Concrete’s fortnightly culture pullout
issue 266 | 28/02/2012
arts | saw uea’s production of as you like it | p. 9 fashion | give you tips on going vintage | pp. 12-13
Photo by Carver Ho
music | review the nme awards show | p. 7
ssue 266 | 28.02.2012 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | firstname.lastname@example.org
enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk Short and snappy, that’s my inspiration for another insightful editorial. To be honest, it hasn’t got a great deal to do with anything in the paper, but more that this was possibly the fastest I’ve ever got everything done on deadline day. I woke up late, and didn’t even leave for the office until midday, but here I am, a delightfully painless eight and a half hours later, and I’m probably going to be home in time to eat dinner at a socially acceptable time for the first time in weeks. So, for the sake of my stomach, I’m going to love you and leave you so I can stop feasting on Suze’s chocolate covered rich tea biscuits and eat something slightly more substantial. Don’t be fooled by the inane brevity of this little ramble though, this issue looks amazing too, so turn over and have a look.
Music | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Alex Throssell, Gareth Rees-White, Cheri Amour, Hana Lockier, Lucy Jobber, Callum Pawlett-Howell. Arts | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Emma Webb, Jack Coleman, Harriet MacDonald, Leigh Horan, Hatty Farnham, Issy Mitchell, Julia Sanderson,. Fashion | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Lucy Jobber, Josie Lister, Jess Beech.
Film | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Kieran Rogers, Alek Stoodley, Laura Westerman, Leo Hunt, Fiona Grundy, Adam Dawson, Tom Moore, Sam Warner, Beth Wyatt, James Burrough. Creative Writing | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Rebecca Goodacre, Chen Shun Xuan, Katie Taylor, Tom King. TV | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> Bridie Wilkinson, Matt Mulcahy, James Sykes. Competitions and Listings| Editor | Sam Tomkinson
Photo by Aaron Toumazou
Wired | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Josh Mott, Joe Fitzsimmons, Robert Austin, Adam Riza, Oliver Balaam.
album reviews sleigh bells reign of terror Despite their recent commercial success, Sleigh Bells are still a band firmly championed by a dedicated cult of hipsters, and it’d be very easy to pass off their sophomore effort as “not as good as their early stuff”, even if only to make that delicious metaphor work. The New York duo wrote a deafeningly good debut EP and remastered it a year later as first full length album Treats. Any suggestions that Reign of Terror, with its ominously badass title, shouldn’t be as astonishingly head splitting as their previous efforts are unwelcome and ultimately unfounded Just like Treats, Reign of Terror is quite a simple record; Derek E. Miller’s distortion drenched riffing is still the counter balance to Alexis Krauss’ breathy vocals, but instead of becoming stale, their willingness to express a little more maturity means the hits just keep on coming. The tracks are still short and ever so un-sweet, and what with the whole album only just exceeding half an hour, the whole listening experience isn’t too far from some sort of interrogation. It feels as though, after surviving their debut,
the shins port of morrow As the cold winter days refuse to offer a respite in their gloom, what could be more fitting than the long awaited return of a band known for their innate ability to brighten the grimmest of days: The Shins. It has been five long years since Wincing the Night Away wowed critics and gained the band a Grammy nomination. Now, on 19 March, James Mercer and co finally return with Port of Morrow. As before, Mercer handles all songwriting duties, along with providing the lead vocals for each track. For this release, Mercer brings with him a new band, which includes the likes of Modest Mouse’s Joe Plumer. Past fans will be pleased to know the new band continues in the same style of The Shins they know and love, whilst adding their own mark. As well as the first album with the new band, this is Mercer’s first time recording with Columbia Records, after a decade long stint with Sub-Pop. Some fans may be concerned that this move from the indie darlings will lead to a more commercial nature to the band’s music, but
Sleigh Bells aren’t happy with you sitting so comfortably, so Miller proceeds kick your head in with a barrage of monstrous riffs and militant beats, whilst Krauss seductively tells you you’re “born to lose”. It sounds horrible, but it’s sickeningly good; Sleigh Bells are the soundtrack to a masochists dream. Things do relent a little though. The visceral Treats was firmly set in grimy venues, house parties, and the underground, but Reign of Terror, whilst thankfully not completely abandoning that formula, certainly gives us a sneak peek into the softer side of Sleigh Bells. Alexis’ sugar-sweet vocals are no longer limited to sorority cheers and riot grrl angst, but give way to more considered emotion on End of the Line and Road To Hell. Of course, it’s the raucous, thunderously loud tracks which whip you into the biggest frenzy, and fans of the earlier releases will rejoice at hearing True Shred Guitar, Born To Lose, Comeback Kid, and Demons. However, one or two of the other tracks on the album do feel like filler; they fall slightly awkwardly, never sure whether to stick to their aggressive roots or to branch into new, more vulnerable territory. Nevertheless, the album on a whole will certainly maintain Sleigh Bells’ vice like grip on the heart of every little hipster. Alex Throssell
Venue is pleased to report that the change has simply resulted in a cleaner sound, with the group playing even tighter than before. How much this has to do with the move to Columbia, Mercer’s interim time with Broken Bells, or simply the new backing band is hard to say. Instead, it is simply easier to say that the album is a joy to listen to from start to finish. Be it the driving drum beat of opener The Rifle’s Spiral or the sarcasm of Bait and Switch, each song adds its own. Standout track, It’s Only Life, is found at the albums mid-point, channelling a sound that is somewhat different from the rest of the album. It could be the laid back tone or the slurry of memorable lyrics (personal favourite: “open up the parachute, something’s got to stop the freefall”), but of the ten tracks, this one is the most likely to emerge as a festival season favourite. Of course, no album is perfect. It could, for example, be argued that the band has hardly changed their sound since their 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World. The flip side to this is that the band has simply found a style that works, and has worked hard to refine it. Detractors of the band won’t convert, but for everyone else, the first great summer album of the year has been released. Gareth Rees-White
Photo by Milly Sampson
pulled apart by horses
james vincent mcmorrow
norwich arts centre
Tough love. Another classic example of that tired old refrain, “you gotta be cruel, to be kind”, and just as Nick Lowe crooned about it all those many years ago, the message still rings true even today, and you don’t need the “Jesus of cool” to tell you that! But underneath all that brute swagger, surely there has to be some actual heartfelt flutterings beyond such a fierce façade? Support act for the night, rockabilly meets rumbustious The Computers, in their matching white attire, walk the dapper line between charming and down right annoying. While the lead singer’s desire to clamber on monitors and sound desks alone was extroverted to say the least, referring to yourself as the “Greatest Rock‘n’Roll Band” is perhaps a little too bold for even this brash ensemble. As Leeds’ hardcore hellions, Pulled Apart By Horses take to the stage, there’s no need for weighty accolades or self important titles here. Live favourite and opening track, I Punched a Lion in the Throat, is met with a fervent surge as the teasing hi-hats teeter into a torrid of gutsy growls and slogging guitars. New
song, and lead lush number, Bromance Ain’t Dead goes out “to the bros” while Epic Myth has the heavy metal abandon of an ACDC-esque cry in lead singer Tom Hudson’s gore spattered growl. The school boy comparisons don’t stop there either. Sophmore album opus, Night of the Living [I’m Scared of People] showcases dual guitar brilliance of a cooler, and dare I say more sprightly, Malcolm and Angus Young with James Brown’s [no, not the soul singer’s] nifty fretwork and Hudson’s relentless riffage. Not ones to dwell on simply new tricks though, PABH pull out some fan favourites too with raucous renditions of first album frenzy, High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive, and the relentless groan of Den Horn’s extended rock refrain saw the band’s set come to a riotous close. With only two albums under their belts but a whole host of bile and grime in their throats, Pulled Apart By Horses certainly know how to treat ‘em mean and keep ‘em keen. If this is what tough love feels like, then godspeed Leeds! Leave us battered and bruised.... Cheri Amour
The day before Valentine’s day saw James Vincent McMorrow take to the Arts Centre stage, and whilst every glance around the venue seemed to find yet another couple, the set delivered to us was sensational enough to move even the bitter hearts in the room. There was no mellow introduction; James jumped straight in to Sparrow and the Wolf, and immediately caught the attention of everybody there. However, there seemed to be an awkwardness on the stage. James seemed unable to look at his audience, and stared directly over our heads right into the shining spotlights. However, first song down, he opened his mouth and the awkwardness seemed to walk quietly out via the fire escape. The man is an Irish charmer, with charisma and a sense of humour tucked up his sleeve: the air had shifted and by relaxing himself the audience did the same. Breaking Hearts did a valiant effort in introducing Down The Burning Ropes, which was phenomenal. The song is beautiful on the album, but it is one of those tracks that doesn’t show its true colours until performed live. Adding to its intensity was James’ powerful articulation, each lyric was pushed directly at you leaving nowhere to look but directly at the stage. Follow Me
Down to the Old Oak Tree and Early in the Morning boasted stunning harmonies from the entire band, leaving you to question why they need instruments at all. As the performance progressed, the audience were treated to a good slice of Irish banter which caused the crowd to erupt into laughter. Of course, a lot of people would have been waiting for one song, Higher Love, and it was definitely worth the wait, enchanting just about does the performance justice. We Don’t Eat, however, stole the show. The slow building piano and light bump on the bass drum held every single person captivated right up until the last note. JVM closed the set with a cover of Chris Isaak’s smooth classic Wicked Game, which was made even more sultry by his effortlessly innocent vocals. James Vincent McMorrow and his band of many gave the ticket holders a beautiful performance that was hard to fault, especially taking into account their confession of lack of rehearsal, which allowed everyone to walk out the Arts Centre with a coy smile upon their face. Hana Lockier
nme awards tour
Photo by Sam Gladstone
lucy jobber reviews sets by azealia banks, tribes, metronomy and two door cinema club The show kicked off with feisty rapper Azealia Bankes, recently hitting up a storm in the music world, landing runner up in BBC Sound of 2012 poll and topping NME’s “cool list” in 2011. Azealia certainly packed a punch with her gutsy lyrics and relentless booty shaking but she felt out of place alongside the rest of the indie ensemble, with only the DJ and a few semi-inebriated teens seeming fully enthusiastic about her set. It wasn’t until the unlikely combination of Azealia’s vocals paired with the Prodigy’s infamous Firestarter, did the energy of the audience start to pick up. Next up were Camden-based boys Tribes, who worked their way through their recently released debut album Baby, a mixture of new grunge with a dash of brit-pop. They kicked off with their hit number Sappho, a tongue-in-cheek account of a mother who turns to lesbianism, before exploring more angsty teenage themes in Girlfriend and Halfway Home, perhaps more befitting to their tortured rockstar image. They oozed confidence throughout their gig and their anthems of youthful glory seemed to hold far more appeal to the new indie generation, reflected by the rallying chants of “we were children in the mid-90s!” The IT-crowd-esque potrait backdrop signified the entrance of Metronomy, the penultimate band and certainly no strangers to the UEA venue. Bearing their signature flashing lights round their necks, the band led us through such classics as, A Thing for Me, The Look, The Bay and Everything Goes My Way. The duet of synthesized keyboards electrified the venue, bass guitarist Gbenga revved up the crowd up front, and they wrapped their performance up with a surprisingly heavy pseudo-dubstep instrumental. Their live performance held almost no comparison to their recorded tracks which are relatively relaxed and almost sedative, but their performance proved without a doubt that Metronomy have plenty more to offer in future years. Finally after a massive 3 hours of support, headliners Two Door Cinema Club graced the stage. Unlike the preceding bands, they seemed fairly indistinct in appearance. With only one released album, most of their set was drawn from their debut Tourist History, although we were treated to a newly-recorded track called Handshake, which stuck to their signature sound of Caribbean-influenced drums, complex interplays of rhythm and lead guitars, with some heavy bass work from guitarist, Kevin Baird. Admittedly the Irish troop lacked the originality of the previous bands, but there is always comfort to be had in familiarity, and they undoubtedly know how to rock a crowd.
