VENUE Issue 271
Friday 21 September 2012
The Freshers’ Edition Music - The freshers’ guide to music at UEA, page 3
Fashion - The style icons of London 2012, page 9
Competitions - Win freshers’ tickets throughout welcome week, page 22
Photo: David Miko
Friday 21 September 2012
Editor-in-Chief | Amy Adams Venue Editors | Rachael Lum and Matthew Tidby Music | Editors | Hayden East and Sam Warner Music Contributors> Laura Phillips, Harry Fletcher, Lottie Allen, EmilyClaire Tucker, Maddie Russell, Emma Price and Hayden East Creative Writing | Editor | Matthew Mulcahy Creative Writing Contributors> Ellie Reynard, Kate Duckney and Madz Abbasi Arts | Editor | Hatty Farnham Arts Contributors> Connor Harvey, Marian Davidson and Amelia Edwards Fashion | Editors | Jess Beech and Lucy Jobber Fashion Contributors> Becky Evans, Kirsten Powley, Jess Beech and Lucy Jobber TV | Editor | Ellissa Chilley TV Contributors> Emma Price, Bex White, Gabriel Gavigan, Beth Webster and Matt Tidby Film | Editors | Kieran Rogers and Andrew Wilkins Film Contributors> Jake Deller, Sam Austin, Greg Manterfield-Ivory, James Lillywhite, Marco Bell, Ellie Reynard, Adam Dawson, Amy Adams, Andrew Wilkins and Kieran Rogers Gaming | Editor | Oliver Balaam Gaming Contributors> Simon Sampson, Raymond Mak and Oliver Balaam Competitions/Listings | Editor | Amelia Edwards
From The Editors Greetings and salutations, dear reader!
‘tis the season for new beginnings, and in that spirit, we in the Concrete office are continuing to spend most of our time listening to abhorrent pop music (the Autotune remix of Nick Clegg Says Sorry), drinking gallons of tea and eating chocolate biscuits. Honestly, we’re rushed off our feet. That aside, if you want to get involved in writing for Venue, or you just want to shout at us about Doctor Who, grab us at Societies Fair or the Big Meet. We look forward to meeting you. Live long and prosper,
Rachael and Matt
Photo: Elizabeth Margereson
To our new readers, welcome to the green/grey and rabbity world of UEA. Leave your shoes and dignity at the door. To all you returners, welcome back to the university dream - the uniquely tactile LCR floor, bleary eyed 9am seminars and the unquestionable beauty of drizzle on concrete and plate glass. It’s great to be back.
THE FRESHER’S GUIDE TO MUSIC Your first year of university can be both exciting and incredibly alien. Laura Phillips offers a few words of wisdom on the musical musts as a UEA fresher. Take advantage of the Norwich music scene Wherever you’re from, the Norwich music scene will undoubtedly impress. The city is a musical hub for both upand-coming artists and major names. The acts are varied and extensive – even Coldplay performing in the LCR last year. Don’t spend every night curled up in a gutter on Prince of Wales Road (though that’s fun too). Go and see live music; stand in the crowd, breathe in the shared love for a band and shout their lyrics back at them. As a fresher it’s more than likely that you’ll live on campus, so you have absolutely no excuse. You can practically roll out of bed and into the LCR. For the more active first years (non-existent), Norwich offers plenty of other music venues from the smaller, awesome Bicycle Shop to The Waterfront to the stunning Open.
world of UEA is another way that you can meet people whilst furthering your talents. There are many musical societies that you can join, from heavy metal to show choir, and if there is nothing that interests you can start your own club. You could start a band, join the orchestra or get your own show on UEA’s radio station Livewire. You could even write many witty and informed album and gig reviews for Concrete.
Be sociable Make music your new social tool as a fresher. There is no icebreaker quite like sharing a passion for that little known black metal band or debating
the forefathers of rap. Music is a great way to start a conversation and maybe even forge a beautiful friendship off the back of your interests. Becoming involved in the musical
Have playlists for every possible occasion. For parties, getting ready for lectures, LCR Tuesdays, allnighters, pitifully crying over the object of your desire and a personal favourite: the seduction playlist. All may prove essential to your first year of university, providing soundtracks for those fresher memories.
THE DECLINE OF THE MUSIC FESTIVAL? Harry Fletcher considers the claim that the Great British music festival is on its way out.
Over the past few decades the overwhelming number of summer events has propelled the modern music festival to new levels of popularity and importance amongst the British people. Festivals mean different things to different people. So, what is the key appeal?
It’s undeniable that people love getting drunk in a field with their mates, whether that’s on organic cider at Green Man and the like, the crates of warm Stella hauled into Reading or Leeds, or indeed the Bacardi Breezers downed by teeny boppers at V Festival. With a bit of music thrown
in, what more could you want? But the new breed of music festival, such as V and Creamfields, together with the gentrification of some people’s idea of the festival experience, have led to the increasingly common view that we are seeing the decline of the music festival, which is obviously not true. While the old school heads may shake at the thought of this new youthful breed of music festival – where mainstream artists take centre stage – the fact is people are choosing to spend their time appreciating music, spending their hard earned cash on a live music experience. In the age of the YouTube youth, the live performance is all we music fans have left, and these festivals are keeping it alive. As for notions of the corporatisation of modern festivals, people may moan about the rise of the middle class glampers with their air-conditioned wigwams and nice toilets, but they can continue to slug it with a badly
put up tent and a hole in the ground like everyone else. It is true that the middle classes have attached themselves to festivals, and some would argue that they’ve prised the “real” festival experience away from more traditional audiences. But the so-called “real” experience isn’t beyond the grasp of those who seek it. Just because newer formats have become popular with the feared middle classes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find an experience that harks back to ideas of the good old days: watching The Grateful Dead play for four hours, passing around a doobie and dancing naked around a fire. Earlier this year, The Sunday Times released a guide to this year’s 100 best festivals. The 100 best festivals? The choice is so great, there is almost certain to be one experience that suits you and your expectations down to the ground. The festival isn’t dead – it’s healthier than ever.
BESTIVAL 2012 – 6-9 SEPTEMBER
As festival season comes to a close, Lottie Allen reports from Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Headliners included Florence and the Machine, New Order and Stevie Wonder. Festival season was nearing the end, September had crept up on us already and shops were advertising Christmas – and then Bestival showed them where to shove it. With a line-up to rival Glastonbury, Bestival curator Rob da Bank casually threw names such as Stevie Wonder, New Order and Sigur Ros into the mix which enticed 50,000 excited, fancydress cladded festival goers to the Isle of Wight, some of whom swam to get there. Shockingly, this was only a very small percentage. Thursday night proved to set the tone of the festival with an outstanding performance from Hot Chip, whose high energetic performance, with tracks going back to their first album, pulled an electric crowd. The Big Top tent also welcomed Gary Numan and Alabama Shakes – Numan clarifying why he is the pioneer of electro and Shakes letting people know who they really are, playing
a repertoire of new songs which were received with excitable screams and jigging. Thursday also hosted Rob Da Bank himself on the Arcadia podium equipped with moving metal animals and fire – disorientating, confusing and completely and utterly fantastic. Friday was a day packed full of memorable performances, one of whom being Warpaint. The American girl group’s eerie vocals and soft finish resulted in a silent crowd until they played Undertow, at which the crowd erupted. Following her latest album release, Lianne La Havas also played the Big Top tent. Her flawless vocals and endearing demeanour made for an incredible set. Alt-J were received with roars and cheers from the crowd, so much so that hearing them was impossible if you weren’t within the small tent. Saturday held De La Soul and Justice
– both of whom put on two of the most memorable shows of the festival. De La Soul went right back to their roots, opening with Me Myself and I from their first album. They played off the reactions of the hooked crowd, providing infectious beats that lead everyone to dance and rap around as the sun set. Justice put on an incredibly high energy, high quality performance that that left the crowd buzzing and screaming for more. Similar to Saturday, Sunday held some acts that weren’t to be forgotten. Roots Manuva, a surprise act from Four Tet, Friendly Fires and Orbital all enforced the idea that Bestival holds such a range of music without neglecting quality. The star of daytime on Sunday, however, was Doom. Incorporating a range of works, from projects like JJ Doom and Madvillian, the crowd lapped it up and there seemed to be an ungodly appreciation for his presence at Bestival. Despite not hearing a negative
comment about any act, the performance that everyone talked about throughout the festival was, of course, Sunday night headliner Stevie Wonder. As expected, his performance was outstanding, covering a repertoire of songs dating back as far as his child prodigy days on the harmonica. With a touching performance of Isn’t She Lovely to his daughter and cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, the crowds were unfazed by his praises to the Lord and used it as an excuse to cheer and praise Wonder himself. Bestival 2012 certainly provided. From the line-up that smashed it to the thousands that dressed up in wildlife attire; to the Club Dada electro-swing tent that went on until the early hours, from the Ambient Forest where there was art and dance classes; to the Gypsy camp with the human jukebox. It was faultless. Bestival 2012, you really were the best of all.
