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3 Arts Kate Romain 7 Film Willa Hope + Louis Pigeon-owen 10 Fashion Emily Claridge 15 Creative Writing Hugo Douglas-Deane 19 Gaming Kirsty McAlpine 23 Television Denise Koblenz 27 Music Alice Mortimer + Lois Young Art And design assistant: Emily Mildren This week’s front and back cover: CHARLOTTE WILLIAMS


editorial Editors-in-chief Dougie dodds + niamh Jones

Venue

deputy editor: write this a few days before the Waste art gallery opens, so I can only assume it was a huge success! To all those who went, thank you, and to all those who took part, THANK YOU. Anyway, this is all in the past for you, so let’s turn to the future. The weather is getting warmer (slowly), and there has been a new litter of adorable bunnies born on campus. If you need a little cheering up just take a walk down to the lake, and I assure you you’ll ‘Aww’ the whole way down. On the topic of bunnies it’s nearly time for the Easter holidays! We at venue will be taking a much needed rest, and we hope you do to. Put some smooth jazz on, put your furry slippers on, and get horrifically fat on chocolate. Dougie

i

hate summer. Sorry. I don’t like the heat, I hate summer clothes and my pasty skin seems to burn on contact with any form of UV light. Having said that, spring is the best. THE BEST. I love crocuses and snowdrops and bluebells and baby bunnies and that warmth which is juuuust right. The warmth that means you can have a picnic without wasps attacking your face. So enjoy the warmth my dudes, before you shut yourselves away again for deadline season. On a happier note, it’s nice to see so many new writers in this issue. The reign of Niamh and Dougie is nearly over, and soon we, along with our editors, will have to pass the baton to the next generation..Niamh

I

o, it's almost Easter, and with that comes the classic Easter break. And you, know, plenty of excuses to buy copious amounts of chocolate Easter eggs (creme eggs are the best though, no arguments - although creme egg brownies are better). If you’re on campus for Easter, you could partake in a selection of activities: dressing up as the UEA rabbit and foraging around the grounds, going on a flat egg hunt or simply enjoying the possibly warmer temperatures. Heat wave in March, anyone? Melissa

S

Melissa Haggar

FEATURE

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‘...your collection of mint-in-thebox Barbies, unique shoes, polaroid snaps, or Disney pins might be a little weird...’ Our deputy editor discusses ‘collecto-mania’ - guilty craze or joyous outlet? We’ll let you decide.

ARTS

04

‘The night time Library would be an ideal location for a showdown.’ Jack Lewis argues that UEA would be a great spot for a crime novel; Concrete and killing go hand in hand.

TELEVISION 25 ‘Where will TV take us next?’ Harriet Griffiths takes us on a twisting tale of the last 25 years of TV, from the naughty 90s to the noisy now. Looking at children’s classics like Tracy Beaker and the introduction of Netflix, we chart the progress of television.

Concrete.venue@uea.ac.uk

02


Arts 03 lucinda swainn Leonard Baskin once said ‘The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living’, and what better way to immortalise the deceased than in a painting. Death has always been a prevalent theme in the art world. This is the case across all of history and every culture. Art expresses the weightiest aspects of life: love, hate, good and evil and of course life and death. The representation of death can be symbolic or literal from being celebratory to tragic, cautionary to a historical depiction of great battle. In ancient Egyptian times burial artefacts depicted death and the afterlife, in ancient Greece artists rejected the finality of death in their work. In Christianity the image of death was a constant theme. The Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivals in Mexico employ the symbol of the skull as an affirmation of life. Clay moulded sugar skulls are painted with the names of the dead and they are placed on their headstones to encourage them to appear. Death also remains a principal theme in the contemporary art world a good example of this being Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone

Concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

death in art

art: the perfect way to immortalise the dead Living. An installation by Candy Chang: Before I Die, was created on the side of an abandoned house in New Orleans. Chang painted chalkboard paint on a wall and wrote the words “Before I die I want to….” and left the rest up to passers-by. The response

was incredible and many people interacted with the piece. Before I Die walls have since sprung up around the world. Older work such as Hans Memling’s painting Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation and the Lamentation of Christ by Andrea Mantegna have religious undertones that are not as predominant in

more contemporary pieces. Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco de Goya not only depicts the Greek legend in which children are killed and eaten, it has been suggested that Goya’s vision of the Saturn was inspired by his own loss

after the death of several of his children. Artwork provides not only personal, emotional context but historical. Such as in the 14th Century after the Black Death, plague art became popular and artwork took on a dark and desperate narrative, reflecting the suffering that was endured. Peter Paul Rubens’

painting Massacre of the Innocents interprets Herod’s despicable order to kill every young male in Bethlehem, (Gospel of Matthew). It shows men tearing children away from their mothers and then murdering them. Bruegel’s The Triumph of Death it shows the horrors of an army of the dead attacking both the poor and rich indiscriminately, as death spares no one. Andy Warhol’s disturbing piece Big Electric Chair, was painted from a photograph and is an ominous sight to behold, since it portrays a once in use execution chamber. Warhol also painted other disturbing ‘realities’ confronting death and our own mortality, using police photos of suicides and car crash fatalities as inspiration. Since death is something everyone will eventually experience it’s a common topic of fascination and fear, so for creatives it’s a treasure-trove. Some representations and traditions are more culturally specific but essentially depictions of death are universal, whether they are tackling grief, aging or commemorating lost loved ones. Image credit to (Left page) Pixabay (right page, in order of left to right) Geograph, by Oxyman, and Wikipedia, by Tom.


04 Arts

Concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

Where do i set my Crime Novel? jack lewis When we think of crime fiction, we tend to think of gritty US cities and tired detectives in trench coats. But the themes of crime fiction (murder, suspicion and police politics, among others) are universal, and as such, do not have to be limited to a specific location.

“at night, the brutal concrete architecture creates an atmosphere of dread” However, a crime novel’s location needs to evoke an atmosphere of suspicion and vulnerability and contain hideouts for criminals. The towns of East Anglia are the perfect place to find such an atmosphere. The flatness and emptiness of the surrounding Broads, Brecks and Fens is enough to m a k e anyone feel

right here in east anglia, of course exposed and isolated. In East Anglia, there are few hills or tower blocks to hide behind – you are forced to face nature without protection. Ely, Great Yarmouth and the University of East Anglia Campus all possess this oppressive atmosphere, and are thus the best places in the region to set a crime novel. The quaint city of Ely becomes a threatening place at night. The flat fenland turns pitch black and the cathedral becomes menacing. The night time city feels trapped and isolated. The nocturnal River Great Ouse is an ideal, out-of-theway place for criminals to dispose of bodies. The West Tower of Ely Cathedral could be a convenient place for a criminal to hide, but it would also serve as an ideal place for a showdown, where a cop could corner a criminal who has nowhere left to run. Great Yarmouth also has a vulnerable, isolated atmosphere. Surrounded by the sea on one side, and the Broads on the other, the only way out seems to be the exposed A47. A crook would have a hard time

escaping from such a place, but Great Yarmouth also offers hideouts for criminals, including the abandoned windmills of the nearby Broads and the largely derelict seaside gardens. The expanse of Breydon Water, just outside of town, would serve as an appropriately grim backdrop for murder scenes or police confrontations. It would also be the perfect location to stow an inconspicuous boat, full of illicit supplies.

“the west tower of ely cathedral could be a convenient place for a killer to hide” Yet the UEA Campus has even more potential as a crime novel setting. At night, the quiet of the accommodation blocks and the brutal concrete architecture creates an atmosphere of dread. The UEA Broad and the surrounding countryside isolate the campus and give it a vulnerable, exposed feel. In the evening, a killer could easily slip unnoticed into the student bar, and hide among students too drunk to

“a killer could eASily slip unnoticed into the student bar” notice. The night time Library would be an ideal location for a showdown; the crook could hide behind the shelves while the cop frantically searches the place. As demonstrated by contemporary novelists, including Ian Sansom, Simon Beckett and Cathi Unsworth, East Anglia offers plentiful locations for good crime fiction. All you need is the drive to go out and find them.


Arts 05 abi steer Creative Arts Therapy focuses on the use of creative forms such as drama, music and visual arts to portray emotions that an individual may find difficult to articulate through conventional methods. Although it was originally used by psychologists to assist in diagnosing clients, it has been found to be more beneficial as a tool to encourage self-expression and acceptance as it allows participants to evaluate their feelings with a more objective outlook. Like all therapies, it can be adapted to suit the needs of an individual – sessions can be taken privately or in groups and can be used alongside a number of other approaches including mindfulnessbased and cognitive analytic therapies. Art therapy has become more popular in recent times as it has become both more

Concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

art therapy

what is it and how does it work? accessible and acceptable in popular culture. The rise in popularity of ‘adult’ colouring books can be seen as an indicator of the general support that we as a society have for the arts, as well their importance to people in regards to self-expression. While these colouring books are not strictly considered art therapy (seeing as there is no actual therapy involved) they are an easy way for people of all ages to express themselves and relax. I cannot recommend them highly enough. It is important, however, to recognise that while many of the casual versions of these therapies have a large focus on relaxation and fun, the main priority of a therapy session is of course developing the growth and rehabilitation of participants – a very different approach to anyone who expresses

themselves through art as a part of their everyday life. It is therefore important to recognise the difference between art therapy, and therapeutic art. All therapy can be difficult and emotionally draining, but also incredibly positive for any person which is also the case for art therapy. Personally, I have never tried art therapy, although having taken part in alternative therapies, I congratulate and support anyone who has found creative arts to be the most appropriate form for them. Living in a technology driven world reliant largely on the written word for communication it is not always easy to appreciate how difficult it is to be truly honest with yourself and with others. Even as discussions on mental health are becoming more

mainstream it has become second nature for many to shrug and smile because quite honestly anyone who has had any trouble with their mental health will tell you that it is literally indescribable. How can you tell people how you feel when you don’t even know yourself? I truly hope that art therapy develops to become a more commonly used approach because in my experience, it really could save lives. If you are suffering with problems related to your mental health speak to a close friend or relative who can help support you, the Student Support Services, or even to your GP. More information on mental health can be found at the NHS website as well as with a range of alternative organisations such as MIND or The Samaritans.

