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Got a camera? Want an opportunity to use it? This semester Venue’s front cover will showcase student’s photographs on the theme of ‘Fall’ Email your image, your name and some words describing the photo, to concrete.photographers@uea.ac.uk by November 4th. (Photos will need to be portrait) The winning image will be printed on November 8th and the photographer will recieve two gig tickets.

issue 257 | 24/09/2011

VENUE

Concrete’s fortnightly culture pullout

music | talk to local band The Brownies | p. 8 fashion | asks whether sex sells? | p. 10-11 film | review tinker tailor soldier spy | p.14


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VENUE CONTENTS

ssue 257 | 24.09.2011 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | concrete.editor@uea.ac.uk

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enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk Nina Simone sung “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good” and my sentiments are much the same. It’s now my third year writing for Concrete and I still find myself excited at the prospect of coming into the office; blind naivete, perhaps, but nevertheless these custardy walls have managed to draw me back once again. Despite the office staying the same, even with the obvious need for some new computers, the Concrete family is mostly new this year. After the upheaval of graduation only a few remain from the heady days of 2010; the old names have been replaced by fresh faces and a whole horde of freshers are expected to join the team after SocMart. The pullout itself has undertaken a bit of a metamorphosis too, but I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll just assure you that on the basis of this issue it’s going to be a cracking year. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, welcome to Venue...

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Barney Horner, Alex Ross, Jordan Bright, Georgios Hadjimichael. concrete.wired@uea.ac.uk | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Josh Mott, Tom Mott, Andrew Wilkins. concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Milly Sampson. concrete.film@uea.ac.uk | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Annie Rhodes, Joanna O’Connor, Tom White, Kieran Field, Coelis Witcher, Elizabeth Poole, James Collins, Samantha Rogers, James Bearclaw. concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Charis Turner, David Murphy, Sophie Witts. concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Emma Webb. concrete.listings@uea.ac.uk | Editor | Sam Tomkinson Listing Contributors> Sam Tomkinson.

Alex


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Taking Back Sunday UEA - LCR 30.08.2011

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n the 10 years between their sprawling, rasping debut and this year’s self-titled fourth album a lot has changed for Taking Back Sunday. Three line-up changes, as many gold-certified records, enough testosterone to finally grow some stubble and Long Island’s own have reformed with their classic line up. Yet, for some reason, their fan base has remained the same age. It might go some way to explaining the tempered reaction afforded to Aberdeen’s The Xcerts. Two albums of powerful, passionate post-hardcore don’t seem to have translated to the predominantly prepubescent female crowd. But a set lifted from 2010’s excellent Scatterbrain and an energy that belies their heavy touring schedule

should mean that by the time they conclude their tour with Manchester Orchestra this year, their stock will have risen significantly. The crowd swells to the front, the anticipation is palpable and as the lights go out a near-sold out LCR goes briefly ape shit before groaning and thinking “isn’t that the old drummer from Lostprophets?” Yes it is. Ilan Rubin, in jeans so skinny that circulation to his legs must have been an issue, has a guitar slung round his neck and a slew of new songs. Sadly The New Regime sound, at best, like a fifth-rate Tame Impala and at worst a second-rate Wolfmother. There’s no doubt that Rubin is a talented musician, he’s every bit the frontman and is a fine guitarist, but the songs lack the strength and depth to

alleviate the disappointment of their arrival. When Taking Back Sunday do take the stage to the huge sound of new track El Paso, there’s not a soul in the sober, teenage room that doubts it was worth the wait. From there on it’s one classic after another. Make Damn Sure bleeds into You Know How I Do and the LCR is so damn hot it’s hard to breath. Adam Lazarra, assuming his regular pose of southern baptist Elvis sex symbol, is nothing short of enthralling. John Nolan, the vocalist and guitarist reinstated after 10 years, grins from ear to ear from beginning to end, clearly feeling like he’s back where he belongs and the addition of Straylight Run’s Existentialism on Prom Night works perfectly, Lazarra’s voice sounding every bit

as urgent as it did ten years ago. Nolan and Cooper play songs from the interim years; Liar and 180 by Summer are particular highlights, as if they were theirs all along and in many ways it feels like they were. For all the years of trying to replace Nolan in particular, TBS only ever really stumbled upon quite good impersonators of their original members. It’s fitting then that they should end with There’s No “I” in Team from 2001s Tell All Your Friends, Nolan’s shattered voice blaring out the refrain. By the time the dust has settled, Venue’s voice is as tired as anyone’s in the LCR, whether they’re legally allowed to buy Red Bull or not. Alex Ross


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“Security 1 to Security 2.” It’s 3pm, searing heat and three people with belts round their ankles have just walked past. At least one of them is female. “No, it’s Jimmy. Yer, these two fellers wanna know where that press thing is. No? Alright, thanks mate.” Whilst Venue holds out hope for a free bar and fears the directions given to the press entrance are actually directions back down the A11, Aaron Delahunty is walking onto the sprawling Norfolk Spectacular stage. The closer we get, the more he sounds like an immature and impossibly puerile Plan B. By the time we’ve located the well-concealed press entrance and passed through bowels of the backstage VIP area, we see Delahunty looking like a 17th-century Kray twin who received a gift voucher to a piercing parlour for his birthday. At least he sets the tone for the endless stream of X-Factor semi-finalists dominating the day (Delahunty, apparently, was in Futureproof, voted out in the 3rd X-Factor Live show in season 4. He had failed to make the competitive stages solo.) There is no free bar. Delahunty introduces his final song by thanking the people most important to him – “Big up Norfolk Spectacular, big up Kiss FM and big up HTC, you get me.” There is no free bar. “You’ll need to speak to Ian for that.” It seemed only fair to take pictures of this event, but apparently Ian is our only portal to the magical world of the press pit, our wardrobe to Narnia. It appears that the intricate web of highly skilled security at the Norfolk Spectacular is in place purely to stop anybody from reporting on it. Ian must be some sort of lynchpin in this operation; a talisman of sorts. Ian says it would be much easier to take pictures on the Arena stage, the Spectacular’s answer to an alternative arena. The lone security guard on the Arena stage does not know who Ian is. Without a free bar we console ourselves with an ostrich burger

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Firearms, an Empty Abattoir and Eliza Doolittle: Alex Ross’ day at the Norfolk Spectacular and settle in to watch Adele Swallow on the Arena Stage, a charming and talented singer who’s been on the Norwich scene for a while. Seven other people have settled in to do the same; beyond that the cavernous abattoir that we find ourselves penned into is empty. To Swallow’s credit, she holds her set together well while maintaining a bemused smile that says she knew this would be shit all along. But let’s not get bogged down in such frivolous and fleeting things as music or quality. Today is not about that. Today is about Fulham white-boy Example asking where “all the fucking nutjobs are at” and getting a response from 12,000 pre-pubescent girls. It’s about the man in a jumpsuit with a bottle of ASDA cider in his hand proudly proclaiming “I fuckin’ pissed meself.” It’s about the RAF recruitment tent set up next to the main stage using a weapons display as its main selling point (NB: Venue trusts very few people with firearms. None of them are in this field.) It is best demonstrated by Alexandra Burke (Remember her? She’s the one that’s not Leona Lewis or the kid who used to be in Emmerdale.) Taking to the stage with only a backing track and two particularly swarthy looking dancers is ambitious, but when you’re singing covers, it really is just karaoke. Yes, she unnecessarily tears apart Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and, following Example’s example, asks the young crowd if they “want some more of that” in reference to her male dancers. But, in truth: the stage, the set, the songs and the atmosphere are all just a bit empty. There are now over 500 festivals in the UK and, as ever, some just plain old fell through this year. So whilst the Beacons Festival and Northern Lights dish out refunds to disappointed music fans, mediocre pop events sponsored by major corporations will grow and grow. See you next year at the News International Clear Channel Vodafone Norfolk Spectacular. There will be a bigger weapons display. There will be no free bar.