alex throssell spoke to joe mount ahead of metronomy’s nme awards tour set at the lcr
It’s a big mix of bands this year, is it ever weird between you? Everyone gets on. I mean, it’d be stupid if you didn’t all get on really, cause even though the music might not be to everyone’s tastes, everyone’s just pretty nice really, and just like day-to-day, everyone’s eating in the same room and bumping into each other. It feels a bit harsh for you guys that you aren’t topping the bill? A band like Two Door, their success is much more in keeping with the target audience of that magazine. I can’t see us really headlining something like this, I think it’s the right way round really. There seems to have been a significant shift from Nights Out to The English Riviera, was it a conscious decision to play less from your previous albums? Yeah, but I think that’s kind of how it should be in a way. I mean, on a tour like this it would be stupid to play loads of stuff from our previous records, cause not many people would know it, and I don’t think this kind of shift is in any way turning our back on anything, it’s just getting on with stuff. I mean, we’re the only band on the bill who’ve got three records, so I think we’re lucky, Two Door Cinema Club’s album came out like two years ago, so they’ve been touring that record for a long time, so for us it’s good to be able to keep being excited. Does it feel odd being thrust into the limelight, garnering these larger crowds and receiving critical acclaim for your albums, considering you’ve been somewhat on the
fringe for so long? Well for me, I’ve spent five years kind of not being in this position, and I’ve seen friends of mine in bands who are literally being forced down people’s throats and before you know it they’ve disappeared, so I’m much more ready for it than anyone I know. I’m aware that it can disappear if the next album’s crap, I’m aware of all of that, but it’s much more manageable if you’re realistic. So you’re kind of taking things as they come? Yeah, and it’s funny because, especially on a tour like this, you see bands like Tribes who haven’t done any touring, like this is their first proper tour and [laughs] not to sound patronising, but, like, they’re so excited [laughs] and I’m just sitting here thinking, “ah I remember when it used to be like that.” This is a totally unrealistic tour; we’ve got days off all the time, travelling tiny distances, I’m not sure what my point is, but yeah. Do you miss those old times though? Yeah I do. The thing is you always do that kind of touring at the beginning, or when your first record comes out, rather than doing that now. We’ve been touring our latest album for just over a year now, and that’s just natural. But if you do anything loads you’re always going to find it less exciting over time, but only in that, if you’re doing the same thing for 12 months, you’ll probably enjoy it less at the end than as you did a few months in. But then when you start again, with the next record say, it’s exciting again; it’s just a big cyclical thing. So you have plans for another record? Yeah, yeah, but I mean we haven’t really had
time between all of these tours, and we’re booked up at lots of festivals, so I’m not really sure how it’s going to work yet. So are you still writing a lot of the songs? Yeah I am. I think it’s just the way that I’ve always done it. Like I think I’ve always been very aware that these records are what’s going to be left over; we’re not going to tour forever, so they’re the only thing in my life that I really try and stay in control of. I guess basically the way I think, is that if it doesn’t sound right, you do it until it does. I guess I’m kind of in charge of writing because of that, but that’s always how it’s been. I’m sure with the next record we’ll trying playing songs together, and sorting out parts together for recording, and hopefully that’ll work well, but then if it doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t sound right [laughs]. There’s room for anything to happen, but I guess in my head it always comes down to these records. There has been a change in your live show recently, why has that come about? Well because we don’t play with laptops anymore we have to physically play everything, so it’s hard to put as much time into the visual performance as we used to. But I’m not a massive fan of live music, so for me the point of it is you go out and you have a good night, and the band that you’re seeing play the songs that you like, and you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your money. I guess when we’re playing you want to put on a good show and try and do little things that make it special, but it’s maybe not as considered as some other things are in a way. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though; it’s not like we want
to be playing stadiums or anything. So are you going to continue with the idea of putting on an entertaining live show, but writing a very polished record? Well with the records you get a sense of beginning something and finishing something, and finishing it to a standard that you’re in control of, so I guess now I’m definitely interested in making stuff slick. Well, when I say slick I guess I mean wellrealised, like the last record. Whereas with the live side of things there’s so much going on that’s beyond your control that it’s more fun to just enjoy it. What about Joe Mount as a producer, are you going to spend more time on your other projects? At the moment, cause everything is going really well I just want to do another Metronomy record and see how I feel after that. This year’s been great and you never really expect to be in that kind of situation, so I feel we should just give all these new fans some more music. I guess now the idea of production is something I can see myself doing much later on, when I stop wanting to tour or something, cause at the moment so much of my free time is taken up by touring that any time I get any down time I’d rather put that into my own music than somebody else’s; things might happen with other people, but it’s not the priority right now.
For the unedited interview visit www.concrete-online.co.uk/Culture/Music.
kaiser chiefs interview
callum pawlett-howell talks to kaiser chiefs guitarist andrew white
In the wake of their show at the LCR selling out in a few hours, Venue sits down with Kaiser Chief guitarist Andrew ‘Whitey’ White, who walks in looking like he should be in the Stone Roses or Happy Mondays, wearing no shoes and ready to talk about their latest album, the smell of Bono and football. It’s been three years between the release of your third album Off with their Heads and your latest album The Future is Medieval. Why did you go on this hiatus? After the first three albums we’d worked pretty hard; we’d been on tour for five or six years. So we just wanted to take a rest and have a break, think about our lives a bit. I had a baby, well I didn’t actually have the baby but you know, so it was nice to be at home and stuff and we’ve kind of gradually got back into it. Your latest album had quite an unconventional release, you allowed the fans to choose 10 out of 20 tracks, then arrange the track order and design the art work. Do you feel like you have lost much in way of creative control in choosing to release it this way? Kind of, but obviously not musically, we recorded it but that was kind of the point really, we basically had our time off and there was no energy and we didn’t really want to get back together really and do anything again the same way so Ricky (Wilson, Lead Singer) came up with the idea and it got us excited and it’s all about digital music. When you buy something digital, you don’t really get anything, just something on your computer, you don’t appreciate the artwork in fact you don’t even really listen to the
songs, well I don’t anyway, you click it and listen to a couple of songs and I’ll probably never hear it again. So the idea was that we wanted to give them a sense of ownership over something digital and if they created their own artwork and choose their own tracks and we gave them the opportunity to sell it on then maybe people would be more passionate about digital music.
playing them and we get a great crowd reaction. If we were playing them and they weren’t enjoying them, we probably won’t play them. We never really get bored of them.
One of the tracks on the album has a particularly strange name, the Child of the Jago. What is a Child of the Jago? I think it’s from a poem. Nick [Hodgson] (Drummer) is a poet and I think it was a pub in London in the Victorian times.
You’ve opened for both Green Day and U2, what was that like? They’re great. I met Bono, once very briefly he came backstage once and said hi. I remember him smelling very nice, he kind of woofed in and woofed out again. We supported them at our height 2006/2007, we thought we were big, at least we did until we supported U2. It’s good to see how other bands do it and Green Day are really great guys, they’re absolutely crazy after the show.
You’ve played most of the major festivals but you will be playing a much smaller gig here. Do you prefer to play the bigger festivals or the more intimate venues? Not really, it’s all good, it’s nice to have variety. It’s always been up and down, we might play a big place over here but a smaller place in Germany or a bigger place in Mexico. It’s just nice to do a sold out show and to play where you haven’t played for a while.
Do you have any pre gig routines? Not really, interviews are a usually pre gig routine but nothing’s set, although you do get into a routine. Nick, he’s asleep at the moment, he likes to have a little sleep. Some people are eating. We just sit around really and have a little warm up about half an hour before the show we get together and there’s no one else in the room and we just play music and get into it.
Can you describe the feeling of a field full of thousands of people singing the songs you’ve written back to you? Well I can’t hear them, it’s so loud on stage that I literally can’t hear them.
You’ve probably been asked this quite a lot recently but your predictions about the riots came true. Have you any other predictions, can we expect the future to be medieval? It kind of is, with that title we have tried to describe like I was saying earlier; making digital music more like vinyl and give someone something tangible and that’s trying to make digital music appear from the past and trying to give music back its physical form. So it kind of works in my head anyway. But I don’t know what the future holds.