Image credit: Flickr, John Morgan.


‡It’s t}me to try defy}ng Geography‡ THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSICAL ACCESSIBILITY

CHARLOTTE SPENCER Having a passion for theatre can be expensive, exhausting, and thankless. In buying your ticket you buy access to a specific moment in time only experienced by you and your surrounding audience members, and theatre’s glorious transience is part of what makes it magic. It also makes it risky, however, and not everyone has the means to take a chance on more than one or two live shows a year. For this reason, publicly released recordings of live productions are necessary, exciting, and utterly crucial.

in a growing collection of theatrical broadcasts which provide the opportunity to get up close and personal with onstage action, and it’s a trend I can’t wait to see develop and spread further.

forty per cent of these viewers didn’t know anything about the show before the stream, myself included, and yet still watched. Conclusion? Theatre is unstoppable when distance is no factor.

audiences who can’t just jump on the night tube after a night of Don Pasquale, as well as to those interested in trying out something new with a vastly decreased upfront cost.

I write this feature fresh off a repeat viewing of Disney’s Newsies, a gorgeous broadcast of a closed Broadway production, revived for one night only specifically for taping and transmission. I had seen the show from the cheap seats in America, but nothing could prepare me for the up-close stylish action shots, or the carefully filmed coverage of lush ensemble numbers. This particular event is one

Other recent triumphs include an historic live stream of off-Broadway gem Daddy Long Legs, which allowed 150,000 viewers access to what was previously only available to 149 ticket holders per night in New York’s Davenport Theatre. The broadcast gave the production international attention, with viewers in 135 countries tuning in to be charmed by Paul Gordon’s score. Per the Seattle Times,

Because the fundamental issue underlining the preservation and presentation of these theatrical events is, of course, accessibility. Putting aside ancillary costs such as travel and accommodation (not to mention those extortionate interval ice creams) which can be a huge financial burden even before the cost of the ticket itself is considered (looking at you, Hamilton), these broadcasts are important for those who physically cannot get themselves to the room where it happens (ahem). Companies like Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House, who regularly programme their transmissions into Vues and Odeons nationwide, are appealing to their older

And yet, The Rocky Horror Show tour still packed out the Norwich Theatre Royal despite its cinematic transmission eighteen months ago. Live broadcasts ultimately cannot replace the essential experience of being in a theatre, that personal connection with the company, the way the production values flood your senses, and this is the reason why such recordings do not pose a threat to the industry of live theatre – I couldn’t name anyone who would say no to seeing a show live, even after watching its recorded broadcast. At the same time, however, for those who can’t make the trip, it’s a near perfect substitute, and one which keeps dazzling productions alive long after the curtain has fallen.

Image Credit: senlay; vimeo, thecontentshack; Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia.


Film 07 beverly devakishen Fences is a touching story full of complex characters. Every single one of the actors and actresses were convincing and did a brilliant job portraying characters from the 1950s. They adapted to the setting so well that it was initially hard for me to adjust to their mannerisms, their accents and slang, and the societal constructs that they lived within. There was also a constant, fast stream of speech during the first part of the movie, and one

melissa haggar Amongst the list of ‘Awards’ films this season, Hidden Figures takes place in 1961, as the United States locks horns (or space helmets) with the USSR in a bid to be the first to go where no man has ever gone before. But underneath all this space supremacy are the individuals who helped make it all possible, more specifically, the forgotten black women who aided in making the space dream a reality. Katherine Goble Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn work as computers in the segregated West Area Computers division for NASA, but have bigger dreams. Jackson wants to be an engineer, Vaughn a supervisor, and Johnson wants a shot to show how exceptional she is with calculations. The film details their struggles against other staff and the system in general. The film overflows with heart and passion, largely

fences had to catch every bit of the dialogue to understand the plot. However, as the storyline gets increasingly easier to understand and the plot moves faster, one becomes immersed in the life of an African-American community. The movie gives its viewers an insight into the lives of African-Americans in the 1950s, using realistic techniques to showcase their family struggles. The highlight of the movie was Viola Davis’

Concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

performance. The way she portrayed Rose Lee Maxson was incredibly honest and raw; she helps us to sympathize with Rose and other AfricanAmerican women in similar situations within that era. Davis’ brilliant performance effectively highlighted the issue of women’s rights, which was already a main theme of the movie. The cinematography of the film was not exceptionally beautiful,

but it was successful in portraying the harsh reality that the Maxson family faced. The lack of conventional beauty was made up for by the brilliant use of metaphors, especially in relation to the fence that Troy Maxson (Denzil Washington) was building. Overall, Fences is bound to touch its audience with its truthful portrayal of the ugly reality of a family rife with tragedy.

hidden figures benefitting from its talented and charismatic cast who dazzle on screen, as these inspirational characters, with Janelle Monáe standing out as Mary Jackson, as she injects a distinctive, sassy personality into the character. Meanwhile, Henson stands strong as Katherine Goble Johnson, as she showcases the sheer brilliance of the character

against her colleagues, and her passion for mathematics, while Spencer’s Vaughn truly cares about her fellow black women and aids them in achieving their full potential, as well as her own. You want these women to succeed and they do. This is perhaps what Hidden Figures does best, giving attention to these women

and their achievements so others can feel inspired by, and aware of, their journey. Possessing a real ‘community’ vibe between the black women, its spirit is infectious, positioning the film as a ‘feel-good’ affair, despite historical inaccuracies. Importantly, it acknowledges the struggles of AfricanAmerican women during the time of segregation; one which no doubt holds contemporary relevance. Hidden Figures firmly shines the spotlight on the remarkable and largely unknown story of the black women who were crucial to the Space Race, giving these outstanding ladies a resounding voice and forever memorialising them in film for years to come.

Image: Flickr, NASA HQ PHOTO


Concrete.film@uea.ac.uk coralie bastiaens “At some point you gotta decide for yourself who you’re gonna be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s postgraduate theatre project In Black Boys Look Blue, Moonlight is a coming of age story, exploring the themes of masculinity and vulnerability in a stark yet poetic light. It is divided into three chapters, each representing a turning point in the protagonist’s life. We are introduced to the scrawny nine-year old Chiron, nicknamed “Little”, being bullied in the streets of Miami by his schoolmates, who seem to recognise something in him that is still a secret to Chiron himself. He is noticed by Juan (the poignant Mahershala Ali), a local drugdealer who takes him under his wing. Along with his affectionate partner (Janelle Monàe), they become the closest thing the young boy has to a normal household, a refuge away from the cruel neglect of his drugaddicted mother (performed beautifully by Naomie Harris). A couple of years later, Chiron has become a withdrawn teenager, struggling to fit in with the toxic masculine atmosphere around him. The only boy that is kind to him is Kevin, a child he wrestled with in the Photo Credits:Flickr first chapter. One night by the beach, the two share more

moonlight than just a furtive smoke. But the vicious bullying gets the better of Chiron and when we meet him again, prison has transformed him into a buff drug-dealer with golden grills on his teeth, a reborn Juan who uses his hardearned virility as a shield. The film masterfully balances both its lyrical, aesthetic aspect with raw, subtle character work. It avoids overwhelming us with despair by displaying the beauty that surrounds Chiron, even in the most desolate moments.

While the focus remains on the characters, it skilfully explores universal themes such as identity, sexuality, and most importantly the relationship between vulnerability and masculinity. The latter seems particularly relevant in the leitmotif of

water representing Chiron’s feelings throughout the film. The sound of waves is the first thing we hear and it returns in the most sensual moments of the young man’s life. Chiron describes himself as crying so much that he feels like he’s going to turn into drops that will just roll out into the water. In this remarkable and uncompromising script that refuses to pin its characters to clichés, his vulnerability painted in contrast with such a harsh environment is absolutely beautiful. Barry Jenkins uses his camera to explore the story through an introspective angle to introduce us into Chiron’s world: it seems to participate in the characters’ movement rather than follow them. For instance, when Chiron learns how to swim, the lens is submerged beneath the water. When he wrestles, we can barely distinguish the entangled limbs on the screen. When a close up is made on a character’s face, we often hear their words being said without their lips moving, as if they were fragments of memories. The confusion this style creates, especially during the violent scenes, brings a sense of detachment to the audience. There lies the true brilliance of this film: by instilling in us a certain numbness to the violent events taking place, the moments where vulnerability and truthfulness come through are all the more powerful.

08 Film victoria (2015) A revolution in cinematic history, Victoria tells the story of a girl on a night out in Berlin - but incredibly, it’s filmed continuously in one single take. Yet, aside from its technical achievement, the film showcases amazing talent, fantastic plot and beautiful cinematography. - Willa Hope

rhymes for young ghouls (2013) This is a soulful revenge tragedy about a teenaged, American aboriginal drug dealer. You’d be surprised how much playfulness is brought to a story that depicts the systematic persecution of North American Natives, drug addiction and suicide, but the comedy here is far from distasteful and helps to introduce us to a shattered and marginalised world. The movie stars and was written by First Nations and deals with one of America’s most taboo subjects with unparalleled grace and beauty. - Louis Pigeon-Owen

groundhog day (1993) Groundhog Day is one to watch again and again and again....no joke intended. With the ever Scrooge-like Bill Murray and the gorgeous Andie McDowall, it tells the story of a miserable man who is destined to live one day over and over again. Funny, cringe, emotional; this is the finest of feel good films. - Willa Hope Image: Murray Lewis


