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Issue 345.


Editorial

A note from the editor

Somehow, we have reached reached the last Venue of the semester. And what better opportunity to take a look back at all the things that have been going on in the arts world over the last twelve weeks?

-Tom Bedford

Deputy Editor

concrete.venuedeputy@uea.ac.uk Our yearly university break is coming up, giving us ample time to try and forget all stresses for a brief month, or perhaps to catch up on all that we’ve left on the wayside this term. Of course, the only way to properly enjoy the free time is to sit on a sofa. Christmas has worked its way into the various creative industries, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough going on for those who don’t really care about the season. Use our retrospective features to catch up on everything you missed out on this year. TV has a roundup on page 24 for the small screen, and Film shines light on all we might want to forget on page 10. This might, however, not prove the best guide if you’re looking for films to sit down and watch with the family! It’s probably better for beers with friends. Gaming reminds us of all the solid games from the year that didn’t get the coverage they deserved on page 21, including some of my favourites. If you need something more immediate to do over the winter break, check out the various reviews we have in Arts and Features from page 4.

Here at UEA, we saw the launch of the much-anticipated Russia exhibition at the Sainsbury centre, and added a new sculpture to our growing collection. Some of the biggest names in the crime writing genre were welcomed to UEA’s lecture theatres at the Noirwich crime writing festival, and the annual UEA literary festival was, as usual, a big success. This year was particularly special as we welcomed UEA alumni Kazuo Ishiguro and 2017 Nobel literature prize winner back onto campus. Taylor Swift has graced the pages of our music section on multiple occasions, both for her ticket touting controversy and her hotly anticipated new album. We’ve also seen the release of new exciting new albums from The Stereophonics and The Killers, and mourned the death of music icon Tom Petty. Film editor Gus enjoyed four weeks reporting on London’s film festival whilst gaming editor Charlie spent a day reviewing Norwich’s NorCon gaming festival. Our arts writers have reviewed for Norwich Theatre Royal, aswell as the Noirwich and UEA Literary festivals. Meanwhile, our creative writers have been brilliantly reimagining UEA in their prose and poetry. We’ve also published some beautiful illustrations and photographs by UEA’s very own artists. The next twelve weeks are looking to be big for the art world as well, (did someone say Eminem’s new album?! Out on 15 December, if you’re interested), so be sure to drop us an email and get involved in the new year. And in the meantime, happy Christmas from Venue!

Arts Editor - Mireia Molina Costa concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

Film Editor - Gus Edgar concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

Fashion Editor - Leah Marriott concrete.fashion@uea.ac.uk

Creative Writing Editor - Saoirse Smith-Hogan concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

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-Kate Romain

Venue Editor

concrete.venue@uea.ac.uk

Gaming Editor - Charlie Nicholson concrete.gaming@uea.ac.uk

Television Editor - Dan Struthers

concrete.televison@uea.ac.uk

Music Editor - Nick Mason concrete.music@uea.ac.uk Arts and Design Assistants - Yaiza Canopoli & Emily Mildren concrete.artdesign@uea.ac.uk


Contents 5th December 2017

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04

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Film

Fashion

Arts editor Mireia reviews the Refugee exhibition: an exhibition compiled of art work created in Calais’ Jungle

Our film writers tell us about their worst (best) Christmas turkey films of 2017

Charlote Manning reveals the best place to get Christmas presents for the fashionistas in your family

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Music

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23

Gaming

Television

Music editor Nick and Dominic Clark discuss the pros and cons (mainly cons) of giving a compilation CD as a Crhistmas gift

Gaming editor Charlie and deputy editor Tom list the games of 2017 that may not be acclaimed, but still deserve a mention

Roo Pitt and Emma Kurton review their all time favourite Christmas adverts

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Arts

Front and back cover - Dan Salliss

Image (Christmas tree): Pixabay, SilviaP_design

Creative Writing

Features

Bryony Barker writes about appreciation and regret in her poem I Could Never Spell Christmas

Chloe Crowther reviews the Roger Law exhibtition at the Sainsbury Centre

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Arts

ChristmArts to-do list

Magical Christmas

Christmas is such a consumer season nowadays, but with younger relatives, it is a delight to see the excitement on tiny faces. One of my holiday favourites is one I have re-read many times. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone allows me to imagine myself in the snow-covered Hogwarts grounds. The holiday season always includes the film re-runs on the telly, so why not start the Harry Potter marathon with the book instead? A magical story that takes everyone back to their childhood asking them why they did not get their own Hogwarts letter in the post.