Do you ever get bored of playing old fan favourites, do you wish you could stop playing them and just move on? Not really no, because it’s us we are not striving to be something we’re not. We know we’ve got some big songs and we enjoy
You have your own record label Chewing Gum records. Where did the name for that come from? It was Nick’s idea, he wanted to do it. It was just in their time off they moved down to London and I think they got bored and they just wanted to do something. We just wanted to help some other bands out, that we like and give them a foot up Finally, football. Leeds United Manager, Simon Grayson has been sacked after three years. What’re your opinions about that? Well, I think it’s terrible actually, we were really good friends with Simon, so it’s a bit of a shame really. In fact he’s been to a few shows on this tour, hopefully that’s not why he got sacked. But it’s the state of football, it’s like everything, everything needs to be now, bands don’t really get a chance to create or be experimental, not if you sign a record deal, you’ve got to have it now and it’s like that with football, it’s instant or you’re out. Do you know the Leeds squad then? We used to, but we sold them all to Norwich, we sold our captain to Norwich. You got your band name, from the South American football team that former Leeds captain Lucas Radebe used to play for. Have you ever met him? Yeah, we met him a few times. In fact when we went to South Africa, Lucas was over there and he took us round and we went to the Kaiser Chiefs training ground and we had a game of football with them, Kaiser Chiefs vs. Kaiser Chiefs. I think they won.
dancesport successful at nudc On 11 February UEA Dancesport travelled to the University of Birmingham for the annual Northern Universities Dance Competition (NUDC). With several beginner couples reaching semi-finals, novices Sarah-Jayne Alston and Richard Ayre achieving novice ballroom finals, and an overall 9th place out of 32 competing teams for UEA, it was a largely successful event for all involved. The all day competition began with a Mayfair quickstep in which several UEA novice couples made the second and third rounds. This was followed by the beginner category ballroom rounds, in which UEA beginner couples Bernadette Treen and Liam Hunt, and Emma Webb and Maxwell Rogers achieved a collective total of five call backs across the two dances (waltz and quickstep). Additionally, Louise Whiteside and Joel Lawrence made the second round for quickstep in their first competition together. The novice couples also had resounding success in the novice ballroom categories, with all six couples entered receiving call backs for both dances, and Aston and Ayre achieving sixth place in the final for waltz and fourth for the quickstep. Following the ballroom was several stunning performances in acrobatic rock’n’roll from Lawrence and his partner Nathalie Kernot, and in non-acrobatic rock’n’roll from Whiteside and novice Kurt Lee. The afternoon Latin rounds were also very positive for UEA, with Treen and Hunt, and Whiteside and Lawrence making the jive semi-finals, and Webb and Rogers reaching the same level for the cha cha cha. Three novice couples reached the third round for both Latin dances, and again Aston and Ayre performed beautifully in the Open Five Dance rounds. UEA’s submission into the offbeat choreography competition achieved seventh place. UEA will be entering approximately 14 couples into the final competitive event of the Dancesport calendar; the 50th annual InterVarsity Dance Association (IVDA) competition in Blackpool on 3rd March. Emma Webb
as you like it To be able to bring new life to a 400 year old play is a daunting task, especially when the play is one of Shakespeare’s greatest and best loved comedies. But Dramasoc was able to give this production of As You like It
uea drama studio a modern twist by setting it in the swinging 60s, tie dye shirts and all, meaning they could break free from those stereotypical Elizabethan characters, developing more contemporary roles and relationships that the audience could relate to without taking away any of that original Shakespearian magic. There are two main settings in the play: the court of Duke Frederick and the Forest of Arden where his exiled brother, Duke Senior, lives with his band of followers. The contrast between the two places is reflected well on stage with the stark court of Duke Frederick, reflecting his oppressive rule, compared with his brother’s home in the Forest of Arden, which is full of colourful clutter: washing, tents and blankets, reflecting their life of freedom. This contrast was also shown well through the opposing dukes, both played by Ben Rogers, who was able to switch from the villainous Duke Frederick to the good natured Duke Senior with ease. The play revolves around the growing love between the witty Rosalind (Alice Spalding) and the courageous Orlando (Ben
Harris) which is played out in the forest with their friends, all of whom gallivant around entangling themselves in various love triangles. The followers of Duke Senior are always in “rustic revelry” and often break into song and dance, which left a smile on the audiences face. However it was the bawdy jokes and slapstick comedy of Touchtone (Jon Moss) and Aubrey (Natalia Massuco) that bought the laughs. In the end, Rosalind is able to use her powers of logic and persuasion to arrange happy endings for many of the characters as she marries them off. The play certainly has that feel-good factor and you can’t help but leave feeling better than when you came in. The production achieved a perfect balance of old and new, showing Shakespeare’s representation of love and life can apply in any context, proving those famous words spoken by Jacques (Dudley Brewis): “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” Jack Coleman
Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic tragedy, La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) was written by Alexandre Dumas and first performed in 1853. Set in Paris in the 1850s, it follows a love story between Violetta Valery, a courtesan who is suffering from consumption and her admirer Alfredo Germount. Ellen Kent’s production stars the acclaimed Ukrainian National Opera. The music was all of exremely high quality, thanks to the orchestra and the incredibly talented singers. Maria Tonina, who played Violetta, managed to convey every intended passion and emotion, and Alfredo’s father Giorgio Germount played by (Ievgenii Lysytskyi) stuck out as one of the most talented singers in the performance. However, the groups’ singing abilities did not quite match with their acting skills. Firstly, there seemed to be no visible connection between the two lovers. The strong love between Violetta and Alfredo is demonstrated in the words of their songs, one verse that was heard often throughout the performance was: “sentia che amore è palpito, dell’universo intero, misterioso, altero, croce e deliziaal cor!” (I felt that love beating like the entire universe, mysterious, exalted, pain and pleasure to my heart!) But the two main characters were not convincing in their portrayal of these feelings. In the last act of the play, Violetta dies as Alfredo is sitting by her bedside. Surely such a tragic ending to a passionate love story would deserve an emotional reaction from their audience, but every eye in the theatre remained dry.
As well as the acting, the costumes also helped to impair the visual elements of the performance. The dresses worn by Violetta looked cheap and distasteful, despite £27,000 being spent on the costumes. In the first act all the females wore dresses which were white and pink and covered in sequins, much like the dresses that feature on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and the dresses in the acts that followed were similar. The stage set too had the same low quality, with tacky plastic fruit used as props
and cheap looking backgrounds. In Act Two the background showed faded trees painted on a loose curtain which resembled the setting of a children’s school play. This version of La Traviata should be recommended to a viewer who is willing to close their eyes throughout the performance or look past the visual tastelessness and just experience top quality singing and music. Harriet MacDonald
richard alston dance company: theatre royal Richard Alston is clearly a master in contemporary dance. The Richard Alston Dance Company graced Norwich for only two nights, but certainly made a more lasting impact than that short space of time would suggest. The performance is divided into three separate themes which each style of dancing pertains to. The music in these different stages comprises a broad spectrum: from Steve Reich to Mozart and Norwich-born Benjamin Britten. The dances are, in essence, simplistic; the dancers appeared to move freely, unconstrained, their movements as seamless as the transitions in the accompanying music. Roughcut is danced to Steve Reich’s New York and Electric Counterpoint for clarinet and guitar, which, although haunting, was also extremely repetitive. This point may seem more a criticism of the music than the choreography, but this sense of repetition extends itself to the point where many of the movements constantly reoccur. This is, however, a minor complaint. Alston’s motive in constructing Roughcut came from
the vivacity of the dancers he was working with; a vitality that was clearly displayed. The title is equally indicative: the dancers movements were rough cut and casual. This casual habit worn by the dancers
this week in arts history
tends to the more balletic and formal dancing in the second movement: Unfinished Business, where Mozart’s K.533 is introduced. Here, the choreography achieved a higher level of visual
performance. Though the duets were not particularly engaging (and this rings true for all of the acts) the solo and group dances were masterfully wrought. The movements were fluid and the music complementary. The solo dance by the artful Liam Riddick, accompanied only by a pianist, is one to watch out for. The performance concluded with the crescendo of A Ceremony of Carols choreographed to the nativity-inspired music of Benjamin Britten. Again, the group dances and solos were fantastically executed. Perhaps the mock crucifix that appeared onstage with no apparent function was slightly vulgar; suggesting the audience, without this visual prop, would be unable to comprehend the theme. But this complaint is not strong enough to mar an otherwise perfect performance by a reputable dance company. Quite simply, the Richard Alston Dance Company maintain a level of professionalism whilst mesmerising their audience: a combination that is hard to find elsewhere. Leigh Horan
american poet william carlos williams died on 4 march 1963 The beginning of March will mark almost half a century since the death of William Carlos Williams, the American poet associated with Imagist and Modernist literary movements. The writer grew up in New Jersey and trained as a physician in Pennsylvania, a career he pursued successfully alongside his literary endeavours. Rumoured to have delivered thousands of babies during his lifelong medical career, Williams’ writing provides an almost clinical and minimalist approach to life and literature simultaneously. Often emotionally removed, concise, and representative of the ordinary, Williams’ work has been compared to his own life experiences as a doctor, as well as to his associations with the Imagist movement, and the works of literary expatriates such as Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle (HD). Imagism was an extension of Modernist literature which consciously attempted to isolate a single image in order to reveal the distinct meaning of an object, while also mirroring Cubism’s attempts to represent multiple perspectives within one image. This complex deconstruction of appearance and meaning within the everyday can be seen within the writer’s works, where he often took inspiration from scenes or
objects he encountered on the road to and from the hospital he worked in. For example, his famous eight line poem The Red Wheel Barrow creates one single image by contrasting several separate images and conflating them in a familiar setting: so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens. The seemingly simple poem layers abstract ideas of colour, distance and consistency, whilst remaining concise, barren and detached. When describing his own writing style, Williams stated that there were “no ideas but in things”, highlighting his approach to everyday objects and surroundings. Considering the inspiration he drew from both the natural and the manmade within his surroundings, it is no surprise that Williams differed from the majority of his American contemporaries. Whilst Ezra Pound, HD, and many others moved to Europe between the