6 festival reviews and the mercury prize @music_concrete
OUTLOOK FESTIVAL CROATIA 30.08.12 - 03.09.12
is pretty hard to beat. The campsite and festival site are bordered by private beaches, so you can sunbathe all day whilst listening to one of the reggae sets being played on the beach. Or, you can hop onto one of the boat parties for a few hours and have a dance out at sea. The festival site itself is in an actual fort with a moat, dungeons and a ballroom. Seeing Blawan play in a 300-year-old, 100-foot-long, five-metre deep-drained moat was something very special indeed. Despite hours of careful timetabling, once on site it’s all too tempting to run amok, finding noises that catch your interest. This strategy led to some amazing discoveries: American synthy house masters Sepulcure for instance, as well as Lee Scratch Perry, the 76-year-old who kick-started
Emily-Claire Tucker You know that life-affirming feeling you get when you stand in front of a really beautiful landscape? Or that huge joy you feel when a DJ drops a song you love into the middle of an amazing set? Imagine spending four days with these two emotions on repeat and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to be at Outlook Festival. The site, Fort Punta Christo in Pula, Croatia,
everything that is now dub in the early 70s. The two more typical festival stages by the harbour were just as special as the quirky fort stages. Due to absolutely flawless sound engineering, everyone from reggae band The Twinkle Brothers to dubstep heroes DMZ (who bought along quite a drunk Loefah for the occasion) sounded as good as they ever had on these two stages. For anyone who dismisses dubstep as the aggressive audio mess Skrillex and Knife Party are famous for, please try and find Vivek’s set from the last night – he found everything that is good and right with the genre and poured it into a two hour set. Perfection. If you’re not the “indie-band-in-a-wet-Englishfield” type of festival-goer, then head to Outlook. At least once.
On the Mercury Prize nominations ... Hayden East September 12 saw the announcement of this year’s Mercury Prize nominees revealed. The shortlist – comprised of 12 of this year’s best British albums – was determined by a panel of independent judges (including music journalists and industry heavyweights). The winner will be revealed on November 1 in a London-based awards ceremony. Previous winners include PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, as well as The xx (whose sophomore album is reviewed in this issue). Competing for a cash prize of £20,000 is a somewhat diverse, if rather predictable collection of albums.
There is a noticeable emphasis on mainstream pop and soul, including records from Ben Howard, Michael Kiwanuka and Plan B. Certainly lacking are contributions from electronica and dance, however Field Music’s Plumb is deserving of its left-field nomination. 2012 is definitely the year of the debuts – particularly Django Django’s self-titled debut and Alt-J’s breakout An Awesome Wave, the latter of which is a firm favourite to win with bookmakers. Already well into their careers, it’s also encouraging to see work from Richard Hawley and The Maccabees
finally receiving such recognition. There are undoubtedly some clear omissions: either Rustie’s Glass Swords or Actress’ RIP would have been a fine representative for the UK’s flourishing underground dance music. Despite being inconsistent in parts, it’s also surprising to see Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials absent from the list. Venue’s prediction to win would be split between Jessie Ware’s stellar debut record Devotion and Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave, but at least half of these nominees stand a chance of picking up the prize in a brilliant year for British music.
THE XX COEXIST Hayden East
Is anybody really surprised that the introverted creators of 2009’s breakout debut have withdrawn even more so on their widely anticipated follow-up? Indeed, Coexist marks a three-year maturation in sound that
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB BEACON Maddie Russell
Tourist History (2010) is undeniably a cracking indie debut with its catchy riffs, memorable choruses and happy little electro beats. Beacon manages to maintain the playful side that the band’s fans are into, whilst attempting to show progression that undoubtedly comes from years on the road. The risqué album art makes this intention clear – nothing says “we’ve grown up” like naked female legs, as everyone knows.
rather appropriately welcomes even more space than their debut. Parts of the record were recorded in a so-called “boudoir”-like studio – a tiny room with no natural light and walls lined with black velvet. It definitely shows, for The xx’s sound remains decidedly nocturnal. In fact, Fiction may be the darkest track to ever come from the band: taking on sole vocal duties, Oliver Sim’s seductive croon is accompanied by deep electronic bass hits and sombre piano notes, chased by the spectral guitar chords of Romy Madley-Croft. This is not to say that Coexist simply follows the blueprint of its predecessor – perhaps the most important addition to the fold are the subtle yet forward-thinking electronic beats of Jamie xx. Recalling his recent solo work and DJ mixes, Reunion and Sunset are tied together into one suite.
As arpeggiating steel pans give way to minimalist two-step, Jamie’s fractured house beats complement Romy and Oliver’s lyrical content, drawing from equally fractured relationships. “After all that we had, we act like we had never met” they sing – a basic statement by all accounts, but their desperate delivery makes for a heartbreaking impact. Just like on xx, Jamie assumes production duties. However, while he gave 2009’s work a warm, inviting atmosphere, Coexist in comparison feels contained in an airlock; songs will often end abruptly, start a capella and halt mid-way through. Restraint is conventionally one of the bravest creative decisions, but The xx have always said just as much with silence as they do with sound. Missing is a stellar example: at the one-third mark, movement is suspended and a
Sleep Alone is the album’s first single and the new track the boys needed: lots of synth and a nice little refrain; this is Two Door Cinema Club doing what they do best. The trio are joined for The World Is Watching by Valentina (you may remember her vocals from Joe Goddard’s Gabriel). The juxtaposition between Trimble’s rhythmic verses and Valentina’s soft choruses makes for a track which stands out among the others. Opener Next Year is pretty cracking, with a synth break allowing Alex Trimble’s voice to sing out “I don’t know where I am going to rest my head” in flawless a cappella. The layers build and crescendo as the lyrics provide a glimpse into the less glamorous side of touring; the motif of loneliness resounds through the album, and despite the upbeat instrumentals Trimble’s voice hints at the sad truth behind the words. Poor guys. Spring is very pretty. All the tracks are actually, but that’s the thing. There is nothing wrong with Beacon, but it hasn’t moved on much from the riffs, choruses and happy little electro beats that did the trick in Tourist History. There is more confidence, the lyrics are a bit darker, and it’s more personal, but ultimately not enough. Two Door Cinema Club thrive as a live band, but maybe can’t cope with life on the road. The groundwork of something beautiful is there, we just wanted more.
TOY TOY Emma Price
Featuring three former members of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong and hyped to the max with constant comparisons to The Horrors, you may not have high expectations for TOY. However, following two successful singles there is much hype surrounding the Londonbased five-piece’s self-titled debut. You can clearly hear the influences of psychedelia, krautrock and shoegaze – notably My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless – throughout TOY. Opening track
cavernous silence eventually yields, with its chorus led by Sim’s most arresting vocal to date. Of the three members, it is Sim who establishes himself as the most improved. While his bass lines may not be as prominent, there is a distinct confidence in his vocal ability, delivering on the potential that older tracks such as Fantasy only hinted at. Coexist may not be as immediate as fans would like, but its progressive nature will sustain the listener’s interest far longer upon repeat listens. In fact, don’t be surprised to see Coexist re-released as a remix album a year from now; each track screams for outside reinterpretation, and in a live context even the band expands on this most insular of sounds. Ultimately this suggests how Coexist should be approached: as a skeleton of sound, yet no less beautiful. Colour’s Running Out sets the tone for the rest of the album with its moody yet mesmerising sound. The Reasons Why follows in a similar vein with its dark, psychedelic tones which make for an interesting listen. The slow paced Dead and Gone thankfully picks up the tempo before the end and bursts into an explosion of sound. Recent single Lose My Way, with its Horrors-style vocals, is a highlight and shows the band’s softer side, while the swooning My Heart Skips a Beat is a psychedelic ballad with its smooth vocals. A few instrumentals also feature: from the delicate Omni and impressive Drifting Deeper, their places are justified by displaying the band’s diverse range. Album closer Kopter truly showcases TOY’s collective talents: the euphoric sound – comprising of mesmerizing synths, loud pulsating drums and gauzy guitars – makes for a captivating, albeit lengthy, final note. Overall though, TOY is a mellow offering, often crying out for more of the aggression only teased at throughout the album. This five-piece could have been easily written off as wannabes, a few years too late on the scene with their big hair, skinny jeans and paisley shirts. Howeverl, there’s something special which keeps them apart from the countless other alt-rock bands on the scene: their desire and intuition to not just copy what has gone before, but to make it their own.
Going for gold A Fashion Tutorial with Becky Evans
SMOKIN’ Ennis’ abs
If that’s not motivation to get fit ,we don’t know what is.
Russia’s hoodies Plain bangin’
First, file down nails and cut cuticles. Then apply a good strengthening base coat. This will ensure that the colour does not stain your nails. Apply one thin coat of gold polish and wait for it to dry. Repeat this for the second coat.
Next, take an old clean eyeliner brush and dip it into white polish. Lightly dot this over each nail until you are happy with the number of dots.
Patriotic nails We love the Olympic Village nail bar.
The Spice Girls should have been the only thing making a comeback. Leave them in the 90s ...
Wenlock Who in their right mind wants to see a dancing phallus after winning gold?
Hey Jude! We think it’s time to give it up, Paul.
Repeat the previous step using red and blue polishes. Fill in the gaps left from the white until your nails are covered in red, white and blue dots.
Finally, apply gold balls using glue. Voila, your patriotic nails are ready to go for gold!
