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Michaelmas 2011


Editorial “And the sky was watching that superb cadaver / Blossom like a flower” from Une Charogne (A Carcass), Charles Baudelaire

T

his poem, from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, finds beauty in the disgusting and is disgusted by beauty. It is with this topsy-turvy subversiveness

in mind that we decided to showcase our ever so slightly modified version of Fountain. It is nearly a century since Marcel Duchamp bought his infamous “readymade” urinal, reoriented it 90 degrees from its normal position of use, wrote “R. Mutt 1917” on the base, and called it art - but it’s still as provocative and funny as when it was first rejected by the establishment. It challenges our notion of what art is and should be: it’s intellectual, controversial, scatological. Whether or not we accept the validity of Duchamp’s claim, the piece elevates to new heights the importance of accepting varying and opposing interpretations, for, just as some might think Fountain disgusting for its functional origin, others might appreciate the urinal’s sculptural curves and the pristine quality of

CONTENTS Paul Seddon Madeleine Stottor Alex Joynes Dyedra Just & Fitzroy Morrissey Lucy Du Harriet Baker Izzy Whitting

its bleached finish. There certainly exist other examples of extolling objects, typically considered common by virtue of their ubiquity or repulsiveness, for their hidden beauty. Great twentienth century British sculptor Lynn Chadwick immediately comes to mind. For, like Duchamp, he produced a work of great aesthetic appeal (although his inspiration was rather more orthodox) when he sculpted the skeletal piece he called Bullfrog. Acquired by the JCR Art Collection in 1952, it is one of our most valuable and beloved works and the reason for this

Matt Byrd Aneira Roose-McClew Matt Walsh Helen Pye

magazine’s unusual cognomen. The line drawing of the sculpture, placed in the middle of the urinal on the front cover and on this page, complements and

Joe Nicholson

also challenges Fountain, for Bullfrog is certainly not ‘readymade’. While Duchamp ironically elevated his urinal by calling it Fountain, Chadwick revealed the true nature and inspiration of his beguiling piece by naming his sculpture after an amphibian best known for wallowing in the mud. But both these pieces should encourage us to be inventive, critical, controversial (if not for controversy’s sake), daring and, especially in the case of Fountain, amusing. Michaelmas is all about having fun, after all. Just as Fountain and Bullfrog represent different ends of the

Flo Walker Madeleine Stottor Dyedra Just Aneira Roose-McClew

artistic spectrum, The Pembroke Bullfrog attempts to represent the myriad different opinions and personalities found within our college walls. This issue’s cover, an invitation to look at things in a different way, picks up the thread of our first editorial, in which we men-

Charlie McCann Jacob Galson

4 the original pranksters 6 making magic 8 what lies beneath 10 ‘Nostalgia’ 11 ‘untitled’ 12 losing faces 14 fair syria, sad relic 16 ‘Oh, to taste again the dew’ 17 ‘if criseyde was his brother’s wife’ 18 personality crisis 20 fifteen minutes of defamation 22 beyond the fringe 25 ‘untitled’ 27 ‘finger gaps’ 29 ‘my first year at pembroke’ 30 ‘The People’s republic’ 32 the rap sheet 34 ‘untitled’

tioned the importance of fashioning something new from something old. With that said, we would like to congratulate and welcome the new editorial team, led by Harriet Baker and Madeleine Stottor, for we are certain they will do a wonderful job refashioning the Bullfrog as they see fit. We would also like to welcome this year’s freshers, who we know will play an important role in keeping The Bullfrog an essential part of college life. Enjoy this issue and the term ahead.

2 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Charlie McCann

Paul Seddon

Co-Editor

Co-Editor

Front cover - Painting: Verity Whiter; Graphics: Charlie McCann

3


the original pranksters Modern-day students at Oxford are widely paraded in the media for their misbehaviour. But how bad are we really, and how do we compare with the rascals of ages past that have graced our university town? Paul Seddon takes a look at student skulduggery through the centuries. ‘...the Dons were in all too many cases the cause of sending recruits

with the case even blamed the incident on a newly pernicious drinking

to the ranks of the oldest profession in the world. Heads of colleges,

culture amongst undergraduates. Clearly, he had never heard of Wil-

reverend clerics, and holders of fellowships must all answer to the

liam Dyer, an Oriel scholar who in 1761 unsuccessfully bet a group of

charge of wenching.’

friends that he would be able to legibly copy a selected passage from

Rowlandson’s Oxford, A. Hamilton Gibbs (1911) A matter of weeks after last year’s Varsity ski trip, The Daily Mail ran a story condemning the ‘depraved’ antics of a small number of Oxford students during the trip’s culminating competition, the so-called ‘Valley Rally’. The tabloid reported that, in the hope of winning a fivestar holiday at another resort in Austria, a number of students had stripped naked during the contest to pose for ‘erotic pictures’, their bodies covered in pasta sauce and chocolate. In an outrageously medieval display of humility, the losers allegedly consumed the urine of their vanquishers, whilst the winning team, from St. Anne’s college, romped home with the grand prize after ‘creatively’ smashing an egg with a wine bottle as it sojourned strategically between the buttocks of one pioneering participant. 

“ItispredictablyOxbridgethatsuffers mostdisproportionatelyfromnegativeportrayalsofstudentbehaviour.”

the New Testament after sinking three pints of wine. Certainly, the story in the Mail was not the first to highlight instances of supposed misconduct among the Oxford student body. In the collective outpourings of Fleet Street, of course, it is predictably Oxford – and Oxbridge – that suffers most disproportionately from negative portrayals of student behaviour. Every summer, the Cambridge postexams party dubbed ‘Suicide Sunday’ receives substantial coverage in numerous national papers, despite the fact that similarly raucous events take place at this time of year at all British universities. In Oxford, the tradition of students jumping from Magdalen Bridge on May morning (always, it seems, after a night of ‘drunken revelling’) continues – rather incredibly – to be worthy of column inches year after year. With Oxbridge, the fact that the story never gets too old means that the behaviour of the students is constantly under scrutiny, with an army of commentators ever eager to let slip a barrage of readymade stereotypes about Oxbridge students being a bunch of champagnequaffing yobs. Clearly, the apparent intrigue to such ‘stories’ is the discrepancy between high academic achievement and low standards of behaviour. The image of the typical Oxford student tends to vacillate between that of the anaemic scholar devoting his every hour to study and the Edwardian-era dandy; neither portrayal admits the ac-

Understandably, the powers that be at St. Anne’s were outraged that the college’s name had been besmirched in the national press in such a manner, and quickly summoned those involved to explain themselves before the Dean.  Refusing to dismiss the shenanigans as a simple case of high jinks, students were reportedly told that as members of one of the country’s elite universities, more was expected of them than of students at other institutions. A fair admonition, perhaps, although is hard to ignore the unintended irony of such counsel: for despite appearances, our university’s association with tomfoolery, skylarking and general mayhem of all descriptions stretches back many centuries – further back, perhaps, than any university in the world. And whilst student pranks are normally seen as innocuous, the history of student indiscipline here in Oxford is in fact infinitely more pernicious than simple Alpine larks. Axiomatically, it has to be said, student misbehaviour is seen as a relatively recent phenomenon. When in 2009 Sheffield Hallam student Philip Laing was captured on CCTV urinating against a war memorial after a lengthy pub crawl, the ensuing media outcry seemed to portray his disgraceful act not as an isolated incident, but rather the emblem of an increasingly disrespectful student generation:  a wasted demographic of feckless morons who spend the daylight hours recovering from booze-induced comas and the hours of darkness seeking to undermine the rest of mainstream, tax-paying society with unprecedented levels of loutishness. In his summing-up, the judge charged

4 The Pembroke Bullfrog

ceptability of throwing up outside a kebab van as normal practice. Last February, Thames Valley police decided that their presence was required in central Oxford to keep watch over proceedings at the traditional ‘Turl Street Dash’ bike race between Jesus and Exeter. The event, which begins with the customary downing of ten pints (plus one for every year in college) before the competitors mount their bikes, made the national papers in 2009 after some students decided to break into and urinate in rival colleges, before throwing bikes at each other and generally running amuck throughout the quads of Exeter. Stern stuff indeed, and more than a little unnecessary, and yet still miles behind the events that occurred 654 years earlier nearly to the day during what became known as the St. Scholastica’s Day riot (or massacre, depending on your interpretation of events), where the Thames Valley police would have proved quite ineffective indeed. This two-day long bloodbath, which resulted in the death of 63 students and perhaps even more townsfolk (although, of course, no one bothered to properly count the bodies) stands as one of the worst examples of student waywardness in British history. Starting, as might be expected, with a dispute in a pub (the delightfully named Swindlestock Tavern, which occupied the place on Carfax now used by the Santander Bank), this particular case of mass rioting was by no means the first violent dispute between the opposing factions of town and gown. Indeed, it is true that students and citizens here have never really seen

eye to eye. In some sense, of course, this place really ain’t big enough

posted on Facebook to identify a number of culprits. In some ways,

for the both of us. And although in recent years the town has began

perhaps, the students should have considered themselves lucky – in

to reassert itself (particularly recently, with the Council’s decision to

the fourteenth century, it was accepted practice for proctors to carry

make it more difficult for landlords to let to students, in a scheme de-

arquebuses. 

signed to improve the housing supply in the city to professionals and families), it is true that for many years, the University was the preeminent force in the city. There was a time, indeed, when the University Chancellor even had control over the price of bread (which was, as one can imagine, a typical point of friction), whilst in the fifteenth century the university also had powers to licence cock-fighting in the Turf Tavern, from which it received rates and commission.

