Concreteâ€™s fortnightly culture pullout
issue 263 | 17/01/2012
fashion | talk street chic | p. 13 tv | reflect on black mirror | p. 17
Photo by Laura Smith
music | review the maccabees new album | p. 4
Wanted 6 Union Part Time Elected Officers (4 non-portfolio, Environment and Ethics)
Contract period 1 year April 1012 - March 2013
We are looking for 6 UEA students of any age or nationality who have the dedication, energy and enthusiasm to volunteer help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in making real change for students UEA gaining a unique experience that will set you up for virtually any career – then this might be the role for you. You will receive training, be able to attend conferences and gain a variety of work-based skills, experiences and development opportunities.
Wanted Union Full Time Elected Officers
Successful candidates will be expected to:
Contract period 1 year July 1012-July 2013 Salary: 16k Hours of work: variable
Support a variety of activists and volunteers
We are looking for 4 UEA students of any age or nationality who have the drive, energy and enthusiasm to help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in representing the interests of students to the university and wider community, and improving students day to day university experiences, as well as meeting new people, being challenged on a daily basis and gaining a unique experience that will set you up for virtually any career – then this might be the role for you.
Wanted 6 Union Part Time Elected Officers (International, Mature, Disabilities, LGBT,
(Academic, Communications, Community and Student Rights, Finance)
The Student’s Union is an £11mn turnover charity run by students for students. We employ 100 permanent staff and up to 500 student staff. With the decline in alcohol sales in the LCR and Pub, the introduction of £9k fees the future will be challenging. Our full time Officers will help shape the future direction of the Union. Alongside you salary you will receive full training and offered fantastic development opportunities. You will be expected to: Successful candidates will be expected to Lead Union Campaigns and Democracy Improve the day to day experience of students at UEA Represent Students at University Committee’s Be Trustee of the Union AND the University* Be a director of the Unions two limited companies Support and train a variety of activists and volunteers *Finance and Communications Officers
Become a member of the Unions Student Officer Committee Implement Union policy agreed by Union Council Be a Trustee of the Union* Lead Union Campaigns and Democracy to improve the day to day experience of students at UEA *2 part time officers are elected by the Student Officer Committee to sit on the Unions trustee Board
Womens’, Ethnic Minorities)
Contract period 1 year April 1012 - March 2013 We are looking for 6 UEA students to represent our Equal opportunities groups on campus. If you have the dedication, energy and enthusiasm to volunteer help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in making real change for your students peers at UEA and gaining a unique experience that will help you develop real skills – then this might be the role for you. Our equal opportunities officers represent the voices of their peers through campaigns, awareness, and bringing their own experiences to the Union If you are a students who self-define as Gay, Lesbian, bisexual or transsexual, a student with disabilities, from British ethnic minority, International, mature, or a woman and want to ensure that your peers a represented effectively to the Union and the University then we want to hear from you.You will receive training, be able to attend conferences and gain a variety of work-based skills, experiences and development opportunities. Successful candidates will be expected to; Become a member of the Unions Student Officer Committee Implement Union policy agreed by Union Council Leading Union campaigns based on the needs of their peers Support a variety of activists and volunteers
Wanted 4 NUS Delegates
Every year, the Union sends four elected NUS delegates to the National Union of Students’ National Conference. This year, it’s taking place in Sheffield from Tuesday 24 April to Thursday 26 April 2012. The role of an NUS delegate is to represent and vote in line with the policy of the Union of UEA Students. It’s a really good way to get involved with the national student movement, vote in the presidential and vice-presidential elections and represent the views of the Union on a national level. The Union of UEA Students is a registered charity England and Wales no 1139778
ssue 263 | 17.01.2012 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | firstname.lastname@example.org
enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk So it’s a new year and Nina Simone’s seminal lyrics are wafting through the heads of many. To be honest though, it’s the most overrated time of the year isn’t it? I hate to be the metaphorial ghost Of Christmasses to come to all of you, but it just seems the older you get the worse the experience becomes. That said, my dad got a mini train set this year, which was frankly badass. New Year’s Eve is always a massive anti-climax though, that’s a fact, and the first few weeks of January make you feel terrible too...
Ah well, Concrete still exists, and that reassurance brings more unadultered joy than any
festive season ever could. For the first installment of the year this issue of Venue has been delightfully easy to edit. Most of you won’t notice, but I’ve also made a few stylistic changes to bring in the new year; just some little things that might make Venue an award-winning publication come the Guardian Media Awards in September...some of you might think I’m looking too far ahead, but Seb Coe has been plugging the Olympics for longer than I can remember, so I think it’s okay. I hope you all have a great 2012 and enjoy the new, revitalised Venue.
Alex Music | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Alex Throssell, Oliver Balaam, Lottie Allen, George Hamilton-Jones, Rianna Hudson, Jordan Bright, Alex Ross, Lizzy Margereson, Kristabel Ewers, Emma Price, Hannah Britt, Freya Barry. Wired | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Joe Fitzsimmons, Josh Mott, Tom Mott, Leo Hunt, Andrew Wilkins. Fashion | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Becky Eans, Emily Pearse, Harriet Smith. Arts | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Miranda Hutchinson, Alice Austin, Rhianna Hudson, Sarah Boughen, Jennifer Grimes. (NB. The Don Pasquale review in Issue 262 was written by Hannah Thomson not Harriet MacDonald)
Film | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Sam Warner, Samantha Rogers, Tom Moore, Matt Francis, Eliot Fallows, James Bearclaw, Sam Langan, James Lillywhite, Alica Austin. TV | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> Matthew Clare, Oliver Balaam. Competitions | Editor | Sam Tomkinson.
Photo by Laura Smith
Creative Writing | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Alex Lambert, Geoffrey Delaney, M. Abbasi, Abby Erwin.
album reviews the maccabees given to the wild
4/5 When the band film an achingly beautiful teaser video for their new album as the Maccabees did for their third album Given To The Wild, it’s probably fair to expect something majestic from the record. Straight from the eponymous intro track this desire seems to have been satisfied. The start of the album washes over you with delightful ease; the soaring climaxes in the first few tracks being the culmination of the Maccabees’ new sound. There are times that the layers of instrumentals could do with being rolled back a little, but when these first songs are so emphatic it’s difficult to pick too many holes. A number of tracks in and they start to push the boundaries a little bit. Forever I’ve Known channels the ethereal haze of their cover of Walking In The Air, and Glimmer seems to strip things back a little more; it’s brilliantly serene and actually sounds a lot like something from Foals’ Total Life Forever, another stereotypically “indie” band who reinvented themselves with their latest album. Everybody grows up, and this is a significantly more mature record. The pop hits
enter shikari a flash flood of colour
2/5 Enter Shikari’s third album is a strange one. Opening with System in which Rou Reynolds delivers a diatribe comparing capitalism to a collapsing house, before segueing into a wistful reflection on his childhood and finally into a genuinely stirring call to arms. Like the rest of the album, the track is bursting with ideas and schizophrenically changes direction every 30 seconds. It works here, but other tracks aren’t so lucky. Sssnakepit, for example, is all over the place. Reynolds opens the track by singing the chorus but, quickly bored, decides to piss all over it with Pendulum grade “dubstep”. Alternating between screamo, dubstep and drum & bass the track concludes with contrived studio banter, Chris Batten remarking “fuck that was shit”. He’s on the money. Ghandi Mate, Ghandi is named after one of these terrible skits and suffers similar genre-mashing problems. Furthermore, the track doesn’t start for nearly a minute because of Reynolds’ political grandstanding. The band’s valid but
are gone. We’re a long way from Toothpaste Kisses, and from the majority of the record that’s not a bad thing at all. Their new sound is stunningly powerful, yet manages to be vulnerable at the same time. It’s wrenchingly emotive but feels invigorating all the while, and it’s actually when they veer away from this new direction and try to appease their old listeners that the Maccabees lose their way a little. Pelican, despite being the first single, is the weakest track on the album. It’s buried in the centre of the tracklisting, but is miles away from the beating heart of the record, and feels infantile in comparison. They’re almost there, riding on the cusp, flirting with greatness, but there are fleeting lapses in concentration that stop them short and you worry, because it’s not mind blowing, whether there’s an air of “forgetability” about it all. The songs are amazing when you’re listening to them, but after a while there’s the danger that, like a cold breath billowing out into the misty winter air, that they’ll just fade away. Despite everything that goes along with a record nowadays you have to judge it on the songs alone and the harsh reality is, unless you achieve something absolutely astounding, there is always going to be a feeling of “what if?” The Maccabees were close, but no cigar this time.. Alex Throssell
simplistic politics can maintain a facade of depth in lyrical form but speeches do them no favours. Arguing With Thermometers works marginally better and is probably the world’s first fully realised punk/dubstep hybrid, but that still doesn’t make it very good. Thankfully, Shikari’s genre-bending doesn’t always lead to disaster, as long as it retains some semblance of structure. For example Meltdown’s brutal guitar and synth combination succeeds because there is always a heavy breakdown around the corner. Similarly while Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide only builds towards one breakdown, when it comes it’s a well earned and intense payoff. Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here attacks the stale state of the music industry (and centrist media) and it’s got the chops to do so. In Pack of Thieves, the band allow the chorus to carry the song and resist the urge to add skits or dub, resulting in an upbeat and cohesive track. The album concludes with Constellations which, while a touching ballad, is too often ruined by Reynolds’ clumsy lyrics. A frustrating album, there are a handful of good tracks, but they are easy to miss between the front-loaded bad ones and that dastardly wobble bass. Oliver Balaam