Cage The Elphant Norwich Arts Cenre 03/09/11 After a two year absence, Kentucky garage rocksmiths Cage The Elephant finally returned to our fair city of Norwich, loaded with the dazzling new tracks and rough melodies that have had critics waxing lyrical over their sophomore album Thank You, Happy Birthday. The quintet bounced enthusiastically onto the Arts Centre stage and after a short introduction immediately launched into the old favourite In One Ear, with frontman Matt Shultz’ swishing blonde hair and tireless bopping as manic as pre-car insurance Iggy

Photo by Alex Ross

Pop. His band mates behind him were more static, keeping the frenzied moshers at the front happy with their relentless swathes of bass and potent guitar licks. The set transpired to be a delectable mixture of new and old material. Whether it was the better singles from Thank You… like Shake Me Down and Aberdeen, or the chanted verses of their most popular track Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked from the eponymous debut of summer 2008, each was delivered with the same unflaggingly wild passion. Their foot stomping anthems were received with suitably crazed dancing by the boisterous audience, who were eager for that brand of upbeat rock’n’roll after the clashing mess of local warm-up band, Khan. Indeed the band themselves desperately

beckoned for those at the front to jump onto the stage but, with the exception of a few deliriously happy young teenagers, the Norwich crowd proved too polite to oblige, preferring to maintain their dignity. Unfortunately, there did appear to be some gremlins in the mixing, as Shultz’ voice was often drowned out by the drone of powerful chords and feedback as they tried to fill the high ceiling of the old church venue, which was a shame considering their lyrics are worth way more than the average NME lauded band. But that foible aside, the real charm of the American band was their visual energy which they provided by the vivacious bucket load, as they consistently do at every outing. Barney Horner


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CD Reviews

Girls Father, Son, Holy Ghost

The notion of the difficult second album is an enduring concept, but one which Girls have skilfully overcome to produce their second album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Following on from their debut Album and the Broken Dreams Club EP, the San Francisco based band have expanded their sound without losing what initially attracted numerous fans and critical praise. What initially started out as the duo of Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White has been expanded into a full band set up, with the addition of John Anderson on guitar, Darren Weiss on drums and Dan Eisenberg on piano. Despite these additions Father, Son, Holy Ghost maintains a sense of continuity in Girls’ work, in fact a number of the songs predate Album (lead single Vomit was the fourth song Owens ever wrote). This continuity is not solely related to the material of Girls however. In reality, a cross-section of Americana is offered: elements of stateside soul, country, folk, gospel and rock are fused to produce something that is recognisable in its influence, yet original. While the religious title of the record doesn’t reflect on its content, there remains an intensely spiritual aspect to it.

A focus on Owens’ time in the religious cult the Children of God may be slipping into the realm of the cliche, but it clearly remains a seminal period in his life. Lyrically FSHG is startlingly personal, while intricately detailing emotions that resonate with everyone. Constructing an album cover out of its lyrics in sequence may seem a copout, in fact it is apt. The album functions almost like a stream of consciousness, explained by the process that Owens writes his songs: ‘if a song is three minutes long, it should take me three minutes to write it’. However, although there may be some self-gratification in the length of songs, most noticeably in Forgiveness, there is more than enough to prevent it from becoming tiresome. While Girls is most certainly a vehicle for Owens, he is not without considerable help: Doug Boehm’s production is masterfully crafted and many of Anderson’ guitar solos are truly inspired. As a whole the thunder and lightning nature of FSHG, in the manner of the Pixies et al, effectively sinks one in the initial depths of Owens’ despair and subsequently raises you with an enduring sense of hope, a belief in something better.

Girls have hardly broken convention with Father, Son, Holy Ghost, but it undoubtedly represents a complete mastery of their craft. A perfect balance has been found between two contrasts, the raw quality of Album and the sumptuous production of the Broken Dreams Club EP, to give this record both beauty and earnestness. Christopher Owens’ true talent as an artist is revealed to be his ability to embellish upon universal hopes and fears; yet all the while making everything feel deeply personal to the listener. Father, Son, Holy Ghost is unrivalled in this: its ability to awaken our fears of rejection and pain, while allowing us to take solace in the fact that we share them with someone else- we are not alone as we might think. So, although love may not be so flawless as the idealised version pop-culture has filled our heads with, at least it is real. Father, Son, Holy Ghost opens with the dream, “I know you’re out there/You might be around the corner”, and concludes with the sobering truth, “I went and found the modern world/But I miss the way life was when you were my girl.” Jordan Bright

SuperHeavy SuperHeavy

Red Hot Chili Peppers I’m With You

Nothing’s really been the same for the Red Hot Chili Peppers since their Greatest Hits collection. Those difficult but brilliant years of chaos and heroin have faded, and now, on their tenth offering, just when they needed a little spark of magic, the iconic John Fruiscante has left the band. So it’s quite a shock listening to album opener Monarchy of Roses because, even if it is just for four minutes, RHCP are back. Properly back. Good God, it’s like By The Way meets Californication with balls and melody. There’s a brief sense that they’ve recaptured that urgency and shimmering brilliance that seemed to desert them some time around 2003. Sadly, rather than use this momentum, RHCP slam on the breaks and before you’ve had the chance to sink into I’m With You, you’re dragged head first into the forced, posturing proto-cock-rap of Factory of Faith. All that promise and all that hope dissolves into a sense that you’re just listening to some

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blokes sing about getting old. And from there, I’m With You never really recovers. Sure, there are moments of greatness on Brendan’s Death Song and some worthy experimentation on Happiness Loves Company, but three good tracks do not a great album make. Josh Klinghoffer, Fruiscante’s solo collaborator and apparent replacement, does bring something new to the table, even if he does at times rely too heavily on his predecessor’s vocal stylings. Flea’s bass is, of course, righteous, but Kleidis’ vocals often struggle to distinguish themselves from banality. It’s a shame that RHCP passed up an opportunity to make the album they so could have, it’s just worth praying that they haven’t left it too late to make one more classic because I’m With You smacks all too often of a band over the hump. Alex Ross

Supergroups set you up for a fall. The idea, which starts out as an admirable vision of unity, is too often obscured by creative differences, arrogance and a lack of chemistry: supergroups entail super-egos. With the formation of SuperHeavy the question is raised once again: can the the obvious pitfalls be overcome? Well no, not really. A group consisting of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, composer A.R. Rahman and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart sounds like a dream come true, and it is, be it a forgettable one. The album isn’t so terrible that it merits comparisons with The Muppets but neither does it exhibit the collective skill of its creators. What start out as a number of interesting ideas on songs such as Beautiful People and One Day One Night are quickly lost. Seeing Mick Jagger become a pink-suited parody of himself in the video for lead single Miracle Worker may be entertaining but watching the now tattooed Jagger alongside

break-dancers quickly becomes a surreal experience. Separately the contributions of each member, while short of their creative peaks, are at least admirable. The real problem is that the contrasting styles just do not gel, a sentiment painfully evident in the title track. A mix of rock guitar and reggae beats, which breaks down into Urdu vocals, is intriguing, but ultimately baffling. Joss Stone’s claim that “We’re going to rock yoselves and take no prisoners” remains unfulfilled, no matter how hard SuperHeavy try. Ultimately, the efforts of Jagger and co. have fallen way short of the mark, but they certainly offer entertainment even if the form that it takes was unintentional: creating a formula that will never work well, where their collective influences are thrust together, not fused. Jordan Bright


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Ed Sheeran + If you asked a group of people if they had heard of Ed Sheeran this time last year, there would probably have been a big silence, a few shaking heads, and one embarrassingly eager fan boy who has been in love with him since he heard his cover of a Nizlopi song on YouTube about two years ago. If you asked the same question today, you would most likely get a crowd of applause and a punch in the face for asking such a stupid question. Now Sheeran has released his debut major label record and it’s a showcase of honesty and charm.

Venue Interviews

The Xcerts

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CD Reviews The album opens with the high-charting The A Team and the sound jumps from a mixture of sweet, acoustic sensitivity to quick fire sing-talking over rapid sudden strums, to create a beautiful piece of loveliness. Sheeran’s lyrics are narrative and wonderfully uncomplicated; he tells us he really enjoys smoking (a lot) and making love (just as much), and that he once “watched Shrek 12 times but never owned the blu-ray/True say.” We end up leaving feeling like we know him and that he is our friend. It’s a pleasant surprise when Sheeran pulls something rather unexpected out of the bag. On Give Me Love, the listener is welcomed by strings and taken somewhere altogether new. He switches his vocal style with ease, but then somewhat uncomfortably leaves us alone with him screaming “GIVE ME LOVE… LOVE ME!” until he finds a gospel choir who are more than happy to bring him back on track. Though not to everyone’s taste, + provides something for most, with You Need Me and The City satisfying a more thrill seeking audience, whilst This and Kiss Me appease those who want to see Ed at his most vulnerable. The most charming moments in songs like U.N.I or Lego House, which are each three and a bit minutes are succintly brilliant. Altogether, + is a great debut, and at only 20, we are left excited to see which direction Ed Sheeran will delve into next. We can only hope he carries on singing honestly and that he never dyes his hair.

One Direction What Makes You Beautiful [Single]

Georgios Hadjimichael

“Go back to the mall that spawned you” said Bill Hicks of Tiffany’s position in the Billboard Charts in 1992. 20 years later and reality TV has thrown up another collection of unchallenging white boys from the bowels of Jack Wills for us to feast our ears on. Put to one side that the guitar riff (this is a generous term) is lifted shamelessly from Summer Loving and it’s difficult not to get angry at whichever monster thought that the world had sinned to such an extent that it deserved this. Nuclear proliferation, global warming and Thatcher don’t even come close to the requisite levels of evil that should bring this retribution. Singing (this is also a generous term) that the girl in question “Don’t need makeup/To cover up” because “Being the way that you are is enough” is a nice sentiment, but it’s shattered by the heavily made up teenage girls inexplicably driving around in the video. There’s not even the kind of camp quality that makes you keep watching Rebecca Black’s Friday like a horror movie. It’s just so easily forgotten that even during this review, this reporter has had to consult Wikipedia three times to remember the name of the band. It seems unlikely that their career will last long enough to end up with a residency on a cruise or a regular place at G-A-Y so it might be worth sending in an application to work on the shop floor at Hollister in advance. Alex Ross

Minutes before they went on stage at the LCR, Alex Ross sat down with The Xcerts to discuss touring, recording and musical space... How’s the tour been so far? Murray: Great. It’s only been a few days with TBS then we’re playing a few shows with Young Guns. Pretty much as soon as we finish up with them we’re going straight out with Manchester Orchestra. Do you feel like you gain something from touring with experienced bands like that? M: Absolutely. With every record you make, you learn something new about writing and recording and every time you tour you pick something up. I think with TBS it’s just that they’re such nice guys backstage. It’s a way of carrying yourself and treating eachother even when touring gets stressful. Mike Sapone produced your most recent album, Scatterbrain, how was that? M: Yeah it was amazing. We were the first non-American band to be produced by him which was a big honour. He produces everything in his house so we just flew out there and recorded. It was pretty surreal.