Film 09

Concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

representations of race in american cinema

naomi rhodes

The ground-breaking medium of film has portrayed countless visual stories of African Americans fighting for rights, freedom and justice in the United States. Films such as Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner, Malcom X, Selma, 12 Years a Slave, 13th, and and I Am Not Your Negro are revolutionary films that give voices to historically silenced and marginalized black individuals and help raise awareness of the history of oppression and racism in America. But there is still a lack of adequate representation of race in today’s film industry. When cinema acts as art imitating life, shouldn’t we be more concerned with not only

the lack of diversity both on and behind the camera, but of the weak and stereotypical identities that are given to black characters in cinema? The majority of films that succeed in popular culture showcase a range of diverse stories, identities and lifestyles, but they are almost always represented by white characters. It is time for the industry to recognize race in film by acknowledging black filmmakers and stars, something the Oscars has often be criticized for. It seems that films with predominantly white casts are engineered to win academy awards. Films like La La Land have the best intentions, but the lack of diversity and cultural

awareness of black influences in relation to jazz is why it received so much backlash. It isn’t that films like La La Land are inherently bad, it’s that credit and acknowledgment of the cultural themes that are used in film need to be given or represented by the people from whom it originated from, instead of further exploiting elements of black culture and its history in order to represent white identities. The exclusion of diverse representations of black identities in cinema further alienates and segregates black people from society, and aids in distorting images that people of colour have of themselves. This is why representation is so integral, if film reflects real life issues, then sad representations of race in film is reflecting a world where black people only exist within problematic/ negative situations. As a person of colour, I not only speak for myself when I express how difficult it is to understand elements of my identity and cultural lifestyle in a world that is dominated by white imagery and white experiences. In order to fully utilise film as a progressive medium, it is time for more broad and complex representations of blackness in cinema, not only in terms of identity, but within cinematic genres. The majority of black films that make it into the mainstream are usually sad portrayals of slavery, oppression or urban

blaxplotation. Stories that tell of historic struggle for civil rights and freedoms are incredibly important, but it gives no room to explore contemporary black identities/issues or the way race intersects with emerging cultural matters. This is the reason why films such as Moonlight (2016) Hidden Figures (2016) and Get Out (2017) are so essential. Through the exploration of progressive and diverse genres they have been able to start new dialogue that investigates ideas about race through subversive storytelling that challenge dominant and historic notions of systematic racism that still exist today. Moonlight was able to challenge dominant media representations of black men and hyper masculinity by bravely exploring notions of race, gender, and sexuality within marginalized black communities. An increase of black representation and recognition in cinema will mean nothing unless there is an understanding of why these stories are so important. White audiences having vague feelings of white guilt whilst watching 12 Years a Slave isn’t a good enough understanding of racism. Guilt doesn’t help the process, but understanding how stories of historic oppression still effect the progression of black individuals and communities today will bring us closer to equality. Illustration: Dougie Dodds


10

Fashion

Liven up for Lent sophie chapman

W

ith Lent coming up, it’s that time of year when people focus on giving something up. So I’m going to tell you to just commit: Commit to a routine, to taking off your make-up, to double cleansing, and to not forgetting to moisturise your neck as well as your face. This falls perfectly into a motivational speech telling you not to give up on your New Year’s Resolution, which was only 2 months ago ergo worth sticking to. And with deadline season approaching it’s more important than ever to look after your skin as you stress about work, and drink too much alcohol to deal with the stress, and then stress some more because you shouldn’t have gone out last night. Finally, as we fall into spring all we want is clear dewy skin, and the ability to wear a lighter foundation so we don’t sweat the shit out of our Nars Sheer Glow or Revlon Colour Stay.

WikiCommons: Karen Arnolds

However, as important as that all is (and I’m not being sarcastic, I am an advocate of all of the above), my advice is to give something up for lent; to give up routine. Not a skincare routine, but the drab routine of wearing the same clothes and makeup everyday. Now, I know this isn’t the easiest thing to give up, with uni work constantly looming it is so easy to pick up the same t-shirt and jeans and wear the same make-up every day. But this constant changing is easier than you think, and might ease the monotonous routine of library, campus kitchen, bed. Firstly, you do not have to make big changes, just try out a different lipstick every day or swap your trainers more regularly. You don’t have to go out and spend loads of money on buying new shit; you can rummage through your wardrobe and find some oldies but goodies, swap clothes with

your housemates, or go for the ever popular DIY. My final piece of advice is planning your outfit the night before, which might sound lame, but it gives you more time to cherish sleep in the morning. I understand that not everyone wants to change their style so regularly, and if that’s the case then that’s fine, just ignore everything that I’ve just said. But if you’re like me and get bored very easily, then this is a friendly reminder that it can be quite easy to get out of a routine. And you can still look after you skin for lent, as the two can work together: the more often you wash your makeup brushes, the more often you can change your eye shadow colour.

“All we want is dewy skin and to not sweat the shit out of our Nars SheEr Glow”

for 40 days 1. Take off your make-up 2. Double-cleanse 3. Moisturise everywhere!

4. Wear something new 5. Try a different lipstick every day 6. Go shoe adventurous 7. Find some oldies but goodies at the bottom of your wardrobe 8. DIY a piece of clothing 9. Plan your outfits the night before 10. Change your eyeshadow colour


Fashion 11

Concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

dress for deadlines sophie bunce

D

eadlines suck, but your fashion doesn’t have to suffer because of them. As we focus in our final months of the year, we spend more time in the library than the LCR. So our clothing choices are bound to change. But what fashion fits the library? And how little effort can we put in? You’re stressed. You’re sad. You’re probably sleep deprived. Deadline week is the time to live in leggings. They are the nearest thing to pajamas you can get away with wearing in public and

Image: Emily Claridge

you’re allowed to make the most of it. But make sure they are thick enough, see through leggings are an embarrassment I’m sure you can live without. This means that you can wear your gym clothes like real clothes. Nike leggings are fashionable, right? They are incredibly comfortable and make you look put together. You are a person who has enough control over their life to go out and buy gym clothes. Well done. You don’t need to pretend you’re hitting the gym afterwards, hitting the books is more than enough exercise. As the deadline day draws closer, a pair of large sunglasses cover the fact that you’ve

been spending long hours in the library and getting far less sleep than you need. This also means that you can save time on eye makeup, (no one will know) and use it instead to make the coffee you so dearly need. Be careful though. As you glide into the library like a celeb in your glasses, other students might have questions if you keep them on inside.

is anything that makes you feel like you’re wrapped up in a blanket. You need the protection right now. No one needs to know how much of a mess you are underneath. You have a fashionable exterior and that’s enough. It will also keep you warm on your trips to and from the library for your food and coffee breaks. The SU shop is a long way away in the cold.

Finally, if you have a solid coat, you have an outfit. This allows you to put next to no effort into what you’re wearing. It could be something long, which is a glorified dressing gown. Or a fur coat to give you a touch of glamour and the pick me up you need. The criteria

It is difficult in deadline week to get dressed at all. When word counts and referencing are all you can think about, it is easy to fall into a pit of despair and stay in your duvet. So, if you get up and dressed, you’re already succeeding. Just remember your gym clothes, coat and sunglasses before you run to the library. Good luck.


12

Fashion

Pore Strips

Concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

harriet Griffiths

I

t’s 11pm. My flat mate has returned from a Boots run with a bright green packet filled with five gritty black rectangles that, she adamantly claims, completely free the pores around your nose of gunk and dirt, leaving your skin bright and cleansed. Having heard about these miraculous strips before (them being a Buzzfeed fad a few months back) I decline testing one, opting instead to buy a whole packet for myself in the near future. My other flatmates, however, had never heard of the things. Upon trying them out, after the shrieks of surprise when the strips were ripped off their nose, the results were overwhelmingly positive. ‘Ewww, look at all the gunk that was on my nose’, one friend announces. ‘Look at my face!!! Feel how soft’ another proclaims, preening in the mirror. These reactions are definitely not uncommon when it comes to the art of pore stripping. The effect is much like using hair waxing strips, but with a focus on cleansing the often-deep-set pores in the T- zone of the face (the nose, and between and above the eyebrows).

using in the same way you would any shop bought strips are just as fruitful, despite the shorter shelf life. It’s debatable as to whether this is worth the fuss – beauticians recommend only using these strips up to once a week. If a homemade concoction only has a life of about a month, how much use are you really going to get out of a mixture you make yourself? Let’s be real.

So why are pore strips so effective? The most popular ones at the moment use the active ingredient charcoal, which has been proven beneficial for drawing dirt out of clogged pores. I would advise perhaps not using them every day unless you can successfully pull off a stripey Rudolph-esque nose, but they’re great for those days when you can feel your face begging for a bit of a midweek lift. Plus, they’re a bit of a novelty, aren’t they? They certainly aren’t a necessary beauty item by any means, but using them is akin to the treatments you’d get at the sort of fancy spa, one that has mandatory mud baths and perfumed saunas followed by a dunk in the frozen lake out back. An exotic, if slightly insane, treat.

“Mandatory mud baths and perfumed saunas followed by a dunk in the frozen lake out back. An exotic, if slightly insane, treat.”

Of course, there is always the thriftier option of making your own. Combining heated milk, unflavoured gelatin and essential oil in a bowl and

DIY

1

. Mix a spoonful of milk (any kind wil work, skimmed, soya) and a spoonful of unflavoured gelatin in a container.

2 3 4

. Add any essential oils you would like for example lavender!

. Combine mixture thoroughly

. Microwave the mixture for 10 seconds, make sure it is warm but not hot before applying.

5

. Use a brush or your fingers to apply the mask across your face. Mostly focusing on the T zone or nose

6 7 8

. Wait for 10-20 minutes for the mixture to harden

. Starting from the outside peel off the mixture . Cleanse with cold water and moisturise


C O L LE C T - O - M

ect’ ke to ‘coll ou they li y s ll ical te p e ty n o eo stere When som envision a ly b ally a u b q e ro p u n of things, yo a selectio r o day li n o o h ti c lle m that o fr stamp co s e n o mething ing pinec rhaps, so e p uninterest r O . think a one time Secretly, I . d they had in m to or other, er comes something even crazi t c e ll o c ause it’s probably to it bec lot of us it m d a py, antips don’t little cree a but perha s a ty arding’; d by socie en as ‘ho se categorise e b n a television e, and c E’s reality & progressiv A in d e here). So exemplifi es everyw x o perfectly b s, e x t you like rders (bo admit tha show, Hoa to l’ s o o our friend xactly ‘c perhaps y it’s not e d n a t a s, g to thin f stuff th to get rid o holding on u o y t a e g but th t tried to anymore, se have even u y n a e v esn’t ha maybe do yway. you like an d ooks – an llecting b o c e k p li ou d kee it Perhaps y a book an y u b st ju mean you ean you read it. I I don’t m to e k g li u o like havin cause y cause you around be e b e ly ic re n u on a und p putting it keep it aro , it r t u a o y g atch (lookin cally to m ti it around is rt s a p a it rh et? Pe framing shelf, or the idea y g in d tt e e h c G re atta eme). ries that a colour sch o m e d m a e re nd of th u never you are fo even if yo , k o m o a b I r cting rticula e of colle to this pa is the typ is h T the more . is re o it anym rse, there u o r’s c f O out. f ‘collecto talking ab the form o in , re g a n ti t c l colle ings tha traditiona nerally th e g on ti c re n a ich hich fu items’ wh le, and w b ti c e ll o c be designed to rt of a set. a p n e h best w e) on next pag (Continued


LEWIS MU RRA Y BY

BY

ME LISSA

HA GGA R ILL USTRATION

Now I’m not saying you should go overboard with your collection or collecting, as ultimately this can be seen as a pointless consumerist activity, but that shouldn’t diminish the type of joy you achieve from

As long as you’re spending within your means (or perhaps your collection is comprised of free stuff like seashells from beaches around the world), then there is nothing to feel bad about. You don’t have to judge yourself based on other people’s opinions and if you want, and can afford, that vintage lunchbox then you go out and get it. After all, you might find that when you don’t need it anymore, it might make a nice gift for a friend, child, or loved one – heck, you could even go on one of those auction shows and make a profit. What are Beanie Babies going for these days?

