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VENUE

Concrete’s fortnightly culture pullout

music | interview scroobius pip | p. 4 wired | review assassin’s creed revelations | p. 10 fashion | talk body hair of all shapes and sizes | pp. 12 - 13

Photo by Jay Lawrence

issue 261 | 22/11/2011


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www.concrete-online.co.uk

VENUE CONTENTS

ssue 261 | 22.11.2011 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | concrete.editor@uea.ac.uk

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enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk How about a little name drop to get things going? Along with the lovely Hasina Allen I interviewed the effortlessly cool, enduringly beardy and equanimously awesome hip-hop troubador Scroobius Pip a fortnight ago, how’s that? Writing up the transcript took me three hours and resulted in a 4,000 word behemoth that was never all going to fit in the paper, no matter how many sections I ruthlessly cut to satisfy my own ego. So lets bring my shameless self-promotion to an end by saying that not only can you read a snippet of the interview in the music section, but that the script is available to read in full on the Concrete webiste for any of you that way inclined. Surprisingly, Pip’s impressive beard isn’t the only utterance of body hair this issue, in fact, a great deal of Venue has been proliferated with the phenomenon. Be that Hannah Britt’s enlightening polemic on, in her own words, “the lady garden”, Matt Tidby’s discussion of an altogether different furry creature, or Andy Parson’s complete lack of head hair and/or talent (sorry Victoria, I just don’t agree with your review). So whether you’re a fan of body hair, as my editorial team seem to be, or not, I hope there’s something you’ll enjoy.

Music | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Alex Throssell, Hasina Allen, Joe Dobraszczyk.

Alex

Wired | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Andrew Leighfield, Philip Jones, Richard Joslin Robert Austin, Joe Fitzsimmons. Fashion | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Becky Evans. Arts | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Victoria Cann, Kieran McMahon, Hasina Allen, Emma Webb, Julia Sanderson.

Film | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Jack Rice, Chris King, Patrick Bingham, Harry Deniston, Kerr Cameron, Robert Austin, Joseph Austin, Sam Langan, James Britton, Tim Bates. TV | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> James Sykes, Matt Tidby. Compeitions & Listings | Editor | Sam Tomkinson.

Photo by Laura Smith

Creative Writing | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Matt Mulcahy, Ella Chappell, Marco Bell, Chen Shun Xuan, Michael Drummond, Sarah-Joy Wickes.


MUSIC

22.11.2011

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

Interview Alex Throssell & Hasina Allen

talk to

Scroobius Pip

How did the Travis collaboration come about? It’s all a weird kind of circle of events. Danny Lohner, who’d produced the track [Introdiction], got the drums off Travis, but it was always pending his approval. We finished the track, sent it to him, didn’t hear anything, kept hassling him, and didn’t hear anything and it was all starting to get a bit panicky. We hadn’t announced to anyone that Travis was on it, I think I put the video up and hadn’t even been able to tell anyone that Travis was on it, and literally, it was coming up to the Monday the record was going to the manufacturer and I still hadn’t put Travis’s name on the sleeve cause we didn’t have clearance. I mean we were still going to release it, we’d just claim someone else had drummed or something, but then on the Sunday night I got home from an 11 hour studio shift and went on Twitter, and Travis had tweeted “Check out the video for this song I’ve done with Scroobius Pip, it’s amazing” and it was a real sigh of relief. We had clearance which meant we could put his name on there and it was all good. It was literally up to the last minute though, if he had tweeted a day later it would have been even more awkward cause we’d have had to say, “well it’s coming out, but your name isn’t on it.” How long did it take for the beard to grow back? Erm I don’t know, cause it’s when it’s constantly on your face it’s hard to know how long it was. It was a weird one; I cut it off and I shaved my hair in the video and I went home to tidy it up, cause I’ve cut my own hair and stuff for years ever since I was a little punk rock teenager thinking I wanted a Mohawk, and I went to tidy it and just thought nah, its alright *laughs* it was fine from the video. So yeah, I’m keeping it around at this length, I’m trimming it every month or so.

So, has the tour been going good? Yeah, it’s been going down really well. It’s mainly my most recent solo record stuff, but people who have seen me before will generally have seen me with dan. We weren’t sure how people would react; if they’d know the songs or

if they’d be a bit annoyed that I’m not playing the le sac vs. pip stuff, but dan’s not here so I can’t really do that. So yeah, it’s all been going down really well, they all seem to know all the songs and seem to enjoying it. I think the more it’s gone on the more relaxed we’ve got.

Your passion for spoken word is obvious, but is there any truth in your live skit, which derides UK hip-hop? It’s a little bit of panto. I get a lot of stick for that from UK heads who are like “nah this guys really good” and “have you heard Klashnekoff?” and I’m like “yes, everyone’s heard of Klashnekoff, he’s been around for years and has never done anything”… *laughs* not really, that was just a joke. But I like that sort of thing cause its throwing down the gauntlet, I love being proved wrong. A lot of people assume that because there’s quite a few opinions on things in my songs that I’m going to have all the answers, but I’m a thirty year old guy who’s lives in Essex, I’m not going to have all the answers, so I love

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being proved wrong. So, if some UK hip-hop comes along and makes me think “oh right, I’m wrong actually, it’s amazing,” then great, if not I’ll keep slagging it off *laughs* The album title itself [Distraction Pieces] suggests the tracks are simply fleeting ideas, but the content itself goes deeper than that. It’s a weird one, cause it was really written as a side thing. Originally I was going to write it with some other people, and them Liam Howlett [The Prodigy] hit me up asking if I wanted some beats and I said “yeah I’m working on this project.” I had a specific sound I wanted for this, so I said to Liam “I don’t want a Prodigy beat, that’s not what I’m looking for” and having a distraction piece like this can be the most amazing thing. You get so bogged down trying to write what you’re writing, if you can switch off and write something else for a bit, in a different style that’s not in a specific template then it can be great for going back to the original project. So that was what it was going to be; I was working on bits aside from the things I was working on at the time, and Liam was going to be doing that and Danny Lohner was working on tons of stuff when he did Introdiction and it was that idea of a distraction piece. I find the busier you are the better; I wanted to just make it, bang, then hopefully be fired into other things. An old English teacher of mine said a similar thing; that if you are starting one short story, start another three at the same time. Yeah, exactly, and that’s the good thing about having the loose term of a writer. I can be writing something that’s quite poetic, then I can drift off to write just real hip-hop all about the rhyme and the flow, and then I’ve be working on a novel as everyone in the world has been *laughs* But it’s great to have the variations of style so you can still be being creative but just jumping from one thing to another. You really feel that moving through the album; that you start freeing up new ideas and perhaps become more daring. Yeah, yeah, and that’s what’s always enjoyable. I think there is a frivolity about this record which I only kind of found out because I thought of it as, not like a throwaway, but that it was a side project with not as much attention, so my aim was to please myself with the record, rather than think of anything commercial, and yeah Ithink it benefitted from that...

This is just a small sample of the interview, if you are interested in reading the full article, go to www.concrete-online.co.uk.


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22.10.2011

MUSIC

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

Interview

Joe Dobraszczyk

Flogging Molly to discuss and the Occupy movement

sat down with

new record, folk-punk

their

For people who might not have heard of you before, just explain what Flogging Molly are all about? Dennis: We’re a 7 piece band from L.A, our singer’s from Ireland, we formed in 1997, got about 5 records out and we try and combine the folk influence with mandolin, banjo, violin and accordion thrown in to mix it up. Your new album Speed Of Darkness seeks to address some of the issues of inequality in our society, and how it’s affecting the working class especially. Do you have any messages that you’d like to put out to the occupy protesters on the streets at the moment? Dennis: Uh, yeah, just thank you very much for doing this. I live in New York so I’ve been down to Zuccotti Park a number of times and well, it’s pretty cold now. The record came out before the occupy thing started but it’s all connected, my hats off to everyone who’s involved in it and I’m behind the movement 100%. Did you really set out to put your neck on the line with this record; do you think it’s more political? Dennis: No, not that the record is that necessarily, I just think that it addresses some of the results of the economic downturn. I mean Dave, our singer, he actually moved to Detroit recently with his wife, and they moved there just before the economy collapsed while he was writing at the time, and Detroit was one of the hardest hit cities in the US, you felt that desperation was there, so to have the occupy movements happening all over the world is something really great. It’s a once in a lifetime thing for me so far, I’ve never experienced anything like it. It definitely seems of a completely different nature from the protests we’ve had before, like the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle in 1999, do you think the movement is evolving into something more mature? Dennis: Yeah, those were pretty violent. There was definitely an element of vandalism and violence there. There was some violence at the beginning of this too, that’s kind of how it got on the map, when the media picked it up. I think you know the anti-war movement against the invasion of Iraq there was that huge opposition, but this seems to be different in the sense that it’s more sustained, it’s going on day after day and it’s spreading globally whereas that seemed massive just for one day or two days and then, well, it didn’t stop anything

Your singer Dave is from Ireland originally and it seems fair to say that your music is very much a cultural crossover of American Punk combined with Irish traditional music that has a lot of its roots in themes of immigrant struggle. Do you think the American Dream is still a reality for immigrants new to the USA now? Do you think it still offers that sense of hope that has always seemed so pervasive in American culture? Dennis: Now I don’t want to get too pessimistic, but I think the American dream is over. Capitalism, I don’t see it as continuing the way it has for the last 30 years. I think this will be the first generation where our kids will not do as well as their parents did. Where, in the last 30 years, you had the opposite. But there’s potential I mean for an immigrant to come over, get an education. A lot of foreign people are becoming doctors and engineers

and attorneys, they have a different mindset than a lot of American kids, you know? They’re coming from a way less privileged place so it’s their ticket out of poverty, so I mean that’s still there in that sense. But with manufacturing jobs and making things in our country, society, it’s changing. There’s huge shifts, and we’re just starting to see the beginning of white collar jobs being outsourced, as more and more people get educated and go back to their own country, and as the middle class keeps rising in China and India, I think that we’ll start seeing more of our skilled jobs being outsourced. How do you see Folk-Punk progressing as a genre? Do you think the success of the Celtic influence has limited the possibilities concerning how it’s perceived by a wider audience?