What does he bring to a record? M: He makes drums sound so good. He always has. Tom: The drums on Scatterbrain just sounded brilliant which is great for me! M: I think that’s something that really came through as well. That idea of a rhythm section leaving the guitar some space is a lot easier when the drums sound great. We were listening to records we really loved and that was something we picked up that we hadn’t been able to channel before. If you listen to something like In Utero, there’s a lot of space for the guitars without everything falling apart J: Surfer Rosa, too M: Yeah the Pixies are another band that do that really well. It’s something that we’ve only really started picking up now. People are always ready to say that you’re a Scottish band rather than just a band, but with bands like Frightened Rabbit and Twin Atlantic breaking out, is that something

that bothers you? J: To be mentioned alongside bands like that is just an honour in itself. M:I think what’s stranger is being labelled a ‘young band’. We always seem to get that tag but we’re not that young! Bands like Bombay Bicycle Club seem to get that too and they’ve just released their third album. But it can be a double-edged sword being from Scotland. When we did our first interview with Kerrang, Jordan said something very quickly about how he liked Biffy Clyro and their sub-headline ended up as ‘Xcerts: We Want to do a Biffy’. That was strange. Do you think being from Scotland does influence you in a unique way? M: For us biggest thing for us is the work ethic. My dad has been getting up at 4am to go to work for as long as I can remember. We used to come back from nights out in Aberdeen and he’d be getting up. We really try to bring that out in the way we work.


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The Brownies: Interviewed By Jordan Bright

et’s be honest, virtually all of us here at the UEA are completely ignorant of what Norwich has to offer in terms of local music. Sure you've been to gigs, but how many haven't taken place at the LCR, Waterfront or Arts Centre? Answer: too few, if any. What's that I hear you say? “But the Norwich music scene is non-existent, I'd much rather just see Bombay Bicycle Club for the third time this year!” How wrong you are. If what follows doesn't convince you to at least experience something local, Venue has a shovel that just might. It's always tempting to stick to the confines of the familiar, but perhaps it's time to broaden your outlook a little. The Brownies are one of the better known Norwich-based bands. A four-piece consisting of Sophie Little (vocals), Maxie Gedge (guitar), Stevie Gedge (bass) and Mike Sheils (drums). Having released their latest Finger EP in May, they emerged from a semi-hiatus to play the Norwich Arts Centre on the 1st September. The last time we covered you in Venue was when you played way back in January, what have you been up to since then? Sophie: As a foursome we've all been working on other things. Maxie: Me, Sophie and Stevie are in another band called Brothers (alongside Rosie and Ellie from Fever Fever) and Mike is in another band called Dinosaur Pile-Up. So we're doing our own stuff. With The Brownies... the release came out, but we haven't really done much with it. I did the artwork for it. S: It's been on our minds though, which is why we've decided to do a gig which is being put on by Gravy. So where are you currently, material wise? S: A lot of our older stuff, that was on our album (Our Knife, Your Back), has been laid to rest for now. Our sound has really changed as well, which I suppose is expected. M: We have two new songs which we've recorded. One of them we've only played live at our last gig (at The Marquee in January). I just think this next gig is going to be really selfindulgent. I know you started up Gravy (a record company, zine, gig promoter and PR company). How did this come about? What was the motivation behind it? M: It was a actually part of my degree. I was doing a course called Visual Studies at the Norwich University College of the Arts and I thought I'd start up a zine. We'd already been quite involved in the Norwich music scene for a couple of years. I'd also written for Outline Magazine as well, so I just thought I'd put it all together. S: We talked loads of times about starting a record label. We thought we could do it well: do it justice, give bands what we wanted but felt we weren't getting. A term I didn't understand, but I do now, is musical collective.

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The Brownies (l/r) Maxie, Stevie, Sophie and Mike It’s just a group of us and we all have exactly the same ethic when it comes to music. How would you describe the state of the Norwich music scene at the moment? How does it compare to other places? M: You get somewhere like Leeds and every single band is given huge exposure, just because it the Leeds music scene. I don’t know what it is about Norwich, maybe it just has a bad reputation as a city. S: I think it’s because it’s out of the way and not seen as very cool unless you’re actually in Norwich. M: With the music scene in Norwich as well, a lot of the bands are influenced by each other. It’s quite alternative music compared to Leeds (which we know because Mike’s involved with it through Dinosaur Pile-Up), a lot of the bands are more commercial. S: There’s quite a female presence as well. When we’ve been on tour we’ve realised it’s not always like that. M: I just don’t think Norwich has that misconception of rock as solely a macho thing. We always seem to turn these interviews into something about feminist issues (laughs). Where would be a good place to start for a student looking to get more involved in local music? M: Norwich Sound & Vision is happening in September. It’s not only Norwich bands playing, but because it’s a convention, for students it would be an ideal platform-

everyone will be networking. S: I present BBC Introducing in Norfolk, which is a radio show that broadcast every Friday night- but they also put out a monthly onlinemagazine, and put on gigs and sessions. That would be a perfect point to start if you were new to Norwich; all you would have to is listen back to it. There’s a whole variety of acts and they’re all from Norfolk. Which local bands would you recommend that are coming through? M: Khan, Brothers; we’re just going to say our friends. S: There’s also Context MC, who’s a UEA student. M: I like Death of Death of Discotheque S: Charlie Blue and the Colours M: Tawny Owl and the Birds of Prey: we’re putting them on as part of Sound & Vision on the 29th September. Where can you see bands like this play, and what’s the easiest way to hear about them? S: It’s mainly the St. Benedict’s area: the Arts Centre and The Bicycle Shop have a lot of good bands play at them. M: A lot of people are putting on shows at Olives. I think a massive problem with Norwich at the moment is the lack of venues. S: It’s all about the PA systems and the space. There needs to be a few better venues in the city centre. There are so many bands and so much live music, but not really enough venues to accommodate them. If you’re an

acoustic act though, its a different story. M: There are places like The Waterfront but they are too big and too expensive for the smaller, underground bands. S: If you go somewhere like we used to, the Take 5 Crypt (next to Cinema City), it’s too underground. You have such a small capacity that you can’t sell as many tickets as you’d like. M: A good place to find out when and where gigs are happening is norwichmusic.com Looking at promoters as well like Wombat Wombat, Twee Off!, Gravy, Soapbox. You can sign up to all of their mailing lists. What’s in the works for all of the members of the Brownies? S: We’re occupied with other things at the moment. In a nice way it’s on the back-burner and it’s quite exciting not knowing what is going to happen. M: We’ve never been in this position where we can just play the gigs that we want to. I think this [gig] is pretty a much one-off rarity. S: I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t gig again, as the Brownies, for like...years. We’re such good friends that I think we’re comfortable enough to say we don’t want to do this at the moment, but we don’t have to say we’re broken up. That’s why it’s so special [the show at the Arts Centre]. M: Mike’s doing really exciting stuff with Dinosaur Pile-Up, and we’re doing really exciting stuff with Brothers.


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CREATIVE WRITING

The New Queen, Part One - A Short Story by Emma Webb

y late afternoon the Duchess had already been dragged, screaming and struggling, away from the servants, whom she had caught washing black drapes and linens in preparation for the King’s death. On any other day imagining the death of the King would be treason, but his demise had become more than something to be imagined – it was in the cupboards, under the floorboards, hanging in the air like clouds of old dust. Once widowed, the Duchess would expect arrangements to have been made for her mourning, but she had already torn down three pairs of black drapes from the hall windows before being chased from the room. The sun was not quite setting over the castle but the sky had turned from royal blue to grey, the sealing down of light as a harsh chill settled on the shoulders of the King’s household. At the time of year everyone had hoped for a gold and rose sunset, the mingling of colour like flushed cheeks on bronzed skin. But it did not happen today. Servants walked briskly from place to place, speaking in hushed voices, and searching desperately for the Princess. The Princess had been wandering around the castle grounds for some time. At the first sign of her mother’s hysteria she had escaped out into the gardens and hid behind various foliage from the stewards she knew were searching for her. Her father had taken her to his rose gardens when she was much younger; he had taught her how to pick a rose without pricking her finger on the thorns, and also, how one should not pick roses at all because it wasn’t fair to the gardeners to had to plant them. Never one for quick decisions,