Doing it for the sisters
FASHION EDITOR JESS BEECH ON THE CHANGING FACE OF FEMALE BRITISH ROLE MODELS
The high drama of the Olympics has made me such an emotional wreck that I am still unable to walk past the billboard with Jessica Ennis and “stage taken” emblazoned on it without welling up. In my mind, I was with her every step of the way. I screamed at the TV as she ran and sobbed like a baby when she got her medal. As the poster girl of the Olympics, the pressure on her to succeed was incomprehensible to us mere mortals. Never has so much pressure been
put on a woman at the forefront of an advertising campaign. They are usually to convince people to buy make up or clothes, and the hopes of an entire nation have never hung on L’Oreal’s annual sales. Her image (and Victoria Pendelton’s) does not give us impossible images of women and beauty, but give the message that nothing is unattainable, and everything is possible. The hard work and sheer determination of these athletes allowed them to make their own
dreams happen. They are inspirational figures in a good way; they encourage people to chase after success, not just an unrealistic ideal of beauty. I doubt Jessica and Victoria longed to be known for their amazing bodies and shiny hair; these are merely by-products of their successes. These women prove that fashion and beauty do not have to be shallow, and brave, hardworking women can embody these things. Role models really do make the best models.
Is Sports Fashion a Myth?
As the dust settles on London 2012, has our attitude to sports fashion changed? Lucy Jobber With high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani attempting the difficult combination of practicality and fashion in the Olympics, it has brought to the forefront the ageold question of whether fashion and sport can ever truly co-exist. When thinking of sports wear, images of chav chic complete with tracksuits, DayGlo jackets and excessive amounts of Lycra rear their ugly head and this certainly isn’t abated upon the recent sight of the unforgiving crop tops and skimpy shorts of the Olympians, designed with the body of an Adonis in mind, not for the occasional dog walker. Peering into Vogue’s recent attempt at sports fashion leads only to a similar conclusion, upon the depressing sight of a multiplicity of size zero models
prancing around in haute couture leotards, waving round a hockey stick in case it wasn’t clear that these outfits were designed for the means of competitive sport. Let’s be honest, anyone with a pinch of common sense will realise that sleek top knot will swiftly be disintegrating into a mess of fly-aways and that healthy glow will be turning an unattractive shade of puce after a quick jog round the block. Even the high street has jumped onto the sporting buzz with highheeled trainers, perfect for achieving that active look, whilst tottering on tip toes with no real hope of a jog, let alone a power walk. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I feel sport should be an opportunity to embrace a temporary freedom from style, with practicality as a priority for a change.
Style winners and losers of London 2012 Kirsten Powley The Olympic Games were outstanding. Everyone was excited and all eyes were on the athletes. In turn, this meant all eyes were on their clothes (or lack of, as the case was at times). Some stood out as flattering, but even in the Olympics you can get a fashion faux pas or two. This is a collection of the brilliant and the absurd. It may sometimes be disregarded as a proper sport, but gymnastics is one of the most captivating events to watch. In theory, nobody in their right mind should like all that glitter on such remarkably small human beings. That much should weigh them down, surely? How do they do all that flying around in such an elegant manner? But like a magpie that collects shiny things, you can’t take the eyes off them and you’re dazzled. The intricacy of the detailing somehow makes it sophisticated. Or maybe that’s just the distraction of you finding that you want to pull off the
leotards just like they do. Although, it’s of my opinion that some of these gymnasts are taking all that glitter too far. Take Gabrielle Douglas of the USA; her leotard was on the ridiculous end of the scale, donning a futuristic, metallic silver costume. Rather than dazzle me, it reminded me of a very bendy Lady Gaga. I’ve already put it off for too long: Tom Daley. He received a lot of press in the Olympics. In case you didn’t notice, he was wearing a teeny tiny Speedo. If only every man who dared wear a Speedo had the body of Tom Daley. Who knew that so little material could do so much for London 2012? It also came down to the second babe of Team GB: Jessica Ennis. The outfits were impressive. They looked good yet showed we meant business. Either with “Great Britain” boldly stated across the top or the Union Jack loud and proud, they were
simple, sporty, but with the important message that we can combine sports and style. You can’t get any better than the fans that turned up to the Olympics, lucky enough to get tickets, and all the people at home watching it who still dressed up regardless. When I was there I was overwhelmed by the hoards of red, blue and white walking through. The excitement was too much when the Union Jack onesies came out to play – Ollie Locke from Made in Chelsea would have fitted right in with his Union Jack attire. It was the two weeks where everyone could go OTT; it absolutely didn’t matter, and I loved witnessing it. The USA did brilliantly, with big US flag hats (America wasn’t going to remain in the sidelines too much while GB had their time in the spotlight as the hosts). I particularly enjoyed the Netherlands – I’ve been loving orange
lately and oh, how they do it so well. It’s almost as though Sweden recognised the success the Netherlands were having with their spectacular orange zest … although I’m not sure why they selected the least humorous way to be noticed. Their cycling helmets were bright orange and looked like they belonged on Mario Kart. Another hilarity to be pointed out was the Czech’s opening ceremony outfits, complete with umbrellas and wellies, all in good humour to Great Britain’s reputation of plentiful rain. It was in these ways as well as the sporting events themselves that made the London 2012 Olympic Games two perfect weeks of pride, style and even some humour. The fans and audiences had the best outfits by far. Nothing showed the excitement of the Olympics more than the way people expressed it through their clothing and style.
To Rome with Love follows four different groups of people, both foreign and local, as they live out their time in Rome. The most amusing of the four stories comes in the form of Milly (Alessandra Mastronadi) and Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi), a newlywed couple who visit Rome in a search for prosperous opportunities. However, they become separated and their comical adulterous escapades, with the charismatic Antonio Albanese and seductive Penelope Cruz, allow for a pleasantly enjoyable tale. In contrast to this comes the uninteresting love triangle between Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), Monica (Ellen Page) and Sally (Greta Gerwig). Eisenberg’s bumbling and “likeable” quality that has served him so well in previous features sets the tone for a tiresome tale. Glancing at the previous work of these three, it would appear that each would fit excellently into this film, but their story is unimpressive and unnecessary. Alec Baldwin also features in a somewhat ambivalent role as the narrator/conscience of those involved. The addition of this magical realism is interesting but does little to redeem the story.
In another episode Roberto Benigni portrays a man who has been propelled to overnight fame. After his initial shock and discomfort he welcomes the perks of celebrity life and quickly sinks into the promiscuous and prosperous lifestyle.
Director: John Hillcoat 115mins
The cast of Lawless all put in great performances in what is otherwise an over-reaching but enjoyable film. Set during the Prohibition era of America, three moonshine brewing brothers feel the full power of crooked law enforcer Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) in his mission to destroy their business and their lives. A stunning cast list that includes Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman (though his involvement is more of a cameo than anything else) should be enough to get you into a seat for this. Shia LaBeouf is the leading man, playing the timid and jumpy younger brother of Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke. Conclusively, all three of the main men are outstanding, which means we can move swiftly onto the two women of Lawless. Jessica Chastain and Mia
Wasikowska both perform as well as their male counterparts but the highlight of the entire movie is Chastain’s performance as Maggie, the barmaid with a murky past. Even though she has relatively few lines, she steals the limelight every moment she’s on screen. Standout performances from the entire cast really do help to make this movie more than an exercise in macho violence. And believe me, there’s a lot of that. The main flaw with Lawless is that it thinks it’s better than it is. It’s rather obvious from the opening prologue that this is a movie that sets its sights on being an epic good against evil struggle. Whilst it’s not exactly that, it’s still an enjoyable watch.