Perhaps, after all, there is no better way to gauge the changing way in which student strife is seen than to see what becomes of those who practise it. Despite the perceived damage to the University’s reputation caused by indiscipline, it is interesting to note how many of our most distinguished alumni were considered rebellious during their time here. Richard Burton, the noted polyglot and nineteenth-century explorer, was kicked out of Trinity college for selling stagecoach

Such was the level of student disobedience, in fact, that in 1432 the

tickets to nearby racecourses (at the time, a bylaw prevented the

University (which was not obliged in all circumstances to send its

railway company from selling tickets to any town with a racecourse).

scholars to public prosecutors) produced official guidelines relating

He was also suspended from the college for a fortnight after challeng-

to how student indiscipline was to be punished. Rather generously,

ing another student to a duel. John Foxe, best known as the author

the fine for carrying a weapon was set at 12d (pennies); the charge

of The Book of Martyrs, committed a rather outrageous prank in the

for carrying an axe or sword was 10 shillings, and the fine for walking

sixteenth century when he removed the organ from Magdalen chapel

down the High Street with a bow and arrow ‘with intent to harm’ was

as a display of religious nonconformity against High Church decora-

set at 30 shillings. Fast forward a few centuries, and it is clear the atti-

tion. In recent times, William Hague, Jacqui Smith and Tony Blair have

tude towards such youthful indiscretions would be considerably more

all found themselves in hot water over things they later admitted to

severe. By way of comparison, a 2008 Cherwell article reported that

doing within the confines of our seemingly impeccable college walls.

in one academic year, the proctors had raked in more than £10,000 in

In a variety of guises, students here have always managed to fall short

fines relating to incidences of post-exam ‘trashing’, with the charges

of the standards expected of them. Many moons ago, this might have

set at between £40 and £500. Four students were even fined for the

meant hacking a townsman to death with a hatchet; today, it ap-

rather Orwellian-sounding crime of ‘inciting or conspiring to engage

parently means sticking an egg up someone’s bum. Now if that isn’t

in prohibited activities’ relating to trashing, with proctors using photos

progress, I don’t know what is.

Illustration: Nora Schlatte

5


Making magic

madeleine stottor spells out why we have always needed to believe in fairies ‘Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe.

Now, though, fairies be-

If you believe, clap your hands!’

long to the realm of chil-

I

was eight when I realised that the Tooth Fairy didn’t exist. I say ‘realised’ – ‘was informed’ would be more accurate, as my brother, in a fit

of older-sibling cruelty, decided the time had come for me to know the truth. I had one of those special boxes to leave your teeth in, ‘My First Tooth’ emblazoned across the front and a pink-winged fairy sitting on the top. Until then, I genuinely believed that my tiny teeth were being exchanged by a perhaps even tinier fairy for the small change I found in the box in the morning. Being told it was actually my dad was a bit of a disappointment, to say the least, but I moved on, as eight-year olds do, and mostly forgot all about fairies. But recently, I started thinking – why did I ever believe in the Tooth Fairy? Why do parents think it’s a good idea to tell their children those stories, and why do people believe in fairies at all? The word ‘fairy’ stems originally from the Latin fata. The fey were those fated to die, or having forebodings of death; the mad, the visionary, the different. The earliest written mention of a fairy appears in the thirteenth-century writings of Gervase of Tilbury, describing the fallen angels neither bad enough for hell or good enough for heaven, forced to wander to earth instead. Later, the fairy shifted into the human world, and the Hidden People began to infiltrate woods, marshlands, homes. The stories and writings about fairies show how seriously they were taken. Guardian fairies are much less common than evil fairies, the ones who will steal your children, vandalise your house, lure you into quicksand. Stories about fairies are full of charms and instructions for combating their malice, using cold iron and cruelty to drive them away. Eighteenth-century methods for dealing with changelings ranged from boiling egg-shells so the fairy would reveal itself by commenting on the weirdness of this, to beating it with an iron bar and burning it alive. In sixteenth-century Italy, nearly 100 donas de fuera were burnt as fairy witches: people were scared. 6 The Pembroke Bullfrog

dren, Disney, prettiness. Thanks to the Victorians, fairies aren’t evil, or demonic or even particularly mischievous. Instead, we have the Flower Fairies, the Cottingley fairies (see picture above), the spirits of Peter Pan born when ‘a laugh broke into a million pieces’. The Victorians gave fairies wings, and folklore collections and investigations took off. In 1927, the Fairy Investigation Society was founded in Britain; dispersed during the Second World War, it reappeared in 1955, publishing brochures and research and attracting famous members like Walt Disney.

”But why, even now, do we like the idea of fairies?” It continues quietly even today, but for the most part science and scepticism have stripped the fairy of its wings. The photographs of the Cottingley fairies which so convinced their first Victorian audiences have been analysed and decried as fakes; fairies are for children’s stories and sweet illustrations. We’re more likely to credit a fairy ‘encounter’ to the drunk, drugged or deranged than believe it might have happened.

But why, even now, do we like the idea of fairies? Where did these Little

might become if they gave in to their basest desires, abdicated con-

People come from originally? Fairies have been cast as ghosts, fallen or

ventional morality. Modern psychoanalysis loves this kind of theorising,

demoted angels, demons, Christianised pagan gods, conquered races

using fairies and monsters to explain our most basic social anxieties.

living in hiding. Martin Wildgoose has linked fairies to Iron Age people, a belief system introduced by Vikings confused by or frightened of the small, dark men they found, so different from their own statuesque blondness. Generally, this is the most accepted theory for fairy origins. We’re scared of difference, so invent fairies and monsters to explain away

“We have no methods for combating the laws of physics, but a pixie we could control with an iron bar.”

the inexplicable. Early anthropologists studied fairy beliefs as a form of primitive science. If a child was physically deformed, cried all the time,

What will happen to the fairy now, then? Trampled by science and

was violent or destructive, it was a changeling. Its weirdness wasn’t its

wings stripped by rationalism, the fairy is in retreat. Recently, social

parents’ fault – their true child had been stolen by evil fairies, who left

paranoia has sparked the idea that there is a scientific or political con-

one of their own demonic kind in its place.

spiracy suppressing fairy data, governments attempting to control so-

But is it more than that? We’re not just rationalising the inexplicable; we’re explaining away the darkness and our fears of what we do not and cannot know. Weirdness we can see is one thing. Dark, blank, unknowable space is something else. Dianne Purkiss has argued that

ciety by the beliefs they allow. Perhaps more interesting, and plausible, is the idea that we are replacing fairies – with aliens. Space is the biggest blank we have left – and so it’s there that the fairies have found their new home, in UFOs and unexplored planets.

‘The human mind cannot bear very much blankness – where we do

I think, though, there might be something to be said for a simpler ex-

not know, we invent, and what we invent reflects our fears of what we

planation of fairies. They might be a primitive science, or psychological

do not know.’ The forests of seventeenth-century Finland, for example,

extensions of the human mind. But fairy stories are also entertaining,

were huge, dark and unknown, so became filled with tree sprites and

whether the older, scarier versions or the lighter Disney rehashings of

fairies; disembodied noises and vague movements become less scary

our twentieth-century childhoods. I liked the Flower Fairies because the

once named and joined to traditions which offer methods of dealing

books were beautiful and the fairies were pretty; nothing more, nothing

with and combating fairies.

less. And, in a way, I wish we could still believe in them. Science, like fairy belief, provides explanation, and remarkably less control. We have

A quick trawl of the Internet reveals that there are people out there

In Beowulf, the monster Grendel is manscaða, either a ‘destroyer of

who believe in fairies, ghosts and the occult, but they are in a (slightly

men’ or a ‘man-shaped destroyer’. He is most terrifying because he is

embarrassed) minority now. The incredible success of book series like

so close to being human. Greedy, violent, immoral, he represents very

The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter show how much we like the

human flaws to a very extreme degree and shows how afraid humans

idea of magic, of there being something else – but once you’ve passed

are of themselves. The evil, manic fairies of the earliest fairy stories

the age of eleven, you feel a little silly saying the Tooth Fairy still exists.

work in the same way. They’re tiny, strange people working under a

‘I believe in everything until it's disproved.  So I believe in fairies,

different, inherently wrong, set of social norms. They’re what humanity

the myths, dragons.  It all exists, even if it's in your mind.’

Illustration: shawnblog (Flickr); Photo: killick1 (stockx.chng)

no methods for combating the laws of physics, but a pixie we could control with an iron bar. How much knowledge do we really have? I might try to follow this statement of John Lennon’s in future, if only because, secretly, I miss the Tooth Fairy.