Dennis: Well, it’s unlimited right? Because you look at it and the whole world’s got their own different version of folk music, so you can draw on all that. If you write a great song, a great song’s a great song. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Eastern European style song, or an Italian riff with it or an Irish riff. A great song’s a great song. I don’t like to think of music in genres. I know that folk music, like the success of Mumford and Sons in the US, is pushed in the mainstream again but it’s never gone you know? It’s never in style but it’s always there because everyday people will always be attracted to it. So I don’t think it’ll ever be in style, so to speak, like how dubstep is in style right now but one day it’ll go away.


MUSIC

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

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Photo by Greg Mann

22.11.2011

Flogging Molly UEA LCR 06.11.11

Before Flogging Molly hit the stage tonight in a packed LCR, the air is already teeming with drunken anticipation, pints clutched close to chest, as anyone who’s seen this 7 piece folkpunk outfit before know what sort of mayhem to expect. And what a beautiful mayhem it is. As they hit the stage blasting straight through Swagger, the floor erupts into waves of leaping, crowd surfing mentalists, perfectly formed in chaotic ensemble, as the besieged photographers beyond the barricades have to be whisked away by security. The band walk straight into a Pogues cover, paying homage to their genre-fusing spiritual forebears, but from

then on stamp out a massive Flogging Molly sized boot to the face. Frontman Dave King’s unique style comes across every part like a stockbroker having spent twenty years in a soul destroying deskjob, then, finally, deciding to cut loose, only to release all the repressed emotion in a neverending burst of insanity, whipping up a storm as he goes. In the midst of this he somehow manages to hold down a melodic composure, which unshackles this eclectic band around him, allowing them to freestyle their very own musical hurricane; the accordion rolls, violin sweeps and the banjo bursts and blasts to devastating effect. The band spin out riff soaked

belters like Devil’s Dancefloor and Drunken Lullabies, rebel yell anthems in What’s Left Of The Flag, and of course, a fair few songs from their surprisingly underwhelming new album Speed Of Darkness. Not ones to just coast into middle age, having been at it for the last 14 years, Flogging Molly attack these tunes with a joie de vivre that has defined their career. As such tracks like Don’t Shut ‘Em Down take on a vibrant bounce, otherwise found lacking in the recording. It’s not all full speed ahead for the band though, with their banter they take the time to charm and entertain, bringing the crowd and the band together as one, in the manner

of true performers. Make no mistake, Flogging Molly are genuine heavyweights, racking up gold records, touring incessantly and making main-stage festival appearances the world across. Throughout it all though, they still manage to carry warmth of character: as if they were playing a Friday night down your local. True to their reputation as a band of the people, Dave King is outside afterwards signing tickets for the assembled cacophony of grinning drunken madmen; ambling, rambling and howling tunes into the wind after a night of folk-punk mastery. Joe Dobraszczyk


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22.10.2011

MUSIC

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

Scroobious Pip The Waterfront 06.11.11 Shark backpack, bottle of rosé and a live band in tow, Scroobius Pip landed at the Waterfront for the first time as a solo artist on Sunday 6th November. The grittier feel of Pip’s recently released solo album was reflected on stage. Scroobius delivered the tracks off Distraction Pieces with dexterity and an infectious passion that had the crowd in the palm of his hands. Opening act B Dolan provided more than enough incentive to get to the venue early and didn’t disappoint. B Dolan, who supported dan le sac and Scroobius Pip during their 2010 tour, swaggered onto stage with a comically large noose around his neck and “rapper’s glasses” (with one lens missing) obscuring one eye, launched into a hard hitting set tackling among other

things the failings of modern American rap, the American economy, religion and the circumstances surrounding Marvin Gaye’s death. A ‘dance-off’ with an audience member during an LL Cool J track gave the audience more than a few laughs, as both B Dolan and the “volunteer” whipped out some classic moves. Scroobius Pip strolled onto stage donning a lizard mask and the aforementioned shark backpack and bottle of Echo Falls, for a ‘warm-up DJ set’ (publicity for his new club night WEARELIZARDS) before launching into the opening track from the Distraction Pieces, Introdiction. Somehow Scroobius managed to build and build throughout the set. We were treated to every track from Distraction Pieces, as well as a few

old surprises during the well-paced set. B Dolan returned to the stage to join Pip for Soldier Boy (Kill ‘Em) and B Dolan’s One Breath Left, followed by a toned down jazz number, during which the audience assisted in creating the melody. After a few more fast paced tracks that demonstrated Pip’s intelligent lyrics and flawless delivery, came perhaps the most unexpected move of the evening; a reworked version of an early work, 1000 words, the story of Scroobius Pip’s journey into spoken word, performed from an armchair. After downing the last of the Echo Falls, the night ended with what has become a 2011 tour tradition for Scroobius Pip. At the end of every sold out gig Pip launches himself at the crowd and crowd surfs to the merchandise

booth. Even though the Waterfront hadn’t sold out, Scroobius felt that, as it was the biggest venue on the tour outside of London, we still deserved to balance his body on the palms of our hands. The surging crowd carried the well-deserving lyricist from the stage to the merchandise booth by the exit, where every single audience member with the patience to wait had the opportunity to buy goods (including the iconic trucker caps he is rarely seen without) from the man himself. Scroobius Pip at the Waterfront brightened up a dreary November Sunday night and you should be looking forward to the next time Norwich gets to witness this artist live whatever direction his next album takes. Hasina Allen


WIRED

22.11.2011

concrete.wired@uea.ac.uk

Review: Assasins Creed Revelations The fourth instalment of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise hit the shelves on the 15th November, and marks the concluding chapter for the game’s Italian protagonist Ezio Auditore. Set in 16th-century Constantinople, Ezio arrives in the city in search of keys to help him unlock the secrets of the Assassin order, but soon discovers that his enemies are one step ahead. Ubisoft have added in some interesting new gameplay features, taking and improving on what worked in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Two new items have been added to Ezio’s arsenal, the hookblade, (a kind of grappling hook that aids in freerunning) and bombs. Bombs can be crafted to give different effects, such as releasing smoke or giving off loud noises, and add a new level of tactical thinking when players find themselves needing to slip past a group of guards. Another new gameplay feature are the Assassin dens. Once these hideouts have been wrested from enemy control, the player must defend them against any resurging threat. Because dens can be contested and lost at any time, the power struggle over the city is ever changing, and players have to stay on their toes if they want to keep the upper hand.

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Revelations is not just about Ezio. Players will also learn a lot more about the background of the game’s modern day protagonist, Desmond Miles, as he tries to repair his shattered mind following the events of Brotherhood. These new Desmond memories take the form of platforming sections, which may be a bit hit-and-miss with longstanding Assassin’s Creed fans. Ubisoft have also built on Brotherhood’s multiplayer, introducing new maps, characters and game modes. For instance a zombies type game which involves one corrupted player trying to corrupt the other contestants until only one survivor remains. The story of Revelation’s multiplayer sees you, the player, as an employee of Abestergo Industries: the game’s antagonists. As players advance in level and complete challenges online, they unlock more information about Abstergo’s background, giving an insight into Assassin-Templar struggle from both sides. Revelations is primarily a game aimed at established fans. While the gameplay is easy enough to pick up on, new players may find a lot of the plot going over their head. For fans of the series however, Revelations has built on the already sturdy foundations laid by Brotherhood. Andrew Leighfield

Review: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary If it wasn’t for the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in November 2001, the chances of the Xbox surviving its first few years would have been unlikely. A lack of quality games evaded Microsoft’s path at first, and a host of new games such as the original Deus Ex were still in production. Microsoft desperately needed something to get its first console up and running, and this is where Halo made its grand debut. The rise of the Xbox is partly, if not heavily due to Combat Evolved, with the game coming as part of a bundle with the then, chunky console. Combat Evolved and its makers, Bungie, helped shape modern first person shooters, and without its influence, best selling games such as Call of Duty wouldn’t be half as popular. Ten years later, to commemorate the game which kick-started the Xbox and revolutionised FPS shooters, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was released to thank Halo’s millions of fans and introduce a new generation of gamers to the Halo Universe before the heavily anticipated Halo 4 (set for a Christmas 2012 release). Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is the story of a super-soldier, Spartan 117, The Master Chief, and his personal AI, Cortana. Earth’s last defence, the planet Reach, is

destroyed and glassed by the Covenant, a brooding mix of alien species drawn together for the purpose of “The Great Journey”. After crash landing on a ring world, Halo, a deadly super weapon capable of destroying all sentient life in the galaxy, Master Chief must stop the Covenant from firing the weapon in

order to save the galaxy. What does Anniversary offer differently from the original? At first sight, many have argued the game is being used just to milk the series and generate income. However, until you’ve played this stunning remake, you won’t understand the vast differences in the games.

Anniversary offers HD and 3D graphics, as well as a new Firefight map and six new online multiplayer maps which are essentially added on to the Halo: Reach multiplayer, and of course a remastered mix of the original music composed by Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. The biggest improvement can be found in the change of graphics frm the original 2001 release to the 2011 remake Gone are the dimly lit maps, and cartoon-like Covenant characters, which have been updated with state of the art graphics and deadly looking enemies. The biggest relief for millions of hardcore Halo fans is that it plays exactly the same as the original, so you feel a decade younger when playing it. Anniversary also offers a new addition to the game through terminals. The terminals, scattered across the course of the game, are insights into the origins of Halo, and possess resonant connections for the upcoming Halo 4. Whilst 343 Industries, the team responsible for Halo 4 and beyond have made a good start with this amazing remake, hopefully the best is yet to come. If you haven’t played Halo, and you own a Xbox 360, you need this game on your Christmas list. Robert Austin


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22.11.2011

Retro Column: Jade Cocoon

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Five years after the last game, and 25 years after the series debut, Zelda is back, and bigger and more ambitious than ever. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the game the Wii, and motion control itself, has been waiting for. It is the game that should have been here five years ago for Nintendo to show gamers that motion controls can be taken seriously and used properly in games other than casual shovelware. Instead, the game comes out as a last hurrah for the Wii, which is in its dying throes and soon to be replaced by the next generation WiiU. Gameplay is the most important thing, and the most important thing about Skyward Sword’s gameplay is that it uses WiiMotion+, which allows for 1:1 tracking. This means Link will do exactly what you do with the WiiMote, whether it’s a vertical slice or just casually moving his arm around. The motion control on Twilight Princess felt clumsy and blunted, but in Skyward Sword it feels natural and intuitive. The combat, as a result, is amazing. Waving the WiiMote around randomly will not work; you’ll find that death will come swiftly should you try it. Each fight requires the use of your brain to win, and every new enemy brings a new puzzle. This is probably the best motion-controlled gaming will be for a very long time, since the WiiU is not played with a WiiMote. Skyward Sword has many great puzzles and amazing boss fights (the six-armed

Buddha and the fabulous Ghirahim spring to mind), and some of the most memorable locations in Zelda history, such as the pirate ship dungeon. One of the central mechanics of the game is being able to revert time back thousands of years in localised areas; turning deserts into lush green forests in real time as you move. Visually, the game is beautiful; the aesthetic style is that of the French impressionist Monet. This style is clever, as it does a lot to help hide the Wii’s appalling lack of HD and anti-aliasing. In terms of audio, it is fully orchestral this time, and has some very memorable melodies. Overall, Skyward Sword is a brilliant game that definitely deviates from the standard Zelda formula enough to mark it as its own game rather than an Ocarina of Time clone, which Twilight Princess was criticised for. It is not without its negatives, though. The overworld is empty; you feel like you’re backtracking too much; the game holds your hand for too long; and the inability to skip text is very frustrating. However, these do not substantially lessen the quality of the overall experience. The amazing characters and gorgeous real time cut scenes make you forget about the minor niggles. Skyward Sword is a worthy addition to the Zelda franchise, perhaps the best Zelda yet, and a strong contender for game of the year.