world wars, Williams stayed in America all his life, remaining true to his American roots not only geographically, but also through his patriotic approach to the natural world, and through his use of American vernacular. Indeed, the year before Williams published one of his seminal books of poetry, Spring and All, T.S Eliot published The Waste Land, which Williams criticised for its pretentious use of reference and multilingual literature,
as he himself preferred to humbly adopt local vernacular in his works. Although less successful than his quasi-European counterparts during his time, William’s work has since been awarded many literary prizes, strongly influenced the Beats movement, and provoked literary contemplation for nearly one hundred years. Hatty Farnham
there is here:
sainsbury centre for visual arts In his series, There is Here, a body of work specially commissioned by the Sainsbury Centre, Avi Gupta reflects upon absent presences, examining the shared human experience of asserting individuality. This is presented in a number of images portraying the personal lives of unknown people through scenes of domesticity. In focusing directly upon aspects of everyday life, Gupta adds a certain shrine-like quality to items of personal importance, such as recently abandoned beds, empty living rooms and trinkets, fully capturing the significance of personal identity. Gupta has employed soft focus, subtle
lighting and subdued colours to produce a delicate sense of calming familiarity to the scenes captured, adding a haunting quality to the work. This sense is heightened by the presence of individuals, as established by the impressions they leave behind, such as: slouching sofas, unmade beds and discarded items, such as flip-flops, rather than their physical presence. Although innately personal, abstracted from their owners, these items are transformed into representative symbols of general human existence, allowing viewers to associate with the images on an individual level, attributing aspects of their own lives to the scenes before them. Whilst this series examines how individual identity is built by the objects with which we surround ourselves, it also captures the degree to which each of us is perpetually linked by our shared humanity. The juxtaposition of the individual with the general human race is further emphasised by the ambiguity of the location in which each image was shot, portraying the interiors of homes in both Washington DC, where Gupta was born, and Kolkata, where his family originated, the
viewer is unable to decipher where they were taken. This ambiguity symbolises the difficulty with which people in modern society establish their individual identities, as cultures converge, providing a thought provoking view into the idea of what makes an individual. Issy Mitchell
sainsbury centre for visual arts becomes entirely seductive to even the adult eye. Indeed, the character culture is deeply imbedded within Japanese society and is brazenly loved by all ages within both private and public spheres. It is hard to understand the extent to which anime permeates everyday Japanese life, but the reconstruction of a typical Japanese girl’s bedroom allows insight into a private space where every surface and object is stamped with the image of the iconic Hello Kitty brand. At first glance, the room seems to demonstrate commercialism gone mad, but the Hello Kitty paraphernalia actually reveals a much deeper association. The Japanese Foundation asserts that “at the root of this love for characters is a unique, traditional aesthetic sensibility that is informed by a receptivity and fondness for planarity, abbreviation, symbolism, and simplification.” Indeed, expressionless or “muhyo” characters such as Hello Kitty, represent this simplified symbolism for their plain faces and ambivalent nature allows the child to read their own emotions within their anime counterpart. As well as reflecting their owner’s emotions, these fictional characters would
the exporting of harry potter
kingdom of characters: UEA is extremely fortunate to be the only UK stop for The Japanese Foundation’s latest project, which is currently being exhibited in The Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts. The Japanese Foundation is an organisation which endeavours to broaden international communication and understanding. Entitled A Day in the Life of Japan, the Kingdom of Characters, the travelling project appears a conflation of a history museum and an art exhibition, as it reveals a chronological development of Japan’s anime and manga culture. The physical space of the exhibition is occupied by bright lights, clashing colours, plastic figurines, iconic commercial objects, and moving anime productions, and
appear to have positive psychological affects upon their consumers. A survey conducted by the Bandai Character Research Centre in 2004 related that characters had a calming and tranquilising affect upon the individual who lacks communication and trust within an increasingly monopolising world. The exhibition closes with the screening of an anime film, which poignantly highlights the culture’s development through the eras. Indeed, with the increase in virtual and online character culture, this isn’t a fad which is set to die out soon, but one which is increasingly more accessible worldwide. Hatty Farnham
Since its publication in 1997, Harry Potter has become one of the most famous phrases in the English language, right behind “tea please” and “queue here”. The very definition of a literary phenomenon, the series has achieved global success and sold around 450m copies to date. Evidently, people are reading Potter the world over. But just how do you translate the magical world of Hogwarts into another language? This was the topic of discussion at last week’s Café Conversations series. Organised by the UEA Drama, Literature and Creative Writing department and held Wednesdays at 2:30pm, in the café on the third floor of Jarrolds, Café Conversations offers like-minded people the chance to get together and discuss a wide range of topics in a lively, relaxed environment (imagine a kind of informal seminar, with tea and cake). The discussion outlined many of the issues and difficulties faced by the translators as, understandably, Harry Potter has proven to be a tricky text to translate. Firstly, so many words and names were made up by the author. This means translators have to decide between leaving the word as it appears in the original text, or substituting it for a more appropriate sounding word in the language they are translating to. Some interesting examples include “McSnurp” as the Norwegian variant of McGonagall and “Poudlard” as the French translation of Hogwarts. Secondly, Rowling was a big fan of using names to infer certain characteristics, such as the untrustworthy nature of Slytherins through the phonetic association of a slithering snake and the inclusion of the word “sly”. Such insights are often lost during translation. British cultural references can also present a problem, from educational tools such as house points to the use of colloquial slang and Ron’s defining catchphrase, “Bloody hell!” Due to the massive fanfare surrounding the release of the final few books in the series, translators were often only given a couple of months in which to complete the translation, so it is something of a miracle that Harry can now be read in 67 languages. It seems like everyone wants a piece of the boy who lived and after all, it would be selfish to keep him all to ourselves. Julia Sanderson
FASHION the hotlist smokin’
Charity shops We found Prada shoes for £20 in Chelsea this week. Amazing.
chokin’ Rihanna’s blonde hair We preferred it when it was red. She’s still bangin’ though.
Coats It’s warm now y’all.
Dip-dyed hair It was cool. Now everyone has one.
As we’re students too, we know the loan never seems to quite stretch enough, so we’re here to help you guys out and make sure your vintage fashion thirsts are quenched affordably. To sweeten the deal even more, it’s all for charity! All proceeds go to The Big C: a Norfolk based cancer charity who use the money they receive to improve cancer treatment facilities and studies in Norfolk. We think it’s a great cause to support and we hope that you do too. Not only will your money buy you a cheeky new outfit, you’ll be helping The Big C beat cancer too. Smug much? We’ll also be selling the cheapest tea and
cake on campus, from 10p upwards, so there really is no reason to not give us a visit. To entice you further, we’ll be uploading photos of our stock onto our Facebook page to give you a sneaky preview! Find us on Facebook under the name of “UEA Charity Frockshop 2012 (guys and gals)” to get all our fashion updates. Oh and one last thing, we have a cheeky surprise in store for you all... but nope, sorry, we’re not telling. This one we’re keeping under our vintage Stetson hats, you’re just going to have to swing by on March 15th to find out what it is. So that’s the LCR on Thursday March 15th from 11am-5pm. See you there? Cool.
campus: what are you wearing?
Photos: Harriet Smith & Emily Brock
Angelina Jolie In black velvet Atelier Versace, her Oscars look was flawless.
josie lister on vintage shopping on campus Hi. We’re Frockshop. Nice to meet you. We hope you don’t think us too bold in saying that you’re looking mighty fine today. OK, now we’ve broken the ice, let’s get down to business. Our name is Frockshop and we’re here to fulfil all your vintage fashion desires. We are a fashion sale run by students for students and we’re back this year for our third annual fashion sale. We will be in the LCR on Thursday, March 15 with all kinds of goodies for all of you to rummage through. And when we say all of you, we mean all of you, boys too, we cater for you all. Not only do we have a handy location, but all our stock will be exceptionally cheap.
Pork pie hats What the cool kids are wearing right now.
it’s vintage, darling lucy jobber on navigating the vintage shopping experience With the recent release of The Artist, and the ever-constant snaps of such vintage-wearing lovelies as Dita Von Teese and Chloe Sevigny hitting the glamourous magazines, it seems that everyone is raring to jump onto the vintage fashion wagon. It all seems so effortless, but I surely can’t be the only one who peers into the door of a vintage shop and looks on horrified at the frumpy two piece suits, 80s velour cat suits, and worst of all, a dead fox... or is that a scarf? It’s a wonder how anyone in any decade, pulled these outfits off. I for one have spent hours traipsing through vintage shops looking for that one piece which will “complete” my wardrobe, but every time I try on that 70s tartan blazer which looked so promising on the rails, I’m left wondering why a chic version of Sienna Miller is not staring back at me in the mirror.
Not to mention the hefty price tag attached which leaves every student in the life or death situation of whether that must-have piece is really worth a week’s starvation. But despite my negative attitude (purely stemmed from one too many times looking upon my reflection and seeing a glimpse of my future incarnation as a grandma) I know that with buying vintage, perseverance is key. Much like wading through the January sales, or rows upon rows of shapeless nylon monstrosities in the charity shops, we should look upon these shops with a puppy-like enthusiasm, determined to find at least one key piece which will be in our wardrobe for eternity, because let’s be honest, that oh-socheap Primark onesie is not going to last till 2030. Not only are you guaranteed to pick up something completely unique, you can
reassure that nagging voice in the back of your mind, that you are in fact “saving the world from a throw-away consumerist society” by spending the last of your bursary. And there’s always the slim possibility that if it endures another few decades in your hands, you could be sitting on a goldmine. Failing that, it will provide the grandchildren with a laugh. So next time you hurry past the vintage boutiques, heading straight for high street, pop in and see if you can’t find an equally gorgeous item for a night on the town. It doesn’t have to be a flowing Edwardian ball gown, it might just be a quirky brooch or a pair of 60’s sunglasses. But hey, if it’s lasted at least two decades before us, I’m sure it’ll survive a few more years in the hands of a UEA student.
Photos by Laura Smith, Stylist: Jess Beech & Katie Nertney, Model: Hatty Farnham
modern vintage jess beech investigates how to work vintage into your wardrobe The idea of trawling though the rails in vintage shops can be very daunting. It mostly involves being presented with a vibrant spectrum of colours and an eclectic mix of prints in quite a small space. In comparison to the colour coordinated and spacious layout of the high street, it is hard to know where to begin. It is difficult not to envy people who have the ability to put together an assortment of textures and patterns and pull it off with effortless ease. Yet vintage shopping can show you how set in your ways you are. When faced with a wide range of designs and fabrics, my obsession with cream chiffon becomes very apparent.
