worship and care about authority? Those are the virtues a are the ones to have the greatest man should have, no? The man of amount of inluence on us. We the house, no? look up to our parents and consider them our life models. We build up our personality, in the irst place, by genetically stealing some of their personality features and secondly by perceiving carefully their behavior and putting an efort into making “impressions” that perfectly relect them and suits us the best. So, we naturally form our virtues, we try to be respectful, considerate, obedient, good listeners, helpful, supportive, caring, this is what we have been told to. But, nevertheless, there come the selishness, anger and all the negative human parts. How do we balance, should we entirely listen to our parents? The fundamental stage in the process of growing up is our childhood. From a fragile age, we tend to copy everything we see, without even knowing it; by thinking we aren’t doing anything wrong. So,
sider three diferent situations: the irst one will mark out the importance of family in the process of virtues and vices, the second one will point out the inluence of friends, and the last one, will assume a more deeply review: our target in life, how well do we ménage our vices and virtues in order to obtain what we are aiming for. In which manner our status, identity and attitude change, how well do we face our virtues and vices, how do we tackle them, by which criteria, in the following article?
I can perceive this statement to be wrong, but a 5 years old can’t. Therefore, we must understand the fact that virtues and vices don’t come from the above, without any intervention of ours. We are inluenced by our parents till we reach a certain age, such as 15-16 when we tend to become independent, at least, act like we are and start to deine our own heading in life, with some life lessons in our mental storage. From that moment on, vices and virtues come along, and parents stop being our irst and only mirror that we look into. The next step of the game is played by our friends. We take part of a group, we put our emotions and feelings into the whole process of creating a solid friendship(even in the not so solid one, we still involve our energy and good intentions). Here we are dealing with two kind of opposite facts: if we act like a opened book, and share all of our virtues and act like we were at everybody’s disposal, when they want, we will be taken for granted. Therefore, our virtues could transform into our worst vices, leading to no much than sufering and disappointments. If we take the other lead part, and try to represent the person that can’t never be touched, and become admired for our strength, power, strong personality, we may tend to make some more room than necessary for the vices-greed, pride, envy, dishonesty that can lead to our loneliness. A brilliant mind said: who resembles, gets together. So, therefore, if we personally adopt such a double face, how can we be sure if the person standing in front of us is honest or not? How can identify his or her personality,
how do we know what to expect? Which quality stands in the front row? In order to answer that, we must know that our friends are who we really are. Our image is relected in many pieces in each and every single one of them. We expect moral support, good advices, good listeners, a pure and not badly intentioned person near us? We must check all of the above. This doesn’t mean that every person is the same or establishes the same balance between virtue and vice. But, in order to make a diference, you must be the rule exception, the good one. Listen, help and call for the same thing.
Vice The last, but not the least major important area, regards our personal purposes and targets, deined as our ambition to succeed in life. Our career, our job, stands at the highest level of the achievement program we intend to follow and successfully close at the end of the road.. With every year that passes by, we tend to improve ourselves, to become more intelligent, more focused, more determined, more powerful, more and more positively changed. All of this in order to be appreciated by our superior, our supervisor, so that, at the end of the day, we can receive a shake hand or a smile, followed up by ”keep up with the good work.” We try as hard as possible to outshine and be promoted. But, what should we expect from the team? The same treatment as we apply on ourselves, or a diferent type of looking at? When somebody’s trying to make us look bad in front of our boss, or sneaks in and
doesn’t mind of his own business, what attitude should we adopt? If we loose our temper, and release the anger and hurtful thoughts, we may risk to destroy all of our achievements. Moreover, we seek for revenge, and even if we can accomplish our plan, we still end up loosing. How come? Because in so many cases, people that sufer a disappointment or a mental breakdown in life, turn the wheel and choose the other path. Alcohol, drugs, some of the worst vices that start little by little covering us till we end up drowning in our own misery. Who is to be blamed? One man said that revenge is for the weakest. Therefore, our virtues shouldn’t be taken over by our moments of despair; we should learn how to track down every trap that has been set up for us. Receiving bad, acting bad will not trigger a positive result. On the contrary, if we remain stable and true to ourselves we will succeed and move on to the next chapter. So, in order to drag the inish line, we must outline certain ideas: both virtues and vices follow us along our journey in life, but, is up to us whether we accept the whole package or not. In order to establish a moral balance, we must take need of both sources that come from the inside, without tipping the scale in favor of a single one of them. Regardless the situation we may need to confront, we must be cautious and think twice every move we intend to do. Pancu Raluca
Why eggplants don’t fall in love I shall tell you something: not all things can fall in love. I know it’s horrible, but I have no idea what we can do for them. What I know for sure is that eggplants can never do it. They lack the greatest virtue of all, the virtue of loving. There could be a dozen explanations why they don’t have this virtue, but something is certain: poor fellows don’t even realize they could fall in love if they were anything but those purple plants. They always stay outside the line and they can be heard quite often making comments regarding the behavior of other species, such as zucchinis, carrots and strawberries ( that, if they don’t get transported to the market place, then it gets much worse, believe me ). The only thing it is said the eggplants know about the phenomenon of falling in love is that it’s very unsafe because of the dangerous butterlies that get transmitted through eye contact and can devour the stomach and tear it to pieces. I saw this little piece of paper myself, in a box of eggplants, and it really looked like eggplant handwriting. I was stunned as I realized that was their actual problem: they’re afraid of butterlies! The problem about butterlies is that, once one occurs, you start liking it and want more and more and more till you can’t take it anymore. You can’t eat anything, you are more likely to have heart issues, not to say that you can spit one or two butterlies if you talk too loud. Knowing that, the eggplants probably noticed: if you don’t have virtues, you’re not going to have any vices either. Well, vegetables surely aren’t known for brightness, nor for wits. They rather guide themselves by intuition and pieces of advice given from one generation to another. But us, animals, know not to take everything we hear for granted. Virtue vice nice mice dice lies pies guys ties ah, man, my head is all lufy and colorful, I can’t even think straight. I’m just worrying that it’s all in the stomach, that’s all. Marta Boceanu
Life as a virtue Virtue, what a strange word today, but what a blessing for our souls. We tend to say that true virtues have disappeared. We tend to associate them with old people, with traditions, with the past. ”That was a long time ago...” We walk on the streets, we only listen to noises, thousands of voices, loud music. And we forget, yes, we forget, to listen to our hearts. We forget to ind ourselves in a moment of silence. For us, silence isn’t anymore a way of getting closer to the sky, but a weakness. We forget to listen, we rush and we criticize. We don’t ind any time for the things that matter. This is our vision. And we don’t even try to change it, because “that’s how everybody lives”. In this world, where are the virtues? We all own them. It only matters the path we choose. And yes, there are people who live their lives as a virtue. You can see them on the street. Their eyes are laughing. They carry their own ights. Sometimes, they look above and smile to the sky. They ofer you a sit in the bus. They are calm and beautiful, because they see the world in its true colors. They recognize true love, they feel others suferance. They cry, both of happiness and sorrow. Every day, they step into a Church. And yes, they believe and they pray. Sounds strange to you? Well, it isn’t. It’s not a fairytale, it’s the truth. Virtues still exist. We all need them. They are gift to us. One of the most beautiful we received from our Creator. Just like in the past, only the world has changed. Our souls, they are still the same. They have the same meaning. And there is the same light that’s waiting for us. Virtues will take us there. Because we all need it. It’s the only way to happiness. Now, are you ready to stop in the middle of the street and make silence? It doesn’t matter who we are, where we are, what we do. The truth remains forever: faith, patience, silence, love. They are all covered by the noise. But inside our hearts, we ind them. All we need to do is listen. Christinne Schmidt