Richard Joslin

London Philharmonic Orchestra Release Video Game Soundtrack Compilation Behind every great game is a great soundtrack, and for anyone who has looked for a compilation of the best, they need look no further. Released on the 8 November, The Greatest Video Game Music is exactly what one would expect it to be: soundtracks taken from the biggest titles spanning the last three decades, all expertly performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Each of the 22 tracks will be instantly recognisable to gamers and cover a wide variety of games, including tunes taken from Super Mario, Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto. The track that will perhaps surprise listeners most by its inclusion is the theme

WIRED

concrete.wired@uea.ac.uk

from the poultry-slinging mobile phone game Angry Birds. While this may sound an odd choice for an orchestral adaptation, the London Philharmonic plays the score beautifully, giving the track a delightfully cheery tone. Another surprise success is the classic Tetris theme, which has come a long way since its release in 1984 and is still one of the catchiest tunes to be heard in a video game. For fans that have an appreciation for the music behind their favourite games, this album is definitely worth a listen. Those who do will realise exactly how the London Philharmonic has earned its reputation as a world renowned orchestra. Andrew Leighfield

Jade Cocoon was released in 1998 and quickly faded into obscurity. It is a mix of traditional Asian style RPG and something akin to Pokemon. The plot follows the story of the young protagonist, Levant, who lives in a world covered in dense forests. These forests are inhabited by violent monsters that attack the surrounding small villages. Levant’s village comes under attack by the Onibubu (the locusts of the apocalypse). This sends most of the villagers into a sleeping sickness from which they cannot wake. It is Levant’s destiny to become the cocoon master, the only person able to capture and purify the monsters, so that he may travel into the dangerous forests to find a cure for the sleeping sickness. With the help of his wife Mahbu, (voiced by Michelle Ruff), Levant can use his minions to fight. He is capable of merging two minions together to create unique and more powerful creatures, or he can spin the cocoons that he uses to capture them and earn money by selling the rare silk. Jade Cocoon uses a basic turn-based battle system which is effective, though not entirely intuitive enough to develop advanced battle strategies. The game is short and at times stiflingly linear, however, don’t let this stop you from playing it. What makes it truly outstanding is the storyline. You gain a powerful insight into a world of

constant paranoia and a deep-seated guilt that the monsters are the physical expression of the forest’s anger towards the “beast of knowledge” (humans) which is as much a comment on real world deforestation as it is a distinctive plot device. The depth of the story is almost unparalleled, even today. It comments on arranged marriage, the importance of a spiritual connection with nature and what must be sacrificed in the pursuit of knowledge. With characters that traverse stunning narrative arcs, the player eventually realises that, in the world of Jade Cocoon, no-one is how they first appear; each of the characters metaphorically and sometimes literally, undergo a metamorphosis. Phillip Jones

Preview: Mario Kart 7 It’s fair to say that the 3DS hasn’t quite achieved what Nintendo hoped it would. After the competition killing behemoth that was the DS, its successor has failed to catch the public’s interest and failed even more spectacularly to impress the critics. Some blame the 3D gimmick failing to offer anything substantial in terms of gameplay, whilst others point out it is because there aren’t actually any good games available Nintendo now seeks to solve this problem with the latest version of one of its most popular franchises, Mario Kart 7. Judging from the trailers, it’s essentially the same Mario Kart we all know, with the usual bundle of new courses, characters and weapons. One much hyped new feature is the addition of flying and underwater karts, where at certain points in the race players can take to the skies or dive underwater. This new mechanic may prove to be a positive addition to the now tired Mario Kart formula of closed, three lap courses, adding the possibility of multi-layered, open ended races where players

can pick from a variety of routes to take to the finish line depending on their style of play, hopefully Nintendo will utilise this to its full potential. A long time fan request has been granted in the form of customisable karts, will this add anything in terms of gameplay? We shall see. There are also features that make use of the 3DS’ capabilities, such as Streetpass and Spotpass, but it seems confusing why anyone would want gyroscope controls on a hand held racing game as all it could possibly achieve is forcing you to play the game sideways. T h i s Christmas is going to be make or break time for the 3DS and Nintendo seem to be hoping that a new high profile Mario game can stop it going the way of the virtual boy. With Mario Kart 7 released on 2 December it seems we’ll soon find out whether the little plumber can rescue the 3DS as effectively as he does Princess Peach, or whether it really is game over for Nintendo’s new hand held. Joe Fitzsimmons


FASHION

22.11.2011

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

not you, it’s your beard Becky Evans on the perils of facial hair.

Photographer: Chloe Hashemi / Model: Joe Moore

It’s

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Muff:

Hannah Britt

Muff. nobody likes talking about muff. And don;t even mention pubes. Pubes are even worse. however, for something so taboo, us girs seem to pay an awful lot of attention to the inside of our knickers. During a recent drunken night, it was discovered by my delighted housemate that one of our mutual friends has, how shall we say it delicately, a “full” bush. Her Isaac Newtonlike discovery was terrible news. The following morning I woke up to the standard “Where did you go?!” and “Wow was your night?” However there was also “OMG Emily has a massive bush!” With this in mind, I went on a little mission, asking my male friends heri opinions on the matetr at hand. According to my friend Freddie, he would prefer a girl to have a hairy face than a hairy vagina. Is my research unscientific? Probably. However is it informative? Very much so.

Enter the masculine man. He’s dressed to impress, he’s single, he’s ready to mingle. The ladies swoon. The men drool. It has nothing to do with his ripped body or glistening smile. It’s his bristling beard. The bum fluff bearers hang their head in shame as he saunters past. What is the male obsession with the perfect beard? The answer: testosterone, testosterone, testosterone. Plenty of men that I have stumbled across in my very short lifetime are still, unfortunately, in the “nearly beard” stage. The “nearly beard” is a very real problem for youths of today; it consists of the ongoing struggle to acquire the perfect style of facial hair. Many a man in his prime of puberty has been hit with the relationship breaking line, “It’s not you, it’s your beard”. Although this may extreme, no woman enjoys looking at barely-there spatters of hair dotted with vibrant ginger. Let’s be honest girls: it’s not sexy. Understandably, the concept of an unattractive furry face leaves the male sex questioning their masculinity. Should they take the risk of exercising their right as manly men to grow some outstanding fuzz? Or, will they enter the dangerously uncool “lazy grease growth” phase? It leaves so much to chance. No man stumbles across a homeless person curled up on a bench, clutching a bottle of whisky, and remarks,

“Phwoar, look at the beard on that guy!” There is a very obvious line between what is okay and what is not with regards to beard etiquette. However, taking this important factor into account with regards to certain celebrity’s facial hair choices, it does leave society rather confused, and thus regrettably we enter the “mid-life crisis beard” phase. Exhibit A: Brad Pitt. Whatever happened to his clean shaven and, let’s be perfectly honest, ravishing facial exterior? We watched in horror as Brad passed from clean cut to you-need-to-cleanyourself-up. maybe it was the weight of age resting heavily on his shoulders that sparked off the moronic trend, or maybe it was Angelina’s influence [although we pray it was not]. Or maybe, just maybe, Brad had watched Pirates of the Caribbean one too many times and convinced himself the Johnny Depp goatee could suit him. Let us remind, Mr Pitt, that the only person that can sport two plaits of hair hanging from his face and still keep the ladies flocking is Captain Jack Sparrow and him alone. Yet with all this mad, media inspired beard propaganda, as well as the allimportant “Movember” month that has come around once more, ladies we still ask ourselves the same question: at the end of the judgement, abuse and mocking, is the beard rash really worth it?

tackles fashion’s final taboo...

These extreme reactions underline just how much is at stake down there. But what is a girl to do? Well ladies, fear not, as there are many wild and wonderful things which can be done to makeover your minge... The latests crazo to sweep the nation’s vaginas, well thos ein Essex anyway, is the vajazzle. This involves sticking lots of little gems around your bits. You can get the Playboy logo if you like. Or the word “idiot”. According to some muppet on Channel 4’s The Joy of Teen Sex, getting vajazzled makes her feel sexy. Each to their own I suppose... If you are not feeling particularly bling, you could just get a wax.

Simple right? Wrong. If you decide to get your bits waxed, you then have to decide which kind of wax you would prefer. You can get a Brazilian, a landing strip, a Hollywood, a Dollywood (the profile of Dolly Parton’s face.) Ok, so I made that last one up... You could even get your boyfriend’s name waxed into your minge if you like. Admittedly this idea would probably work getter if your boyfriend has a short name. Imagine the delight of the Eds and the Als of the world as they take their girlfriend’s knickers off to find their name, perhaps in a pretty swirly font. It is a little like those personalised headbands we had as chldren. The makeover needn’t stop there though; you cen even get plastic surgery to

make you a virgin again. Well, not really, no amount of surgery will take back that night you spent with boy whose name you cannot remeber after one too many doubles at Lola’s. There are also surgical optinios to make your vagine more aesthetically pleasing, as aesthetically pleasing as a vagina can be. It is shocking how much of a necessity the upkeep of down there has become. I by no means leave myself out of this equation. I may dress a little like a hippy, but I was not born in the seventies. One can certainly lay the blame with Page 3 and the porn industry . It can be said that grooming down there is an example of sexism in fashion. It must be so easy for boys. We don’t expect them to wax themselves down there. Again, unless you’re from Essex, in which case they may have a pejazzle too.