ARTICLE

I myself am particularly fond of POP! Figures, and if you don’t like them, well, I’m sorry to say, you have no soul (also if you take them out of the box, what kind of fiend are you – the box is half the fun). It’s not exactly surprising, they make them in a range of styles, modelled after

it. Just because things aren’t necessarily ‘productive’ doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. We are not slaves to productivity, after all. What I’m trying to say is, just because someone may think your collection of mint-in-the-box Barbies, unique shoes, polaroid snaps, or Disney pins might be a little weird. It doesn’t have to diminish your affinity for them or make you feel guilty.

AN D

(Continued)

your favourite music groups, television show and film series characters in a particularly cute fashion. Star Wars, DC and The Walking Dead pops are particular favourites, catering to a wide variety of tastes and fuelling addiction. I also happen to have a substantial collection of EMPIRE magazines (from 2012) with a wide variety of ridiculous subscriber covers, and a growing collection of comic books or graphic novels and illustrations from some of my favourite female artists (and yes, of course they are framed, aint’ nobody got time for bent pictures).

#

7 3 3

PHOTOS

MANIA*


C. Writing 15

Concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

//  trip //  road// // // Tide Amelia Rentell

T

he first time i ever

held you, I felt like a God. I was older and wiser than the world, could feel the ocean roaring through my veins, hear the wind in my exhale. I could smell the earth on my skin. For you were my creation, alive, awake and unstoppable. Just for a moment. I suppose it could seem like all we had was the time it took for the train doors to close. The carriage is humming with anticipation like the way my toes trembled when your wide eyes met mine. If I hold my breath I can smell your skin. When I do eventually inhale, all I can sense is the coffee drowning the businessmen and women as they attempt to balance briefcase over boredom. It is the most disappointing thought I’ve had all morning. Always, I wish for one more second with you, to memorise more vividly the tiny birthmark you had beneath your right eye. ‘A kiss from God’, your mother would have called it. I would have agreed with whatever she said. The seat material is…ugly. There are swirls of green and spots of blue with lines of yellow in awkward positions but perhaps one day you’d have sighed and said ‘that’s fashionable, Dad’ or ‘whatever, I’m texting.’ I tap my fingers against the foldaway table and receive a look from the elderly woman opposite. I can’t help but let myself wonder whether you’d inherit my habits, my imperfections. No. You’d be like your mother. It’s dark now but it’ll be okay. There’s light in the distance and it comes in the form of two beams. The almighty speed that they travel is exciting and I feel a small bead of sweat between my shoulder blades. But it’s all over as soon as it begun and the eyes in the darkness have passed before I ever really got to appreciate them. We’re out of the tunnel. The train jiggles and irritated clearings of throats follow. There’s a man reading the autobiography of a famous sportsman and he flicks the pages with a vigor that’s distracting. Flick, flick, flick. And then those flicks are louder than any other noise in the carriage and the ocean in my veins is a tsunami in my ears and my lungs are drowning in thoughts I do not want, of sounds I cannot un-hear and then there is a ringing. One note. Your final note. I hear blissful silence as we pull into another station. It has a scattering of people all uninterested in each other’s lives. A lady with a hat the colour of regret is fussing around her bags and has not noticed that her dog has wrapped its way through her legs and will be sure to ruin her shiny shoes. Two men sit oblivious to each other across from the ticket machine. One has a brighter briefcase and a more expensive watch but both share a downturned expression. It is unfair that your nine breaths won’t span three generations and I know the thought made your mother weep for much longer than nine days but as the carriage moves away and the doors slide shut, I feel a whisper of air glide across my unshaven face and even that small wisp gives me shivers. Just like you did.

This Long Road Sandra Tse The streetlights were sparse now as they hurtled past clamps of skeletal trees and pasture fields. The engine droned in its lulling voice in the silence as the road stretched on ahead with no end in sight. ‘But where are we going?’ Kyla checked her rear-view mirror. The view behind them was identical to that in front, as if the whole world was just a giant hamster wheel. ‘We’re going on a road trip. And don’t lick your fingers,’ she chided. Tommy screwed his eyebrows together and reluctantly returned his sugar-coated fingers to his pocket, his mind still revolving back to the candy that had disappeared half an hour ago. ‘What is a road trip?’ Tommy had been blissfully preoccupied for the past two hours with the bag of candy Kyla had taken last-minute from the back of the kitchen cupboard. Now, however, the entire bag of red and yellow sweets had disappeared into Tommy’s four-year-old body, and he was hungry for more attention. Already the sugary smell was dispersing. The stench of cigarettes came back again, as if it had been crouching there all along, biding its time to retake its rightful place. Kyla slammed down hard on the accelerator. ‘It means we’re going to visit grandpa and grandma,’ she said, remembering Tommy’s question belatedly. ‘You would like that, wouldn’t you?’ ‘We are going to Ed-eee-brahh.’ ‘Edinbrugh,’ she said.


Concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk this long road cont.

16

C. Writing

It seemed they’ve been stuck in the same place all this time. Here rolling pass the window was more trees and weathered signs marking middle-of-nowhere. Kyla’s heart ached at the sight. As she stared at the road ahead she saw again images of her childhood. The bleak, snowy winters in Scotland, the chilly air that cling to your skin as if wanting to peel it away. She had left the moment she was done with school. And now she was rushing back with headlong speed. ‘It would be like Christmas,’ Tommy suggested intelligently, fingering his two front teeth. Kyla steadied her grip on the steering wheel, trying to reel in her thoughts. ‘That’s right. Like Christmas.’ ‘When are we coming back?’ Tommy put his hands into his pockets again, to show that he was a good boy. But to his distress, Kyla wasn’t looking. He repeated, ‘When are we coming back?’ When? The word crushed on Kyla. She burned to be back in London, where the Thames moving languidly in the golden sunlight, the pattering rain throwing a misty haze over the glittering red, emerald and sapphire lights, the beating heart of Britain, and that gleaming brand of silver she’d thrown without a second look into the trash… This was what all of that had amounted to. Returning to that same cold, dull place, forsaking London, forsaking everything she’d built on for the past five years and Sean, the Sean she’d loved with his cursed cigarettes and throaty voice, was lost amongst the bustling streets. Her parent’s reproach rang back at her from half a decade ago, ‘But when are you coming back?’ ‘Soon,’ she said to Tommy, barely hearing herself. All of it had amounted to nothing. She wasn’t needed anywhere, after all. Her five years in London was nothing but a protracted road trip. Her heart beat low in her chest, as if it too longed to settle down somewhere, burrow into the ground and never come back up again. She looked up habitually at the rear-view mirror. Tommy was visible at its corner, smiling up at her expectantly as he sucked on fingers coated with sugar.

ThomasLiam Heitman-Rice

Y

ou are half a world away, out of reach and out of sight, and yet you never really left. You have always been with me, alive and bold in my heart over the year that has passed since I last held your hand. Its warmth whispers upon my skin like hot silk, light, luxuriant, soft. In memory I have immortalised you and the distance of sea and land between us does nothing to obscure the splendour of your silly smile – we stand on separate continents and yet I have you right beside me. You came into my life like a firework, a dazzling thunderclap of colour and vitality. My head spinning with the energy of the music, tingling as the tequila began to surge into my legs, I twirled into you beneath the Sircuit Bar’s frenetic spasm of flashing lights. Propelled by the electricity of the room I was thrown into a sparkling world of colour, and shining brightest of all was the flower necklace exploding across your shoulders! You wore it with such goofy assurance, resplendent in your charming ridiculousness. Fluid, dynamic, and almost entirely bereft of grace, you were a stunning flare of colour I was soon to fall in love with. I miss our green and golden days in Melbourne. I miss that paradise of splendours at the edge of the desolate, sunburnt rock we call Australia. In that city of broad, inviting streets and Victorian majesty – the extraordinary towers, the whip of wind hurtling down Flinders Street, alive with the happy clank and chatter of passing trams, the symphonic tapestry of sounds bustling out of cafes and malls – I found my spiritual home. Never have I been happier than in this tide of the unplanned, the unexpected, the magic of spontaneous friendships. My freedom here was glorious! I had beneath my curious feet a new metropolis to stride across, a sky brighter and vaster than I had known before! The world was mine and I was surfing through it, foraging through the cheap Vietnamese restaurants, through the decadent silence of the State Library and the richness of its shelves, gliding atop the Technicolor wave of Brunswick Street. Melbourne is where I belong. And I belong to you. I am yours, to recreate in the thin blue dance of words scrawled across my letters, in the giggling textures of our phone calls… and I shall always be sat with you on that bench by the Yarra River. My legs wrapped in yours, my chin rested on your shoulder as I kiss your ear and squeeze your arm, this moment preserved in a strange veil of infinity. I feel ageless and out of time, drawing out every minute we share watching the sparkling crystal perfume of the river flow past, an endless churning flow that cares nothing for us, oblivious and happily blind. Your fingers are warm in mine and I tremble with joy. A year has passed. That glorious city, the winding beachfront streets of St. Kilda and its jewelled sunsets, the heat singing on your skin, the sun, the fabulous sun, bright white clouds aglow in Disney skies – a world of light and colour. And lining the horizon of this sunny Eden is a flower necklace.