The beauty of vintage is the knowledge that the clothes all come with a story and that you are wearing something unique. That is why it is okay to shop vintage and only buy a cream blouse when you already own seven. The difference in the detailing, for example pussy bows, pleats, high neck lines and oldfashioned buttons, set it apart from the high street. And of course when items are not available in a range of sizes you can explore just how good oversized can look. If you want something statement but cautious, then you can play it down by placing a modern twist on a look. Think a Victorian style shirt tucked into frayed denim
shorts, a heavily embellished handbag with a casual outfit, or a bright printed midi dress with minimal tan accessories. Alternatively, work backwards and begin with accessories. Printed scarves are the easiest way to wear vintage, they instantly transform an outfit; whether worn round your neck or tied on a bag. In terms of jewellery, what better way to emulate an era than to get something that was genuinely from it? Look for intricate broaches and necklaces, normally about the same price as high street and they will not turn your neck green. Although I should not suggest it, I am ashamed to say that I love nothing more than
walking round Brick Lane and cuddling the various fur coats, scarves and hats. That is, up until the point that you snuggle one that the head is still attached to. But there is something of an old school elegance that comes with a big fur coat. It is timeless and so versatile that it easily translates across any look. It is an easy way to wear vintage. It can be tricky to introduce into your wardrobe but, vintage is really worth the rummaging for stand out pieces which give your look an edge on the high street. Think of it as sale shopping without the element of violence.
preview: mass effect 3 Shepard knew they were coming, but nobody listened; Earth was consistently ignorant over the fact that aggressive, immeasurably powerful, and illusive Reapers were coming to invade and destroy humanity. BioWare’s final game in this epic sci-fi trilogy will come to a head on 6 March 2012 when you as Commander Shepard have to rally up all the support you can muster and bring the fight to the highly advanced machine race of synthetic/organic star-ships. Mass Effect 3 is a game of consequence and is going further than the two previous instalments, unlike the previous two games where you can ensure a happy ending for Shepard and his team, there are no such guarantees. If you decided to kill your teammates in 1 and 2, your task to defeat the Reapers is going to be near impossible, and if you could not keep particular races such as the Krogan or the Asari loyal to humanity’s cause, expect little or no aid in your efforts to save Earth. Mass Effect 3 also welcomes the return of multiple characters from both games, including mediocre and dull humans Ashley Williams and Kaidon Alenko. With this new assemblage of characters, a new inclusion into the game will require players to choose squad members to perform secondary mission objectives in addition to the immediate squad objectives. Further additions to the game include
more cinematic conversations between characters. Some decisions and missions are under a countdown clock, giving the illusion that you’re in a race against time to take back Earth. When bringing the fight you can now do it in a newly revamped Normandy; BioWare have gone all out to ensure you ride out the
career development and creating more unique individual character builds. A final new ingame feature as detailed during E3 last summer is Mass Effect’s new Kinect compatibility. Instead of utilising motion controls, the game will use voice command control, mostly to be used in conversations. The Kinect option
trilogy in style. Weapon customization is back, allowing players to choose between various scopes, barrels, and other modifications. Character development has been enhanced with the addition of branching skill trees, forcing players to make choices in Shepard’s
has divided gaming fans due to Kinect’s rejection by first and third person shooter fans. Nevertheless, it is just another option to choice is you wish. More controversial is the change in musical composer. Jack Wall, the individual
who ground the games feel with his epic scifi feel has been replaced by Clint Mansell, composer for hit films Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. Music in many ways defined Mass Effect, this controversial change has fans asking the question whether it was the correct decision, but until the game’s release, no one will know. The final controversial inclusion is the addition of online multiplayer. But there is no need to worry, as Bioware have pulled a massive rabbit out of the hat; its online is a successful mix of Halo’s Firefight and Gears of War’s Hoard Mode. With many doubters, the demo has proven to be a resounding success and will entice a completely new audience into buying the game. Working as a team is vitally important; keeping your team mates alive and fighting off countless alien foes is the aim of the game. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing BioWare with Mass Effect 3 is the huge expectations of fans who have journeyed with Commander Shepard since 2007. With fans expecting the greatest conclusion, the game appears to be setting up for a suitably epic confrontation that gives our Commander Shepard a heroic, or, if you neglected the first two games, a bloody send off. Robert Austin
review: playstation vita Released on the 22 February the PlayStation Vita marks Sony’s second foray into the handheld gaming market. With the inception of smart phones and tablets into portable gaming will the Vita revolutionise the hand held market or will it drown under the tides of smart phones, tablets and Angry Birds? The handheld market has changed significantly since Sony released their first portable device, the PSP, in 2005. Apple and Android products have revolutionised the transportable market, making portable games extremely cheap, thus much more accessible to the whole population. Evidence of this shift can be seen with the Nintendo 3DS’s lacklustre launch last year, which did not get off the ground till a huge price cut, and the launch of Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. Are the public willing to pay £30 for a hand held game on the Vita and 3DS, when they can get engrossing pick up and play experiences on their smart phones and tablets for £1? The jury is still out on this question, however the Vita is not going to go down without a fight. The first thing that strikes you when you pick up a Vita is quality: the device feels and looks very stylish and very slick.
Sony has ingeniously married the touch screen capabilities of a tablet with the traditional joystick and buttons format of a traditional gaming device with the Vita, giving it functionality that will hopefully
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the biggest title in the release line up, with its blockbuster production values as well as graphics unmatched by any other portable game in history.
lead to innovative and unique game playing experiences unmatched by any other gaming platform. The Vita is also markedly cheaper than its tablet rivals with the Wi-Fi only version retailing at around £210 and the 3G model at around £260. Unlike the 3DS, the Vita is actually launching with some very promising titles.
Other release titles include Wipeout 2048, a futuristic racing game that sees players racing at sound barrier-breaking speeds through the streets of vast future metropolises. Also, Little Deviants, which is basically a tech demo masquerading as a selection of mini games. As well as these new titles there are also plenty of
ports from the consoles including Rayman: Origins, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Fifa Football, all with graphics matching their console counterparts. There are also rumours of Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil titles down the line as well. Overall the Vita is an extremely impressive piece of kit, however, the question of its ability to succeed in the bulging hand held gaming market remains to be answered. The Vita would certainly benefit from an Apple style App Store to properly compete with Apple and Android products. Also the question still remains whether, given the choice between an IPhone/IPad, or a Vita which one would you choose? Would Wired recommend that you buy a Vita now? No, we would recommend you wait a few months, see what other titles are announced for the Vita and see if there is a price drop, like the 3DS. The Vita’s quality as a gaming and multimedia device is undeniable; however, its ability to survive against the iOS juggernauts is questionable, as is Sony’s capacity to keep the device feed with good games. Watch this space. Joshua Mott
review: metal gear solid hd collection
In an era where HD remakes are the norm, it was only a matter of time until one of the most critically acclaimed and popular series in gaming, Metal Gear Solid, had an updated release for a new generation. Three games in Hideo Kojima’s classic series, Metal Gear Solid’s 2, 3, and Peace Walker, have been given a HD upgrade and compiled into a single collection, with satisfying results. For those not familiar, the Metal Gear Solid series is described by Konami as “tactical espionage action”, in that it requires the player to stealthily navigate through various settings, sneaking past or taking out guards in your path in order to uncover and put a stop to terrorist activities. This style of gameplay is unique in the current market of games, with the series almost creating a genre of its own, the only comparable games in recent years being the Splinter Cell series. The MGS series has a heavy reliance on story in order to engage the player, although it should be said that the storyline in the series can be confusing
retro column: the secret of monkey island
and hard to follow. What makes it harder to follow for newcomers is the lack of t h e 1998 original game in the series originally released on the Playstation. Metal Gear Solid 2 in particular makes constant references to the original game, which will leave players starting at the second game feeling lost, meaning that some background research is needed to fully understand the story for this group of gamers. For those already familiar with the series however, this collection will provide a fantastic trip down memory lane. The graphics are obviously not up to par with new releases, but each game runs smoothly with no frame rate or glitch issues. In summary, this collection contains three great games of decent length and lots of replay value, all for a cheaper retail price than other new releases, in a deal that has not been seen in gaming since Valve’s Orange Box. For students looking for a gaming bargain, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection represents great value for money.
Originally released in 1990, The Secret of Monkey Island has developed a cult following almost unparalleled in the gaming world. Released by Lucas Arts and developed by Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer, The Secret of Monkey Island is often regarded as the peak of the point and click adventure game era in the early 90s. You play as Guybrush Threepwood (strong contender for the best named video game character of all time) in his quest to complete three pirate trials of Melee Island, defeat the ghost pirate Le Chuck and save Governor Marley. However, rather than fight your way to the damsel in distress, as in most games, Guybrush is required to gather objects, solve puzzles, and win sword battles with insults. Often praised for its wit, meta-humour and hilarious dialogue, as well as cleverly crafted puzzles, The Secret of Monkey Island was that rare breed of game that managed to be infuriatingly challenging and yet at the same time irresistibly compelling. As is the case with most games to include Schafer on the development team, most of the puzzles had a fiendishly clever and yet deceptively simple solution, often leaving the player chuckling whilst simultaneously kicking themselves for not figuring it out sooner. High points include treasure hunting for
T-shirts, navigating past piranha poodles, and the tussle with the town sheriff that gets interrupted by a “big, ugly, hairy yak wearing some wax lips.” In 2009, Lucas Arts released The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition, a remake that, while leaving the original story and gameplay untouched, came with a completely redesigned art style, re-recorded soundtrack and full voice acting. The new control scheme earned some criticism for being slightly confusing and less intuitive than the original’s, but the gorgeous art work which fully captured the Caribbean aesthetic and the frankly astounding soundtrack more than made up for this. The ability to easily switch between the original and the special edition style also did a lot to satisfy purists and nostalgic fans. The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition is now available on XBLA, PSN, Steam and even the App Store, so there’s no excuse for not going out and picking up what is undoubtedly one of the most clever, most amusing and most enjoyable games to contain dim witted cannibals, a beverage made from kerosene and a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle.