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To

22.11.2011

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

FASHION

and ‘fro

Hasina Allen

talks you through the resurgence of the afro.

Any list of iconic hair would be incomplete without the afro. The moustache is a look that can only really be pulled off by men, whereas the hair halo created by an afro is a gender neutral look that can be worked by anyone. The cloud of hair rising from the head is one of the most instantly recognizable style options for Afro-Caribbean hair. With its roots as a political statement in the late ‘60s and early 70s, it has since

continued to be a popular style option for kinky or curly hair and spawned a huge variety of colourful wigs that make it a truly all-embracing look. Erykah Badu, the Jackson 5, The Supremes and Jimi Hendrix are just a few of the defining afros of our time and all provide style tips for working the afro. Diana Ross taught us that for effortless afro-glam massive earrings are a must: there is no such thing as too-

big gold hoops when an afro is involved. With all their love of clashing bright colours and prints, the Jackson 5 prove that dressing every morning is easy when all anyone looks at is your hair. Present day afro inspiration comes from the likes of singing sensation Esperanza Spalding who’s perfectly shaped ‘fro paired with a neutral and pastel palette somehow exudes effortless class. As a friend recently had to point out to

a stranger, having curly/afro hair does not make one an exotic form of tropical mammal [a sentiment this reporter 100% shares]. However, feeling a magnetic pull towards an afro within touching reach is a completely natural response to gravity defying hair that looks as soft as candy floss. There’s just something about a well-groomed, well-accessorized afro that is irresistible.


ARTS

22.11.2011

concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

Andy Parsons - The Playhouse The lights dimmed, the music blared, and a wave of energy rippled across the Playhouse auditorium. Enter Mr Andy Parsons. Ever the robustly funny comedian with a head so shiny you could check your hair in it, Parsons is an even more dynamic presence in the flesh. He instantly fired the atmosphere, bounding onto the stage and bellowing out a jovial “Hello Norwich!” to the packed auditorium. There was no initial awkwardness or slow warm-up for this comedic veteran, as he immediately honed in on the gaping irony of the two empty seats smack in the middle of the front row. Striking up a good rapport from the start, Parsons continued to playfully banter with his audience throughout the show, heralding his status as one of the dons of stand-up performance. Mostly recognisable from the hit BBC series Mock the Week, where he brings sharpeyed irony and rugged humour to the panel, Parsons is also a prolific solo performer. Prefiguring the release of his second DVD Gruntled, this latest gig definitely reaffirms his capability as a one-man act. Showcasing his full comedic range from political satire to personal anecdote, Parsons carries his audience from appreciative giggling to outright hysterics. One woman even managed to squeak with laughter (which, if

you consider inhuman noises to be the height of appreciation, speaks for itself!) Parsons’ talent for picking up on and referring back to such specific points in his gigs is what makes him such a comfortable, adaptable performer. He oozed naturalness throughout the night, taking all audience input in his stride and at times proving himself a deft improviser. His talent shone through most in his ability to tease those watching and drop in the odd Norwich-related joke, whilst continuing to have his audience in stitches (steering clear of the usual normal-for-Norfolk puns seemed to help in this case. Strange that. The material remained highly topical throughout, so it is perhaps worth brushing up on current affairs before seeing the performance. Parsons glided through a diverse range of subjects, from the coalition and Sarah Palin, to underpants and Peppa Pig. Sharply funny in his treatment of each and never shying away from poking fun at himself, his only limitation was a tendency towards a ranting style of humour. It came across well though; not as a display of ill-tempered angst, but as a proof of keen-sighted intelligence and passionate engagement with today’s world.

14

Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts

As well as the world class permanent collections housed in the stunning Sainsbury Centre forVisual Arts, the temporary exhibitions which call the museum home for four to six months at a time are always fascinating, and free for all UEA and NUCA staff and students. Showing until the 4th December, The Face of the Artist exhibition puts portraits of artists by esteemed photographer John Hedgecoe alongside their work. Also on display is Griff Rhys Jones’ Ghanaian ‘fantasy coffin’. Crafted for the BBC series Hidden Treasures of Africa, the coffin offers a unique insight into the beliefs of the Ga people who make up around 8% of Ghana’s population. The temporary exhibitions opening in the New Year provide an equally noteworthy treat. Opening on the 4th February 2012, following popular displays in Sydney and Manila, Kingdom of Characters brings the characters we know and love from Japanese television, games and comics to life - including a life-size Pikachu.

Victoria Cann

Jeffrey Eugenides - Literary Festival

Jeffrey Eugenides is a big deal. Last month a billboard in Times Square displayed an enormous windswept portrait of him, advertising his “swoon-worthy” new novel The Marriage Plot. His last novel Middlesex won the Pulitzer Prize; America’s biggest prize, and his worldwide sales figures are in the millions. It was a privilege, then, for UEA to host him in a sold-out LT1 to read and discuss his work. Eugenides graduated from Stanford

University with a degree in creative writing and as such, he stands as a living, breathing admonishment to those that claim creative writing degrees are writer-factories which stifle original voices. Eugenides’ three books are noted for their distinctive themes, perspectives and styles, indeed it would be hard to pin them as even being by the same writer were his name not on the front. He is undoubtedly one of the most original voices in American literature.

Generously eschewing the usual “new material only” policy, Eugenides read from all three of his books; the famous opening of The Virgin Suicides, the beginning of Middlesex and a sizeable, and quite funny, chunk of the early parts of The Marriage Plot. This is one of the chief attractions of the Literary Festival, the rare opportunity to hear a writer read in his or her own voice, Eugenides did not disappoint and the majority of the hour was spent listening to him reading. A brief discussion on his writing processes and his Greek-American heritage yielded a few talking points. He was born into an affluent family in Detroit and has taken in California, Berlin and Chicago, all of which he cites as having influenced his literary direction. He also mentioned a propensity for literary false-starts and cul-de-sacs, which explains the nine year absences between novels, and spoke of omnivorous and obsessive intellectual tendencies, which explain the starkly divergent characters of his books. A few slightly intrusive questions aside, the event saw a hugely successful and respected writer at the peak of his powers, demonstrating exactly why he is so popular, effortlessly captivating an audience for 40 minutes, and he could easily have gone on longer.

Alongside these exhibitions, the Sainsbury Centre hosts a variety of events throughout the month. As well as the academic talks and arts and crafts workshops on offer, the centre offers other ways to get engaged with their collections. A programme of films inspired by the SCVA collection are being screened at Cinema City, while the monthly Late Shift opens the gallery to interactive exploration after hours. With plans to open a new contemporary gallery and a bar, in addition to the abundance already on offer, a visit to the Sainsbury Centre will always be worthwhile and rewarding.

Kieran McMahon

Hasina Allen


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22.11.2011

ARTS

concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

Rambert Dance Company - Theatre Royal

Rambert Dance Company returns to Norwich on tour every year, and how fortunate we are that they do. Effortlessly combining classic ballet sentiments with striking contemporary dance, Rambert bless the nation this year with the Seven For A Secret… tour, exploring the joy of childhood, the rawness of humanity and the spirit of the soul. They also bring with them an orchestra of the highest standard, directed by Paul Hoskins, who works closely with the dancers to create total coordination between music and movement. Gracing the stage of Norwich Theatre Royal three times in just two days, Rambert are in high demand as they whistle-stop their way around the UK. They exhibited three pieces of their extensive repertoire on tour this year, the first of which was Seven For A Secret, Never To Be Told which concentrated on the exuberance and playfulness of youth, complete with onstage tea parties, teddy bears and pillow fights. Set against gorgeous, gentle greenery and accompanied with entrancing dreamlike music, the dancing was both animalistic and elegant, with unexpected humour. Every dancer and every step was unfailingly energetic, and the transformation of the dancers into joyful children was enchantingly lovely. The second, much shorter piece was entitled RainForest, although it bore little resemblance in the conventional sense

to a rainforest of any kind. Silver heliumfilled balloons hovered over the stage, and bobbed along at the dancers’ feet against a bare black background. Movement was mechanical and slow, yet extremely precise. The dancers were dressed to appear nude and the tone descended into something almost like science fiction; the accompanying orchestral music was sharp, staccato and squeaking at the very top of many instruments’ range. This was completely overturned with the final third of the evening, A Linha Curva. Inspired by the choreographer’s time spent in Sao Paolo, A Linha Curva was bursting with samba-motivated movement, a clear celebration of the body with great leaps, perfect synchronicity and light-hearted athleticism. The simple costumes were colourful and complemented by excellent exploitation of stage lighting that brought the whole performance to rainbow-coloured life. Three masterpieces it seemed, from an amazing company, that truly showed off the grace and stamina of all employed there, particularly those members that featured in all three pieces. Displaying such a range of style and tone, this year’s visit from Rambert was a joy to watch, and almost certainly, a joy to dance. Emma Webb

This Week In Arts History ... 1865

The original cover of the 1865 ‘suppressed’ edition of Carroll’s classic.