guided by voices let’s go eat the factory
4/5 After seven years of silence, one of the 90s’ most acclaimed lo-fi indie rock bands are back with the “classic line-up” not seen together since 1996’s Under The Bridge, Under the Stars. Joined by Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos and Kevin Fennell, Robert Pollard forcefully reminds us that Guided By Voices are not just “that 90s indie band” but are striving for expression rather than fitting into their given genre. Let’s Go Eat The Factory is a collection of eclectic tracks with inspiration from post-punk, progrock and indie pop to name but a few. The album consists of 21 tracks lasting just 42 minutes, tuning us into the fact that these guys have been around far longer than most and there is no way they are playing strictly by the rules. The album is disjointed, with many tracks feeling unrefined. My Europa, for example, delivers the homemade fuck-around charm of an album made in your basement with some friends that you haven’t
trailer trash tracys ester
2/5 The buildup of Trailer Trash Tracys is something Venue was blissfully unaware of until reviewing this, their debut album. There is a fine line between albums which mesmerise with their sonics and production, alluding to a dreamlike alternate perception of the world, and albums which wash themselves out and lose impact. Venue is afraid to say that Ester suffers the problems of the latter. The child at the sweetshop comes to mind. The first track, Rolling Kiss the Universe, commences with tape-echo sounds and BBC Radiophonic Workshop type effects. Think pre-Darkside of the Moon Floyd or Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love paired with the melodics of the Dandy Warhols in a space rock mood. From there, the song segues seamlessly into You Wish You Were Red. Red represents the other half of the Trailer Trash Tracys equation: bass lines reminiscent of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television theme, arpeggiated electric guitar accompaniment and electronic
album reviews worked with in over a decade. Beginning with a repeated punchy riff and scratchy vocals, Laundry and Lasers gives us a sense of bizarre familiarity; while exploring new genres, Pollard’s raspy tones bring us back to their 90s sound. This album continues in full force, housing some truly memorable tracks, such as Doughnut for a Snowman, whose simplistic melody and surreal imagery create a warm, comforting track. I defy anyone not to use the replay button. While these two tracks stood out as firm favourites when listening, others deserve the right to be mentioned with great praise. The Unsinkable Fats Domino takes a simplistic strong root with an obvious 90s flare, while Hang Mr Kite creates a heavy, sombre feel. However, continuity is still kept with the lo-fi recording style and Pollard’s recognisable tones. Although steering away slightly from their 90s triumphs, Lets Go Eat The Factory is an album to listen fondly over. Despite some tracks veering on the edge of throwaway, songs such as Laundry and Lasers and Doughnut for a Snowman confirm the Guided By Voices as neither dated nor about to leave again anytime soon.
drum sounds and other various bleeps and bloops. It also encapsulates the album’s key annoyances: a distorted lead vocal washed out with reverb and over-eagerness to pile on the echo. The confectionary approach is fun but risks making you sick. This is not to say that the album does not have strong fundamentals, but that they are all too often obscured. Strangling Good Guys is a clear example of a track which has the meat and potatoes of interesting ideas but keeps its light under a sonic bushel. The principle sonic offender is the treatment of Suzanne Aztoria’s vocal. Smearing the vocal impairs the diction and makes discerning the lyrical content difficult and often impossible. At the same time there is little sonic pay off as the music does not need her voice for its tonic; the voice as instrument considerations do not trump the frustration of hearing singing without making out the words. While this is going on, the album is testament to strong performances from all members which makes Venue feel it is something of a wasted opportunity. Hopefully this is something that can be improved upon next time as, despite the low score, the album demonstrates the possibility of better work in the future. George Hamilton-Jones
soundtrack to the apocalypse Venue’s
music writers tip the artists set for fame in mankind’s hour of impending doom
Gotye is a Belgian-Australian singersongwriter, (real name Wally De Backer) whose third album Making Mirrors shot to the top spot of Australia’s Aria album charts within its very first week of release. Without a doubt, the man has something. His single Somebody That I Used To Know from the forthcoming album was released at the end of December, and is a brilliant track. The song is perfectly fitting with the popular indie/alternative scene, but Gotye definitely has something unique of his own, making him stand out in the sea of indie pop. While the track has seen a little radio airplay in the UK, it is not yet getting the attention it has in Australia where the single shot to number one. So if you’re looking for something new to start the year, then Gotye may just be it. His new album Making Mirrors will be making its UK release on February 13, making Gotye definitely one to look out for this year.
Way back in the heady days of 2009 Kindness (aka Adam Bainbridge) dropped strippeddown funk classic Gee-Up. This sole track was followed by Pitchfork, the NME and the Guardian tipping him as one of the next big hopes for music. It was only 107 seconds long. Bainbridge proceeded to release an excellent reinterpretation of the Replacements’ chronically under-appreciated Swinging Party and that was it. He disappeared, spurning the immense media attention to apparently live out his remaining years in Berlin, leaving a whole host of questions and no answers. Fast forward to the twilight of 2011 and Kindness returned with slow burning disco-funk hybrid Cyan: the first single released in anticipation of his debut album World You Need A Change Of Mind, out in March. With a fully-fledged EP, and an aura of mystery surrounding its creator (much like Wu Lyf), Kindness is sure to rise to prominence this year.
Young, vibrant and eccentric London girl Bobbie Gordon is set to be the next big sound of 2012. After singing with some of music’s biggest names (Cee Lo Green, Adele, Skepta) and being a permanent member of Noisettes, Bobbie has decided to take the reins and embark on a solo career. Her debut EP Matters of the Heart, released in late 2011, offered a soulful infectious melody with a hint of intimate folk pop. Unique in voice and appearance, Bobbie has been compared to Lily Allen, Corinne Bailey Rae and fellow band member Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes) for donning bright African prints, candy coloured heels and floral accessories. Bobbie’s vocal talents have also been a big hit in the dubstep scene with the likes of Nififty Five and Bondax using her voice on their tracks. 2012 looks bright for rising star Bobbie Gordon. With tour dates in hand she is down to be a big success.
Claire Boucher, who uses the alias Grimes, is a Canadian electro-pop artist set to release her third album at the end of February. Taking inspiration from a variety of sources, Grimes’ music is typically convoluted yet underpinned by a traditional pop hook. Heavy on the use of synth, keyboards and loops: this “all things” electronic approach to music lends itself to inevitable comparisons with fellow ethereal-pop artists such as St Vincent and Zola Jesus. Boucher’s vocals, however, distinguish her from her peers. Her high-pitched delivery provides her records with a unique sense of otherworldliness that has been rivalled only by Kate Bush. After supporting Lykke Li throughout 2011 and signing with record label 4AD (who have Bon Iver and Deerhunter, amongst others, on their books) Grimes now has the support and exposure to make 2012 a break out year with Visions, out 21 February.
toy London-based psychedelic pop fivepiece TOY describe their sound as “sweeping motoric europia”. Since playing their first live show as a band last summer they have rapidly gained popularity by supporting the Horrors and playing at some of London’s most popular festivals including Field Day and 1234. TOY’s musical influences come from a wide range of genres including
punk, psychedelia and krautrock, as well as from bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Television and the Velvet Underground. With an album due out later this year, judging from their synth-heavy debut single Left Myself Behind, TOY are certainly ones for the future. Emma Price
a damn fine city
music scene has had a lot of adjusting to do over the last couple of years, but
promising years in recent memory.
As super-twee folk pop loosened its chokehold on the record industry last year, this fine city had to adjust. Norwich’s history of folk music is as rich as the cliché is strong; on the whole the banjo plucking bumpkins on tractors did the ideal groundwork for the crew cut University students to step into their place and take cues from Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale. But, as the latter proved with their at times glorious synth-drenched third album, there’s only so far that an acoustic and a desire to say the word “sweetheart” can take you. For proof, look no further than last November’s Livewire Unsigned. The mandatory folk-pop, charming as it may have been, was outnumbered and outgunned by big guitars and bigger egos and the excellent Kodeta ran away with first prize. Jace Gilkes’ distortion-drenched guitar and disturbing knack for melody will lead to parallels being drawn with early Biffy Clyro, but there’s a little more to it than that, not least Andrew Todd’s destructive, metronomic drums. With their debut EP out in February and a rapidly growing reputation as a thrilling live band, theirs is surely a name that will be on the lips of the city’s music heads this year. Their EP is launched at Epic TV Studios on February 24. Cakes and Ale have been in that position of promise for a while now. But unlike so many others that Norwich has produced, their reputation has been justified not least by their excellent debut album Five Shillings, Three Bushels of Corn and a Milchgoat, released late last year. Flickering with arrogant ease between the darker moments of Tom Waits and delicate pop, their near sold out headline show at the Arts Centre last year showed that their cult following could easily spill over
Clockwise from top: Kodeta, The Broken Seas, Feral Mouth, Helsinki Wins that only Devendra Banhart or Elliott Smith can be compared in their difficulty and eventual reward. 2012 could well be one of the most exiting years for Norwich’s music scene for a long
guitarist turned soul singer beat the American artist Frank Ocean, who has worked with the likes of musical power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z, to the top spot. Azealia Banks comes in at number three. The New York MC was voted NME’s coolest person of 2011. Despite this, she still gets a big thumbs up from where we’re standing. Her single 212 is definitely worth getting your lugholes round if you haven’t already. At number 4 we see Skrillex making
time. We’ll be down the front at The Arts Centre and The Waterfront, and more than ever we’ll be cramming into the bars and pubs that are the lifeblood of the city’s independent music. See you there.