review: kingdoms of amular reckoning After 20 hours soaking up the rich fiction and beautiful world, I vowed to rush to the end of the main quest line in order to compose this review but we soon realised this is not how Amalur should be played. To rush it is to do a disservice to its beautiful
world, its intriguing fiction and to your own enjoyment of such a deep and well-realised game. Amalur’s depth can largely be attributed to its five year development cycle. Indeed the project started when Ken Rolston
finished his work as lead designer on Oblivion and left Bethesda to work on something new. This has naturally led to comparisons between Amalur and Skyrim, the follow up to Oblivion and Wired’s 2011 game of the year. Impressively, Amalur matches and in some respects outdoes this fierce competition. The most obvious improvement over the Bethesda model is the combat, which feels more like a dedicated third person action game than an RPG. Obviously taking inspiration from God of War, the game has you delivering meaty combos interspersed with responsive dodges and counters. Add to this a varied cast of enemies, dozens of genuinely unique weapon types and some brutal finishing moves and you have the best new RPG combat system in years. It’s accessible and instantly entertaining, but also gains tactical depth as your character levels. While Amalur’s greatest strength is its willingness to deviate from Bethesda’s tried and tested RPG blueprint, it does not always work out for the best. For example, Skyrim
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the best exotic marigold hotel Whether as a bustling world of 1.2 billion people or as a place of intriguing and stoic spirituality, India is a country of vast impressions and significance. In John Madden’s comedy-drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel it is adopted as a setting of exotic pilgrimage, where the film’s elderly characters discover and transform themselves, resolve their problems, both past and present, and confront their growing sense of mortality. Based on the book These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, the story follows seven retired strangers who travel to Jaipur to stay at the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, run by a hapless, though eternally optimistic, young man named Sonny (Dev Patel). The cast is an impressive ensemble, most of who can be regarded as British national treasures. Most notably, Judi Dench plays heartbroken widow Evelyn, Maggie Smith a xenophobe named Muriel, Bill Nighy, alongside Penelope Wilton, are
arguing couple Douglas and Jean, and Tom Wilkinson a former high court judge called Graham. Each flies to India with their own agenda in tow, and just as some willingly embrace it, others are slightly more adverse to their new surroundings. The overriding motive, however, is that, regardless of age or personal circumstance, it is never too late to let go of your inhibitions. The film’s strengths are, in no doubt, indebted to the contributions of such a fine plethora of talent. Its best moments are reserved for the more dramatic sequences, of which there are several, with Dench and Wilkinson in particular flexing their acting prowess. There is sincerity and pathos in many of the performances, found within characters that have experienced long, somewhat unfulfilled lives, and that are in need of finding a release. The comedy, meanwhile, often operates on the perspectives, on the commonly conceived notions, and sometimes prejudices, of the
elderly. Douglas and Jean, for example, are once condescendingly asked whether they would like supportive railings whilst being shown around a potential new home, whilst Smith’s Muriel is a foil for old dogmatic attitudes towards race. Yet, perhaps when it should, it never really reflects heavily on these interesting issues. Instead, it prefers to try and keep such moments trivial, as the characters begin to change and learn. It is here where the film reaches a peak of mediocrity, by providing anything but groundbreaking or challenging material. Beautiful though its location may be, it has nothing new to add in its depiction of India, capturing a country we believe to know: of call centres, overcrowded streets and strict family lifestyles. There also exists a sense of glamour in Madden’s interpretation. The slums are few and far, yet this is an India where streetwise children can talk perfect English. Its large list of characters also proves
problematic, with its multiple arcs and divided screen time meaning that some characters and their stories appear underdeveloped and subordinate to others. Celia Imrie’s Madge, who becomes less and less relevant, and Ronald Pickup’s Norman, a tool for more comic relief, are obvious victims of this trait. As too are the potential closure of the hotel, Sonny’s relationship and Evelyn receiving an unexpected job, brushed over as the film runs through to completion. Despite being a piece of work that veers dangerously into stereotype and unsurprising, cliché-ridden climaxes, it exhibits a pleasant and endearing sentimentality that ultimately means it will cater to its clear target audience. It will find its niche, and for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this is likely to mean that, as Sonny is intent on suggesting, everything will be alright in the end. Kieran Rogers
CIA agent gone rogue Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) mysteriously hands himself in at an American consulate in South Africa and is promptly delivered into the care of Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), an inexperienced but ambitious agent. Things quickly turn sour as Weston and Frost are pursued by a team of elite mercenaries, desperate to get their hands on Frost, and boy are they relentless. The majority of the film consists of reckless car chases, furious gun fights and a lot of punching. Even when the pace does occasionally slow down with a conversation, somebody is invariably cut out mid-sentence
by a bullet to the head. In this way Safe House is totally unambitious: it does what it tries to do well, but it doesn’t try to do much. Although the acting is solid and everything is surprisingly well shot, there really is no reason to watch this over the Bourne films, or any of the other films from which it draws inspiration, as it doesn’t have anything new to bring to the table. The action is good but feels underwhelming when put in the context of such an unoriginal and predictable film. Alek Stoodley
Project X is an upcoming teen comedy movie with a found footage twist. A nerdy teenager is convinced by his friends to hold a house party in an attempt to become cool and “get their dicks wet”. Said party grows out of control and results in anarchy, fire and billions of dollars in property damage. So far it’s promising. The problem is the script isn’t funny, the characters are unlikable and unamusing, and the middle of the film relies on glossy MTV flashcut montages of people dancing and drinking. A blonde girl takes her top off, a Latino girl takes her top off, every girl on earth takes her top off.
he steered clear of. Luckily for director Stephen Daldry (The Reader), the film’s depiction of young Oskar Schell’s (Thomas Horn) quest to find the lock that fits the key belonging to his father (Tom Hanks), whose death in 9/11 Oskar strives to comprehend, is a definite triumph. Not only does Daldry take the novel’s most fundamental parts and blend them with a script that sticks closely to Foer’s text, but he chooses a cast that is most appropriate. Thomas Horn’s striking portrayal of the troubled Oskar and
extremely loud and incredibly close It’s a difficult task to try and translate any traumatic event into a cinematic medium, but when it also involves the interpretation of a highly successful novel, the task becomes twice as challenging. With Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005) gaining precedence over most of the other books squeezed onto my bookshelf for its masterful discussion of the tragedy that was 9/11, I was fearful that the film would treat the subject matter in the generalised way that Foer ensured
People drink tequila and puke. Look, there’s some ecstasy. Is this movie cool yet? The script is also woefully flat, every line containing the barest amount of information necessary to advance the threadbare plot. The characters are barely even 2D: nerdy nice guys, jock bullys, a wholesome blonde girl and a naive, autistic, fat kid all make tedious appearances. The only part that made me even smirk was when a midget punched people in the balls. Don’t see this movie, buy beer and go to an actual party instead.
Sandra Bullock’s realistic performance as the grieving Mrs Schell make the film even more heartbreaking. Ultimately, though, the film does not beat the novel’s experimental exploration of trauma and loss, although it still provokes the reader to ask a vital question: as we search for closure, do we actually get further away from ever achieving it?
Something was brought to my attention earlier in the month when watching the BAFTAs. The often glorious Stephen Fry ended his lavish and long introduction monologue with the unfortunate advice, “Please keep it short”. Am I missing something here? When did film award ceremonies become events in which the awards were the things that had to be rushed? Award ceremonies are often too long, however I don’t believe this is because of the time it takes to give the recipients their awards. What about the painstakingly long introduction monologues, the unnecessary musical numbers? I feel these events are becoming so little about the appreciation for film. It is more about the celebrity, the constant advertising breaks and the sponsors. If you watch an award ceremony like the Golden Globes or the Oscars you’re invited to watch up to four hours of ceremony, dragged out by commercial breaks and filled with anything but the important awards and their recipients. Sure, entertainment is key to keep your audience awake for the four hours, however when it begins to outweigh the actual awards, we have a problem. Fiona Grundy
the popcorn chart
venue’s top 5 depressing film moments
Rampart is boring. It is long, drawn out and the plot in non-existent. Co-written by James Ellroy, a master crime writer, and directed and written by Oren Moverman, the film is dripping with potential. Set in and amongst the Rampart scandal of the late-90s, when many LA police officers were revealed to be corrupt, the film follows dirty cop Dave “Date Rape” Brown and gives us a tour of his world of misogyny, sex and booze. Woody Harrelson is one of the redeeming points of this below average movie. He gives a stellar performance as bent police officer Dave Brown. He earns the nickname “Date Rape” after possibly killing a suspected serial date rapist and getting away with it. After Dave is filmed brutally beating an unarmed Mexican suspect to death, he is suspended from duty. Harrelson takes us deep down into the blackness of Dave’s life after this. It is filled with one night stands, sex clubs and a boatload of alcohol. The character forces you to pay attention, if only to wonder what he will do next to meet his violent needs. But this violent, sexual animal of a character makes the film a difficult watch for this very reason; he has no redeeming features. Dave Brown is corrupt to his core, there is no hint that he will ever do anything nice for
anyone. This is one of the few good things about this film. The story surrounding Dave is weak at best and, like a lot of this film, serves only as a distraction from the man himself. What could have been a powerful character study becomes watered down as the writers try to frame his actions with a mediocre plot. The plot also neglects a great supporting cast, including Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscemi. The camera work is also a massive distraction. During a scene with Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi and Woody Harrelson, which should have been a highlight of the film, the camera moves between them so fast it is like sitting on a merry-go-round. The style of filming, with its odd cuts, fast cameras and bizarre angles, distracts more from Dave Brown’s story than the weak plot does. The worst thing about this is knowing that it could have worked. It could have been a fascinating character study, and it would have been very intersting to see a dirty cop’s breakdown on the big screen, but Rampart delivered no such intrigue.
what’s on at cinema city? To celebrate the success of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris at the Academy Awards, Cinema City are holding a special screening of Allen’s iconic romantic-comedy, Annie Hall on Monday 12th March. The film with which Woody Allen achieved his own distinctive style, a clutch of Oscars and world-wide success; Annie Hall is a poignantly comic, quasi-autobiographical love story, which gave voice to Allen’s distinctively rueful perspectives on fame, romance, relationships, neurosis and the competing attractions of New York and the West Coast.
grave of the fireflies Often overlooked when examining the work of Studio Ghibli, Grave of the Fireflies, which presents an account of the toll World War II took on Japanese civilians, is by far the most emotional of their feature-length productions. 14-year-old Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, left orphaned and homeless by a firebombing run and rejected by their close family, are forced to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Though the audience is aware of her fate from the opening scene, in which Seita succumbs to the same lack of nourishment that claimed her life, Setsuko’s death is no less heartrending for it.
one flew over the cuckoo’s nest While One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is not widely known for bringing viewers to tears, it contains within its perceptive depiction of mental healthcare in early 1960s America a few standout emotional peaks. The most painful of these is undeniably the suicide of shy, inexperienced Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif). Emerging triumphant and stutter free from his first sexual experience, Billy is soon confronted by the domineering Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who, in mock concern, remarks that she must inform his mother. Despite the miserable youngster’s distraught pleas, Ratched refuses to back down. Unable to cope with the combination of powerful emotions agonisingly surging through him, Billy takes a razor to his throat.
the fountain In The Fountain usesmultiple time periods to structure the tale of a desperate search for salvation. As neuroscientist Tommy (Hugh Jackman) finally discovers what may be the key to saving his wife Izzi’s (Rachel Weisz) life, his struggle reflected in those of conquistador Tomas and celestial traveller Tom (both also played by Jackman). However, his opportunity
to put it to use is snatched from his grasp by the inoperable brain tumour which he sought to cure. Few portrayals of a man’s entire world crashing about his ears have ever been quite so convincingly or beautifully realised.