Vice and Virtue
The contemporary world can be considered a genuine fairytale. At no other time in history was the ight between good and evil felt so acutely. Even so, the perception of these two forces is still diminished because of the antonymic relationship between the two concepts. The human being possesses both a good and an evil side ever since early childhood. Until a clear choice is made between virtue and vice, the two states remain latent in the conscience of the individual. A famous Romanian poet and philosopher, Lucian Blaga, uses in one of his poetries the idea that Heaven, which, in my view, symbolises Virtue, is lit by the lames of Hell, Vice. The same correspondence can be identiied in real life. Vice and Virtue coexist and this simultaneity deter-mines a contrast. Vice can make Virtue seem more attractive and moral, while the opposite situation is viable, too. There is a common belief that Virtue is an ancestral value which should be conserved throughout the years, as independently as possible in relation with time or space. The reality is that Virtue cannot be completely unrelated to the times or to the logical structure it belongs to. In direct connection with morality, Virtue as an abstract concept is not the feature of the ones who willingly choose not to posses it. One explanation for this exception is the fact that not all people see a rela-tion of equivalence between Virtue and Good. Telling the truth, for example, is a lost virtue, as the society nowadays is based on a set of lies and appearances. Children are 16
educated in this spirit and therefore easily forget the Greeks and the Romans and their sociology and philosophy. Being virtu-ous is widely associated with the idea of puriication, but such spiritual preoccupations are reduced these days. This reduction is also visible in the cultural area. People no longer search the cathartic efect of art, as it is simpler to ind a refuge in religion or in human interactions. Vice, on the other hand, is the easy path, though the ones who choose this as an integrated part of their lifestyles think high of themselves and include themselves in a special category. To be vicious, it seems, is synonymous with being diferent. Unfortunately for the ones who share this be-lief, Vice is so common nowadays that there is nothing new in being the slave of somebody or of something. Vice implies inferiority, Virtue brings along a superior status. This idea is promoted by the Romanian philosopher Marin Preda, who reveals a new method of pushing the human limits and of endurance: pain. Even so, this theory is highly extremist and should be treated with reluctance by the typical human being. To conclude, Vice and Virtue may seat on the same bench in the park or may form a couple, metaphorically speaking. The ight between Good and Evil is reinvented through this concepts and it becomes more and more problematic to ind a proper deinition for the two entities. Ilinca-Ruxandra Tone
The swirl of gossip and lies I’m sure that everybody likes gossip. I mean, we are really interested in the “who-did-what” or “did you hear that…” thing. Although many of us will never admit that we kind of feel a “demonic pleasure” to tell our friends what the people we dislike did or said. Well, it might be OK to gossip at times, but when we mix it up with apparently innocent lies, we fall into a trap. If we tell a lie to the wrong person, everybody will know about it, including the person of whom we gossip about. Just imagine how embarrassing the following situation may look like: you, the liar, trying to explain yourself, being forced to ind more lies to get yourself out of trouble. It is best to keep yourself out of this because, when you forget what you’ve been lying about, you really complicate your existence with all sorts of unnecessary stuf. Once, a good friend of mine told me that people start to gossip when their lives become less interesting than the one of the person their gossip about and they start to make up lies just because they cannot entertain themselves in any other way. I found those wise words a bit funny because I know some girls who just love to make up embarrassing stories about people they hated. They are thinking of how cool they are, making fun of everyone who dares to cross their limit of smartness, beauty and popularity. I actually feel sorry for them because they are caught in this swirl of gossip and lies. They have created their own little world, ruled by bored narrow-minded people. I realized that it is a virtue to be an honest human being nowadays. It is also a challenge to stay out the aforementioned groups. Of course, it is all right to talk with somebody you trust about other people. As long as you are quiet enough, so that you won’t be heard and only speak the naked truth. And yes, if that is true, you can say about someone that he or she is too stupid to breathe without help. Andra Albulescu
Do you love your guns? An old teacher once told that the best way to really visualize the virtue and vice problem was to picture a knife. A knife, in the hands of a talented chef, would help to create a tasteful meal. However, the exact same knife would, in the hands of a murderer, take a life. We couldn’t make it exist without this side. Just like the old example of light and darkness, good and evil, one could not exist without the other. When I was still wondering what to talk about in here, and this example came to my head, I remembered an old research that said most people would easily go against a robber armed with a knife, but not against one armed with a gun. It was an interesting moment to remember this, since US is now going through a harsh situation involving shootings and guns in general. For those unaware of the situation, what happened is that a 20-year-old-man, in the 14th of last December, after killing his own mother, entered the school where she worked and shot over twenty people to death, the majority of those being kids aged ive to ten. It was reported as one of the biggest massacres of history, and President Obama called it a wake-up call to everyone, reinforcing the idea of making a stricter gun policy. I was always against the disarming projects in my country. Not because I don’t see the good side of it, not because I don’t realize how many accidents and deaths it would avoid, but because the ones who would eventually hand down their guns are the ones who (usually) only have guns for protection. However, that was not what caught my attention in Obama’s speech at all. The president said one of the sanest things I’ve heard in quite a while: we shall make a background check on those who want to have guns, and take the heavy armaments out of the streets (because after all, who needs an AK-47 for mere protection?). It’s seems to be an obvious point for me, but there’s a diferent impact when someone as powerful as he says it. At last some people shall realize that guns are not toys, and that not everyone should be allowed to carry one around. 18
But I’m not writing to talk about Obama or his policies (as much as I approve of them). I’m writing because this shooting had a diferent impact on me. This kind of massacre has been repeated hundreds of other times, and yet I had never really felt closely what it was all about. This time, though, I happened to be in the United States. I watched the news through their perspective, I heard those people talking about the shooting on the streets, and I saw their lags hanging halfway through their masts. It’s curious that, when I irst heard the news, my only thought was (after I remembered the Columbine case) “who will they blame this time?”. For my great surprise, the media did not turn to any celebrity in the following days. And then it slowly hit me. Over twenty people were killed and they are not blaming anyone. I don’t mean to say it in a bad way. The fact that a nation is facing this as a collective burden shows, somehow, that the same has grown. It was always clear to me that the shootings in United States were a cultural matter (after all, every country has its issues), and that only a massive event would ever be able to change it. It’s not up to the president, to the police, nor to the celebrities to solve this. The violence problems shall be faced in every home. Every kid shall have the right to be heard and, most of all, every kid should be taught properly about guns. It’s not about blaming videogames or TV shows. It’s not about pointing your ingers to rock stars and saying their music is dangerous. It’s about teaching your kids to live with it. To understand it. I have always played videogames and watched TV shows and been a metal fan, and yet I know that I should not get a gun a shoot everyone that annoys me. If we want a better world, we need a better education. As we can’t reprehend our children to the point they ind the necessity to rebel, we can’t leave them to do their own interpretation of everything. They need to be taught not against things, but about things. It’s up to each and every one of us to create an open minded and responsible world for our children and grand-children. May all the victims of every shooting and tragedy that has happened in the last centuries rest in peace! Julia Hamermesz 19