BBC’s best bet for 2012, but nomination alone Venue’s Lizzy Margereson looks at the shortlist ...
has been chosen as
highly coveted in itself, so
The BBC Sound of … list has come quite a way from its first appearance in 2003 where 50 Cent and Electric Six were tipped to conquer the scene, and last year Jessie J and Nero were nominated for success in 2011. The lineup for 2012 promises to be no less musically diverse. According to this year’s list we are going to be seeing a return of the men, with Michael Kiwanuka heading the list of 15, the first male artist to lead the list for 4 years. The session
is one of the most
looks at the local acts that look set to light up the next year.
onto the streets. Feral Mouth too have been parading their bluegrass stylings around any venue that will have them. A million miles away from the twee indie kids with acoustics and patchy beards, the fivepiece sound like they’ve been plucked from a Louisiana dive bar after a few fights and a drug-fuelled love affair. Their as yet untitled follow up to Olympus Chympus is released this year. A conversation with even the most casual gig-goer in Norwich can turn solemn and mournful with mention of the sorely missed Violet Violet. However, Fliss Kitson has reemerged alongside Matt High (ex-Bear) and Alex Hill in The Broken Seas and the buzz that surrounded them over summer has not died down. Comparisons with PJ Harvey are often thrown around all too easily, but Hill’s vocals really are that haunting and High’s fuzzy blues-infused guitar battles with Kitson’s drums with infectious, industrial energy. They play Olives Cafe in early February and it shouldn’t be missed. In amongst all this, with few live shows and little fanfare, Helsinki Wins has slowly emerged as one of the most astonishing talents of the last year. Her early acoustic demos proved that, as a songwriter, Abby Thomas has something slightly out of the ordinary, but two new songs released early in 2012 have done more than just secure that status. Now with a full band, Helsinki Wins is the sound of a genuinely unique talent, honest, fragile and defiant in equal measure. It’s a million miles from the middle-of-the-road singer-songwriter dirge that’s so often dragged through pub gigs. Instead, there’s the oddly fragmented lucidity of Bon Iver, the unashamed melodies of Manchster Orchestra and a voice so unique
an appearance (incidentally, did anyone know he used to be in From First to Last?) Apparently the trendos are rebranding his subtle blend of dubstep, hardcore and a bit of noise, brostep. Although already a wellrecognised DJ, Skrillex is predicted to make more mainstream appearances throughout this year. Number 5 introduces Scandinavian electropop duo Nikki and the Dove. Reminiscent of the likes of Lykke Li, with big
basslines and sweet‘n’sour soulful vocals, the EP’s The Fox and The Drummer were released in 2011 and are well worth a listen. That just about sums up the top 5. but there are plenty more on the full list with artists ranging from gravelly Cash ‘o like Jamie N Commons to urban girlband Stooshe. It is safe to say that according to the tastemakers at the BBC, whoever they may be, 2012 will be an eclectic year of electro, urban pop, hiphop brostep and a soul revamp.
hannah britt and freya barry talk to dappy Er ... You say something right now that nobody has ever said before and we’ll put it in a song. For example, Rihanna came up with “Umbrella ella ella...” And I came up with “Mamma thought I wouldn’t make it, but now she’s leaving on a spaceship”. I talk about giving her facelifts and things like that.
Once again, in the name of Concrete, we find ourselves outside in the rain. This time, we are waiting for Dappy, the infamous N-Dubz member with a reputation for trouble. We’re apprehensive. Will he give us an interview? Perhaps he’ll have his bodyguard put us headfirst into a bin for bothering him ... We needn’t have worried. When Dappy arrives, our apprehension vanishes quicker than you can say “na na naii”. He is charming, as are his team, and they invite us onto their tour bus: a vision of red leather and low lighting. We sit, and the interview begins.
[We feel flustered, Dappy seems to be giving us a lyric exam ...] You mean like when you reference Facebook? It stood out and it kind of jarred, because no one had ever said it before. And it’s realistic, I mean, we Facebook stalk people all the time! We probably shouldn’t admit that ...
Hey Dappy, how are you enjoying your stay in N-town? I come up here sometimes to relax. I come up here with my two kids and I stay in that hotel, you know the big one with the golf course? We stay there and we go to the shopping mall. We get mobbed sometimes. We like coming to eat at Wagamama’s. I like Chicken Gyozas with soy sauce. But you have to eat with chop sticks otherwise it just doesn’t make sense. A fork is cheating.
Exactly! But it’s true! You just have to think of lyrics that are clever and that nobody has ever done. So is that the advice you would give to a budding musician? Yeah, don’t try and copy what you’ve heard. Say something, write something, sing something that hasn’t sounded like that or hasn’t been said like that. It gives you an advantage for it to stand out. They might say it stands out like shit. Or, they might say it stands out like wow!
In Wagamama’s you have to ask for a fork don’t you, so it’s embarrassing. I can’t handle the shame man! Is being a solo artist more nerve-wracking than being in a band? Well, I’ve sold this place [the LCR] out with N-Dubz numerous times and we’ve always rocked this beautiful little intimate venue. The other day I was doing arenas and smashing it by myself. But coming to these small little venues, it’s just you and them, intimate or what? It’s one to one, so if you make a mistake they’re going to hear you. I told my guy just before, I’m kinda scared. I look left, there’s no Tulisa, no Fazer. But I’ve started off well. I have a number one hit with No Regrets. We love No Regrets, it’s become a Concrete office anthem. That’s amazing! It’s power to the people music. I’ve got a second single coming now, it’s called Rockstar and it features Mr Brian May from Queen. Oh NICE! How did that come about? Well he complimented my No Regrets track at the Q awards and he said I should win an award for lyrics or something, for writing a good song. And I was like wow. I saw the footage and I reached out to him and I told him it was an honour for him to say that about my song, I’ve got this second one called Rockstar, what a coincidence, would you like to be the rockstar that does the famous solo at the end of my song? Is there a future for N-Dubz then? Let Tulisa be the bitch on X Factor because
we love her for doing that. We do love her. Did you watch? Yes, of course, I wanted T to win with all my heart. If she didn’t win I’d have been upset. Do you consider yourself to be a role model? One sec, [Dappy turns to his tour manager] am I getting a haircut today? I look a bit stubbly ... Sorry, where was I? Yeah, look at me as a role model, I got the right advice for these youths whether they come from a negative environment or a rich family. I can show you how to be cool, how to get around life and be wealthy and live happily ever after. Rockstar baby! Do you think that you’re misunderstood in the press? Yeah, but you know like I said, live for the moment, you only live once, no regrets. Really, no regrets? I often wake up after one too many Jagerbombs and think: “oh no ...” Well, I regret not being there for my second child’s birth. That’s something serious to regret. But other than that, fuck the world, in the politest way possible, just do your thing.
Do your children know that you’re famous? Yeah my little one, Gino, he knows. He goes “Daddy’s song, daddy’s song”. He sings “no rewets, no rewets” because he can’t say the “g”. You should get him to guest on a track ... Yeah man, I recorded him on a mic saying a lot of fraf and I autotuned it. It sounds really funny. What would you say to him if he wanted to be famous? First of all I would make sure that he’s good. If he’s not good then I wouldn’t lie to him. If he ain’t good, I’ll let him know he ain’t good. You have to tell people the truth. It’s the most important thing. If you ain’t got a hit, I’ll know. I can’t lie to someone. That’s why it’s so important to be unique and come out with different phrases that no one has said before. People make trying to make it in the music business so hard, when it can be so easy if you know what to do. It’s like, what hasn’t someone ever said in song before? That’s what could make a good song. You see what I just said to you?
But I guess if it does stand out for being shit ... like Friday by Rebecca Black ... then at least people are talking about it. I mean, that girl must be raking it in! Inspirational ... Do you have any musical inspirations right now? Of course, I like someone called Gotye right now from Australia. He has a song called Somebody That I Used To Know. You guys should check him out. I’m basically inspired by melody structures and top lines from the 1980s. People are afraid to expand their knowledge of music these days. They just put a hood on and talk about guns. I can talk about guns and knives ... but in a metaphorical way, you know what I’m trying to say? Do you feel like a lot of urban music has been watered down and become more mainstream? Yeah it has because we’ve opened the doors. I mean, we’ve been going for like six years now. It’s everywhere. Look at it now. Before it just used to be N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk ... Dizzy before that and So Solid Crew. And now look: Wretch, Tiny, Example, Dappy, Devlin. People are coming out. We’re starting to muller it now. We’ve got control. A lot of the Americans are taking our sounds. They replicate what they hear from over here, the drop to the floor sounds. They’re taking notice. You need unique artists like us to keep on setting trends.
