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 email@example.com 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.
Concrete’s fortnightly culture pullout
issue 258 | 11/10/2011
arts | review the madness of george III | p.14 wired | were at the 2011 eurogamer expo | p. 17
Photo by Laura Smith
music | went to see enter shikari | p. 4
All the ingredients for one meal just at the click of a button!
Want to be part of a food revolution? At The I Way we know food matters. That’s why we’ve created a world first with our ‘ingredients only meals’. Now you can enjoy home-cooked and locally bought food that doesn’t involve hours trawling the shops. It’s the intelligent way to eat, bringing you everything you need to make a delicious meal, fast. Just choose what you want online and you can collect your ingredients from a convenient spot on campus. You’ll get exactly what you need with no waste so it’s easy on the purse strings too. Just follow the recipe card and in minutes you’re tucking in to a guilt-free meal that hasn’t stomped its huge carbon footprint all over the country. Everything we sell is bought locally so we’re doing our bit for the environment – even our van is electric. It’s fresh food with a conscience that puts you in control. You can even collect from us one day and keep it in the fridge for the next day. We’ve got something for everyone and change our menu regularly with sneak previews of what’s on offer the following week so you can plan ahead. We’re always trying new recipes and each one is tested on The I Way team to make sure they taste great. You can also see a list of our suppliers online and tuck in knowing your meal hasn’t collected hundreds of food miles. Our vouchers mean you can stock up when you’ve got some spare cash and if you open an account with us you start earning loyalty points as soon as you order your first meal. Make your way to the The I Way and see what we’ve got to offer at www.theiway.co.uk. Just a few clicks and you could have fantastic, hassle-free food that won’t cost the earth.
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Go to our website and choose any meal that catches your eye and we will supply the ingredients and instructions to cook it.
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Take your ingredients home, cook and enjoy the Feeling.
ssue 258 | 11.10.2011 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | firstname.lastname@example.org
enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk It’s an ill-advised, yet self-confessed character flaw of mine to make small talk about the weather. Despite it being quite awkward for everyone involved, it still needs to be said that the weather has been ridiculous recently. Sweltering heat followed by gale-force winds and incongruous April showers have frankly...well...actually only minorly inconvenienced us...but it’s still not cool, its either autumn or summer, it can’t be a weird hybrid of the two: make your mind up Mother Earth. One thing I’ve made up my mind about though, and one thing that’s a damn sight better than that tenuous link, is our new issue of Venue. Loads of new writers, exciting articles and some top-notch photography made this issue a pleasure to read and, despite some brief moments when Arts’ review of The Madness of George III resonated a little too well, a pleasure to edit too, so I hope you enoy it as much as I did. Oh, and one last thing, if any of you were particularly captivated by the photography from Music’s Taking Back Sunday review last issue, then I am forever indebted to the unmeasurably lovely Milly Sampson to whom I forgot to credit, my apologies and your praise should go out to her eternally. Now, turn the page before I keep on talking...
email@example.com | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Hayden East, Seb Crane, Joe Fitzsimmons, Hannah Lockier, Sam Warner, Lorna MacKinnon, Patrick Oddi, Ellie Kumar, Cheri Amour, George Hamilton-Jones, Alex Ross.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Emma Webb, Stephen Pester, Rachael Lum, Christopher Ogden. email@example.com | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Suze Wood, Josie Lister, Chris Young. firstname.lastname@example.org | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> Matt Tidby, James Sykes, Kate Duckney
email@example.com | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Josh Mott, Richard Joslin, Timothy Bates, Oliver Balaam, Theo Cresswell, Joe Fitzsimmons. firstname.lastname@example.org | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Radosava Radulovic, Joseph Murphy, Tom Moore, Rachel Greene-Taylor, A.J. Hodson, Claire Sansgter, Ellissa Chilley, Tom White, Julia Sanderson
Photo by Harriet Jones
email@example.com | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Emma Webb, Imogen Steinberg, Sarah Boughen.
Emmy The Great
Norwich Arts Centre 30.09.2011
iven the recent popularity of the indie-folk scene (see Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, etc.) it remains a puzzle how Emmy The Great is yet to win over the masses. Despite this, a varied but dedicated fanbase easily fills the humble sized Arts Centre. A lone Emma-Lee Moss set the tone of the night by commencing with the short acapella song Eastern Maria before her touring band accompany her on stage. It’s not so much a brave introduction as an affirmation of her effortless vocal range and beautifully pure delivery. It doesn’t take long before everyone inside the Arts Centre realizes the appropriateness of the venue. Originally St. Swithin’s Church, the acoustics greatly enhance Moss’ powerful voice, especially when delivering the tender chorus of upcoming single Paper Forest. The haunting Trellick Tower also establishes the parallels between the religious themes throughout her latest album Virtue and the original purpose of the building. After a short burst of songs, even Moss comments “this is one
UEA LCR 05.10.2011
of my favourite venues”. Although the band serves to flesh out her older, more acoustic material, the synthesizers lack the punch from the studio versions of newer tracks such as Creation. In fact, it seems as though Moss shouldn’t be so dependent on them, such is the air of confidence that she possesses. She endearingly breezes through the majority of her work at a more increased pace than on record to great effect, particularly on Canopies and Drapes, and Exit Night, both of which are transformed into Mumfordsized folk hits. As her encore comes to a close, Moss dedicates Edward Is Dedward to two girls who “made a pilgrimage” to honour their best friend’s favourite song. Performed with a noticeable degree of emotion, it’s a fitting tribute, and as a young couple embrace, nestled in one of the alcoves in the walls, the audience feel as though, given the nature of the venue, they’ve witnessed something a little more special than the “average gig”. Hayden East
onight, there is every reason to the venue early, as Letlive, one of the most talked about hardcore bands at the moment, prepare for the first of two confirmed UEA appearances. Their fastpaced progressive hardcore sound and much talked about intense live performances have propelled them to a slot on the Kerrang! Tour. The band enter the stage with a buzz of anticipation from a packed out crowd as the Los Angeles five piece launch into album, Fake History’s opening track where lead singer Jason Butler propels himself into the audience. This is followed by The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion in which he continues his incessant carnage on stage, screaming his vocals; a constant feature throughout. An exhilarating, high energy set comes to an end with Casino Columbus, certain to increase their ever growing fanbase. The second support band from St Albans is another hardcore outfit,Your Demise. They keep the crowd entertained well but lack the cutting edge shown by Letlive, and fail to distinguish themselves from many hardcore bands around at the moment.
Finally, headliners Enter Shikari take to the stage, immediately bursting into their 2010 single, Destabilise followed by fan favourite, Mothership mixed with their recent dubstep intro. “We’re Enter Shikari and we’ve been abusing music genres worthless boundaries since 2003”, vocalist Rou declares before continuing their set made up of songs taken from their two albums including old favourites such as No Sssweat and Sorry You’re Not a Winner which keep the packed out crowd moving throughout. New single, the “punknatious” Sssnakepit, a pre-release to the forthcoming album with expected release date in January 2012 gets a massive crowd reaction. As does Arguing with Thermometers, with its mix of high energy rock, pop, dance and dubstep beats, heavy riffs and hardcore vocals. Finally, set closer OK! Time for Plan B is greeted with an insane light display and mass fog from the dry ice machine which was used throughout, leaving the exhausted, sweat ridden crowd greatly anticipating the new album. Seb Crane
Kids In Glass Houses | UEA LCR | 02.10.2011
here is a definite age gap in the LCR tonight. The dance floor is packed with people not quite old enough to get away with a fake ID yet, whilst the surrounding steps are filled with the “older” generation, most likely their parents, clutching a drink, looking slightly bored, slightly bewildered, just waiting for when the time comes to drive their children back home again so they can be up in time for school tomorrow. Newport’s Save Your Breath are up first. Their generic pop-punk is functional, if forgettable. The kids seem to like them though, and they generate more movement
than your average opening band, even if their attempt at starting a circle pit is short lived. Next up is Crewe’s Blitz Kids. They fare a bit better, mixing up the standard poppunk format to create something with a bit more musical depth and excitement. They do, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to tonights headline act, which distracts from their desperate attempts to get the crowd involved. Unfortunately, Oxford’s Francesqa suffer the same problem, and whilst the crowd are warming to their pop rock sound, you can’t help but see that most in the room are just
waiting patiently for the real thing. When Kids In Glass Houses do arrive, they take to the stage in an explosion of techno, neon, strobe lighting and screams so high pitched they just might shatter the windows. Launching straight into the title track of their new album In Gold Blood lead singer Aled Phillips has the young crowd in the palm of his hand, as the band power through Youngblood (Let It Out), Undercover Lover and Teenage Wonderland without pause for breath. Things start to falter as new songs The Florist and Animals are brought out and the audiences interest starts to wane, but
Benjamin Francis Leftwich Norwich Arts Centre 30.09.2011
Photo by Lizzy Margereson
ame: Ben. Gender: Male. Age: 22. Smoker? Yes. These generic facts could indeed relate to any old Ben, but this Ben is different. First things first he goes by Benjamin, and most importantly he has a mind blowing talent that allows him to silence a room, not with awkwardness but with anticipation. While standing amidst the crowd everyone seemed content: there was no shouting, no hustling, no bustling, and no loose teenagers running around by your feet buzzing off a J20. Fairy lights sit at the back of stage, clouds of dry ice induced smoke float across the stage floor. The lights give a delicate glow to the arches that give The Arts Centre its effortless character.