7


what lies beneath

alex joynes reveals the dark forces at work behind conspiracy theories and the reason for their timeless appeal

W

hen Don DeLillo declared, in 1978, that he was living in ‘the age

was struck by the media coverage of the murder of Joanna Yeates. The

of conspiracy’, little did he know how truly prophetic a statement

rolling news coverage provided constant updates, and the reaction on-

he had made. For indeed, we now truly live in an age of conspiracy

line was a need for definitive, final answers and a solution to the crime.

theories, which purport to expose the hidden agendas, sinister me-

When the victim’s landlord was arrested, the press went all out in an at-

chanics and concealed truths of the modern world. Or, at least this

tack on the suspect, and in the tabloid and online courts, he was most

is what some would like us to believe. Nevertheless, one only has to

certainly guilty. As it happens, Chris Jefferies was later released without

glance at the media to be exposed to such theories. In the space of

charge. The effect that this caused at the time, however, was unnerv-

just two weeks earlier this year, there was extensive coverage of the

ing. In the space of two weeks, it was as if some quarters of the public

Obama ‘birther’ controversy, a number of fringe theories questioning

mistook the case for a television drama in which they could participate

the validity of the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, and a resurgence

and develop their own theories as to who had been behind it all. They

of interest in the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This came follow-

were now the lead characters, those whose task it is to unmask the

ing a screening at Cannes Film Festival of a documentary that alleged

truth. In the online world, we all have the potential to be action heroes,

‘dark forces’ were at work behind the scenes, casting doubt upon the

acting against the backdrop of modern society, unmasking villains and

accidental nature of her death. Running parallel to this are the daily

casting light upon reality.

posts on Internet forums, production of viral videos and detailed online analyses of secret intelligence documents and dossiers, whose purpose is to convince the public that they are ‘sheeple’, who blindly and willingly accept the official accounts of events, just as the various governments and authorities that create and sustain these accounts would want us to behave. For conspiracy theorists, modern society and politics are little more than an illusory magic show: the authorities acting akin to the magicians, deceiving and concealing the truth from the general population, a gullible audience who believe their every word and trust their actions. It is they, the conspiracy theorists, who are the enlightened, privileged few whose cries of revelation are valiant and justified attempts to prove that all is not as it seems, the truth being far darker and more complex than we could ever imagine.

“For conspiracy theorists, modern society and politics are little more than an illusory magic show.”

“The root of these theories stems from what is essentially a cry for help: ‘Surely this cannot be it?’” Many conspiracy theories, when one digs a little deeper, are often rooted in dark subject matter. While a casual treatment of them may be seen as light-hearted by some quarters, an enjoyable way of spending spare moments on the Internet (though of course the theorists themselves would not see it like this), one only has to dig a little deeper to discover that behind the already faint veneer of respectability lie other revelations that are at best ludicrous, at worst positively repellent in what they claim. The cries that Obama was not a US citizen already seemed to be based on uneasy territory. This is only heightened when one looks at the work of Jerome Corsi, a key figure in this movement, and witnesses the racial slurs and libellous accusations that litter his online columns. But then I think that the theories in general often touch upon aspects of the human character, and often are an attempt to ap-

To deconstruct even the most common and well-known conspiracy theories is a near impossible task, such are the movements’ daily evolution and growth. In part, the nature of modern theories also helps us to understand why they evolved in the first place. The role of the Internet cannot be overstated with reference to the spread and growth of conspiracy theories. An environment which allows for such widespread involvement and engagement has proved to be the perfect catalyst for many movements. Lack of censorship and the privilege of anonymity, coupled with sites that unite people with common aims, means that the virtual world is teeming with online posters with lots to say, and readers who are eager to listen. Loose Change, a series of films that allege the involvement of the Bush administration in the 9/11 attacks, is an undisputed phenomenon, described by Vanity Fair as potentially the ‘first Internet blockbuster.’ There is something chilling about the accessibility of the film, and its position on video sharing websites, nestled between viral videos of a sneezing panda and online pranks. This merging of information and entertainment has undoubtedly created a climate in which answers are demanded at all times and the quest for truth becomes a distorted pastime for many. When home over Christmas, I

8 The Pembroke Bullfrog

peal to us and comfort in some way. The role of the individual is always significant in how conspiracy theories play out. Where historical figures are concerned, the theories formulated in reaction to their deaths represent an attempt to avoid the often harsh realities they present. Indeed, with regard to the deaths of Diana and Marilyn Monroe, the media played a pivotal role. It was the paparazzi that ruthlessly pursued Diana, even taking photographs as she lay injured in the wreckage of the car that killed her. It is no coincidence that those media outlets which most support the Diana conspiracy are the same ones that paid for the aforementioned photographs,

human and ethereal by the media and accepted as such by the public,

definitive and final say on affairs. David Aaronovitch, author of Voodoo

could be extinguished through accident and suicide. Surely there had

Histories, sums this feeling up as follows, stating that theorists have a

to be more to it?

desire for accounts which make reality ‘less contingent, less full of ac-

and in this way they effectively shift the blame from themselves. Equally,

And this is perhaps the underlying core of conspiracy theories. The

the continued presence of the media and their manipulative role in the

mantra of their proponents may be defined, even by the people them-

life of Marilyn Monroe saw her turn to drugs in order to cope. It seems

selves, as the notion that ‘there is more to this than meets the eye.’

altogether more tragic, to my mind, that a seemingly bright and viva-

But in an altogether different way, the root of these theories stems from

cious character, a figure of envy and admiration the world over, would

what is essentially a cry for help: ‘Surely this cannot be it?’ Conspira-

spend her final hours alone in a room, dying from a self-induced over-

cy theories, which may seem ironic, essentially help their believers to

dose, essentially deserted by her fans when she needed them most. It

make more sense of the world, and sometimes make the ‘truth’ of it

simply doesn’t seem right that such icons, presented as almost super-

more palatable. They enable closure, the tying up of loose ends, the

Illustration: Verity Whiter

cidents, less incomplete and less messy than our own real lives are.’ They help to make sense of what is an increasingly complex world of apparently incomprehensible acts and events. And as long as this climate of fear and disbelief is sustained by the media, and supported and strengthened online, then the ‘age of conspiracy’ will continue. Or perhaps the very presence of human nature will ensure that the age of conspiracy has always been with us, and will remain present forever. Indeed, its presence may actually be essential.

9


Nostalgia Walking through the house of time So many things catch my eye Possessing them wouldn’t change my life For now they are mere fragments Like pieces of a shattered mirror Which draw my gaze and cut my feet And twist the light into shapes Reflecting what I want to see Like just another copy Of feelings and untrue memories Of long passed dreams.

Mercy sleeps and dreams that the air will finally unfurl itself Bludgeoned by the currents of history done up, she drops her head It rolls on the floorboards With a thud reticent yet sure Milk streams from its broken seams Licking scrubbed oak Whilst Rooks croak from the comfort of caves

Dyedra Just & Fitzroy Morrissey

Night purrs through the window Splintering across the room Clumsy as cacti, I’ll dance as I always do Moans to hollow blood from bone Will fall on ears as deaf as wood Rooks croak from the comfort of caves This sudden steel stillness of air makes you feel alive as you suffocate Cowardice jumped the ship but washed ashore Dressed in seaweeds a comely whore Oh she ensnares the men she befuddles battle suits get by without digging a tunnel into English woods where the hawks could still tail the rabbit undisturbed and understood Lucy Du

10 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Illustration: George Kenwright

Photos: Flo Walker

11


losing faces

f

Search.... harriet baker guides us through facebook’s mausoleum

acebook has consumed us and stolen us. It is creeping into every

way in which Facebook has supplanted the written word, the phone

Facebook does not deactivate an account that has remained inactive

a Facebook page stands as a memorial for someone, that through this

aspect of our lives. Or, rather, we exist in plural, and in parallel; in

call or the visit. I cannot help but think it wholly inappropriate to think

for a period of time. Instead, it has proposed this act of ‘memorializing’:

medium it is permissible to pay tribute to a good friend and to offer

the present moment, and in the warped virtual landscape that is the In-

that leaving a comment on the wall of someone who has recently died, in public view, suffices for a personal letter written to his or her family.

‘When a user passes away, we memorialize their account to pro-

gratitude for their life and accomplishments. Facebook is, in a sense,

ternet. We project ourselves into the unreal. Facebook moments have the bizarre duality of tingling in sight briefly before being buried beneath

Will funerals become group events, with lists of those ‘attending’ and

the sediment of status updates and notifications, and yet lingering in

‘maybe attending’?

cyberspace for an unreal time. Facebook is an example of our depressing obsession with living less in the present and increasingly outside of ourselves and through another medium. It has begun to play mediator to our actions. We see it as the means through which to connect with people, or to express our likes, dislikes and opinions in a manner that is becoming increasingly public. There is a rather troubling new issue to be raised: the transmutation of death online, and the role Facebook plays in the incidence of death, condolence and grief.

And, finally, there is the issue of the Facebook page afterwards. This is something I have experienced on a more personal level. My stomach turns when I visit the Facebook page of a close friend who died over two years ago. The page has not been taken down. It remains intact; she remains a member of the school network, her profile picture a frozen young face while we grow and accumulate about her. Her Facebook wall is a long list of messages, from the very first expression of grief over her death to warm wishes for her latest birthday. Beneath the

The events of death and its aftermath seem to occur in parallel, both in

messages of shock and grief her last status updates hang suspended.

the real world and in real-time, and online. Condolence and grief have

I can appreciate the seemingly comforting element of her presence on

taken their places in the Facebook world, in ways that I can only argue

Facebook; that in a sense she still belongs and that she is still among

are impersonal, public, inappropriate and hurtful. Death and its relation

us. To leave a comment is to feel as if you’re sending a text to which

to Facebook is something that has been lighted upon by the media

you simply won’t get a reply. But the actuality of her Facebook page

over the last few months, with both author Zadie Smith and The Times

alarms me. I wince as I tag photographs and, in typing the first letter of

columnist Sarah Vine condemning the use of the Facebook wall as a

her name, she appears in a list of the living.

means of expressing condolence and admiration. Indeed, Facebook is playing an increasingly central role in the events of someone dying. Recently, I observed the announcement of a teenager’s death on his Facebook page by his family members, and, within hours, the hundreds of comments of condolence, shock and grief addressed both to the deceased and his family. The funeral arrangements were relayed online, the profile picture was changed; it was an example of Facebook meets the Obituaries section of The Times. There are several aspects of this phenomena with which I draw issue. First, there is the problematic role of Facebook as newspaper, both in the immediate aftermath of events and then through the form of obituaries posted as wall comments. Secondly, there is the ill-advised