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by joe fitzsimmons 2011 was both a significant and enjoyable year for gaming, and will almost certainly be remembered as an important year in the medium’s history. We had blockbuster hits, indie success stories and a variety of innovations and advancements for the industry. The bar is therefore set pretty high as we move into 2012, but after eyeing the release schedules it looks likely that not only will 2012 measure up to the previous year, but may even surpass it. Here then, are Wired’s five most anticipated games of 2012.
Diablo 3 makes it on to our most anticipated of 2012 for two reasons. Firstly, the chance to return to Sanctuary to quest ourselves to breaking point again is almost certainly going to be one of the entertaining highlights of the new year. Secondly, the much hyped auction houses might well become one of the most important innovations in online gaming in recent years. Micro-transactions have been around for a while, but the opportunity for players to amass real currency though playing and trading in-game could very well revolutionise how we play online, and may very well mark the start of gaming for profit. We can only hope Blizzard is up to such a monumental challenge.
The original Luigi’s Mansion developed a cult following and fans have been calling for a sequel to the excellent but disappointingly short adventure for years. Judging from trailers it appears the sequel will follow a similar style of play to the original: exploring mansions and using Luigi’s poltergeist to capture ghosts. It has been confirmed that a greater variety of ghosts will be included than in the original, meaning new challenges and new capture methods to learn. There will also be more environments to explore, no doubt a response to criticism from many fans that the original’s mansion had little in the way of variety.
the last guardian
The release of The Last Guardian has been a long time coming, but it looks like spring 2012 will be when we finally get our hands on Team Ico’s third title. Developers of Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus, Team Ico are famous for their beautifully designed games and high level of story telling, and early looks suggest that is exactly what we will be getting. A puzzle platformer in the same vein as the original Ico, it’s very likely we’ll be referencing The Last Guardian again in 12 months when we come to name our games of the year.
Bioshock is often praised as one of the greatest shooters of the current generation, and a new instalment in the series was always going to be met with excitement and high expectations. The decision to take the setting out of Rapture to the sky city Columbia was met with scepticism from some, but the chance to experience Bioshock’s style of FPS/RPG gameplay in a completely new setting, based around a new philosophy (Columbia is said to be a jingoist utopia as opposed to Rapture’s objectivism) is an interesting appeal.
the wii u
It might at first appear that Batman: Arkham City, Darksiders 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3 are not exactly the most anticipated material. These games have, however, made it on to our list not because we are looking forward to playing them, but because of what they might mean for gaming in general. With the scheduled release of the Wii U for late 2012 developers have begun to announce titles they hope to bring out on Nintendo’s new system. After the Wii’s successful but often ridiculed game library, are Nintendo trying to create a game library to rival that of the Xbox 360 and PS3? Will we see a Nintendo console taken seriously by third party developers again?
warcraft’s new hour of twilight patch Even if you have never played World of Warcraft, there is a very good chance you have heard of it, whether it’s Chuck Norris shouting at you from your TV, or a flashing ad banner on a website, WoW has gained a significant hold over popular culture since 2004. The massively popular multiplayer online game has consisted of thousands of epic quests, dungeons, raids and battlegrounds for eight years and does not show any sign of slowing down. The Hour of Twilight is upon us, and with it comes WoW patch 4.3. Adventurers accompany ex-Horde leader Thrall and the noble Aspects as they call upon the Horde and the Alliance for aid. They must retrieve an artifact, no longer in existence, from the distant past and to do so explorers will embark on a perilous
journey from Azeroth’s apocalyptic end to the Dragon Soul’s point of origin during the shattering War of the Ancients. Included in the patch are three new epic dungeons: End Time, which shows the grim future of Azeroth should its defenders fail to stop Deathwing; Well of Eternity, in which a brave few must travel back 10,000 years in an attempt to retrieve the Dragon Soul; and Hour of Twilight, where Thrall and the Dragon Soul must be safely escorted to Wyrmrest Temple so that the assault on Deathwing can begin. Also arriving in patch 4.3 is the raid finder. This new feature allows players to quickly and easily form a raid with 24 random people for a specially tuned version of the Dragon Soul raid. Tom Mott
In the age of digital crispness and X number of mega pixels it is often refreshing for budding photographers to go back to using film cameras. Lomography is a cult photography movement that encapsulates this yearning for the old school, for the simple basics of photography itself: the capturing of a moment in time. As hobbies go, digital photography can be an extremely expensive one with even entry-level SLR cameras costing upwards of £200 and advanced, professional grade models costing from around £1000 to £5000. This does not even include the cost of various lenses, flashes, battery packs and other accessories and photo editing software programs such as Adobe Photoshop. However, like any other artistic medium it is possible to have all the gear and no idea of what actually makes a good photograph. This is where lomography and lomography cameras come in. Lomography cameras tend to be very cheap, cheerful and often rather quirky. For example, the Pop 9 camera takes nine identical images all at once. Another camera, the original and probably the most well-known lomography camera is the Diana +, which was released in 2007. It is based on the Diana plastic camera, which was manufactured in the 1960s by the Chinese Great Wall Plastics Co. The lomography model Diana retails at around £50, obviously much cheaper than its digital counterparts. Another enjoyable beginner’s camera is the £25 Holga 120N which is manufactured in Hong Kong.
what is lomography? One of the charms of lomography is the unpredictability of how your photo will turn out. One of the repercussions of the cheap build quality is what are known as light leaks. These can be either incredibly irritating or a blessing in disguise, as light leaks often produce interesting effects on the finished image. A downside can be when a whole roll of film is ruined when the back of one’s camera falls off. Another charm of lomography is the small amount of pictures you can take on each role of film (12 on a 120mm film roll). For someone who is used to digital cameras where you can take as many photos as you want and delete them immediately, this can initially feel jarring. However, once you get used to this you in fact find yourself thinking much more about the composition of your photograph, which in the end often means you come out with a better image. Some models like the 120N, allow you to take multiple exposures on the same frame, which makes for some remarkable overlapping effects. Lomography is not just for those who want to break away grasps of technology, it is a fun medium, which, will ultimately teach you more about photography and make you more appreciative of the photos you have taken. For more information on Lomography and plastic camera photography try plasticcameras.wikia. com and lomography.com.
retro column: pikmin It’s easy to look at rows of games about grizzled space soldiers and forget that gaming can be about more than firing guns in a series of grey industrial buildings. Ladies and gentlemen, Wired gives you Pikmin, a 2001 strategy game released for Gamecube, which is one of the most whacked out gaming experiences of all time. Pikmin is the story of Captain Olimar, a tiny space explorer who crashes on a mysterious planet. The atmosphere is toxic and his life support will only sustain him for 30 days, and his ship is in ruins. He desperately needs to repair the ship and get the hell back home. Fortunately, he meets the Pikmin, an equally tiny race of plant men who can be controlled by his whistle. The pikmin are weak individually but powerful together, and can lift objects many times their size, including your ship parts. Like all great games, Pikmin has simple and deep gameplay. You have 30 days to repair your ship: there are 30 ship parts scattered over the 6 zones and you need 25 of them to escape. Each day lasts 15 minutes of real time, and at nightfall you must take off in your ship to escape dangerous nocturnal monsters. Any Pikmin left behind at night
are devoured. If you fail to repair your ship by day 30, it’s game over. The game is a frantic race against the clock, and to succeed you must rigorously plan your days and be an excellent multitasker. Pikmin will automatically carry ship parts or dead monsters back to their nest, but they aren’t good at defending themselves en route and it’s up to you to make sure they get their valuable prizes home in one piece. The game is both cute and vaguely creepy: the pikmin follow your orders blindly, and monsters aren’t shy about killing them in vast numbers. That said, watching Pikmin swarm over a vast creature is reminiscent of watching army ants devour entire cows. The corpse is taken to their nest and transformed into more Pikmin, who rally forth and kill again. Occasionally, one wonders if freeing the Pikmin was the right thing to do. Pikmin is hard to find for Gamecube, but was re-released for the Wii in 2009. If you’ve ever wanted to play a tense puzzle-strategy game starring a horde of primary coloured genocidal carrot men, this game is for you. Leo Hunt
appy corner: stick cricket After receiving copious amounts of critical praise, the Stick Sports franchise took the next best step when they released the Stick Cricket app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android phones. The online version of the game by far seemed the most deserved of an app crossover due to its brilliantly addictive yet simplistic gameplay. Players take control of batsman from a wide variety of international teams and play out a series of innings against numerous opponents. Gamers need only tap to the left or right of their screens to direct the oncoming ball either out into the stands or into the hands of a catcher. Sixes and fours can be achieved with perfect timing, whilst slower reactions will cost players the game. Anyone familiar with the rules of cricket will instantly know their whereabouts but Stick Cricket helps lay out the foundations of the game for any player to quickly pick up and play. The app features a wide variety of different game modes including a training academy, a beat-your-best score innings test, world domination, world cup and two player. The world domination mode is probably the most entertaining section of the game as it places gamers against every international team from Canada to South Africa. Teams
get progressively harder the further players progress, ensuring games remain both entertaining and equally challenging. Minor criticisms of the game can be said of its lack of depth. Players are restricted to only batting with the idea of bowling or catching completely left up to the AI. A more complete translation of the cricketing experience would only have helped boost the appeal of this game. Nonetheless, Stick Cricket remains one of the best sporting apps on the market. Its pick up and play nature with an abundance of game modes means anyone can enjoy this game for hours on end. Andrew Wilkins
FASHION the hotlist
seems to be an air of
smokin’ your look by introducing
Chai tea The fashionista’s drink of choice this spring.