When Benjamin steps out onto the stage, the feeling is similar to that if your best friend had walked up to the platform, after not seeing each other for what feels like years. Opening with the first track on the album 1904, he not only holds the floor, but the walls, the staging and the lightbulbs. After a brief introduction he follows into the ever heart chilling Pictures. It’s clear that not only can this young twenty-something man sing exquisitely, but that he has the ability to tell a story, and one that the whole audience can empathise with. If tears were to well-up anytime during this performance it would no doubt be to Butterfly Culture, mainly for the fact that every man longs to have a girl
tracks like Airbreaker I and Give Me What I Want recapture the audience and remind us why KIGH exploded from the Cardiff music scene in such rapid force just a few years ago. By the time Sunshine and fan favorite Saturday are played the room has become a mass sing along and with closer Matters At All Aled can barely be heard under the voice of the crowd. In summary, Kids In Glass Houses may not have been perfect, but they definitely reminded us why they are currently one of the most popular British rock bands around. Joe Fitzsimmons
they adore in a dress, even more out of it, and every girl in that room wants to be that girl: in a word, genius. With the next song Snowship announced, he tells us how he went to meet some new management, but walked out due to them being responsible for the creation of Crazy Frog. Who knew that Crazy Frog could be responsible for a song with more than two notes and backstreet soundeffects. The night closed with favourites Box of Stones and finally the eagerly awaited Atlas Hands; both left the audience completely mute. A few seconds passed and then came the realisation that the songs were sung and applause filled the entire room right to the archways. In a nutshell Ben Leftwhich is for every boy, man, girl and woman. So whether you’re in touch with your emotions or not, this is the place to stand up, listen and learn. Hannah Lockier
Album Reviews Bjork Biophilia
et’s be honest, the idea of an album focused around a series of apps, with an introductory one narrated by David Attenborough himself, sounds rather baffling. However, a feat like this doesn’t come as an outright surprise from someone who has made a career out of bold experimentation. Biophilia establishes itself with the serene opener Moon, setting the tone by “rinsing the fear out, nourished with their [the gods] saliva.” These naturalistic words evoke a sense of innocence that is wonderfully complemented by Björk’s child-like voice. The album continues to pick-up on leadsingle Crystalline, which is arguably the standout track. With its nursery-rhymeesque tone combined with drum and bass, it seems to epitomise Björk’s daring passion for experimentation. That touch does not cease, as the album continues to swing from haunting melodies and dark subtle undertones, both evoked by its creator’s honest words, and inimitable voice, to calm, simplistic touches such as the candid xylophone on Virus.
You Me At Six
Sinners Never Sleep
fter months of torturous anticipation, You Me At Six finally returned to the British music scene this week, with their third album Sinners Never Sleep. For months, You Me At Six have stressed that this album was their progression to a heavier direction and although there are several songs which support this theory on the record, the hype was somewhat exaggerated. Nevertheless, the quintet have, once again, managed to produce a great album. Opening with the singalong-worthy debut single Loverboy it feels as though we’re already in familiar You Me At Six territory. Reckless, with its edgy guitar riffs and danceable drumbeat, echoes Loverboy in its mainstream-radio potential. This return to pop-punk on a heavier album shows that You Me At Six are smart: what they do, they do well, so glorious sing-along tracks like this will always be flawless. The next single Bite My Tongue is a personal favourite from the album. Not only have Franceschi’s lyrics darkened for this track, but Dan Flint, Chris Miller, Matt Barnes
and Max Helyer have managed to create an instrumental force to be reckoned with, merely complimented by the strength of Franceschi’s vocals, which have progressed to a perfectly-pitched snarl for this album. Songs like This Is The First Thing, No One Does It Better, Little Bit Of Truth are all melancholic love songs. They slow the pace of the album, carrying poignant messages in simple lyrics. In these songs, Franceschi has taken a pleasure in layering his own voice, creating a mix of desperation and clean-cut, smooth vocal. It has to be noted, though, that all of these songs are trumped by the beauty of Crash. Darker than their previous love-songs, and yet, still managing to be achingly delicate, this is a truly exquisite track. The only bone to pick with this album would be Franceschi’s lyrics. Although the album is immensely enjoyable, the majority of Franceschi’s soul seems to have been emptied in previous albums, ensuring that the words behind these songs are simplistic: there are no breathtaking metaphors or cheeky innuendos. Although this album carries success regardless, the lack of quotable lines is noticeable. Hopefully this will be restored for the next album, eh?
This constant rise and fall finally erupts on penultimate track MutualCore. This song, as its title suggests, contains tectonic imagery, complemented by various beats inducing volcanic bursts and an apocalyptic-like quality. The album eventually calms down on closer Solstice, which draws it full circle with parallel imagery to that of Moon and leaves you with a sense of inevitable doom: “it [the earth] travels along an orbit, drawn in the darkness.” Its admittedly gloomy stuff, but it seems almost optimistic in its own Björkish way. This is what makes Björk a unique artist: a daring blend of experimentation and fearlessness to push musical boundaries. This album is one of her more accessible works, but only if you’re willing to let it be. Each song is an experiment in itself, a combination of raw eccentricity and imagination with brutally honest lyrics that holds that distinctive Björk touch. It has been over four years since the Icelander released her last album, Volta; a long gap by any standard. This seems to have paid off though, as Biophilia is a provocative work of art that keeps you engaged through its audacious experimentation and fascinating unconventionality and insight, the subtlety of which is something that is rarely seen in this glossy, Lady Gaga driven pop age. Sam Warner
Fix This Fire [EP]
ocal lads Solko are a band who could easily be filed under the ‘indie rock’ tag, but this would be a mistake, their sound is far more layered than that. The opening track from their debut EP Fix This Fire has a satisfyingly King Crimson-esque feel, whilst Weatherman switches between a funkier version of Foals and some Cinematic Orchestra moments. Weekend Blues flouts the EP’s slick production and provides a rewarding climax. As the harmonies lead you to the end of this record, you will no doubt want to start it over again. The interaction between two saxophones and the guitar offer a challenge that Solko have taken head on, with mesmerising results.
There is a hypnotic quality to this EP, which any fan of Cinematic Orchestra will enjoy. The only possible criticism is the lack of coherent style in places. Otherwise there is something for everybody hidden in this little gem, and my God is it refreshing to hear real musicians play. Muso’s will enjoy sitting around playing spot the influence. Fix This Fire is a fine example of good rock music from a jazz background. It is a promising EP that displays musical maturity and it will be intriguing to see where this band go in the future. And, of course, it would be intriguing to watch them live. Patrick Oddi
ands up who misses the fart jokes. Don’t lie, we all remember how What’s My Age Again? defined a generation of baggy shorts wearing, Vans scuffing teenagers giggling at three naked men running down the street. The new Blink-182 album has lost something. While the songs are still catchy enough to sing along to in the car, the fun has gone out of the music. Instead of teenage lust and awkward adolescence the
Wild Flag Wild Flag
iot grrrls everywhere wept like Alice when their Wonderland unravelled in 2006 as Sleater Kinney announced their indefinite hiatus. Queens of femme politics and one of the essential rock groups of the 90s, their barbed tongues and banshee wails [not to mention, numerous famed albums] were bottled up and marked ‘Play Me’ for future generations. Last year saw the relaunch of the groups killer caterwaul front woman, Corin Tucker who, after time home making with her family, put down the family scrapbooks and embarked making memories with her solo effort, 1,000
Dum Dum Girls Only In Dreams
he sophomore effort from California’s Dum Dum Girls features more than the occasional nod to the Phil Spector girl group hey-day of the first half of the Sixties. This is just a starting point. The straight ahead chording of the Ramones and the periodic emergence choppy tremolo guitar sounds, as heard on Link Wray’s Rumble, indicate an ambition to bridge the vocal harmony and guitar band scenes. While experimentation with the ‘Spector Wall of Sound’ is hardly a new concept, what makes the Dum Dum girls fresh is the quality of their group harmony singing on record. Symphonic, not
Album Reviews songs reference “dying inside” and there is a melancholy undertone to every track that leaves you feeling dissatisfied and just a little miserable by the end of the album. Not even the best written songs make you smile or laugh, and even though songs like Wishing Well and bonus track Even If She Falls are reminiscent of the older classics, the album lacks a true anthem to be heralded as the new Rock Show. This is not a bad album; on the contrary, the songs show a refreshing new side to the band. They’re older, and the music reflects this, it’s definitely to their credit that they haven’t hopped on the nostalgia train. The new songs have a mixture of trademark Blink melodies and more substantial meanings, rather than a churning out of ‘greatest hits’
rejects. Not that they are trying to escape their previous pop-punk definition, but listeners are told to “stop living in the past” and the music has a heavier sound than the sarcastic sugary tones of previous hits. No one can deny that on top form, Blink-182 were a band that didn’t take themselves too seriously, and who understood what it meant to be a socially stunted teenager. So if you want a classic Blink album, complete with the fart jokes and the First Dates then listen to their greatest hits. If you want decent songs, and a bit more than worn out teen angst then Neighbourhoods delivers perfectly.