The art of virtue, the art of vice When we think about virtue, we think of a series of behaviors based on moral ethics. A virtuous person, is a beautiful, kind person, as the Greeks said, which couldn’t consider other folk to be more moral then they. A vicious person is a grungy person, a person whose moral principals are so below standard, that he lets himself overtaken by cheap habits and prefers those of short term longevity, pleasures which are not seen with good eyes by society. For the Greeks, art is not a mere practice. Aristotle distinguishes empiric from science, nearing techne to this “We think that science and competence are more closely related to art rather than empirics”, (Metaphysics). The diference between art and craft is that that the last one mentioned serves a more utilitarian purpose, as opposed to art, which targets mostly beauty. I’m generalizing this because the kitsch phenomenon which contradicts this deinition of art. In this case, the term ‘art’ is transformed in something grotesque and ofensive, not targeting beauty anymore, trying only to combine crafting with the beautiful, the result being mostly unpleasant for the eye, especially to the eye of a professional. Usually, these works are appreciated by people whose art education is missing. Ancient Greek art followed strict canons and compositions. Egyptian art, according to Plato, is an art of copying (eikastike techne), which produces an image like the model, respecting “ the true proportions of the beautiful forms” and giving “the perfect colors to every part”. Plato saw beauty in nature and 20
even in morality. He condemns artists, because through art, they can bring up moral perversions in this. They are not coming close to the Good in their works, instead, they will constantly create false and representations of gods. Aristotle, instead, believes that good and beauty are closely related. Following the idea of puriication through art (catharsis), if man is afectively close to his work, he would be puriied through it. Does art really mean something beautiful, something that is in accordance to our high moral standards? Kant gives four deinitions for beauty: 1.“Taste is the faculty of judgment over an object or a representation mode, lacking interest, through satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Beautiful is the object of such satisfactions” 2.“Beautiful is what is liked in a universal mode without concept.” 3.“Beauty is the inal form of an object in the measure that it is perceived in this without the goal of representation.” 4.“It is beautiful what it is known without concept as an object for a necessary satisfaction.” This is why everyone is afraid of art critics. This example can be exposed in the case of fashion, where, if those critics are not satisied, the creations are null, nobody would wear them and they would be considered of bad taste. These creations are very close to kitsch. Also, when an opening of a well known plastic artist takes place, it depends on collective points of view whether or not he is liked and his works will be sold. Like the collective point of view mentioned above, a work of art has to be liked by all. But here, beauty has to overcome the high standards of critics and has to be liked by those
who have knowledge in this domain, not necessarily being framed in an art current. The judgement of art is mostly done by currents. In poetry for example, you tend to criticize the entire modernist current, until you read Lucian Blaga. Many times, works of art are created without a target. Symbolists really wanted their works of art to contain symbols which have diferent meanings. But not everyone has this kind of thinking. Usually, their art works are hard to understand, a person needing an education in this domain to be able to reach a certain point of understanding. In conclusion, these four deinitions of beauty are almost impossible to apply in real life. Like it’s said that nothing can be universally like, art is not an exception from this. That is why there are contradictory art currents, like ancient classicism is the opposite of international gothic, like Dadaism and surrealism is opposite of baroque and academism, and so on. Rochefoucauld states that “Virtues are only vices in disguise”. Does art, beautiful art, which corresponds to speciic canons, have vices hidden behind them? Behind those golden rules of Greek art and times’ stringency is hidden more than the desire to bring out the beauty? Is transposing nature on a canvas as it is, without adding personal touches, called art anymore? Then how is it that every period comes with its personal ideas and canons? Also, the notion of a virtuous man can also be used in music. When you say that he is virtuous with the cello, you refer to him as one of the masters in the domain. Virtue in art can also be deined as ones love for his or her art, dedicating his or her whole life to art, even dying for it, For example, Michelangelo can be considered part of this category, him even beginning to have
serious health problems while painting the Sistine Chapel. Vice can be understood as passion. Passion for art can be found in artists who are willing to overcome the limits of normality and in those passionate for luxury, who, out of snobbism and avarice, thinking that luxury and art are closely related, form a vicious passion for art auctions. As vice is a taboo subject, everything related to it, appears in a form of fornication, lust, debauchery, and so on. There are a number of controversial works of art such as “The absinth drinkers” by Edgar Degas, “The garden of delights” by Hieronymus Bosch, and “Breakfast on the grass” by Edouard Manet. Artists have to ind a balance between vice and virtue, the result being creations surpassing human imagination. For example, Van Gogh found a way to combine vice and virtue and to transpose them into art, therefore, giving birth to a new art current. His virtue for art gave him the ambition to continue painting, and his vice made him overcome human limits and reach a state of trance. He would usually consumed alcohol and hard drugs and would stay hours in the hot noon sun to paint. If vice means passion for luxury in the case of art collectors, then it has to be eliminated right away because snobbism promotes unhealthy art therefore perverting Aristotle’s deinition for beauty. In conclusion, art consumers need a thorough art education so they can form personal opinions and learn to appreciate art not only through the eye whilst artists should combine the two paradoxes. Alice Mircescu
Virtue and Vice When it comes to virtues and vices, all I can say is I prefer an interesting vice to a virtue that bores me. We are human beings. We all have almost the same virtues. But, when it comes to vices, they make us unique. Every one of us is twisted is his or her way. You wake up in the morning and the irst thing you do is to make yourself a cofee. A morning cofee without a cigarette is like tequila without lemon and salt. After you’ve had your morning “breakfast”, you feel prepared to face the world. In other words, these tiny vices help you get through a rough day. We all know how easy it is to relax after a stressful moment when you light up a cigarette and enjoy every part of it. But what about the non-smokers? Do they have other vices which help them make it through? I always ind myself thinking about other people. Especially during night time. I compare myself to them. Why are some of them so good with others? Is it because they prefer to show their virtues and hide the opposite of them? Recently, a friend of mine told me that she started crying when she had thought about how mean people were. But she doesn’t understand. I believe that showing who you are is a proof of courage. I don’t need to pretend to be Virgin Mary and to show many virtues. If I want someone to get to know me, he should ind out soon about my bad parts. And vices. I think everyone should embrace his or her vices. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about them. You are who you are. Don’t try to change that. If sex is your vice, keep doing it! If eating chocolate makes you happy, why should you stop? Don’t take into account what society says. Don’t forget that virtues are important as well. They make us get along with each other. Let’s say that, in the matter of virtues, we are all the same. But, when it comes to vices, every one of us gets to be unique. So, enjoy your vices and be yourself! Don’t let society shape you. This is your own job. Pîrcălăbescu Mădălina