the King had ordered plantations of both red and white roses outside, as he never wanted to choose between the colours, and never wanted to be without roses. The Princess knew this. She would be taken to see him eventually; he would want her to bring him something to make him happy again, and maybe if he was happy, he would get better. She stared blankly at the petals, deceptively beautiful and soft. Red. Or white. She dithered like a bee for a moment or two, making slight movements between the two and leaning to smell them slightly, although there was little difference. Red reminded her of blood, and she considered perhaps he wouldn’t like that so much. White then, like the Duchess’ dress in the portraits of their wedding day. The Princess had gazed at them often, trying to imagine herself in a dress like that in pictures all over the castle walls. She found that she couldn’t. “Your Highness,” panted a small voice from behind her. The Princess turned sharply and narrowed her little eyes at the steward. It was the important one; she couldn’t remember his name but he seemed almost always flushed, and nervous. The Princess sighed sharply and pulled a white rose from the bush at her side, the way her father had taught her. The thorn pricked her finger and it instantly started to bleed. “Your Highness, I think we ought…” began the steward, but the Princess marched off in the direction of the castle without listening, leaving the steward trailing behind her, tripping over his own feet in an effort to catch up with her. The Princess strode towards the main staircase, not wanting to

be led somewhere she could find herself by this blundering fool. They passed two or three of the apprentice gardeners, frantically pulling at needles and green thread and stitching leaves back onto the old oak tree by the main doors. Dozens of rough, emerald leaves were scattered all over the ground as if the branches had been vigorously shaken, and try as they might the gardeners seemed to be getting nowhere with the exercise. They bickered senselessly and dropped almost everything they held in their shaking hands. The Princess lifted her nose and strode past, stepping over shards of smashed terracotta plant pots and the shattered remains of the Duchess’ beloved glass figure of a cat as she did so. Such a mess. She hoped it would be gone by the time she returned. At the foot of the stairs the Princess heard a fighting scream and a dull thud – a chair perhaps, hitting the wooden floor. Four small padded feet skipped from the room; the Duchess’ new kitten, to replace the decrepit old feline that had died the week before, not quite adjusted yet to the workings of the household. The Princess often thought she saw it smile politely at her. The kitten, at least, knew its place; she felt perhaps she could tolerate it more than any of the others. Once she had been almost certain it had winked at her from across the pond – but of course, there was always the chance it was simply blinking. Disappointing, but nevertheless. The kitten dashed across the Princess’ path and slid its tiny body through the jarred door that led to the King’s room. The Princess picked up her chin and marched in after it.

To be continued next issue ...

SPOTLIGHT

Q&A with UEA writers. This week - Jennifer Grey What are you studying?

English literature with creative writing – predictably, considering this is a creative writing page.

What’s your favourite word?

“Daemon” which is old-spell for “demon” but is far more satisfying to look at, if pronounced the same. Also “spiderwise”, but I think I made that one up (I use it in everyday conversation until other people believe it’s real) and “beresk”, which is a mixture of “beserk’”and “bereft” that my Mam made up. Made up words are more fun.

How do you defeat writer’s block?

I tell myself I can’t sleep, eat or leave the house until I’ve written a certain amount of words. It’s surprising how motivational this is.

What inspires you?

Books, philosophy and penguins. Also, being told “you can’t do that”, “your ambitions are unrealistic” and “poetry is dead”.

Who are your favourite writers?

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andre Kurkov, George Szirtes, Vasko Popa and Angela Carter. With a complete lack of all pretension.

Poems on the theme of

NEXT WEEK

‘beginnings’. Please email your submissions to concrete.creativewriting@ uea.ac.uk by 5th October

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

Not to Kindle. If I drop my book in the bath, I don’t want it to be the last bath I ever take.

Do you prefer handwriting or typing? Typing. It means I can read it the next day.

Where do you write?

Sat in the middle of the living room floor. I need noise and company and victims to entrap into reading my work. Well, someone has to.

Read Jennifer’s poetry at the Creative Writing blog on www.concrete-online.co.uk


FASHION The

24.09.2011

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fewer the clothes the better?

The transformation of ‘sex’ in the fashion industry

The Hotlist London Fashion Week Special

Smokin’ Olivia Palmero. The woman everyone wanted to be at LFW.

Block Colours. As bright as possible please.

Maxi Skirts. Fear not, you won’t be needing to throw yours out for a while yet.

Chokin’

“Sex”, a term feared, revelled in, censored and enjoyed by many. Celebrated in some cultures, taboo in others, yet there’s no denying that in the 21st century it has crept into most corners of western culture, and it sells. It was more than inevitable then that it was going to make its way into the UK fashion industry, worth around £21bn a year! Fashion is influenced and involved in music, television, and other quadrants of everyday life. The rise of popular shows such as Secret Diaries of A Call Girl presents sex in a glamorous light, as Belle De Jour dances inside our televisions in beautiful lingerie and sophisticated, expensive dresses. Whilst this inspires us to dress well on the outside and underside, the evolving trend indicates much more than just sexy underwear. The rise of the glamour model has swiftly moved from the likes of Jordon (main focus: cleavage) to the A-lister Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley (all curves, pout and long tan legs). This summer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has covered the front page of Elle magazine, won a Glamour award, and even featured in Transformers 3. The glamour model look and lifestyle is now something to be aspired to, and with Victoria Secret hitting the UK in 2012 there is a clear move away from high street sex stores such as Ann Summers, usually noted as “trashy’” It is sex as something glamorous that sells now, associated with beautiful

What

Anoraks. Always unfashionable, no matter how hard they try

undergarments and sophistication, and yet there is another side to this whole trend. The catwalk fetish trend screamed old school burlesque clubs and a hint towards the taboo side of sex, it’s exciting. The A/W ‘11 catwalks produced everything to transform the women of today into expert seductresses. Black was the clear-cut colour of choice, with additions of lace, fishnet and intricate corsetry. Fabrics of choice evidently had to be leather and PVC, with softer additions of crushed velvet on tight panelled dresses and there was even a nod to bondage in straps and harnesses. Kate Moss even graced the catwalk of Louis Vuitton, cigarette in hand, cementing the rebellious nature of the fetish-inspired collection. Whilst a little too far for some, the trend is simple enough to wear in high street terms of leather dresses, and stockings peeking out beneath winter skirts. Sex in television and music clearly sells, and now fashion is focusing on every flipside of it. Whilst debates rage over issues of lingerie for young children, high end designers are clearly into the fetish trend in a big way. Agent Provocateur alone is a clear indication of the luxury of sex and lingerie, and now we’re talking outerwear too. Just please don’t go overboard, there’s only so much we can cope with at our 9am lecture. Milly Sampson

do the people behind Name: Milly Sampson Section: fashion editor Style: made her shorts from her childhood jeans

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Concrete

wear to create the magic?

Introducing Concrete’s new editor...

Name: Alex Throssell Section: Venue editor Style: Steals clothes from unsuspecting grandparents

Clown Couture. If Meadham Kirchhoff had their way, we would all dress like this. Just say “no” kids.

Tavi Gevinson. She’s 15. She’s a fashion blogger. She’s a nightmare.

Name: Hannah Britt Section: deputy editor and fashion editor Style: too cheap to buy a new pair, washed her shoes four times after

Name: Chris King Section: editor in chief Style: Accessoring with a can of Dr Pepper

Name: Alex Ross Section: music editor Style: wishes he was born in the 1940s, with a dash of dressed up hillbilly chic


Greg Mann Photography

There’s

FASHION

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Greg Mann Photography

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24.09.2011

no boob-envy in India

The quest for perfection is out of control, it’s time to escape

P

icture the scene. You’re in Lola’s. It’s Wednesday. The DJ has just finished playing that song which goes, “to the window, to the wall, til’ the sweat drops down my balls...” Your friend is in front of you, grinding on a boy she barely knows. Rihanna comes on and she begins mouthing, “sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me,” seductively towards him. He doesn’t notice. He’s not looking at her face. Sound familiar? I thought so… As I write this, I am sat cross legged on the floor of a rooftop café in Varanassi, India. A bead of sweat swells at the base of my neck, gathering momentum down my back until it hits and soaks into the top of my trousers. The pen feels slippery in my hand.

I am drinking a coffee which tastes like soil and there is grime embedded in every single one of my pores. There is mud (I say mud, although it is actually more likely to be poo - in India there is a saying: “if in doubt it’s probably poo”) ingrained in my shoes. I smell. It feels amazing. There is no point in wearing makeup here in Varanassi, as it is so humid that it would slide down your face the moment you flip flop out of the door. Due to the holiness of the city, there is also no point in wearing anything but drab baggy clothes. Loose is a must. Tourists and locals alike are a potpourri of drudge colours. Everyone is equally drab. As a result, there is no boob envy in Varanassi. There is no worry about washboard abs, no stress about

the cellulite on your thighs. It is refreshing. In the western world, we are constantly bombarded with images of perfection. Without even realising it, we are groomed towards selfimprovement. We moisturise. We pluck. We push up. We suck in. Our crusade towards flawlessness is never ending. It is exhausting. Sometimes we are in danger of wearing so much makeup, that we lose the definition of our actual faces. A friend of mine has been with her boyfriend for over two years and yet she has never let him see her without foundation. This is an improvement; it took her a year to lose the mascara, the blusher, the concealer, the…list goes on. Another friend has a figure which you would happily swap your entire collection

of Kurt Geiger’s for. However, the crazy girl pads her bra so much that her double A’s look more like double D’s. God knows what she puts down there; chicken fillets, tissues, socks, guinea pigs… it’s quite a feat of engineering, believe me. Now, I am not deluded. I am aware that I would not be able to rock up to Lola’s in baggy trousers caked in cow poo. I would probably be refused entry even if I plucked up the confidence to leave my house sans makeup. There is a time and a place to be in a state of “disgusting skank”. But we should remember the beauty in it from time to time.