bold colours to your wardrobe. Key colours to look for this season where eveningwear
is concerned are candy apple red and electric yellow.
statement colours: go for a classic
Hollywood style red dress with matching lipstick for a Sale holidays It’s cold. It’s time to escape.
yellow with beige or contrast with a sultry pink.
accessory which will add a
touch of charm
spring, an item of clothing made popular again by
Bowties 2012 is the year of the Androgyoslut.
pencil skirt is sure to add an air of
with pastel mixes.
take on this look. wear
this season are oversized hats,
to an outfit.
The pencil skirt
is a piece to
The Iron Lady, the new biopic of
soft shades for a
to any wearer.
light and dreamy
Diets Pass us another Snickers please
the art of being ruthless The new kitten heel We just don’t like it.
Looking like Frankie Cocozza Maybe it’s time for a new hair cut for UEA’s Jared Murphy.
After daring to embrace the dark world of January sales, I can safely say that I have learnt a few tricks of the trade with regards to surviving a full day of clothes hunting. On stepping into your average high street shop, in this instance a New Look, I was reminded of a scene in the film Mean Girls of barbaric females going head to head in what would appear to be some sort of monster apocalypse. I momentarily look on (half amused, half frightened) to see a woman resembling a cornered bear as another fellow sales-goer encroaches into her territory. We are all too familiar with the animalistic mentality of a woman on the hunt for the perfect, bargain priced New Year’s frock, and most of us cannot be held responsible for what we will do to get it!
So what should one do in order to return to your comfortable abode in one piece? (Give or take a scratch or two: those ladies on a mission are vicious and unforgiving). First, it is essential to note that you must have an inclination as to what you want out of the sales, whether it is a sequin-covered sparkly number or a sleek and chic LBD. There is no point allowing oneself to become distracted by a fancy flat shoe display if, speaking from experience, you already have enough to wear a different pair for every day of the month. Stay focused. Sales have that sneaky ability to entrance us into purchasing unnecessary garments – often we get home and wonder if someone drugged us before we bought those fingerless gloves embossed with sheep. Shops also pose the ‘price tag problem’.
This is simple to avoid as long as a highly trained shopper does not succumb to a garment just because there is an enormous ‘£3’ sticker emblazoned upon it. Try it on. Look in the mirror. Hide the price tag: is it “wow” or “put it down now?” If it’s more grandma than grandeur save those three precious pounds for another wiser item deserving of your cash. With these simple steps, as well as having several trusted friends at your side, you can get through the January sales with ease. But, always remember: never provoke a mother armed with a pram and several bawling children. The consequences are dire.
Photo: Adam-Peter Hicks; flickr.com/adampeterhicksphotography
street chic So. Your head is suffering from a four week long Christmas hangover, you’ve put on what feels like two stone from over-eager starved student eating. All the clothes in your wardrobe are either sequins or holiday sweaters, both of which seem plain wrong in January. But it’s still too cold to whack out the floral dresses. You go shopping only to try on some size six yellow skirt in the sales that can’t exactly hide your newly developed Terry’s Chocolate Orange muffin top, and your New Year’s “get fit” regime has already failed. Sound familiar? Welcome to January. Like it or not, it happens to us all, and, in the corny but all-too-familiar words of Hairspray, “you can fight it or you can rock out to it”. This month’s Vogue argues that the answer is “escapism”: reminisce over your
2011 self and avoid the uncertainty of January. But that’s what we do every year, and I don’t see Januarys getting any easier. So, apologies to Alexandra Shulman, but how about a new tactic: embrace this season and its lack of safety and experiment with new styles. The magazines and shops are pushing next seasons’ trends but we’re still stuck in freezing cold Norwich, so if they won’t tell you how to do it, look to the streets. A key element of fashion that magazines seem to miss is that it isn’t constricted to a mere industry bubble. The pavements are the true reflection of society’s cultural and demographic changes and, this month, we should celebrate this. Fashion provides the moodboard and inspiration for designers, proven by the hundreds of up-andcoming street fashion blogs available online.
As a student, having to choose buying dinner over any decent fashion magazine, the campus square automatically became my source of inspiration. It’s a fresh change from seeing the regurgitations of designer labels in shops that are way out of a student’s budget. Instead, street fashion is personal. The people photographed on the blogs scream “cool”, intensified by those mini fact files which are often put alongside their image, making the models, and therefore fashion in general, relatable. Reading about the process behind their outfit [which vintage markets they use, how they pieced their outfit together, whether they’re acing their computer science classes or flunking geography] brings fashion to a new dimension rather than just a bunch of size zeros staring up at you blankly from the
page. The creator of street fashion blog bible The Satorialist, Scott Schuman, started his website with the idea of “creating a two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life.” It is this dialogue, personality and interaction that provides a refreshing change from the usual system. So I’m not saying boycott all fashion magazines in 2012 and wear bumbags or socks with sandals for the rest of the year in protest of the fashion industry’s inability to relate to real life. But next time you’re wandering around the UFO, soak up the fashion scene, the next “it” girl could be closer than you think. Harriet Smith
the cambridge list by robert clear
The premise of The Cambridge List, a selfpublished book by Robert Clear, is intriguing. The Greek gods, taking up residence in the head of a failed Cambridge classics student, have come up with a list of lecturers they want killed. The rather unappealing hero of the book is James Connor, and over the course of the book, with the Greek gods in his head, he works his way through the list. This idea is patchily pulled off. The concept
itself is clever and as the book progresses, the quality of the writing improves. However, Clear never really escapes writing over-melodramatic prose. At times, particularly earlier in the book, it isn’t entirely clear whether Clear is attempting to be funny, and if he is, he rather fails. That said, the plot itself is fairly entertaining and clips along at a reasonable pace. The book is a times reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s style, but lacking the appealing main characters and his wit. Throughout the book there are almost no characters who garner any sympathy at all, with the possible exception of the Muse. There is at times a strong sense of misogyny, mitigated only by the fact the author clearly dislikes most of his male characters too. There is a sense of gleeful voyeurism and darkness during the murder scenes, which, regardless of the rest of the book, will probably upset more sensitive readers. This clearly shows one problem with self-published books: marketing is one of the things publishers do well. There is no indication, in the marketing of this book, of the level of violence and sex it contains. This reviewer confesses to being rather sensitive to violence, but suspects that any film made of this book would garner an 18 certificate purely for one particular murder scene. The ending of this book is rather inconclusive and is clearly leaving room for a sequel. Should one appear, this reviewer does not have any plans to read it. Nevertheless, The Cambridge List is fairly
entertaining once you read beyond the initial pages and Clear stops writing about how the main character’s “erection breached the elasticated perimeter of his boxers and poked its own head over the parapet.” This book escaped one of the problems with self-publishing: it is clearly well proofread, although it would probably have benefited from a professional editor. It might appeal to readers with a dark sense of humour. One potential selling point is that it is set in Cambridge, but any readers attracted to that aspect should bear in mind that there are many far better books available which are set there.