Years. Those expecting to be thrust back into the bewildering and huge sounds of The Woods however, were sorely mistaken and many ardent admirers of the group were left feeling less than complete. Luckily for them, the two remaining parts of the 90s legends are still flying the flag for high kicks and rock and roll licks. Featuring beloved Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss’s of SK fame, Wild Flag’s line up is completed by Mary Timony [Helium] and Rebecca Cole [The Minders] and this foursome’s debut release couldn’t be more of a contrast to Tuckers sobriety and sweet sentiment. Album track, Future Crimes, opens with an awkward and jerking riff that only goes to showcase Brownstein’s much missed nonchalant vocals whilst former single Romance is 4 minutes of perfect, peppy organ trills and zealous sing along fun. By the same
sentiment, Glass Tambourine has the reverb drenched squalor of Brownsteins SK days and swaggers off into a righteous, rollicking blues amble. Chosen by Les Savy Fav to perform at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas festival this December in Minehead, Wild Flag are teetering on the edge of husky blues chaos; mayhem fighting melody, this record is so alive and so soaked in rock and roll swank that, riot or not, these girls are stepping out with something truly exciting and original. Sleater Kinney may have told us that we were “no rock and roll fun” but Wild Flag implore you to listen up and get down with them and after all, isn’t it about time we rallied around and supported such a long overdue femme super group?
caterwauling, it is inspired by groups like Bikini Kill who impart a genuine sense of empowered women in rock music. The problem with this album is that it is a fork in the road improperly negotiated. Are they a harmony group, a guitar group, or a solo artist vehicle? All branches feature and are well executed, with girl group harmonies played off against spaghetti western guitar to a strong back beat, but the treatment of singer Dee Dee’s lead vocal throughout is in danger of squeezing them out of the frame. That said, her vocals are very much up front in the group’s lo-fi debut too. The production is definitely more polished than the first album, but it does not position the band as the purveyors of the music. It has a rather not-live feel to it. While Venue will avoid a discussion of such technicalities as overdubbing, it is worth considering that for a recording to truly
rock it needs to have a fictional live element to it. The pool of influence is interesting with elements of the Stooges, Ramones, Blondie, dirty rockabilly, Spector and Riot grrrl featuring. There is a genuine ambition at work to make a female orientated and affirming piece of work, but the presentation and feel of the finished product leaves the listener cold. The demure production does not hint at a great night out. The transient energy of the music doesn’t quite flow. In contrast Best Coast’s debut imparted a real sense of fun that ran alongside its aesthetic concerns: viewing their live videos encouraged you to go and see them play. No such thing happened with Only in Dreams, though the live shows could be revelatory.
Sweetheart I Ain’t Your Christ
Josh T. Pearson - Photographed by Laura Smith
he lights don’t go down and the soundman hasn’t turned off the music. Bon Iver’s latest album is playing out from the sound desk when a heavily bearded, gaunt and slow-moving Texan man walks onto the stage at the Norwich Arts Centre and it’s four minutes before the track fades out, in which time he fiddles with some cables. Silence. Josh T. Pearson looks at the crowd and says nothing. Listening to Last of The Country Gentlemen, 38 year old Pearson’s first and as yet only solo offering, it’s all of a sudden very difficult to imagine how else this could have started. Speaking to Venue only days before his Norwich show, Pearson had revealed that, whilst the album did take two days to record, there was a ten day gap in between in which he “just went to bed and drank some juice, ate some bread”. Recording had become too much and these
songs, frail, skinny and stunningly beautiful, were taking their toll. Pearson hasn’t even listened to the album back; it’s “just a crushing personal blow.” He says he’s “not far enough removed from these songs yet”. “Very cold’” was all that Pearson could offer on the conditions in Berlin, chosen as the recording location. Last of The Country Gentlemen is the sound of a man barricading himself from the blizzard outside and asking for warmth. Pearson talks for a few minutes before he starts; small talk mainly. “So I’m gonna play some real fuckin’ depressing songs for y’all and then maybe try to break it up with some dirty jokes,” he says timidly. He’s not comfortable, as he made clear to Venue when he said that “there are days when you just think ‘there’s no friggin’ way I wanna get up and play these songs’. I just cannot do it. But then it get’s closer to stage time and you
see a crowd and you think okay maybe I can do this, I can go up there and confess my sins in front of this crowd of people” Every show is a struggle for Pearson and, rather than bring about some sort of soul cleansing catharsis, these songs are barbs that dig into him and remind him of his breakdown. He bleeds into Sweetheart I Ain’t Your Christ, all 12 minutes of it, and a heavy atmosphere engulfs the old church. The small talk was an admirable delaying tactic but there’s no real preparation for this. Pearson turns in on himself and all of a sudden he’s on his own. When he does manage to open his eyes, he seems shocked that anybody is there and shuts them eyes again almost instantly. And yet, the more that Pearson sinks into himself, the closer the sold-out Arts Centre is to him. Pearson may think that he’s confessing his sins in front of this crowd, but the truth
is, he’s torturing himself for the greater good. Sure, it’s a little biblical, but maybe that’s appropriate. Josh T. Pearson suffers in plain view for almost an hour and a half tonight: from the impromptu extended version of Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell through to the delicate tones of Country Dumb. This is a 10 date tour, Pearson moves on to Cambridge tomorrow evening and has to do this all over again, whilst tonight’s crowd have witnessed a level of honesty and sincerity that they may never witness again. It’s that intensity that makes Pearson one of the greatest performers of our generation, even if major labels would baulk at the idea of any singer over 30 singing about anything deeper than a paddling pool. Last of the Country Gentlemen is so painfully honest that the artist himself can’t listen back to it. On stage, Pearson is Christ. Alex Ross
The New Queen, Part Two - A Short Story by Emma Webb
“There’s my little Princess,” croaked the King, as his daughter edged a little further to the foot of his bed. His left eye had deteriorated from a slight cloudiness to complete blindness, and so he tilted his head slightly and recognised his daughter. His chest tightened and he let out a wheezing cough. The Princess quickly placed the rose near her father’s hand and sharply backed away a pace. She shifted her weight from one foot to another as he groped for it. She clenched her little hands into fists at her side and rocked a little on her toes. Stillness felt like sin and she couldn’t bear it. “White, how lovely,” the King said with the slightest smile. He twirled it lightly between his fingers and gently placed it back where the Princess had laid it by him. “You look too thin,” he interjected suddenly. “Miss Emmeline needs to fill you up.” He nodded vaguely to a pale woman in the doorway and she strode away without a word. The Princess nodded frantically and stared at the King’s emaciated face and noticed the handkerchief in his left hand, speckled with blood. A small puncture wound from the rose thorns maybe – but then again, probably not. He coughed and convulsed again. The Princess clasped her hands together and winced. “I have a few little presents for you,” he wheezed, and beckoned weakly to a steward in the corner. The steward marched to the bed and handed the Princess a red wooden wand, adorned with a red heart at the tip. The Princess caressed it lightly and stared awkwardly at the King. “I had it made when you were born,” her father explained. “All you ever did was chew it, so I had to keep it safe for a years until you stopped liking the taste of wood.” The King tried to chuckle. “And also…” Coughing overcame him and the King did not finish; the same steward produced a key to the King’s private chest and drew out his favourite croquet mallet, elegantly carved into the shape of a flamingo head. One of a
kind and utterly irreplaceable, it had been a gift from the elderly Sir Jack Spades – whilst the old man had been alive himself. It was the King’s most prized possession – with the exception of the Princess. She stared at it, wide-eyed and in continuing silence. Her entire childhood she had gawped at it, but had been strictly forbidden to touch. “You must practice every day,” the King ordered. The Princess nodded without removing her gaze from the flamingo head. Her cheeks began to burn. “I’m not very well at the moment, my darling,” the King wheezed. “So I can’t look after these little treasures properly at the moment. I would like you to look after them, until I am well again and can do it myself. Can you do that for me?” The King looked at his tiny child, and she blinked repeatedly, and then nodded sharply, once. “Thank you, my good girl,” the King croaked, reached for his rose, then shut his eyes. It was dark now; the sun’s light had finally crept back behind the hills and the gardens were now haunted with shadows. She thought for a moment that her father stood in the window and was watching her, but with a closer look she saw it was just the Duchess, leaning against the glass of the pane with her shoulders heaving, and her back to the gardens, and her daughter. The steward remained awkwardly at the child’s side. He shifted from foot to foot, and rubbed his hands together until they were blushed and clammy. Without words of comfort he reached out a slightly quaking hand to lightly pat her shoulder. She sharply slapped him away. “Well,” she sighed, with good diction, like her father had taught her, and without turning back to look at him. “I see I am closer to the throne than I thought.” Then she burst into tears. Alone at last in the darkness of the evening, she wandered back to the rose bushes.
Perhaps red would have been better after all. Maybe red would have been so much better that he would have stayed. She was uncertain how exactly the difference might have been made but suddenly the idea, fantastical as it was, utterly consumed her – red roses never killed anyone. Her cheeks grew scarlet with rage as she looked at the white roses that had killed her father, killed the King. How foolish they were! How cruel of them! Suddenly she heard the violent smashing of the glass windowpane and the frantic sounds of panic – she decided not to look to see what had fallen. She felt she knew anyway, there was no need to be certain. She realised, quite abruptly, that she was still holding the gifts her father had given to her – her terrible gift to him had remained in his hand as he lay on his purple pall. She twirled the wand in her fingers and glared at the roses, their curious heads peering back. She struck the head nearest her with the wand and its pale petals drifted lifelessly to the ground and settled into the grass. The head looked bare now. A gentle breeze blew the petals to Her Majesty’s feet, and so she struck again, to the next rose and the next, until dozens of bare little neck-stems drooped towards the floor, which was now coated in petals, like white satin torn to pieces. Once begun, she found it impossible to stop – she hacked and axed at every white rose that had dared grow in her garden until not a single one remained. Everywhere she looked there were empty heads and ruined petals, positioned next to the most perfect arrangement of glowing red roses. She looked around the gardens, to the hills and back to the castle. There was no one, no one at all, and as she gripped its neck tightly with her tiny hands, into the elegant wood of the flamingo head fell the cold, pearl-like tears of the Queen.
Poetry Corner - Beginnings
The First Step - Stephen Pester I stare into the storm, Watching for some break In the ever dropping rain Drowning the windows, In the wind battering Against the door.
When none comes, I brace myself And open the door Instantly the rain drizzles and fades The wind breaks away And I remember the phase “The first step is always the hardest.”
The Rented House - Rachael Lum From the corner of her eye the apparition Dissolves into flakes as the shadow, glazed by light, Rocks its faceless hand against the door. The carnivorous blinds chatter with elation To see such a sight: a dishevelled girl plagued by fright While Peter Parkers skate across the floor.
Arthritic stairs betray another arrival Whose failed tiptoe amplifies into a carefree stomp. The walls are ventriloquists contented with winning, Establishing their presence to prolong their survival. Home it may be, full of splendour and pomp, Until the moon shines in. And that is just the beginning.