REVIEWS TO ROME WITH LOVE (12A)
Director: Woody Allen 95mins Starring: Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin
Although Leopoldo (Benigni) is a likeable character, his story is rather repetitive and so the humour rubs off quickly. The fourth story features Allen himself taking on the role of Jerry, a retired opera director who equates a lack of professional
ANNA KARENINA (15) Anna Karenina is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. It tells the story of Anna (Keira Knightley), a beautiful 19th-Century Russian aristocrat, and her affair with the young and daring Vronksy (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). You may already have heard the production twist that sets Joe Wright’s version apart from the rest. During filming Wright struggled to find the perfect locations, despite having travelled to Russia to do so. After reading an essay that compared life of Russian aristocracy during the 19th century to performing your every move on stage, Wright decided to set the majority of the movie inside a theatre. The result is a beautiful, if somewhat stilted, adaptation. It is hard to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia that Knightley’s
purpose with death. Judy Davis stars alongside Allen as his psychoanalyst wife. The pair are visiting Rome to meet with their daughter (Alison Pill), her Italian fiancé Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) and his parents. During their time together Jerry discovers Giancarlo’s (Fabio Armiliato) operatic talents and takes it upon himself to share it with the world. Armiliato’s competent acting provide the highlight of this tale. To Rome with Love demonstrates the sheer magnificence of Rome; the cinematography beautifully displays its ancient wonder and is excellently accentuated by a quality soundtrack. The film is a continuation of Woody Allen films based in European capitals, but To Rome with Love stutters and falls before the superior, Academy Award winning, Midnight in Paris. It lacks the style and engaging quality of his 2011 feature, but it is fair to say that Allen has produced a mildly entertaining romantic comedy with which you can while away a couple of hours. Jake Deller
Director: Joe Wright 130mins Anna experiences. Her every move is watched, and the rooms that represent Moscow’s skylines are squashed next to, on top of, and sometimes even into the same space as each other. The theatre setting is made good use of, with scene transitions signified by actors visibly changing costume on screen. Although clever, it is a little obvious that the script was originally written (by Parade’s End Tom Stoppard) without this in mind. However, the film is largely a faithful and passionate adaptation; a drama with beautiful costumes, impressive performances and a brave choice of setting that is more than worth the price of student admission. Ellie Reynard
DREDD 3D (18)
Director: Pete Travis 95mins
Director(s): Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Adding to the seemingly endless stream of superhero movies released over the past few years, this new adaption of the infamous Judge Dredd, despite being cheaper and more low-key than the Avengers or DC’s Batman, not only manages to live up to the, surpassing all expectations. The film’s plot is criminally simple. Dredd, played by a rough, rugged and impressive Karl Urban (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings), is locked down in one of Mega City’s residential towers alongside a wannabe Judge and rookie, Anderson, played by Olivia Thirlby (Juno). As per the tradition of such films, Dredd is the emotionless bad-ass, a trigger happy law enforcer who delivers his own unique brand of justice, and takes no prisoners. Despite its small-scale simplicity, Dredd impresses visually, set in an engaging world of immense, gritty, industrial backdrops. Exceptionally breath-taking 3D features are used to great effect, underlining the viscerally aggresive nature of Dredd’s world. The action is violent, stylish, gory and non-stop. If you’ve always wanted to see disintergrating bodies, an over-usage of blood splatter and bullets going through a person’s face in slow motion, as well as five star explosions and killing, this worthy remake is definitely for you. Sam Austin
PREMIUM RUSH (12A) 92mins
Laika’s ParaNorman is the heart-warming tale of a young boy who sees dead people, which, as Bruce Willis knows, is always a winner. More interested in hanging out with his dead grandma than the living people around him, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is just your average misunderstood paranormal 11 year old until he has to help save his town from a witch’s curse (oh, and zombies). While the story is a little predictable, it’s still sweet and entertaining. There are some endearing and funny moments, mostly dependent on the mix of conventional horror tropes and realistic domestic comedy, such as Norman and his sister being chastised by their mother for squabbling with one of the zombies in the back seat of the family car. There are also several more self-aware “adult” moments which set it apart from the average kids’ film. The stop-motion animation amongst the standard CGI gives it a classic edge, particularly alongside the out-of-proportion character design. While there could have been a few extra horror references for the movie-buffs and more shocking twists and turns, ParaNorman is an enjoyable watch with a superbly balanced blend of mock-horror and comedy.
Director: David Koepp 91mins Premium Rush is unquestionably the eco-friendly offspring of the 1994 classic Speed. Its real time racing premise never allows the story’s brakes to be put on too hard and whilst the plot is sometimes farcical and mediocre in places, the action and stunt work help to keep the ride going strong. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does well to set the pace as adrenaline junkie Wilee who finds himself caught up with crooks and cops in a race to deliver a package across the unforgiving highways of New York City. Hot on his heels is corrupt lawman Bobby Monday, played brilliantly by Michael Shannon. His unhinged temper and sheer desperation to wrongly reclaim the incriminating package from Wilee makes for a set of tense and dizzying chases. Flashbacks are used well, slowly unveiling necessary exposition and giving the film pause for rest and reflection that evenly break up the bunny hops. Although the sat-nav-like map screen and Prince of Persia time reversal sequences play out more like a video game than a film, Premium Rush still remains an enjoyable if short lived romp. It propels itself energetically on the saddle of a man who really should invest in some brakes.
The Summertime Blues: a difficult summer for the film industry
Greg Manterfield-Ivory The summer has been a tricky one for the film industry. Predictably, the Olympics dented box office figures not just in the UK, but all around the globe. With people opting to watch Farah over Farrell, the studios struggled to sell tickets. The Hollywood Reporter this month published figures that showed the major studios collectively grossed $5.154 Billion worldwide over the summer months, which, although a large and impressive number, is actually a 22% drop compared to the same period 11 years ago. Despite a strong, superhero-spangled start, the summer blockbusters petered out with a string of big-budget flops. Total Recall barely managed to earn half of what it cost to make, and Battleship only returned a third of its $209 million budget in North America (fortunately for Hasbro, the film found
appeal in the foreign markets, managing to turn a $100 million profit over the summer). Sadly there was loss of a very different kind this summer, with the deaths of director Tony Scott and actor Michael Clarke Duncan. The former was Ridley Scott’s brother, and directed a string of successful action films throughout his career, such as Top Gun, Déjà Vu and Domino. Shortly before his death he had been scouting locations with Tom Cruise for the long awaited sequel to Top Gun; it is unknown whether the film will still be made. Michael Clarke Duncan was an Oscar nominated actor, best loved for his role as gentle-giant, John Coffey (“like the drink, only not spelt the same”) in The Green Mile. Despite the summertime blues, it looks like 2012 will end on a cinematic high note, with new releases from
Quentin Tarantino and Peter Jackson set to close out the year in style.
the films and reviews you might’ve missed this summer...
THE IMPOSTER “The Imposter is an exceptionally important documentary, possibly the most important documentary you’ll see. It effortlessly blends the factual accounts of everyone involved...with a recreation of certain events. One of the best films of the year.” - Adam Dawson
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES “The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t quite reach the dizzy heights of its predecessor; it lacks the stellar quality that makes The Dark Knight one of the greatest films of all time. However, that doesn’t stop it from leaving the rest of the superhero genre far behind, without even breaking a sweat.” - Saul Holmes ELECTRICK CHILDREN “It may very well fall under the radar, but Electrick Children is quaint, odd and compelling, and cerainly one of the finer releases of the year thus far.” - Kieran Rogers THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN “Despite having some pretty big shoes to fill, The Amazing Spiderman not only matches the original 2002 film, it tops it.” - Tom Duffy COSMOPOLIS “It’s an incredibly easy film to admire, and an extremely hard one to love.” - Joe Murphy To see these reviews in full, and for all the latest on film news and releases, visit www.concrete-online.co.uk/film
Venue reflects on a summer of expectation and the impact that anticipation can have on the cinema-going experience.
Sitting at the top of IMDB’s Top 250 film list is Frank Darabont’s classic prison drama The Shawshank Redemption. After 826,470 ratings it holds an average of 9.3 out of ten. It is fair to say that it is a picture held in high regard. However, had you not experienced Red and Andy’s journey before, could you now go into it with an open mind knowing what you know? Or does the reputation prevent the film from being truly and fairly considered? It seems expectations play a vital role in the cinematic experience. Expectations were never higher than for the summer of 2012. Releases such as Avengers Assemble, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spiderman were all hotly anticipated and therefore subjected to a higher level of scrutiny. This was particularly evident with Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi, Prometheus. Sold as a prequel to Alien, the film’s release became ever more anticipated as the marketing campaign began to attract a large audience. It seemed that Scott was returning to the long suffering Alien franchise to reinvigorate it.
So, when Prometheus was released and it wasn’t what was expected, it was met with a mixed reaction. While originality is by no means a criticism, some considered the film a disappointment not because of it’s cinematic problems, but because it failed to live up to the enormous expectation. The hype that it worked to create seemingly backfired. Of course, the pressure of expectation is not always a curse. Indeed Avengers Assemble manipulated the anticipation extremely well. Ever since Nick Fury walked into shot at the end of Iron Man, fans worldwide were waiting for the release. With teasing post-credits scenes in various releases, the studio and directors created an interconnected cinematic universe in the build-up to the 2012 release. Marvel built up characters and storylines, knowing that the ever growing expectation would create interest. At the time of writing, Avengers Assemble has taken over $1.5 billion worldwide. It seems to have worked. However, this is not just applicable
to big summer blockbusters. If a film is recommended, or has a good reputation, certain expectations will always be placed upon it. For example, if someone was a massive Adam Sandler fan, perhaps they would walk into films like Jack and Jill and Grown Ups with a positive mind set. If they expect it to be funny, perhaps they would find it so. It seems that in a world of advanced reviews, viral videos and clever PR that expectation and anticipation have become a vital part of the film business. This is not a negative, or a positive point, just a development in the industry, and one which works in the studio’s favour. This is why sequels and reboots dominate the cinematic horizon; there are captive audiences anticipating them, so immediately expectation builds. It is for this reason that expectation and anticipation have such a telling and dramatic impact on modern cinema.
STARTER FOR TEN Being a Fresher can be pretty manic, and a good Film can provide the perfect relaxation or much-needed quiet time.