November 26th marks 146 years since the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Despite its resoundingly English roots, due to an artistic dispute between Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel, Alice was released first in America, then in England a month later. Queen Victoria (unaware, it would seem, of the rumour that the neurotically violent Queen of Hearts was modelled on her) and a young Oscar Wilde are said to have been early fans of the book. Since 1865, Alice has never been out of print, has been translated in 97 languages (prize for anyone who can name them all) and has spawned numerous television, film and theatre adaptations. Even if you haven’t read the book, Alice’s descent into the wickedly weird world of Wonderland has been absorbed into universal consciousness so completely that you probably know the story anyway. In 1951 it received the Disney treatment, bringing Carroll’s eccentric characters into full technicolour glory for a whole new generation, then in 2010 was stamped

with the Depp/Burton seal of kookiness, performing a similar feat through the use of 3D. Both films proved popular with children and adults alike, proving that Alice’s adventures still resonate with modern audiences. So just what it is about the little girl and her pipe-smoking, teadrinking, head-chopping acquaintances that keep audiences, notoriously fickle as we are, so continuously engaged? Alice, for all her Victorian politeness and social graces, is a pleasingly modern heroine. Eager and curious, she questions everything and tries everything, traits not always encouraged in “grown-up” society. Alice represents the inner-child that resides inside even the most cynical of adults. Wonderland itself, a magical, mystical realm where nothing is as it seems, also presents an alluring concept; a product of Alice’s own imagination, it represents the power of the mind to transport us away from monotony and the potential in all of us to create our own Wonderland. Like Oz, Narnia and Hogwarts, Wonderland exists within the boundaries

of our own world, meaning its existence is not completely implausible. After all, anyone can fall down a rabbit hole. Julia Sanderson


CREATIVE WRITING

22.10.2011

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

The Deal by Matthew Mulcahy

16

She looked into his eyes expectantly. He smiled narrowly, like he was trying to show he was concerned, but he wasn’t. Every so often he would glance over at the young man behind the counter, a devilish gleam in his eye. The man behind the counter always avoided his gaze, as if he was scared. She wondered why. She did not know his name and he had not offered it. He knew her name, though. He hadn’t needed to ask to know her name. Hello, Karen, he had said as soon as she sat down opposite him. Just like that – Hello, Karen, he had said as if it were the most normal thing in the world. She was not surprised. After a few minutes it seemed completely natural that he would know her name without asking. He knew everything without asking. He knew when and where she was born, he knew where she lived, he knew where she worked, he knew her bra size, her trouser length and her shoe size, he knew her husband’s name and her son’s name and he knew all about Vera’s accident. She had not thought about Vera for a very long time. But he thought about Vera. He knew all about her accident. He had listed these facts right after saying her name. It was not to impress her; it was not like that. She thought about it for a long time afterwards and knew it was not like that. He was not trying to impress her or scare her like the young man behind the counter. He was

just trying to tell her. To tell her, without saying it, that he could help. She liked his voice. He spoke smoothly, evenly, intelligently. He was sibilant, like a snake. She hated his voice. He has cancer. Excuse me? Your husband, he said, as if talking to a child not old enough to understand yet. What about him? He sighed gently and smiled reassuringly. Your husband has cancer. Oh, she said. Yes. One of my favourites, he nodded. What? He sighed again. Disease. Particularly nasty and wonderfully shrewd. Blast it with radiation and it just pops up somewhere else. Wonderful. She did not know what to say. He looked at her, expectantly raising his eyebrows. So, she said quietly. You can help him. That was not a question. What? There was no inflection on the last syllable. You were not asking a question, but stating a fact. I have faith. I trust you. No you don’t. You do not even trust in my abilities. You are hopeful, Karen; you have hope. Do not confuse hope with faith. That is a rookie mistake. Faith is stronger, and

ultimately it is equally unimportant. Unimportant? Of course. You don’t seem convinced. You’re not a retard. What? My apologies, was that politically incorrect? I meant to say, you’re not a spaz. That’s not politically correct either. I know. He smiled broadly. Why are you saying these things? She was not scared anymore. Only idiots have faith. He looked at her, contemplating. You don’t look like a downie. Stop it! He glanced round to see if anyone had heard, but she knew it was just a show. Clever girl. He was staring into her bloodshot eyes. She did not answer. Yes you are, by the way. Excuse me? You are still scared. She made a noise, a kind of concerned moan. You can lie to yourself, he hissed softly. But not to me. Please tell me you can help, she blurted out. She did not want to let him talk. He spoke too much. Perhaps, he said. What do you think? After a while, she said I think it was a mistake coming here. Standing up, she moved to walk past him.

He touched her hand, stopped her from leaving. He was strong and so cold. One condition. What? This isn’t free. There is one condition. She was scared. Please, have a seat. I don’t – she stopped. I don’t want to. He will die in thirteen days, nine hours and six minutes. Please, she said. Have a seat, he said cordially. She sat down. What is the condition? She wondered if was okay to let him inside her for her husband’s sake. Don’t flatter yourself. Excu – You ask so many questions. You don’t drink. Or smoke. Or use. You have no excuse for acting as if you don’t know what’s happening. You haven’t answered my question. How surprising. You actually remembered. You haven’t answered my question. Is your tape on a loop? No. Good. I’m not going to answer your question. Not today. Why? I wish this agreement to be mutually beneficial. So? Again with the questions.

UEA Alumni Special Interview: Luke Wright

it over and they weren’t so welcoming. I kinda felt like we needed somewhere to go where we could do our own style of poetry. When we first started out we used to borrow as much from lyricism as from comedy and all sorts of things in our poetry. We needed our own place and Aisle16 was that place. We started our own thing.

Concrete’s creative writing Editor, Ella Chappell, spoke to performance poet Luke Wright who is currently touring the UK with his poetry gig “The Cynical Ballads.”

Where would you say you find your inspiration? Everywhere really. Reading newspapers, I could write a poem about that. Or you know, I see something and a good line pops into my head. And you can go from there. As I would say to all writers, I don’t go to a mountaintop and wait until inspiration hits or anything like that. It just sort of comes.

writers at UEA? Read as much stuff as possible. Get a notebook and write lots of stuff. You’ll be quite prolific when you first start, and that’s great because you haven’t started editing yet. Just write everything down. And I think if you’re gonna be good at what you do, you need to start doing research and reading around your subject. Don’t assume you know it all. That was my problem, I think early on I kinda thought ‘Oh, I don’t wanna read anything that isn’t Martin Newell, or stuff I know.’ And it wasn’t until I left uni that I started reading further afield and it’s improved my writing so much. So, try new things. You read something that’s totally different to you and you think ‘right, I’m gonna write like that for a bit,’ and I think that can help you into moving forward to helping you find your own voice. And of course you have to work at it. You can’t just sit there and wait for it all to come to you. You’ve gotta work really really hard. You’ve gotta write 100 shit poems before you can write a good one.

or anything like that. I was so into what I was doing. And that’s a nice feeling. I don’t have any rituals as such. Given the lifestyle I’ve got which involves travelling around a lot, I have to be able to write anywhere. I write for Saturday Live on Radio 4 and I’ve got a ritual around that. I always get to my hotel about three on Friday afternoon and I get given my subject and I write for about three hours and then go have dinner. And that’s the closest I get to a ritual! Otherwise there’s no sort of pattern or schedule. I just have to be able to take out my computer and go!

So, you’re an alumni of UEA. What would you say your fondest memories of UEA are? Good question. I remember in our first year whilst I was living in halls, Suffolk, I remember it being warm on Valentine ’s Day and us sitting out on the roofs of the Ziggurats. That’s a really fond memory. And about a week later it started snowing really heavily. And we had a massive snowball fight; Norfolk Terrace versus Suffolk Terrace. And I remember Creative Writing Society. We used to organise some trips to Great Yarmouth and just, get pissed! Sounds fun! I read that Aisle16 grew out of disillusionment with the current poetry scene. Could you describe what the ideology of Aisle16 was? There was a night in Norwich run by this guy called Jason who was really great and really welcoming and then some other people took

Yeah, I heard you had a project where you got inspiration from service stations! Yeah, the idea behind that was...if you take the archetypal view of inspiration, someone would say a beautiful landscape would be inspiring. But the opposite of that would be a service station as the most inspiring of places. Of course that’s not true but you could find something to write about anywhere. And the point is that there is beauty everywhere, some kind of poetry. So we spent a week touring round these service stations and that was fun. Well, I say that now but I think at the time it was quite hellish. What advice do you have for budding

Do you have any weird writing rituals? No I don’t...but when I feel myself getting into that mode of writing I do find it very comfortable now. I’m writing a long poem at the moment and last night I was sort of picking away at some of it whilst the news was on in the background, I was making myself dinner and I realised that I was totally undistracted by the news, or by the cooker,

Sounds hectic! Yeah, it is. But in a nice way, like I kinda live two lives. I live my life out on the road and I live my life at home which is really nice. I wish I was at home more but it’s a good life I would say. Are you still involved in Latitude festival? Yeah, I program the poetry. Who was your favourite performance poet at this year’s Latitude? Oo, I don’t know. I always really love Tim Turnbull, he’s always excellent. I’m a big fan of Caroline Bird as well. And John Osborne. They’re my favourites. Luke performed his “Cynical Ballads” at Norwich Arts Centre on the 16th November and will be performing at the Quay Theatre in Suffolk on the 26th November.


17

22.10.2011

Just answer me. You do not need to know the condition. You need only be aware that I may take anything I choose from you, at a time and place that is convenient. Convenient for you. Yes. Who else? Why should I say yes? Have faith. She looked at him evenly. You said faith was for idiots. You said I wasn’t an idiot. He cocked his head to one side, curious. I’ve been wrong before... The doctor said it was a miracle. She cried and her husband cried. Her son thought she was sad and cried too, for a while. He was in her kitchen twenty-five days later. Six hundred and sixteen hours to be precise, he said. She had just fed her son and then went downstairs for a drink. She fancied some milk. He was leaning on the counter, holding the bottle out for her to take. After a while she asked why he was there. To quench your thirst, he said, shaking the bottle. She remained silent and he put the bottle on the counter. Am I to assume you have forgotten our arrangement? No. But why are you here? Convenience. He smiled. She shook with indignation and struggled to

keep her voice low. How is this convenient? I want something in this house, he said. If you wanted to buy a coat, the best place to go would be somewhere that sells coats. Nothing here is for sale. She was scared. Yes it is. The price was one cancer-free husband. She looked away. He thinks about other women, you know. What? Why else do you think he closes his eyes? Stop, she moaned. Please. He shrugged. Okay. Who are you? You know who I am. You’ve known your whole life. Think about it. Why are you so afraid of the dark? What are you called? I have so many names. She thought about it for a moment and nodded shyly. Now, what do you want? I want your son. Her eyes welled up instantly. What? You heard exactly what I said. No, she blubbered. Why? Do you remember your husband’s secondary school motto? She blubbered some more. Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man, he said. That seems appropriate. He won’t be the same, of course. He’s my son! You can’t, you can’t!