Q&A with UEA writers. This week - Christopher Ogden
What are you studying?
Creative Writing MA in Poetry, having taken a year out after my undergraduate degree which I also started here in 2007. Norwich is remarkably good at holding on to people.
What’s your favourite word?
In Year 8, I earned a merit for using the word ‘internecine’ to describe a bomb in a story after discovering it in the dictionary. Despite its morbidity, I’ve always had a rather guilty fondness for it.
How do you defeat writer’s block?
Drafting until I find an opening has been known to work, although I vacillate so much while I’m writing that I benefit from the closing walls of a deadline.
What inspires you?
A lot of my ideas emerge whilst travelling, particularly on trains at night, or finding acceptance in unusual environments. Writing is my wind-up light in the dark, shrike-full forest of the future.
Who are your favourite writers?
Rainer Maria Rilke, B.S. Johnson, Henry James, Jeffrey Eugenides, Alan Ball and the football writers Jonathan Wilson and Brian Phillips, who wrote an entire series based on his Football Manager save.
To Kindle or not to Kindle? Nothing beats the physical pleasure of cracking open and finishing a book.
Do you prefer handwriting or typing? Scrawling on paper in various colours is how I start, eventually taking to computer when I have enough tentative words to fill up unnervingly blank Word documents.
Where do you write? In my room, the library or my mobile phone while out. Writing is a solitary occupation even in a room full of friends.
Read Christopher’s poem A Tale of Six Cities at the Creative Writing blog
Dare To Bare? Chris Young discusses his irrational fear of being cold
The Hotlist Smokin’ Spencer’s new look Turn the page to read our interview with the man himself.
The Barbour Still the coat of choice for autumn. X Factor Makeovers Improvements all round? We think so.
very cutting-edge fashionista recognizes the importance of wrapping up warm in winter. Do you think that Jean Paul Gaultier got where he was with a tickly cough and a sniffle? Think again, mon amis. That’s why whenever I go clubbing ... I wear a coat. I’m not one of those robogirls who queue up outside the LCR naked, or boybots who wear a tank top in Siberian winds. I wrap up warm. The problem is, the rest of the fashion world hasn’t caught up with me. Coats for some reason are seen as uncool in a club, and you are expected to keep them in horrible things called ‘cloakrooms’ I will never use a cloakroom. I refuse to pay someone for basically owning a cupboard, and I have irrational fears that when I get my coat back its pockets will be stuffed with cocaine against my knowledge and I’ll be jumped by police attack dogs five minutes down the street. Or, even worse, I’ll come in with my pockets stuffed with cocaine and get my coat back totally empty. So, as a result, I must wear my coat in the club, and because all the squares on the dance floor can’t handle my risky style, I am perceived as looking somehow freakish. Perhaps it is because I sweat like cheese in an oven, but the most common responses are that I look like a) a paedophile, b) a cheeky bearded child sitting on another
Jodie Marsh Now a bodybuilder, apparently. Still a moron.
childs shoulders, c) a dad arriving to pick up his daughter, or d) lost. The misconception of the latter often results in a kindly individual asking me if I am OK, calling a cab and asking me if I remember where I live. While I appreciate the gesture, they do not realise that they are committing a crime against fashion. Dancing is another problem. People don’t know what I’m doing. They think that because my coat is long I look like a giant possessed glove puppet, or an anthropomorphized windsock - but they’re wrong, because I look amazing. After a few such experiences I thought I had come up with a solution: draping the coat over my arm. Think about it! I’m wearing socially acceptable club clothing but ha! Damn you all, I still have a coat. One night I was walking around enjoying myself by the door with my coat on one arm when one cheeky individual put his coat on top of mine, said “thanks” and slipped me a quid. Then another person did. Then everyone was doing it. It seems that no matter what I try, people are blind to my style. So, fashionable readers of Venue, I urge you to come out to the club and wear your coats. The world may not be ready for us yet, but play your cards right, and you might get a few new coats out of it. Chris Young
to wear around campus this week
All Saints £250 (eat toast for a while...)
River Island £40
Try hard freshers fashion You won’t be able to keep this up for long ...
New Look £34.99
Creepers The name says it all. Burn them, don’t wear them.
Urban Outfitters £48
Asos £25 H&M £14.99
Photo by Laura Smith
Photo by Laura Smith
All About Autumn What we should be wearing right now
utumn’s been sneaky this year, with the late summer sun making us fail to realise that October has come round again...which means A WHOLE NEW FASHION SEASON! So here’s a quick fashion forecast to get you up to speed. For the prim and the proper keep the dresses short and straight because the sixties are back (yes again) and they’ve smartened up their act. The ‘New Mod’ trend will see you in buttoned high blouses and sharp, clean cuts casting strong silhouettes, best suited to all you boyish figures out there. For the daring among you, bypass the shift dresses and dress like one of the boys (trust us, it’s in.) And don’t forget to roll up the bottom of those masculine trousers to show off your
shoes and socks, go on, give us a peek! If the sixties theme is a little too sweet for your taste buds go glam. Designers have had a dark romance with seventies glam rock giving it an edgy, urban twist. Throw on a pair of skin tight jeans to let the world know what you’re working with. Team with a pair of heavy black boots (easy to walk in chunky heels are an autumn life saver) to really give you the empowered feel that only Beyonce could rival. Nearly naked tops are always a good call but cover up with luxurious faux fur coats for a touch of glamour and warmth. All a bit too luxe for your liking? Then keep the faux fur on the collar of your coat and go a little retro. Vintage inspired clothing is always a hit on the highstreet, and this season we’re seeing 40s fancy dress box effect all
over the shop. Princess cut coats and peter pan collar dresses are the way to go if you’re feeling girly. And don’t reach for the woollen tights just yet, leave them be at the back of the drawer and pick up some stockings until the winter winds roll into town. But let us not forget what Autumn is all about...bonfires, the return of mulled wine, kicking your way through piles of leaves... translation in the fashion world: Bavarian. Cosy up next to the fire in mixtures of chunky knits and faux fur gilets, whimsical floor length dresses and silky tops. Bavarian lets you wear it all giving your look a home-made, folk feel perfect for the blustery season. The contrast of chunky layers and feminine fabrics allow you to casually look sophisticated. An easy way to achieve the “I’ve just thrown this
outfit together yet I look friggin’ hot” look, which (if we’re honest) of course we all want to achieve. That aside, the real beauty of this trend is that whilst it’s a formulated look, you can be as creative with it as you like! Experiment with different prints, textures and layers because you can hardly go wrong with Bavarian, the more make shift the better. So, whether you’re chasing the last of the summer sun on your moped, making the most of your post-summer beach perfect body in 70’s skin tights, hosting tea parties or jamming round a crackling bonfire; Autumn has the answer with a look to complement each and every one of us.
girls, one toff
The night Concrete honeyz Hannah Britt & Suze Wood threw themselves at the stars of Made in Chelsea
hanks for joining us here at TAO, boys. We gotta ask, are the friendships we see on camera true friendships? Spencer: 100% real. Relationships...she has some nice shorts [Spencer’s attention wanders towards a leggy blonde]...sorry... no, all the relationships are 100% real. Jamie: Spencer’s my boy, he’s my brother; to be with your best friend on camera, there’s nothing better in the world. Do you mind being referred to as a reality TV star? Spencer: Kind of. Lots of us have real jobs. I’m a foreign exchange trader in the city and the show is very much an aside. For other people, it is acting as a vessel for their aspirations and ideas. As you are the heir to McVitie’s, tell us your favourite type of biscuit. Spencer: Let’s give you kinds of biscuit... Jamie: [to Hannah] Okay, so I reckon that you’re a dark chocolate hobnob. You’re really sweet but at the same time you have
“It’s better in Norwich than Cambridge!” a dark side. And you [to Suze], you’re a hobnob caramel, unbelievably tasty on the outside but on the inside you’re a bit, like, dark ... How fucking dare you. Spencer: And Jamie’s a jammy dodger! Jamie: Spencer’s a jaffa cake. He was once a little bit dodgy...a little bit chubby...but now he’s trim as fuck! Spencer. Your new look. What happened? Spencer: I didn’t really change... I always try to keep athletic usually, but given the fact that the first season came at the same time I accepted the job in the city, it turned out that I didn’t really have much time to look after my health.