12 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Facebook has become a means of communicating with those who are absent, not just through distance but also death. It testifies to the truth that our lives exist not just in the present but through an online medium. Her Facebook page has taken the role of shrine, as if its lingering presence is suggestive of immortality. Yes, grief is universal, but it is also an intense and private experience. Although metaphorically it takes its place among the latest status updates and photographs and is part of everyday life, it does not belong on Facebook. Facebook has recognized this phenomenon and has commented, if in a rather lukewarm manner. Whilst digging through its Terms and Privacy Policies, I stumbled upon the question: ‘What does ‘memorializing’ an account mean? Does it deactivate it or delete it?’ Like Myspace,

tect their privacy. Memorializing an account sets the account privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it

the sum of ourselves when we die. It is our online projection, that which will remain after we have gone. It is a terrifying thought.

in search. The Wall remains, so friends and family can leave posts in remembrance. Memorializing an account also prevents anyone from logging into the account.’ In some respects, Facebook has the right idea. When alerted by a close family member, certain aspects of the deceased’s Facebook page are altered to adopt this ‘memorial’ appearance. The page will only appear to confirmed friends, and the name of the deceased will no longer appear on the Home Feed or whilst tagging photos. It is not possible to “poke” dead people. I wonder if we should be grateful that those who have died remain on Facebook and yet have privacy. What would my friend think, if she knew that her two-year old status updates hang in bleak antithesis to messages of ‘R.I.P.’? She would probably think it was rather funny and yet quite grim. Facebook is attempting to rectify a rather grey situation. However, it is a situation that is not fully resolved. I read on, and in the ‘Help’ section found apologies for various situations that have recently occurred on Facebook, such as the profile of someone who has died appearing in the ‘Someone you may know’ feed, whilst the space under ‘Recent activity’ hangs blankly like a bad joke. Or, rather embarrassingly, the accidental memorializing of a Facebook profile of someone still living. This is clearly an issue with no clear or immediate answer. There is a great deal of discomfort to be found in this process of adapting Facebook for the dead. The word ‘memorial’ hangs rather heavily in the blue typeface, and I can’t help wondering exactly what it means in the context of Facebook. The OED defines memorializing as an act of preserving the memory of a person or thing, an act of commemora-

Harriet Baker: “I dread to think

thattheonlineworldwillbecome populated by ghosts.”

some time ago We are the Facebook generation, and the first few instances of the deaths of members are occurring. If this is acceptable, and nothing has been done about it, it can only occur more frequently. I dread to think that the online world, our parallel world of interaction and communication, will become populated by ghosts. Should we worry that our Facebook page represents us, offers a picture of ourselves that may somehow stand as our memorial and lead to online immortality? It is comforting to feel as if the person who has died still belongs, that within minutes we can find pictures, comments they have posted, with their own nuances and turns of phrase. Old jokes and memories are preserved, and the image of the face we fear to forget remains easily accessible. Yet there is a cold realization that must occur; a ghostly presence online is not an afterlife. A Facebook wall is not a memorial. It is a grim reminder, and a refusal to let go. It is an act of preservation in a realm to which the dead do not belong. They have no need of ‘social networking’. We cannot suspend the dead in the unreal, for this is the very nature of grief - the acceptance of their absence and, more importantly, the acceptance that life simply carries on.

tion or celebration. My niggling doubts are confirmed; Facebook now plays an active part in the process of grieving. It is now acceptable that Graphics: Charlie McCann

13


fair syria, sad relic

arabist izzy whitting writes of a country mourning the loss of thousands at the hands of their government, and anticipates the deaths of many more if the syrian uprising is ever to be called a revolution

A

s it was announced that Hosni Mubarak was to resign - barely two

When one looks at the facts and the dire political state that Syria is

months after the start of the Egyptian Revolution - I was in Damas-

in, it seems obvious that after seeing the successes of their brothers

cus, sharing a celebratory cup of coffee with the Syrian woman I lived

across the region, Syrians, too, would want to put an end to Bashar’s

with and her ancient friend Nour. Here we were, rejoicing in the collapse

corrupt and oppressive regime. However, the level of fear in Syria is

of a corrupt and stagnant regime, with a criminal at its head, whilst liv-

astronomically high. Any talk of politics in a public place is impossible,

ing in Syria, a country under the rule of arguably one of the most tena-

as someone will always be listening and ready to report you. Phones

cious and terrifying regimes in the world. Hypocrisy doesn’t even begin

are tapped, Internet use is monitored and, until March, social network-

to cover it. It didn’t occur to us that this sort of thing would ever be able

ing sites and even Wikipedia were banned. The control which the state

to happen in Syria, so strong is the government’s hold over the people.

has over the people, over their minds, is palpable. The omnipresent

The cult of personality surrounding the President, Bashar al-Assad, is

Bashar, on the walls of shops, restaurants, barbers, homes, suggests

such that one cannot go to any Syrian town without being confronted

that if you were to even think something critical of the regime, he would

with alarmingly large pictures of Al-Assad (the Lion) in various guises –

know it.

on his people, but, rather, on foreign armed gangs who are protesting

which would in turn affect the Israel – Palestine peace process. Neither

and killing members of the public and the security forces as part of a

Iran nor Syria have diplomatic relations with Israel and they are both

conspiracy to disrupt the peace. Government propaganda floods the

fiercely opposed to any solution that does not include Israel vanishing

state-controlled media, extolling the praises of Bashar and his noble

as a state. If the West, especially America, were to harm Syria’s regime,

battle against the gangs, whilst every day he gives the order to attack

Iran, with her nuclear weapons and inflexible views would be in a very

more Syrian towns, quell any freedom of expression and kill those who

strong position to cause an unimaginable amount of destruction. How-

do not comply. The world is beginning to realise that Bashar al-Assad

ever, to suggest that the West is dragging its feet on this issue would

will stop at nothing to keep his power.

be a pretty damning accusation, and one must hope that the barrage

However, the people of Syria have not been deterred. Approximately 3,500 Syrians have lost their lives and countless others have been tortured or have simply vanished. Men, women and children have been

“The level of fear in Syria is astronomically high.”

killed by the regime that once they would have defended, and an end to

Before one delves into the atrocities of the Syrian uprising – it cannot,

Perhaps it is fitting, then, that the Syrian uprising began in earnest al-

yet, be called a revolution – a little background on the country and

most by accident. Children in the Southern city of Der’aa were caught

file, the Syrian army is still loyal to the regime. How much this is down to

her politics is important. Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970, in a

daubing the slogan ‘The people want the fall of the regime’, the ubiqui-

movement that is known in Syria as ‘The Corrective Revolution’, but

tous chant of the Arab Spring, on the walls of their school. It is impossi-

which was effectively a military coup. His party, the Ba’ath Party, which

ble that they fully understood the weight of those words, yet they were

first gained control of Syria in 1963, has maintained an iron-fisted grip

subsequently taken away by security forces and beaten - several had

on the country ever since. Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000

their fingernails removed. And so it began. The family of the children

after the death of his father and a rather unbelievable election victory (in

went out onto the streets in protest and Der’aa became the focal point

which he ran unopposed, naturally) of 97%. He was hailed by the West

of the Syrian uprising, attracting 100,000 protestors to the streets on

as a reformer and was heartily welcomed into the bosom of Europe

March 25. Douma, Homs, Hama and Lattakia in particular are other

and her leaders, but that fact is that, although slightly more reformist

flashpoint towns which have experienced the violence of the security

than his father, he still squashed any attempts to introduce democracy

forces, comprising of guns, tanks and even battleships. This continued

to Syria. As a result, the country remains a totalitarian, one-party state,

lack of restraint on the part of the security forces, and at a higher level,

swarming with mukhabaraat or secret police, who, under orders from

the President and his government, is perhaps the most terrifying as-

the President, are responsible for the ‘disappearances’ of thousands of

pect of the uprising. His excuse – a line which he and his government

Syrians over the past 40 years.

obstinately defend – is that he is not inflicting unimaginable brutality

Bashar the military man, equipped with gun and Ray Bans, Bashar the pensive, looking out over his people with a surprisingly weak face (his lack of chin is quite substantial), and Bashar the good and dutiful son, pictured with his father Hafez, President before him.

14 The Pembroke Bullfrog

what are very clearly human rights violations is not in sight. I believe this is due to two factors which differentiate Syria’s uprising from Egypt’s revolution, and which are crucial to the fall of the Syrian regime. Firstly, while there have been several defections, and some of them high pro-

of sanctions that have been foisted Syria’s way are in fact part of a careful policy of economic strangulation, rather than a way of killing time until things ‘quieten down’ a bit.

“The world is beginning to realise that Bashar al-Assad will stop at nothing to keep his power.”

true loyalty, or to the government’s ruthless response towards any hint of dissent, is not clear. But the fact remains that the Syrian government still has the army on its side and is able to use it as its tool. Secondly,

The uprising in Syria has seen some of the most vicious oppression of

the capital is yet to fall. Apart from the odd, small and quickly quelled

a people by their own government, even when compared to the other

protest, the capital has not seen much in the way of anti-government

countries in the region. It seems that Bashar al-Assad is acting without

activity. However, even back in April, the sense of tension and unease

consequence and that so far, sanctions have had no impact on his

was palpable. With secret police lurking round every corner, prepared

policy of oppression, let alone his conscience. Thousands of families

to commit unspeakable crimes, it would take hundreds of thousands

have lost members to torture, bullets, bombs. And those are the fami-

of protestors to make an impact on the capital.

lies who know the fate of their loved ones. Many must wait for the body

Perhaps this is what the West is waiting for, before launching a force similar to that in Libya and racing to the rescue of the oppressed peoples. Somehow, I doubt it. Russia and China’s reluctance is perhaps

that may never return, spirited away by the security forces, just another casualty of the Syrian uprising, which one day we must hope to be able to call a revolution.

serving as a welcome obstacle for Britain and the US, when one considers Syria’s proximity, both geographically and strategically to Iran, Photos: james.gordon6108 (Flickr); Graphics: Charlie McCann

15


Oh, to taste again the dew

If Criseyde Was His Brother’s Wife

Oh, to taste again the dew

All these years and silent wails,

Of a romance budding new! Grant me days with Fancy’s daughter, With her touch as fresh as water. Then, to feel the fluttered start of a newly conquered heart’s Sanguine beats, with youth unending. All the time in love ascending. Till, with greedy smugness, we Dare to grant eternity. Then complacent trust shall conquer, And our hard-won love is over.