Hannah Britt


WIRED

24.09.2011

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The Rundown to Christmas

T

Gears of War 3

T

he third and final instalment of Xbox 360 blockbuster, Gears of War places Marcus Fenix on the planet Sera, eighteen months after the fall of Jacinto, the survivors move to the island of Vectes to rebuild. Soon however, the Imulsion infected Lambent began to emerge from the ground.

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he dry months of the summer are over everybody, the final quarter of the year is here and boy what a quarter it is shaping up to be. Almost every week running up to Christmas there is a big release in the gaming world. This year has not been spectacular for games so far with the big releases coming in the form of Portal 2, L.A Noire and the lacklustre Nintendo 3DS. This generation of consoles is starting to show their age and the release timetable is starting to slow down (or even come to a stop with regards to a Wii). One should not despair though, this autumn and holiday season is looking to be one of the most promising for this console generation. The summer gaming drought’s ending was marked with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution at the end of August and what a great game it was to bring us all in from the wonderful British summer outside and back into our living rooms/bedrooms to return to the recluse world of video games. Since then we have seen the release of Resistance 3 for the Playstation 3, Space Marine, Dead Island, and the annual selection of various EA Sports games. This selection already is top notch and in a weak year these would be the top releases.

This year however is different. On 20th September Microsoft unleashed their main first party title, Gear of War 3, one of the most pre ordered games of all time. The other big release in September is Fifa 12 which will undoubtedly sell in huge quantities as it does every year. October is possibly one of the greatest release months in history. On 7th October Dark Souls and Rage are released, both are highly anticipated and both are shaping up to potential game of the year contenders. Forza 4 for the Xbox 360, Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3 all roll in at weekly intervals towards the end of October. There is too much choice! Five days after Battlefield 3 is released we have Uncharted 3, again a probable game of the year nominee. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Super Mario 3DS, and Halo: Anniversary Edition are all titles that are released through the month of November. Zelda: Skyward Sword also appears finally on the 18th November as the last big release for the Wii. The release machine slows down slightly in December but still there are plenty of triple A titles. Mario Kart 7 is due for early December as Nintendo

formulate their make or break 3DS Christmas push. Finally, as if one did not have enough to keep occupied over the Christmas break the highly anticipated MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic is set for a 31st December release. What a line up! The only problem with it though is that there is no way one could play all of these games; there are just too many. This begs the question: why release them all in the last four months of the year? Why not spread them out slightly over the spring and summer months? However, it does mean that games from this Q4 will be played long into next year. Josh Mott

Soon Marcus learns a secret that forces him on journey to save humanity from the brink of extinction...again. EPIC Games have added some great new features to the gameplay. For instance four-player co-op has been introduced for the first time in the series. The player primarily plays as Marcus Fenix, although at several points throughout the game other characters become available. There are several new playable characters including three women; Samantha Byrne,

Anya Stroud and Queen Myrrah. The other new playable characters include Jace Stratton and Griffin, the leader of a group of human survivors called the Stranded. Canadian rapper Drake voices Jace, while hip-hop star Ice-T is the voice Griffin. Aside from new COG characters there are also several new Locust enemies, including the Savage Grenadier, the Digger Boomer and the Kantus Knight. Moreover, there are also new weapons such as the retro lancer,

similar to the ordinary lancer but with a blade bayonet attachment and a slower rate of fire, the digger launcher, a gun that launches small digging creatures through the ground that explode and the one shot, a heavy sniper rifle that kills enemies in a single shot. In addition to the new weaponry comes a fully controllable mech suit, called a silverback, which is available for use in certain parts of the game, armed with a machine gun and rocket launcher. When it comes to multiplayer in Gears 3, EPIC have also been very busy. Additions include ‘beast mode’ which is similar to ‘horde mode’ but instead of battling the Locusts, the player instead attacks COG, starting with weaker creatures such as wretches and tickers. Players are able to upgrade their character to a stronger class of Locust by collection tokens from fallen enemies. ‘Horde mode’ is also featured once again but it is far more strategic than in Gears 2. Players can now choose an area as their command post and earn cash from kills which can be used to build defences around it, fences, turrets and yes, the Silverback mech suit. In addition to this online runs on dedicated servers due to multiple issues that plagued multiplayer in Gears of War 2. Additionally, players can earn awards based on their performance and unlock several different character variants such as new executions and weapon skins. The gameplay is as solid as ever and the additions made by the team at EPIC have polished and strengthened the title immensely. Tom Mott


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24.09.2011

Retro column: F-Zero X (1998)

Wire In...SEPTEMBER

Driver San Francisco is released. Developers hope the game’s new and unique game mechanics will spark a resurgence in the franchise which has lost its way over the last few installations.

want, shared with the people you care about, made easy.” Microsoft have been looking for a better integration of gaming, especially casual gaming, into their PCs and tablets. This of course comes after the huge success of Apple’s App Store.

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Microsoft gives out wave of bans for users’ “illegitimately accessing Xbox Live content”.

Dead Island released. The game is on the cusp of greatness but fails to live up to the hype generated by its superb trailer. Warhammer 40k: Space Marine released allowing players into the Warhammer 40K universe to chainsaw their way through the Ork hordes. The release time seems slightly odd as Space Marine finds itself up against Gears of War 3 and both games have an extremely similar style.

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Tokyo Game Show begins. Organisers have decided to scale down the show substantially with a greater focus on smaller games including trading card games. The shrinking of this show over the past five years is a clear example of the Japanese gaming industry taking a back seat to the US. Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. Microsoft gave out an official press statement saying; “Bringing Xbox LIVE to Windows 8 is part of our vision to bring you all the entertainment you

Codemasters to close Bodycount studio. The studio stated that they want a greater focus on their racing games (DIRT). The closure is not surprising after Bodycount’s pour critical reception and lacklustre sales. Max Payne 3 debut trailer released.

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Released in 1998 during the peak of the Nintendo 64’s global dominance, F-Zero X stands out as a masterpiece in the science fiction, high-speed racing genre. Players assumed the control of 30 playable characters, some human, some alien and some a mixture of the two but all with their own unique handling, weight and speed. F-Zero X was the third entry by Japanese company EAD in the F-Zero franchise and marked the first time the game series featured 3D graphics that would have

the screen, Nintendo developers were forced to limit the graphicial output in order to keep the game functioning at 60 frames per second. However these problems become minor issues when your vehicle is reaching speeds of over 1000 km/h. Races consisted of the stereotypical three lap system as players were forced to squeeze past their 30 opponents in a bid to claim first place. After completing the first lap, players unlocked the ability to use their so-called ‘boost power’ to make themselves go even

surely left gamers of the late 90s in absolute hysterics. What mostly stands out about this Nintendo classic is its euphoric soundtrack, a collection of over 40 guitar shredding tunes that complement the high speeds of the vehicles like bread and butter. These unforgettable tunes and the sheer experience of the onscreen racing firmly asserted the game’s status as one of a kind. Players would be thrown into races against 30 other onscreen opponents in a high speed showdown that covered a variety of fluorescent and everchanging landscapes. In order to provide gamers with such a high level of intensity on

faster along the track, but at the price of draining their own energy levels. Too many collisions with obstacles and other drivers resulted in players coming to an untimely end in a fiery inferno. But that danger, combined with such extraordinary speed limits kept players glued to their controllers in 1998, and is what keeps this game so much fun even 13 years after its release. This game is definitely worth a revisit any time and puts the efforts of the Italian plumber Mario and his little go kart to absolute shame. Andrew Wilkins

EA release Battlefield 3 blowout at TGS. It has to be said that Modern Warfare 3 is being out hyped by Battlefield 3. Xbox TV launching this Christmas season. Microsoft claim to be in talks with “dozens or hundreds of video providers and streamers.” The application will utilize Bing and the Kinect.

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Gears of War 3 released to rave reviews. Developer Crytek are working on the Homefront sequel. Hopefully it should be better than the first title as it is listed for a Q4 2014 release, so they have plenty of time to get it right.

Appy Corner: Tiny Tower Labelled by many as one of the most addictive games on the App Store. In Tiny Tower the player takes control of their own tower block. The aim of the game is simply to build as many floors as possible. Players have the choice of building retail, creative, food, recreational, and service floors. In order to staff these, one also has to build apartment buildings. But the fun does not end here. Players have to keep each floor stocked in order to gain money, and in turn the money allows players to buy more floors and restock existing ones. The other currency in the game is the Tower Bux. Bux can buy new elevators, outfits for your ‘Bitizens’, as well as many other interesting but unnecessary things. This game is not really one that will hold your attention for hours on end. All players really have to do is restock their floors, build new ones and then leave their stock to sell and the Bux to pile up. Other than that, the only thing to do is lift people up and down the elevator and the fun wears thin very fast. In terms of art style, Tiny Tower has an eight bit look to it which adds to its casual nature. There are no multiplayer features

WIRED

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apart from being able to see your friend’s towers on the Apple Game Centre. For anyone who is a fan of The Sims or various Tycoon games Tiny Tower is a must buy. In fact you do not even have to buy it because it is free and therefore there is no reason not to have a go!