Is there much rivalry? You have a lot of love interests, Spencer... Spencer: Well, my main love interest has always and will always be Caggie. Jamie: [jumps off his seat] HE’S IN LOVE! Spencer: You’ll see it all unfold... [Hannah] I can’t wait. Spencer: I’m sure you can’t, caramel hobnob. [Suze] She was dark hobnob, I was caramel hobnob. [Hannah] You make people fat. [Suze] You’re bitter. Spencer:...I’ve pretty much been in love with Caggie my whole life. How did you two guys meet? Jamie: We hated each other! Spencer: Hated, hated! Oh dear...why? Spencer: I think it was just a clash of egos. Jamie: A good friend of his, who went to school with him, went out with my exgirlfriend. On a night out, we met each other, you know how it goes, young kids being idiots get aggressive...Anyway, since then we’ve been like brothers, dude! Spencer: It’s all changed since then. Is it weird that you come to places like this now and talk to people like us who all know who you are? Jamie: Not at all, it’s great! Spencer: I tell you what, its better in Norwich than Cambridge! Norwich better than Cambridge?! Mint! Spencer: Norwich is cool so far, we’ve met some great people, even on the train coming here. You guys seem lovely too. Do you regard yourself as a celebrity? Spencer: I see people knowing your name as a sign of them loving the show. It just means people have appreciated the work we’ve put into it. Given the economic climate, people may watch a show like Chelsea and feel a bit hard done by, a bit jealous...You have to just take that with a pinch of salt, realise that we’re all just doing our job and our friendships/relationships are real and that is what people really care about. That’s what is important to viewers. Jamie: I think if you’re strong skinned, you roll with it. How is it juggling a private and public life? Spencer: I’m not a particularly private person. I don’t really like being alone. Jamie: He hates being alone. Spencer: People reading about me doesn’t bother me at all. Some people get really freaked out. Some people say stuff that isn’t even real about me, but what are you going to do? Call the paper up? No. It’s already gone out. You know you’ve made it when you’ve earned the nickname Scraggie ... Jamie: My boy’s hit the big time! Spencer: It’s Spaggie…
Oh yeah, that would make more sense. It’s better than Cancer, which would be another alternative... [silence...] Spencer: Er...Scraggie is actually Caggie’s fake Twitter account. Jamie: Yeah, Scraggie Dunlop. Spencer: I have one as well. We all have fake accounts. People posing as you? That’s a bit bizarre... Spencer: Yes! If you go to @SpencerMIC that’s not me! It’s some guy with a picture of me in sunglasses! Jamie: And he tweets fucking hilarious things. Spencer: He’s like, “I’m at Chelsea football club with Hugo,” and I’m like really, I’m at work. Do you follow him? Spencer: I do, so I can keep on top of what he’s saying! I’m going to get him deleted as soon as I can! One thing I pride myself on is that I work hard and so when someone says
“He’s trim as fuck.” I’m just chilling on the Kings Road at 2pm on a Monday it’s just like, I’m not! What’s next for you for you guys? Jamie: Sugar and Shake, baby! You guys are the first to hear about it. Spencer: Exclusive interview with Norwich! Jamie: Sugar and Shake exclusive! So, I want to open up a sweet shop and a milkshake shop. Spencer: He loves sugar... Jamie: It’s going to be called Sugar and Shake, SW3, Chelsea. I hope it’s going to be big! I hope we’re going to get an invite to the opening... Jamie: You guys, for sure! 100% it’s going to be a red carpet event. It’s going to be all out. You’re the first to hear about it, I’ll never forget! This is my first time, I’m a virgin, you’re breaking my hymen. …Wicked. Do you get much girl attention? Spencer: I find it nicer that when you come to a place like this [a bangin’ Monday night at TAO] in Norwich and find that guys come up and ask for a photo, that’s cool to me. I’d expect every guy to hate me. Jamie: If we were in the opposite position, we’d go and say “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” If you want my top off for the photo, you can have it off... If you could both take them off, that would be nice… Special thanks to COME PLAY at TAO Mondays for letting us get our mitts on the boys.
DOCTOR WHO WITH THE SIXTH SERIES OVER, MATT TIDBY LOOKS BACK ON THE DOCTOR’S MOST RECENT ADVENTURES
ften, old ideas are the best. Or they endure, hence why they’re good ideas. Saturday nights on British television have been a pitched battle ever since the genesis of ITV. All sorts of iconic ideas have sprung forth from this weekly bun fight and at the centre of this maelstrom is Doctor Who. Running about in time and space since 1963, the good Doctor is in remarkably good health, with the sixth series of the shows revival coming to a cathartic conclusion with The Wedding of River Song, 50 minutes of condensed insanity and plot exposition that was never short of entertaining but never more than self-congratulatory. This incarnation of the show, commanded by Sherlock supremo Steven Moffat since the arrival of Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor, very much wears its intelligence proudly on its sleeve. And its hat, umbrella, lederhosen… and any other openly visible piece of metaphorical clothing, really. Simply put, whilst it is very clever, and beguilingly so, Moffat’s writing seems to be increasingly imbued with a selfconfidence that isn’t always charming. Luckily for the show, the central cast are arguably the best the programme has ever had. Matt
Smith’s terrific performances, as a verbally dextrous but increasingly troubled Doctor, are complemented perfectly by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as newlyweds Amy and Rory, and given an extra dimension by the regular appearances of the fantastic Alex Kingston as the ever-enigmatic River Song. Furthermore, this series has played well to one of the formats key strengths: that of location. We’ve seen the Oval Office of Richard Nixon, a sentient, TARDIS-eating asteroid voiced by Michael Sheen and a creepy hotel overseen by a less-thanwelcoming maître d’. All of these settings have been lent a threat and realism of their own, confirming Doctor Who as one of the most visually arresting programmes on TV. Indeed, its popularity shows no sign of falling down a black hole. As per the modern tradition, the Doctor will be back in December for the Christmas Special, this year with an eclectic mix of stars including Claire Skinner of Outnumbered fame and comedian Bill Bailey. Seemingly, nothing can stop the Doctor now. But what of the allusions in The Wedding of River Song to “the fall of the Eleventh on the fields of Trenzalore?” Is another Doctor on the way? If only we had a TARDIS…
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME? : Venue Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
Pokemon: The Indigo League
he BBC repeated Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons when I was very young, after its initial showing in 1967. The premise: in the year 2068, three men from Earth go on an expedition to Mars and discover an alien complex belonging to the deep, booming, disembodied voices of the Mysterons; who destroy and then recreate people and objects to serve their own ends. The men get scared, blow up the base, and accidentally start an interplanetary ‘war of nerves’. Therefore, at the beginning of every episode, the Mysterons tell both the viewer, and Spectrum (an agency dedicated to fighting them) what they plan to do. Probably not the best way to go about a war, but bear with it. Via Mysteron intervention, one of Spectrum’s men, the eponymous Captain Scarlet, becomes indestructible, kind of like the John Barrowman of the Sixties, and is often the hero of the hour. Unlike creator Gerry Anderson’s previous show Thunderbirds, serious danger lurks behind every corner and people, well, puppets, often suffer incredibly brutal deaths at the hands of the Mysterons. And yet as a kid I loved it. It was grim and violent and terribly exciting, and to make matters
reminisces about our televisual youth
M darker, sometimes the bad guys triumphed. So engaging were the characters and the “shoot first explain later” plot that I quickly forgot that it was not real people I was watching. One particularly bizarre element of the show was the mixing in of occasional human action – for example, someone opening a briefcase would be shown by a real pair of hands opening a real briefcase, or the puppets would sweat. In retrospect, it was incredibly creepy. It certainly affected me as a child. My mother enjoys telling me about the time when, aged four, I turned to a passing customer in a shop and in a deep voice, inquired threateningly “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, EARTHWOMAN?” Ah, memories. James Sykes
y Mother always detested the fact that I loved Pokémon and its associated television series so much as a child. She gritted her teeth as I cast aside the English language for a high-pitched repetition of my own name, came home with my clothes in tatters following an overzealous Charmander battle re-enactment and, the final straw, when I wept more over the theft of my shiny Zapdos trading card than I did following our cat’s euthanasia. Needless to say, my Primary school used “ban attack”; it was super effective and Wild Pokémon Craze fainted. Some years later, I decided to re-watch the Indigo League anime series. I have to say that it’s still absolutely charming, and really you can’t find fault in the surface lessons: stick with your friends, believe in yourself, try your best, learn from your mistakes and never be swindled into purchasing a Magikarp for extortionate prices. However, I really can spot some problems. For example, I’d love to know quite how it’s acceptable to battle what are essentially your pets in utterly biased matches. The Onyx versus Pikachu showdown in Pewter
Gym for example, would be like me pushing my trembling gerbil before my rival’s grass snake, backing well away and then shouting “you can do it, pal!” from the sidelines. And can you imagine the animal-equivalent of a Pokémon Centre? “Oh dear, what happened here?” “Ah, my dog came across this wild level 25 badger in the long grass and I made him attack so it would be weak enough to contain in this airless ball which is an eighth of its size...but it was too strong, and now my Jack Russell’s foaming at the mouth. Do you have a specific kind of berry for rabies, Nurse Joy?” It’s funny what you can pick up on during a second viewing of a childhood series, but I really feel that my eyes have been opened (unlike Brock’s) to the root of all the playground conflict. Kate Duckney
The Madness Of George III - Theatre Royal
lan Bennett has written an impressive array of award-winning work from stage plays to television dramas. An Englishman Abroad, The Madness of George III and The History Boys having all been turned into feature films on the basis of their success. Madness charts the decline of the king’s first bout of insanity (he was to have five further attacks) which lasted from 1788-9. At the time, medicine was still in the process of becoming a science and the king’s various symptoms (including abdominal pain, high pulse rate, hypersensitivity to touch and pain, blue urine and, most disturbingly, ‘an intire alienation of the mind’) had the king’s physicians at a loss. It is now believed he suffered from porphyria, a hereditary condition which to this day has no absolute cure. Many doctors were called and consulted and none could agree on a diagnosis, let alone a remedy. This meant that the king went through all sorts of torment in the name of treatment. At first the London doctors prescribe bloodletting, blistering and purgatives but then a Dr Francis Willis was brought in. Clive Francis plays this radical exclergyman who gets his patients to work on the land until they can “control their madness”, but with the king he resorts to physical restraint and gagging to stop his nonsensical and often vulgar ramblings. These distress his wife Queen Charlotte (Beatie Edney) who remains loyal and believes he will get better. While this continues, parliament cannot continue to function as all
laws passed require the king’s signature and he is not well enough to sign them. William Pitt (Nicholas Rowe) attempts to keep order, but the turbulence in the House between the Tories and Whigs is played out in a power struggle in the royal family. Christopher Keegan makes a gloriously odious, conniving Prince of Wales quite ready to see his father locked up for the rest of his life so that a bill can be passed to make him Prince Regent. Throughout the play, the interweaving plots of the effect of the king’s illness on the public and domestic are played out well by an impressively large cast in a complex but brilliant unfolding story, drawing out intimacy and feeling even with the less heard characters. The defining star of the show however is the king himself. David Haig has many varied theatre and television credits to his name and for good reason. His portrayal of the king, through serious matters of state and enjoyment of court life to physical pain, unhinged lust and abject anguish was wonderful to watch. His comic timing even through solemn scenes was impeccable and perfectly handled. Madness, with its gradual degeneration of the king’s mind into insanity and out the other side, all seen through a euphoric haze of Handel’s Zadok The Priest, is a masterpiece showing how one man’s illness affects himself, his family, his affairs, and, sometimes, the entire country. Imogen Steinberg
INTERVIEW: CHRISTOPHER KEEGAN You were here last year in The History Boys – what have you been up to since? Not a lot really! We finished The History Boys in July and I did a short play at the Arcola in London. I have been working on a podcast which is my own little project, and then getting ready for The Madness of George III! What’s it been like working with David Haig? He’s just fantastic to work with. From the first day we were in rehearsals he came at the script with 150% energy, he was completely on the ball from the word “go” and he’s just the most charming gentleman ever. In fact we just started playing Boggle together in the lunch break!