C. Writing 17

Concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

Are We There Yet?Shannon Lewis justone spentdeaf four hours cooped up in a car. Mikey doesn’t believe in service stations. He says they make you oneI have blind, — gus edgar

weak. An hour and a half ago, we stopped at the roadside so I could squat like an ¬animal. He tutted at me. I ask Binded by me blinded I fell behind did I, dead eye. him how much longer to go. He has me pull out a paper map from the compartment between our seats and calls Dead eye disclosed this exposed globe close to closed, I sigh. out a coordinate. 52 N, 1 W. No clue how he knows that. I drag my finger across the crinkled paper. Nottingham. On my watch the world watches whirled wishwashes, I wish. I push my face up against the glass and spot a road sign. Wishing days stopped to stop daze and glaze my eyes glazed, it’s pish. Why the fuck are we in Nottingham? I count as a cunt, can’t canter, see I see my stupid stupor, my eyes sear. He doesn’t answer. Sear the lively life I’ve loved and lived here, Hear, Hear! At least I can hear. Why the fuck have you driven us this way? It’s literally in the opposite direction from where we’re going. His grip on the steering wheel has gotten tighter. The skin over his knuckles stretches white. But he’s giving __________________ me a shit-eating grin. Thought we could take the scenic route. Deafened I defend dead-ends of death, detest this test I attest. Are you fucking kidding me? Movies move me move out of mouths licks lips and lapse, into unrest. Oh come on, Soph. Lighten up. This is fun. Silence in islands of white wight noise annoys quite quiet I riot, and rot. Fun my arse. Rot away and weighed down way down in doubt for grotty ears I forgot. Mikey wrings his hands around the steering wheel. He laughs. He has dimples when he laughs. Like Dad did. We Muffled my muscles ache and ate til gone, the shrill gong is knotted not for me. pass another sign. I find us on the map. We’re going even further North. For me it wavers like waves that weave I bereave in the sea; at least I can see. Fuck’s sake. You’re lost, aren’t you? We’re supposed to be going Southwest. He’s still smiling. I throw the map back in the compartment and begin searching for signs. Finally, I spot a return. Get in your left lane. I just thought… Mikey, get in the fucking left lane. We’re going the wrong way. He opens his mouth, then closes it again. He turns his left turn signal on. I sigh and lean back in my seat. No wonder Mum wanted me to come along on this trip. Mikey is absolutely useless. Probably why he didn’t get in to Uni. I glance over at him as a pang of guilt moves up my stomach to my throat. I feel mean. The skin around his knuckles is stretched so thin it looks like it could crack. I turn to face the window. It’s one of those soggy days. Everything–the ground, the sky, the clouds–is grey. I open Google Maps. Norwich to Cornwall is a six-and-a-halfhour journey. Mikey added two hours to our trip. Twat. I consider rolling down the window. The second I think that, it begins pissing outside. I hate this fucking country sometimes. I know I’m supposed to be entertaining the driver, or whatever, but I’m feeling foul. I lean my head against the window and close my eyes. I wake up to find we’ve stopped at a petrol station. Mikey is inside, paying. I stretch my arms. My breath is awful. I find a road sign and pull out the map. We’re finally going the right way. I notice something else in the compartment. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. Mikey and I loved that book. Dad used to read it to us. It was our favorite game. Robin and his Merry Men playing in Sherwood Forest. I smile. As I’m rearranging the items in the compartment, I notice a red mark on the map. Mikey circled something in pen. Up North, near where we were. Sherwood Forest. I’m a twat. Mikey comes back. I stuff the map back into the compartment, hiding the book. Mikey’s smiling, but his eyes look distant. He puts the key in the ignition. Ready to head off to Cornwall? The car purrs. Mikey pulls on his seatbelt. Actually, I was wondering if we had time to see Stonehenge. It’s a little out of the way, but I’ve never been. Mikey smiles. He hands me a pack of Walkers he picked up for me in the shop. Yeah, Soph. Of course we can. I’d really like that. Mikey pulls out of the petrol station. His grip on the steering wheel loosens. Color floods back to his knuckles.

Of That SocietyJulian Ignacio Canlas

Illustrations by Hugo Douglas-Deane

photographs by hugo douglas-deane

of fish-scaled rooftops, of houses as gold, of rusty shopfronts, of tattooed buildings, of matte surroundings, of retail mayhem in Christmas, of customers hanging their clothes inside-out, of customers who treat waiters like unshelled lobsters, of caretakers cleaning you-know-what, of teachers dealing with juvenile shit, of under-appreciated youth, of fishing for compliments, of train-watching from cliffs, of seamen wearing blue and old ladies in beige, of soldiers eating cakes, of women cutting their hair short, of summer grilling, of drinking like bulging clouds, of the lush neon, of cruising yachts, of sunset, of tar, of the moon like a Gorgon stare, of that callous touch, of skin worn to impress, of heels denting cement, of lip-licking, of dirt and moisture, of deaths turned into empires.


Gaming 19

Concrete.gaming@uea.ac.uk

A BITTER AUTOPSY PICKING APART THE SHREDS OF MY LOST CHILDHOOD KIRSTY MCALPINE I feel like no one has noticed that Spyro died a pretty miserable death. The first Spyro title, Spyro the Dragon, debuted in September 1998. The adorable purple dragon flew onto our screens, simple and fun for any audience. The challenges were simple and the enemies two dimensional, but it was an excellent instalment and the start of a truly brilliant game series. Just over a year later in November 1999, Spyro: Ripto’s Rage was a hit after the initial success of Spyro the Dragon. This new instalment built so much on the initial template. Interactable NPCs were introduced, breathing life into the masses of new realms one could explore. Minigames were introduced, and new bosses added a fun challenge. Less than a year later in October of the year 2000, the third Spyro game, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and one of my favourite games of all time, soared onto our PlayStation. Then it went downhill. Reluctant to “keep churning out the same titles,” publisher Insomniac Games (yes, the creators of all the Ratchet and Clank games) sold the franchise on. And thus began the Spyro spiral into IP hell. He never had a chance. Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

began with high expectations. A huge world was designed by keen and passionate game creators. New features, new levels, new allies, and a complex and enjoyable story was produced by Check Six Games. It was all set to be an incredible instalment and a reinvigoration of the Spyro series. Yes, Spyro was in good hands. Until the directors of the project demanded that the title would be finished in less than half of the time they had planned. As a result, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly was rushed out onto store shelves in November 2002 after less than a year of production. The vast expanse of game was snipped down to around 10 basic realms, garbled with glitches and impossible, untested mini-games. It was prone to crashing, struggling under the weight of graphics that with only a few more months of work might have met even basic standards for a 2002 PlayStation game. A project with such good intentions failed on every front. Spyro tanked, spurned by previous fans, and struggled in the mire of what could have been. But not all was lost. Another developer soon swept up the dying remains of the Spyro franchise. Eurocom strode onto the scene, cape rippling behind them, and breathed life into

Image credits: Wikicommons, Mr.Ajedrez

the Spyro series. Briefly. Released in November 2004 for the Playstation 2, Spyro: A Hero’s Tail was a graphical masterpiece, plugged full of diverse and exciting realms, NPCs, and mini-games. Gnasty Gnorc was yanked from his 2D appearance in the first title and fleshed out as a returning figure with a hilarious appearance in a Hero’s Tail. It was, in all, a solid experience. But it wasn’t Spyro. Moneybags, a fan favourite, had gone from a posh, well-dressed, and dry-humoured bear to an awkwardly vaguely foreign, randomly Persian, stereotypically painful and an honestly racist character. The only female character was a vibrant pink dragon embellished with a love-heart collar (yes, a collar), whose only purpose was to follow Spyro around, begging him to marry her. The only other male playable dragon was Spyro’s own model, shrunk slightly and coloured orange. Portals were removed, severely limiting the amount of realms to two or three per home world, and most of the charm that had made Spyro so great was lost. To be clear: it was a good game. But it wasn’t Spyro, and it did not quite reach the standards set by the original trilogy. And so the franchise passed hands again. It was the final nail in the coffin. The shuffling, Frankenstein-

esque corpse of the Legend of Spyro shambled onto our consoles. I myself purchased the game, excited to see where the new trilogy would lead, and turned the game off after minutes of play. While Elijah Wood excitingly voiced Spyro in this new reboot, that was perhaps the only good thing I could recall. I probably should have twigged the appalling nature of the reboot when I noticed that Sparx, a dragonfly that accompanied Spyro on his travels, had a six pack. Then the gameplay began. The simple style of Spyro gameplay, a focus on exploration and games with enemies forming a mere obstacle, had changed completely. The game was now completely about Capcom-style combat. Waves of enemies flooded cut off stages of the game, each with their own health bar (seriously, is that what Krome Studios thought Spyro needed?), and Spyro had to do combos of attacks in order to kill them. It tanked, and now he’s a Skylander. Whenever I mention Spyro with new people, I might hear an excited “Oh my God! I love Spyro! What happened to that game? Did they ever make more?” I just shake my head. If only you knew.


Concrete.gaming@uea.ac.uk

Coming SOON! It’s going to be a Grrrreat gaming year

Charlie Nicholson It’s fair to say the hype-train’s taking pretty good care of 2017’s big releases. Twitter’s amuck with Andromeda; Facebook’s sprawling with Prey; and I’ve found myself waking to Breath of the Wild livestreams while my own, precious boxed copy awaits my Easter-homecoming. So to (ahem) switch things up, I want to focus on some of those quieter soon-to-hatch titles. And…y’know…because I need to escape the urgent pull of Zelda… Little Nightmares: 28 April (PS4, XONE, PC) If Playdead’s Inside had you hankering for a bit more bleakery, Little Nightmares might just accommodate your angst. Imprisoned within the Tim Burtonesque ‘Maw’, players guide kid heroine ‘Six’ through a series of side-scrolling challenges, evading deformed, story book style monsters. While controls seem relatively straightforward, it’s the pseudo-stop-motion aesthetic that takes the cake, leaving its freaky inhabitants feeling disquietingly authentic.

