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VENUE

Concrete’s fortnightly culture pullout

issue 269 | 01/05/2012

creative writing | competition winners published| pp. 8-9 film | talk teen movies | p. 20

Photo by Laura Smith

music | interview some young local talent | pp. 6-7


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VENUE CONTENTS

www.concrete-online.co.uk

ssue 269 | 01.05.2012 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | concrete.editor@uea.ac.uk

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enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk

Oh Concrete, it’s so hard not to unleash a torrent of puns when thinking of you. You have a harsh, impenetrable surface, but you make up the foundations of so many of our lives. You’re man made, and durable, but can threaten to crumble under pressure ... OK, yeah, that just sounds like I’m infatuated with concrete or something, what a terrible way to start my last ever editorial. The reality is, what with three years of contribution, working under three different editors as a writer, a music editor and Venue editor, Concrete has taken up a large part of my time at UEA. I actually did some simple calculations (yeah that’s right, I’m a history student who can still do very basic maths) and I worked out the time I’ve spent writing articles, editing, and generally being in the Concrete office adds up to more time than all of my course contact hours combined. If that’s not an impressive stat I don’t know what is. I don’t really do sentimentality, so there’ll be no tears, instead let me just say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has been part of my Concrete experience over the past three years; it’s been an absolute riot.

Alex

Music | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Callum Pawlett-Howell, Alex Ross, Cheri Amour. Creative Writing | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Sebastian Major, Tom Brooks. Wired | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Adam Riza, Chris King, Rory Hutchinson. Fashion | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Jess Beech.

TV | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> Matt Mulcahy, James Sykes Film | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> Tom Moore, Adam Dawson, Matthew Francis. Saul Holmes, Becky Hazlewood, Alek Stoodley, Sarah Boughen, Joseph Murphy, Beth Wyatt. Competitions/Listings | Editor | Sam Tomkinson.

Photo by Laura Smith

Arts | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Hasina Allen, Marian Davidson, Chris King, Beth Wyatt, Adam Drivsington.


MUSIC

01.05.2012

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

album reviews

jack white blunderbuss

Since rising to fame with the White Stripes, Jack White has formed a number of side projects, notably The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, recorded a James Bond theme with Alicia Keys, started his own record label, Third Man Records and helped to produce a number of other albums. However, it’s with Blunderbuss that Jack White records his first solo album and releases one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Jack White is the only true rock star of his generation, at 36 he is the only musician that can hold his own with the likes of Dylan and Jagger, and Blunderbuss see’s White with complete control over this album. He releases it on his record label, he writes all the songs (save for one) and he produces it, so it would appear with this freedom White could make an album as over indulgent as an ELP record. However, since White no longer has a band name to hide behind the responsibility rests with him to create his most honest and personal record yet. The album sounds exactly how you would expect a Jack White solo album to sound like, a soulful, rock, rhythm and

alabama shakes boys and girls

It’s telling that this record, Alabama Shakes’ debut, has reached the top of the newly fangled Vinyl chart. In fact, Boys And Girls was the very first number one on the chart. It all makes perfect sense really, like listening to Blink-182 on CD, or Sonic Youth on cassette. Because, in a year that’s rocketed The Black Keys into the mainstream and unleashed a wave of confusion, controversy and mild arousal, in the form of Lana Del Rey, The Alamaba Shakes give you the impression that music stopped around ‘76. It might be a little easy to place the Alabama Shakes somewhere between these two because, whilst they lack the Black Key’s rough production and couldn’t-givea-fuck aesthetic, but don’t quite fall into the manicured sleeping-with-the-president Monroisms of Del Rey, they do have an old soul all of their own. Much will be made

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blues record for Nashville. Freedom at 21 features one of White’s wildest guitar solos since Ball and Biscuit, while I’m Shakin’ see White mimicking Elvis and Sixteen Saltines is the closet the album gets to the thumping White Stripes anthems of Seven Nation Army and Blue Orchid. Although with the absence of Meg, Jack White has picked a tight band that adds an extra dimension to the music and challenges White as a musician, raising him to a level we haven’t heard before. Since his break up with the White Stripes and his wife, Karen Elson last year, some critics have declared that this is White’s break-up album. The title track could easily feature on Bob Dylan’s seminal 1975 break-up album Blood on the Tracks, and in the single Love Interruption he declares “I want love to walk right up and bite me/ grab a hold of me and fight me/leave me dying on the ground”. Love and loss are definitely a central theme to this album. Also, since the piano features in favour of the bluesy guitars, it would make this album the oblivious successor to paranoid and insecurity filled album, Get Behind Me Satan. Overall, this album is better than anything he’s done since the White Stripes and it features some of his best and most personal work yet, although since White declared “I’ve got another 12 songs that I haven’t finished yet,” perhaps the best is yet to come. Callum Pawlett-Howell

of Brittany Howard’s voice, somewhere between Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. But it would be unfair to simply put her appeal down to this gruff elegance, as her talent for writing gorgeous melodies is a profound one. Look no further than the delicate soul of You Ain’t Alone, Howard’s lines rising and falling with the slow dance. Or take the distinctly more rock ‘n’ roll stylings of opener Hold On, Howard saying that she “never thought I’d make it to 22 years old.” The blues doesn’t spare the youth. Boys and Girls is far from perfect. There is too much respect here, and little desire to tamper with the blueprints of their obvious idols. But dammit if you set up a vinyl chart, you’d want these guys at the top. Alex Ross


MUSIC

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

gig reviews

Photos by Andi Sapey

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01.05.2012

the broken seas

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faster than robots, of diamonds, the reasons why

the waterfront studio

27.04.12 As I walked through the misty rain towards the Waterfront, I have to admit that I was a little dubious of the timing of the night ahead. The Reasons Why were booked for a 7.15pm stage time (something about a 90s night afterwards, I’m not sure), so I was naturally a little worried that they’d be playing to no one but me and the bar staff. I should have known better. When the lights dimmed for the first time of the evening, the audience was already starting to fill the studio room, and when the music started, a multitude eyes turned to the stage. The Reasons Why put in a blistering performance that was worthy of the reputation that they’ve managed to build up for themselves during the short time that they’ve been around. The seamless flow of the bass and relentless focus of the drums were characteristic of what I’ve come to expect from a The Reasons Why show, and all three put in a great effort to make it a gig to remember. Unfortunately, it was the band’s last show for 18 months due to the

callings of an American year abroad, and so by the time they finished their set with the beautifully charged, Birds, I had already started counting down the days to their triumphant return. Next to the stage were Of Diamonds, an electro pop girl group whose facebook page claims that they, “formed from carbon atoms that came from stars”. Quite an introduction. Of Diamonds clearly knew what they were doing and how they wanted to sound. It was good to see a band that was so confident in the music that they were making, and all worked well together to create the psychedelic girl pop that confronted the audience. However, I couldn’t help but wonder why they were on the bill for the evening? Although good, their music seemed juxtaposed with the overall feel of the night and not quite in keeping with the distortion-based riffings of the other bands. I’d be interested to see them again, but on an electro based night. Rock and roll, this was not.

I’ve long been a fan of noisy, low-fi garage pop, and so Faster Than Robots were a real surprise for me. Showing a distinct influence from bands such as Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, this trio were a breath of fresh air. High tempo, fuzz drenched guitar riffs were provided thick and fast, and a few of the basslines really caught my attention. Although the band seemed to get off to a slow start, they soon seemed to find their stage legs, so that by the end of the set they had managed to leave the audience wanting more. The Broken Seas started their set in the effortlessly cool way that one would expect from one of the top rock bands of the city. As the lights dimmed, a tall figure stalked across the stage and, strapping on a guitar, started playing a distortion laden riff. The atmosphere continued to build as the other members joined the stage, and so began a headline show that none of us would forget in a hurry. The next 45 minutes were filled with the loudest, most

intense and downright rock and roll music that I’ve heard in a long time. Think Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with the occasional nod to Jefferson Airplane, and you’re halfway there. Alex Hill’s vocals soared from soft croonings to great crescendos, Matt’s guitar work was simple but beautifully effective at working the audience into a storm, all backed up by the relentless drive of Fliss Kitson’s drum kit. As if that wasn’t enough, they even threw in a Black Keys cover as a bit of a treat. The word cool is used to describe pretty much everything these days, but if we think of it as it used to be, the rock and roll sense of cool, of Ray-Bans, leather jackets and whisky, well then we’re getting close to what The Broken Seas offered us with their first headline set at the Waterfront Studio. If you see their name on a poster soon, cancel any plans you may have and make sure that you’re there. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Jack Teare


MUSIC

01.05.2012

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

young revolt

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before they took to the arts centre stage, cheri amour got four of norwich’s finest acts to sit in a room together As music goes, Norwich is hardly known for its breadth of starlets and celeb types; the fact that former face of M&S and original reality TV poptart, Myleene Klass schooled in our fine city hasn’t really got our Norfolk teens chomping at the bit. Yet, there does seem to be some sort of uprising from the young and the fresh boned currently adorning our local haunts. Could this be the start of some Seattle-type underground music scene, all subterranean and brooding? Local alt-rock trio These Ghosts are certainly a band that knows how to brood and like some veritable who’s who of the indie uprising, have asked some of the finest city exports to join them on their bill at the Norwich Arts Centre. We caught up with members from the band as well as ferocious five piece Deers, Bury new-kidson-the-block The Soft, and Rory Hill to chat about the Norwich ‘scene’, venues gone by and us Norfolk pumpkins… Rory (pictured p 7), you’re opening the show this evening but are perhaps better known as the Paul Simon bass trill extraordinaire in local popsters, The Kabeedies. Do you enjoy playing acoustic again is the kind of how you started out? Is it linked more to the kind of music you listen to or not? Rory Hill: There’s a certain sense of enjoyment that’s very different from The Kabeedies. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy playing with them though. I don’t think there are many of us in the band who actually listen to bands that The Kabeedies sound like. I think I’d either be doing that or be in some sort of disgustingly filthy hardcore band ... there’s definitely something I enjoy from playing acoustic but it doesn’t detract from The Kabeedies. Do any of you other guys have any individual projects going on alongside your respective bands? Ben [Deers]: I have been but I dropped them all. I went to uni and left my old band and then Deers found me and asked me to play bass and it’s all gone a bit mental since, really! Before Deers, I played in the Norwich band Kodeta but I decided to leave and Deers were playing the kind of music I’d planned to start at some point in my life. I felt bad that I left but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to do what you really want to do. As the headline act this evening, These Ghosts (Calum Duncan pictured right), you were responsible for picking the lineup for this evening’s show that has a very cohesive feel to it and fits your sound very well. Are you looking forward to the show?