charles dickens and david madden
Attempting to complete a Dickens novel is not an easy task. The genius created all the characters we feel we know: the sickly Uriah Heep, with his long, clammy hands and his sycophantic manipulations; brave little Nell; the trickster Fagin; and most memorable of all, the person we all fear to be, Miss Havisham. David Madden picks up where Dickens
years of comedy,
drama and dance in norwich
the mystery of edwin drood by
left off heroically and leaves no questions unanswered as he determinedly leads the reader to a finale that exceeds expectations. The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a classic murder mystery tale. We’re introduced to Drood (by Dickens himself) as a young, somewhat spoilt, man who is betrothed to the English rose of Cloisterham, Rosa Bud. His parents have passed on and he is left to be raised by his seemingly doting uncle Jasper. In classic Dickensian style, the names themselves allow Madden to unravel the story. Drood’s death can be interpreted in his name, which unmistakably resonates with dread, and Jasper’s with whisper, secrecy and conspiracy. We have the angelic Mr Crisparkle; the wandering Helen and Neville Landless; and the unpredictable philanthropist Mr Honeythunder. It is reassuring to know that even up to his death, Dickens never lost his ability to push the boundaries of imagination and create characters as tangible as ever. Dickens leaves the novel before we know who killed Edwin Drood. All we do know is
that his Jasper is in love with Rosa, that Edwin Drood was threatened by Neville Landless, and nothing has been found of Drood except his shirt pin and his watch. It is left to Madden to unravel the clues and notes left by Dickens, and make as informed a decision as possible as to who killed Edwin Drood and what becomes of the other characters. The novel clearly states where Dickens’ section ends and Madden’s begins. The latter emulates Dickens’ techniques and adopts the characters as his own. Surprisingly, the sections flow together seamlessly and Madden does an outstanding job of implementing a Dickensian style of writing. The pace of Madden’s narrative however, taints his completion with a slight sense of haste, and rather than continue the story, he simply brings it to an end. Inevitably, despite Madden’s convincing work, the magic of Dickens’ writing is lacking. Without Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood will always be unfinished. Alice Austin
In December the Norwich Playhouse celebrated its 16th birthday, meaning it can now buy its first lottery ticket, indulge in legal sex and drink beer, wine or cider with a meal in a pub or restaurant if bought by an adult. The Playhouse opened in December 1995, the result of a six-year-long project funded mostly by private individuals and small businesses. Prior to its life as the venue we know and love today, the building functioned as a variety of establishments, previously serving as a warehouse to a motorcycle dealer, the head office of the Norwich Mercury newspaper, and a Greek restaurant. Today, The Playhouse functions as a hub for excellent entertainment in theatre, comedy and music, along with a bunch of other wonders, such as The Playhouse Bar, a great place to relax and have a drink before or after a performance. The Playhouse has welcomed many big names to its intimately-sized stage, including a host of marvellous comedians such as Al Murray, Mark Watson, Russell Kane, Chris Addison, Jack Whitehall and a recent surprise visit from Michael McIntyre. It has also hosted a variety of theatre productions from Shakespeare to children’s puppet shows. No other Norwich venue can more perfectly embody the cliche that there is something for everyone. Rianna Hudson
It is easy to forget just how good pantomimes actually are and think that they can only be enjoyed by children and merely tolerated by their parents and other relatives. However, a visit to the Theatre Royal pantomime Sleeping Beauty would quickly remind anyone that this British theatre genre can be enjoyed by everyone. What was most impressive about Sleeping Beauty was the sheer effort clearly put into it on all parts, though little less would be expected from a professional show such as this. The design team deserve special commendation for the outstanding effects used throughout the performance. From the inflatable thorns which surrounded the princess’s castle to the flying time machine to take our heroes from the 1870s to the 1970s, the effects were superior to the average pantomime. Another highlight was the character of uncle Leonardo, a professor (the owner of the time machine), played brilliantly by David Gant. Gant, who was clearly more used to playing Shakespearean characters, brought a touch of irony and sarcasm to the performance, particularly with his rendition of The Time Warp, including all the actions and his fantastic voice, perfect for telling the traditional fairytale.
Although it is important to remember that pantomimes are intentionally very lighthearted, and this kind of entertainment is to be expected and rejoiced in, it is difficult for pantomimes to avoid becoming tiresome after an extended period. Thankfully, this is a trap which the production fell into only a couple of times, including a rather tiring, dull and repetitive chase around the stage involving ghosts and the two main comical characters: Muddles (Andre Vincent) and his mother, the dame, Nurse Peggy (Richard Gauntlett). Vincent and Gauntlett provided great entertainment through the performance and played their characters perfectly, but a point was reached where unless the audience member was under 12 years old, one had clapped along more than enough times. The Theatre Royal’s Sleeping Beauty was just what was needed to commence the festive period for all those lucky enough to see it. It included a great cast who were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the audience and had enough songs to revive any musical performed at the theatre over the past year. Although aimed primarily at those young in years, Sleeping Beauty remained good fun for all those young at heart. Sarah Boughen
this week in arts history The 21 January marks the 62nd anniversary of the death of the writer George Orwell. Author of the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and the allegorical novella Animal Farm, Orwell also wrote four other novels, three fictionalised documentaries based on his experiences and countless essays and pieces of journalism. While usually known as George Orwell, in true Orwellian fashion that was actually Eric Arthur Blair’s pen name. Growing up, Orwell went to Eton school where he was briefly taught French by another dystopian novelist Aldous Huxley. After leaving Eton, Orwell spent time as a police officer in Burma and then lived in London, Paris, finally returning to his family home in Southwold, Suffolk. Orwell also fought in the Spanish civil war, something he describes in his novel Homage to Catalonia and as a result gave his name to a square in Barcelona. In the second world war he worked supervising cultural broadcasts to India which were made to counter Nazi propaganda, but quit his job when he realised what little effect these broadcasts had. It was around this time, in 1943, that Orwell started work on Animal Farm, a novella that uses an animal allegory to
represent the events of the Stalin era before the war. Orwell’s final book, Nineteen EightyFour, was finished in 1948, two years before
his death, and the reversal of the final two digits of the year gave way to the iconic title of the novel. This dystopian novel is a vision of the future under a totalitarian regime, where even thoughts are policed, and describes what happens when the main character attempts to escape the tyranny of the state. As one of the most well-known dystopian novels it encapsulates Orwell’s fears about the breakdown of democracy and the disastrous effects that a revolution could have. Nineteen Eighty-Four and its dystopian themes had a great impact on popular culture. Words such as thoughtcrime and doublethink are both terms coined from Nineteen Eighty-Four’s fictional language Newspeak and refer to how thoughts can be controlled by the state. The television show Big Brother also gets its title from Nineteen Eighty-Four, taken from the name of the dictator of the novel. The impact of George Orwell’s life can still be felt now, not only through his contribution as a writer but through the minutiae of how society regards the state and even democracy. Jennifer Grimes
CREATIVE WRITING SPOTLIGHT Q&A with UEA writers. This week - Alex Lambert
What are you studying? Research master’s in biomedicine.
What’s your favourite word? Fuck. A friend of mine once waxed lyrical to me about the joys of the many connotations of the word. Plus, it’s pretty satisfying to say.
How do you defeat writer’s block? I don’t. I have to wait for a long time for ideas to free themselves up naturally.
What inspires you? Making connections between things. When I make connections between things myself or when I’m moved by something or overcome by something.
Who are your favourite writers? Murakami, Ginsberg, Tim Lilburn. Ginsberg was my introduction to poetry.
To Kindle or not to Kindle? No. I like something about the feel of the book. The pleasure of reading is not entirely in the text. There is something about the feel and smell of a book, and where you are when you read it.
Do you prefer handwriting or typing? Handwriting. I carry a small notebook and a pen in my bag. I only type things up when I’m editing them.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s inspired you? Having the life scared out of me when a fast train passed through a dark station.
Where do you write? Anywhere. On the move: buses and trains.
You enter the pearly gates. What would you want God to say to you? It’s an open bar.
“ “ ” ” “ ” evasion into the blue
i m crashing under heavy tides
by M. Abbasi
by Geoffrey Delaney
I step into the looking glass Blue-green mirror under the sky With faded stripes of cotton clouds In gentle breeze passing me by,
I'd like to go down to the ocean And walk too far. I'd spend nineteen years building a castle But a heavy tide will wash it away.
Coated in its wetness Silvery under the sun I have lost the dry warmth I felt As the sea and I become one,
Funny how a cool tide is so much slower, it laps, and it wades, and it winks, and it simmers it surrounds in a womb of warmth, radiating. Tides, Waves and Rushes can be controlled. But not by me. I fear the if more sudden than the now, And I'm in too deep for such a shallow victory.
We lay close together It never leaves my side I taste salty joy and sadness But these moist tears are not mine,
Now I am waiting for those waves to wash away my anxiety And leave something new, something wanted, Something that can relate, and be related to. Like a desert island - only perfect when isolated.
There is a silence in the water And soft stillness in the waves Like the clouds all my landish troubles Slowly begin to fade, Beautiful blue drowns them all - Indifference to a floating mind Yet should they really be mourned for If already lost to ebbing tides?
I'd walk back from the shore, retreat like I always have. And one day, I think I will go down to the ocean. If it's any consolation, I'm still thinking of you.
To the surface, to the edge New waves wash calmly over me I know this ocean-solace will end Revealing my reality...
by Abby Erwin
grey, hard-toothed sisters, tossing and grinding against the prows of ships. You fell from stern clouds,
I clawed my way onto the rocks, scraping my cetaceous skin on scabs of barnacles. You call me beauty, but I am a webbed thing,
You did not conceive me gently in the belly of the sea; the churning salt of your reluctant lover was only there to break your fall.
a handful of flesh, forced entry to the heart of a whirlpool. Dragged by riptides from my brackish womb, I crowned at the surface.
sly and sticky as a raw-meat anemone, the seasick swell of your severed
The waves weren’t soft that day, fanning like wheat, announcing their fecundity with pearly beards of foam; they were
Half-formed, gasping with salted lungs, no shell rose to cradle me, no gauze to cover my nakedness. Brined and cowering,
coupling. I will wreck you, fathers, on these barren cliffs. My breasts are garlanded with mussels like strings of black teeth, trophies of sailors beached by tides, coughed from the bosomed prows, the broken ribs of their ships.
creative writing events An evening with Mark Seddon :
“Whatever happened to radical journalism? Can it revive?” This is a must-hear talk for anyone interested in politics, the role of the news media and how it has evolved. The Forum. Tuesday 24 January., 7:30pm.