Keep up with Christopher at www.christopherkeegan.co.uk
What can you tell us about your character in The Madness of George III? The Prince of Wales is the eldest son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He’s very spoilt and doesn’t care for ruling; he’s more interested in drinking, women, gambling, lovely houses and all the garb that goes with it. He’s quite a greedy person when it comes down to it.
Arts editor Emma Webb speaks with Christopher Keegan, returning to Norwich to play the Prince of Wales in The Madness of George III. So – Hugh Laurie in Blackadder III? Indeed! Possibly less charming than the Hugh Laurie character but it’s the same person, based more on historical events of course. You trained at The Drama Centre in London – what was that like for you? It was quite hard for me, I don’t come from a theatrical background at all and so I went into training at a London Drama school rather blindly. I struggled getting into the mindset of someone who was acting as a job rather than someone doing it just for fun. It was only after I left and started doing jobs that all that started to sink in. You have some very unusual skills – could you tell us about them? When I was about 11 I rang up the BBC, they were doing a Magic Call-In show, and I got a magic trick shown to me on air by one of the presenters. Then they sent me a magic box set and from magic I got into some circus stunts like stilt-walking, and from there it was a natural progression into balloon-modelling!
UEA harbours some real dramatic talent – what advice can you give our rising stars? Never give in, never give up and take rejection as well as you can because it happens a lot. Luck is more than 50% of getting a good job – if you’re in the right place at the right time, if you have the right speech and are auditioning for the right person then you’ll get the job, but all those things have to be in place. Don’t ever get downhearted, just keep plugging along and the right thing will turn up eventually. What’s next for you, Christopher? I really don’t know! I’m sure once The Madness is finished I’ll be thrown back into obscurity, until the next job comes along. You always hope that someone will come and see the show and really enjoy the performance that you give enough to cast you in something else. I’m sure something will come along, but its back to auditioning for me!
Equus - Norwich Playhouse
eter Shaffer’s Equus tells the unusual story of a 17-year-old boy who, after blinding six horses, visits a psychiatrist as an alternative to imprisonment for the crime that would no doubt disgust and shock many. After Daniel Radcliffe’s Broadway performance as the lead in 2007, Equus has become better known, perhaps preventing theatre companies from daring to perform the often controversial play due to the high level of criticism it may receive. However, London Classic Theatre (LCT) have braved Equus for their 2011 tour (Norwich Playhouse 20-21September). Although Alan Strang is at the centre of this detective-like story, the play progresses into a commentary of worship and the need for the emotions produced by it. Dr Dysart, the young boy’s psychiatrist, begins to question parts of his own life, from his dreams and ambitions to his mundane relationship with his wife. It was his development that was a real highlight of the LCT’s production. With worship being such a focal theme within the play, it is designer, Kerry Bradley deserves praise for his simple but effective set design. Dr Dysart, played by Malcolm James, refers to Greek art and ancient mythology throughout the play, inspiring the look of the LCT’s production. A circular set with marble-effect benches creates the feeling of an amphitheatre and with it, connotations of theatricality and extremity. This is an excellent setting for Shaffer’s Equus with the extreme crime and Dysart’s extreme realisation that the 17-year-old, labelled
insane by the courts, has felt more intense emotions in his short life than Dysart has in his own. Above the marble circle hangs a large wreath with a cross in the centre, which can only remind audiences of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, which links so closely within the play to the discovery of Alan Strang’s motives for committing his crime. The LCT’s production held only a small cast of eight actors, each taking their main role alongside the role of a spectator, never leaving the stage; instead remaining at the edge of the circle. This works well in the performance, with the audience constantly being reminded of the fact that they are watching a play, a play designed to force them to question worship and how it may or may not be accepted in society. Actors step in and out of their main role without breaking the fluidity of the performance. However it is the movement of Aidan Downing as Nugget, a favourite horse of Alan Strang, that is most impressive. Wearing a wire horse-shaped frame across his head, Downing instantly becomes Nugget creating the iconic scenes of the play. The LCT’s Equus may appear to be simpler than past productions of the play, which have had more scenery and larger casts, but the LCT showed the story from a new angle. The play was stripped to the bare essentials with a basic but ideal set to demonstrate the real development of the story and the extremity of Strang’s crime. Sarah Boughen
This Week In Arts History... Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Broadway on October 13 1962 at the Billy Rose Theatre. An extensive and intense piece of drama at almost three hours long, and a repeated sell-out production at the time and to this day, Edward Albee’s play of domestic disturbance and verbal profanity is awardwinning, socially volatile and ultimately profound. The play concerns two married couples; one significantly older than the other who, demonstrate a great sense of bitterness and disappointment along with their age. Two male university professors (George and Nick) socialise one evening with their wives (Martha and Honey) after a faculty party; alcohol-fuelled and full of rage, the younger couple are utilised by the elder in games of emotional brutality and despair. A hysterical pregnancy, domestic violence, made up children and extramarital indiscretions litter this production where the lines of fiction and reality are blurred, and appearances are deceptive. Between Honey’s brandy chugging and frequent
vomiting, and Martha’s taunting humiliation of her husband, the audience is given two very different but equally disturbing views of marriage and mayhem on stage. Secrets and souls are laid bare in a vicious dissection of relationships and sterility, culminating in the ultimate confrontation with one’s own demons and lies. Since its Broadway success in 1962, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was also adapted into a successful film four years later, starring the late Elizabeth Taylor as the despairing Martha, alongside Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis in the other principal roles. The play won various prestigious dramatic awards, including Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Actress for the originating cast members. It also attracted considerable controversy though; depictions of violence, swearing and the theme of sexual promiscuity were considered so indecent that the play was turned down for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1963, and there were several consequential attempts to have the play banned.
Almost 50 years on, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has, for the most part, withstood the test of time and become a scholarly classic, spending considerable time on A-Level literature syllabi for its representations of communication and twisted sense of reality. The resonance of Albee’s play for the modern reader or viewer transcends our fast-paced world of disillusionment and falsehoods, to remind the reader that only in bare-faced truth can we be real. Emma Webb
Apple announce iPhone 4S
Battlefield 3 Beta Review
t’s no iPhone 5, the lack of which sent Apple’s stock value tumbling 5%, but Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook did announce a refreshed version of their bestselling iPhone 4 at the Apple conference in Cupertino, California, last Tuesday. The iPhone 4S, much like the 3GS, is outwardly exactly the same as the iPhone 4; the guts of the beast are where the changes have been made. But will it be enough to combat the fantastic, award winning Samsung Galaxy S II? The iPhone brand now has its first dual core member, with the 4S packing a dual core Apple A5 chipset, the same as the iPad 2. Apple boasts twice the CPU power and seven times the graphical processing speeds. Internet data speeds of up to 14.4mbps download and 5.8mpbs upload were claimed by the. American giant, while battery life has been marginally improved, with eight hours of talk time as opposed to its predecessor’s seven. Disappointingly, the standby battery life has been reduced by 33%, down to 200 hours. The signal problems of the iPhone 4 have been fixed, with the new design utilising two separate antennas. One of the biggest changes from the iPhone 4 to 4S are the massive improvements made to the camera, a critical feature to most users. The camera takes better quality photos faster, and double tapping the home button now opens the camera. Oh, and there’s 1080p video recording, which was to be expected as it’s now standard for top tier smartphones. As for weight and feel, it uses exactly the same exterior design chassis as the iPhone 4, so no changes there. So what’s different from the iPhone and why is it better? Well, while it may feel and look exactly the same as the iPhone 4, it’s faster, more powerful, and essentially better in every single way. Most importantly, that new A5 chip makes iOS 5 and features such as Siri run as smooth as warm butter. What’s Siri? Siri is the most impressive and notable thing about the iPhone 4S. Siri was originally an app available to all iOS users, but Apple liked it so much it’s now an integrated iOS 5 voice interface feature, available exclusively for iPhone 4S users. Essentially, you now press and hold the home button and then talk to your phone. Ask for directions, ask what the weather is like, tell Siri to send a text to your mum, or set an alarm for 20 minutes time. Engadget, the tech blog, “tried to psych it out with a bunch of random requests, including the history of Chester, Vermont (a lovely town) and the best Ramen places in San Francisco. Siri never faltered, never missed a beat. There’s nothing better to say than that.” Voice apps and interfaces aren’t new,
n the dominant gaming landscape of realistic, modern first person shooters, the Battlefield series has always had to settle for second best. That doesn’t mean it’s been failing, or even doing badly. When Battlefield’s rival series, Call of Duty, released Modern Warfare 2, it broke all sales records. These records sustained Activision’s franchise for almost a year … until Call of Duty: Black Ops came along, and broke all those records all over again. Compared to these games, second place is nothing to be ashamed of. But when Battlefield 3, sequel to 2005’s Battlefield 2, was announced in February, it was clear EA was no longer satisfied with the silver medal, and the marketing campaign since has cost over $100m dollars, and generated unrivalled hype, above and beyond that of Activision’s own upcoming Modern Warfare 3. This is not a game that wants to succeed. It is a game that wants to break records. Released on 29th September, and available for download now, the Battlefield 3 beta seems like just the latest part of this marketing campaign. Released less than a month before the actual game, of course. It’s been done for years, and quite well on Google’s Android OS in the last couple of years, but it has never been anything more than a gimmick for the vast majority of people. Siri might be able to change that. Or not, and it will go unused like every other voice interface until now. While the iPhone 4S is a great update to the iPhone 4, many Apple fans were however left disappointed by the lack of a “revolutionary” iPhone 5 announcement, and with Apple only revealing a revised iPhone 4, many wonder if Samsung and Google will steal the centre stage this year with the imminent announcement of the Nexus Prime, which is expected to have a 720p HD screen and Android 4.0. Richard Joslin
the developers over at DICE aren’t really going to have time to implement sweeping changes to the multiplayer based on this, but it does give the average consumer a chance to check out the basic online experience for the first time. The beta gives you one map, covering a small park and an abandoned subway station. One mode is offered, a variant of attack and defence, with one team guarding various objectives while the other team tries to capture them/blow them up. The beta lacks the wide open maps, and 64-player battles shown in recent gameplay trailers, and you won’t find any tanks to drive, or aeroplanes to fly, but the experience remains solid, with the same varied class load outs and shooting mechanics any FPS enthusiast will know like the back of their hands. The package sports a crisp, clean presentation, and the underground sections really give a chance to show off the game’s lighting effects. So far, so simple, so popular. Gamers can only wait until October 28th to find out if there’s a new king on the block. Timothy Bates
Steve Jobs Dies At 56 Steve Jobs passed away last Wednesday after a seven year battle against pancreatic cancer, which forced him to step down as CEO in August this year. Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 has become, over the past 35 years, one of the most influential and recognised people in the technology industry. This is due partly to his superb keynote speeches at Apple press conferences over the past 12 years but also to his dedication to practical, impeccably designed gadgets. When Jobs re-joined Apple in 1996 the company was on the verge of folding.