Beyond vices - the opulence of virtues Virtue, luck, will, skill and inally, excellence... To conceive good that can bring together the splendour of cultural values that can reach the highest peaks of aesthetics in every domain and, therefore, to feed the soul willing to ind itself through understanding and knowledge, does not aim for the same goal as a simple material good. A virtuous man is primarily a connoisseur and then a creator. An impregnable creator, if we refer to the concentration in his record of the supericial rewards through transience and despicable in comparison to his stage and statute. A creator who, through his virtues, transcends beyond the material state or incarnates another dimension of the matter, another vision of the precarious reality, focused only on the exterior. A reality intrinsic immersed and conducted after the most exigent rules of the ideal, conceived from the abundance of the conlicting waves in a spring dried by knowledge. A mastery that unites the highest human aspirations and that can manifest itself in a lucky destiny, in the meaning that the inality is represented by spiritual integrity. What can stop harder excellenceâ€™s development that the vice and passion of ignorance? The moral deformity becomes an immense (maybe even lasting forever) intellectual and rational gap, thus the sombre representation of the immaterial inexistence, without which the sinuosity of the human destiny canâ€™t be overcome. The recollection of a vice overcome by will, desire and knowledge could equate to a diicult extirpation of weeds that invaded a garden that can shine in its innate beauty, but which has been altered because of negligence and complacency. But without the existence of those destructive vices, wouldnâ€™t the striking mirroring of virtues lose its ininite value? Teodora Nicolau Translation: Mihai Carneciu
Step Up Virtue and vice. Fire and ice. Light and dark. Complementary things which usually complete our whole lives. The things that contour our simply and boring lives. If you look closely you`ll probably realize that this things are absolutely contrary, which is slightly pointed out, simply by their meanings. We could describe them as opposite poles. Now what do you think about virtue and vice? These two are the most common, but at the same time describable, human characteristics. Also, just by being human, you cannot pose the two characteristic at the same time. You will never be virtuous and vice. These two are contrary poles. Call them as you please: contrary, opposite, opposed… You choose. Same thing. These are just some words. Now you need to see behind the words. Think about the actual thing that these words describe: the qualities of the person who possesses them. The most proper example that I could give you is a relationship. In most relationships nowadays, people chose to combine the two. In the beginning I started talking about physics, so, let me please continue with proper examples. Everybody knows that 1+1=2. Well it`s also known that the most incredible and charming love stories take place when you put together virtue and vice. See? Imagine the breathtaking, beautiful but tranquil girl who falls madly, truly, deeply in love with the bad, terrible, but beautiful boy? Let`s forget about physics and math. We don’t need that in real life. Aren`t these kind of love stories the best? When the girl tries to battle the boy’s bad side to help him with his broken heart and trust issues? 24
This concept may seem diicult to grasp, considering the way society shows us how things are in real life. Even though what I said before is beautiful, some of us girls have been dreaming about the prince charming on a white horse, saving us, making our life perfect. We need to wake up to real life. There will be no Romeo since no one of us is Taylor Swift with her long, blonde, curly hair and country Romeo and Juliet song. The world can be efortlessly envisioned as a dew-spangled cobweb – fragile, yet superb. We make it this way. Decisions, ways we choose, characteristics that describe each one of us. Taking the time and actually spending it learning things about each other, the person who is near to you, you as a human being. It gives you the chance to learn what`s important in life, the values, the lessons. Nonetheless, every person chooses how to contour himself. The road and the direction that it takes to become the person you want to be is left controlled by the stretch of your arm. Take the lead. Look forward and became who you want. Every person is special in their own way. As cliché as that sounds, everybody knows that it`s right. You know the most common and probably, in my opinion, annoying question you could get-- either when you are in the position of applying for an important job, school, or when you meet a new person, or whatever you want--“How can you describe yourself?” Well, I honestly pray to hear any other question in this world but that one. I simply cannot describe myself. I could also lie and just enumerate lots of incredibly and perfectly human characteristics that, believe me or not, I do not possess, or I could just squeeze my eyes and furrow my brow, tormenting my
brain to ind quite an interesting answer, not lying completely. At least I try, right? Describing a person. How can you do that? When are you aware of how well you know a person? My opinion is that you can always get your best description out of someone else’s brain because you see a diferent part of yourself. Most of us are just huge critics of ourselves, the worst ones. We have moral virtues, and these are wisdom, courage, chastity, and justice. The opposite of these are ignorance, cowardice, concupiscence, injustice and tyranny. As I said before, the opposite of virtue is vice. It’s in the human blood to have these moral characteristics. Either we choose the good ones or the bad ones. It’s more like a way of deinition. It gives us the power to understand what is good in life. Now the things we do… these actions are not in the power of someone else. The decisions we make, the things we do, and the paths we take are our own decisions, our own way to see life. These are the things that describe us the best. You will try to blame some else. It’s also another thing that describe us as humans. Blame another person for the things that you`ll do. You just need to stop doing that. No one is to blame for something you end up doing. Your decision, your way, your life. Ask yourself what will make, for example, vice appear in your life. Here it is mostly deviation from moderation and the mean causes vice. This deviation towards either of the two extremes on each side of the mean has ininite degrees. At some point, you`ll just pull of the BandAid. And it hurts, but then it`s over and you feel relived. It`s like a wakeup call. You need to see where you ind yourself at that moment and you need to see if you feel comfortable with that place. And if you feel uncomfortable, then you need to ight with powerful
weapons to alter your destiny. You need to take control of your life and control the bad things you have in it. No need for playing the victim. As you all may know, the quality of justice saves the human being from the danger of deviation towards extremes, whether in personal or social matters, and enables him to attain enduring felicity and bliss. Decisions and consequences go hand in hand. Neither of them will stand if the other ones fall. All I can tell you is that you need to step up and make the right decision. The ones that are right for you, not any other person. And with the decision that you make, you can became the person to be gifted with all these amazing qualities, a person who will ight against vice with the most powerful virtue, winning in an important battle with a huge smile and a clear head. Never forget that you cannot be both. You cannot be virtues and you cannot be vice. You need to choose a way. Either it’s the good side or the bad side. Take a moment and think. Is every good thing in this life worth being changed with the bad one? I, for one, think that it is not. And after a lot of time you might be able to see behind the irrevocably annoying question-- “How can you describe yourself”-- and just give a proper, meaningful answer which best its your life at that particular moment because if the path you had chosen is a good and respectable one, then the answer will be a proper one. Because it`s true that we all have dark days, but one other thing is true. No cloud is dark enough for the sun not to shine through.
Interview with Elize Ryd Elize Ryd is the female vocalist in the modern metal band Amaranthe, and has been touring with Kamelot for ive years as the main actress, guest vocalist and chorus girl. She also took part in many albums from Swedish and international artists, such as Takida, Renegade Five, Dragonland or Houston. Elize receives countless requests from well-known artists to feature her great voice on their albums, and undoubtedly she is one of the most promising female vocalists in the current rock/metal scene.
E.R: I get inspired by lots of things. For example by things I see on the news that are happening around the world, and how that effects the earth, us humans and the animals. I write when I think a lot about something and I need to get it out of my system. I always write a melody that express the feeling irst, then words. The whole phenomenon Amaranthe inspires me a lot because of the three voices, and the possibility we get to express our songs with diferent sounds.