Poetry Corner

Eternal Slumbers - Chen Shun Xuan The flame-red sunset clouds, Dressed up our honeymoon room. The tender firmament-shaped grass, Made a soft wedding bed for us. The mica screen, Which hung down, From the junction of sky and earth, Isolated our chamber, From the inauspicious existence, In this mortal life. Share one pillow to relieve, In eternal slumbers from tonight. Unnecessary to dedicate, Anxieties and sighs, To the fading blossoms, And bursting ones in the yard.

CREATIVE WRITING

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

Only

You made the deal. No! If you do not lower your voice, your husband will wake up. If he does, I will kill him. Then I will kill you. Then I will take your son anyway. She held back tears, breathing heavily. I’m curious, he said. Will you be able to pretend that you don’t know where he went? Stop. Why? Take me, she cried. Please. Anything. Take me instead. He gestured upstairs. He’d be an awful single parent. Please. No. You made the deal. Live with it. I would like your son now, please. If you don’t mind. NO! she yelled. Her tears flooded forth. She was shouting. YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM! You can’t, you can’t. He smiled. The police had no clue as to the child’s whereabouts. There was no sign of forced entry, and no fingerprints or foreign material of any kind. The child’s mother was crumpled against the refrigerator, her blood spattered on the far wall. The child’s father had been torn apart at the foot of the stairs, bloodied footprints leading to the nursery. A half-empty glass of milk rested on the window sill.

a

Document1 - Sarah-Joy Wickes for the last time I have told you:

just save me a parking space under your arm,

your name.

This week - Michael Drummond

What are you studying? History

What’s your favourite word?

Such a difficult question. I go through phases of overusing various words. I seem to use “somewhat” a lot at the moment for some reason.

How do you defeat writer’s block?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block too much. When I do I just take a break from the piece I’m working on and come back to it the next day. That usually works. Also the break of a day means that it’s easier to see what can be improved about what you’ve already written.

What inspires you?

Often I’ll just think of a phrase or a line of poetry and I’ll have to write it down. It can be prompted by absolutely anything; ideas or words that take my fancy. I write a lot about human behaviour so I guess that provides me with ideas to some extent.

J.R.R. Tolkien is my favourite, but up therewith him are Douglas Adams, Sylvia Plath, and Sergei Lukyanenko. I also love reading the news (especially BBC news online).

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

I can see the attraction of the Kindle, it’s a very convenient way of taking reading material with you wherever you go. But you can’t thumb the pages of the kindle or feel the weight of the paper. I’d rather have a hefty paperback any day.

Do you prefer handwriting or typing? Handwriting. For everything but extended works of prose I write by hand. My handwriting’s terrible, but the advantage of writing by hand is that I can make notes and scribbles all over my latest piece so that when I come back to it I know what needs changing.

I do not need a platoon of umbrellas for light drizzle.

and tell me

Q&A with UEA writers.

Who are your favourite writers?

Tear - Marco Bell

Tears parachute down a face of white A lady of figure that is so slight She waits to hear the footsteps come She waits to see what could have been done Her feet are lose, weightless, free They go first to the depths of blue sea He raises a hand to grasp where she stood But catches only a tear, salty as should The raging tide takes its prisoner away The man jumps too, for his love is too great.

SPOTLIGHT

What’s the weirdest thing that’s inspired you? Probably the Cold War.


FILM The Future

Director: Miranda July Country: USA Starring: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater Originally conceived as a short performance piece, The Future is the second feature film from director, actress and visual artist Miranda July. Returning after a seven year break from film, during which she released several anthologies of short stories, The Future

22.11.2011

cements July’s status as a strikingly individual voice within American independent cinema. A pessimistic companion to its predecessor, 2005’s life-affirming Me, You and Everyone We Know, July again puts herself centre stage, as children’s dance teacher Sophie. Together with her boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater), she decides to adopt an injured cat, Paw Paw, who may have as little as six months left to live. This impulsive commitment reminds the

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

couple that they are both approaching 40, yet remain childless and dissatisfied with their careers. With only a few weeks remaining until Paw Paw is available for collection, they view this as potentially the last period of freedom they’ll ever have. Along the way, Jason spontaneously signs up for a volunteer scheme, going doorto-door selling trees. Through this he meets an elderly man who offers pearls of wisdom,

18

writes lewd poems about his wife and is later reimagined as the voice of the moon. Sophie falls into a passionate affair that threatens her relationship and the secure, unchanging way of life she and Jason are accustomed to. As the voice of Paw Paw, who narrates intermittently and facelessly from his cage at the veterinary hospital, July is insightful yet mawkish. Combined with the indie couple, all curly hair and doe eyes, these scratchy feline intonations are a touch cloying, but never offputtingly so. The dialogue is a carefully selected mix of thoughtful and eccentric, though The Future focuses more on uncomfortable silences and knowing glances than profundities. July thrives on the banality, white noise and existential anxiety of Sophie and Jason, extracting bleak humour from their mundane contemplations. Rather than follow her critically acclaimed debut with a film that provides similar levels of offbeat escapism, Miranda July has created an intimate collection of portraits. As bold and visually arresting as anything you’ll see this year, The Future showcases July’s knack for refreshingly contemporary character study. This is a confrontational but ultimately rewarding film, of particular interest to anybody with a fleeting interest in talking cats, time travel, or YouTube dance routines. Jack Rice

Wuthering Heights

The Rum Diary

Bruce Robinson’s The Rum Diary has received a mixed reaction from critics and fans alike. A big-screen adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s 1998 novel, it could be argued that no adaptation would ever match its literary predecessor. Johnny Depp stars as Paul Kemp, a journalist who travels to late 1950s Puerto Rico to write for a beleaguered local newspaper, the San Juan Star, only to discover the temptations, idiosyncracies and corruptions that plague this seemingly idyllic paradise. Depp excels in the role, and his comic timing is particularly evident. Furthermore, The Rum Diary succeeds in staying faithful to

Thompson’s style of prose, and both its filming and soundtrack are particularly zeitgeist. As Kemp is consumed by rum and an obsessive desire to tell the truth, in a city where one is a way of life and the other a heinous sin, the audience is taken on a journey into the deep recesses of a life with little reward, beside a brief romantic cinch with the stunningly beautiful Chenault (Amber Heard). Naturally, as a Hollywood adaptation, there are unnecessarily positive moments, and the script has clearly been glamourised for the mainstream audience. Despite this, its charm is pervasive, and there are few dull moments. Chris King

Wuthering Heights, the modern adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel, superbly defines arthouse cinema: visually arresting, meticulous planning, and directed for a particular audience. While the film brilliantly revives Brontë’s detailed descriptions of nature, imbibing the cruelty and deep passion of the characters, it fails to deliver a coherent narrative that does not have to be scrupulously picked apart by the viewer. In all its tedium, the film is a violent display of the passion and cruelty of Heathcliff and Catherine, doomed by fate to never join in their love. The biggest distraction to the

seemingly beautiful camera work is the lack of any soundtrack, save the last five minutes of the film, when Mumford and Sons provides the only sense of joy: a signal that the monotony has finished. If you enjoy high art with minimal content, then this film is definitely for you. Word of warning, there are intense scenes depicting graphic animal violence. Should you be stuck between this and another film, choose the other film.

Patrick Bingham


19

22.11.2011

Immortals

“Witness hell,” says King Hyperion to Theseus, before slitting his mother’s throat and setting off an incurably dull train of events that result in virtually nothing. Indeed, the viewer is submitted to witnessing the hell of a pathetic story, terribly wooden acting and a handful of miserable fight scenes that make up Immortals’ two hours. Both Mickey Rourke and John Hurt take their careers back a couple of paces in what must be one of the most abysmal films to grease our screens this year. The shockingly clumsy plot tramples over at least three Greek myths in its attempt to find a direction, but the emphasis remains on the numerous shoddily choreographed fight scenes that will leave even the most bloodthirsty individual disappointed. The producers of 300 aim for another desensitising smash, but miss the mark horribly with the bizarre cast, jarring script and unexplainable story, all displayed in stunningly pointless 3D. Where 300 succeeded with simplicity in its design and plot, Immortals aims far too high, and thus falls a lot further. Mickey Rourke pokes out eyes for no apparent reason in his search for the plastic-looking Hyperion Bow, upsetting numerous vacuous characters along the way, and by the end you are left only with the hollow feeling of wasted life. Re-watch 300 instead. Harry Denniston

The

rise and fall of

Nicolas Cage

There is a moment in Neil LaBute’s horrifically misguided remake of The Wicker Man in which Nicolas Cage punches a woman in the face while dressed in a bear suit. Just when it seemed his career could sink no lower, this spectacularly ludicrous action cemented the public opinion of Cage as an appallingly bad actor. His most recent film, Trespass, directed by talent vacuum Joel Schumacher, has been predictably slated by critics and it’s likely that the upcoming Justice will fare the same. It’s become a simple fact of life, accepted by just about everybody: Nicolas Cage is a terrible actor. And yet... rewind to the 1996 Academy Awards, when Cage deservedly won the best actor Oscar for his outstanding performance in Leaving Las Vegas. In fact, leading up to 1996, Cage was one of the most interesting and talented young actors around. He’d been put on the map by the Coen Brothers with Raising Arizona, still one of the highlights of their hugely successful career. He’d been in the daring oddity Rumble

FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

Breaking Dawn - Part 1

The Awakening

It’s refreshing that during the period we seem to be in currently, we can see a slow burning psychological thriller that’s in opposition to the explicit torture porn that seems to have become the norm for the genre. If nothing else, the film wins points for its staging. It’s a period piece, set in a windswept boarding school in 1921 with the spectre of the first world war as something we’re reminded of throughout the film. Rebecca Hall does a fantastic job as the sceptical, troubled writer who dominates proceedings. She is never off the screen for long, and her slow descent into paranoia, and finally realisation, is nicely nuanced. The rest of the cast play their roles perfectly too. Isaac Wright does a fantastic job as Tom, the left behind child, as does Dominic West as the troubled teacher, with a stern Imelda Staunton as the matron. The film looks beautiful, and the scarier moments are dealt with well, the framing of the shots adding to the growing eeriness. Although some moments descend into horror cliché, and the ambiguous ending could have been more satisfying, overall The Awakening is a refreshing addition to an overcrowded genre, more in line with Don’t Look Now than Hostel. Kerr Cameron