Harry [These Ghosts]: Yeah, it’s great because Norwich has such a wealth of bands to play alongside and it’s nice to be able to bring bands like The Soft [who are from Bury] having played with them on their home turf. It seems right that it’s their turn to come to ours now but it’s certainly a nice collective sound to the night. This leads me to the final band on this evening’s line up, The Soft. Coming from a Suffolk point of view, are you eager to be part of Norwich’s bustling metropolis of bands and musicians alike or proud of your Suffolk heritage? Henry [The Soft]: I’m honestly not sure. I mean there’s a Suffolk scene growing but I’m not sure we’re particularly part of it, we play there but just trying to get a gig in Suffolk is difficult. There’s no one from Bury that we could add to the line-up that would make work so it’s definitely nice to get out and play gigs like this where we feel the sound is a bit more appropriate to us. I mean, when you spend endless nights playing with pop punk bands ... Rory: Hey! Henry: No, not like that. We weren’t on a bill with you ... oh no, we were! Rory: Yes, you were! Henry: Well, when I say pop punk I mean there’s nothing particularly electronic going on in Bury which is good for us because it means we can stand out but there are times where you obviously end up playing to crowds that don’t really appreciate your kind of music. Harry: There are so few venues to even host music in Suffolk, I can’t even think ... Henry: Yeah, exactly. I’m guessing you’ve all played at the LP [Bury based bar with live music] but we’ve played there five times now and it’s really fun but you end up playing to the same people a lot of the time. Rory: It’s kind of like Ipswich really ... Henry: Exactly, particularly McGinty’s closing ...

with

PG

Rory: We must have played at The Swan about six times or something. Let’s chat about festival involvement this summer, Deers are the headlining local act at the Big Top for Playfest alongside 90s greats, Ash and Feeder is that right? Ben [Deers]: Yeah, Deers got the headline

local act slot at The Big Top on the Saturday this year which is super exciting. We’re one of these bands that came in out of nowhere and, for some reason, people have said we really like you and we’re going to put you on. We haven’t really got time to organise our own gigs because we’ve got people asking us to play so much. It’s a bit of a no brainer to go with that really and Playfest will be great! I think we’re all really looking forward to it; hopefully, we’ll have some new stuff by then too as we’re gradually evolving as a band. We’ve been through a

...

pretty turbulent last year and haven’t really been around that long. You’ve been busy releasing your series of colour EPS, have you launched the fourth one yet? Ben: Not as yet. Unfortunately, that got put on hold as we parted ways with one of our members. I filled his position and I’m a very different singer so we now have to write differently around Brad and I as opposed to the old line up but it’s going really well.


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01.05.2012

We’re very happy with it and we’re all good friends still. The Soft are busy on the festival front too though, you’re playing Playfest and The Great Escape in Brighton; do you know what stage you guys will be on? Henry: We’re playing the Drowned in Sound stage actually. Basically, we played a show in London with Kate Jackson who’s from Bury, and Sean, the editor of DiS, was there. We met him by accident in a kebab shop afterwards and he asked us to play it then! I actually didn’t know what he was saying as I was quite drunk and only looked at his email the next morning and realised it signed off as the editor of Drowned in Sound. Very embarrassing....but it worked out very well! All of you have benefited from huge support from both BBC Introducing here in Norfolk and BBC 6 Music; do you think stations like that and the notion of BBC Introducing is important for upcoming bands? Has that helped with either of your respective projects during your careers thus far? Harry: Yeah, as of recently. Ben: We got picked up early on which was really surprising. We’ve had a few interviews too; the last one was really good, and it’s nice to have a local backing. There’s a really good scene here. I definitely think that’s true within the last five years or so, certainly much bigger than when I was younger. The Norwich scene is huge and if you’re there and paying attention, there’s something there for everyone. Harry: I think there’s just so much happening in and around Norfolk. Last month alone, Gary from BBC Introducing said they had over 300 tracks uploaded to the Radio Norfolk site. Rory: I think it’s quite an important thing saying that there is literally, something for everyone. People say when you’re away, what kind of music is there in Norwich and you really can’t say. The kind of music that I’m into as far as England goes, I’m pretty proud to be from Norwich in terms of the hardcore scene as there’s not much like it elsewhere in England. Ben: I get invited to a lot of events, and the hardcore scene is really flourishing now. There are a lot of promoters pushing it. Rory: It was definitely a blow with The Marquee closing as much as people might

MUSIC

concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

think that it’s a dive venue, it’s a free place to hire for people to come to. It’s a real shame. There are shows I saw as a kid there that I will just never forget.

Harry: Wells.

room going to turn on me?

Henry: Southwold. All incorrect but it does have a pier...?

C’mon guys its food related ... Ben: Is it to do with Delia ..?

Ben: It’s the same with The Ferryboat – that was a huge part of my childhood and when it went, I was really gutted and think that everyone had the same sort of attitude there to have a good time which set that place off! I think Norwich needs a few more venues.

Ben and Rory, simultaneously: Cromer!

Erm, not really ...

Ben: At the same time, that’s team work.

Harry: Pumpkins.

[correct, another point to Norfolk]

Henry: Do you mean bumpkins?

Final question for the taking... People from Norfolk are sometimes known as...? Rory says an expletive here that we’ve decided to edit out ...

You make it with flour...

Rory: I think it needs more of that kind of size, 100 capacity. Ben: There’s only so much you can do in a pub and there’s only so many times a band can play a pub before it gets slightly repetitive on the scene. There are not many smaller venues which is making it harder for younger, newer bands to get in there. Henry: I think the Arts Centre is great but it’s quite difficult to get on a night here, all the promoters are often high profile. It’s difficult to get in contact with them. We’ve played a couple of nights here and a couple of nights at the Playhouse bar -they’ve been really good, I really like it there. It’s certainly been a lot easier to play there than here [NAC]. Harry: There needs to be a middle ground, a smaller Arts Centre type place. Finally, in a bid to see which of your bands knows the most about your respective counties, we’re grappling with the game; Clash of the Regions as we see Norfolk [Rory and Ben] go head to head with Suffolk [Henry and Harry]. Let the games begin! Of the 34 non-metropolitan English counties, who is the seventh most populous? Rory: Norfolk. [correct!] This county is low-lying with very few hills, and is largely arable land with the wetlands of The Broads in the North? Harry [no more than a quarter of the way through the question]: Suffolk [correct!] Henry: We’ve got some good stuff going on. Ben: Right, it’s 50/50 now so we can win it back... Arthur Conan Doyle first conceived the idea for The Hound of the Baskervilles whilst holidaying in which seaside town in the East? Rory: Holt.

Ben: Dumplings! Norfolk win. Norfolk win with 3-1.

Harry: NFN Henry: Normal for Norfolk? If I say it, is this

Ben: And then when we face Ipswich, we usually win as well....


CREATIVE WRITING

01.05.2012 concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

concrete short story competition we received an inundation of entries to concrete’s first ever short story competition. the submissions showcased a variety of bizarre narrators,

adventurous writing and innovative forms. it was a very difficult decision for

the judging panel due to the exceptional talent displayed by uea’s undergraduate writers.

But

the clear winner is sebastian major with his lightening-paced

and striking monologue on the nature of life, football and habitual drug-

use as viewed through the lens of dionysus/uncle franky z/frank zappa and second place goes to tom brooks for his intimate snapshot of familiar modern history the life of friedhelm koehler by joseph göttschalk.

other highly commended stories include helena palmer’s untitled,

leo hunt’s the stranger, thomas castle’s to live as a beast, and matthew mulcahy’s the mistake.

thanks to the judging panel; rebecca goodacre, laura westerman,

alex lambert, elizabeth robinson and christopher gden.

an internal monologue on the nature of life, football and

habitual

drug-use

as

viewed through the lens of dionysus/uncle

franky

z/

frank zappa

by sebastian jacob-peter major Recommended listening: anything that makes your heart race and your pulse ache. Breathe in; deep and hard as I can. My Guts hurt.

A friend of mine is having a shindig, a big one, which she assured me would be “very totally fucking Mexico” and everyone is going so I must go. I must go. Crack wise with some guy who looks like me - who I don’t know - plus Thom Pernét - who I do- . Drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tastes like drain water. Make jokes on Footballer’s names - Didier Dogba, Shark Van-Bommel, SuperMario Götze - not watching the Football unless a goal goes in, then we celebrate like it was Dionysus on the pitch, running himself ragged. I’m craving for something white, crunchy and vibrant, exactly fucking nothing like the piss-poor imitations you’ll find in the supermarket. Gum sticks to the roof of my mouth and it’s arsenal 1-0 up but even now I stare blankly, darkly, at the television. Coca-Kolo Toure.

Smells like the innards of beasts. Take a hefty sniff, become one with the smoggy haze that envelops me. Staring at the ceiling, jaw slack, eyes heavy. Inhaling smoke. A babe, comforted by his crib. People ask: “You eating enough?/You sleeping enough?/You getting enough vitamin A, B, C D, E, Keratin, Serotonin, Diazapam, Temazepam, DMT, Caffeine, Nicotine, Marijuana, Vallium, Lithium Salts, Depakene, Ziprasidone, Eye of Newt?” A Dostoevskyian nightmare on an industrial scale. This is the victory of the west over communism. Now Russia can have all the modern western conveniences like hard drug addiction, terminal boredom from eternal unemployment and endless vistas littered with the dead souls and spirits; void of any hope or purpose in life , filling up with death, decay and desolation. Russian winters to the power of thousands.

Flung into the air by a guy twice my size. Tall, strapping young lad, his breath rich, syrupy with booze, giving a herculean bear hug, eyes wide with excitement, face pockmarked, and rough; the inside of a worn glove. He’s having such a good time and I’m fucking grinding and freaking on his buzz man, ecstatic to just be near someone who feels how I wish I felt. Prawn-Wright Phillips. On a bed, getting kissed, Feeling a soft pair of lips practically Sellotape themselves to mine. The heat between us makes me gasp; rough and full of yearning. Northen Sol Campbell. Maicon the Greek. Her musk reminds me of “him.” I pause, for longer than a heartbeat but shorter than a breath and then the moment passes and

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I’m left with a sore mouth, lipstick caked in globs under the base of my tongue; greasy, foreign; like some horrendous polyp or cyst. The taste of chemicals makes me nauseous. She slides off me and puts her underwear on daintily, slipping away into the thronging mass outside.

“ce qui est “Fuh-keen-Ay“”? I reply: (Oslo?) “You know... like... Fuckin A!” and I move my hands to indicate. she says: “Ah. Mais Oui.” “…” (Mexico City?)

What. A. Riot. A throbbing gristle of people noise and colours so complex and repeating. Repeating. Repeating.

We kiss for a while and it feels better than good, the waft from her perfume crashing over me in an awesome and clement wave. Drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and smoke Camel Yellows. The room is made of a bright white hunger that shines through a chink in the half open drapes and nothing matters any more. I look shit in all my clothes, but you... you look positively Italian. Even in an oft warn Barcelona FC kit. Bojan, Number 10, the one with the blue and red stripes.