Essential - Gaming & Technology feeds @extralife: Scott Johnson is the founder of the Frogpants Studios’ podcast empire and is one of the most respected internet personalities. From his feed you can accesses various shows from the network, including the superb App Slappy and Final Score. @Kotaku: One of the best sources on the internet for video game news and speculation. Kotaku has more of a personal approach to journalism than many of the other big gaming sites. @cinemassacre: Another highly respected and recognisable internet personality, James Rolfe’s twitter feed allows quick access to the great shows that Cinemassacre has to offer. See Angry Video Game Nerd and Monster Madness for a taste.

@michaelpachter: One of the best analysts of the gaming and technology industries. Pachter gives great insights into the industry as well as interesting predictions for the future. @ncroal: One of the most down to earth members of the video game community, frequently appearing on Gametrailers.com’s Bonus Round, Croal gives interesting and often edgy insight into the industry. @therealcliffyb: Cliff Bleszinski is the head designer on the Gears of War team. His tweets are especially passionate, although do often come across as a bit arrogant. Despite this he is always worth a read. @wired_uea: Get up to date technology and gaming news direct to your Twitter feed with Wired UEA. Also links to the Wired Tumbler blog section to see what is going on in the UEA gaming community.


FILM Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Director: Tomas Alfredson

Country: United Kingdom Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt

I

n a time when huge explosions and pointless 3D effects are the norm in mainstream cinema, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes as a breath of fresh air, albeit a very cold one. The first film adaptation of John Le Carré’s 1974 spy novel, directed by the Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson, is an atmospheric and gripping thriller that plunges you into the murky world of Cold War espionage. Aided by the beautifully bleak cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, the muted tones and autumnal shades of 1970s London come into crisp focus, whilst the stunning attention to detail really evokes the period. The story focuses on George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a retired spy, and his quest to unearth a Soviet mole from within the inner circle of the British Secret Intelligence Service, known as “The Circus”. The plot is incredibly complex and intricate and can become confusing at times, but the characters within it are so intriguing and well acted (the cast reads like a dream, starring some of Britain’s finest actors) that you become utterly engrossed by them. Gary Oldman, an actor with an intense and often manic style of acting, which has seen

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him play a lot of troubled characters in the past, excels in a leading role that has brought him to the attention of the wider public. His restrained and nuanced performance as Smiley is a wonderful example of “less is more”. Oldman reigns in the fury to create a character whose emotions seethe beneath a cool exterior, making the rare moments of intensity even more effective when he shows them. The camera is ever watchful, panning along to follow the characters, and zooming in through slates in a blind to peer in on secret conversations, taking a voyeuristic view of a dark and hidden world. In one scene, reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, we witness a character watching the various events through the windows of the flat opposite him; the audience become spies along with the characters. Such a well made film deserves to be a success, but at just over two hours in length, it requires a lot of concentration from the viewer to keep up with the twists and turns of the plot. However, the mood and atmosphere immerses you from the very beginning, and the moments of drama and suspense that shiver up through the smoke are well worth the wait. Annie Rhodes

30 Minutes Or Less

The Skin I Live In

Visually poetic but with the brutality of a Hammer Horror, Pedro Almodovar’s recent art-house flick focuses on pop culture’s current obsession with outward beauty and the identity it can convey. Antonio Banderas delivers a performance that is brooding yet chillingly indifferent, playing a psychopathic surgeon involved in a medical project so horrific it will have you diving for the off switch. Described as ‘Kafkaesque’, the narrative employs an engaging script and follows a trajectory in which normality is subverted and the unbelievable becomes acceptable. Maximum brownie points are deserved for the cinematography, which employs the optical lyricism of sleek shots and the

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juxtaposing of rich reds against the fragility of fleshy tones. Lighting is also a key part of each scene, where shadows are thrown across the contours of the set, as if it too were a body with skin. Echoing horror movies of the 1950s, the film voices society’s impending fear of the scientific coupled with the unknown. Although we are treated to shots of laboratories, scary looking instruments and all other things scifi, it pushes genre conventions by refusing to rely on gore to get a cheap scare. If you like fast paced psychological thrillers, (and men frolicking in tiger onesies) this one’s for you. Joanna O’Connor

30 Minutes Or Less is Zombieland director, Ruben Fleischer’s latest offering, and is in the same teen comedy ballpark. The plot focuses around Nick, (Jesse Eisenberg) a 20-something with a dead end job as a pizza boy. However, his mundane pizza delivery life is rudely interrupted when Dwayne (Danny McBride) straps a bomb to Nick’s chest, and forces him to rob a bank, so that he can afford to pay an assassin to kill his father, allowing him to live out his dream of owning a tanning salon. Whilst ridiculous and occasionally tenuous, the plot never fails to entertain. Eisenberg gives a solid, if predictable, performance in a familiar role that doesn’t

stretch his acting talents like The Social Network. The humour is, for the most part, crude and unoriginal, with many jokes seemingly lifted straight from the American Pie School of Comedy. Viewers should expect a lot of sexual innuendo but there are some truly comic gems buried in the script. Overall, whilst 30 Minutes Or Less shamelessly uses every comic cliché in the book, it has enough laughs to make it an enjoyable enough viewing for any comedy fan.

Tom White


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FILM

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Jane Eyre

After numerous adaptations, it is surprising how contemporary the latest version of this Brontë classic feels. The story charts the life of Jane Eyre, from her beginnings as an orphaned child shunned by her aunt, as she matures into an independent young woman. Working as governess under the mysterious Mr. Rochester, she falls deeply in love. However, Jane is tested when he reveals a dark secret locked away at Thornfield Hall. The film itself is visually stunning. Cary Fukunaga captures the natural beauty of the countryside setting whilst creating a dark, eerie atmosphere that you’d expect from a gothic romance. Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are exceptional as Jane and Rochester. Their relationship is utterly believable, touching at times and intense throughout. Wasikowska delivers a perfectly understated performance that carries the film and Fassbender is a perfect Rochester: convincing, attractive and charismatic. The supporting cast are also superb. Not a surprise with the likes of Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, adding some warmth and humour to the film. There are some plot elements which seem rather rushed and underdeveloped in comparison to the novel but, saying that, it is an excellent adaptation; beautiful to look at and finely acted. Kieran Field

Slackers Club For those of you who don’t know, once a month, E4 and Picturehouse Cinemas team up and do something rather lovely for us frugal, film-loving students. In a campaign dubbed The Slackers Club, any NUS card holder is eligible to attend a completely free showing of a yet-to-be-released film every month. Most recently, Slackers members were treated to a showing of the hilarious Troll Hunter, adding to the high calibre of previous freebies including the critically acclaimed Submarine, the romantic drama Never Let Me Go, as well as action-comedy Scott Pilgrim v.s the World. But if you missed all that, never fear! October promises something completely new and undoubtedly very exciting. In order to attend the latest previews, simply present your student card in any Picturehouse Cinema (that’s Cinema City for us Norwich folk!) Doing so will get you your very own membership card with which you are able to book a seat for the latest screening. Seats will go on a first-comefirst-served basis so remember to book in advance to secure tickets for you and your friends. So as soon as the next film is announced be sure to hurry on down to Cinema City and grab a seat. Happy slacking! James Collins

Fright Night

Friends With Benefits

This Craig Gillespie feature, a remake of a forgotten 1980s surprise box office hit, revolves around your average lovable geek Charley (Anton Yelchin) who encounters the tough task of convincing his mother that their new next door neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire before she falls for his bad-boy charms. Unusually for a horror-comedy, Gillespie manages to avoid average and overused clichés and doesn’t fall into the common trap of being neither humorous nor hair-raising. Instead Gillespie has brilliantly walked the line between the incredibly tense and the hilarious. The cast frequently throw around some brilliant one-liners and Christopher MintzPlasse, who takes a small supporting role, delivers as usual, being fabulously funny as the hopeless geek whom Charley is desperately trying to ditch. The standout star of the film is perhaps David Tenant, who delivers a brilliant and quirky performance as the drunkard, vampire-hunting magician Peter Vincent. Having jumped onto this summer’s 3D blockbuster bandwagon, tickets cost that little bit extra for what seems a very unnecessary feature, unless you are endlessly amused by a few splatters of blood coming your way. Whilst Farrell does look incredibly alluring in 3D, it might be best to wait for the DVD. Coelis Witcher