You might love it, or you may despise it, but for millions of ecstatic teenagers and adults alike, the Twilight saga has become a secret indulgence of pure delight. Breaking Dawn - Part 1, the fourth film in the popular franchise follows the life of Bella Swan (Kirsten Stewart) as she ties the knot with vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). However, their idea of a perfect marriage is forgotten quicker than any Nicolas Cage movie in the past three years. Bella battles pregnancy, demon babies, looming death and an impending attack by werewolves. Bella though has Jacob (Taylor Lautner) sniffing around her garbage and worn underwear, waiting to protect Bella alongside the Cullen’s. The series still hasn’t produced an onscreen smile from its main characters, and it’s no different in this instalment, however the vampire induced humour plays to its strengths throughout. Talking werewolves and the use of questionable music make you question how seriously producers took this film with the impact of serious moments, such as Bella’s constant nightmares, coming across as laughable and spoofy. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is a major improvement on the series titles, delivering what we expected and a little bit more, with many already anticipating the sequel. Robert Austin

Fish and David Lynch’s Palme d’Or winning Wild At Heart. Even amongst the intolerable sludge of his recent output are indicators to just how good Cage can be. His intense, neurotic performance in the criminally underrated Adaptation was among the best ever committed to screen, and he brought the same unhinged quality to Matchstick Men, and 2009’s Bad Lieutenant. It is fitting that the latter was directed by Werner Herzog, as Cage’s performance had echoes of the insanely brilliant, or brilliantly insane Klaus Kinski. All of this begs the question: what happened to Nicolas Cage? After winning an Oscar did he just decide to agree to anything that was thrown his way? Or did he just decide that the money he was being offered was a fair price for squandering his talent. There is a sketch on YouTube in which Cage’s agent becomes more and more exasperated at his client’s inability turn down any of the increasingly ridiculous roles being offered to him. It’s undeniably funny, but you can’t help but suspect that it’s worryingly close to the truth. It seems that what Cage really needs is someone who knows when to hold him back, and when to let him rip. The Herzog and Kinski comparison is actually a very good one. Herzog knew exactly how to harness Kinski’s volatile nature to get stunning performances. At his best, and with the right guidance, Cage can give these types of performances. He can play a character so totally that we accept that character, no matter how improbable they are. In between these roles though, we’ll just have to put up with the bear suit.

Ranter’s Corner

Joseph Murphy

Sam Langan gives his opinion on the recent wave of mumblecorefilms. To readers unaware of mumblecore, I will explain briefly: it’s a genre of film that first started around 2002 which sees angst-ridden twenty-somethings contemplating life, relationships and love. It’s also incredibly annoying, dull and self-indulgent. The release of The Future this month is yet another extension of this utterly myopic genre. I think the reason why I see mumblecore as so putrid is mainly due to how uncinematic it is. Films associated with it are fairly low budget, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but story, or lack of it, is often thrown to the wayside whilst you watch any number of facile city dwellers being pretentious and (yawn) naturalistic. It’s like watching Hollyoaks, except not, because no matter how ridiculous it is, stuff actually happens in Hollyoaks. To my bemusement however, the genre is slowly migrating to the mainstream. 2010 saw Cyrus starring Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly and Greenberg starring Ben Stiller enter multiplexes.Despite the introduction of more recognisable faces the formula stays the same and we’re treated with 90 minutes of tiresome neuroticism. Hopefully mumblecore will catch some pandemic and die out, an ink stain on the page of film genre.


FILM

22.11.2011

The Popcorn Chart Top 5 Hollywood Remakes

20 S

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

Awards the films

eason

Hollywood

say you should

be watching

The Departed (2006)

When you think of things associated with Martin Scorsese, China is probably not the first place to come to mind. But, that’s exactly where the inspiration for his 2006 Oscar-winning crime thriller The Departed came from. Replacing the Chinese Triads with a Boston Mafia family, Scorsese kept pretty much every other element of the 2002 Cantonese film Internal Affairs intact, the plot still largely revolving around the parallel lives of an undercover police agent and a criminal mole in the state police. The addition of a romantic element in Scorsese’s film may seem unnecessary, but the 2006 Best Picture Academy Award should be enough to prove its quality.

Victor Victoria (1982)

Apologies to any musical fans out there, but for sheer drama, this is easily the best film of Julie Andrew’s career. Her performance as a woman playing a man playing a woman reads like a bad episode of Family Guy, but in practice it allows a perfect insight into the desperate, ever-changing nature of night club singing, as the lows of the struggling soprano “Victoria Grant” are perfectly counteracted by the sudden stardom of “Count Victor Grazinski”. It was great in the 30s, when the Germans made the original, it was great in the 80s when this version was made, and it’s still great today.

The Ring (2002)

Be honest: you knew a horror movie would make it onto this list somewhere. Terror is probably the easiest reaction to translate across cultures on the silver screen, and in 2002 Gore Verbinski showed us exactly what that meant: you don’t have to be Japanese to be freaked out by a little girl crawling out of a television. Not the first American remake

of that uniquely Japanese brand of horror, The Ring manages to stand out through its complete faith in the original, and there are dozens of clips on YouTube overlaying the original version with the remake, showing that even the timings of certain scenes are identical. Nothing translates better than the words “You will die in seven days”.

Insomnia (2002)

The idea of Al Pacino as a grizzled homicide detective with a dark past, trying to solve a gruesome murder, is so classic, you wouldn’t think Christopher Nolan would need inspiration to get it done. But, replacing the snowy wastes of Norway with the snowy wastes of Alaska proved an easy fit, and Pacino carries the role as if it had always been his. With great support from Hilary Swank, and Robin Williams, of all people, turning into a sophisticated serial killer to make your skin crawl, this film really does deserve to stand alongside Memento and the Batman films, as one of Nolan’s best.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

This film arguably did more for the Western film genre than anything else when it was released in 1960. John Wayne may have played a couple of Westerns in the 50s, but it was The Magnificent Seven that laid the Spaghetti Western template for decades to come. It’s hard to believe that the original film wasn’t about cowboys at all. Most critics will today acknowledge that The Seven Samurai, the film’s inspiration, is the superior work, if only because it’s hard to improve on what has been several times voted the greatest movie of all time. But, at a shade over two hours to Samurai’s three and a half, it’s definitely an easier watch, and still stands as a timeless action classic. Tim Bates

As any true cinephile will tell you, we are currently entering awards season, the period from November-February when studios release the films designed to win the approval and votes of the major awards shows: the Golden Globes, the Baftas, the Writer’s Guild Awards (never attended by anybody notable) and, most importantly, the Academy Awards. Although the actual accuracy of these awards can be questioned (Shakespeare in Love taking home Best Picture leaps to mind), the speculation over who will be nominated is a truly seminal feature of the cinematic year, the inevitable snubs provoking more debate and blog posts than any film could achieve on its own merit. Given the often self-congratulatory nature of these ceremonies, The Artist and its director Michel Hazanavicius stand out as the frontrunners for the Best Picture and Director categories. A black and white silent film charting the end of the silent era in 1920s Hollywood, it lost out at Cannes earlier this year to The Tree of Life, yet many are predicting a reversal of that decision this time around. Further competition comes in the shape of The Descendants, Alexander Payne’s first film since 2004’s magnificent Sideways and featuring Academy favourite George Clooney; Moneyball, a true-life baseball drama starring Brad Pitt and written by Aaron “Social Network” Sorkin, and J. Edgar, the latest from perennial nominee Clint Eastwood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the infamous founder of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. In acting terms, expect familiar faces such as Pitt, Clooney and The Tree of Life’s Sean Penn to make an appearance, and with any justice a long belated nomination for

Gary Oldman for the absolutely electrifying Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. For Best Actress, the most nominated woman in Academy Awards history, Meryl Streep, would appear to have this year sewn up, her voter friendly role in Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady already garnering impressive acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic: no mean feat considering the cynicism with which British critics treat iconic figures being portrayed by anyone other than Helen Mirren. Far more difficult to call are the supporting categories. Recent years have included a number of wild card roles that 10 years ago would have been dismissed as far too commercial, most memorably in 2008 when Heath Ledger posthumously swept the board for his unforgettable Joker. Brad Pitt’s role in The Tree Of Life could be a contender, but Viggo Mortensen is long overdue recognition, and his third collaboration with David Cronenberg in A Dangerous Method has potential written all over it. Finally, black comedy 50/50, an autobiographical account of a young man coping with cancer, has a massive ace up its sleeve in the shape of Angelica Huston, her deeply moving portrayal of the protagonist’s mother meaning the impossible: a film starring Seth Rogen could be marketed as “award winning”. Whatever the results come February, they will almost certainly be lambasted, disregarded, or, God forbid, respected by the cinematic community. Awards may be an excuse for Hollywood to pat itself on the back at the end of another year, but for better or worse, they’re part of the furniture, and things wouldn’t feel quite right without them. James Britton

Competition Cinema City are offering one lucky person the opportunity to win a copy of Miranda July’s debut feature Me and You and Everyone We Know on DVD and a copy of her amazing new book It Chooses You. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question:

What name do Sophie and Jason give to their pet cat in Miranda July’s latest film, The Future?

Email your answers to concrete.film@uea.ac.uk


21

22.11.2011

TELEVISION

www.concrete-online.co.uk

Better Than

a

Family Guy?