Can slightly hear it now. Reportedly this has saved my life on the streets. Slide cooly downstairs, unseen through a crowd of hipsters in tight shirts with itty-bitty waists and teeny-weeny girlfriends, hair like a rats nest perched atop their heads. Tongue wet like a hound’s, lips dry like Tony Adams; now days anyway. Zoning in and out of focus as my lungs fill with air. Feels like drowning in reverse. “You OK mate?” Feels like drowning in reverse. I stare blankly at faces that swim in and out of focus, my vision wet, soupy. A remix of the Beatles. Dubstep. Dubstep. More Dubstep, Drum and Bass, electro house, WitchHouse, A remix of an Elvis track, IDM, EDM, French House, Minimalist Techno. A beat, a quaver, a minim. “I said, You OK mate?” Pepe Reina, and his imaginary best friend Fernando Torres, gone but not forgotten. “Don’t look OK mate.” Can’t remember the time or the date or even who I am. Feels luxurious. “You want some of this J my nigga?” Reminded of something some hipcat named Pablo Biswell once said: “You always have to round up to the nearest whole wolf.” But I don’t say anything, roll my head back like a drunken bull and run my hands through my hair. Breathe out; deep and hard as I can. My Guts Hurt. Talking to a girl named Monique. (Or was it Lisa?) Met in Paris (Or Barcelona or Amsterdam or Tangier or Bristol or London or Leeds or Valencia or...). I say: (Maxine?) “Yeah... So... whatever, I heard the new ‘Sea Bastard’ album is gonna be Fuckin’ A. It’s got kind of a New-wave/post-industrial feel to it. Or something.” She smiles, laughs and asks me: “ce qui est “Fuh-keen-Ay?“”? I reply: (Reyann?) “Errr... what?” She asks: (More urgently this time)

The smell and smoke of incense hangs heavy in the air,, a hazy fog that snuggles cosily against my eyelids. ‘Killer in the Snow’ by ‘The Birds of Maya’ plays, layering it thick and smooth into my ears like a sheet of shellac, a cacophony of noise and psychedelic vibrations that tears a hole in my aching brain and takes me straight to Valhalla, the kind of music that makes me want to fuck on the floor and break shit then curl up in a ball. A blissful, cathartic mess, stuck in a post-coital explosion of ecstasy and absolute, violent satisfaction. This room reminds me of you horribly - a discarded sock, a long forgotten earring found beneath the bed under an empty packet of cigarettes - but half naked and half asleep, it isn’t so bad. Like the dainty, unwrapped innards of a birdcage, all elegance with a brave sombreness, anything can be funny, comedic, exciting. The frames that hold our fragile understanding together like silk tape: these are the tools to make people understand you. So you communicate via a lens smeared with Vaseline, a pen or a pencil, blue tarpaulin covered in dog turds, the pickled innards of a dead shark, the jewel encrusted skull. So when the shit eventually hits the skids, as is it’s want, what difference does it make? You meant something to someone. Someone framed you as more than a man: more than a simple, mechanical heartbeat next to some clunky shit wired to your left ventricle. (I am not a doctor.). This is real fuckin’ life. Shit just got (R)eal (Madrid), and you passed with flying colours. Reminded of something Thom Pernét once said before we drank ourselves half to death on the pristine lawn outside his uncles house, ruining Petunias and missing the second half: “Driving mate, it’s all in the hips. And Zidane was better than Pele.” My guts hurt. And all of a sudden, there is a small calmness inside of me.


09

01.05.2012 concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

Monday 14th November 1983

the life of friedhelm koehler by joseph göttschalk These are the facts about Herr Koehler that I have gathered over the years. He was born on the 20th of March 1916 to Chlöe and Heimlich Koehler, two dairy farmers who lived on the outskirts of Griesheim. They were a young Protestant couple who lived in moderate prosperity off the land inherited from Chlöe's father. Heimlich, a proud and patriotic man, ran the farm until he was sent to France during the First World War, leaving his wife and an assortment of hired help to manage the business. Records show that he was killed by an artillery shell during the Third Battle of Ypres. Roughly two years after Friedhelm's birth, control of the Darmstadt-Dieburg district was handed over to the French armed forces. According to some of the townspeople I interviewed, Friedhelm was a sullen and unsociable child in the years that followed. Although he had been too young to remember his father, he was aware of the circumstances surrounding Heimlich's death and the absence was clearly felt. Because of this, he adopted a hostile attitude towards the occupying forces. Despite mostly manifesting itself in passive-aggressive behaviour, his hatred of the French culminated, when he was eight years old, in an incident that gained him local notoriety. He and two of his friends were caught breaking into a nearby artillery range, with the intention of stealing one of the cannons and using it to “get rid of the French.” Their attempt was, of course, a complete failure—however, the occupying forces thereafter took notice of Friedhelm, and in fact seemed to view his attempted insurrection as no more than a child's mischief. Knowing that the boy was no threat, the French forces returned his hatred of them with a kind of fraternal affection. They made fun of his murderous impulses towards them—diving for cover in mock fear whenever they saw him, or challenging him to pistol duels for the freedom of Germany, or threatening to have him sent to prison as a partisan guerilla. Although initially resentful of their attentions, Friedhelm's attitude toward them soon began to soften. His animosity gave way to a sense of rivalry which, eventually, gave way to friendship. There was said to be one soldier, Private Jean-Martin de Batiste, who took a particular shine to him–-who ruffled the boy's hair whenever they met, played football with him and his friends, and was even reported to have taken him shooting once. Some of the townsfolk I interviewed on the subject expressed suspicion that Jean-Martin was having an affair with the boy's widowed mother, although many others deny this— Chlöe Koehler was said to be a strong-minded woman, and while her tolerance for the French occupiers had just barely allowed for this soldier to form a friendship with her son, it would not have extended to dishonouring Heimlich's memory by sleeping with the enemy. Nevertheless, it can be inferred from various accounts that Private Batiste did indeed take on the role of surrogate father to the boy. This ended in 1930, however, when the French forces moved out and Jean-Martin returned home to France. Though this was said to have deeply saddened young Friedhelm, he did not have much time to dwell on his loss: a year later, the dairy farm finally succumbed to the effects of the Great Depression, and Friedhelm and his mother were forced to depart Griesheim. They moved to Munich, staying at the apartment of Chlöe's sister Anna and her family—husband Max Richter and daughters Ebba and Janina, aged eight and ten respectively. Although this arrangement allowed for their financial stability and Friedhelm's education at the esteemed Wilhelmsgymnasium, the close-quarter living conditions became the cause of many arguments and tensions within the household. According to a reference made in Janina Richter's diary—written post-facto—Friedhelm was unusually calm in the face of these domestic conflicts. Reflecting on these years, she describes him as having had “an air of quiet certainty,” and would frequently reassure his cousins when they became upset by their parents' fierce arguments: “He would tell us that things would get better in the end, and though he spoke mere words the two of us were convinced by his manner that he knew this to be true, somehow.”

CREATIVE WRITING

This sentiment was echoed in a report made by one of Friedhelm's teachers, who notes his “quiet determination and confidence.” Paradoxically, it appears he was easily led by his schoolmates: a willing accomplice to many of their pranks and misbehaviours, although never as ringleader or mastermind. Overall he was described as academically middling, displaying a slight propensity for mathematics but almost none for literature or the classics. He did, however, possess great athletic ability and a photograph from the time shows him to have been an exemplary Aryan specimen—blonde, blue-eyed and of robust constitution. His school report is the only record I could find from his teenage years, the rest lost to the Allied bombings and various other entropic forces. Friedhelm would almost certainly have joined the Hitler Youth in this time, although I could not find any indication of his personal attitude towards the Nazi Party. The record extends to the year 1933, but beyond this point his exact whereabouts cannot be determined. I have inferred from Janina's diary, however, that he and his mother moved out from the Richters' apartment just before Hitler ascended to power, and given subsequent events it is likely they remained in or around Munich. His next appearance in public record took place on the 4th June 1939. A newspaper cutting details his marriage to one Elsa Bohm, a 22-year old secretary from the accountancy firm in which Friedhelm worked at the time. The article notes their residence in Ingolstadt, and a photograph shows them after the ceremony. Friedhelm towers above his bride, his posture straight and his smile displaying that same rigid serenity that so many of his peers have attested to. Elsa clings to him with her head against his chest, laughing into the camera, and she is beautiful. Of the handful of acquaintances I managed to interview who knew them during their marriage, all have supported the wedding photo in evincing a loving, happy couple. Elsa, they say, was warm and outgoing: an actively upbeat woman nonetheless prone to mild bouts of depression and mania. Her changeable behaviour, then, was well-matched by her husband's easy stoicism. They were often observed to take walks along the Schösslande, looking out over the river and talking with a cheerful intimacy. By all accounts, they were active members of the community and were spoken of fondly by all who knew them. We now approach both the end of Herr Koehler's story, and my reason for telling it. I present to you now my own personal account of our convergence, having thus far written exclusively from second-hand sources. I saw him only once, at Dachau, in 1945—he an SS guard, myself a kapo. The details of my capture and internment are superfluous to the incident in question, and my impressions of the camp have lost all capacity to inform anew given the deluge of similar accounts of life in those horrific facilities. No doubt the informed reader already possesses an image of the conditions in those camps from a mental collage of photographs, films and writings. The mud, the squalor, the stench, the desolation. I have nothing new to add to this and no adjustment to make to the archetypal image. I wish only to highlight a repeat occurrence that holds direct bearing on the event in question. The man behind this occurrence was our Block leader, an Unterscharführer by the name of Drescher. He was, I believe, of a rare character among the SS within the camps—although I am far from certain of this, for most of my days in that dread place were spent trying to avoid contact with the guards. He differed from the others mostly through sheer temperament— he was a vicious man, a drunk and a tyrant. His appearance was noticeably more unkempt than that of the other ranking officials, and whereas they treated the inmates with a ruthless, warped rationality, Drescher was open in his hatred of them. Most SS officers looked upon the prisoners with a distant superiority, like a bug exterminator would look upon a nest of insects. Drescher, on the other hand, seemed to have a violent contempt for each of the inmates, and took sadistic pleasure in personally crushing their spirits. It was hard to say where this stemmed from—although I suspect he had a personal motive that supplemented the discharge of his duties with the thrill of vengeance. It was a matter of policy that no SS officer would ever be punished for harming an internee, even on a whim—but that his undisciplined conduct and unpresentable appearance did not get him reprimanded is curious. It deviated him from the conduct expected of a high-ranking SS officer, and that he was allowed to stay in charge is testament to the means-ends justifications of the National Socialist government. One of the ways in which Drescher's temperament manifested itself was a ritual of his, that came to be known