Come the day, and the day will come, when fresher’s flu or the week long hangover leaves you and your flatmates sprawled across the floor, there is no better way to seal the bonding with your flatmates than to watch a film together. For the juggernauts still eager to run themselves into the ground, bring any alcoholic beverage. For the more faint-hearted, perhaps a hot chocolate. Throughout the year you will be able to glance your way across Norfolk or Suffolk Terrace and see flatmates engrossed on a single laptop, stuck to a sticky and Vodka drenched kitchen table. This is what it’s all about, a quick and enjoyable way to get to know everyone’s tastes and sense of humour. A couple of the American Pie series back-to-back is always a guaranteed crowd pleaser and if freshers lives up to expectations, may provide you with some relatable moments. Clichéd, but knowingly so, Superbad or The Hangover will be perfect viewing
after freshers also. If you fancy upping the stakes then the horror genre will certainly see the first divides within your flat. Some will refuse; others will display gleeful excitement (measure this excitement carefully; you could have a psychopath within your walls). For those Lord of the Rings fanatics (there’s always more than you think), a marathon day ploughing through the trilogy, whilst playing one of the many drinking games associated, could provide a messy day of fantastical entertainment before the evenings events.
Winter comes thick and fast, and before you know it, you’ll be cracking out festive hits like Elf and Bad Santa for Christmas viewing, when the LCR seems too long a walk on a Tuesday night. During the summer, there are an abundance of charming spots on campus where you can sit and watch a movie. Go down to the lake and take in something classy. A word of warning, avoid Johnny English Reborn, tediously unfunny to the point that it literally sent a “certain flat” to sleep within the hour.
From exhibition to criticism, in conversation... explores aspects of, and the challenges facing, norwich’s film industry. in this issue, venue talks to local exhibitor cinema city about Flicker books, free stuff and UEA. Over the next hour or so, it is talk of the environment that will fill most of the conversation. Not, of course, the kind discussed in conferences about climate change, but the significance of that found within cinema. As Venue sits with marketing manager Sam Leonard, the kind inhabiting the walls around us is endearing, eclectic and open-minded. This is a place that refuses to call its fellow cinemas “competitors” (“You need a mainstream to have an alternative... We need each other.”), and embraces the future of film as much as it celebrates the past. This is Cinema City, Norwich’s only “semiindependent” cinema. The scene for our interview is quaint. It takes place in a room with old wooden floors, arched doorways and elegant dining furniture. The entire building’s aesthetic is much the same, visibly documenting its rich history (built in 1820, it was once known as Suckling House; in a previous life it was a buttery). “People walk by and don’t know we’re a cinema”, Leonard jokes. True, it might not be great for business, but it’s part of the understated charm. To undermine the antique bliss that goes before, a noisy maintenance worker halts Venue’s wide-eyed infautuation. Consequently, for those students who may encounter builders at 7am in the morning, it’s nothing old buttery doors can’t fix. Said door gets closed. Peace returns. We begin: Venue: Often with art house cinemas there is a dogma attached to their philosophy, an unwillingness to show popcorn films that could make the cinema money. Yet, what we like most about Cinema City, and what we see as distinguishing it from other cinemas of its kind, is an understanding of film as both an art form and a business. Would you agree with that mantra? Cinema City: Yeah…we have passionate staff who care about what we show. We know that because they’re constantly complaining about it. Rightly so, because if they didn’t complain we wouldn’t have that drive to show great films. We have massively passionate customers as well. When people come and see a good film here, they tell us about it, they tell their friends about it, and that’s it: we have a really passionate audience and interested staff, who aren’t drones. The one thing we try and do is provide a good environment for watching film because that’s a massive part of it. You can’t just throw people in there and expect
radio wouldn’t exist anymore. So, you can’t tell what audiences want, and you can’t tell audiences what they will want. People will choose and we can’t do anything about it. We just have to give [them] what they want. I’m not too nostalgic about it because I think digital looks great. If it looks good, that’s the way it is. Otherwise we’ll be watching films on flicker books. V: And Norwich itself? How do you see Norwich as a place for film?
them to have a good time, so we provide an environment that’s a bit more grown up. We don’t get a lot of teenagers here. V: It’s interesting that you’re talking in terms of a target audience, but is accessibility important too? CC: Yeah, but as long as we don’t lose what we’re about. There’s a real risk sometimes of trying to go too far and trying to reach too big an audience, and then you lose what you’re about. The thing about blockbusters is we pick the ones that are good - and we’re really happy to put them on. Our customers are happy to come and see them with us because of the environment that we have. I think people know that if they do come and see, say, Prometheus with us, then that kind of film helps to fund a film that no one else will dare show that we might show. V: You can read into a sense of community that’s found here as well. You’ve got the bar, autism friendly screenings, and a twitter account! It makes you feel accessible. So how important is all this to the cinema: this sense of community? CC: That’s the good stuff really. That’s what sets us apart from other cinemas: we engage with the community, we deal with a lot of local businesses and local groups. We’re trying our best to make cinema accessible, because that’s exactly what it is. The educational department deals with local schools. So those are the things that make me happy to be involved in this because I think that it’s great stuff! That’s what companies should be doing. It shows that we care about film, and we care about people being able to watch film.
V: How do you see Cinema City as setting itself apart from its competitors? CC: We don’t really have competitors… V: So you don’t see Odeon or Vue or any other big multiplex – CC: They don’t see us as competitors and we have a very small amount of the market. They’ve got their thing and we’ve got ours. We’re the alternative; we do different things to Odeon. I mean, I would love to go to Odeon. They have Imax! We could never do Imax here. But Odeon can’t do some of the things that we can do, like small Q&A’s for films about ping pong! V: For cinemas in general, it’s a really interesting and testing time. How’s this cinema dealt with changes in technology and the rise of digital filmmaking? CC: Well, we’re fully digital. V: So, no 35mm? CC: We do 35mm, probably more than Odeon and Vue, who I think have just gone completely digital because they don’t show old film. When we actually show seasons of films, genres, and things like that, then we’ll do 35mm. We still need the 35mm facilities, for how much longer I don’t know. V: Do you think it will get to a point where you will get rid of the facilities? CC: It could happen, definitely. But you never know. People said that vinyl would go. People said that when TV was invented that
CC: One of the great things about being in Norwich is that we’re the only cinema in Norfolk of our kind and our size and our quality. So, people will travel to Norwich. Sometimes it’s good to be the only place to come and see these kinds of things, because we get all of that focus. Norwich is a great place. It’s full of people who think differently. UEA and NUCA are definitely responsible for rich filmmaking. We have good links with UEA and NUCA and we see a lot of stuff that comes out of them. We see the quality in stuff that comes out of education and institutions in Norwich. It is the kind of place where you can do things, because you’re not stifled by big city mentality. That means you can have time to create. V: Finally, there are lots of new students coming here to UEA in September, what can you offer them? CC: If you are a new student you get a free membership to Cinema City, which is worth £26. You become a member of the cinema, you get a free ticket, you get a free drink, you get free popcorn, then after you pay £4.50 for a ticket, which is the cheapest in town. You can see the most interesting films in Norwich for the cheapest price, and I would’ve killed for that in my first year at university. We also have slacker’s club - every month a free preview of a new film. Even if you don’t buy a ticket from us, you get to see a free film, and that’s a really cool thing. We’d like to think you wouldn’t go back to other cinemas because you like what we do. We care about what we do and we think it’s pretty good. You’ve got so much free stuff; take the free stuff! words: Kieran Rogers Cinema City is located on St. Andrews Street, Norwich.
TELEVISION firstname.lastname@example.org 21.09.2012
summer’s end, new beginnings
As one hit show draws to a dramatic close, another gets set for a thrilling return
PARADE’S END Emma Price The BBC’s latest period drama may not be your usual specimen, but Parade’s End can definitely be said to do its literary origins justice. Adapted by the surrealist playwright Tom Stoppard, the show successfully breaks away from others within its genre by portraying not only the love triangle between an aristocrat, his socialite wife and a young suffragette, but by perfectly depicting the chaos, destruction and decline of Edwardian England. The cast is headed by the much-loved cheekbones of Benedict Cumberbatch (the rest of him also present), star of BBC hit Sherlock, opposite Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Frost/Nixon) and Adelaide Clemens (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Silent Hill), whose superb performances ensure this is definitely not your run-of-the-mill melodrama. The dramatisation of the wonderfully named Ford Madox Ford’s novel sees English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens and his wife Sylvia (Hall), a beautiful, malevolent socialite whose child may not be his, struggle to keep their
marriage alive in the venemous world of the aristocracy. Against the backdrop of First World War Britain, the characters suffer and fight battles, both internal and literal, to stay true to what they believe in, despite widespread social change and sometimes even their own conflicting emotions. Tietjens’ determination to preserve traditional Edwardian values, “monogamy and chastity – and for not talking about it”, means he will not divorce his wife, even after she leaves him, and remains faithful despite falling in love with the courageous suffragette, Valentine (Clemens). As war breaks out, he declines a job that would keep him away from any fighting, and instead enlists as an army officer, leaving without telling Valentine how he really feels. Sylvia, in his absence, continues to enjoy her high-class socialite lifestyle. Upon his brief return to England he uncovers false rumours that he has had multiple affairs and even a child with Valentine, leading his family to turn their backs on him
with only Valentine’s support. Aside from the central love triangle, we are also drawn into personal stories of other characters affected by the outbreak of war, such as that of Father Consett, a Catholic priest fighting for Irish independence and the persecution of Valentine’s family for their pacifist
Full Series Available on iPlayer
MERLIN Bex White This autumn sees dragons, wizards and mythical legends back on BBC1 with Merlin returning to our screens. Love it or hate it, this family favourite is returning for its fifth series and it is set to be more exciting than ever before as the story now moves on to tackle the most well-known chapters of the legend: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The question is, how true will the show stick to this legend? And does it really matter all that much if they don’t? Following the end of King Uther’s reign, the last series saw Arthur finally becoming king. He fought dragons and went on quests, while all the time fighting to marry his beloved; however, the series ended a bit too well. Arthur and Gwen were married, the evil Morgana had been supposedly banished and Merlin was finally recognised as a worthwhile companion. This new series will see our heroes three years on, and with all new adventures to
be had, and even a recast Mordred is set to return no doubt bringing havoc along with him – a character whom this series is to be played by little known but appropriately older actor, Alexander Vlahos (The Indian Doctor). In the past the series took liberties with the legend, yet new episodes will tackle very well known narratives so it will be intriguing to see the balance that the writing team have struck between the legend and narratives more suited to TV. However, the true question is, do the Merlin plots really matter? What more do viewers want for when they have dragons and quests? It’s highly unlikely it will lose viewership due to not sticking to the legend at this point- with thrilling new ways of portraying ancient magic and those ever wonderful special effects, who really needs a good plot? The new series is due to return on October 6thswords and horses at the ready!