RiME: ‘May’ 2017 (PS4, XONE, SWITCH, PC) After a storm leaves you shipwrecked, you’re left to explore a mysterious island, using your wits to navigate an expansive, unforgiving realm. Evoking the explorative challenges of The Last Guardian against a vibrant, Windwakerish art-style, RiME invites players to explore intricate, ancient civilisations chock full of ciphers, secrets and beasts. And gargantuan bat-chickens, apparently. Shovel Knight – Spectre of Torment: March 2017 (PS4, XONE, PC, SWITCH, WII U) It’s not technically a fullrelease, but Yacht Club’s upcoming expansion of their winsome NES style offers enough content to deserve a mention. Introducing newly constructed levels, new characters and freshly ghoulish storyline, players will take to Shovel’s original world as the snarky scythe wielder himself. Described by The Completionist as ‘Sonic meets Ninja Gaiden’, ol’ Spec may prove the most challenging add-on yet. Skylar and Plux: March 2017 (PS4, XONE, PC) Through ravishing-remaster or spiritual successor, 2017’s looking to be the year the 3D-platformer re-emerged, and Skylar and Plux remains amongst my recommended for those on the lookout goodhonest nineties to noughties nostalgia. Balancing knowing humour comparable to Ratchet and Clank with Banjo’s double protagonist playstyle, this adventure platformer wouldn’t look out of place at a PlayStation Pep Rally.

20 Gaming

How did you discover gaming?

Everyone has a different story... what’s yours? yaiza canopoli It’s my eighth birthday and everyone is having a good time. We are innocent 90’s kids with no knowledge of technology. Then the English girl I invited pulls out a Nintendo DS and starts showing off her puppies in the Nintendogs universe. That’s how everything started; in a tiny German town full of old people, the only way anyone found out about new things was through the kids of the guys from the British military base. Fast-forward a few months, and my dad calls me and my brother into his office. There it is in the corner: a Playstation 2! We had begged and begged to get one and had always heard ‘no’ for an answer, yet there it was. It was the beginning of my virtual life.

like washing dishes. Amazing! Then, I find Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and of course I whine until my dad buys me both. Around this time my parents decide to rent a little apartment so my brother and I can be closer to them while they both work fulltime. This apartment consists of three exciting things: an armchair that can be rolled over to do circus gymnastics on, a TV, and our Playstation. 2005 is followed by intense Singstar battles, swearing at the enemy in Star Wars Battlefront II, and getting scared by Professor Snape while sneaking past him. In conclusion: good times.

Another few days pass and we’re in the centre of a bigger town in a shop called Expert, browsing Playstation 2 games. My brother picks up something, and I stumble across Sims. Not Sims 2 or anything fancy like that, just plain Sims. I read the description: ‘Lebe das Leben’. Live the life! The possibility of making your own characters do really basic shit Image credits: Flickr, Pikawil. Wikicommons, Evan-Amos


Gaming 21

Concrete.gaming@uea.ac.uk

Reviewing Harvest moon DS i hope you’re ready to grind Kirsty Mcalpine If you enjoyed Stardew Valley, there’s a lot about Harvest Moon that you’ll also enjoy. You know, because they’re the same game, but Harvest Moon is about 10 years older. That’s not to say that Stardew isn’t good it’s a solid title – just, if you enjoyed Stardew, then you’ll enjoy Harvest Moon. If you haven’t played Stardew, then the rest of this review is for you. Specifically, Harvest Moon DS. Harvest Moon DS hit store shelves in 2005, offering an absolutely enormous gaming experience. In fact, you could easily sink 500 hours into this title. The goal of the game is to collect ‘Harvest Sprites’, tiny critters unlocked by reaching certain goals, like clicking A on the well in the village, getting married, or, say, shipping 50,000 items. I did say this could potentially be 500 hours. I’m not joking. My cartridge reached 800 before it packed it, but that was probably because it was fake. You can build and upgrade your house and farm, offering many new opportunities of crops to grow, products to manufacture, and livestock to keep. You are set free in a moderately sized map full of various NPCs with their own personalities, schedules, and ‘friendship’ events which

contribute score.

to

your

farm

Achieving the top farm rating, i.e. the Farm Supreme God, requires you to amass a farm score of 1,000,000,000. Easy! Considering the highest amount of points you can earn in one go is 500 for getting married, a one-time event that is achieved after days and days of work. Most achievements only earn 1 point each. I think the highest I ever got was apprentice, which was less than 10,000 points. This game expects you to put in some seriously hard work. You can even get married and wait several in-game months to have a child! There are five ‘normal’ bachelorettes (but seriously, how rude), and four ‘special’ girls, as well as a few extras unlocked if you have Harvest Moon in your GBA slot. In order to get married to one of these gorgeou ladies, you need to raise their affection to a red heart, have upgraded your home, bought a blue feather, own a big bed, and have saved 60 harvest sprites. More if you want to marry a magical girl. Allow me to give you an example. To marry Keria, the sleeping beauty who resides on the bottom floor of the mine, you need to visit her every day and give her gifts. You need to visit her every day on the 255th floor of the third

mine (having unlocked the first and second mine), and give her a gift every day. This princess’ favourite gift – and the fastest way to earn her love – is by giving her golden lumber. Golden lumber costs 100,000 gold pieces each. For perspective, a turnip ships for 60 G. The required level of ‘friendship points’ to marry is 60,000, and a golden lumber would elicit 800 points to the princess if supplied every day. So, the minimum amount of days required to trawl down to the 255th floor (provided you don’t drop unconscious on the way from fatigue) is 75 in-game days. However, since you’re probably not insane enough to attempt that, you might try giving her ‘normal’ items for 500 friendship points each and spending 120 in-game days on winning her love. Or 300 friendship point gifts for 200 days of pure misery to win the heart of a sleeping princess who never actually wakes up even if you marry her.

she was a bit of a bitch. To add to the complexity of this incredible game, there’s an actual in-game calendar crammed full of festivals, NPC’s birthdays, and your own birthday. You can get involved with and contribute to the community by taking part in festivals, and earn the affection of your neighbours if you win games and competitions. Excitingly, provided that your birthday doesn’t fall on a festival, NPCs will come and offer you cake. If your birthday falls on a festival, everyone forgets you exist. Despite its somewhat early nature, Harvest Moon DS offers a massive ecosystem of friends and family, rivals and lovers, and ultimately hundreds and hundreds of hours. Seriously, hours.

hundreds

of

Overall, despite the rigorous nature of the game, I would heartily recommend To even begin to court Harvest Moon. Grinding is the Witch, you have to the nature of JRPGs, and have donated a toadstool Harvest Moon does it so well. to the harvest festival for It’s the kind of game you at least five years, which, can pick up and put down since toadstools are difficult whenever you want due to to attain, would probably its simplicity, and honestly require an even longer a game that will never end playtime. for you. It’s so satisfying to achieve new heights on Needless to say, I just Harvest Moon, and, despite settled for Lumina because this being a super retro she was normal and easy and review, I still think it holds lived next door, even thoughBackground: up as a solid Brian experience. Ochalla (Flickr)


Image Credit: Wikipedia, Eigenes Werk.

‡ MSLFIKWN‡ ‡ JFRTYUIOPE‡ ‡Passion FOR PAUL ‡ []ASDF‡ ytu‡ ‡ ZXCVB‡ JZXC‡ ‡ NMLPE‡ VBNM ‡ GRFUIK‡ AMPQA ‡ TYOPSAD‡ URKQS ‡ FGHXCVBNMWE‡ TONY ALLEN

By my last count, I own 12 different versions of Paul Weller’s ‘From the Floorboards Up’, one for each year of the song’s existence. Studio versions, radio sessions, official live recordings, bootlegs (shhhh), remixes? Check, check, check, check, check. Each no longer than three minutes, with the same lyrics, the same chords, and broadly the same musicians. So why? Why do I bother? Why am I so proud of this? Well, I’m here to explain why it’s cool to be passionate. Being passionate instantly connects you to other nerds. I’ve had plenty of brilliant conversations with fellow fans both online and in person, where we share an unbreakable bond of years spent immersing ourselves in Weller’s music and committing to memory every little piece of information we can lay our hands on. Even if you’re not passionate about the same subject, you’ll still understand.

As you can tell by now, music is my thing and the culture of attention to detail helps you nowhere more than at a gig. You have an idea of what’s next, what guitar each band member is going to use, and you can enjoy it accordingly and really appreciate that extra one percent the artist may (or may not) be giving.

Brilliantly, nowadays being passionate needs nothing to do with money. Sure, I’ll admit to once having spent a week’s food budget on a rare Japanese version of one of my favourite albums (sorry Mum)- Andy Lewis’ seminal You Should Be Hearing Something Now, if you’re curious. But the advent of YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and other unlimited streaming services makes it free or very cheap to seek out remixes, rarities and live versions to your heart’s content. The only thing you must invest is your time. Of everything my Dad has

taught me, I will take away two things above all else: the first being the copy of Weller’s Hit Parade he thrust into my uninterested young hands; the second being this sage advice: “It doesn’t matter what you’re into, within reason, as long as you’re passionate about it. You’ve always got to be passionate about something.”

My admiration for Paul Weller is enormous. Everyone who knows me, knows that he is my role model. It’s undeniable that Weller is a part of who I am, his music has shaped me since the age of eight. So, it’s natural that I’m going to have picked up more knowledge than your passing admirer by nineteen. And I’m not ashamed of his helping to mould my character. I embrace it and I’m proud of it. If you also owe someone in a similar way, whether you are best friends or have never met, you too should be proud and wear their influence on your sleeve. Write about

them, put them in your Twitter bio, talk about them to anyone who’ll listen. It was your choice, and you’re not carbon copies. Deciding to adopt certain choice traits doesn’t make you any less you and there’s nothing wrong with it.

No matter what you might think, being passionate has never been uncool per se. You can be just as much of a nerd riding a Vespa and wearing a Fred Perry polo and Sta-Prest Levis as someone who collects figurines, or cosplays. Venue is after all an arts supplement, and passion is the one thing integral across all the arts. Anyway, we’re all slaves to capitalism for our 90 years or so, so when you find something you love you may as well bloody well get into it.