amongst the inmates as the Todtheater. Every Saturday, at ten o'clock, he would have all the idle officers in his command line up along one side of a square muddy patch of ground, behind the prison barracks. Any remaining SS guards would gather all the prisoners of our block into the square. Of these, Drescher would select a single muselmann at random, drag them into the middle of the square patch of muddy ground, and execute them. Or not—sometimes it would satisfy him merely to pace around the selected haeftling, tormenting them by priming his sidearm, raising it up to their head, then lowering it with a laugh. Or slapping them, or kicking them, or forcing their face into the mud with his boot. He particularly enjoyed it when they wept, or soiled themselves. Once the poor wretch was sufficiently degraded, he would stroll off with a final laugh, without even bothering to dismiss the officers lined up before the scene. More often than not, however, he killed them. And on occasion, he would invite one of the SS in his command to take part in his sick pasttime. On the morning in question, Drescher selected a gypsy woman from the crowd of prisoners. Being healthier than the usual prisoners he selected, and still possessing that lingering scrap of vivacity so absent from the other muselmanner, she immediately began pleading with him in loud, shrill cries. He dragged her out by the arm into the middle of the patch and forced her to her knees. She slumped back, weeping with all the restraint she could muster. I could not see her face clearly, for she was wrapped head-to-toe in a filthy grey shawl, but I believe her to have been middle aged. Though in the centre of the yard, hunched over and racked with despair, she resembled little more than a trembling pile of rags. Drescher paced before his officers for a minute or so, studying the pathetic figure, his sidearm drawn and hanging by his side. After a long time he turned abruptly to the officer behind him and held out the gun. “Private Koehler. If you will.” Koehler remained at attention. Although he was a fair distance from where I was standing, I felt I could make out all the details of his face. His eyes darted from the gun, to the prisoner, and then moved into that neutral space adopted by soldiers at attention: staring directly ahead, neither at Drescher nor away from him. “No, sir,” he replied, with a quick shake of his head. The blockführer responded as though he hadn't heard properly. “Execute the prisoner, private.” “No, sir.” Drescher seemed to realise what the young private was doing, and was momentarily stunned. “Private Koehler! I order you to shoot the prisoner!” “I will not shoot her, sir,” he said, firmly. “The punishment for disobeying a commanding officer is execution, Private!” “Then I will die with a clear conscience, sir!” Koehler barked, looking his superior in the eye. Perhaps the thought occurred to Drescher to ascertain the motive for Koehler's insubordination—why this sudden ideological shift, a sudden resistance to the forces around him. But the momentum of the situation, and his own need to appear in control, seemed to sweep him up. He took a step back from Koehler, whose eyes followed his own. He raised the Luger to Koehler's nose. And he fired. A sharp report, a burst of crimson, and Koehler fell to the ground. Several of the SS officers flinched at the gunshot, and one or two dared to break stance to look over at the corpse of the young Private. Drescher ran his free hand through his hair, staring at the body in front of him. The despair of the gypsy woman had waned during the altercation, and she chanced to look up from the ground. In a snap, Drescher turned to her and raised the gun. She screamed and held up her hands, and he emptied the clip into her. She slumped forward into the mud. And that was it. Koehler’s body was dumped in a mass grave alongside the deceased internees. About a month after this incident, Allied forces liberated the camp, rescuing myself and the remaining survivors. By this point, Koehler's body had decomposed and was unrecognisable. Drescher, meanwhile, had fled. He was arrested by Interpol agents two years ago in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Those were the facts of Herr Koehler's life. And as I near my own end, I offer you this document as a paltry tribute to the man, and as his sole legacy. — J.G.


WIRED

01.05.2012

concrete.wired@uea.ac.uk

the class of 2012

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by adam riza As we near the end of this academic year, it is time for Wired to look back at the best games released during this time period, which many gamers here were probably playing instead of studying.

mass effect

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The Mass Effect series has been one of gaming’s great series this generation, and Commander Shepard’s epic story has finally reached its conclusion in Mass Effect 3, with it being the task of Shepard and his squad to prevent the Reapers, an ancient, technologically advanced race, destroying Earth. The game, and series as a whole, is reliant on player choice, with the storyline being shaped and changed by the preferences of the player. The combat system has been further refined, with it being most comparable to the Gears of War series, and the graphics are amongst the best ever seen. Although the ending has proven to be controversial, it is hard to deny that, with the addition of multiplayer, the final chapter in the saga is a worthy ending.

the elder scrolls v: skyrim It would be impossible to create this list without mentioning Skyrim, probably the most talked about game of all of last year. Simply put, this game is vast. There is the main quest, which involves the player having to slay the dragon god Aludin, but there is so much more to this open-world adventure, with there being five more questlines, a huge world to explore, dragons to slay, potions to conjure, and a ridiculous amount of miscellaneous quests to embark on. With incredible graphics and a beautiful soundtrack, Skyrim will suck dozens and dozens of hours out of your life, and with downloadable content on the horizon, the seemingly never ending game is about to get even longer.

batman: arkham city Upon release in 2009, Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was christened as the greatest superhero game of all time. It would not hold that award for very long. Arkham City is bigger and better than the original, with it being one of the best third-person adventure games ever created. Batman is trapped in Arkham City, a new prison that has replaced Arkham Asylum and is five times bigger than its predecessor, and must now stop the chaos being created by some of Gotham’s most famous criminals. The feeling of claustrophobia found in Arkham Asylum has been replaced by a desire for exploration, with a far greater landscape for Batman to venture across. New gadgets, more recognisable s u p e r- v i l l a i n s from Batman canon, more R i d d l e r challenges, and even the playable character of Catwoman, makes Arkham City the total package.

uncharted 3:

drake’s deception The Uncharted series has become the main reason to purchase a Playstation 3, with the first two games being fantastic Indiana Jones inspired action games, and Naughty Dog have raised the bar once again. Players follow Nathan Drake through a variety of locations, including London, Paris, and the Rub’ al Khali desert, to find the legendary lost city of the Iram of the Pillars. The cover-based combat system is fast paced and exciting, with there being an added emphasis on hand-to-hand combat this time around. Drake and company are just as hilarious as always, with there being many genuinely funny moments in the script. The action set pieces are amongst the best in gaming history, with puzzles being welcomed as a change of pace, which are all made even better by the mesmerising graphics, showing the PS3 at its absolute best. The new standard for the action genre.

the legend of zelda: skyward sword After the release of Twilight Princess in 2006, Zelda fans had to wait five years for the next console entry in Nintendo’s beloved adventure series. They were not disappointed, with Skyward Sword arguably being the best entry in the series since the iconic N64 classic Ocarina of Time. The graphical style employed by Nintendo is superb, combining the cartoonish cell-shading of Wind Waker with the gritty realism of Twilight Princess, to create a

beautiful environment. Storyline wise, the game answers questions about the series back-story, explaining the creation of not only the legendary Master Sword, but also the main series antagonist, Ganon. The most noteworthy aspect of this game is the motion controls, as with true 1:1 sword combat meaning that you control Link’s sword with amazing accuracy with the Wii remote, making every enemy encounter a thought process. A spectacular game.


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01.05.2012

WIRED

concrete.wired@uea.ac.uk

confessions of a football manager

By now everyone’s favourite football management simulator, Football Manager is a fatal timewaster. Mr. Burns once said in The Simpsons that to succeed in business you must slay the following “dragons”: family, religion and friends. Substitute “religion” with “degree” and you have the perfect recipe for success in this virtual world, where with sufficient playing time, you actually begin to believe that you are the manager of Real Madrid, who happen to have won every trophy possible under your expert stewardship. And then you wake up, and realise it was all a dream. Well, almost. Over the years, Football Manager has, quite literally, led to the breakdown of marriages, and contributed to social isolation far beyond the capabilities of other procrastination devices such as Facebook and YouTube. The amount of time users spent playing the game caused so much concern to its creators that they introduced a

humorous “clock”, which informs you how long you have spent playing Football Manager in total, and on the day in question. Personally, I’m both slightly proud and rather uncomfortable that I have spent 611 hours playing (and that is just on FM2011) in what is essentially a virtual world. In that time, I have succeeded at countless clubs, filled their trophy cabinets and signed hundreds and hundreds of players. Yet, like getting your character a good job on The Sims, it counts for nothing. Fortunately, as a single man, I can afford to get away with such an addiction. But many cannot. Your girlfriend will not (and rightly so) put up with nights in spent watching you play the away leg of a Champions League quarter final managing Lincoln City or an equally inexplicable side. Nor should she. The game has also blurred the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Players have

been known to complain about their in-game stats, reflecting the esteem in which Football Manager is held. A friend of mine played last year’s incarnation of the series for such a long time that a “son”, bearing the same name, was generated for him. Yes, a son. You heard correctly. However, Football Manager’s success makes it a surprisingly important part of modern football. This is in the real world now. Premier League clubs, including Everton, have been known to use the game’s vast network of players, more than 300,000, located by 1,500 scouts in 51 countries. Creator Miles Jacobsen calls it “the greatest spread-sheet in the world”. And who would argue with him? Chris King

retro column: company of heroes When the words “real time strategy” spring to mind many of you probably think of Age of Empires, tinkering with endless macros and having as much fun as one might do at a church fete, to this I say shame on you. While myself would never claim to be an avid gamer I can safely say that Relic’s Company of Heroes is probably the most engaging, visceral and plain fun gaming experiences you can have on PC even now six years on from its initial and acclaimed release. Taking a genre long considered dusty and antiquated and transforming it into a brutal frenzy of high body counts, spraying blood and frantic tactical warfare Relic took gamers in 2006 on to the battlefield like never before combining an honest portrayal of the inhumanity of war with the pathos of your favourite war movie. Knowing its audience is the great strength of Company of Heroes, smacking of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, its campaign mode takes you from Omaha beach all the way through to the Falaise Pocket giving you the chance to play as the 101st Airborne, command the might of Allied heavy armour and force the surrender of the entire German Seventh Army. Even if the historical side has no appeal to you the gameplay is stupidly engrossing, deeply immersive and graphically (even now on a half decent PC) stupendous with the 360 degree in game camera allowing you to get so close to the action you’ll feel like you’re playing Call of Duty 2, even on an above average laptop the game runs quite well meaning there’s really very few excuses not to get familiar with one of the best PC games

of all time. However for all this talk of visuals and story, Company of Heroes greatest strength will always be its playability, combining fluid gameplay, excellent physics and an incredible number of units and abilities

taking your skills online is where Company of Heroes really shines, still drawing thousands of players daily from all over the world. A good online match can take hours if need be and seldom will you ever feel more invested in a game, with the option to play as the Axis,

a British expansion pack and now a mod that allows players to take on the Eastern Front Company of Heroes is still setting the bar for PC games let alone real time strategy. Rory Hutchinson


FASHION the hotlist smokin’ Rita Ora Our new style crush.

01.05.2012

one girl, one toff

Elbow patches “Shabby chic” (bought at vast expense) is oh-sonow.

chokin’

but she forgot

...

What do you look for in a girl? Enthusiasm, sense of humour and sex appeal. So, basically Mila Kunis. So brunettes over blondes? When people say they have a type, I think that’s bullshit. If the right girl comes along then it could be anyone. It could even be someone fat. A fat plumber. I’m nice like that.

Just hug? I give special hugs. What’s your biggest turn off? Anyone with a bad vibe; a girl who isn’t positive. Are you in a relationship right now? No. If the right girl comes along then, maybe. But I’m not looking for one. Top relationship advice? Don’t cheat. If you cheat then you’re not in love with her. Game over. I’m a nice guy, I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. I’m so loyal. Are you happy at the moment? I’m always happy.