Director Will Gluck hits all the right notes with this hilariously raunchy rom-com. The film opens with GQ Magazine headhunter Jamie (Mila Kunis) picking Dylan (Justin Timberlake) up from the airport, and trying to persuade him that life in the Big Apple is much more interesting than in Los Angeles. Cue unsubtly hints about how ‘emotionally damaged’ they are following previous break-ups, and the pair are soon fumbling between the sheets. The film’s much talked about sex scenes are incredibly graphic, so viewing partners should be selected wisely. Having said this, it is noble that the film refuses to shy away from their frequent frolics, and these scenes are side-splitting to watch. Gluck skilfully adds extra emotion to the film, giving a rare glimpse into how Jamie and Dylan’s actions affect their families. With the film’s main premise following Jamie and Dylan’s ambition to prove that friends can have sex without complications, it does not take a genius to work out that their experiment is going to fail. Sound familiar? No Strings Attached used this concept earlier this year, yet this film undoubtedly does it better. Although the film is hardly ground-breaking, Friends with Benefits is a likeable, feel-good film that is worth a watch. Elizabeth Poole

Where to find them:

Book your tickets online at: www.picturehouses.co.uk


FILM now that the

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24.09.2011

Harry Potter

Talking Movies

franchise has come to an end,

or over a decade, the name Harry Potter has been travelling around the globe. In 1997, J. K. Rowling finally convinced Bloomsberg to publish her saga about the 11-yearold-boy wizard. The story opened up a world of magic and mystery into the lives of adults and children alike. In 2001, the first novel was purchased by Warner Bros, bringing an adaptation to our screens. Thousands of fans and thousands of people unfamiliar with the book entered cinemas across the globe where they watched this magical world erupt before their eyes. For many it was only the beginning of a decade long series, which has ended in a total of eight films. This summer brought about the end of an

“The story opened up a world of magic and mystery into the lives of adults and children alike.”

www.concrete-online.co.uk

16

SAMANTHA ROGERS reflects on what the final instalment meant to fans

things light. It has everything the book had tried to get across and it can therefore be considered a complete success. It may have been this success that allowed so many fans to finally say goodbye to the series. This saga has been one of a kind for this generation. With its ending comes an unfamiliar territory to most, as the question

era, or so many people would argue. For many the Harry Potter series has been a large part of their lives and so this summer may have been an emotional one. And so it is lucky that the final instalment in the series, The Deathly Hallows: Part Two, was such a brilliant success. Naturally, the box office was hit by a storm on the 15th July, as fans from across the globe queued up to watch the last film of such

an extravagant series. It is therefore good that the film itself did not disappoint. With the journey taking a turn and focussing more intensely on Harry Potter, audiences were able to travel with him as he fought against Voldemort for the very last time. The film has moments for everyone, from action seeping out of pores, to tragic scenes that break the heart, and comedic moments to keep

“Audiences were able to travel with Harry as he fought against Voldermort for the very last time.” is asked: what comes next? Certainly, people across the world are keeping their eye out for the next series to grab their hearts and lives the way Harry Potter did. Twilight has attempted it and The Hunger Games is just around the corner, but can these really live up to the expectations that Harry Potter has left behind? Only time will tell.

The Popcorn Chart top

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Spanning a period almost as epic as its content, the screen adaptation came to a close with what was arguably the most competent offering of the series. Action-packed yet peppered with emotional beats conducted by some of the better acting in the saga, The Deathly Hallows managed to drag Harry Potter out of its comfortable “suitably fun” zone and give the series the send-off it deserved. Although, in the long run, it is difficult to assess what our generation will remember most: Neville Longbottom’s stealing of the show or the laughable “are-they-adults?-orare-they-just-very-tired?” closing sequence at King’s Cross.

Super 8 Geek-icon J.J Abrams participated his two cents to the summer box office with his nostalgia-infused homage to Spielberg, Super 8 (gracefully produced by the man himself) with a “destructive-yet-not-inherently-evil” alien vs. nerdy kids showdown. Only, unlike some of the fanciest affairs this summer, Abrams succeeded in keeping the visuals and the antagonist from being the priority above all else, choosing to focus on obtaining great

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summer films of

performances (notably out of Elle Fanning) and an emotionally-engaging story narrated by likeable characters, as well as the odd dramatic cliché, necessary to fuel any competent summer blockbuster.

Fast Five As far as enormous doses of unrestrained testosterone go, Fast Five successfully hit the top of the box office by delivering some of the most fun you could expect from a cocktail of post-modernist critique, poetic landscapes and humble performances. That’s not strictly true. In fact, Fast Five’s action is as over-the-top as that previous statement was incorrect (read: completely). Vin Diesel drives his cast through a succession of brainless, and unabashedly enjoyable set pieces, customarily packed with various sizes of explosions and flashy cars.

2011

Strictly for manly men with muscles (and excitable teens)!

Bridesmaids Summer 2011 proved a gift for every extreme of the gender spectrum when Bridesmaids hit the deck. Essentially a female response to The Hangover, the movie’s greatness revolves around the comedy chops of a top-notch Kristen Wiig and a colourful palette of female co-stars who bring enough to the table to make up for some of the more low-brow, gross-out moments. While Apatow’s R-rated comedies previously kept its protagonists social outcasts of sorts, rarely venturing outwards of male issues, Bridesmaids bravely explored new territory by being undoubtedly feminine, yet inducing laughs from every member of the species.

and enough geeky inside jokes to please the most elitist member of the lowest denominator. Fassbender and McAvoy’s effortless chemistry only ever overshadowed by the adolescent shenanigans of some of the more youthful characters. James Bearclaw

X-Men: First Class

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for

Out of the seemingly endless list of Marvel’s current roster of bankable superheroes, only Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class really cut it with its submarine-lifting antics and a gigantic cast of sickeningly beautiful people complaining about being outcasts. However, viewers who were ready for anything after the debacle that was X-Men: The Last Stand, were greeted by a powerful punch of cinematic showmanship

Join us at SocMart on Tuesday 27th September. Like our Facebook Page ‘UEA Concrete Film’ or email us at concrete.film@uea.ac.uk


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24.09.2011

lassic

Charis Turner some

of

the

gives great

ARTS

www.concrete-online.co.uk

us

American Movies

her

American

thoughts

on

classics

that

have fuelled pop culture and informed our lives

W

hen confronted with the idea of classic American movies, I thought of The Godfather, The Graduate, quotes from Rocky, Marilyn Monroe and posters from films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s; aspects of which can be seen everywhere, whether it be on an episode of MTV Cribs or in the poster sale on campus. I’d heard a lot about The Godfather but was not very optimistic when deciding to watch it. I genuinely believed there was

“American cinema has been an influential part of most of our lives. I think may of us can admit that we owe it a lot.” no way I’d be able to watch it the whole way through. Somehow after nearly three hours I was watching the heroic Marine son transform into the new Don, quoting his father: “I’ll give him an offer he can’t refuse.” I was instantly hooked. I finally understood why the theme, dialogue and icons of this film have become cultural touchstones in society: seeing is believing! The Graduate is another film that came to mind. An old favourite, a narrative of the transition from a clueless and innocent adolescent into an adult is a story that most viewers can relate to. A seemingly driven young graduate who is seduced by the irrevocably alluring wife of his father’s colleague, Mrs Robinson, pushing thoughts of the future out of his head as he gets trapped in a seemingly never-ending affair of debauched, secret meetings. This comes to an abrupt end when he begins dating

her daughter Elaine. Ironically the intention he has of pushing her away on their first date is the reason he falls in love with her. A twisted love story that has an eerie backdrop of secrecy and seduction without the unnecessary dramatics, The Graduate makes for a classic and undeniably iconic film. The Graduate allows viewers to see all aspects of the characters personality alongside raw emotion as it would be seen in real life through the contrast of the two main female characters; the manipulative and foxy Mrs. Robinson who seduces the clueless Benjamin at the start, with the notorious question, “Would you like me to seduce you?” Later, the viewer almost pities her when it becomes clear that her forced marriage has sentenced her to a life of inescapable loneliness. Then there is her daughter, the young, trusting Elaine Robinson, who shows her naivete and innocence in the first date scene, changing the whole plot of the film by causing the viewers to understand how Benjamin’s loving and almost protective feelings for her gradually develop. The Graduate has a truly

original plot and explosive ending, leaving the viewers wondering with Benjamin and Elaine’s crushing “What now?” expression, allowing for a gripping love story and a starting point for many films that followed. Some classic American films have brought out such emotion in their viewers that it has meant the movies have extended their fame beyond the screen, to become a fashion symbol or a trend that lives on way beyond the popularity of that film. The classic Audrey Hepburn poster for Breakfast at Tiffany’s is more widely known than the meaning or plot of the film itself at. Before I started this article I would have found it hard to say which film Robert De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?” quote was from (Taxi Driver), although I’ve heard people say it repeatedly. To me, the real classics are those you can watch over and over at different parts of your life and every time you watch them they have a new meaning to you; E.T as a child is a scary, exciting film about a friendly alien. Adult viewers see a lonely Elliot who finds a friend in E.T, making the final farewell scene even more moving. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was the first full-length animation that Disney produced in 1937, but has remained a

favourite to children and a classic to adults for all this time. Whether it is the infamous The Godfather, an icon or line from your favourite movie, or simply a scene from an old Disney film, American cinema has been an influential part of most of our lives. I think many of us can admit that we owe it a lot.