views. These characters, alongside others, provide an in depth view of this war-torn generation. For Christopher, the war has made him see Edwardian ideals in a different light, marking a potential new beginning, but will he be able to let go of his past to move on with the future?
TELEVISION 21.09.2012 email@example.com
pet hate venting:
PRESENTERS Gabriel Gavigan
Beth Webster It’s not really a secret that New Girl is arguably one of the biggest TV guilty pleasures around. People either love it, hate it, or say they hate it, but are actually counting down the seconds until the next episode. And who can blame them? It’s cheesy, predictable and a little annoying at times, but honestly? That’s what makes it so good. With a cast headed by the ridiculously cute and quirky Zooey Deschanel (500 days of Summer, Elf), and the catchiest theme song around, it’s no wonder the show has gained a following here in the UK, as well as in the US, with the series opener averaging at about 1.2 million viewers on Channel 4. Along with its trashy yet addictive story lines, New Girl has a likeable list of supporting
characters, with the neurotic, yet adorable Nick, the self-proclaimed sex god Schmidt and the ever-angry Winston, all of which make it, in my opinion, a good all-rounder. If you’re the type of person that enjoys deep, complicated shows with clever dialogue and actors deserving nothing less than an Emmy Award, then New Girl probably isn’t for you. If however, you’re more inclined to those light-hearted shows that don’t involve much brain power, or you’re a lover of jokes that are so bad, they’re good, then go for it. You can catch up with the last few episodes on 4oD now, just in time for the series to end here in the UK on Channel 4, Tuesday 15 September.
Boasting plentiful amounts of archive footage, lashings of CGI and bags of enthusiastic recreational violence, some may mistakenly believe that 20th Century Battlefields has all the ingredients needed for a great BBC documentary. Sadly, the constant distraction of cliche presenter habits overpowers almost all of the good in this particular episode of the five-part series, and in double-concentrate form. Journalist Peter Snow and his son Dan (The One Show’s very own “history hunter”) share the job of roaming through South Korea, trying to look back at the 1950s war there, however their time onscreen appeared riddled with exhausting activity. Peter loomed pensively out the windows of moving trains, coaches, cars and boats. If he had not occasionally rumbled out a portentous statement about General MacArthur or the 38th parallel, it could have been a public transport special. His son on the other hand never stopped walking. Whether Dan started off squatting in a swamp, leaning on a wall or lumbering at the camera like a hairless gorilla, you just knew that when he was done talking he would accelerate out of the shot, brows beetling in contemplation of some unseen goal. Dan-walks-out-of-frame was used in back-to-back segments, sometimes with him heading back in the same direction he had just come from. On
15 some occasions, a segment would consist only of Dan and his walking, and in these instances a little voice-over was provided in order to give some sort of relevance. One particularly strange editing decision saw footage of American marines scrambling over the seawall at Inchon, ducking as bullets flew overhead, juxtaposed with Dan scrambling up the present-day beachfront like a very late extra in Saving Private Ryan. The real tragedy is that someone must have thought all this would create drama. Good documentary presenters plant a human face on the maps and newsreels, but in the case of 20th Century Battlefields, Peter and Dan seem more often to be nothing but distractions from the subject at hand. Unsurprisingly, the final shot was of father and son walking somewhere along the North-South border, reunited in their unceasing motion at last.
When Political Life imitates Art: the timely return of The Thick of It The hit satire returns for its fourth and final series, with lasers set to kill and coalition politics in its sights Matt Tidby Very few satires can be credited with narrowing the gap between politics and reality, but when leader of the opposition Ed Miliband uttered the word “Omnishambles” in the House of Commons to describe the U-turns of the coalition, The Thick of It transcended its already hallowed reputation, and reached new levels of cultural prevalence. What a perfect moment, therefore, for the show to return for a fourth series, focusing on the troubled, gaffe-ridden world of coalition politics. Creator Armando Iannucci and his writing team alternate their focus, episode to episode, on the two competing camps of our new political landscape, but the real joy lies in the insidious bickering and plotting within both the government and the opposition, often fanned or fuelled by the famously innovative, baroque swearing of chief Labour enforcer Malcolm Tucker (the BAFTA-worthy Peter Capaldi). The writing and performances continue to complement
each other perfectly, with particular praise for the drole asides and eloquent rage of adrift Tory cabinet minister Peter Mannion MP, superbly realised by Roger Allam (Ashes to Ashes, Parade’s End). One particular sequence in the first episode sees him left helpless and uninformed in the middle of launching a coalition policy he doesn’t understand - it is painful to watch but impossible to ignore. Worryingly, as the show precisely eviscerates the subjects of U-turns, ineffective opposition and erratic Lib Dems, the viewer is left with a very unsettling sense that the show isn’t far divorced from the present reality of Westminster. Whereas previously the writing always felt on the right side of fictional, the rarely coherent and often farcical stories that have erupted regularly from SW1 in recent years leave this series feeling like a fly-on-the-wall documentary edited without government supervision - a gaffe that would probably fit perfectly into any future episode.
A selection of Poetry Do you Remember
Robin Hood’s Bay
By Ellie Reynard
By Kate Duckney
Daddy, do you remember what you told me? Beside the mechanical tigers in the gift shop at London zoo? Do you remember that we were too late to see them feed the lions? So I watched you work back at the office.
Away from the other children
I saw the gull dent
working together to dam
the crab against a rock
the stream, to the place
as if it was the birth-crater
where the seaweed reeks
of a soft head, and felt
and spills like the entrails
the carnivorous lurch
of the Jurassic shadow
to take it in my hand,
I imagine beneath boats.
to stand over
Drank juice. Daddy, do you know why I was there that day? Because I haven’t the faintest clue. Oh and Daddy.
Creative Writing at UEA
Is what you said back then still true?
Hello, freshers (and anyone else who’s interested)!
An Indistinguishable Diagnosis By Madz Abbasi Why is the vision cloudy,
I shall need to see you again:
And the colour flushed pale from the cheeks
As the moments in between grow
Exposing bare bruised bitten skin
Like lethal doses of kryptonite You’ve hired Time to assassinate
There seems to be aching and pain,
This. Me. Us,
All strength sucked away,
And all because
Left like a flimsy glaze-eyed doll, Leaning alone against the cold wall
The first and most important thing to remember
up to the Concrete Creative Writing mailing
about creative writing is that it’s open to
list at the Big Meet. Additionally, you might
everyone. By no means do you have to study
want to seek out the Creative Writing Society
English literature or any other arts subject.
at SocMart and join them too, to meet a whole
In fact, you don’t even have to have written
bunch of like-minded people and be introduced
anything creative before. If, like me, you’ve been
to the wonderful world of Norwich literature.