Black loo roll Weird.

The UEA library police Stop putting out stuff in boxes when we pop out for coffee.

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hannah britt did intend to ask jamie laing about fashion,

Describe your perfect date I meet the girl at a fondue restaurant. We have fondue together and flirt over cheese. We then walk around London, maybe sitting in a park looking at the stars, making shapes out of the stars, you know, like that one looks like a pillow. We then go home and ...hug.

Hear’say Remember them? They were great.

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

Would you ever get with a student? Yes. Have you ever got with a student on one of these press appearances? Yes. Would you get with a student from UEA? If they come up to me and I fall in love with them then yes. You wanna move a little closer? What’s the plan for after MIC? My plan for after MIC involves me and Spencer. It’s entertainment related, I can’t tell you any more. The dream is to someday get into TV. In 10 years time where would you like to be? In the Playboy Mansion, running it. I’d like to merge the Willy Wonka factory with the Playboy Mansion. Me and Spencer together; he runs through my veins, he’s my brother. I love that boy. If there was a fire in my house and I could take one thing, I’d take Spencer. [We’re told we have a minute left of the interview] We have a minute left... What can we do in a minute? We can do a lot in a minute Plus, I’m really quick. Do you want my number? Is this going to be printed? Don’t worry, I won’t print your number ...

meanwhile, on campus nottie to hottie

fashion editor applications:

Concrete’s News editor: what a difference a year makes

the highlights

From this ...

“I have a Grade 2 spelling award from my prep school ...” “I really love the colour blue.” “I can’t wait for the September issue because everyone knows it is the most important one for all fashionistas.”

The drought We’ll always remember the terrible drought of 2012. Not.

“The KAOS fashion show should feature just swimwear and lingerie.”

... to this!

“People should wear shorts all year round.” “I like hats because hats are cool.”

over and out

From “muffgate” to the KAOS Fashion Show, it’s been an eventful year for Concrete Fashion. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed this year. And Beyonce, we would like to thank her too. Good luck to Jess and Lucy - the new fashion team! We’ve been Hannah and Milly, thank you for reading.


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01.05.2012

FASHION

concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

Photo: Hannah Kroeker, Model: Ally Kayler

library love jess beech on what to wear during essay time When leaving the library to pop into the Hive is becoming the most exciting part of your day, you know you have got a problem. We have all been there; weeping in the phone zone, being passed by people looking great, and having to conclude that they must have just popped in for a book. When your magazines have been confiscated and replaced with a textbook, the library is the only available source of fashion inspiration. It is a good place to start though, as campus has a wealth of well-dressed people. Surely this provides the motivation to make a bit more effort, or at least invest in some waterproof mascara

before your next breakdown. The first tip for looking good in the library is wearing bottoms that will not crease. Choose light denim shorts over tights, they’re comfortable and not too restricting. Alternatively, go for a basic dress, but avoid jersey like the plague, or you will end up a looking crumpled mess. Try to avoid dark colours. These will make you appear washed out if you are fair skinned and will only help to darken your mood. Even though it is not quite summer outside yet, try to go for a vibrant floral print, or at least a brightly coloured top. Keep the same approach for your make up,

a bit of peach blusher and a red lip goes a long way towards lifting your face and outfit. There is nothing worse than being asked sympathetically if you’re okay and having to explain that you’re fine, this is just what your face looks like without makeup. If you keep your outfit bright, you’ll feel better and avoid your highlighter collection becoming more covetable than your wardrobe. The best hairstyle for achieving library chic is undoubtedly the high ponytail. It strikes a balance between looking professional and cute, and of course keeps your hair out of your face. If this is a little

bit boring for you, add little plaits at the side or a bow on top for a Blair Waldorf kind of look. It may sound mumsy, but don’t forget to wear layers. The library manages to cover many climates within its building, from the ridiculous sunshine on floor 2 to the chilly depths of 01. Bring a cardigan, because god knows where there will be a free plug. Whether you are actually working, chatting to your friends or Googling pictures of baby animals whilst silently weeping, if the library is becoming the place to socialise, you may as well look good while you’re there.


ARTS

01.05.2012

sister act: theatre royal

The West End hit adaption of the Whoopi Goldberg film, Sister Act, has come on tour to Norwich. It is difficult to articulate the great number of reasons Sister Act on stage has touched audiences all over the UK. The plot of the highly acclaimed 1992 movie is transplanted to the late 1970s, with a wardrobe and score to match. Like the film, the musical focuses on the story of Delores Van Cartier (like the diamonds, darling),

an ex-Catholic school student and aspiring star who, after witnessing a murder by her mobster boyfriend Curtis Jackson, is placed in a witness protection scheme at a convent. The musical uses a completely different soundtrack to the film, a motown and disco-inspired collection of original songs to match the new setting. The new score, composed by Alan Menken, perfectly charts the transformation of the choir of tone-deaf

concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

nuns into a group of bedazzled disco-divas who fill the pews of the previously abandoned church. Decked in brand new sequined habits the closing number of the first half (a reprise of the opening number, Take Me to Heaven) was a funky, all-singing, all-dancing ensemble number, with infectious energy levels that encompassed the entire theatre. The star-boosted cast (which features two ex-soap stars, Denise Black from Coronation Street, and Michael Starke from Brookside) was complemented by a fantastic set and wardrobe. Regular and smooth changes seamlessly transformed the stage from a nightclub lounge into the stark convent along with a number of other scenes including a surreal number in the streets of Philadelphia with a chorus of homeless people. The set changes were built into the action of the show and were a pleasure to watch. However, it was the voice of Cynthia Erviro, playing Delores Van Cartier, which stole the show. From the opening number Take Me to Heaven, a medley of disco-infused soul to the touching Sister Act Erviro displayed the range and power necessary for any leading lady. The standing ovation at the end of the performance was more than well-deserved. Don’t miss this incredible show.

conducted by Paul McGrath. The Barber of Seville is a two-act opera following the story of Count Almaviva, who has fallen hopelessly in love with Rosina, the ward of Doctor Bartolo who intends to marry her for himself because of her rich inheritance. Count Almaviva enlists the help of the barber Figaro, who is known for his match making skills in the city. With his help Count Almaviva decides to disguise himself as a poor soldier, Lindoro, so he can then get billeted to Dr Bartolo’s house. As expected this causes a lot of confusion and hilarity as the plot ensues.

edinburgh fringe fest for uea comedians

Interestingly, the reception of the opera at its premiere in Rome in 1816 was poor. Rosini was considered to have gone against the true Italian music of the time and the opera was seen as too harmonic. Rosini had been influenced by other great, foreign composers such as Mozart and Haydn, but politically this was unfortunate at the time. However, the less aristocratic audiences loved it and this love has continued for over 200 years, with it being one of the most successful comic operas on the modern stage still today. The main stars of the show were, of course, Rosini, played by the talented mezzosoprano Kitty Whately, who recently won the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2011 and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is currently at the RCMIOS. She has a growing list of performances as does Nicholas Sharratt, the tenor playing Count Almaviva, whose extensive repertoire will include two future world premieres. Cozmin Sime played the Barber and, as with the rest of the cast, proved impressive, not just in terms of singing but acting too, which is just as important as singing the arias correctly. This led to a very enjoyable evening and other brilliant performances from this talented company to look forward to.

A handful of UEA Headlights Comedy society members will be lighting up the stages of Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer with their “Beast of the East: Free Comedy Showcase”. The show is set to star UEA students Robert Turner, Charlie Tarran, Luis Forte, Eleanor Overvoorde, Scott Mills, Neal Goldsmith and “mystery special guests”. There will be performances at noon across five dates in August, of what has been called a “bizarre sketch and standup showcase”. Forte, part of the group heading to head to the Scottish capital, offered Concrete a sneak preview of what to expect: “The show will be a mix of standup comedy, poetry and a few sketches, and is set to feature a number of special guest comedians. I’d tell people to expect almost a cabaret night, but not quite. “We’ve never performed the show at UEA before, but we will hopefully be doing a preview show at the end of term in Norwich. This will be a free entry show, and all the money raised from donations will go towards funding the £250 paid by the show’s cast to enter the Fringe Festival.” Forte added: “We’re aiming the show at students as well as members of the public, pretty much anyone over the age of 16. It’ll be a good mix of silliness, a bit of strong language, and should be quite surreal too.” Tarran, who is also due to travel to Edinburgh with Headlights, offered a bit of background on the group: “The Beast of the East is a group of young comedians all studying in Norwich. We all met at UEA’s comedy society, Headlights. “The idea behind the name is to create a sense of mystery around our show which is structured like a circus. We’ve got a ringmaster, a lion, a clown and three performers who will turn their hand to anything to get a laugh.” Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, and is known for showcasing experimental works. It has also furthered the careers of many comedy performers, including Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry. Each performance is due to last for just under an hour, and will take place in The Basement Bar of the Phoenix Bar. Further details can be found on the Laughing Horse Comedy website (www. laughinghorsecomedy.co.uk).

Marian Davidson

Chris King

Hasina Allen

the barber of seville: theatre royal

The English Touring Opera gave a brilliant performance of The Barber of Seville to an almost full house and had the audience enthralled by the beautiful music and voices. Sung in English, this production of Gioachino Rossini’s Italian opera made the humour of the piece accessible to all people. The translation into English was not only helpful to understanding the plot but it also added to the comedy. Being one of the most popular comic operas, the English Touring Opera managed to capture the spirit of the story and the music very well. The orchestra gave a note-perfect performance too that was delightful to hear,

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01.05.2012

Why do you think Drama has continued to be an important society at UEA? I think DramaSoc continues to have an impact at UEA partly because of the quality of productions, which engage and excite so many students every term, and also its inclusiveness. We pride ourselves on providing as many opportunities as possible for our members to get involved [in] and we are continually trying to improve this: this year we’ve included opportunities for students to submit their own original work for performance, run drama workshops by students and professionals alike, and arranged theatre trips to go and see professional productions in Norwich, as well as increasing the number of shows we put on each term. What is DramaSoc hoping to achieve next year?

ARTS

concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

a year gone by for uea dance, drama and comedy The committee will be handing over soon, and I am sure they are going to do a fabulous job. We aim to widen our reach beyond campus, by increasing the number of performances we do in city centre venues, and by doing outreach work with schools or in community centres. Our annual musical will come around again bigger and better than ever, and more and more people will know about what fantastic things the society is creating. I’d like to see some artistic collaborations with other societies as well. Keep an eye out for what DramaSoc has to offer next year, and watch us as we continue to grow!

What can students expect from Dancesport in the future? We have a few plans to make it even bigger and better! After the success of Strictly we want to host an inter-varsity competition here at UEA. There are many competitions that are held throughout the year at different universities, so we want to do a similar thing and invite other universities to come and compete. We have also been pioneering our community projects where we go into local schools and care homes to teach dance as well as putting on demonstrations. We want to take that further next year and establish it as a part of UEA’s volunteering scheme.