I’ve known, true love never fails. Those looks of old so stiff and shy Will spread their wings - My butterfly! Who flutters in my heart each day. At night with her I drift away. An August ninth I saw her face, And longed to be beneath that lace. Alas, bleak winter reeled me in,  When I learnt she I could not win. I bet blind Cupid loved that dart, Make brother fall for brother’s tart. I painted her in rolls in fat,

Love cannot survive the chase,

That common bird, that flea-farm cat,

Hearts should touch, not interlace;

Covertly wishing I could be,

Bound, when certain futures given

Her nectar giving honey bee.

Grant the coward soul its heaven.

Oh, how I loved to watch her bathe

No! Trust not yourselves to meld;

And hope that one day I could swathe

Passion cannot breathe when held!

Herself in me, once and for all,

As the flowers of spring awaken

Erect a fortress and a wall

Doomed to wilt if they are taken.

To keep her in, my queen of hearts.

Fear that safety! Fear warm Summer! Let the dreams of March outshine her!

On winter’s death, a new spring starts.

Till the cooling clouds shall cover And our hard-won love is over.

Love, first-forged as sister-brother, Can now morph into another.

Passion; let her wings unfurl! Into daily motions hurl Reckless hopes, in free elation Rid of comfort's suffocation. No! Let not Forever sing; Passion is a passing thing.

Her king is dead, woe is the day. Let in-law incest rage away! Why, all wise men say this same thing, Each sadness does some goodness bring. I’ve shed my tears – I loved him dear, And so much that he need not fear

Nymph-like, it is never caught,

For the soul safety of his wife,

Swayed or bargained, stole or bought.

I’ll give her a new lease of life.

Love cannot survive embrace! Savour beauty, soon her face,

The wooden frame above my head

Once star-like, shall supernova,

Twice creaks, she’s climbing into bed.

And your hard-won love is over.

Her breath is soft, her smell is sweet, She gently glides beneath her sheet,

Matt Byrd

Whilst I count seconds till I can Rise up and show her her new man. Aneira Roose-McClew

16 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Graphics: Charlie McCann

17


Personality crisis matt walsh explains how punk festered in the big apple In 1970, life in New York City was a far cry both from the large-scale

lar were pushing notions of musicality to new limits: the Velvet Under-

edge; but in its early days, simmering in downtown Manhattan, ‘punk’ meant

development the city had seen during the ‘Roaring Twenties’, and its

ground, managed by Andy Warhol since 1965, were perfecting their

escapism, not nihilism.

current status as a home to some of the world’s chief financial, le-

peculiar form of musical experimentalism which reflected the pioneer-

gal, and communications firms. The late 1960s had seen thousands

ing, challenging, and sometimes obscene output of the Factory. Bol-

of blue-collar workers left unemployed thanks to the emigration of the

stered by the witty and simplistic songwriting styles of Lou Reed and

shipbuilding and textile industries, and working-class neighbourhoods

John Cale, the Underground’s sound investigated the use of drone,

became hotbeds of crime, poverty and violence. The city map was a

noise and art rock. Lyrically, too, the Velvets pushed boundaries, lay-

patchwork quilt of social and racial divisions, and the suburbs saw the

ing bare New York’s most sordid vices for the world to hear. ‘Venus In

emergence of pseudo-‘ghettoes’ so desecrated by the city’s social de-

Furs’, for example, openly addressed themes of drug abuse, prostitu-

cay that they seemed almost like slums. Gang culture and drug abuse

tion and sadomasochism.

were rife; bankrupt landlords razed their own buildings, begging their

“TheNewYorkpunkscene...would come to change popular music forever.”

insurers to cover the cost; in Times Square, sex shops and brothels proliferated. The Big Apple was, by all accounts, turning rotten. Yet it was precisely this social nadir which brought forth a genuine artistic revolution: the 1970s saw the emergence of American punk, disco, and hip-hop music. Art students, tempted by the city’s cheap house prices, flocked to Manhattan in their droves; the area became

But, by and large, the Velvet Underground were destined to remain just

home to a vibrant studio scene home to, and frequented by, visionary

that: underground. Having helped to pave the way for the proliferation

figures as diverse as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Mick Jagger.

of a more avant-garde, exciting style of music, it would still take a band

The atmosphere was lively, liberating, and lascivious; many were lured

of explosive individuality to truly rekindle the embers of New York’s rock

by experimental attitudes towards drugs and sex, while the growing

scene. That band was the New York Dolls.

tolerance of people irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality fanned the flames of a burgeoning gay, drag and transsexual scene. People came to New York to be what they really wanted to be.

“[NewYorkDolls]leadsingerDavid JohansentookMickJagger’svoice and made it his bitch.” But by the turn of the decade, some of the life had been sapped from the cultural effervescence of the years before. Downtown Manhattan’s reputation as the centre of America’s counterculture movement was fast being eclipsed by San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district; bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Santana and the Grateful Dead fuelled the sickly-sweet idealism of the Foggy City’s growing hippie subculture. Musically, however, many young New Yorkers were becoming disillusioned with the saccharine sounds of psychedelia, the meandering compositional masturbation of early prog-rock, and the over-produced, manufactured pop blaring from their radios. For a generation of restless snot-nosed teenagers and twenty-somethings, the ‘peace and love’ dogma espoused by some tie-dye-sporting West Coast kids couldn’t come close to the reality of having to subsist amidst New York’s crumbling grandeur. What had happened to the rebellious image of early rock music? Where was the fuck-‘em-all defiance that had first characterised the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and Hendrix? As the Ramones’ drummer Tommy Ramone later quipped, ‘what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll.’ The Ramones’ time would come a few years later: for now, the as-yetunnamed genre of ‘punk’ was still in its embryonic stage. ‘Protopunk’ bands of the early ‘70s took inspiration from vintage rhythm-and-blues, British Invasion groups, and the contemporary glam-rock scene. And in the artsy apartments around East 47th Street, one band in particu18 The Pembroke Bullfrog

The CBGB club, in Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, was at the centre of New York’s punk movement. Alongside the likes of the Mercer Arts Club and Max’s Kansas City over in Park Avenue, CB’s was an early refuge for the likes of Patti Smith, Television and Blondie. At CB’s, Smith and her band were allowed the stage time necessary to perfect their own unique collision of spoken-word, punk, and art-rock which would lead to the release of their seminal album Horses in 1975. Meanwhile, one of Smith’s early partners in crime, Tom Verlaine, had formed Television with aptly-named childhood playmate Richard Hell, and alongside Patti’s own eponymous Group, would regularly be seen stalking the homemade stage at CB’s. Blondie, formed around Chris Stein and his ex-Playboy bunny girlfriend Debbie Harry, combined elements of punk rock with the kind of New Wave twitchiness suggestive of another up-and-coming NYC group, Talking Heads. While the likes of Patti Smith Group, Television, Blondie, the Dead Boys, and Mink DeVille gave CB’s a reputation, one band in particular made it an institution. Formed in 1974, the Ramones – fronted by schoolmates Johnny Cummings, Doug Colvin and Jeffrey Hyman – played over seventy shows at CBGB’s. Taking the teenage melodrama of the Shangri-Las, the bubblegum surf-rock of the Trashmen, and the sexual energy of Marc Bolan, and channelling it all through

The Dolls were more than a band: they were a phenomenon. Their

huge, distorted guitars and Cummings’s impenetrable faux-Brooklyn accent,

hard-edged aural assault borrowed much from the likes of the Stooges

the Ramones at once captured all the frustration of New York’s punk kids

and the MC5; meanwhile, lead singer David Johansen took Mick Jag-

and dragged the genre down a new path towards music in its most

ger’s voice and made it his bitch, injecting it with a unique cocktail of

primal, simplistic form. ‘Hey! Ho! Let’s go!’ yelps Cummings on 1976’s

psychotic fervour, seething anger, and hallucinogenic drugs. Their mer-

‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, the opening track of their debut LP: what followed

etricious androgyny both appalled and enthralled: Tony Glover’s origi-

was half an hour of ear-battering noise, a relentless barrage of 4/4,

nal album review for Rolling Stone dubbed them “the mutant children

no-frills rock ‘n’ roll which revelled cockily in its own anti-theatrical, anti-

of the hydrogen age: boys and girls of indeterminate gender, males

rock star form. Cartoon lyrics about teenage angst, boredom and violence

with earrings and flashing orange hair, females with ducktails and black

(think ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’ or ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’). No solos,

leather … and what’s it to ya, mothafuckah?”

no melodies. Just Colvin’s yowling ‘1-2-3-4!’ and then, as Punk founder Legs

Intrinsic to the New York Dolls’ breakthrough were their frenzied live performances. Their early shows at the Mercer Arts Centre, in Green-