“I AM SHERLOCKED”
THE BBC’S BRILLIANT REDISCOVERY OF ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’S DEFINITIVE DETECTIVE IS BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER After the bloated “event” television of the Christmas period, it would seem that the BBC were saving our best present as a cure for the New Year blues. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s slick updating of Sherlock returned to our screens, with A Scandal in Belgravia: a cleverly written and well-conceived episode which found the detective seeking to retrieve illicit royal photographs from the wily possession of the beautiful Irene Adler. Loosely based on Conan Doyle’s original A Scandal in Bohemia, the episode kept broadly to the formula of the first series. The humour that makes Sherlock so watchable continued to work well between stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and, combined with the development of Holmes’ relationship with brother Mycroft, has helped audiences to better understand the erratic detective. This otherwise intelligent and witty episode did suffer from some pacing issues and sometimes felt more like three episodes that had been pushed together into one long story. Nevertheless, the script again achieves what so many other TV adaptations have failed to do: bring a classic character to a modern audience in a populist style, without losing the essential essence of the stories. Furthermore, the visual quirks and nifty camera work that made the first series so visually arresting are even better than before. The foregrounding of technology via onscreen text is almost old hat for the show now, but surrealist camera work, for example, where Sherlock’s bed rises
up behind him to prevent him “falling”, are truly innovative and mark the show as aesthetically different from the vast majority of its rivals. Of course, when 8.75 million people tune in, there will always be criticism; the portrayal of Irene Adler as a lesbian and dominatrix has caused alarm in some quarters, with accusations of pre-watershed “indecency” as well as questions over the gender politics at play. That Adler does not defeat Holmes as she does in the original, but is both defeated and then saved by him, seems to be an odd decision. Of course, it is not known what the ever enigmatic Moffat and Gatiss have planned, but as it stands, this failure of the canon’s most prominent proactive female character seems to reenforce a very male dominated character set and, unless remedied, could remain a missed opportunity in an otherwise strong TV series. This all-too-short second run of Sherlock has got off to a promising start, and with adaptations of arguably two of the most well-known Holmesian yarns completing the series, namely The Hounds of Baskerville and The Reichenbach Fall, there’s never been a better time to don your dramatic coat and sweep about urban settings looking for crimes to solve. Or, perhaps more sensibly, enjoy this joyously clever and erudite version of a true cultural legend.
black mirror: a reflection (Avaliable on 4oD) December is always a great time for TV. Old favourites return for Christmas specials and because you’re home for the holidays, you can even watch them without those pesky TV licencers sticking letters through your door. What holiday TV isn’t known for, however, is edginess or innovation, which is why Charlie Brooker’s three part miniseries Black Mirror was such a fantastic and unexpected treat. In the first episode, The National Anthem, a princess is held at ransom. The demands: the prime minister must have televised sex. With a pig. This premise might seem crass, but thanks to sharp writing delivered with po-faced sincerity
by a fantastic cast, it becomes an oddly believable, amusing and ultimately tragic critique of media-led politics. Unfolding like a bonkers episode of The Thick of It, it’s clearly inspired by the superinjunction debacle, displaying a populist government with a slender understanding of social media being completely dominated by it. Brooker is never one to rest on his laurels and the second episode showed this by trading up political satire for dystopian sci-fi. Even more allegorical than the first, Fifteen Million Merits shows human kind reduced to drones that pedal on machines all day long to earn credits. They spend their credits living vicariously through their
onscreen avatars, a concise critique of media-led consumer culture. Unfortunately, commitment to this dystopian critique comes at the cost of the sharp writing of the first episode and this one trudges along at a deliberately melancholic but unexciting pace. Towards the end things go from allegorical to autobiographical for Brooker, as his protagonist Bing goes from revolted critic to vacuous presenter. Indeed, the X Factor-esque presenters in this episode were the highlight, but even they were too one dimensional to provide much more than a few laughs. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it paled in comparison to the first. The final episode, The Entire History
of You, imagined a near future where all memory is stored in tiny chips in our heads. While this episode arguably had the least to say, it was the most successful in terms of drama, packed with well-observed social tension and perfect performances. In short, Black Mirror was crucial television; a lot of modern dramas omit or awkwardly misrepresent technology to the same extent that Victorian literature used to omit sex, losing believability in the process. It was refreshing, then, to see a series tackle the issue so directly and even more so to see it done with a wit like Charlie Brooker’s. Essential viewing. Oliver Balaam
the iron lady Director: Phyllida Lloyd Country: UK Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent If you mentioned the notion of sympathising with Margaret Thatcher to a group of radical students, you would be more likely to win the lottery than gain any positive sort of response. But although The Iron Lady does paint a somewhat (bear with me) respectful portrait of the polarizing former PM, it is more a piece for its star, the legendary Meryl Streep to once again prove her indelible versatility. The rest of the film... well, we’ll see. The film charts the rocky climb of young Margaret Roberts – from a Conservative
grocer’s daughter to her eventual, but inevitable fall from power at the clawed hands of her own party – in a series of flashbacks from a dementia-ridden Thatcher. In her geriatric state she also makes ‘contact’ with her late husband Dennis, played eccentrically but faithfully by Jim Broadbent. With these limited circumstances she does everything from share a twee dance with Dennis to grumble over the price of milk. Although they ease the pace of the film these scenes do tend to drag on slightly, even to the point of viewer discomfiture; and the story of her journey, though more thrilling, seems to embody more of an average recreation commissioned by the BBC than
a major award-contending picture. But what distinguishes it is that performance. ‘Marvellous’ Meryl takes all of Thatcher’s persona and physicality and makes it her own, rather than providing another generic, deep-voiced impression of the ‘not-forturning’ Lady. Indeed she endows a more human factor that is rarely attributed by Thatcher-loathers, concentrating on the person behind the hard image. Sometimes the performance could be seen somewhat melodramatic, but Streep masterfully blends this with rousing substance. She is aided by artful direction from Phyllida Lloyd, which comes somewhat as a surprise from someone whose one other major film credit is Mamma
Mia!. Nevertheless, Lloyd and Streep have a chemistry that keeps the drama focused, averting the fear that Maggie might break out into ‘The Winner Takes It All’ at any given second. In short, The Iron Lady is not a classic. Yet it does serve as a faithful portrait of an inflexible woman; and whether you disagree or not with her divisive principles during her time in politics, you cannot help but admire her courageous spirit. Ultimately it is Streep’s flawless performance that holds the film up to an acceptable standard, which is wholly deserving of that long overdue third Oscar, and then some. Sam Warner
sherlock holmes: a game of shadows
the girl with the dragon tattoo
After ending the first movie with the start of a new mystery to be solved, audiences knew that there was going to be a second instalment on its way. However, like most sequels, this one was approached with caution by audiences who were worried that it would not live up to its predecessor. Fortunately, Guy Ritchie did not allow this film to fail. Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows, is a refreshingly good movie that holds many of the same qualities of the first while also introducing something new. The cinematography of this film is simply outstanding, with many astonishing locations. The storyline itself is grittier and
the direction style follows through with this extremely well, leaving a very sombre feel to the film. Yet, thankfully, it wasn’t all doom and gloom as Ritchie managed to incorporate the light, fluffy humour from the first movie. Of course, the pairing of Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law probably helped with that as well. Unlike the first movie, this one is rich with raw emotion that truly lets you get into the depths of the characters. It is better than the first, simply because it is different. It is a film with good entertainment value. Samantha Rogers
In 2009, Niels Arden Oplev released his unflinching adaptation of the best selling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, reinforcing the foundations laid the previous year by Let the Right One In and allowing modern Swedish cinema to enter the mainstream consciousness. While the latter lost a great deal of its charm in being remade to suit American sensibilities, David Fincher’s treatment drips with the same disturbing combination of grace and rancour as the original. An achingly stylish opening credits sequence and a score full of electronic dread composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross become all but insignificant upon the introduction of the nymph-like Rooney Mara
betrays not just love for the period, but in fact respect in terms of what people achieved with what seems an unthinkable restriction today. From the opening scene to the end credits, every frame brims with character, every scene is a lesson in ingenuity, every character alive with feeling, every moment alight with the magic of cinema. Jean Dujardin’s capacity to create very visual characters is only highlighted in a speechless narrative about a silent-film star’s downfall after the emergence of sound while
newcomer Bérénice Bejo’s charm is not unlike that of the silent era girls her character refers to. Conducted by an enthralling near-constant soundtrack by Ludovic Bource that twists and turns according to the pattern of emotions unfolding on the screen, The Artist is a superb achievement in that it avoids becoming a parody of itself (and its roots) and ultimately holds itself as one of the most beautiful films in recent years. James Bearclaw
We live in an age in which homage, tributes and other patchworks of retro-filmmaking have become vehicles for cultural nostalgia and the appreciative dismissal of technique and style now perceived as outdated. With silent film The Artist however, director Michel Hazanavicius
as the eponymous ‘girl’, Lisbeth Salander. While Mara clearly owes a large part of her performance to her predecessor, Noomi Rapace, it is far from a simple impression. Rapace’s stern, androgynous visage which seemed to constantly be keeping a barrage of emotion at bay was what captivated audiences in 2009. Now Mara, whose softer features do not betray any particular feeling, has made the character of Lisbeth her own through a more reserved, yet no less confident, portrayal. One can only hope that, should the rest of the ‘Millennium Trilogy’ be remade, it does not suffer the same nosedive in quality as its Swedish counterpart. Tom Moore
Find me a person who does not recognise Pulp Fiction as a spectacular work of art and I will consume my hat. Actually, if we’re ingesting headwear, find me another who fails to fall in love with the intricacy and wailing desperation of the star-studded Magnolia, or a human shell cold enough to feel no radiating warmth from Richard Curtis’ Love Actually. These ensemble films all contain an artfully satisfying quality of coincidence and unquestioning connection. The characters interweave flawlessly, leaving no room for scepticism. Why then, with Valentine’s Day and New Years Eve, has Garry Marshall decided to force this respectable genre into an angry headlock, grab a handful of dead-eyed celebrities, and proceed one by one to ram each of them up its arse? With a desperation not unlike a horse on ice, Marshall makes unfathomably wild connections between the characters, such as Zac Efron being Sarah Jessica Parker’s little brother, even though there has to be close to thirty years difference between them. Their mother must have given birth to Efron at the age of (at least) 65. Marshall would be doing the film world a colossal favour by terminating this embarrassing procession of abominable performances and painfully unoriginal ideas. Maybe the next one will be “Pancake Day” and we can beat him to death with a frying pan. Alice Austin
It would be true to say that Goon is the best film this reviewer has seen this year. However, it is still extremely early days and there is little hope at all that Goon will become a seminal film of 2012. The two stars are given, firstly for Sheann William Scott endearing performance as Doug Glatt, an out-casted and dim-witted ice hockey player. Doug has a talent for beating people up rather than playing hockey but somehow finds himself on the Halifax Highlanders team. His kind heart, and his ability to punch men to the ground, manage to unite the whole team giving them a shot at the play-offs.