Strictly UEA was a big success, selling out completely. Would you say it was Dancesport’s best achievement this year? As a club we were overwhelmed by how successful the event turned out to be, and it was a credit to all those who took part as all their hard work paid off!

this week in arts history

Thanks to Jenny Woods, Carl Scutt and Gurdas Singh Sually for speaking to Concrete Arts.

american beauty audrey hepburn was born on 4 may 1929.

Remembered as one of the true fashion and film icons of the 20th century, Audrey Hepburn is a name which burns deep into the history of British culture. Although she would go on to become a British legend on-

How is the society going to continue to grow? In the next year we want as many people as possible to come along and laugh with us. Whether you want to perform, write or watch comedy, or even just hang out with a great group of people, we want to make Headlights the place to be. University should be full of laughter and creative expression and we want to continue giving people an outlet for both of those things every Friday night!

Interviews by Bethany Wyatt.

... 1929

screen, her beginnings were quite different. Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on 4 May 1929 in Brussels to a British father and a Dutch mother, her childhood would take her back and forth between the UK and the Netherlands throughout the duration of World War 2 seeking to evade the imminent German invasion. It was as the war ended that Audrey was relocated to Amsterdam and took up ballet lessons with the lead figure in Dutch ballet, leading to her very first on-screen role; as an air stewardess in the educational travel film Dutch in Seven Lessons. It was in 1948 when Audrey would move back to Britain where she took part in a number of theatre roles gaining her first significant performance in Thorald Dickinson’s The Secret People (1952). This led to her starring lead role in the film Roman Holiday, where she garnered much critical acclaim, culminating in receiving the Academy Award, Bafta, and Golden Globe for best actress in 1953.

What has been the highlight for Headlights this year? Our highlight was unquestionably supporting Delete The Banjax in the LCR. It’s fantastic we’re allowed to continue booking excellent acts through the Union, and that people are beginning to realise we have our finger on the pulse of great, up-and-coming comedy. It was nice for us to get some stage time too, as it meant rewarding all of our writers, actors and directors for their heard work throughout the year.

After starring in many more successful film roles, it was in in 1961 that she played the lead role in the film that would define her career; Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn’s high fashion style and sophistication within the film became synonymous with her, with the black dress she wore in the beginning of the film cited as one of the most iconic items of clothing in the 20th century. As her film career wound down her charitable efforts increased, leading to her being appointed Goodwill ambassador of Unicef. In the years leading up to her death in 1992 she travelled across many of the world’s poorest countries, carrying out missionary work for both the Red Cross and Unicef. Hepburn’s legacy as an actress, personality, style icon and humanitarian has endured long after her death, and is still revered as one of the greatest female stars of all time. Adam Drivsington


Reduce Re-Use Recycle

June 2012

Getting ready to Move out?

Your Union, University and local Norwich charity NANSA want the items you no longer need You’ll soon have different coloured bags delivered to you:

1. NANSA - green bag Clothing Handbags Footwear Jewellery and accessories Books, DVDs and CDs Electrical items

NANSA believes that all people with disabilities are entitled to full inclusion in society. We aim to empower Norfolk people with disabilities to achieve their life aspirations.

2. Kitchenware - red bag Clean kitchenware Pots, pans, crockery Cutlery, utensils Baking tins, etc. Anything you use to cook, eat or drink with

Union of University of East Anglia Students (UUEAS) is a registered charity England and Wales no 1139778


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01.05.2012

concrete.tv@uea.ac.uk

TELEVISION

a second time around

venue is jolly excited about two brilliant shows that have recently returned to our screens

GAME OF THRONES Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones was acclaimed by fans and critics alike, developing a mass following soon after its original broadcast last year. With just the right balance of violence, gore, sex, nudity, infanticide, incest, dragons and anything else likely to disgust and intrigue you all at once, the series shows no signs of faltering any time soon – it was renewed for a third season just nine days after the premiere of the second. After a pedestrian start to the second season (possibly due to the loss of Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark), the show has picked up the pace, with recent episode, Garden of Bones, being one of the best so far. The series has continued to create complex and visually stunning worlds with the introduction of the arcane Dragonstone and the oddly sinister city of Qarth. Indeed, the show feeds off a vast array of parallel storylines from across the kingdom of Westeros and beyond, with the second season ably introducing an enticing array of new characters capable of tipping the balance of the story in new directions.

GRANDMA’S HOUSE Returning to BBC2 almost entirely without publicity or particular ratings success, the second series of Grandma’s House has, nonetheless, made a welcome return. Written by and starring ex-Never Mind the Buzzcocks host turned stand-up comedian Simon Amstell, it’s a low-key comedy featuring Amstell playing a version of himself surrounded by a bizarre, fueding fictional family. Early criticism of the first series centrered upon Amstell’s inability to act very well, failing to appreciate that this was half the joke; he’s playing himself – neurotic, vulnerable, self-aware, and just trying to live with some happiness. Critics eventually learned to enjoy the series, and its positive critical reception can be thanked for its return. The shows style is fairly unique compared to its various British contemporaries. Amstell awkwardly wanders through scenes dispensing his trademark sardonic wit, which does occassionally make for odd viewing; the self-consciousness of the show does get a little wearing at times, but it’s nice to see a comedy showing a more self-deprecatory side, and not trying to sledgehammer its viewers with a constant barrage of “jokes.” If you want that, I would recommend something like Not Going Out. I’m not

hbo’s sprawling epic is back, with more kings, more violence and a legion of new fans The broad variety of characters and the twists of their respective narrative arcs are the key to the show’s success and diverse fandom. Whether it be the noble and kind Jon Snow searching for his uncle, Daenerys Targaryen wandering about the desert looking to feed her baby dragons, or the cunning and compassionate Tyrion Lannister doing his best to keep his odious relatives in check, each story is completely believable and utterly compelling. Furthermore, superb performances from the likes of the wonderful Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) allow these stories to be told with consummate style. While it may be possible for first-time viewers to understand Game of Thrones, my personal recommendation would be to buy the first season box set, have a wildly indulgent marathon and then jump right in to the most recent episodes. However you choose to go about it, everyone should watch Game of Thrones – trust me, you won’t regret it. Matt Mulcahy

a second series of simon amstell’s understated celebration of family sure why that’s still being made, other than providing endless material for late-night Dave repeats until 2026 ... Further, it’s also nice to see a show whose main character is gay who isn’t played by John Barrowman, and without that being the driving force of the show or repeatedly mentioned. The new episode focused on Simon’s one night stand with a boy a bit too young for him who drugged him with MDMA, but whereas this would be a controversial plot line in a more hyperbolic show, here it’s treated as normative, and with endearing awkwardness (such as shouting “No erections in the kitchen!” when sexual tension rears its terrifying head). Events which would otherwise be dramatic plot points are usurped by mundane family tensions, occassionally punctuated by Grandma’s offer of snacks to defuse arguments. So, if you prefer comedy that’s a bit smarter, then I’d heartily reccomend you catch up with this sleeper hit. With a confidence in its wit that flows direct from a brillaint ensemble cast and great writing, Grandma’s House is a show that deserves far more of an audience.

James Sykes


FILM

01.05.2012

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

18

avengers assemble Joss Whedon’s Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, to give the film known to most simply as The Avengers its cumbersome full title, has behind it a rather long, speculation-steeped trail. Since the brief debut of Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury in a scene following the credits of 2008’s Iron Man, internet forums have been alight with salivating fanboys attempting to divine which of their favourite characters would be making an appearance. With each new release focusing on a member of the super-team, this fervent contemplation only intensified, up to a point at which some audience members held the appearance of the monocular man of mystery in the film’s closing moments with greater anticipation than that of the titular hero himself. For many, this intersection of the paths woven through five productions of massively varying quality will not disappoint. Identikit aliens will flood the streets of New York, bulky heroes and a token buxom her-

oine will deliver their pre-attack quips and Hulk will, indeed, smash. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the Norse God of lies and mischief who was thought vanquished at the close of the 2011 title, Thor, has formed an alliance with an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri and is plotting an invasion of Earth. With the Tesseract, the item of seemingly limitless power which drove Captain America’s narrative, stolen, the planet is in desperate need of the protection that only a team of extraordinary beings can provide and so, the Avengers assemble! As a production driven by four wellloved characters portrayed by high-grossing actors, Whedon’s script, rather than paying equal tribute to the heroes in a somewhat coherent fashion, appears on screen as something more akin to children vying for the approval of a parent. One liners come thick and fast, with emphasis on the thick. Truly amusing demonstrations of the two displaced heroes, Thor and Captain America/Steve Rogers (a wonderfully ham-

my Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans in a saddeningly understated performance, respectively) attempting to adapt to the world as it is today are trampled by the throwaway playground insults of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. In a manner befitting his ego of Charlie Sheen proportions, Stark attempts to quash any character development that may exist outside of himself through his supposed bad boy antics, much as he did in his native film series. A green, muscular, glimmer of hope is provided, however, in the form of Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) also known as The Incredible Hulk (voiced by Lou Ferrigno). Ruffalo’s mellow genius provides a haven for the viewer from his squabbling teammates, making the eventual release of “the other guy” all the more spectacular. The Hulk sequences are a delight to behold, with his opening showdown with a fellow Avenger being sure to elicit whoops from every viewer who as a child would endlessly pit fictional figures against one

another in their minds. It’s a shame, then, that at the climax of this brief battle, which takes up a small portion of Avengers Assemble’s second largest set-piece, the Hulk (and therefore also his “host”) is cast aside until he is next required to pulverise something. The greatest damage to the world of Avengers Assemble is not wrought by giant green knuckles, however, but by a complete lack of explanation of the Chitauri’s origins or motives. Seemingly created just as cannon fodder between the group and Loki, the moments leading up to the final unleashing of the invading force are completely devoid of suspense, making the heroes’ dispatching of them in droves all the more tiresome. While Avengers Assemble fails in achieving its primary goal as a fantasy action film, its few outstanding characters prevent its 123 minute running time from becoming wholly unbearable. Tom Moore


19

01.05.2012

the cabin in the woods

So stop me if you’ve heard this one. Five teenagers go to a secluded cabin and are attacked by an evil, supernatural force. No, you haven’t heard this one. The Cabin in the Woods turns everything you know about the horror genre on its head while still being a hugely enjoyable horror movie itself. If you’ve ever wondered why the group split up instead of staying together, this movie will tell you. If you’ve ever wondered why they don’t just drive away from the cabin, this movie will tell you. Many had high hopes for this movie, simply because Joss Whedon wrote it. His other offering this month, Avengers

FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

salmon fishing in the yemen

Assemble, will no doubt be far more popular than this little one but it’s worth seeing this too. Whedon has written a ground breaking horror movie. It’s best not to describe the plot beyond the basic premise because the less you know about this movie, the better it is. To get the best sense of the feel of this movie, think Scream meets The Evil Dead. It blends unrelenting horror with perfectly written humour. If you’re a lover of horror movies, or just a lover of movies, see this one. Adam Dawson