McNeil described, a ‘wall of noise’ which brazenly tore off and cast aside all the redundant superficialities of contemporary pop music.

wich Village, became legendary for their confrontational, anti-establish-

The Ramones so fully embraced, embodied, and exceeded the punk ethic that

ment attitude. Alongside the likes of the early electro-punk duo Suicide,

they came to spearhead an entire genre. Their live shows, invariably a short,

glam-rock favourites Sniper, and another of Warhol’s protégés, Eric

frenzied affair, soon won over the notoriously hard-to-please New York audience,

Emerson, they kick-started a movement in which the victims of New

while two July 1976 shows at London’s Roundhouse successfully exported them

York’s impoverishment and inequality could vent their frustration and

to the UK, where British punk was gathering speed. Appealing to the young audi-

establish a feeling of togetherness.

ence’s similar sense of anti-establishment, antagonistic rebelliousness, the Ram-

The bellicose live act of such bands helped to foster an underground

ones brought down the house, and a life-affirming band was born.

scene which united people both through its philosophy and its musi-

The New York punk scene had broken the shackles of its underground roots, and

cal output. Punk magazine was first published in New York in 1976,

would come to change popular music forever. The Ramones became pin-ups

crowbarring the term into the national – and international – conscious-

for the youth movements of the late 1970s and 1980s, and their confrontational

ness. A do-it-yourself attitude, a sneering rejection of political idealism,

style would be heralded as the blueprint for later American and British punk, hard-

and a simplistic, accessible approach to songwriting came to be highly

core and metal acts. Their fearlessness inspired the likes of The Clash and the

esteemed; branding the de rigueur music of the day pretentious and

Damned to make the leap from rehearsal to performance, and also galvanised the

superfluous, early punks scorned musical accomplishment in favour of

incubation of punk subculture in California, Chicago and Washington D.C. While

short, high-energy, three-chord songs, and they looked back nostalgi-

we can hold the Ramones responsible for punk rock’s mutation into its trademark

cally on the innovative snappiness which had been associated with the

fast-paced ‘gabba-gabba-hey’-style song structure, we must not underestimate

earliest garage-rock bands of the ‘60s. Later, as punk music exported

the influence of New York’s other musical visionaries – the likes of Patti Smith,

itself around the world, British bands such as the Sex Pistols and The

Blondie and the New York Dolls – whose burning desire to chew through the

Clash would inject this philosophy with an anarchic, highly politicised

social manacles of 1970s New York continues to inspire today’s musicians.

19


fifteen minutes of defamation Helen Pye explores whose hand is really forcing down the moral standards of reality TV

R

eality TV shows such as Big Brother are lauded as experiments

why? Well, if you’re part of a team and they’re relying on you to bring

in human behaviour – an exhilarating chance to see how humans

home their food that night ( à la I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here) or

thrive and flail under intense conditions – all for the entertainment of

your future career prospects are on the line (hello, The Apprentice) or

audiences at home. In genuine medical or psychological experiments

you’re offered that big golden carrot of a whole load of dollar (pretty

taking place in a lab or research facility, the participants would be told

much any show you can think of), there’s strong pressure on someone

exactly what was to be expected, warned of any potential dangers,

to do something that might naturally be against their will. If five tanta-

and well before it even reached that point, have had the experiment

lising minutes of fame are offered then where do dignity and public im-

approved by an ethics committee. Currently, those stringent rules ad-

age come into it? And production companies will play as many mind

hered to by ethics committees have no place in television shows, with potentially damaging consequences. Whether these are experiments in human behaviour, talent searches or simply the daily dramas of ‘beautiful people’, is reality TV really a guilty pleasure, or is it dangerous, manipulative and exploitative? With lax ethical rules and a never ending supply of people desperate for riches and instantaneous fame, the question for producers and audiences is how far are we prepared to go, and who will say ‘enough’, first?

people open themselves up to

ridicule (Ruby-Jo on Young,

company. Reality TV has proven time

and again that it can

games as they can to get what they want.

Dumb and Living off Mum, for

example, exasperatedly asks

be worthwhile: quality reality TV is

not

In 2007, Shipwrecked, a show which abandoned two teams to live

how much effort can it be for her

mum to flush the toilet

for her), yet here is an example

Robinson Crusoe-style on opposing islands, was found to have plied contestants with alcohol and condoms in the hope of some telly gold. At this year’s MediaGuardian Edinburgh Television festival, panels raised questions about the ethics of filming sex on reality TV, something the producers of Geordie Shore have no ethically-induced bouts

all these contestants know what they’re getting themselves into? Do

best parts are the auditions solely for the deluded ‘singers’ turning up

they really deserve the backlash they incur?

a

ca-

cophony of god-

forsaken human beings -

I’m not naive, however. Shows like The Only Way is Essex and Made

no support offered by production nies once they’ve finished filming. Sometimes reality shows can be wonderful – the look on the X-Factor winner’s face as all their dreams come true (whatever the

women

be-

the minimal to compa-

or within their own an

oxymoron.

But if we want telly whose core

appeal is humiliation,

with a dash of cruelty and

a smidge of shock-

value, we’ll get it. We shouldn’t tolerate it, but more, as long as people long as people are

as long as we keep demanding are willing to participate, and as making money, ethics are seemingly irrelevant. It’s time for viewers to demand more quality programming

eventual reality is) proves that this type of pro-

and to tell producers they want higher ethi-

gramming doesn’t need to disappear from our

cal standards. If we don’t, then who knows

screens. Real-life series can be informa-

where it will end? I guess we’ll just have to sit back and keep watching.

in Chelsea were created for one purpose only – to make celebrities of their stars. Celebrity today is not about talent or likability, it’s about whose publicist can flirt with the media for the longest and who is prepared to sell their soul and all the dirty secrets you wouldn’t want your and guest appearances. After Jade Goody’s first

next to on a bus - bel-

stint on Big Brother, she had endorsed

low, screech and cat-

her own perfume, had a

erwaul all in the name

best-selling

of good, clean, family

autobi-

ography and a guar-

entertainment. But I

anteed weekly pic in

cringe when certain

Heat magazine. An-

contestants take to the stage.

other stint (now in the

The ones who, from the mo-

Celebrity version), and

ment they walk on, are obviously

she’d embroiled herself in a

mentally unprepared for the show.

race row

Buoyed by the production team, and told

that at least guaranteed more

pictures and interviews. And in the run-up to her tragi-

they’re amazing, that they’ve definitely

cally early death, the bubbly Essex girl continued to play

got the X factor and are the whole pack-

the media as she had done throughout her celebrity career;

age, these contestants are left distraught when their dreams crash around them and

the

ence jeer and smirk as they waddle teary-

eyed off stage into

the ranting arms of a parent who probably

shouldn’t have let

audi-

was too fragile for

the level of fame and media attention that met her after Britain’s Got Talent: everyone knew it - her family, Ant and Dec, the show’s producers, everyone watching at home, yet she was still paraded around for our viewing pleasure. Deception and coercion have long been tools employed by production companies eagerly pursuing the next ratings hit. What we at home might think is voluntary often comes with untold pressures on the participant. Turn over to almost any competitive reality show and you’ll see people doing tasks which are humiliating and distressing – 20 The Pembroke Bullfrog

ing undeservedly degraded, and

of

uinely want to make a

mother to hear for those extra few column inches, interviews

the type you avoid sitting

them be there in the first place. Susan Boyle

behind. Whenever I watch Secret Millionaire or Undercover Boss, I

been subjected to online sexual

difference, whether it be to a community

and devious production techniques, can we really any longer say that

when

terns, and to inspire those who felt the education system had left them

on University Challenge had

can’t help but be inspired by people who gen-

little humiliation along the way, right? On X-Factor, undoubtedly the

nounced,

attention to the obesity epidemic and its roots in children’s eating pat-

public eye. Earlier this year, it emerged that several female participants

want some advice. Sometimes

prepared to go on national television, you might have to accept a

soul-destroying song they put on right before the final winner is an-

Dream School were two programmes that used harsh reality to draw

on Jeremy’s show, but also for all those thrust unprepared into the

paigns. ITV’s response: here’s a

the producers; ethical ones, not so much. With misleading editing

is sometimes necessary. These are the ones that come back for that

home. Psychological support is essential for those facing problems

phone number to call if you

On the other hand, perhaps these people ask for it. I mean, if you’re

a voice like an angel and some friends that haven’t learnt tough love

tive, inspiring and provocative. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and

harassment and hate cam-

of insomnia over. What became clear was that legal boundaries ruled

with stars in their eyes, their mummy and daddy telling them they’ve

they’ve publicly derided and ridiculed, all is forgiven by the people at

perfectly stage-managed by Max Clifford, Jade netted over £3 million pounds in interviews alone, and her fame only accelerated as her death approached. Was Jade entitled to use her cancer to make money, was she right to exploit her death for financial gain? Or are we, as the people who greedily demanded of a dying woman, the ones who force high moral costs in the name of entertainment? Everyday audiences are clamouring for more – for bigger, better, more surgically enhanced, more shocking. In 2007, a Dutch reality show had contestants competing for a terminally ill woman’s kidney and allowed viewers to text the woman with their view on who should win. Jeremy Kyle is regularly lambasted for its ‘bear-baiting’ techniques, yet won Best Daytime show at this year’s TV choice awards. I guess as long as Graham, their after-care leader, is wheeled out to show they do take some kind of responsibility for the welfare of their guests who 21


beyond the fringe

joe nicholson finds the good, the bad and the ugly at the real edinburgh fringe festival

T

he Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Despite being ostensibly a periph-

showcase their skills within an international forum.” Surely, one would

the false experience of showcasing talents to a prearranged audience?

eral phenomenon, it is world-famous, arguably more so than the

imagine, this is a worthy pursuit, which aims to give students between

From what I saw of the company, there was little artistic innovation.