TAO:In just a few years you have done lots of shows and got to meet many other artists. Who were you impressed the most by? E.R: I get very impressed every time I meet a female metal-artists, I most get impressed by their determination and straining. Every artTeen Art Out: Hello! You are starting your ex- ist out there are hard workers, itâ€™s not an easy tensive tour in the beginning of February. business we are in. What do you expect of it? Elize Ryd: I expect it to be fun, that is all I wish TAO: Do you think that being a still young and hope for. band helps you be closer and more involved with your fans? TAO: You have so many shows in such a short E.R: Yes, I absolutely believe so since we are time. How hard is it to go up on stage day used to the way to communicate as we do, after day? over internet. And that makes it easier to be E.R: I donâ€™t ind it hard at all, I love it. I have a close to our fans. very long experience of performing live every day since I have been doing many tours, TAO: How has the international success afand on top of that I used to work full time as a fected your relationships with your friends show-twist for two long years before I joined and family back home? Amaranthe. The circumstances are very tuf E.R: I donâ€™t have much time to see them, but on tour and that of course makes it harder. my family and closest friends understand that and they really support me and all my TAO: How is the second album coming along? choices in life. I can sometimes ind it very Can we expect world domination this time? sad to never be able to participate on my E.R: Yes, you really can. I love the album, our family and friends birthdays, marriage and label loves the album, so now only the rest of other big happenings. the world needs to love it. ;) TAO: How often do people recognize you on TAO: As you are one of the composers of the the street at home? band, what inspires you to write? E.R: It happens every now and then, but usu26
ally people don’t say anything to me. Swed- that for them. So as long as they buy it I think ish fans are a little bit shy and not as forward bands can give their fans almost anything. as in other countries. TAO: Do you still intend to take singing lesTAO: How is your relationship with your fans? sons when you have the time? E.R: I have a close relationship with my fans, I E.R: I don’t. Yet I don’t feel like I need it since like them very much and for me it’s very im- I sing almost every day, anyways. That way I portant to be able to show my appreciation. keep my technique alive. Through facebook I really get the chance to see who they are, receive lots of nice words, TAO: Would you imagine taking part in a movie one day? and the possibility to give back. E.R: I imagined that many times, that would TAO: What makes Amaranths such a tight- be another dream came true since I’m eduly-knit band? You guys seem to always be cated in acting so I really wish I will take part enjoying yourselves and just get along really in a movie before I die. great. E.R: It’s because we know each other very TAO:What was the concert you were most exwell. We were friends long before we started cited to go to, as a member of the audience? E.R: I saw Madonna live in Gothenburg, that Amaranthe. was very exciting to me since she’s been one of my idols since I was a child. TAO: I have to ask this, now. What do you think about Nights and Annette Olson recently parting ways and Floor Jansen stepping in? E.R: I like Annette very much, I’m so happy I got the chance to get to know her during the TAO: What is the strangest piece of merchan- U.S tour. I was very sad when I irst heard the dise you’ve seen of Amaranthe or maybe news. Floor is a lovely woman and I am glad that she got the spot. other bands? E.R: So far Amaranths doesn’t have any strange merch, only t-shirts and hoodies. I TAO: Amaranthe has recently been conthink to sell underwear at the merch is a little irmed for a show in Romania at Artmania bit strange, I have seen that many bands do Festival, in Sibiu, Transylvania. Any expectations about coming to the Land of Dracula? that though. E.R: I have been there once before, and it was TAO: How much do you think a band can awesome! I was a little bit scared at irst, but produce under their logo before fans actual- Dracula was very nice to me. ;p ly think they “sell out”? E.R: Never thought of that, but I don’t think TAO: Thank you very much and we can’t wait there is any limit. Usually it’s the fans ask- to see you over here! ing for diferent things and the band creates E.R: Thank you! I can’t wait to be back! =) 27
Social Watch : Mental health in society Health is the new wealth. Whenever people want to bless, they often wish you a strong, working body. The latter one is supposed to last more than some money; but, mostly, it’s the last thing we can rely on when things in our lives are falling apart. It’s the ultimate machine, the protection from whatever is happening outside; therefore we need it to be sane, active, and happy. Mind quite resolutely is a part of our shield. What happens when it gets rusty? Why, yes, it can get sick: at times it even needs medications. Yet, the various illnesses it contracts are treated differently than other body’s parts’ ones.
related disorders. This decision, taken by media through and for society’s acts, leads to endless misunderstanding and hurtful comments. (Personal tip: telling a depressed man to “Cheer up!” is like asking to a diabetic to not have sugar-related dysfunctions).
When someone breaks an arm, or gets the lu, they’re swamped by ‘Get well’ cards; terminal patients are pitied and looked at like heroes, maybe-survivors. Anyone who’s battling an awful war with pain is considered brave, is greeted by heart-felt wishes. Needless to say, this process doesn’t happen when they’re mentally ill. As a matter of fact, this second category of convalescents is basically unknown, as if it was some kind of myth. Even on ‘self-destructive behaviors’ lists, there hardly ever are ‘self harm’ (which is a symptom for depression) voices. Drugs, sex, alcohol, and a couple more of diverse addictions plague today’s civilization. Luckily enough, we know about the risks they cause, and every year associations start new, loud campaigns for awareness, with spokespersons willing to assist possible victims of these dependencies.
The fact that depression, borderline, bipolar (and many more) aren’t represented in the news, or in magazines, is clearly a huge deal for all those who sufer from any of them, and the community as a whole. The second one undoubtedly keeps on swimming in its sea of unfamiliarity and dumbness on these themes. It’s truly funny, since an unbelievably high number of people, including celebrities, past and present, were or are victims of, for example, manic depression. Abraham Lincoln, Axl Rose, Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Andersen, Isaac Newton, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Liz Taylor, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Marilyn Monroe, Napoleon Bonapart, Stephen Fry, Tim Burton, Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Winston Chruchill, Wolfgang Armadeus Mozart, just to name a few.
“Stigma and prejudice of mental illness is still a serious problem. It’s one of the few areas in health where people are regularly blamed for their illness, and the perception remains in some sections of society where it’s seen as a personal failing or weakness” (Combating Mental Illness Stigma in society).
“Bipolar disorder afects as many 27 million people worldwide, but it is not particularly Anyhow, mental diseases aren’t well-known. well understood” (Disease or madness? SociThey just aren’t. It seems to be a silent and ety’s perception of BD);” Nearly 50% of adults worldwide valid law, to not talk about brain experience a mental illness at some point in 34
their lives” (Overview of mental health care). Still, even though brain disorders are more common than one might think, they’re not talked about in TV, except for some shows or movies, which, anyway, too often are the only source of information about them. Why? Because being clinically depressed, in today’s society, just equals to being sad all the time, and that’s not very interesting, not it helps the share grow. The misinformation on such topics makes it even harder than it already is, for someone to realize they’re mentally ill. In fact, mood swings, major sadness, addictions, self-harming and others, are seen as a simple phase, an almost mandatory passage in the life of a teenager or a young adult, not as a clear manifestation that something’s wrong. They are underrated, and the patient, who most likely doesn’t even know about mental illnesses at all, for the reasons mentioned above, keeps on existing, until the day the disorder actually gets in the way of life. Unfortunately, that’s also the moment when the debility is at its highest level, and it’s hard to go back to normal, with or without medications. “The manic phase can last weeks, or even months, and is often followed by an incapacitating low, with suicidal feelings” [about bipolar].
Sadly, feeling empathy or compassion for a ‘madwoman’ isn’t as popular. “For the outsider observer, the family member, the friend the shifts between moods can be as diicult to deal with as the extremes of mood themselves. [..] The actions of a person during a manic episode have no logic to the outside observer and perhaps not even to the person themselves. [..] It is everything that Western society does not want of people: making snap decisions, starting projects without inishing them, having a short temper, being euphoric at odd time, even saying things that aren’t in the realm of socially acceptable. As such it, it carries much more stigma than depression alone”.