Everything you need to know about this British romantic comedy is discernible from the title and the obvious name echoes the rest of the film’s one-dimensional nature. Needless to say it offers no surprises. Ewan McGregor plays Fred, a fishing expert, whose marriage is veering towards crisis. He is asked to run a project by an ambitious sheikh, Amr Waked, in which he must introduce salmon to the Yemen. His partner in this is Harriet, played by Emily Blunt, who is also having romantic difficulties as her boyfriend is missing in action in Afghanistan. Their mutual relationship issues and the inspiration of the

tom moore attends a special screening of into the abyss: a tale of death, a tale of life, followed by a live satellite q&a with director, werner herzog. Recently, local theatre Cinema City, along with approximately fifty other Picturehouse cinemas, played host to a screening of acclaimed German auteur Werner Herzog’s most recent documentary Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, followed by a question and answer session screened live via satellite from a cinema in Manchester. Herzog took Into the Abyss’ title from a Friedrich Nietzsche quotation, which reads “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you,” a phrase which becomes more chillingly appropriate as the

film progresses. The story presents of a trio of murders and their fallout through interviews with the two men convicted for them and the people surrounding the cases. One of the convicted, Michael Perry, was sentenced to death at the age of 28, a sentence carried out just eight days after he met with Herzog. The softly-spoken director plays a more passive role in his recent work, allowing whichever emotion evoked by the object or event being filmed to go uninterrupted by narration. When asked about this manipulation of the scene in previous titles and how it affects the representation of what is “real”, Herzog repeated a line that he has

used in several interviews: “I’m looking for an ecstasy of truth.” He desires to provide the viewer with a “heightened” sense of truth; a poetry of sorts that is to be found beneath the surface which is presented by a good deal of documentary filmmakers, especially those who support the cinéma verité movement which Herzog views with disdain. Into the Abyss is, as its full title indicates, a tale of death, that which is all too easily dealt out by criminals and the system which seeks to punish them. Secondly it is a tale of life, life that so few appreciate well enough to reflect how easily it may be frittered away.

bizarre fishing project push them together and they inevitably find themselves in love. It’s not the best performance you’ll see from either Ewan McGregor or Emily Blunt, but it’s by no means terrible either, with Fred’s character being the most charming element the film has to offer. The film tries its hardest but with the absurdity of breeding salmon in the Middle East, and the barrage of fish-based metaphors, it ends up disappointing. It feels flat, dull, predictable and, much like fishing itself, I can’t really see the point. Matthew Francis

ranter’s corner A trip to the cinema is no longer a fun day out; it is a serious investment. A student priced cinema ticket will set you back around seven pounds on average. Seven pounds. To see a film, once, in a big dark room with sticky floors, full of people you don’t know, who will talk the whole way through and get up to “quickly nip to the loo”, conveniently blocking your view during the most important scene. No to mention that before the film even starts you have to endure at least twenty minutes of adverts, most of which no one cares about. Amanda Seyfried starring in an action movie. The horror. However, this also raises the point that mainstream cinemas must be making a colossal amount of money simply from “ironic” Orange product integration adverts. So high ticket prices surely can’t be necessary with so much money being made through advertising. And don’t even get me started on the snacks. There is no such thing as a “cinema experience” anymore, or if there is, it is rubbish. My advice, wait a few months for the stupidly early DVD release and enjoy a film in the comfort of your own home. Saul Holmes


FILM

01.05.2012

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

battleship

20

the popcorn chart venue’s top 5 teen movies

One might have a slightly cynical view of Battleship after viewing the trailer of Transformers style robots emerging from a turbulent ocean to confront a windswept Rihanna on an inflatable dingy. But throw commander Liam Neeson into the mix and up and coming star of the cinema, Taylor Kitsch and you have yourself an interesting and promising cast. Rihanna’s movie debut was something of a success. No, she didn’t break out into song at any point (although you are treated to a few lines of humming) and yes the majority of her lines consisted of two word interjections: along the lines of “boom” and “take that you bad boy”, but she did manage to fill the movie

with shots looking vaguely anguished and appropriately wave and weather beaten. An overall convincing performance within the aliens taking over the world scenario. Battleship is essentially a sci-fi on alien invasion using naval battleships as the context. Amongst the mountains of cheese (“I have a bad feeling about this...” said as hugely destructive and apparently invincible alien forces have already succeeded in obliterating vast chunks of civilisation), there was a terrifying and gripping storyline and stunning visual effects, keeping you captivated for the entirety of the film. Definitely worth an Orange Wednesday. Becky Hazlewood

lockout

It’s 2079. The president’s daughter visits a maximum security prison on a humanitarian mission; typically she’s taken hostage as the prisoners break free of their cells and wreak havoc. The government’s only choice is to send in an ex-agent to save her. “He’s the best there is, but he’s a loose cannon” to quote the trailer. Not so in keeping with cinema cliché is the fact that this particular prison is in space. It sounds exciting, but it’s not. The Lockout may as well have taken place on earth; the few scenes which do take advantage of the outer space setting are typified by average CGI. Gimmicks aside, what’s most striking about Lockout is its strong sense of

humour. Guy Pearce wheels off one liners at an alarming rate and it works. Joseph Gilgun (Misfits) also gives an entertaining performance as a deranged convict doing his best to descend the prison into total anarchy. Peter Stormare is not as well typecast as the head of the Secret Service, who is apparently Scandinavian in 2079, based on his accent. Lockout never lingers on one scene for too long, keeping the film moving at an enjoyable rate. It’s also a visually impressive film, apart from average CGI. However it’s hard to justify recommending Lockout over the plethora of action films available. Alek Stoodley

ferris bueller’s day off (1986) John Hughes’ definitive 80s teen movie works on all the levels a teen movie should and has been rightly parodied and ripped off ever since. The characters are brilliant, particularly Ferris, who everyone wants to be a bit more like. And of course there are important lessons to be learnt, not only about how to lead a fulfilling life but also the best way to bunk school. But its Hughes’ direction and the way the film is put together that impresses the most. With fantastic cinematography and Ferris’s interaction with the audience, it feels slick, stylish and, above all, timeless. SAVE FERRIS. american pie (1997) Without doubt the funniest film on this list. American Pie addresses the rite of passage every young man must go through, but the humorous and unabashed way it deals with it is paramount to its success. There are hilariously painful moments in the film, as your laughs become mixed with gags and cringes: the “warm apple pie” sequence springs to mind. All these moments are, however, woven around the endearing story at the core of the film, raising it above the average tasteless teen comedy. And despite the countless questionable sequels it still stands as the one of the best teen movies of all time. american graffiti (1973) George’s Lucas’s American Graffiti is galaxies from Star Wars (literally). It tells the story of a group of friends’ last night together before college: the perfect formula for a teen movie. The individual stories of all the characters become intertwined as they each have their own journey and valuable life lesson to learn. The nostalgic

60s soundtrack binds these stories together and is non-stop throughout making it feel almost like a musical. What Lucas created in American Graffiti is a charming, cool, and often overlooked, film which delivers everything a teen movie should.

superbad (2007) Probably the seminal teen movie of the “naughties,” Superbad reprises the American Pie story as three socially peripheral young men begin their rite of passage before college. Almost as shameless and funny as American Pie, it certainly has you simultaneously laughing and cringing at times. Unlike its predecessor, however, the young men never achieve their ultimate goa,l but that doesn’t detract from the film as it’s their friendship which is more important. As well as starting the careers of Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad proved that great teen movies could be made after the millennium. ten things i hate about you

(1999)

Starring a young Heath Ledger and an even younger Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ten Things I Hate About You transplants Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew into an American high school. Add in a fantastic script and you have a near perfect teen movie. “Not bestow, my youngest daughter/Before I have a husband for the elder.” This plot device seems born to be transformed into a romantic comedy, and when you change marriage to dating it works perfectly. Ten Things I Hate About You is fun, entertaining and not only a great teen movie but an even better Shakespeare adaptation. Matthew Francis


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01.05.2012

FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

modern classics: american pie (1999)

“This one time, at band camp ... ” are words which almost every teenager of our generation has uttered at some point, words synonymous with one film, American Pie. With American Pie: The Reunion about to hit cinemas, it’s the perfect time to revisit what kicked off the legacy. The original American Pie was released in 1999, just as computers and the internet were taking off, American Pie became the new teen movie for a new generation of a new millennium. Following four high school boys and their quest to lose their virginity before graduating and moving to college, American Pie has become the ultimate teen movie for the teenagers of the 21st century. Like a handful of films before, it brought what goes through teenage boys’ minds into mainstream comedy as the true phases of the lives of 17 and 18 year olds are exposed in an almost accurate comedic manner. American Pie has left a legacy in nearly all television and films for teenagers of the 2000s, including The Inbetweeners and even some aspects of Glee. Demonstrating all those embarrassing moments of the teenage years, from the awkward moment you receive “the talk” from a parent to the uncomfortable attempts of

summer film preview

asking someone out, American Pie captures the spirit of being seventeen and just wanting to get laid. Not only are boys’ views expressed, but it turns out, girls like sex too, and American Pie does not let you forget it. Conversely, boys have emotions too. A lot is owed to American Pie and its characters as their slang and customs have crept into British teenager culture. The film seems to suggest that it is suddenly acceptable to watch your friends’ sexual experiences over a webcam and to humiliate your friend as he struggles with girls. However, all is forgiven as we watch the caricatures of the characters that could only be American: suave and sophisticated Finch finally meets his match in the original MILF Stiffler’s mom, and of course Stiffler himself in all his crudeness. Michelle cannot be forgotten with her definitive quirkiness which is with no doubt a huge factor in how the American Pie sequels became so popular and with the classic characters set for a return, it is easy to predict that American Pie: The Reunion will be just as popular as other successes, Band Camp or The Wedding. Sarah Boughen

protection or cynical marketing? joseph murphy discusses the current state of censorship in the uk Unless you’ve been living a Douglas Coupland inspired reclusive lifestyle out in the desert, the laws of averages suggests that you will at least be aware of The Hunger Games. Perhaps one of the reasons for its staggering success was that, despite it’s dystopian subject matter of kids killing kids in a futuristic reality TV show, anyone could see it. Before it’s release the film was cut by several seconds to meet the BBFC’s requirements for a 12A, causing many to leap to the barricades, a copy of 1984 in one hand and a flag of defiance in the other. After all, it’s only been a few months since The Woman In Black was similarly cut for a 12A, and critics of the BBFC began sharpening their knives as they saw a new censorship scandal. But perhaps a step back needs to be taken here. The cutting of The Woman In Black was a cynical marketing ploy to draw in more children hoping to see Harry Potter pretending to be a grown up. Susan Hill’s ghostly classic, upon which the film was based, is not standard reading for most people under 15. They’re far more likely to be reading Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games novels. The Hunger Games was not

cut to suppress its more satirical and questioning themes, but to make them easier for its target audience to digest. It was, after all, mostly shots of blood splashes that were removed, and it seems rather patronising to assume that kids will only realise that violence is bad if we rub their faces in it. Should we show Irreversible to toddlers to make it clear from an early age that rape is bad? Let’s not forget that the shower scene from Psycho, one of the most infamously shocking in cinema history, contains not a single shot of the knife piercing flesh. In fact the scene in The Hunger Games in which most of the cuts occurred remains the most shocking precisely because it’s impossible to tell what has or hasn’t been seen. If the cuts were forced upon the distributor by the BBFC, it would be a worrying step back towards the days of the ludicrous video nasties scare of the 1980s. At worst it seems like cynical marketing, but with Jafar Panahi’s current documentary This Is Not A Film describing how the Iranian government have banned him from filmmaking, it soon becomes clear that we’re not that bad off after all.