Since then, Apple has grown to be one of the largest companies in the world, with a annual income exceeding that of most countries. Jobs’ career and reputation were firmly established following the enormous popularity of some of the world’s most groundbreaking technological innovations, all of which were the result of his commitment to functionality. Jobs will be missed as a CEO but also as the leading figure to a generation of technology lovers. Josh Mott
Game exhibitions are a difficult thing to do well. This is because, unlike music and film, both of which are suited for crowded auditoriums, games are often a more solitary experience. Crowded, noisy and garishly lit, at an expo it can often be difficult to engage with a game in the same way that you would at home. Thankfully,
Eurogamer Expo 2011 Wired can report that this year’s Eurogamer Expo did a lot of things right and it was easily the most successful yet. Shooters were in abundance and the biggest queues were for Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. The former showed off its Spec-Ops mode which ditches linear missions for wave-based survival. The
shooting felt as good as ever and deployable turrets and equipment add some interesting tactical depth, but it’s doubtful that the mode will distract players from team deathmatch for very long. The latter clearly outperforms its competition graphically but, set at a more methodical pace, it caters for different tastes. Both games were
fantastic and with Rage, Resistance 3 and Gears of War 3 also impressing, shooter fans are going to be spoilt for choice this Christmas. With an endless cacophony of gunfire ringing and fully grown men sporting camouflage and balaclavas, it’s easy to write off the expo as a violent and decidedly masculine affair. Taking a closer look Wired also found some absolute gems for the pacifist in us all. Rayman Origins takes the series back to its roots, exchanging annoying minigames for 2D platforming. The game is entirely hand drawn and, playing faster and more fluidly than before, it looks like a return to form for a series that has dwindled of late. Indeed, there seemed to be a resurgence of quality platformers this year, with Super Mario 3D Land looking to end the 3DS’s game drought and even the movie tie-in for Tintin was more fun than it had any right to be. Of course this is only scratching the surface, there was something for everyone at this year’s expo and, with so many great games on the horizon, the only thing gamers need worry about is their wallets.
Retro Column: Vagrant Story
As the only PlayStation game to date to be rated 40/40 by Famitsu magazine, Vagrant Story is a timeless classic with something to offer any gamer, from its intriguing plot to cinematic visuals groundbreaking for its time (2000). All of this has led to a growing demand for a re-release of the title, which finally occurred this year via the PlayStation Network. In this Squaresoft masterpiece, the player assumes the role of Riskbreaker Ashley Riot, a member of the Valendia Knights of Peace who is falsely accused of having taken the life of a prominent Duke. Prior to this, the Duke’s manor was overrun by a murderous religious cult known as the Müllenkamp, who seek eternal life. In the week between them seizing the manor and the assassination of the Duke, Ashley travels to the city of Leá Monde, an eerie gothic locale whose prosperity came to an end when a powerful earthquake struck it, killing thousands and reducing the land in and around Leá Monde to twisted ghost filled ruins. The game spans the week Ashley spends in this haunted city, on the surface presenting itself as a classic dungeon crawling RPG, following labyrinthine tunnels through the ruins, filled with enough loot, equipment and character development to keep even Diablo fans happy. However, the game offers far more than so many in its genre,
including box puzzle solving elements that start simple, but towards the end of the story become mind boggling to the point of frustration. Throughout this mix of platform style game-play and role playing elements, the combat system, which requires far more player input and thought than many RPGs both past and present, gives polish to the entire experience. A recurring criticism of the game revolves around how difficult the battle segments are to control for novice players, but in a modern console game market so flooded with “accessible” rubbish, developers could do worse than to recreate some of the deeper aspects of past classics like Vagrant Story. Theo Cresswell
Appy Corner: Game Dev Story Kairosoft has made a name for itself as one of the most consistently good developers on the Apple App Store with games such as Pocket Academy and Mega Mall Story frequently topping both the ‘best selling’ and highest rated Apple charts. Thankfully, Game Dev Story is no different. Game Dev Story is a micro management game centered around running a game development company, taking it from indie status, through to becoming an industry l e a d i n g development studio. In the same vein as classic PC games such as Theme Hospital you are the CEO of your company, commanding your staff to complete tasks in order to finish various projects by their deadline. You start out with a small, inexperienced team, and must accept contracts from larger studios in order to build up your revenue and research data. Your research data is one of the key factors of Game Dev Story and is one of the things that make it so addictive to play. As your staff perform tasks they gather research data, which can then be used to level them
up, increasing their parameters and stats. Research data can also be used to attempt to increase productivity of staff or overall quality of work on a project, resulting in a fun risk/reward system. Once you have gained enough capital you can begin to develop your own game, from negotiating development licenses all the way through to launching, assigning staff to write proposals, program and debug. Game Dev Story is deceptively in depth, asking you to decide on your target market, tailoring your game’s design and advertising campaigns to suit the demographic. Game Dev Story’s, cartoon-like, 16-bit art style perfectly suits the light hearted nature of the game play and, despite its depth, is easy to get in to and is perfectly balanced for beginners to the genre. In summary, Game Dev Story is another addition to Kairosofts list of great games on the App Store and is definitely worth the price tag of £2.49. Joe Fitzsimmons
FILM Crazy, Stupid, Love.