Television 23

Concrete.Television@uea.ac.uk

Oldie But goldie

Melissa Haggar While characteristics such as narcissistic, misanthropic and bitter might lead your mind to conjure up another famous figure, we are indeed referring to everyone’s beloved sarcastic, sociopathic surgeon, Dr Gregory House – not the melted orange wax work. Although House (Hugh Laurie) often earned the ire of all who worked under him, above him, or even those who worked in Oncology – sorry Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) – he still managed to worm his way into

House M.D.

our hearts. And we are not talking about tapeworms. House’s methods were ultimately highly unconventional, sometimes illegal and almost always insensitive, but they worked and that is what really made him a rather excellent doctor, even if he was, well, a dick. But boy, oh boy, were his cases entertaining. Carrying him along throughout the series was his team,

starting with the originals: Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Foreman (Omar Epps), alongside Wilson and Cuddy, then continuing with season-four-middlers Taub, Kutner and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde); and finishing with the end-of-the-roaders Adams and Park, with a spot of Martha Masters. All of them completely wacky and possessing some seriously mind-blowing storylines (looking at you, Amber). House may have taught us many things, like – do not crash your car into your boss’s living room, your best friend will hate

you (temporarily) if you indirectly kill his girlfriend, drug addiction is not cool, do not stick your unwanted knife in a plug socket (also a great metaphor) and always decorate your cane with bad-ass flames. But if one will forever stick out in our mind until the end of time it will be the resounding conclusion that it is never lupus. Except that one time when it is. Ultimately, House is eight seasons of pure railroad medical fun that is both thought-provoking and enjoyable. Image Credit: Lucy Caradog

Iron Fist Everybody will be kung fu fighting

Charlie Nicholson After a childhood jetaccident strands him in the mountains for fifteen years, the presumed-dead heir to Rand Enterprises returns to New York to find his family business has been purloined by childhood friends. Trained in martial arts with an ancient force of energy on his side (accompanied by a killer chest-tattoo), it is not long until he is tearing it up with luminous fists-of-fury. Marvel is getting its Kung Fu on. Welcome, Danny Rand. While Iron Fist’s trailers demonstrate the tonal grit of

previous Marvel shows, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the saga is each series’ ability to reflect different genres alongside their source material. Where Daredevil launched the party with the split-personality vigilantism and reams of self-questioning familiar to the conventional ‘superhero flick’, Jessica Jones went noticeably darker in its psychological characterstudies. Luke Cage brought some fun with its too cool for school exchanges and 80’s cop movie aesthetic. Though it is obvious Rand occupies the same world of mob-leaders

and corporate corruption as his counterparts, snippets of stylised action suggest we might see Iron Fist touch Bruce Lee terrain. Rand’s origin within 1970’s martial arts hero trends only strengthens that notion. The introduction of kickass accomplice Colleen Wing is amongst the most exciting part of the trailer. Though she is shown briefly up close-and-personal with Danny, actor Jessica Henwick stated Wing ‘doesn’t want to be anyone’s love interest and open herself up in that way’

possibly pointing to deeper character conflicts that will be interesting to see unfold. Madame Gao implies she will oppose Rand in some way, but whether or not she is the BigBad remains unclear. In the comics, Danny’s harnessedpower sees jealous student Davos attempt to absorb it as the masterful Steel Serpent, and the inclusion of the supervillain’s insignia is certainly intriguing. Does the symbol just represent Gao’s drug biz, or might we see Davos rear his envious head?

Image Credit: Murray Lewis


Concrete.television@uea.ac.uk

24

Grace and Frankie Rachel Innes Grace and Frankie is a gem of a sitcom that centres on the titular characters of two women in their seventies whose husbands suddenly announce that they are leaving them. For each other. Whilst Robert and Sol are finally able to be openly together after twenty years of secrecy, newly single Grace and Frankie must figure out how to adjust to their new lives. When they decide to live together in their shared beach house, they have to learn how to co-exist without throttling one another, which results in endless hilarity, because, duh. Following the two women trying to work out how to be happy on their own is a joy to watch. Grace is uptight and incredibly put-together, struggling with her age and trying to stay relevant following her retirement from the cosmetics industry. Frankie is the polar opposite, a hippie art teacher who can often be found either with her bong, or making up a batch of her homemade yam lube. Though the show focuses on Grace and Frankie, we also get to follow Robert and Sol, who are trying to balance their happiness together with their guilt over betraying their wives, and the couples’ four grown kids who are trying to understand the sudden shift in their family dynamic. It is, at times, delightfully filthy. However, as quickly as it often ascends to its levels of absurdity, it can come

Witty, light-hearted and utterly unique

crashing back down and hit you with a surprising amount of poignancy. Grace and Frankie are women who have their stability and happiness pulled out from under them at a late age, and the show often highlights how ignored older women are by society, including their own families. Season three will hit our laptop screens via Netflix March 24th and looks to be just as out-there as the previous two, with the main focus being Grace and Frankie’s new business: Vibrators for older women with arthritis. This new career choice follows one of the last scenes of season two, in which the pair share the news with their families. When Grace’s daughter Mallory questions how she will explain to her daughter that her ‘grandma makes sex toys for other grandmas,’ Grace passionately yells, ‘We’re making things for people like us, because we’re sick and tired of being dismissed by people like you.’ Frankie’s well-timed ‘Mic drop’ only adds to the glory of this scene as the pair then strut out the room in slow-motion. I am telling you, guys, this show is a gift. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are both at their absolute best in this show, and Tomlin as the eccentric Frankie is one of my favourite comedic performances of all time. The whole cast is made up of actors

Image Credit: Ella Finch

with some of the best comedic timing around and their chemistry with one another is always great. The first two seasons are easily binge-able, and overall it is just a witty, light-hearted show, that is totally unique and quite unlike anything else on television or streaming at the moment.

So, I sincerely hope that the next time you want a break from looming deadline hell, you will consider giving this delight of a show a go, and maybe get something a little wonderful out of it. As Frankie says in an early episode, ‘I gained another pound today. But I think it was a pound of knowledge.’


Television 25

Concrete.television@uea.ac.uk

25 years of TV Tv has undergone a complete metamorphosis

Harriet griffiths 25 years of TV. Totally doable. I will just start with the early eighties and work my way up, right? Imagine my tangible surprise when I was informed that the last 25 years do not, actually, include the eighties. I think I am getting old. Or maybe I am just really terrible at maths (stick to the languageing Hattie). From 1992, TV has pretty much undergone a complete metamorphosis, touching and expanding on every possible genre, from supernatural family thrillers to unscripted buddy comedies. For me, possibly because this was around the time I was a kid growing up, the beginning of the new millennium was

the dawn of child-centric programming. CBBC shows were something playing in the background during breakfast, and would be the first thing on after school. Sure I played outside and had friends, but Tracy Beaker’s mum could come and pick her up from the Dumping Ground at any time, and I needed to be there watching in case it happened. Where would Auntie Mabel take Pippin in her polka dot plane next? Was Mona the Vampire really on to something when she battled literal monsters, or did she just have a vivid imagination? Ah, the noughties were a golden age for children’s television.

Image Credit: Ella Finch

The

nineties

truly saw the rise of the American sitcom; Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World and Wings dominated ratings, influencing a huge spawning of shows starring quirky twenty-somethings carving their own peculiar paths through modern life. As meaningless as these shows seemed on the surface, their message was nevertheless clear - individuality is the new fitting-in, and there is no such thing as a screwup. Being able to afford a gigantic trendy apartment on a chef’s salary is also, apparently, really easy. As well as this influx of situational comedies, TV also took on a more selfdeprecating theme. Perhaps influenced by the tonguein-cheek Brady Bunch film released in 1995, cartoons and shows depicting the not-so-perfect American nuclear family happened, with comedies like Family Guy and That 70’s Show. The messages of these? Do not believe what you see on TV. Or maybe, inside our private home spaces, families are all as dysfunctional as each other. Where will TV

take us next? Praise be to the invention of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon – entire TV seasons spanning decades are a click away. The benefits of this are numerous, but the one that struck me first is this. You may have noticed that the shows I have talked about are all Anglo-American focussed. Aside from a few exceptions, this is what I, and probably most of you, all grew up with. The expansion of online streaming now enables us to watch more shows that we probably would not have been able to get hold of otherwise. Absolutely first class foreign language shows like The Returned, Skam and The Bridge have encountered much deserved mainstream success. Perhaps what is so relevant about the last 25 years of television is its timeless quality. I would not bat an eyelid watching an entire season of Seinfeld like it had just been released last week. The comedy, the references, the toe-curling romantic scenes are all still so relevant and fresh that watching 20 years in the future does not seem outdated in the slightest, although it may be a different story for a nineties kid watching a programme from the 1970s. It is funny how entertainment seems to work that way.


Music 27

Concrete.Music@uea.ac.uk

NEW RELEASES ALICE MORTIMER Gang Signs & Prayer Stormzy

The eagerly-awaited debut from grime prince Stormzy (Michael Omari) sees him truly crowned king. Gang Signs & Prayer is an eclectic mix of grace and guts, with gospel-tinged R&B flawlessly entwined with hard chart bangers. The 23-year-old has proved himself as more than just grime’s hero but as a vital musician – “All my young black kings, rise up man, this is your year” (‘Cold’). Poignant yet unpretentious soulful moments appear completely candid, often executed with previously scarce singing efforts - “Man thought that Stormzy couldn’t sing”.

Dom clarke Underwaterall EP Bearcubs

Bearcubs’ EP Underwaterfall is sonically interesting, with an array of different textures ranging from electronic pop beats to steal drums. But do not fall for believing the EP is your standard electronic pop, as fans of his previous work will still find enjoyment. However, the lack of a catchy hook and drawn out uninteresting sequences make the EP unconvincing, it ultimately sounds like James Blake demos.