“People with mental illness may be blamed for their illness or viewed as lazy or irresponsible. Mental illness may be seen as less real or less legitimate than physical illness, leading to reluctance on the part of policy makers and insurance companies to pay for treatment”. Most of the times, people, especially adults, tend to underestimate the gravity of a situation, mistaking locked doors, screaming sessions and emotional breakdowns for teenage angst-related rebellion. Sure, it could be. But minimizing these reactions can be dangerous. That would be the main reaThe biggest problem with these kinds of dis- son why a good, well-thought ads campaign orders is that they can’t be seen, and they could be useful. slender show only on a personal/emotional level. When a girl with OCD walks down the If there were more ads regarding help road, nobody knows she’s ighting a battle groups, self-empowerment, prevention, in her mind. Contrarily, physical mutilations, risks of mental disorders in general, the bruises, cuts are visible, thus the public’s dif- lack of knowledge would soon come to an ferent way of speaking to the wounded. A end, many cases could be discovered before scar, or even things such as cancers, is notice- the terminal state, and many lives could be able, and, common sense says, is something saved. we should feel sorry for. Ergo, we should be Michela Sereni more careful as how we speak to the harmed. 35
The chronicles of a great performance and a The band Evanescence is well-known all over dream come true the world.It`s nealry impossible not to hear at least once “bring me to life “ on the radio or to see the video on the music channels. Their most recent tour called the Carnival of Madness had as support bands The Used and LostAlone.The last stop of the tour was the UK,with 4 shows 5th november:-Nottingham ,6th november-Manchester 8th november-Birmingham at the National Indoor Arena(i went to this show) 9th november-London on the worldfamous Wembley Arena. On the 8th november the early 11 hour gathered already the irst fans at the arena entrance.The people were illed with excitement,there were fans from Germany,Finland even New Zeeland .On the whole UK tour they organised a competitionof meet and greet with the band.If i knew it,i would have entered it.Around 2 PM i gathered at the gate where the people were waiting for the meet and greet.I knew i needed a miracle so i could enter...and the miracle was that 2 people were missing...we were 3 more people out and the security asked the manager if we could come in as well.He looked at us,and when i heard the word:”come on” i felt like my heart stopped beating... i was frozen for a second...”can`t believe it...
I`m meeting my idol...”Didin`t have too much time to daydream cause i had to follow the schedule wich was the following:soundcheck,signing,questions and in the end the group photo.At the soundcheck i got to listen to “made of stone” a song from their 2011 self titled album.All the guys were really nice,and Amy Lee was exactly how i imaginged her to be : smiling,chatty,sociable and bouncing around like a fairy.The most surprising fact about her was that she`s not that tall.She signed my “ The Open Door” Disc and also a postcard ;we also had a short conversation about our traditional romanian drink and she smiled in the end,telling me that she`s too old to drink.After our short conversation came the group photo moment.i couldn`t resist not to hug her... The concert started at 21:10 with the song “What you want”,after that came songs like “Going Under”,” Weight of the world”,” The other side”,and of course “Bring me to life”.For me,maybe the most emotional part was “Lost in paradise” and the encore which was represented by the song “My immortal”,dedicated to the person who discovered the band. Amy`s angelic voice kept the croud hypnotised all night long and she prooved to the people that Evanescence can reborn anytime just like a Phoenix.
Jazz Manouche - the European Jazz When we hear the word Jazz we tend to think of black people in the thirties playing crazy trumpets, drums and pianos. It is also very common to illustrate this music with a glamorous girl smoking a lo ng cigarette gazing at the sensual movements of a very talented but not very lucky black pianist. These words may sound rude and in bad taste
imenting till his last days, or recognize Ella Fitzgeraldâ€™s voice from the piped music of an elevator. Nowadays Jazz is loved by many and new festivals, bands and musicians are, happily, mushrooming around the world. So letâ€™s accept it, the Europeans have always felt that the Jazz phenomenon was something born far away, beyond the seas, some-
to those who are really fond of Jazz, and they can be, in some way, but when you go a little deeper into Jazz, you ind something touching, a music that comes from the soul. Those who love Jazz have surely felt goose bumps while listening to the John Coltraneâ€™s bright and gorgeous pieces, or have moved with a frenetic beat in rhythm to a solo by Charlie Parker. Even without being a Jazz expert, it is not diicult to know that Miles Davis was a brilliant trumpet player who kept on exper-
thing borrowed and admired. But this is really unfair to our musical history. While in all the New York jazz clubs, there were plenty of people willing to hear this new and audacious style, in Europe also a musician was stirring the musical outlook with his gypsy guitar. Django Reinhardt, the creator of European jazz, could play with two ingers, melodies that the rest have diiculty playing now with all their ingers. Django was born in a nomadic gypsy family 37
in Belgium in 1910. When he was eight, he and his family settled in Paris. Since he was a child he was eager to make music and a visionary neighbour, gave him a banjo when he was twelve. Without having a clue about how to read music, Django learned rapidly how to play the instrument by copying the inger positions from other guitarists. At the age of thirteen Django already played with several bands, and also made some recordings with the accordionist Jean Vaissade.
So far, this history doesn’t say anything special other than describe a very bright young musician who had a guitar. But in 1928 something happened in Django’s life that would change his artistic career. Django and his wife lived in a caravan, and while he played the guitar she used to make plastic lowers to sell them in the market. One night when Django got home after having played in a new club called “La Java”, he heard a noise coming from his wife’s lowers. He shook them in order to chase away the mouse he
thought was there. But he made an unfortunate movement which caused the candles that lit the caravan to fall into the combustible lowers, which caught ire, and, in a blink of an eye, the caravan burned down. Luckily, both survived this terrible incident, but the eighteen years old Django was taken to the hospital for his serious burns on his leg and on his left hand to be attended to.