Summer 2012 looks set to be a stellar few months for film, with the release of some hugely anticipated movies. The superhero genre is to continue its success after Avengers Assemble has made its impact, with a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise and the long-awaited conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The Amazing Spider-Man is a must-see simply because of the chance to find out whether director Marc Webb and leading man Andrew Garfield can live up to the massive success of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. The trailer shows promise, with all of the expected action and humorous lines like “You seriously think I’m a cop in a skin-tight red and blue suit?”, but Tobey Maguire was such an engaging Peter Parker that it may be hard for Garfield to shake him off. Sure to be a massive hit is The Dark Knight Rises. It remains to be seen whether the film can match the dizzying heights ofThe Dark Knight (one of the highest grossing movies of all time) but it will no doubt be a treat, despite fans’ concerns that villain Bane’s voice may be barely audible. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman will meet his match once more eight years after he battled the Joker and took the rap for the crimes of Two Face. Gary Oldman is back as favourite Jim Gordon and Anne Hathaway has joined the cast as a hotly-anticipated Catwoman. 2012 is not only the year of the superheroes, but also that of Snow White, with the battle between Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. A number of critics argued that Snow White and the Huntsman would by far be the better film because of its darker tone, but the entertaining Mirror Mirror has made a solid performance at the box office. Some critics have also acceded that it is charming, with its lavish costumes and humorous scenes, including those involving the dwarves and the exchanges between Julia Roberts’ cougar of a queen and Armie Hammer’s dashing prince. Therefore, it will be interesting to see what is made now of The Huntsman. Most likely both films will be enjoyed by viewers for their different styles. The battle scenes in The Huntsman promise to be exhilarating and Chris Hemsworth, so brilliant as Thor, has been cast perfectly as the huntsman. It will be interesting to see how Kristen Stewart fares as Snow White, a character miles away from Bella Swan. One niggle is the fact that Stewart, as attractive as she is, does not quite match up to Charlize Theron (Queen Ravenna). The whole point of Snow White is meant to be that she is the fairest of them all. However, the most important part of the film will clearly be the acting, so the casting director can be forgiven on that point. With other new releases such as Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, musical Rock of Ages and Jeremy Renner’s starring role in The Bourne Legacy, cinema this summer is going to be quite a ride. Beth Wyatt


COMPETITIONS 1

2

01.05.2012

3

across

4 5

6 7

8

10

9 11 12

13

15

16

word wheel (left):

see how many words you can make.

T L

use the centre letter in every word.

T

U R

You

must

killer sudoku (right):

A

F

2. The name of the French Socialist Party leader (8, 8) 4. Designer of the team GB attire (6, 9) 5. Which pop star may want you to call her? (5, 3, 6) 8. A tough cider (9) 10. Which rapper doesn’t play football but he touches down everywhere? (7) 13. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith’s seasonal hit (10) 14. Footwear as well as popular holiday report (7) 15. PFA footballer of the year (5, 3, 6) 17. Which Japanese gaming company has reported huge losses? (8)

1. Which grime song has the lyrics “show me how you get down’” (8, 5) 3. A pagan festival celebrated on the longest day of the year (6, 8) 6. Poetry commonly containing 14 lines (6) 7. Avid Justin Beiber fans (9) 9. An inflatable sphere used for water games (5, 4) 11. Tennis grand slam held in England (9) 12. Which DJ’s song can also be found on the periodic table as Ti (5, 6) 14. Name of the main female character in 500 Days of Summer (6) 16. Organisers of Camp America (5)

17

E

22

down

14

P

concrete.competitions@uea.ac.uk

fill the grid so as to meet the following conditions:

1)

each row, column, and sextet contains each

2)

the sum of all numbers in a cage must match

3)

no number appears more than once in a cage.

number exactly once.

the small number printed in its corner.

puzzles courtesy of john white

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WIN RUSSELL KANE TICKETS Win two free tickets to see comedy legend Russell Kane at the LCR! Concrete has two free tickets to give away to the third UEA Comedy Club night at the LCR, this time featuring Russell Kane. Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner 2010 and the Barry Award 2011, Russell Kane has firmly established himself as one the best comics in the UK today. Aside from winning two of comedy’s most prestigious awards, 2011 was a prolific year for Russell: he rejoined ITV2’s I’m A Celebrity presenting team, broadcasting live every night. In addition to this, he presented BBC six part series Freak Like Me, and made an acclaimed appearance on BBC One’s flagship live comedy show Live at the Apollo. A regular on both radio and television

panel shows, Russell has appeared on Celebrity Juice, Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats is a regular guest on The Wright Stuff, It’s Your Round, A Good Read and Britain’s Got More Talent. 2011 saw Russell host his own six part series for BBC Radio Two, Russell Kane’s Whistle Stop Tour. He was a finalist in Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, and was a guest on The Graham Norton Show. The Comedy Club night, which takes place on Thursday 24 May, also features support from Rob Beckett and Fergus Craig. Doors open at 7.30pm, with the show due to start at 8pm. Malcolm Hay of Time Out magazine described Kane’s act as combining “huge

energy and a freak physicality with a rapidly delivered torrent of remarks.” “Many comics feign weirdness, but this is the closest to the real deal: a breathless, raging, feral act ... Probably the most exciting comic discovery of the year, said Steve Bennett of Chortle.

To be in with a chance of winning, just submit your completed crossword to Union House reception by 12pm on Thursday 24 May. The winner will be contacted that day and tickets will be left at Union House reception.


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LISTINGS

01.05.2012 concrete.listings@uea.co.uk

Tuesday 1 May Waterfront Gigs: The Quireboys @ The Waterfront Studio Price: £15.00 (7:30pm) The Waterfront Wednesday 2 May Waterfront Gigs: Blood Red Shoes (7:30pm) Price: £10.00 The Waterfront Alex Hone: Seven Years in the Bathroom (8pm) Price: £12 Norwich Arts Centre

Wednesday 9 May Waterfront Gigs: Alkaline Trio - 15th Anniversary Tour (7:30pm) Price: £16.50 The Waterfront Adam Kay’s Smutty Songs (8pm) Price: £16 Norwich Playhouse Tim Clare: How to be a Leader (8pm) Price: £8 Norwich Arts Centre

01 MAY Thursday 3 May Waterfront Gigs: Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Band Competition (Heat 1) presented by Metal Lust @ WF Studio (7:30pm) Price: £3.00 The Waterfront Box presents James Acaster: Amongst Other Things (7:30pm) Price: £6 Olives Gareth’s Big Fat Cat Pub Quiz (8pm) Price: £1 per person The Fat Cat

Thursday 10 May Waterfront Gigs: Guns 2 Roses + Metallica Reloaded + The Brink presented by Metal Lust (7:30pm) Price: £10/£8 (NUS) Advance The Waterfront Waterfront Gigs: Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Band Competition (Heat 2) presented by Metal Lust @ WF Studio (7:30pm) Price: £3.00 The Waterfront

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14 MAY Cruisin for a Bluesin (8:30pm) Price: Free Rose Tavern

MELTDOWN + RAWKUS (10pm) Price £4.50/£3.50nus The Waterfront

Friday 4 May The Music House Acoustic Session (8pm) Price: voluntary contribution Music House

Classic 60s/70s Soul Motown Night (8pm) Price: £7.50/£6 Norwich City Football Club

Camille O’Sullivan: Feel (8pm) Price: £17.50 Norwich Playhouse

Tuesday 8 May Waterfront Gigs: Ladyhawke (7:30pm) Price: £15.00 The Waterfront

Saturday 5 May LCR Club Nights: A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR

Friday 11 May Waterfront Club Nights: Shogun Audio presented by Color (10pm) Price: £14 / £10 (NUS) Adv The Waterfront Saturday 12 May Waterfront Gigs: The Twilight Sad (7pm)Price: £8.00 Advance The Waterfront MELTDOWN + BRITPOPPIN (10pm) Price £4.50/£3.50nus The Waterfront

The Blues Club (8pm) Price: Free The Brickmakers

LCR Club Nights: Urban A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR Sunday 13 May 2012 LCR Gigs: Wretch 32 (7pm) Price: £12.50 UEA LCR Monday 14 May Waterfront Gigs: Marina and the Diamonds (7:30pm) Price: £17.50 The Waterfront

WHAT TO DO TO AFTER EXAMS although for some of you freedom may seem a long way away, venue is here to alleviate your exam suffering with some tips on what to do once it’s all over

Exams are over, but you still have a couple of months’ rent left to pay. Trying to fill this huge void can leave some studnetns feeling slightly lost. However, there are plenty of things to do with your time once you’ve put down your books.

Drink The time honoured tradition of indulging oneself in the consumption of alcoholic beverages is likely to be the most common form of end of year celebration for UEA students. From the square to the Prince of Wales Road, there are sure to be scenes of relieved students letting their hair down after a month or so of hard studying. For a different approach to drinking, the Union is hosting a beer festival (29-31 May), which will feature over

30 real ales and ciders. As an added bonus, admission to the LCR is free if you attend the evening festival. Tickets for this are £5.

Culture Now you have some time on your hands, why not delve into Norwich’s cultural scene? With the variety offered by Norwich’s theatres, the Playhouse and the Theatre Royal, and exhibitions constantly springing up all over the city, there are plenty of options. Cinema City also boasts a strong programme of screenings, so there really is no reason not to indulge yourself in the finer things in life, without the nagging feeling that you should be working.

Outdoor activities Once the rain has stopped and this terrible drought has passed, there are many things

you can do in the great outdoors. Running is a great way to enjoy the sunshine (should we get any) and work on that summer body, after a month spent sitting around eating junk food and only moving to find a new book. For those with bikes, and living off campus, the perfect tonic to the drudgery of the daily commute to campus could just be a bike ride on the roads and paths outside the city centre. After all, it is nice and flat.

Beach Make like Nicki Minaj and head to the beach, beach (you know the rest). Cromer and Sheringham are close enough by train and tickets are inexpensive. Should tacky coastal resorts be your thing, head to Great Yarmouth for a taste of the 1930s. Spending all day relaxing at the beach is always a great

option, however, taking a dip in the freezing North Sea most certainly isn’t. So for those wanting to hone their Baywatch impression, you have been warned.

Angst Or, ignoring all the above, you could be just as distant and anti-social as you were before the exams by spending your time worrying about them. Hours can be spent in your bedroom with the emotional playlist blaring out and a box of tissues to hand. People will stop being your friend if you choose to do this, though, so angst is probably best avoided.

Sam Tomkinson


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