Edinburgh International Festival from which it springs (indeed, the two

the ages of fourteen and eighteen the opportunity to participate in the

However, unwilling as I was to praise the performances, there were

names are often used synonymously). Part of the excitement of the fes-

Fringe. This in theory allows, perhaps for the first and last time in the

individuals who did show talent, and all the more credit to them for

tival comes from the fact that drama is merely one facet: all of the arts

lives of its participants, the chance to perform on a commercial stage

giving this impression from the midst of what was often quite painful. It

are represented and flourish there. Everybody who has visited is irrevo-

in what is a safe and fertile environment for new performers. The weeks

is also eye-opening to read what one participant writes in a testimonial

cably fond of it, it is responsible for the launching of many a comedian’s

spent in the Scottish capital could even be added to an illustrious C.V.

for the AHTF:

career, and allows the yearly transportation of masses of plays from

as the most talented blossom from amateurism into a golden career in

amateur and professional dramatic groups from all over the country to

the performing arts. 

the city to shine their lights. Our own university boasts a huge offering to the Fringe each year; the Oxford University Dramatic Society notably organising a yearly “summer tour” to the festival. The crux of what the Fringe actually is, however, comes down to the fact that so many students can go there to perform every August, and that it is entirely possible to launch a career there, or at least work on making a name for yourself. 

However, witnessing the productions attached to the AHTF is woefully disappointing. One of the main things that stood out in four of the five productions attached to the company that I watched was their desperately clueless nature. There was a self confidence that was totally misplaced in misguided performances. One performance of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was a grim spectacle: the first line of the programme, which ignorantly dubbed the play as one which is allegedly read but

‘It still blows my mind that all of us were there solely for theatre. I had never made so many bonds so quickly. Two weeks was enough time to make lifetime friendships and I truly think it was because we were "theatre kids". Scotland was the best experience of my life because it was two weeks spent with kids that loved the same thing I did.’ Uncomfortably gushing as this is, it raises an interesting question: what about the AHTF doesn’t fit with what the Edinburgh Festival Fringe aims to be? Surely such glowing testimony should justify the existence

piece; it was certainly difficult to believe that the group was selected

page catalogue of all of the available shows from all genres at the fes-

from a nationwide application process in a country as large as the USA.

tival, declares that it is “entirely open access”, and therefore “an amaz-

Another production was alarmingly named Too Much Light Makes the

ing explosion of every imaginable artistic and entertainment experience

Baby Go Blind: a horrifyingly incoherent offering which aimed to per-

known to humanity.” OUDS describes it as a “cultural mecca”: but is

form 30 plays in an hour, it proved to be the equivalent of a primary

this really always such a good thing? During my stay in Edinburgh, I

school production organised by the seven year olds themselves. 

centre, is covered with a myriad of individual actors and production

The puzzle resolves itself a little when, after some research on the

reduced sense of the divide between amateurism and professionalism.

form is finance. It becomes apparent that the school theatre groups

Several of the plays which I saw during my stay in the city were attached

with the capacity to raise the $30,000 or so will be the ones which are

to the American High School Theatre Festival. Taking applications from

selected to participate in the project. The situation becomes clearer

theatre departments in high schools across the USA, the AHTF selects

when, glancing around the audience at each performance, it is obvi-

around 350 students to perform in individual school groups in vari-

ous that the majority, if not all, of the playgoers are American students,

ous small Fringe venues. At first glance, the project seems admirable;

evidently attached to the company through their respective schools. Is

the company’s website says, “Our festival is designed to complement

the point of the AHTF then to allow these children to pay for an oppor-

high school drama programs and allow our nation's drama students to

tunity to perform at the Fringe, in essence buying a costly holiday and

22 The Pembroke Bullfrog

in any playgoer’s experience. The only reason, then, why a company such as the AHTF seems distasteful is because the actors themselves, the participating students, are oblivious to the actual nature of the festival. Even the fact that they have to raise money to fund an idealised experience of Edinburgh, irritating as it may be, has to slide, as countless drama groups also have to raise the money to come to the festival in exactly the same way. We can not even, realistically, judge a company because of the quality of performance. Anyone with experience of the Fringe will testify that the breadth of amateur productions often leads to overwhelming differences in how shows come across. OUDS, for example, funded The Little Prince as part of its summer tour this year, which was a resounding success: many plays from other universities

through the city, whilst some inevitably failed to impress. 

acted out by schoolchildren, but it was, nevertheless, an amateurish

periphery of the peripheral. The Fringe programme, an unwieldy 350-

those unspoken for productions that showcase hidden talent.

well, and there will be a mixed bag of better and worse performances

The expectations of the audiences at the Fringe are different from any

eReview.com, focusing on the “free Fringe” and student shows; the

AHTF website, it appears that one of the focuses of the application

and inevitably subjectivity comes to the fore: not all plays will go down

outclassed anything that the AHTF offered. Productions from school

rarely performed, set the tone for the whole show. Admittedly, it was

in an attempt to publicise and discover what the real Fringe festival is,

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe boasts an immense variety of shows,

of the company in the first place?

This year I reviewed a number of shows for the publication EdFring-

reviewed a number of university shows and some from school groups,

out ultimately being disappointed.

other theatre environment in the world because of the sheer quantity and varying affordability of the shows. In any one day, you could attend five or six free fringe shows (or even more, depending on how much you can endure!) The Royal Mile, the principal street in the old city teams marketing their shows for later that day. Furthermore, there is a All of the shows are equally set out in the Fringe programme and there is rarely any indication of how a production will pan out, save perhaps by the quality of the flyers handed to you. As audiences members at the Fringe festival, you do not expect anything like what you would  see in a fixed theatre: there simply is not the space, nor do many of the student and newly-formed production companies possess the funds to perform in this way. Instead, one hopes for the surprise of a show which is genuinely astounding despite the limitations of performing in Edinburgh, or one which you can judge by what it sets out to be withGraphics: Charlie McCann; Photos: Extra Medium (flickr)

groups, professional theatre groups and musical ensembles shone

It is obvious that each individual impression of the Fringe will be unique, and this is part of what makes visiting Edinburgh during August so exciting and so memorable. The American High School Theatre Festival represents the variety of this experience, like it or not, and the fact that anybody can perform anything at the festival cements the openaccess quality which is exhilarating (if ultimately risky for the audience members). It is true that the premise of the AHTF seems deluded and too often did it seem to be going through the motions of performing at the festival, but it does offer a brilliant experience to the students who raise the money to come to Edinburgh. Perhaps, if it were to encourage a more integrated approach to the festival, the enthusiasm of the participants would not seem so misguided. The minute that sanctions are imposed on what is performed at the Fringe, it will cease to exist so openly, and despite my exasperation with the AHTF plays which I saw, I prefer it the way it is.  23


RostronParry Brings you the news:

Enormous bullfrog eats mouse – Daily Telegraph, 11th Sep, 2011. ‘Bronco Bullfrog: the film the UK forgot’ – The Guardian, 3rd June 2010 Financial PR, Communications, Events London +44 207 4790 8062 RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT Simon@rostronparry.com

See this space? You don’t, and that’s because it’s blank. It doesn’t have to be. You could advertise here. If you’re interested, please email the editors at harriet.baker@pmb.ox.ac.uk and madeleine.stottor@pmb.ox.ac.uk. 24 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Photos: Flo Walker

25


fingers in finger gaps spread your palm and match it to mine then slip your fingers so they’re intertwined we fit they fit locked like that fingers fixed in finger gaps just like that Madeleine Stottor

26 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Illustration: George Kenwright

27


Altarnun Cottage Contact details for booking are:

My First Year at Pembroke

by Dyedra K.C. Just

Mr. & Mrs. Dunkley Rose Cottage Tan hay Lane Golan Near Fowey Cornwall PL23 1LD or telephone 01726 832807

My, first year, in Pembroke: “Pembroke’s Got Talent” Theatre and Drama Girls night (Pamper Party) “Best of British” bop “Chavs and posh totty” bop College-Family Art society (Oxford Art Movement) “Legends and fairy tale” bop Bonfire night Essay writing (studying!) 28 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Birthday parties Pembroke’s Sweeney Todd musical “Eurovision Song Contest - Around The World” bop Concerts My Love Christmas (dinner and bop) Halloween bop Pembroke Carol Singing Open-mic nights “Toy box” bop Hypnosis Course

DVD nights Staying up late Harry Potter 7 (cinema) Pembroke Ball 2011 “Sands Of Time – A Journey Through The Ages” Experimental Psychology! Pembroke boat club (wine and cheese evening) “Lady Gaga” bop Matriculation “Name” bop <3 To be continued 29


Aneira Roose-McClew looks at China through the looking glass

/// Photos /// left: This was a cow herder who rescued us from the rain and invited us to have some green tea in his house. He spoke no English. He came from a 2,000 year old salt mining town called Nuo Deng. above, left: An antiques and trinket dealer in Pingyao. above, right: A group from the Naxi minority playing Mahjong in Baisha. immediately above: A butcher in Qinghai province. /// 30 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Photos: William Grazebrook

31


The Rap Sheet

charlie mccann wraps things up with a discussion of whether hip hop should take the hit for the riots

F

or England, this past summer was no summer of love. If the

‘The Best of Bizzle’ that you hear ‘Should Have Known’. Tremulous

people on the streets in the second week of August had been

strings set the stage and Bizzle gives a few introductory words of

chanting a slogan, it would have been ‘summer riotin’, had me a

advice: “I wanna tell you a little story but before I tell you: always

blast’. But they weren’t. There were no slogans, there were no man-

listen to your parents, man. They know best, trust me. Take it from

tras, there were no leaders or political statements implying unity or a

me.” Of course, ‘Should Have Known’ is couched in between ‘Kick-

shared purpose. There was, however, rap. Or so they say.

back’ - a song which, typically, talks about Bizzle’s love affair with

‘They’ are the bloggers, the political commentators, the politicians who, time and again, see fit to link rap to spiky crime rates, to gross materialism, to misogyny and to riots - and this summer’s riots proved no exception. Some of these criticisms, especially when it comes to misogyny, are, perhaps, valid - but what strikes one again and again when reading these diatribes is the blatant ignorance of these people and the thoroughly repressive nature of their arguments. On what grounds did David Cameron claim in 2006 that rap

money, guns and booty, with the cheerfully adolescent exclamation, ‘No one can tell me shit!’ rounding off the chorus - and ‘Go Go Go’, a rather mindless track, the video of which is probably fueled by the drugs Routledge refers to, listing all the things and women Lethal B wants - but Bizzle’s exhortation to heed one’s parents is just one example of how even mainstream rap artists like Lethal B demonstrate that rap is a rather more complex art form than Routledge and his cronies would like to admit.