Although he had his right hand very damaged because of the ire, his brother brought him a new guitar to the hospital. During his convalescent year, his approach to Jazz music became a turning point in his life. Known as “the golden ingered gypsy”, Django invented a new kind of ingering that would be the beginning of European Jazz. In 1934 Django and his brother Joseph formed the
“Quintette Du Hot Club de France”. This successful band was formed by the soloist guitar (Django), two rhythm guitars (Joseph on one) a double bass and the wonderful soloist violin of Stéphane Grappelli. International tours and collaborations with renowned American musicians were responsible for the spread of this European style of music around the world. As a consequence of the Second World War, Django and Stéphane split up, but the virtuoso guitarist continued playing and recording in Paris. The fame was such that the great Duke Ellington travelled to Paris to discover if the rumors about Django’s abilities were true. When the war inished, Django and Stéphane joined up again, and after doing several recordings with diferent musicians and bands, Django retired to Samois Sur Seine where he died of a brain hemorrhage. This European Jazz is widely known as Manouche (which is the name used to refer to the gypsy family where Django came from) and its delightful melodies and chromatic and precise improvisations can sound familiar to us, although we may not be aware of their history. A good way to remind yourself of a piece of Jazz Manouche are the ilms of Woody Allen, where apart from using this music in some of his ilms, the director made a ilm related to Manouche called “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999). Even Johnny Depp dared to play the famous “Minor Swing” in the ilm “Chocolate” with dubious results. Besides these anecdotes, nowadays, there are a lot of festivals where one can enjoy this music and lots of bands play and record it. Regarding the festivals, it is worth mentioning the one held in Samois-sur-Seine, which is a meeting point for Manouche lovers and musicians. With one stage by the river Seine, surrounded by luthiers selling their guitars and ships docking there to see the concerts,
this is a perfect place to discover this music. In this festival, it is fairly common to see improvised bands playing Django’s songs in the bars, in the camps sites or on the banks of the river. Seeing people of diferent ages from around the world playing the same songs, shows that this music is timeless and very alive. Although the Samois-sur-Seine festival is a very important one (and the only place where you can visit the house and the grave of Django) there are other wonderful festivals around the world such as Django in June (Northhampton, USA) or the Festival Django D’H (Barcelona), among others. And, as Jazz Manouche has now started illing the pages of lots music magazines, it could be said that this music is currently in good health. So, for those who didn’t know this music, now is the time to discover it, and, for those who already knew about…keep on Swinging!! Patricia Ruiz Moreno
Interview: Fernando Pizarro // Dark Whisper Fernando Pizarro is the guitarist of Argentin- and not everybody has the same possibilities ean band Dark Whisper. to buy music. Also, the person who downloads will probably pass on the music to his Simona Mihalca: First of all, I would like to ask friends and acquaintances and he or she will you what got you into music, to begin with, be, thus, helping us promote our band! and why this genre. S.M.: You have been an opening act for some Fernando Pizzaro: Well, there isn’t anything of the biggest bands in the symphonic metspeciic which got us into music. Let’s say it al scene. Tell us something about how you is within each of us, a feeling. We are inlu- came to that opportunity and how it went. enced by bands; they play an important role F.P: We came across the opportunity through as models or ideals of the band we want to the producers who organize the shows. It have or what we want to achieve in the fu- went great in each and every show! The truth ture. As for the genre, we chose it as it is our is that it has been a huge incentive since favorite since we all have backgrounds of those shows are really crowded and the pubclassical music and we love heavy metal, so lic has always responded more than favorthis genre comprises everything we love the ably. most in music!” S.M: How do you feel about touring? What is S.M.:In few short years you have become the best part? quite a name in the music scene. What is the F.P: Touring is a sublime moment for every secret for this success? band. Apart from doing what you like, playF.P: I think that the secret lies in believing. We ing music, you get to know many countries try hard every day to keep playing and creat- and places that maybe on your own you ing music. I wouldn’t call it a success since in wouldn’t be able to. In addition, you get to Argentina it is very hard to achieve a success travel with friends, such as in our case. We in music of this genre. That’s why our aim is are all friends apart from being band memto insert our music in the European market bers and we really have a great time travelwhere the bands such as ours have a difer- ing together! ent impact. S.M: What was the best concert you’ve ever S.M.How hard is it for newcomers to make it had? in today’s music scene? What’s your stand on F.P: We’ve had many and really good ones! I illegal downloading? believe that the entire band will agree that F.P: Well..., it is really hard. It has to do most- the best concert ever has been our last conly with the musicians’ commitment towards cert as opening act of Nightwish on the 14th the band as a serious project. Of course there of December, 2012. A dream came true for are other obstacles too for a band to be well- us! known but a person’s needs to have convic- S.M: What is the one place in the world you’d tion. We believe that music is for everyone like to see (and perform)? 40
F.P: Of course Europe in general is the major aim. We have been contacting some people so get ready! S.M: You’ve already released one album and are recording the second. How is that process going for you? F.P: Really good luckily! We are in the process of creating some new songs apart from the ones that we are planning to include in the album. The idea is to have it almost ready half way through this year so that the edition part is inished before the end of this year. These are one of the best moments for us, musicians, so we are hoping to achieve everyone’s expectations.
the public who enjoy it so much! S.M.: Many of the bands in symphonic metal have gone through break-ups and the fans can be a tough crowd. What’s your stand on that? F.P: In my opinion, one needs to be conident as regards the goals in life and the purpose for playing music. When one is not conident enough, a break-up can occur. That’s why all the members need to agree and sing the same tune. It is not easy but it’s not impossible. Thank you so much for the interview. It has been very fun and entertaining! All the best!
S.M.: Do you have a favorite song? Or maybe one you like the best to perform live? F.P: The good thing is that we like to play every song of our album! So we do not have to ight when choosing the setlist. One song that has been part of our set list many, many times is Full Moon (Sonata Arctica). We played once a version of this song and the people liked it so much that they started asking for it in every show. So we just made it a part of our ixed set list. It is unbelievable what the song produces in us when we play it and on 41
Lost without a story People usually tend to believe that the concept of confrontation is present in any given work of art. Varying from the hero-villain aspect to the life versus death premise, this idea is also valid in almost any motion picture. But there is not always a certain storyline and the plot sometimes does not consist in a particular tale. These types of ilms will be presented in the further article. Taking of the intrigue is usually a major setback for the writers and for the director, and there is only one way to achieve success by doing that, which is creating the script based only on the message that the movie will transmit. Nowadays, this type of ilms does not appear so often so some examples from the “early days” of cinematography must be used.
First of all, a reference to David Lynch’s ilmography is needed. He is known among the ilm fans all around the world as the craziest and the most disturbing director in history but nevertheless his motion pic-tures can be considered a great asset for cinematography. Almost all of his movies tend to disclose nothing about the part the characters are playing, abut the story or the meaning of the movie itself. From “Eraser-head” to “Inland Empire”, his work of art has a characteristic abstract appearance, being representative for the psychological thriller genre. But despite all that, all of his ilms can be interpreted in an ininite amount of forms, and that ofers the audience an individual, personalized vision David Lynch over the message transmitted. 46
“Four Rooms” - 1995
The second genre of plot-less movies is the diary ilms. Depicting the life or the episodes representing certain events in somebody’s life, some of the diary structured motion-pictures lack almost completely the storyline. Films such as Tarantino’s “Four Rooms”, the shockingly realistic work of iction “C’est arrivé près de chez vous” (“Man Bites Dog”) and Will Ferrel’s intriguing “Stranger Than Fiction” do not necessarily need to embody an abstract form to lack the plot and all of them broadcast a message leaving a little something for the spectator.
Concluding, I can state that some movies out there do not need heroes and villains, do not need stories and typical characters nor life and death concepts to represent amazing works of art that are designed to ofer new perspectives over the world. Stefan Pascanu
“Man Bites Dog” – 1992 47
Interview with Grasu XXL Grasu XXL (Dragoș Nichifor) is one of the most successful Romanian rappers, known for his always fresh sound and extremely popular hits such as “Maria Ioana”, “Prea mult fum”, “LaLa Song” or “Turboin”. Without further ado, we present the one and only, directly from his studio. Teen Art Out: Hello. What can you tell us about yourself, Dragos, as well as Grasu XXL? Grasu XXL: What can I say? I am from Bacau and I have been doing rap since I was 14. It’s all I know and everything I’ve been doing since. Grasu is somehow the result of the work, or actually he is where he is because of all this work. T.A.O: When has your interest in rap arisen? Grasu XXL: It was about then. I grew up in a musical environment. My dad was a musician and I was listening to jazz, soul and funk and that was what I grew with. Moving on to rap was the logical step. T.A.O: If you were to be anything else but a musician, what would you be? Grasu XXL: I believe a cook. I don’t know, I have this ainity for cooking, but lately I haven’t been doing that as much. It really relaxes me and I watch cooking shows with world-famous cooks. T.A.O: In your song “Legende” there is this line “In casele de discuri e mai rau ca pe strada” (In record labels is worse than on the street). Do you think that is still true? Grasu XXL: You see, that wasn’t written by me, but by Paco who sang it. I liked really the music and lyrics of that song. It should have 48
been for our band “XXL si 10 Grei” in ’98-’99. But that couldn’t be, so I asked him to sing it on my record. I am, as time passes, more and more convinced that it gets truer and I don’t think that it will change. Not just here, but I believe that in every environment where money come in at any level, it will be like that. You know what they say, more money, more fucking problems. People bet meaner and that makes it as a street life, if you want. But yes, it is mostly the law of the jungle. T.A.O: For you, as an artist, how good and how bad is the internet? Grasu XXL: When I started rapping, there was no internet. We would get music through completely diferent ways. And not just music, but any information, movies. When internet appeared, I was it as an opportunity. There hasn’t been one second in which I said that because of internet piracy, I don’t know what, that it cost me money. No. Because music has to be free and because of the internet music sounds like it does and the rules of the game have changed. And this isn’t just in one genre, but in the entire music industry. Money isn’t made from selling albums as much at it is from concerts and shows, which I think is a normal way to go. T.A.O: You are one of the most well-known and beloved rappers in Romania. However, at times, there are people who speak badly of you. Does that afect you? Grasu XXL: It used to do it, when I was younger. As time passed, it doesn’t anymore. I know that there are, especially in rap, all these people who listen to music and have the impression that they can sing. And that transforms in a way to be and act, especially when an artist breaks through from underground to mainstream. A lot of diferences appear. But a 15 year old kid, or even 20 has no place ex-
plaining me about rap because I have lived gan in the ‘70s. You have to be cooler, if I may, than the one in front of you. You have to be rap, I eat rap, I sleep rap and that’s all I do. better and bring something that sounds difT.A.O: You have worked with a lot of artists, ferent. As you can see, that is what rap does not only from Rap. Who would you like to everywhere in the world. As for other artists, I have grown with artists who, from my point work with next? Grasu XXL: Rap is for me a way to express of view, haven’t changed their style but have myself, irst and foremost but music has no always been relevant for their times, very limits. I mean I could work with anyone that contemporary, even if they were doing music sounds fresh and current. I couldn’t work a long time ago. You have to push the limits, with him if I don’t like him as a person. We go where nobody has been before but keep have to have a deeper connection for the your style, so you can be recognized. song to happen.