The Problem with Madelene Aldridge In 2016 The Brits came under fire for a lack of diversity in the nominations. As a response to this, grime artist Stormzy fought back by pushing the hashtag #BritsSoWhite as a Twitter trend. This led to other artists also criticising the lack of diversity at the biggest night in British music until head of the BPI, Ged Doherty sat up and paid attention. In 2017 The Brits introduced a new voting system which claims to recognise a diverse group of artists, but how much has really changed? At this year’s Brits, grime artists such as Kano, Stormzy and Skepta were finally recognised with Album of the Year, British Breakthrough and Male Solo Award nominations. Yet it feels wrong that despite incredible performances and almost universal support from fans and fellow artists alike that not a single grime act managed to take Illustration: Emily Mildren

s w o h S Award

home an award. This seems even more outrageous, for example, when the likes of Rag’n’Bone Man can walk away from the ceremony with two Brits despite only having released one single. It does feel as if the British music industry is taking a step in the right direction with Skepta deservedly winning the Mercury Prize for his ground breaking album Konnichiwa, and ‘The Godfather of Grime’ Wiley picking up an NME Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. However, there is so much further to go until award shows are truly representative of such a diverse industry. In addition to criticising the lack of diversity at awards shows, artists all over the world have been voicing their opinions on the state of global politics in 2017. With an audience of millions, the Brits is the

perfect place for artists to join with fellow musicians and fans alike against all things Trump related. Katy Perry encompassed this at the Brits by taking to the stage with her controversial skeletons resembling Donald Trump and Theresa May. Music and politics are forever entwined, therefore, it only seems right that artists get the chance to engage with politics at awards shows, however to have a worthy impact their words and actions must be sincere or they will be ignored. With the world in such a desperate state award shows in 2017 can sometimes feel out of touch with reality. However, it is important that they represent the diverse British music industry and artists keep speaking out against injustices or we become no better than the people we are fighting so hard against.


DEAF HAVANA

28 Music TONY ALLEN English Tapas Sleaford Mods

“We went through a stage where we didn’t really want to do it anymore” On the back of their latest album, All These How has your music evolved over the Countless had the opportunity years? In Nights, a musicwebuying industry wider audience than this. to chat to drummer Tom Ogden from We’ve learnt of to new not pigeonhole ourselves dominated by streaming British With the majority rock band Deaf Havana their recent one genre one sound. With the new services such before as Spotify, releasesinto coming out onorvinyl performance the LCR. we letin things develop more. AppleatMusic, and Tidal, vinyl and its album availability a vast has managed to stake its amount of high-street chains Hey Tom! What inspired you like to Sainsbury’s, Do you Tiger, preferandlarger or smaller place as afirst nostalgic, cultural make music venues? product in the together? physical music Urban Outfittters - people We weremarket. all studying music attocollege kind of venues like the one we’re According the soofwe all I like agesthe and genrethis, as the careful process all kind of loved We were all inthan bands preferences and playingarein buying Norwich, people. BPI, 2016it.brought more up 1,000-2,000 of removing the recordDespite from the odd mediocre track, started 3.2 doing covers Mostly records. Fall It’s really cool. Not too big, not too small. Sleaford Mods keep up their reign million UKtogether. record sales, the sleeve and placing the premier angry middleas music’s Out Boy which and Funeral A Friend When your headlining at a bigger arena the is 53%For more than covers. the needle discourages skipping aged men. The hilarious ‘Just Like be a little bit strained, it’s previous year and places UK So, atmosphere it surelycancomes Do’, and ‘I Feel So Wrong’ both tracks, allowing for aWe more Where do you getatyour material a bit everyone there and just vinyl sales its highest in 25from? down to the like cultural valuestands have funky, minimalist backing thoughtful and appreciative Lyricallyyears. it’s from our experiences. Stories watches the smaller venues tend to be tracks by Andrew Fearn, with and ritual of you, listening to listen. the latter even including singing about what has happened in our past. How vinyl. more Music energetic. listeners have rather than ranting from Jason we are feeling day. And musicallybeen we far removed from the Manythathave speculated For some, though, it’s ‘Cuddly’ and ‘Dull’ play what feels naturally. a band? And Williamson. on the sudden resurgence physicalBiggest product ofchallenge music for as bear all simply about making a the duo’s hallmarks. Don’t yousoovercome it? expect any change in style here, of vinyl, highlighting its a while now, how evendid more statement. In a BBC survey, What’s rise theparallel most to important English Tapas is simply a solid I think the abundance biggest challenge was the time the current thing with the recent 48% of vinyl buyers did not play continuation of the Mods’ recent you’veretro learnt whilst on tour? betweenservices. this album the last one – we craze; withbeing old artists of streaming Thisandthe vinyl they bought, and 7% topical, relevant albums. run of We’ve definitely learnt not to take things wentsource throughto a stage where we didn’t bringing out new music and instant kind andofeasy didn’t even own a turntable. for granted. To really who really want to ‘genius’ do it anymore. So we stopped young artistsappreciate producingpeople on billions of tracks, Instead of the musical come and to watch us and70s come and then we realised did want to do it, thepay basis of nostalgic andto have recommendations, and weexperience, the popularity CHRIS GROSSET a good time. butdigital we didn’t wanthas to do it with the people 80s style. Vinyl’s imperfect, ‘perfect’ sound, comes from the artistic value thatlisteners we had working for us at the time. So we warm and immersive deprived of the Dirty of sleeve designs and theProjectors Mostsound surreal moment on tour? changed labels. Dirty Projectors is often thought as value ofchanged actuallymanagement discovering, and expressive quality of owning Once wecomplimented were playing a festival was definitely It took the best most inbyBelgium buying,That and owning a piece ofhard. certain artists’ records. and Queens of sounds the Stone partfill of in two to get everything in place. classic andAge old were schoolsat next music. LPs thisyears gap with to us. Josh Homme styles. is known for being atheir bit contrasting Then of course we had these songs for over a production Therefore, wholeness, angry and Wilson accidently spilt his whole had over listened to them etc. with the resurgence of retro fragility,year andand collective worth. bowl of soup his leg. Buttop lucky he wasn’tArtists musicover itself, 2016’s vinyl have always angry atsales all, but it was David of those moments. Any contemporary musicians/bands include Bowie’s emphasized the narrative that you’re in digging currently? final album, Blackstar, Amy power of song placement an Who Winehouse’s are your major influences? Foxes’ music is amazing and of course Back to Black, album, Black from Pink Floyd’s Dark I’ve always been into punkRumours, and pop punk. and Linkin Park. Fleetwood Mac’s Side of Dinosaur the MoonPile-Up to recently I loved and Travisthe Barker growingofupthe and J.Cole’s Foo Guardians 4 Your Eyez Only. Fighters.Galaxy It’s allMix kind1-, of aa compilation mixture of those. Words illustration: Vinyl takes full& advantage of Lucinda swain of various 70s rock and soul artists The classic art pop group take a appearing in the brave turn towards the alternative Marvel film. R&B after saying goodbye W h i lgenre e However, vinyl is Angel Deradoorian t h toe rvocalists e and Amber Coffman. This makes now reaching a far are many the Dirty Projectors more of a solo project, and it shows. Although providing a refreshing twist on a genre that, in lieu of the seemingly endless tide of The Weeknd clones, is becoming stale, the album suffers from being too single minded and instrumentally narrow. A marvelous exception is found in the eclectic and vocally fuller ‘Cool Your Heart’.

Concrete.music@uea.ac.uk


Music 29

Concrete.music@uea.ac.uk

Foreign Music: Popularity and Experience E = MCgofuck yo urself slip a 8====D Olivia Campbell in Kimi Wo Nosete- Azumi Inoue

y = (3x4) - (6x2)

Mutter- Rammstein

Rammstein’s Mutter is the definition of a lamenting tale of woe which is instantly felt despite being in German. The repetition of Mutter, or Mother in its English translation, and a combination of guitars and strings conveys a sense of desolation and despair.

e n g a m e l r a h x = C

Political Commentaries chris grosset Aren’t some of the most common criticisms in modern pop music that ‘they have no purpose’, ‘all they do is idolise a lifestyle that doesn’t exist’ or ‘it is just a genre of sell outs’? As much as we all shamelessly love a bit of Mr Worldwide (Pitbull), sometimes we want something a little deeper than ‘Hotel Room Service’. Ranging from the antiwar protests of Billy Bragg to the anti-establishment

The immensely talented Regina Spector’s cover of Bulat Okudzhava’s Russian poem of the same name is incredibly effective in conveying emotion. François Villon was a French poet, thief and killer and the song chronicles his lament over his alleged crimes. Spektor uses only Russian vocals and a lone piano in this hauntingly beautiful song.

lyrical tirades of Rage Against the Machine’s Zak de la Rocha, there is a long history of the music industry playing a key part in a range of political movements. The question is: has the online age, when all one has to do to protest is click a button online and not gather at a rally and listen to Bob Dylans ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, killed the true protest song?

Suna No Oshiro – Kanon Wakesh

y = ( 3 x 6 ) w ank

Regardless of language, if a song is carried out well it can become a work of art that anyone can enjoy. Personally, I’ve always thought the popular music nowadays in the UK lacks diversity, mainly in the sense that English seems to be the only language in the mainstream. If one was to travel across the waters to France or even onwards onto Belgium, they would be shocked at the sheer amount of languages that are played on national radio. French, Dutch, Spanish and German adorn the airwaves, creating a cultural landscape that is diverse and enriching. There as so many beautiful languages in the world yet we almost blind to it. Here a just some:

In what has possibly the greatest instrumental introduction to a song ever, this masterpiece combines Inoue’s incredibly voice talent and Hayao Miyazaki’s lyrics. As the ending song for studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky, it is simply a musical embodiment of perfection.

The Prayer of François Villon [Molitva]Regina Spektor

ima

Translated as Sand Castles, Wakeshima’s haunting voc als and dark cello accompanime nt is a brilliant example of neocla ssical dark wave and demons trates the beauty of the Jap anese language.

Looking at the classical era of war protest songs, surely their jobs were completed with the end of each war they fought against. Surely the nature of each protest song depends on the nature of the conflict.

Generally speaking, in a generation separated from their leaders more than ever, the protest song has had to develop into something much more general; anthems of the despondent and the disenfranchised. Take the work of groups like The Streets or Sleaford Mods which ask the question: ‘why protest just one event?’ when, as Run the Jewels so aptly put it, “the man behind the man behind the man behind the throne”, does not represent the music generation’s listening interests.

Maybe this makes the true protest song just ‘a means to an end’. But what if the ‘war’ does not have an end? Take Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’; an album continuing the struggle for Black equality in a long chain of artists featuring Sam Cooke and the NWA, showing there is hope for Image credit: Flickr, Doug Aghassi the protest song yet.


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