VENUE TAKES A LOOK AT THE DECLINE OF A GREAT ANIMATION AND THE RISE OF A FERAL ALTERNATIVE

Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane recently told the press that he felt the show had long since passed its best, and should have

ended three years ago. For die-hard fans of the show, this must be rather dispiriting; it’s rather self-defeating to expound upon the brilliance of a show when its creator has named it a lame duck. However, a series has recently returned to BBC3 that is just as good, which stars an overly-aggressive lesbian pigeon, an idiotic cat, a ‘chavette’ dog and an urbane fox with a nervous disposition and a Costa Coffee Club Card. Mongrels is the BBC’s attempt to return puppetry to the mainstream of adult comedy, recalling the success of Spitting Image. It follows the misadventures of a rag-tag bunch of animals in their yard behind an East End pub. Every episode features a brilliantly choreographed song and dance number, and there are regularly surreal, often self-deprecating, celebrity cameos. Just like Family Guy, the show combines a caustically aggressive wit with a healthy dose of farce and delivers its gags at top speed, often with the aid of witty ‘cutaways’. Furthermore, it also revels in the contemporary; if you cut Mongrels, it bleeds British popular culture. Most importantly, its far easier for British audiences to enjoy references to David

Mitchell and Graham Norton than the often baffling American alternatives. Moreover, unlike the Family Guy of 2011, Mongrels is endearing in its harshness and characters, as well as being consistently energetic in its delivery. The pace doesn’t let up and the laughs come thick and fast from across the array of bizarre creatures, particularly antihero Nelson, the metrosexual fox with a habit of exclaiming relevant personality’s names at moments of drama. The show doesn’t feel weighed down by the level of expectation from a Seth McFarlane show, and with the second series now in full swing, it seems to have ironed out any criticisms of overt tastelessness from its first run. But don’t be mistaken; the humour is still regularly near-the-knuckle. One particular joke from the opening episode of Series Two perfectly encapsulates the shows ability to combine wit and silliness. A clique of Nazi Beagles carry out a cyanide-induced suicide pact, to which Nelson responds, “Alan Turing! They’re dead!”. Gloriously tasteless? Yes. Visually farcical? Yes. Hysterically funny? Most definitely. In short, everything that Family Guy was at its peak. Matt Tidby

A CHRISTMAS SUGGESTION Want to buy your distant family members something impersonal and thinly relevant for Christmas? Torchwood: The Complete Boxed Set (Available on BBC DVD and Blu-Ray from 14th November) Q: I kind of breezed in and out of watching Torchwood. A: Well, this box set effectively contains three different programmes, for all tastes. If you like your sci-fi camp, often stupid but regularly great, there’s Series 1 and 2. For dark, brooding and brilliant, see Children of Earth. For overly-American and tonally imbalanced, see Miracle Day. A whole gamut of styles under one show title. Q: Is this one of those box sets that will become redundant when another series comes out? A: Increasingly unlikely, due to the general ratings failure of Miracle Day. This would seem to be the comprehensive record of one of the most bizarre and diverse spin-offs the BBC have ever made. Absolutely perfect for fans. Q: This John Barrowman gets everywhere. A: That’s not a very original observation.

A Battle

of

Wits:

Favouring the underdog is encoded into our British socio-cultural DNA, like Terry Wogan, apathy, and an envy of the Dutch liberal drug culture. We relish the chance to chip away at our very own icons, because between cups of tea and sighing at Word documents, it gives us a chance to feel ten feet tall. Ricky Gervais’s ascent to the pinnacle of British comedy has been packed with laughter, tabloid incident, and knowing looks to camera. Transatlantic success aside, it’s time for Gervais and comedy partner/ Bristolian beanstalk Stephen Merchant to broach the subject of the difficult third album. Partnered with Rev as part of BBC2’s comedy strand, Life’s Too Short, marks a return to the mock-documentary style of The Office, but features the knowing celebrity cameos that made Extras so infamous. It stars Warwick Davis as an exaggerated, egotistical version of himself, desperately trying to scrape together enough credibility and cash to keep up an illusion of success for the cameras. Davis does this brilliantly, but only because he has seen it done before. Life’s Too Short is seemingly a high-budget remix of everything Gervais and Merchant have written, but with less charm and, if possible, an even more pronounced sense of self-awareness. This is a show that knows it’s funny and cajoles you into acknowledging its wit with a nudge and another, slightly more hefty, nudge.

Life’s Too Short (BBC2, Thursday, 9.30pm) vs. Rev (BBC2, Thursday, 9pm) While, one could argue that it is not the role of comedy to be immediately likeable, the quiet success of Rev would suggest that charm can certainly win the day. The brilliant Tom Hollander plays Adam Smallbone, a putupon inner-city priest with a heart of gold, having to cope in a hectic modern world and with a congregation of eccentrics. The show’s wonderfully observed, warm-hearted scripts

and great ensemble cast make every episode a resoundingly pleasant and consistently funny experience. Gervais and Merchant should take notes. Although being side-byside in the schedules, Rev. stands far apart from the supposed ‘cutting edge’ of Life’s Too Short, and is all the better for it. To surmise in the most British way possible, long live the underdog. James Sykes

IT’S ABOUT TIME The BBC have announced their intetion to produce a Doctor Who film. I know, exciting. Q: Well, when can we see it? Who will be Matt Smith’s companion in it? A: Ah now, hold your horses. The film isn’t even written yet- Harry Potter director David Yates has been given the go-ahead to develop the project, and he’ll be working on that for a few years yet. Q: Oh, that’s disappointing. Does this mean Matt Smith will be hanging around until then? Brilliant! A: I see a theme developing. No, I’m afraid the film will have no links whatsover with the current TV show, in cast or crew. It won’t fit into the shows ongoing narrative, either- it’ll be its own project entirely. Q: Well that doesn’t sound so great. Won’t this damage the TV show? A: We should probably give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but many are concerned that this will lead to confusion and damage to the brand identity, particularly in America. Q: I don’t care about America. A: BBC Worldwide would beg to differ. Much effort has been put into selling the TV show over there, and this film seems to be another step on the road to marketing the Doctor on the other side of the pond.


COMPETITIONS

22.11.2011

concrete.competitions@uea.ac.uk

Across

Crossword

22

2. Creator of the first version of the periodic table (6,9)

4. Acclaimed actor from films such as ‘Football Factor’ (5,4) 1

8. County that covers the largest area (5,9) 11. Global brand of fruit-flavoured carbonated soft drinks (5)

2 3

13. Generic term used for the German air force (9)

4

15. The actress who plays Tamzin Bayle in Casualty (5,8) 5

6

16. The capital of Colombia (6)

7

Down

8 9

1. To feel or express sorrow or regret for (6)

10

11

3. Finance Company that has recently bought Northern Rock (6,5)

12 13

14

4. A member of N Dubz (5) 5. The branch of medicine dealing with skin and its conditions (11)

15

6. A bird species that is renowned for its ability to mimic (6) 7. Prudently saving or sparing (6) 9. Wigan Warriors and England rugby league player (3,7)

16

10. The name of UEA’s radio station (8)

16

12. Tastelessly colourful (6) 14. Wine punch common in Spain and Portugal (7)

Sudoku

1

8

Beginner

6

3 1

5 1

3

7 4

1

6

8 9

5 1

4

2 5

6 3

7

6

5

6

Name:

8

Telephone number:

1

4

5

3

6 8

8

6

8

7 7

4

2

9 1

The infamous Dappy will be gracing the LCR with his presence on the 9th December. To be in with a chance of winning, bring your completed crossword to the Concrete office by 3pm on Friday 2nd December. You will be contacted by telephone and email if you have won.

5

8

Intermediate

This week we are giving away tickets to see Dappy at UEA’s LCR!

5

9 2

5 8 2

3

2

5

Competition

8

4

2

7

9

7

3 4

Email address:


23 Tuesday 22nd LCR Club Nights: UV Party (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR The Last Confession (7:30pm) Price: £9 The Assembly House

22.11.2011

LISTINGS

concrete.listings@uea.co.uk

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 Wednesday 23rd Waterfront Gigs: Yuck (7:30pm) Price: £9.00 The Waterfront Waterfront Gigs: Atlas&i + Avosetta @ The Waterfront Studio (7:30pm) Price: £6.00 The Waterfront

Thursday 24th

Friday 25th

LCR Gigs: The Darkness SOLD OUT! (7:30pm) Price: £25.00 UEA LCR

Waterfront Club Nights: NON-STOP 90s BACK TO SKOOL SPECIAL (10pm) Price: £3.50 NUS - pay on the door The Waterfront

Waterfront Gigs: Think Floyd (7:30pm)Price: £15.00 / £10.00 NUS The Waterfront

Waterfront Gigs: Dodgy (7pm) Price: £13.00 The Waterfront THE GLAMTASTICS (8pm) Price: FREE ENTRY The Brickmakers

Sunday 27th Cards for Good Causes (9am - 5pm) The Forum

Monday 28th

Tuesday 29th

LCR Gigs: Mariachi El Bronx (7:30pm) Price: £12.00 The Waterfront

Daytime LCR Event: Christmas Market (11am – 3pm) Price: FREE ENTRY UEA LCR Waterfront Gigs: DJ Fresh (7:30pm) Price: £12.50 The Waterfront

Wednesday 30th LCR Gigs: The Vaccines (7:30pm) Price: £15.00 UEA LCR The Art of Flight (Red Bull Film) (7:30pm) Price: Free Thomas Paine Lecture Theatre

LCR Club Nights: Hall Wars (10pm) Price: £2.00 UEA LCR

Friday 2nd Waterfront Gigs: Pout At The Devil + Bad Touch + The Burning Crows (7pm) Price: £5.00 The Waterfront Transformers 3 (7:30pm) Price: £2.80 Lecture Theatre 1 World Record Breaking attempt (12 pm) A Macmillan Cancer Support charity fundraising event The Mall Norwich

Saturday 3rd Waterfront Gigs: The Pistols Xmas Punk Bash presented by Metal Lust @ The Waterfront Studio (7pm)Price: £10.00 The Waterfront LCR Club Nights: The A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR

Sunday 4th Waterfront Gigs: Rock Sound Riot Tour Featuring Every Time I Die (7pm) Price: £14.00 The Waterfront A Night with Michael Buble (tribute) (7:30pm) Price: £24.95 per ticket (includes your 2 course meal)

Saturday 26th LCR Gigs: J Cole (7pm)Price: £16.00 UEA LCR Waterfront Club Nights: MELTDOWN + WRAITH (10pm)Price: £3.50 NUS pay at the door The Waterfront LCR Club Nights: The A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR

Thursday 1st Waterfront Gigs: Zebrahead (7:30pm) Price: £11.00 The Waterfront Waterfront Gigs: Deers (EP3 Launch show) @ The Waterfront Studio (7:30pm) Price: £5.00 The Waterfront LCR Gigs: The Blanks (9pm) Price: £12 / £9.50 (NUS) UEA LCR

Monday 5th Waterfront Gigs: Fish The Fish Heads Acoustic Tour 2011 (7:30pm) Price: £17.50 The Waterfront

Tuesday 6th LCR Club Nights: Go Commando (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR



Venue 261