al Weaver (Steve Carell) has the perfect life; a good job, a well-kept house and a loving family. Then his wife (Julianne Moore) asks for a divorce. The film primarily follows endearing Cal as he tries to cope with losing his high-school sweetheart and rediscovering his manhood. Enter Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), the smooth talking, sharp-suited womaniser who rather immodestly revamps Cal’s image and teaches him the tricks of the one-night-stand trade. However, the joke’s on Jacob when he falls for Hannah (Emma Stone). Rounding up the storyline is Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) who believes his babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) is his soulmate but is fighting a losing battle, as she only has eyes for Cal. Although the film has multiple love triangles and overlapping characters, it never becomes too complicated or confusing. As romantic comedies go, Crazy Stupid Love is one of the most refreshing in it’s genre. There are even a couple of plot twists that are genuinely a surprise, subtly hinted at but not so obvious that you know what’s in store. The medley of characters and issues also sets the film apart, particularly Emma Stone’s character, who, though nervously verbose, is always self-assured in who she
iven their frequent collaborations and close friendship, it is no surprise that this directorial début from Paddy Considine bears a passing resemblance to the films of Shane Meadows. What is surprising is that rather than being a second-rate Meadows imitation, Tyrannosaur is brilliantly assured in its own right; a brutal, beautiful film about rage, violence and, ultimately, redemption. That it portrays this without descending into sentimentality is largely down to its uncompromising realism and its central performances. Peter Mullan is incredible as Joseph, a man caught in a cycle of violence and self-destruction, but the real triumph is a
Director: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa Country: USA Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone
is. Additionally, the representation of divorce which runs throughout is a realistic portrayal of love and the hardships people face after they think they’ll live happily ever after. Something else that must be noted is the limited but perfect use of slow motion which simultaneously seduces the audience and allows them a little giggle at the exaggeration of it all. The actors have each brought their own brand of comedy to the film which complements their characters and gives it a great mix of humour that plays off each other brilliantly. The film moves from heartfelt moments to awkward situations, but balances them well enough that it has you laughing throughout. It seems as though the film makers have really thought about this, rather than trying to crank out another predictable and cheesy romcom. Having said that, the ending is a little clichéd, but by the time you get there you would have laughed so much you may buy in to it a little. It’s forgiveable. It can be summed up, rather perfectly, by a pick-up line from the film itself, it’s both wildly sexy and unbelievably cute. You’d be crazy stupid to miss it. Radosava Radulovic
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
startlingly brilliant, fragile performance from Peep Show’s Olivia Colman as Hannah, the charity worker who tries to befriend and redeem him. But her sunny optimism and pious charity work hide a domestic hell far worse than Joseph’s, and it is her plight and the unravelling of her seemingly perfect life that are the most uncomfortable and tragic aspects of the movie. Tyrannosaur is not an easy film to watch, and its darkness and graphic violence will certainly not be to everyone’s taste, but if you can stomach it, it is an abrasive, yet often uplifting and consistently moving human drama. Joseph Murphy
roy Nixey’s directorial debut, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a remake of the 1973 cult chiller of the same name, follows young Sally Hirst (Bailee Madison) as she moves in to a 19th-Century mansion undergoing restoration by her father, Alex (Guy Pearce), and his new girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes), only to discover that the once majestic, now decrepit manor possesses the terrible ancient origin of the Tooth Fairy legend locked away in its bowels. Owing to Nixey’s background in comic book illustration and the input of producer Guillermo Del Toro, one would expect Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark to be visually striking. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from
the truth. Nixey’s debut is perhaps the blandest horror film of the year, not just because of its drab environments, uninteresting cinematography and woefully uninspired monster design, but also its mundane script, which squanders the considerable talents of Pearce and, to a lesser extent, Holmes. This results in a distinct lack of that most important of elements in the horror genre: atmosphere. Due to his lack of artistic vision and perhaps reluctance to break away from genre conventions on his first foray into feature filmmaking, Nixey has delivered an utterly forgettable and entirely unfrightening film. Tom Moore
atching a film starring Statham, De Niro and Owen delivers exactly what you would expect: fists, guns and testosterone pumped violence. Unfortunately, a modern audience now expects more than fighting and explosions from the action genre, and the plot falls disappointingly short. Set in the 1980s, Danny (Jason Statham) is a top-notch assassin who quits the world of violence after his conscience kicks in, only to be drawn back in by a Dubai sheikh who has kidnapped his friend and former teacher, Hunter (Rober De Niro). Danny agrees to take a “last job”, avenging the Sheikh’s three sons who were murdered by SAS soldiers 10 years ago in the secret war of Oman. Strangely, it is the film’s “true story” that slows the plot and the acting down. What may have read well in Ranulph Fiennes’ novel alternates between slow and bizarre on screen. Much like the plot, the chemistry between Statham and Yvonne Strahovski is strained and unrealistic, which is a shame because the pairing had so much potential. Over all, Statham is more Jason Boring than Jason Bourne. The film will entertain fans, but will disappoint audiences who want the action to match a more developed story line. Rachel Greene-Taylor
Johnny English Reborn
as there really any need for a Johnny English sequel? After seeing Johnny English Reborn it can safely be said that the answer is no. The first film was mediocre at best, appearing as an average (but at least humorous) addition to a tired genre that has already been convoluted by films such as the Austin Powers series and the classic Pink Panther franchise. And that’s the problem with Johnny English Reborn, it brings nothing original to the genre to justify its existence. The story begins with Johnny English in exile, being trained by a team of Tibetan monks before he is, oddly enough, recruited yet again by MI7. From then on, the movie follows the same tired old spy-spoof formula you’ll be familiar with from the previous film (and countless others), with gag-aftergag of English doing something spectacularly dim-witted, and yet still coming out on top in the end. While the first film at least made these gags wacky and surprising, the sequel is far too predictable, with a string of scenes that produce little more than a chuckle. Whilst it will certainly be entertaining for children under 10, most of the adults will leave the cinema feeling incredibly underwhelmed. A. J. Hodson
he rather original and promising plot-line of Abduction allows the film to take an optimistic veer away from its annoyingly stereotypical teen movie beginning. After just a few minutes you start to wonder whether Taylor Lautner has somehow missed the point when taking on this conventional teenage character though, considering that he is trying to break away from his role as typical teen heart throb, aspiring to become a serious actor in more staid roles. Action does infiltrate the later scenes though, and some rather impressive stunts possibly help to explain why Lautner was chosen for this role. His typical cold, unemotional acting style definitely seems out of place in the teen scene, but does tend to complement his character throughout the rest of the film, especially as he actually manages to create some kind of chemistry with Lily Collins, who plays Karen Murphy. If you’re planning on seeing Abduction because the hot guy from Twilight plays the starring role, then you will be thoroughly disappointed. However, if you fancy seeing a film which has excellent potential then it may be worth your while, if you can bear to sit through the numerous cringe-worthy moments that is. Claire Sangster
Competition To coincide with the release of Paranormal Activity 3, Paramount Pitures are offering the chance to win an exciting Parnormal Activity prize bundle. To be in with a chance of winning, just email us the answer to this question:
Paranormal Activity 3 is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman who rose to fame by making what reality thriller in 2010?
This week, Ellissa Chilley discusses the widely debated subject of 3D Technology
fter several years of a relatively quiet influence in the film industry, 3D is back, but not quite as we know it. Gone are the days of those ill-fitting cardboard glasses of red and blue that let you painlessly vary the colour of your family members on the drive home. But never fear, reformed 3D still brings the same short-lived excitement with painful storyline compromises. Too much of a “good thing” is being had when it so often replaces the previously better regarded well written plot. This revival fad has seen film makers everywhere justify digging into the bin of failed storylines by slapping “3D” on the marketing plans. It’s true that most of these crimes can be pinned on children’s movies; but I can’t help, perhaps selfishly, hoping I could be as entertained as my six year old brother when it comes to cinema outings. If dragging down children’s entertainment isn’t tragic enough, we also have to endure classic films being remade in 3D. I don’t know about you, but I have never once thought that the best way to improve Titanic would be to add a technologically enforced certainty that the giant sinking ship is definitely further away than the driftwood hog that is Kate Winslet.
From Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Adaptation has always been a prevalent force throughout the history of film. Whether it is literary adaptations or a retelling of historical events, these types of films have continued to produce classic cinema moments. However, the relatively new type of adaptation from television shows has generally had a poorer reception. Successful and critically acclaimed TV shows like The Simpsons, South Park, The Inbetweeners and Sex and the City have all been transformed into films that were poorly received in comparison to their televised counterparts. The most cynical will claim
The Simpsons Movie: Venue
takes a look at the best and worst films adapted from television shows.
no need to make these films of great quality because they were never going to flop. However, there may be other reasons for the generally poor quality in televisionto-film adaptations, and most prominent amongst them is the medium in which
they are delivered. Viewers are used to the episodic format of television shows like The
“A sudden shift to an extended 90-minute-plus narrative can often feel strange and drawn out” Simpsons, for example, so a sudden shift to an extended 90-minute-plus narrative can often feel strange and drawn out. It is not, however, all failure in the genre of television adaptations. The recent adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, for example, draws upon the 1979 BBC television series as well as John Le Carre’s iconic novel. There are also great hopes for the recently announced Arrested Development film planned for 2013, which will be preceded by a 10-episode television series. Perhaps the reason for the success of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the expected success of Arrested Development is the
“There was no need to make these films of great quality because they were never going to flop” that this is solely because of money. These massive brand names draw the crowds to the cinema, bringing in healthy profits. There was
proven cinematic talent that was enlisted. In Tomas Alfredson and Ron Howard respectively, both films have directors with a proven reputation in cinema instead of, for example, Matt Groening, who prior to The Simpsons Movie had no film experience. To sum up, it seems there may be some light on the horizon for the TV to cinema adaptation. A more considered approach is being taken in the production of these films, to create adaptations of true quality, instead of rushed films that focus more on profit than entertaining their loyal fans. Tom White
The Popcorn Chart
Following Taylor Lautner’s
unconvincing foray into serious acting in
we take a look at those who sucessfully made the transition from child-stars to respected actors
Drew Barrymore Hailing from a long-line of successful actors and actresses, a seven year-old Drew confidently strode into stardom as Elliot’s bratty little sister in E.T. Aged 11 she was nominated for a Golden Globe, by 13 she’d checked herself into rehab, and had won legal emancipation from her parents by 15. Nowadays, Barrymore is best known for her romantic comedies, such as Never Been Kissed, The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and the Charlie’s Angels franchise, which helped turn Barrymore into a household name.
Christian Bale Plucked from relative obscurity to star in Spielberg’s ambitions World War ll epic, Empire of the Sun at age 13, Bale has had a relatively
smooth transition from child actor to leading man. The teen years were slightly barren (that
classic Disney musical Newsies, anyone?) but he came out fighting with a chillingly realistic portrayal of psychopath Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He worked consistently through the early noughties, losing 63-pounds to star as Trevor Reznik in The Machinist in 2004, before hitting the commercial big time with Batman Begins. While continuing to star in the Batman franchise, Bale also took leading roles in critics’ favourites 3:10 To Yuma and The Fighter, which helped solidify his status as a serious actor.
Joaquin Phoenix Despite his brother River’s quick (and ultimately tragic) rise to teen heartthrob, Joaquin (then acting under the name Leaf) had limited early success until he starred in Parenthood opposite Steve Martin aged 13. He hit big again in 2000 with Gladiator, then two successful collaborations with director M. Night Shyamalan in Signs and The Village further increased his commercial success. However, it was his Golden Globe winning portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line that really sent him flying into the Hollywood orbit.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Rising from humble beginnings of cameos
in various 90s tv shows, Gordon-Levitt eventually graduated to regular cast member
playing Tommy Solomon in 3rd Rock From The Sun. Starring opposite Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in teen favourite 10 Things I Hate About You and voicing Jim in Disney’s Treasure Planet helped nudge him further into public awareness. Indie faves Mysterious Skin and Brick followed, but it wasn’t until 2008’s 500 Days Of Summer that GordonLevitt found the right blend of quirky meets commercially appealing to really break out. His subsequent role in film of the moment Inception cemented his reputation as one to watch.
Kirsten Dunst Interview With A Vampire, Jumangi and Little Women provided Dunst with an impressive resume as she entered her teen years. Roles in
Sophia Coppela’s quietly disturbing adaption of The Virgin Suicides and comedies Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On proved her ability to play extremely varied characters, while the Spiderman franchise affirmed her commercial appeal. 2004’s Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind reminded the world again that she was no one trick pony and with her recent role in the much talked about Melancholia and upcoming On The Road adaption, Dunst looks set to continue her rise to the top. Julia Sanderson
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