VENUE STATS Highest Grossing Films in the US 1. Avatar ($760m) 2. Titanic ($600m) 3. The Dark Knight ($553m) 4. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope ($460m) 5. Shrek 2 ($436m) 6. E.T: The Extra Terrestrial ($434m) 7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace ($431m) 8. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest ($423m) 9. Toy Story 3 ($414m) 10. Spider-Man ($403m)


ARTS

24.09.2011

www.concrete-online.co.uk

Friday Night Lights - H.G. Bissinger

M

ost people in the UK are bewildered when they see the spectacle of American football on a television screen. A sport which involves teams of more than 50 heavily armoured players running for five seconds before stopping for a minute, all the while surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, cheerleaders and brass bands, is simultaneously awe inspiring and laughable. Somehow, H. G. Bissinger commits this maddening energy to the page and reveals that when compared with the swirling storm of the players’ lives, what we see on the field is a peaceful place. Friday Night Lights is H. G. Bissingers’ record of a year in the late 1980s spent in the small oil drilling town of Odessa, Texas; home to the Permian Panthers. Biassinger’s 17-yearold players might easily slip into obscurity in any other country. Here they are held up as the last surviving symbol of the town’s great achievements back in the days when Texas was the only place a decent man could get his oil from. Taking pride of place in front of each player’s house is a sign letting the whole world know where the likes of star running back Boobie Miles and team captain Brian Chavez live. Bissinger has a talent for describing

This Week... In Arts History Concrete Arts wishes Stephen King a Happy Birthday!

the players’ movements so that, while the intricacies may be murky to those uninitiated in football, a relative novice can picture the plays as if they were there under the blaring lights themselves. He moves elegantly from the frantic action of the football field to the unchanging turmoil around it. Racial segregation, the boom and bust of Texas’ oil industry and America’s skewed opinions on education and sporting legacy all play out. At one point a court hearing is held to determine the grade of Gary Edwards in Algebra II. The court room is packed and frothing because he is a star player for the championship contender team Dallas Carter and this grade determines whether he is eligible to continue playing. If he had been a concert pianist or ballet dancer, the room would have been empty. Bissinger’s greatest achievement is to create empathy for players without sacrificing any of his factual, journalistic integrity. He never glosses over offensive lineman Jerrod McDougal’s casual racism or Boobie Miles’ brash egotism. But when the former embraces his mother and cries after a hard-fought loss or the latter is callously relegated to the bench because he’s no longer a star player, we

S

eptember 21st marks the birthday of one of the most prolific writers in living memory. With forty nine published novels, nine short story collections and over one hundred film accreditations to his name, at sixty five Stephen King is both a lesson in productivity and a securely lodged pop cultural phenomenon. Born in 1947 King was raised by his mother alone, his father having left to ‘buy cigarettes’ when King was two years old and failing to return. His lucrative literary bent became evident at an early age, as he wrote and sold stories to classmates based on various films he had seen in Elementary school. Though discovered and forced to return his profits by his teachers, King continued to write and was first independently published at eighteen with I Was a Teenage Grave Robber. After graduating from the University of Maine with a B.A in English, King initially took to teaching, publishing his short stories in men’s magazines in order to make ends meet. Indeed, it was not until the publication of Carrie in 1974 that King was enabled to resign from his teaching job and take up writing as a full time profession. The novel today remains one of King’s most simultaneously popular and notorious works. Described by King as having a “surprising power to hurt and horrify”, it is currently one of the most frequently banned books in United States schools, a fact con sidered by some to be something of an approbation of the effectiveness of King’s writing ability. Publishing success followed and has stayed with King throughout his career. The Shining, King’s third published novel released

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H.G. Bissinger, journalist and author of Friday Night Lights forgive their flaws thanks in part to Bissinger’s brutally honest writing style. In his own words, Bissinger uses “the clear eyes of a journalist” and, thanks to them, Friday Night Lights is still held in contempt by many in Odessa. Do not read this book to try and learn the game or feel uplifted because it does not deliver there. What it does portray is how the sport can bring out the best, and the worst, from those who live their lives around it. David Murphy in 1977, and the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film adaption are both considered classics of the horror genre, Kubrick’s adaption named the scariest film of all time by Channel Four. Adaptions of King’s work have since produced. Some of the most critically and commercially acclaimed films of all time, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile both consistently listed as some of the best loved films of the last two decades. King suffered his own personal horror in 1999 when he was struck from behind by a minivan; his resulting injuries caused him to announce his retirement in 2002, but has since resumed writing. His body of work is so extensive that it is near impossible to concisely summarise, and one that shows little sign of being complete. Sophie Witts

Stephen King’s infamous It, brought to life on screen by Tommy Lee Wallace in 1990


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24.09.2011

LISTINGS

www.concrete-online.co.uk

September/October 2011

Sunday 25th

Monday 26th

Tuesday 27th

Wednesday 28th

Thursday 29th

Lee Nelson’s Well New Tour (8:00pm) Price: £22.50 Norwich Arts Centre

Richmond Fontaine + Laura Gibson (8:00pm) Price: £13.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Welcome T-Shirt Party UEA LCR (10pm-2am)

Zane Lowe (10pm-2am) UEA LCR

Welcome Icebreaker UEA LCR (9pm-1am)

Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation (8:00pm) Price: £15.00 SOLD OUT The Playhouse

Emmy the Great (8:00pm) Price: £12.50 Norwich Arts Centre

Rise To Remain (8:00pm) Price: £8.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Adam Kay (from Amateur Transplants) & “PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGON AS SEEN ON PENN AND TELLER: FOOL US’’ (7-10pm) Price: £7.50 UEA LCR

BBC Music VideoFestival FUSION @ FORUM

Slow Club (7:30pm) Price: £10.00 - £10.21 Waterfront

Norwich Sound & Vision 2011 (29.09 - 01.10) Price: £40.00 - £80.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Glenn Miller Orchestra Theatre Royal (5pm) Price: £5.50-£18.50

Pendulum DJ Set UEA LCR (10pm-2am)

Friday 30th

Saturday 1st

Sunday 2nd

Monday 3rd

Tuesday 4th

Jack Whitehall: Let’s Not Speak of This Again (30.09 - 01.10) SOLD OUT The Playhouse

Welcome Party (9pm-2am) UEA LCR

Kids In Glass Houses (7:00pm) Price: £13.00 UEA LCR

Benjamin Francis Leftwich (8:00pm) Price: £8.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Gail Jones (6:30pm) Price: £6.00 Literary Festival Lecture Theatre 1

Friend or Foe (4-5.10) (10:30am / 1:00pm) The Playhouse

Enter Shikari (7:30pm) Price: £17.00 SOLD OUT UEA LCR

Esben & The Witch + Beth Jeans Houghton presented by Norwich Sound & Vision (8:00pm) Price: £8.00 Norwich Arts Centre

DELS + Sargasso Trio presented by Norwich Sound and Vision (8:00pm) Price: £8.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Various Cruelties @ The Waterfront Studio (7:00pm) Price: £6.00 Waterfront

Fiddlesticks (2:30pm) Price: £5.00 £7.00 Norwich Puppet Theatre

UEA Symphony Orchestra and Choir auditions email musicevents@uea.ac.uk

Fenech-Soler (7:30pm) Price: £8.00 Waterfront

Wednesday 5th

Thursday 6th

Friday 7th

Saturday 8th

Monday 10th

Antigone by Sophocles / The Girl Who Looked Like Me by Katrina Raine (6-7.10) (7:30pm) Price: £4.00 £6.00 UEA Drama Studio

BUG#8: The Evolution of Music Video (8:00pm) Price: £9.50 £14.50 The Playhouse

The Norwich Ukulele Festival presented by SoapBox (5:00pm) Price: £8.00 Norwich Arts Centre

Adam Hills (8:00pm) Price: £12.00 The Playhouse

Bombay Bicycle Club (7:30pm) Price: £15.00 Waterfront

wombatwombat’s Peel Day celebrations featuring Victorian English Gentlemans Club (8:00pm) Price: £7.00 Norwich Arts Centre

The A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR

Atongo Zimba (8:30pm) Price: £8.00 £10.00 Norwich Arts Centre

The Barlights (7:00pm) Price: £6.00 The Waterfront

Forever The Sickest Kids (7:30pm) Price: £11.00 Waterfront

Some Upcoming

13 Oct: Emerge NME Radar Tour ft. Wolf Gang + S.C.U.M + DZ Deathray’s (7:30pm) £9

Highlights At

15 Oct: Skepta + Tempa T (7:00pm) £9

The Waterfront

16 Oct: The Pierces (7:00pm) £13.50

21 Oct: Charlie Simpson (6.30pm) £12.50

12 Nov: Tinchy Stryder (6.30-10pm) £12.50

23 Nov: Yuck (7:30pm) £9

6 Nov: Scroobius Pip (7:00pm) £9

13 Nov: Turin Brakes (7.00pm) £18

28 Nov: Mariachi El Bronx (7:30pm) £12

9 Nov: Maverick Sabre (7:30pm) £10.50

15 Nov: Guillemots (7:30pm) £15

29 Nov: DJ Fresh (7:30pm) £12.50


NEW VANILLA SMIRNOFF

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MIX IT WITH COLA

SMIRNOFF® VANILLA FLAVOURED VODKA The SMIRNOFF word and associated logos are trade marks. © The Smirnoff Co. 2011.

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