The second star is for the semi inspirational plot which reminds us of the importance of being a team- a lesson everyone can learn. Sadly, the rest of the film relies on scenes of violence and repetitive swearing and it soon becomes tasteless and unfunny. Goon tries it’s hardest to climb out of the cheap and tacky comedy pile- a pile filled with films like Norbit and The Ringer. Unfortunately it never quite succeeds and instead falls back into the heap of fleeting comedies which few of us rarely remember. Matt Francis
In the most part, Mission: Impossible succeeds in capturing the magic of the first film, even 15 years after its release. The film centres on the closure of the IMF, led by Ethan Hunt (Cruise) after they are accused of destroying the Kremlin during a botched mission. Bird does what he excels at by telling a simple, gripping story with nice, clean and more importantly, exciting action sequences. It should also be said that watching this film in IMAX will give you a much more forceful and immersive experience than a standard screening (please note that M:I 4 is preceded by a ‘Prologue’ for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises and you will definitely
want to see that on a bigger screen). The new and returning cast does an excellent job in constructing stunning action that’s well-matched with funny and sharp dialogue. However, the one annoyance with this film was the rather uninspired female roles, but this is not the only blockbuster to be accused of such a thing in recent years. The spark is definitely back in the Mission: Impossible franchise and that spark manages to ignite a fuse that’s been running since 1996.
with them all being suitably cryptic, and the mixed reaction to Tom Hardy’s Bane voice (which, rumour has it, is being tweaked for the release), we still have no real idea. The superb cast list (which boasts Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard) and that fact that it is set eight years after The Dark Knight aside, all we have to go on are scraps of rumours.
A Liam Neeson sighting here. An image of Catwoman there. Yet many questions remain. Has Batman left Gotham for good? Will Bane break Batman’s back, as in the comics? Will Ra’s al Ghul reappear and how? All of these, and the hundreds more, can only be answered in two ways. One is purely to speculate. The other is to claim ‘In Nolan We Trust’. 20th July 2012. Put the date in your diary.
preview james lillywhite on what you might expect from the dark knight rises 20th July 2012. That is the date etched into the minds’ of film buffs across the world. The date that Christopher Nolan finally unleashes The Dark Knight Rises, the concluding instalment in his Batman trilogy, and the last chance to see his unique take on Gotham’s finest. A follow up to the massively successful The Dark Knight, this final film carries a huge weight of expectation. Loved by critics and fans alike, the 2008 movie took over $1 Billion worldwide. Nolan, since then, has made Inception and has received nominations from BAFTA, the Academy and many more for his direction and screenwriting work. The phrase “In Nolan We Trust” has become a mantra for fans around the world. All of this means that The Dark Knight Rises can legitimately lay claim to being one of the most anticipated releases of all time. A lot to live up to then. But it seems that if anyone can live up to that kind of hype, it is Nolan himself. A director who has
always managed to balance the commercial and artistic sides of filmmaking perfectly, Christopher Nolan has elevated himself to the top of his game. His work on the wonderful Memento in 2000 shot him into the spotlight and since then he has gained the reputation of someone who can take alterative cinema to the mainstream. The mind-bending Inception, the backwards Memento, the magical The Prestige; interesting and complex films which shouldn’t, by normal standards, have made as much money as they did. Proof then, that you can be both clever and commercial (take a note Michael Bay). Nolan is perfect to live up to his own reputation as he strives for the challenge of taking his own vision and story to the masses. He hasn’t failed yet and you would be a fool to bet against him here. So, what of the film itself? With two trailers and a six minute prologue now released, one would think that we would know more. But
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After The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment would only manage a couple of other Hollywood films before dissolving into complete obscurity. He appeared in this flawed but positive movie about a high school student who invents a movement that encourages one person to change the lives of three people at a time. The idea begins to sweep American and a mission is on to find the person who introduced it. It’s a corny yet charming piece. In short the film’s about changing the world, what’s more motivational than that?
all about my mother
Pedro Almodovor’s 13th film is unashamedly a film about women. In the director’s unique flair he celebrates and dissects all the components that make up the female form. The film follows Manuela whose son dies in a car accident. She then travels to Barcelona to find the father of her son and is caught up in the lives of the women that he loved and ruined. The film’s motivational moments come when the women in the film, all damaged yet strong, come together to help one another. Almodovor’s film comes with a variety of subtexts but the power of women coming together in the face of adversity is a strong, positive, thematic message.
A fine motivational film doesn’t come much better than a sports flick and Rocky is the mother of all sports flicks. All of the Rocky films are the epitome of motivational
Americana: work hard and reap the benefits. Refreshingly the first film is actually the least patriotic compared to the rest of the series giving it the most universal appeal as small time boxer Rocky Balboa takes on the champion, Apollo Creed. The film includes an infamous and heart pumping training montage as well as brutal and pugilistic boxing match that feels raw even in 2012.
Milk is the true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected into major office in California. Around the start of the film, just before his 40th birthday, Harvey is a closet homosexual living in a New York in a sterile job. In just under eight years from he transformed sexual politics in America all senses and became an icon of his generation. ‘Without hope, life is not worth living’ says Harvey, a truly motivational statement.
touching the void
tinker tailor soldier spy
It’d be a slight travesty if the top of the list wasn’t a documentary. After all, what’s more motivational than real life? The film follows two climbers that attempt to mount one of the toughest mountains in the Peruvian Andes. It’s told by the three men who were on the disastrous expedition in a series of talking heads which is juxtaposed with dramatised footage of what happened during the climb. It’s not just a film but an experience. After 90 minutes of quite literally looking down the abyss into certain death, one can only feel motivated to appreciate life in all its forms and glories. Sam Langan
the king’s speech
1. Group with motto “who dares wins” (3) 3. First UK top 40 number one of the year (8) 4. African country which still uses the shilling as its currency (5) 5. To exclude, by general consent, from society (6) 8. Emperor of the Mongol Empire (11) 10. Capital of Latvia (4) 11. Location of UEFA Euro ‘96 (7) 13. Largest species of tiger (8) 15. Technical term for bad breath (9) 16. European country with a longer coastline than the United States (6) 19. Name of the victim in the UK version of Cluedo (6)
11 13 1
2. First managerial casualty of the Barclays Premier League season (10) 6. Greek king who married his mother (7) 7. Juliet’s family in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (7) 9. Originator of phrase “I think therefore I am” (13) 12. The amount of prime numbers are there between two and twenty (5) 14. Organ which secretes insulin (8) 17. The colour of the Northern Line on the London Underground (5) 18. Boy band member who featured on Celebrity Big Brother (7) 20. Sport in which a sand wedge may be used (4)
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