american history x Prior to its closing sequence, American History X appears as though it may contain a somewhat uplifting resolution. Reformed white supremacist Derek (Edward Norton), having demonstrated to his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) the error of his hateful ways, leaves him to his first xenophobia-free day of high school. However, a confrontation with a fellow pupil belonging to an ethnic minority earlier in the film leads to Danny’s bloody demise in its final moments. The brutality of a murder provoked by racial tension, accompanied by the voice of the victim reading the closing lines of Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, provides a moving contrast, the likes of which is rarely seen in modern cinema.
life is beautiful Guido and his young son Giosuè, as Jews living in Italy during the Second World War, are confined to concentration camps around halfway through Life is Beautiful, marking a distinct shift in the tone of what is, up to that point, a lighthearted romantic comedy. In an effort to avoid his son becoming distressed or punished for disobedience, Guido turns their hopeless situation into a game for Giosuè. Guido, upon being caught trespassing while searching for his wife among the female prisoners, is marched to his offscreen death by the barrel of a soldier’s machine gun shortly before the camp is liberated. As Guido realises that his son is watching from a hiding place, his attempt to maintain a clownish façade as he walks to his death delivers a crushing emotional blow. Tom Moore
academy awards 2012 review
The bliss of being a student (apart from the sheer independence) is that you get to stay up until god-knowswhen after a night at the LCR, wishing for death to take you from over the cold toilet seat. Or, alternatively, you’re up doing a piece of coursework that’s due in a few hours. So it would come as no surprise that watching the Academy Awards seems like a pretty easy job compared to the first two. And you wouldn’t be wrong, as this year’s Oscars proved to be generally worth the effort of an all-nighter, with the aid of pizza and lots of coffee. Billy Crystal returned to the prestigious hosting reins for the ninth time, and proved to be reasonably worthy. Although his traditional schmaltzty song-and-dance number was delightfully terrible, it is something that only
the infamous oscars speech The stars came out in force on 26 February for the Oscars, with viewers excited to see which actors would deliver on their speeches and which would falter. Famously bad speakers in the past include Gwyneth Paltrow and James Cameron, but this year the speeches were mostly funny and touching. Meryl Streep was typically self-deprecating, joking that Americans would be bemoaning her win, but she also emotionally paid tribute to her husband. Jean Dujardin was a bundle of energy, ecstatic at his win; finishing his speech exclaiming “Merci Beaucoup! I love you!” Octavia Spencer gave an emotional offering in which she thanked all of Alabama, and Christopher Plummer joked that he had been planning his speech since he was born. The most terrible speech has to go to Dragon Tattoo’s editing team, who were so surprised that they could not think of anything coherent to say. Beth Wyatt
he can carry off with dignity still intact, and this reviewer was left with a slender smile on his face. Well, he did manage to incorporate all nine Best Picture nominees and certainly proved a million miles better than the Franco/ Hathaway disaster last ... let’s not even go there. Along with the choice of Crystal to host, this year’s Academy Awards adopted a classic feel, which held as the predominant theme of the night with top films such as The Artist and Hugo among the lead nominees. Both films were the big winners of the evening, with The Artist winning five awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. Uggie the dog also made an all-too-brief brief appearance, bringing in the “awhhh” factor! (OK, he is bloody cute). Hugo also raked in five wins in the technical categories, cementing the acknowledgement of nostalgic cinema this year. Among the main categories some deserved winners emerged, with an absent Woody Allen taking Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris and Alexander Payne the adaptation equivalent for The Descendents. Octavia Spencer supplied the first umbrella moment with her acceptance speech for Supporting Actress in The Help, and Christopher Plummer set a record in becoming the oldest Oscar winner ever with his long-overdue win for Supporting Actor in Beginners. However, if ever there was going to be a clash of the titans, the Best Actress category would have been the battleground. Although Meryl Streep took the gold, it could easily have gone to Viola Davis. But, it’s Streep. What more can you say! At the end of the night, there were no real shocks, unless you count Billy Crystal looking exactly the same as he did when he hosted nearly ten years ago. Nevertheless, the right films won (with a little help from Mr. Wienstien) in a year notable for films that dote to the past and the nostalgia of cinema. The Oscars proved that in an age of illegal downloading and the internet, cinema still has the power to captivate and retains an authenticity that can never be extinguished. The Academy Awards, and the awards season in general this year, have chosen to acknowledge and award the art of cinema, particularly as we stray into the polarised world of 3D and digital filmmaking. And hats off to them for doing so. Sam Warner
the amazing spider-man
Following a series of disagreements between Sony Pictures and director, Sam Raimi, regarding the Spider-Man 4 screenplay, producers were forced to cancel the project and announced plans to reboot the franchise with a new director at the helm. Many prolific names were considered, including James Cameron, David Fincher and Wes Anderson. However, it was (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb who Sony would eventually confirm as director of the reboot. An extensive list of potential actors emerged in a speculative few months regarding the new Peter Parker: Jamie Bell, Aaron Johnston and even Zac Efron were all rumoured as possible suit-fillers, but it was British actor, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), who was eventually announced as the new SpiderMan. Unlike Toby Maguire, who made it clear that Spider-Man was just a job, Garfield claimed to be a lifelong fan of the comic books. During a Comic-Con panel discussion for The Amazing Spider-Man, the obviously humbled actor surprised fans with a heartfelt speech, explaining why Spider-Man was so important to him. “I needed Spidey in my life when I was a kid and he gave me hope. In every comic I read, he was living out mine and every skinny boy’s fantasy of being stronger, of being free of the body I was born into, and that swinging sensation of flight.” With the recent release of exclusive footage, posters, photos and trailers online, anticipation is already building for Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which is scheduled for release in early July. Early images of a bloody and battered Garfield in costume hinted at a darker tone and texture than Raimi’s installments, silencing cynics who were afraid the reboot would model itself on the success of the low-cost, high-grossing Twilight films. “There are certainly darker, more intense feelings in this movie,” comments Webb in a recent interview. “There is betrayal, there is tragedy, but there’s also humour and romance. So it’s a very complex bouquet of emotions.” The trailer offers a first glimpse at the mechanical webshooters which have prompted much dispute online. The concept of organic web-shooters was devised by James Cameron in an early Spider-Man draft in 1991 to avoid explaining how a high school student could invent the web fluid required for these complex devices. This decision was largely embraced by the comic book community. The Amazing Spider-Man, however, returns to the mechanical devices of the source material, a decision which has yet to convert the more protective fans of Raimi’s original installments. It is easy to forget that before audiences were first introduced to Maguire’s Peter Parker, cynics and fanboys took to the internet to express anger and disappointment at every decision the director made. Yet now, a decade later, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man stands as iconic and precious as the comic books themselves. So let’s hope that in ten years from now Webb’s superhero reboot reaches the same heights. James Burrough
CREATIVE WRITING SPOTLIGHT Q&A
rebecca goodacre what are you studying? American Literature & Creative Writing. what’s your favourite word? I get words stuck in my head. Last week it was Nicaragua. I went around saying it like Yoda. It got weird. how do you defeat writer’s block? Running helps. Or taking long showers.
poetry corner a painting
by Chen Shun Xuan
The pale sunbeam Was exposed slightly in dawn. A cup of orange juice And half a cup of white coffee Were splashed on a piece of drawing paper. The person in portraying Was ignited by the yearning in silence. From far to near, A string of rustlings Were approaching him Along a tree-lined trail By creeping as tread. He turned around joyfully. The naughty wind Was chasing after the withered leaves That appeared curly.
what inspires you? The mundane. who are your favourite writers? Jonathan Franzen, David Sedaris, Roald Dahl. I never read one writer for long. to kindle or not to kindle? No thank you. They’re for people who can’t bear to to bend the spines of books.
Never have been, Will not be either, The visitors who go past By taking a leisurely walk And encounter him unexpectedly In the wilderness Which locates at the remotest corner Of the world. Wait as well as anticipation, Seemingly a proud and aloof soul That was buried beneath an ash Together with the dried painting By his own hands. No ones were informed of the places For which the creator of the picture Left that desolate land afterwards Who devoted The painstaking efforts to And nourished his work.
He was still himself, While not known or recognised yet Artist was his identity In the previous years. Since the earthling Had not witnessed his masterpiece. Neither could that appellation Have been bestowed Upon him naturally. At present, The grove in that stretch of wilderness, On the heads of the branches Of that aged ash tree, Canaries are practising melodies And preserving The quietude and desolation.
by Tom King
Feeding my own fire and burn my chest from the heat, Lunge at gatherers from the sandy gold camp, LEAVE! Leave me to it, all my ash is arranged to follow circles and labyrinths, all guides away from me, Leave me to blow away the embers, Into the dark, cool night, A mystical orange swarm heading for the clean stars, Watch as they climb and sway, A grain of the night loosely connected to my soul.
do you prefer handwriting or typing? I don’t like writing things down until I have to, I like them just sitting in my head. So generally I just type.
by Katie Taylor
plug my eye sockets I am kaleidoscope blind rolling and lightening
i reached out for my wine glass in the morning
by Tom King
I reached out for my wine glass in the morning, But my hand knocked it over.
what’s the weirdest thing that’s inspired you? Sandwiches.
The open window has chilled me all night I’m almost freezing now Two o’clock! I’ve slept far too long My girlfriend will call me lazy again
creative writing events
I hear voices from outside My parents laughing. I guess at the sun
free poetry reading at the drama studio
This room still smells of skin and beer It has a wintry feel because of the window I can’t be human inside My face has changed Something does not seem the same Photo by Carl Godbold
Monday 27 February, 7 PM George Szirtes will be introducing the poets: Dan Burt - US poet, published by Carcanet, author of Certain Windows and, forthcoming, We Look Like This Meirion Jordan - PhD, published by Seren, shortlisted for Forward First Collection Prize for Moonrise, this is the launch of his new book Regeneration. Meghan Purvis - PhD, Winner of Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry Translation 2011 Richard Lambert - author of The Magnolia Meryl Pugh - PhD, author of Relinquish
On the walls are paintings I have not seen before Somewhere in sleep I’ve lost my way I need more wine I must move on It’s impossible to rest here
altered images: memories of animation
venue takes a stagger down memory lane with our favourite animated television from our youth. do they stand up to the test of time?