composing fiction since you were first able to
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your
spell “cat”, then great. Similarly, if you’ve simply
had a fantastic idea for a short story floating about for years, why not put pen to paper and try writing it? If you’re afraid it’ll be rubbish, don’t worry about it – you never know until you
Serious or stupid,
try, and you might surprise yourself. Whatever
Pointless or profound,
your situation, if you’re even remotely intrigued
by the idea of writing some prose or poetry
rather than just reading it, don’t forget to sign
Review: Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is the latest offering from Arenanet and while it isn’t the holy grail of MMO game design it certainly makes large steps in the right direction. From the moment you first enter the world of Tyria, it’s immediately apparent that the crew at Arenanet at have an excellent
eye for detail. In most MMOs you will have to wait until your character is at least mid-way to the level cap before you begin experiencing more impressive, larger scale content, but here you’ll see these cinematic encounters right from the tutorial. The game world looks and feels fantastic, whether you’re taking in the landscape or laughing at a particularly funny exchange between non-player characters, the attention to detail is breathtaking. The game doesn’t just impress aesthetically however, it makes bold changes and deviations from the MMO genre template. Traditional questing has been replaced with dynamic events - encounters that players will discover naturally as they explore. It makes the world feel much more alive. The combat system is fast paced and enjoyable, allowing for a high degree of customisation without overwhelming new players. This is especially noticeable in the two separate player vs player modes,
both of which are immensely enjoyable. Perhaps most important however is the game’s sense of community. Players are encouraged to work together rather than made to compete, as they are in many other MMOs. Loot will be awarded to anybody involved in a fight and not just the player who dealt the most damage. Similarly tasks are not exclusive – one player chopping down a tree will not prevent another player from doing so and you are rewarded for reviving others who have run into trouble. Not to say that the game is without its problems; aspects of the personal story are tedious. On occasion the cinematic experience was spoilt by poor sound design, a shame given Jeremy Soule’s amazing soundtrack. For example in one key stage of the story, a scene is played out in utter silence as if audio files were missing entirely. There are also currently issues with world vs world queues, which can be hours long at peak times. Once you do get in there’s also no guarantee that
your PC will be able to handle the large numbers of characters, which can harshly impact the performance of some systems. Indeed, while large scale encounters look awesome, they don’t always play as spectacularly. Rarely presenting a challenge, boss encounters often become tedious, with enormous pools of health requiring players to attack for long periods of time without changing their strategy. This is especially unfortunate as these really are signature encounters for the game and should show it at its best, which they currently do not. It is important to remember though that MMOs generally tend to take time to mature. In truth the issues are few in number and are hugely outweighed by the sheer quality of the game. Furthermore the problems that it does have will likely be addressed with time as existing content is refined and new content is added. Today Guild Wars 2 is a great game and tomorrow it could be even better.
Review: Counter Strike Global Offensive Raymond Mak
Counter-Strike started life as a mod for the PC game Half Life and has since become one of the most popular multiplayer shooters around. Its
latest iteration, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, maintains the series’ tradition of tough but fair gameplay but adds some much needed features and modernising touches to get new players off the ground. At first glance, it looks like another Call of Duty clone but it’s a different beast entirely. Twitchy trigger fingers and a penchant for unloading your gun into someone at first sight are habits that will net you more deaths than kills. CounterStrike is, unlike Call of Duty, a teambased game that rewards a methodical approach. Being active on voice chat, knowing the maps back to front and thinking one step ahead of the enemy can end a round in 30 seconds or less. Indeed the synchronised spawn system allows players to roughly predict where they will likely collide with the enemy team. This creates an interesting layer of pre-emptive strategy, with experienced players watching likely enemy paths or taking unusual routes to throw enemies off their scent.
This isn’t to say the game is inaccessible to new players, indeed the addition of a training course helps to teach the basics. It covers everything from planting and defusing bombs to the importance of firing in bursts. The narrator is engaging, humorous and informative which makes the tutorial fly by. However, there are lessons that Counter-Strike can only teach through gameplay meaning that new players will often watch matches unfold from the post death screen rather than playing. Veterans will be most at home with the Classic Casual and Classic Competitive modes. Casual is more lenient, turning friendly fire off whilst Competitive is the closest thing to vanilla CounterStrike. New game modes include Arms Race and Demolition. In these modes you don’t need to buy weapons as killing enemies will reward you with new weapons. In Arms Race players race to level up their guns as fast as possible and have to finish the round with a knife kill. Demolition uses the bomb defusal
scenario and mixes it with the levelling gameplay of gun game to create a faster and more streamlined game. These two new modes provide a more frantic and arcade feel and represent a good entry point for new players. One major complaint is that the game doesn’t have a large selection of maps and it’s irritating playing your fifth consecutive match in de_dust or de_dust2. The official maps have been given a fresh coat of paint and have been tweaked in their layout to keep old players on their toes but the selection is still predictable. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a solid entry to the highly revered series. By rejecting auto-aim, kill-streaks and other peripheral distractions it still provides the team-based gameplay of its ancestors while helping newcomers ease in through the new game modes and the weapons course. If you are tired of the modern shooters and are ready for a challenge you should give this reinvented classic a try.
Summer of Arcade
Oliver Balaam Summer is a traditionally tepid period for game releases. Unlike film fans, who get big summer blockbusters all season long, gamers are expected to make do with old stuff or, god forbid, go outside and soak up the sun. Fortunately while big publishers wait for Christmas, independent and downloadable producers have in recent years come out in force to fill the summer gap. The most notable example of this is The Summer of Arcade, a festival of independent talent that Microsoft host on Xbox Live every summer. Now in its fifth year it still supplies fantastic games but some critics argue that it’s lost steam and indie credibility along the way. They might have a point. This year’s festival opened with Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD which while aesthetically counter-cultural, is produced by Activision, one of the biggest publishers in the world. The game isn’t all that great either: the HD coat of paint is splotchy at best and the new engine results in laggy controls and unpredictable physics. The remake also removes features present in the 13 year old original: local multiplayer options, the park editor and half of the soundtrack. It’s a real shame because the game’s unique core mechanics can still be thrilling but with THPS2 is readily available on eBay, nobody should accept this prettier downgrade. 2/5
the limitations of the Kinect hardware and attempt to sidestep them by working in broad strokes. In short bursts they’re successful, with varied power-ups and shot types keeping the gameplay interesting. In these bursts Wreckateer’s cathartic chaos can be enjoyable but longer sessions expose the repetitive design, workmanlike graphics and uninspired level design. It’s one of the better Kinect games around but unfortunately that’s not saying much. 2/5 Luckily the next course more than made up for a disappointing pair of hors d’oeuvre. Created by the independent Spanish studio Tequila Works, Deadlight is an ambitious side scrolling zombie survival horror game with a aesthetic so polished, cohesive and relentlessly downbeat that it’s impossible not to become engrossed. Sometimes this visual treat comes at the expense of gameplay, with the protagonist’s animations taking precedence over control fidelity, but this only becomes a problem in a few overly elaborate platforming sections. This minor flaw does nothing to detract from what is otherwise a memorable, exhilarating and moment filled journey with an involving, if improbable plot. 4/5 Hybrid, the penultimate festival entrant, distils the multiplayer cover based shooter in an attempt to find its essence.
Next up was Wreckateer, from the genuinely independent Iron Galaxy Studios. It’s a Kinect game in which players launch boulders to demolish castles and fortresses, crushing the green goblins that occupy them. It’s not far removed from a certain disgruntled poultry simulator but the 3D design makes sure it doesn’t feel like a rip off. Iron Galaxy understand
The most notable alteration it makes is the total removal of free movement, only allowing player to navigate by aiming to a cover point and selecting it. The player then automatically uses their jetpack to fly to that point. This may initially seem limiting but without freedom of movement, every action becomes a conscious tactical choice. This minimalist
approach creates tight territorial skirmishes where out-manoeuvring your opponent is just as vital as shooting them. Hybrid’s maps are equally minimalist, in keeping with the gameplay, but unfortunately they tend to look bland rather than sleek. Some peripheral features such as kill-streaks don’t fit with the game’s measured approach but on the whole, this is a rewarding and unique experience that focuses on a few basic mechanics and masters them. 3/5 Closing out the festival and restoring much of its dwindling indie credibility was Dust: An Elysian Tail, a side scrolling action RPG designed and programmed by one man, Dean Dodrill. Although a solo project, Dust is arguably the most fully featured game of the lot. It’s got an expansive hand drawn fantasy world full of interesting and talkative characters, a deceptively complex combat system, multiple quest lines and even a fully featured economy and levelling system. Cramming this much content into a downloadable game was probably naive on Dodrill’s part (he planned to develop the game over three months, it took over three years) but the results are audacious, confident and delightful. The combat system is not only fantastic, it represents a modernising step for the entire genre and the digital effects used sparingly over hand drawn art create a palpable sense of motion. The pacing can be inconsistent and the checkpoints frugal at times but Dust is still a fantastic example of everything an indie game can achieve. 5/5 While this year’s Summer of Arcade
didn’t quite boast the flawless line-ups of years past, it still showcased some of the most exciting titles from the an experimental group of artists in an increasingly industrialised medium. At £10 each and with free demos available for your consideration, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check this collection out.
REVIEW : AN EVENING OF JAZZ Ranjana Gathak Quartet + Seb Rochford and Kit Downes Duo perform at Norwich Arts Centre Marian Davidson Despite a rather hectic arrival at Norwich Arts Centre – where half an hour was spent frantically pulling on all the doors of the churches on St Benedict’s street, until the right one was eventually found – the evening was an overall success. Ranjana Ghatak started the evening’s program with her quartet’s unusual but lovely fusion of jazz tunes and Indian lyrics. She has performed at the London Saddlers Well Theatre and the Barbican, and has a background of learning alongside some of the most acclaimed Asian vocalists in India. It is not hard to see why Ghatak’s music is becoming so popular. At first, the unique blend of music and culture did not seem representative
of jazz, but a new genre of music in itself. The mixture of Asian and jazz styles was dynamic, and the versatile programme showed how well this blend works, in both the lively and melancholy tunes. It was a refreshing experience, and the Ranjana Quartet is one to be recommended as a new experience at the least. The musicians in the second half of the programme were the Seb Rochford and Kit Downes Duo, winners of the BBC Jazz Award for Rising Stars. This contemporary and experimental jazz was interesting. The piano and drums frequently juxtaposed each other, creating a somewhat eclectic mix of occasionally beautiful phrases and brilliant technique, which did
not always go hand in hand. Although there were definitely subtle and clever differences between the pieces, the
music became a little repetitive, but all in all the duo should be commended for their original work.
to the more intimate photographs of the Queen with her children, and a final one of the last photographs of the Queen taken by Cecil Beaton. Throughout the exhibition you can see how Beaton’s style and attitudes towards the public image of the Queen changed - from seeing her as an almost Disney-like princess, through to the photographs of 1968, which are both minimalist and more informal as the Queen poses standing or sitting in rooms at Buckingham Palace. Part of the exhibition also explores
the life of Cecil Beaton, who was employed as a royal photographer from 1939 when he was commissioned to take pictures of the Queen mother. Through photographs of the photographer as well as the photographs that he took, visitors are guided through his life, techniques and inspirations. This exhibition is a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at the role of the Queen for a large part of her reign, set out in a way which is simple and heartwarming.