“encourages people to carry guns and knives”? With what evidence

But, then again, you say, ‘Should Have Known’ could be a blip on

could former culture minister Kim Howells say, in the same year, that

the rap screen; perhaps the rest of Lethal Bizzle’s material does

rap artists create a culture “where killing is almost a fashion acces-

prove Routledge’s point that rap is simply a vehicle for promoting a

sory”? In late 2005, 200 French politicians backed a petition calling

discourse of superficial materialism and gun-toting violence. Even if

for legal action against several hip hop musicians for their aggres-

this discourse exists, even if rap is a paragon of evil, Routledge and

sive lyrics, giving legal form to the apparently widespread idea that

so many like him, fail to prove the connection between rap and the

rap was to blame for the riots which swept across France earlier

riots. Where is the causal link? The riots were not a gang-related

that year. Unsurprisingly, the petition was not passed - it smacked

event, for they were distinctive for their lack of organisation or sense

of censorship - but it simply shows how easily rap can become the

of hierarchy; the riots were very much about the crowd dynamic. If

scapegoat for societal problems. Indeed, the French petition was

rap makes all who listen to it greedy, money-grubbing consumers,

proposed a week after the cessation of their riots; the inevitable de-

why was it that I, a rap enthusiast, if you couldn’t already tell, didn’t

bate in the British media hit a fever pitch, again, about a week after

also break into JD Sports? Well, I haven’t exercised in over a year

the end of our riots. A week, after which time no systematic analysis

and my trainers might as well be in Timbuktu for all I care - so I can

of the UK riots could even have been attempted, was enough time,

tell you I’m not the store’s biggest fan. But that’s beside the point.

it seems, for these ‘experts’ to declare war on what’s perceived as

As far as I can tell, those who say hip hop should take the rap (sorry,

the Pandora’s box of the modern world, rap.

but you knew it was going to happen at some point) for the riots

What’s really offensive, though, is the way these critics describe hip hop’s audience - they’re characterized as people who are hoodwinked by the big-talking, blinged-out braggers commonly known as rappers. These people are apparently without agency and are incapable of independent, rational thought - it is, evidently, inevitable that hip hop heads, worshipping at the altar of rap, will be herded sheep-like by crime and commericalism, rap’s handmaidens, into a downward spiral of depravity and despair. Apocalyptic description notwithstanding, such a view is incorrect and frankly silly. And the people who write these sorts of stories, as far as I can tell, have no

fail to cite any scientific evidence confirming such a claim. I don’t deny that rap, and music in general, can arouse strong, at times violent, emotions. Nazi rallies were set to the tune of Wagner and Beethoven, after all.

Professor Jonathan Pieslak, a music theorist

at the City College of New York, interviewed U.S. soldiers during the mid-noughties about the songs they listened to while on duty - their iPod playlists were overwhelmingly dominated by the likes of Slayer, Metallica, and Eminem. Music doesn’t just soundtrack murder, it evidently can rouse the emotions necessary to follow through with it. Read ‘music’, however - not rap.

interest in listening to rap and maybe never have. Even if they did,

So yes, as a medium, music can obviously arouse strong emotion,

they, of course, would have the presence of mind to escape what

but it never provides the rationale for violence. Sorry for spelling it

they see as the trap constantly posed by rap.

out, but I think it’s needed - as a genre of music, rap necessarily fol-

This pompous attitude operates under the assumption that all rap is inherently subversive and damaging. Again, this is incorrect. Writing for the Daily Mirror two days after the start of the riots, Paul Routledge attempts to identify the cause of the riots: “I blame the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs.” I’m no expert on UK rap, but it’s only a few tracks into Lethal Bizzle’s

32 The Pembroke Bullfrog

lows suit. Indeed, rap as a medium is one of today’s more interesting art forms. It is the musical equivalent of ‘found’ art, if you will, in that the music of rap relies so heavily on sampling pre-existing music and recontextualising these samples according to the needs of the lyrics. Using rhymes, half-rhymes, puns, alliteration, metaphors, conceits - all the trappings of ‘poetry’ as the establishment knows it, and nuancing their rhymes with their specific modulations in delivery and flow, the rapper democratises an art form for the masses. What’s exciting about rap is the MC’s negotiation between reality

and fiction; Notorious B.I.G.’s first album ‘Ready to Die’ is a seminal

the (short) entirety of his rapping career. Star of the high school play,

work because, while partly autobiographical, talking about his strug-

he could easily play the part of thug, but could he use rap to con-

gle to survive on the streets as a crack dealer, B.I.G. chronicles his

vince himself he had the right credentials? Could he create in his lyr-

life from birth to death, calling on epic tropes (calling, as if to the

ics the characters and narratives necessary to include himself in the

muses, on the great names of his rapper’s heritage: Curtis Mayfield,

locus of street life? Sure enough, Tupac was successful - in 1996,

Sugar Hill Gang, Snoop Dogg, in ‘Intro’) to make his life experience

he, alongside Biggie a year later, was murdered in one the most

the stuff of legend.

infamous feuds of rap history - providing the fuel for a media frenzy

Another, perhaps more interesting example (and with that said, I’m

about the horrors of rap a good fifteen years later.

not taking sides), was B.I.G.’s friend and fatal rival, Tupac. Tupac,

This is, of course, what people like Cameron and Routledge mean

raised by his mother, a member of the Black Panther Party, in New

by ‘rap’: they mean the culture surrounding and articulated by rap,

York and later Baltimore, led a relatively stable life as kid; excel-

traditionally popular in urban ghettos and vocalized by the angry

ling at the arts school he attended, Tupac starred in the school play

young men of poor socioeconomic backgrounds that they don’t

and was considered the best rapper around. It was only in his late

want to deal with. So what would they do? Ban rap? While they’re

teens that he moved to California and cottoned on to the Califor-

at it, why don’t they just ban all angry and subversive music - oh

nian “thug life” trend epitomized by acts like N.W.A. and later on Dr.

wait, that’s already happened (think the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save

Dre and Snoop Dogg - accordingly, he quickly revamped his image.

the Queen’ in late 70s Britain, or jazz in Nazi Germany). Why don’t

He stopped being the guy from the East coast with the family into

we ban everything that’s really just a bit uncomfortable - that way

revolutionary black politics, the bro that went to high school and

Cameron can go back to sipping his tea in Tuscany. No, you say?

flourished - and became the best gangster he could be. And he did

Cause that’s not what liberal societies do? Liberal societies actually

this because rap as an art form is one thing, but rap as a culture?

promote diversity of expression and try to cure the ills of society?

That’s entirely different. With the advent of gangster rap came an

Ills like unemployment, social exclusion, racism, bad policing? The

emphasis on authenticity of experience, the sense that coming from

sort of thing that fosters the culture of rap and the sort of thing that

the streets was the qualification necessary to become a rapper. This

encouraged the riots? Thought so. In the words of Lethal Bizzle, the

preoccupation with image was something Tupac struggled with for

Cameron-Routledge posse really ‘Should Have Known’ better.

Photos (Flickr): Danny North, Margaret Anne Clark, jamiecat *; Graphics: Charlie McCann

33


he Pembroke bullfrog We would like to thank all of the contributors who made this issue possible. To get involved with the next issue, please email the Editors.

Editorial

editor: Charlie McCann charlotte.mccann@pmb.ox.ac.uk editor: Paul Seddon paul.seddon@pmb.ox.ac.uk sub-editor: Helen Pye helen.pye@pmb.ox.ac.uk

design

designer: Charlie McCann charlotte.mccann@pmb.ox.ac.uk

lumni If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, there is a subscription package available where we will mail you three issues for a donation of ÂŁ20. If you are interested, please email the new Editors at harriet.baker@pmb.ox.ac.uk or madeleine.stottor@pmb.ox.ac.uk.

dvertising 400 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates receive a hard copy of the magazine. Over 4,500 alumni are emailed an electronic version. If your company would like to advertise with us, please email the new Editors at harriet.baker@pmb.ox.ac.uk or madeleine.stottor@pmb.ox.ac.uk.

disclaimer

The views presented in this publication are the opinions of the named writers and do not represent the views of the College or the JCR.

34 The Pembroke Bullfrog

Photo: Jacob Galson

35



Michaelmas 2011