T.A.O: How important do you think versatility is for a singer? Grasu XXL: I think that you have to always be fresh and connected to what is happening in the world and your music should relect it. Rap has been simple like this since it be-
T.A.O: What can you tell us about your next album? Grasu XXL: It’s called “Unu”. I work hard at albums because I am not the type of artist who goes in the studio and records an album. I have never done that and I don’t know how 49
to do it. I’ve always written one stanza now, sing a beat in the car another time. I can write the other part in half a year, the chorus in another 2 years or just write everything in 5 minutes. Writing an album takes time because I don’t want anything to sound unnatural. I want to low from the beginning to the end, like a wonderful surprise. And it is pretty hard to do that, especially in rap, where there are a lot of words and everything has to be like a story, a dialogue or a monologue so it sounds natural.
T.A.O: Describe the perfect audience, for you. Grasu XXL: There are so many situations. The perfect audience is the one that doesn’t judge and comes with an open heart to a concert, or even in a club, where it isn’t actually a concert. We sing a lot in clubs and there people don’t necessarily come to see you. If you are open-hearted and you don’t judge. But Romanians have this tendency, and I am included at times, to judge. I think it’s a Latin trait. But the perfect audience, I repeat, is the one who doesn’t judge and tries somehow to learn or laugh or cry with you and send you that feeling so you can give your all back.
and Alicia Keys. I listen to this to relax. But of course, I listen absolutely everything rap, everything that surprises me. I just listen to a lot of music; it couldn’t be any other way. T.A.O: Underground vs. Mainstream. Give us your opinion on that. Grasu XXL: A friend of mine once wrote on his blog that there are artists who can evolve and artists who can’t evolve. That is my honest opinion. I think that in underground are born the best and maybe most fresh ideas, but to make it to the next level you need some awareness, or to be aware of the place you are in. You have to think how to wrap it up because, in the end, music has the same purpose and it is to make people listen to you. T.A.O: What do you think of the one-hit-wonders? Grasu XXL: I believe there are products made by labels and products can’t last. They are made for consume. Great artists, when they don’t make it at irst, they keep going until they can prove themselves. Look at Robbie Williams. I didn’t like him when he was in Take That. He is now one of the classics and a great showman. There are, in the same time, songsters and songsters who pass with the summer. That happens because music is for consume. The real songs are the one that remain after years and years. Those are what I relate to. T.A.O: Rizzla or OCB? Grasu XXL: I’d say Smoking because you can ind them here. There are some slim silver Smoking that I like really much, more than rizzla. I used rizzla when I was in Italy, where you can only ind smoking and rizzla, but a lot more rizzla.
T.A.O: What can be found in your playlist? Grasu XXL: I don’t know, I have diferent periods but constantly you can ind artist like T.A.O: Do you relate to your lyrics? Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, George Benson, Grasu XXL: Yes, when I say really important 50
thing, because I do have fun in my songs, even if they are all starting from something true. People ask me why in every song Grasu enters a club. It’s because that’s where he spends a quarter of his life, where he sings, and it’s normal to talk about that. But, I repeat, there are songs like Turboin, which are more of a joke. But, just so it happens that it can be funny when two old women hit on you. But there are also serious songs which I write and I believe there is something you can learn from that. Even if I wrote them, after time, when I read I don’t recognize them and I believe it to be the coolest thing, those 4-5 stanzas that somehow wrote themselves. T.A.O: Why are women presented in not as favorable a light in your lyrics? Grasu XXL: I believe the woman is dual beyond the limit of humanity. They are a sort of special beings. They can either be, like in my lyrics, stupid and whores or they can be the inspiration of the Universe. The ones in the middle are just consumable. I write about my experiences and my opinion on life. I believe a woman can make or break you, can be your biggest inspiration, make you feel like a god capable of anything or they can make you feel miserable and little. I just don’t see the point of women with narrow lips, you know, and I can’t stand them, so yeah, I consider them stupid sluts. And I have met a lot of this kind, “pitipoance”, as some call them, “bamboo-iste”, or whatever. You can only laugh when you meet them because it’s shocking to see stupidity meet vanity.
that if it weren’t for Sandra, Turboin wouldn’t have been so well received by the media. So I said: good for me for thinking about that. But that wasn’t out of context. It can be at times really out of context, I know, but here at okapi we have, what I think, is the minimum of common sense. T.A.O: If you were to go abroad, would you keep the same style? Grasu XXL: I could never sing in another language. I tried that and it wasn’t really friendly. So I will sing here. Romania is a small and poor country and the audience isn’t really educated towards rap and shows. But I hope that will change. T.A.O: Were there times when you considered abandoning music? Grasu XXL: Lots, lots. The irst money I made from music was at 26 years. Just think that I started doing that when I was 16. And in all that time, I had support, so as to be able to focus on my music, but it was really hard. I do somehow understand all the rappers in this country who feel like they hate me, I get where that frustration is coming from. The thing is, I used to just keep going for myself, to prove that I am there, and that is the diference.
T.A.O: Where can we see/hear Grasu XXL in the near future? Grasu XXL: Lately I’ve started singing with the band and we’ll have the irst live concert on the 23rd in Sibiu. Anyway, you will posters and you’ll hear from me. The new album is on T.A.O: Do you think a music video has to have the way, the new video is in the works. We’re a sexual part for a better promotion? really working hard. Grasu XXL: I believe that it deinitely helps but the sexual tendency is in the song, and it Thank you! has to be part of the video. For us, rapper, a woman’s ass has become a symbol. I just feel Interview by: Elias Lazarus, Simona Mihalca it has to be there, in the video. People told me Translation: Simona Mihalca 51