From my tentative early television days of CBBC, to swapping the terrestrial for digital and being introduced to Nickelodeon and Disney, I watched a lot of TV as a child. Amongst the dozens of shows, there is one that stands out for its omnipresence. The Simpsons completely dominated my family’s television screen during its heyday. Whether we watched it at 6pm on BBC2 before dinner, or on one of the VHS’s rented from Blockbuster, the adventures and mishaps of the yellow family from Springfield defined my childhood viewing. It presented the perfect balance for engaging family television: slapstick humour for the children and tongue-in-cheek, subversive comedy for the adults. Littered with pop culture references and lines that could easily embed themselves into family vocabularies, it was rare to go a day without someone in my family directly alluding to the show. The pinnacle of mine and my siblings’ childish wit were our attempts to re-enact Bart’s prank calls to Moe on our dad. My brothers’
brief foray into skateboarding and my longer one into playing the saxophone were direct results of episodes such as Bart the Daredevil and repeatedly listening to Lisa’s solo in the theme tune. However, when adolescence hit, the inevitable began to happen and I drifted away from the show, as “scheduled family viewing” time turned into fights over the remote. Despite my desertion, The Simpsons is in its 25th season and has just passed the 500th episode mark. It soldiers on and shows no sign of stopping. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and although I haven’t watched many of the new seasons, it is an unexpected joy to catch an old rerun of the show. As I watch classic episodes, I am reacquainted with the characters I loved, laughing at the jokes that I once pretended to understand and appreciating a show that represents such a specific and happy time in my life. Bridie Wilkinson
1983 - 1985
Filmation’s classic He-Man had everything a child could want: action, adventure, romance, silly costumes and a gloriously unsubtle homoerotic subtext. The show’s protagonist was plucky teenager Prince Adam. He became immensely powerful superhero He-Man whenever he raised his sword and yelled the words, “By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER!” Catchy, but clunky. Whenever this occured, Adam’s pet green and yellow striped tiger, Cringer (the name of my first pet cat), also transformed, becoming the armoured war-beast Battle Cat. He-Man’s principle foe was the evil Skeletor, a hooded, slightly camp sorcerer who wanted nothing more than to seize the power of Castle Grayskull, and conquer not only Eternia, but the whole universe. This would have been quite frightening, if it weren’t for the fact that
he was the most inept villain ever. This was one of many reasons why He-Man was so great: it never took itself seriously, and so it wasn’t surprising when something genuinely ridiculous happened. For example, in the Christmas Special, Skeletor’s diabolical heart (“And when they open their presents, they explode, right?”) is melted by two cutesy Earth children and he becomes He-Man’s best mate for a week. The original series was followed by a terrible movie and a badly-received 2002 reboot, proving the old adage (which I’ve actually just made up now) that you should never change a programme’s formula if it works well the first time around: He-Man was perfect just the way it was. Matt Mulcahy
1994 - 2001
It is criminal that ReBoot, the first entirely computer generated TV show, is so little known. Written with genuine wit, intelligence and heart, the show took place within the workings of a computer, referred to by the characters as Mainframe. It followed the exploits of a few “sprites”, one of whom, named Bob, has been sent from “the Net” to fight the “Virus” of Mainframe named Megabyte. Hailing from Canada, it was broadcast in the UK in the mid 90s on CITV in the most ridiculously haphazard way: they simply stopped broadcasting it halfway through the third season (assumedly due to the progressively darker themes and occasional, bafflingly hilarious sex jokes), leaving the younger me waiting for about seven years on a massive cliff-hanger.
Progressing from standalone stories to an increasingly intense continuing narrative, the writers of ReBoot weaved together a large number of bafflingly advanced parodies without ever depriving the show of its surprisingly intense drama. One episode, for example, entitled Firewall, opened with a lengthy James Bond parody, while another episode was entirely dedicated to an X-Filesesque story with Gillian Anderson voicing a character based on her television alter ego Scully. Like all the best children’s TV shows, there was a wealth of action, adventure and genuinely likeable characters, truly something for everyone. As for ITV cutting transmission mid-season, well, they broke my little heart. James Sykes
1. The meaning of the musical term “allegro” (7) 4. The nation which first gave women the right to vote (3,7) 5. Colour of a giraffes tongue (4) 10. Recently defeated British boxer who was caught up in a scuffle in a post-match interview (6, 7) 12. Winner of the Best British Group at Brit Awards 2012 (8) 14. A feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish (5) 15. The annual sports day between Essex and UEA (5,3) 16. The adaptation of a Roald Dahl classic that has won four prizes at the Whatsonstage.com awards (7) 19. The new Wolverhampton Wanderers manager (5, 6) 21.The Britpop band headlining a show in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate the end of the Olympic Games later this year (4) 22. A baker’s dozen (8) 23. A footballer who has been legally established as having had an affair (4,5) 24. Recently deceased world famous singer (7, 7)
20 21 22
see how many words you
change one word into
have a pair of tickets to see shappi khorsandi, described by
another by altering a
the guardian as
must use the centre letter
in every word
is at least one nine letter
best young female comic by any
yardstick” and live at the apollo star lee nelson.
word ladder must be a
the events are being held as part of the union of uea students’
step. each step on the valid word.
spring “comedy club”, and tickets can be purchased for both card.
each row and column
but with the extra requirement
contains the numbers 1-5
need to contain the all
numbers 1-9 as well
khorsandi will be supported by ryan mcdonnell and lee nelson has support from tom deacon and jarlath regan.
to be in with a chance of winning the tickets, hand in
with no duplicates.
acts for £19, or £9.50 each in advance with a valid nus
the same as a normal sudoku,
venue has a huge giveaway for you this fortnight. we
single letter at each
word to be found
supplied by john white
that the diagonals (the x)
2.The soap that came under for fire for running a “rape” storyline (10, 6) 3. First ever Academy Award winner for Best Picture (5) 6. The MP has been charged with assault (4,5) 7. Six time Grammy winning songstress (5) 8. The traditional Japanese art or technique of folding paper into a variety of decorative or representational forms (7) 9. One of the countries that has agreed to cooperation over oil in the Gulf of Mexico (6,6) 11. The country with a maple leaf on their flag (6) 13. The currency in Chili (4) 17. Lacking social graces or manners (7) 18. The most common Element on Earth? (8) 20. Whiskey without a mixer (4)
your completed crossword to union house reception by 5pm
on friday 3 march.
symbols also apply
supplied by john white
mobile phone number:
Tuesday 28th February LCR Club Nights: Movie Stars (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR
Mrs Barbara Nice @ Norwich Arts Centre (8:30pm) Price: £12.00/£10.00 Norwich Arts Centre
Saturday 3rd LCR Club Nights: A list (10:30)Price: £4.50 UEA LCR
Wednesday 29th Waterfront Gigs: Band Of Skulls (7:30pm) Price: £15.00 The Waterfront
Friday 2nd LCR Club Nights: Ministry Of Sound Uni-Trash presents the Ice Breaker Tour with Artwork (10pm) Price: £9.00 / £7.00 (NUS) UEA LCR
Meltdown + Rawkus (10pm) Price: £4.50 / £3.50 The Waterfront Sunday 4th LCR Gigs: Labrinth (7pm) Price: £13.00 UEA LCR
The Tim Vine Chat Show (8pm) Price: £17 The Playhouse
The Burning Crows EP Release + Save Ferris (8pm)Price: £4 adv/£5 The Brickmakers
Wednesday 7th March 2012 Waterfront Gigs: Inme (7:30pm) Price: £12.00 The Waterfront
Friday 9th March 2012 Waterfront Club Nights: Color (10pm) Price: £10 / £8 NUS The Waterfront
Saturday 10th Waterfront Gigs: Rise To Remain + Heaven Shall Burn (7pm) Price: £13.00 The Waterfront
Up Pompeii (7:30pm) Price £7 Norwich Puppet Theatre
LCR Club Nights: A List (10:30pm)Price: £4.50 UEA LCR
Monday 12th Other: Comedy Club with Lee Nelson (7:30 pm) Price: £14.50 / £9.50 (NUS) UEA LCR
Rivers (9pm) Price: FREE UEA Blue Bar
Meltdown + Britpoppin (10pm) Price: £4.50 / £3.50 The Waterfront
Thursday 1st March 2012 Salt Box Comedy (7:30pm) Price: £6 advance Olives
Derby Day 2012 University of Essex Thursday 8th Legally Blonde (7.30pm) Price: £6.50 - £39.50 Theatre Royal Lady HaHa (8pm) Price £12 The Playhouse
derby day Derby Day approaches and there is a buzz amongst the sports teams as the bitter rivalry between UEA and Essex continues. After UEA won incredibly convincingly last year, Essex are sure to want revenge. This, however, will be hard for the Essex Blades as defending champions UEA have had a solid season and will be confident in defending the coveted bragging rights. For those unaware of the event it is a day filled with sporting fixtures, with this year’s being held in Colchester. Even those who are not participating it is worth going along as it is a great day out and a chance to really support your university, as well as a chance to enjoy a few beverages.
Monday 5th Other: Comedy Club with Shappi Khorsandi (7:30pm) Price: £14.50 / £9.50 (NUS) Adv UEA LCR Tuesday 6th Waterfront Gigs: Killing Joke (7:30pm) Price: £19.50 The Waterfront
Tuesday 13th March 2012 Waterfront Gigs: Yashin (7:30pm) Price: £8.50 The Waterfront LCR Club Nights: Masquerade (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR
norwich fashion week
Last year UEA offered more than 60 sporting events, this year Essex have cowardly only offered a provisional 25. This suggests that they are threatened, despite the obnoxious and generally delusional comments on their “Derby Day Banter Page”. So make sure to purchase your train ticket or contact Ian Welch for transport as support is needed. Once again Concrete Sports correspondents will be there reporting on the events, so follow @Concrete_UEA on Twitter and like the Derby Day Live page on Facebook for up to date coverage of all the day’s events.
Norwich, the arse-end of England, has never been known for its fashion. Farming maybe, sometimes incest. Never fashion. Not until now anyway. Until now we have looked to London to tell us how to dress, to Paris, to Milan. However, this year, for the first time, we need look no further than N-town itself. Yes, Norwich is now on the fashion map: Norwich Fashion Week is coming. Between the 8-15 of March, the Norwich fash-pack are putting on a series of events heralding the brightest fashion talent the city has to offer. Up and coming designers from City College and Norwich University College of the Arts, along with independent retailers from around the city, will send their pieces down the catwalk during NFW.
There will also be numerous fashion and styling events held throughout the week for Norwich fashionistas to sink their teeth in to. First this month there was New York Fashion Week. Then came London Fashion Week. Now, we have Norwich Fashion Week. Who knew Norwich was so fashionable? We didn’t. Until now. You never know, Norwich might be harbouring the next Marc Jacobs or Alexander McQueen... Head to www.eveningnews24.com/nfw for more information.