REVIEW : QUEEN ELIZABETH II BY CECIL BEATON Norwich Castle - July 7 - September 30 Amelia Edwards
The V&A Museum’s touring exhibition of Sir Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the Queen at Norwich Castle gives visitors a truly engaging look at the relationship between our monarch and her photographer. It is a small exhibition, divided into four sections of Queen Elizabeth’s life as seen largely through photography, as well as letters and diary entries. The first section, of the Queen when she was a princess, is both beautiful and nostalgic, featuring photographs of the Queen with her sister and mother, as
well as solo pictures in which she wears flowing gowns in flowering gardens reminiscent of films of the time. There is also a screen on which clips of important events from the Queen’s life and a documentary about the life of Cecil Beaton (created by David Bailey) are played. This supplements the other sections of the exhibition wonderfully through the sound alone. From here, you move through Elizabeth’s reign from the very beginining; from a section devoted to the official coronation photographs,
In the 11 years since 9/11, we have witnessed its story through the media, through the internet, through conspiracies, and through the arts. It is generally accepted that a cultural response to trauma is a necessary part of a society’s coming to terms with the event. However, it seems that when it comes to handling 9/11, we are a little stuck. How do we cope with trauma in the digital age? The creative marketplace, like the political landscape, has been awash with conversations about terrorism and international security. Post-9/11 literature is a good example
ARTS POLITICS: TRAUMA IN THE DIGITAL AGE
of how this flooded market is absent of definitive work which handles the trauma well enough to satisfy the thirst for a cultural process. Our beloved alumnus Ian McEwan had a fictional pop at the topic in his novel Saturday, while Martin Amis’s collection The Second Plane focuses on the last days of the terrorist Muhammed Atta. Obviously there is literature out there which addresses terrorism, but has there been a piece which has embodied this specific trauma as successfully as Wilfred Owens’s poetry or Elie Wiesel’s depiction of the traumas of Auschwitz in
his memoir, Night? The bothersome businesses of publishing, political factors, and of course, temporal distance, are logistical explanations for the difference between 9/11 and earlier large-scale traumas. However, it is arguable that because of how 9/11 has been placed in our growing digital world, it is impossible for us to deal with the event as we may have done 50 years before. Namely, a writer’s most powerful tool is to stimulate imagination within his readers, but images of the attack have already been lodged into our memories,
21 and so a post-9/11 writer’s job is, perhaps, done before they even begin. Thoughts and emotions surrounding the event are entirely separate from the reading process because they are tied up with the images and stories we find in the media, rather than those of fiction. Replicating this visual experience creates nothing new, and so ultimately does nothing creative. This is a central difference between 9/11 and other traumatic events in modern history: the aesthetic experience alone is shared by many, and so we are all, to some extent, privy to its trauma.
UEA ENTS - For all your uni entertainment needs!
For all you freshers out there, UEA Ents is likely to make a huge impact on your life at UEA, and sometimes you won’t even know they’re doing it. So, what do UEA Ents actually do?
Each 3x3 box, row and column must contain the numbers 1-9
HARD SUDOKU 6
4 8 9
CROSSWORD COMPETITION - WIN MAVERICK SABRE TICKETS!
London-born, Irish-raised singer/songwriter Maverick Sabre is visiting UEA as part of his biggest ever UK tour, and two lucky Concrete readers will win tickets to hear the soulful singer absolutely free! To win, just fill in the crossword above and hand it in, with your name and email address on the back, to Union House receptin by Wednesday 26 September.
1. Johannes Sebastian ---- (4) 2. Monarch recently possibly exhumed (10) 3. Tree with silver bark (5) 4. Norse god famous for hammer (4) 5. Fifty Shades of ---- (4) 6. Author of Birdsong - surname (7) 8. Concrete pyramids (9) 9. Vegetables whose effects are being studied at UEA (8)
1. Famous rabbit trickster (4, 6) 6. ------- Do we really need them? Yes (7) 7. Scottish US Open Champion (6) 10. Amphibious car tested on the River Yare - nickname (9) 11. Anna Karenina’s lover (7) 12. Queen’s photographer - surname (6) 13. Norfolk Paralympic gold medallist (9)
This fortnight, Ents are putting on a huge number of student events as part of welcome week. This includes parties such as the muchloved T-Shirt Party and the Welcome Party, as well as acts from Maverick Sabre to A Night of Magical Comedy feat. Barry and Stuart and Piff the Magic Dragon. LCR nights Every week Ents put on several nights at the LCR (located in Union House, next to the Hive). Club nights are on Saturdays and offer a variety of different music styles, while Tuesday nights are dressing-up nights. The Waterfront The Waterfront is UEA’s club off campus. Located by the Yare river across from Riverside, it provides club nights and gigs. This fortnight it is hosting Tinchy Strider, Arizona rock group The Maine and the W.A.S.P. anniversary tour among other things. The Pub and Blue Bar On the corner of the Square you can find the Red Bar, which leads into the Blue Bar. The Red Bar serves as a regular pub,where you can drink, chat and play pool and table football. The Blue Bar has more of a club feel to it, with sports night (cheap drinks on Wednesdays), a weekly pub quiz and the occasional horrific and/or brilliant karaoke night.
WELCOME WEEK COMPS
Design a caption for the picture below. The wittiest, funniest or most bizarre caption gets featured in the next issue of Concrete. To win, submit your caption via Facebook (Concrete Newspaper) or Twitter (@Concrete_UEA).
WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS FOR EIGHT FRESHERS’ EVENTS
Nearly Every Day in Welcome Week Visit our competitions page at concrete-online.co.uk/competitions or find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcreteNewspaper or on Twitter @concrete_uea We’ll be giving out tickets for nearly every welcome week event as prizes! So, if your flatmates all have tickets for something and you don’t, or if the event you wanted is sold out, come and have a second chance at getting your hands on those precious tickets! Good Luck!
25 September - 8 October
Tuesday 25 September
Welcome Week - Jacob Banks Price: Free 12 noon Blue Bar
MELTDOWN + WRAITH Price: £4.50/£3.50 NUS 10pm The Waterfront
Tinchy Strider Price: £12.50 7.30pm The Waterfront
The Welcome Party Price: £13 9pm UEA LCR
Wednesday 26 September Welcome Week - Zane Lowe Electrified Tour Price: £12 10pm UEA LCR
Thursday 27 September Chase and Status DJ Set Price: £12.50 10pm UEA LCR The Maine Price: £11 7.30pm The Waterfront
Welcome Week - Luke + Charlotte Ritchie Price: Free 12 noon Blue Bar Friday 28 September Maverick Sabre + Support from Ms Dynamite Price:£16 7.30pm UEA LCR
Saturday 29 September
Sunday 30 September
A Night of Magical Comedy feat. Barry & Stuart and Piff the Magic Dragon Price: £12.50 8pm UEA LCR W.A.S.P 30 Years of Thunder Anniversary Tour presented by Metal Lust Price: £19.50 7pm The Waterfront Tuesday 2 October Straight Lines + Evarose @ The Waterfront Studio Price: £6 7.30pm The Waterfront
Thursday 4 October DragonForce (Plus Alestorm / The Defiled / Cavorts) Price: £17.50 7pm UEA LCR Dan Le Sac plus special guest Merz Price: £9 7pm The Waterfront Hey Vanity and Floods @ The Waterfront Studio Price: £7 7.30pm The Waterfront The Enemy Price: £17.50 7.30pm UEA LCR
Friday 5 October
4ft Fingers - 10th Anniversary Tour @ The Waterfront Studio Price: £8.50 7pm The Waterfront Sunday 7 October Azealia Banks Price: £7.50 7pm The Waterfront Monday 8 October Hot Chip Price: £17.50 7.30pm UEA LCR Of Mice & Men @ The Waterfront Studio Price: £10 7.30pm The Waterfront
Saturday 6 October
Andy McKee, Preston Reed, Jon Gomm: Guitar Masters Price: £17.50/ £15 Advance NUS 7pm The Waterfront
Wednesday 3 October Kissy Sell Out Price: £9/£7 Advance NUS 10pm UEA LCR
Photo: Ga Chun Yau
Rumble 17th Birthday Price: £12/£9 Advance NUS 10pm The Waterfront
Photo: Elizabeth Margereson
VENUE Issue 271