-Sophie Atherton

Classical Christmas Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, essentially defines the season for me. When I was a kid I played Tiny Tim in a local theatre production for three years straight. As a “grown up”, I try to see it every year. The Bah Humbug!, the clanking chains and the final proclamation of “God Bless us, every

one!” are as important as the smell of Christmas trees, the sight of wrapped presents underneath and the stockings on the wall.

-Peter Preciado

Playful Christmas Warren Elsmore’s latest curation encompasses the amazing wonders of the world with a truly global theme focusing on travel. The centrepiece is an incredible 2x4m model of an airport made from tiny plastic blocks - in fact, the whole exhibition is made entirely of LEGO®. Aptly named, Brick Wonders, it is promised to be one that gets you in the playful Christmas spirit, with a selection of smaller models you can attempt at home, alongside mosaics and dioramas. The exhibition runs at The Forum throughout the Christmas holidays and is not one to be missed!

-Roo Pitt

Cheerful Christmas Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is joyous and a merry rhyme. Its calming tone is perfect for a student desperate to escape from deadlines and

crawl into bed after attending seminars with a hangover. And as we start to get excited for mountains of food, it’s time for coming together and helping one another. The book’s cheerful spirit reminds us that there is more to Christmas than the unwrapping of presents and the decorating of trees perhaps we can give more to those with less this winter.

-Molly Welsh

Sensorial Christmas From the National Gallery to the Tate Modern, it’s easy to see why London is so often named as one of the art capitals of the world. Until 17 December at The Hoxton Basement, an exhibition run by a cocktail company promises a multisensory and completely new experience. Have you ever wanted to touch a piece of art? Maybe smell it or even taste it? These are actively encouraged at The Flavour Gallery. What’s more, you will be greeted on arrival with a multitude of alcoholic sweets. Run to London for an exceptional experience at the start of the Christmas holidays!

-Daniel Cook

It’s beginning to look a lot like...

If you ask me, Christmas is the best time of year for art, or at least for getting people involved in it. Everyone who celebrates it loves decorating their home and workplace to promote the holiday spirit. It’s not just about the aesthetic - I truly believe that the way Christmas inspires us to decorate and embrace art is what makes the time so special. Cheesy as it may sound, Christmas spirit is really something palpable and for me, much of this does come from the image of this time of the year. I love getting involved in this national trend, creating spaces full of light which scream Christmas cheer.

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As a student, this is something I really miss from back home. I love putting up the Christmas tree and getting the floor covered in last year’s glitter. It just feels so cosy! But the lack of Christmas tree and fairy lights doesn’t have to be the end of an exciting Christmas time. I know Christmas arts and crafts are always looked on as a way to keep kids busy in the run up to the 25th, but if you have a look around (thank you Pinterest) there are plenty of cheap and relaxing ways to make your own decorations or other artsy Christmas items. Last year I stuck to paper chains and snowflakes, but there’s no reason why you can’t try

Images: Pixabay, ractapopulous Flickr, Kirinohana

something a bit more exotic, or perhaps a bit more useful, like small presents or cards. Art is a great way to relax, and so easy to get involved with during this time of year! If you were looking for something a little less time-consuming, this sort of exposure to arts is a good reminder of the many people out there who do this for a living. For many artists, Christmas is an essential time to sell and advertise their work, and I would definitely recommend having a look around before adding anything to your Amazon basket. It really does mean the world to independent artists.

-Abi Steer


Arts

In a miniature world When imagination runs wild, even spaghetti can be the strings of a guitar. 17-year-old artist, Kristian Mensa, realised that even the most ordinary objects can be art, if you give them a twist. Creating illustrations with his unique perspective, this artist believes that art is a unique form of self-expression, which allows one to communicate and share. His artistic approach is focused on using everyday, simple and frequently overlooked objects. Combining his pen and ink artwork with grapes, pasta and pretzel, Mensa adds another layer to his creative image. The tongue-in-cheek designs have appeared in various locations and scenarios. These genius drawings evoke a different perspective on life, and open up new possibilities for perceiving

art and its role in the everyday. Another talented artist, also inspired by children’s minds, gets the same inspiration from his daily life. With a sparkle of imagination and creativity, Tanaka Tatsuya gives everyday objects new meaning and perspective. The Japanese artist never lost that wild imagination – he has been creating a playful, tiny diorama every single day for the past four years, using food and other items to generate an online calendar. Calling it the “Miniature Calendar” project, he uses broccoli and parsley to create a miniature forest in a miniature world.   As we grow up, our thoughts are molded and moulded by knowledge and life experience. The more we know, the less

we observe. Our aesthetic concept is tied up with stereotypes - the oil or watercolor paintings are meant to be a real art and that fruit is meant to be eaten, books are meant to be read and clothes are meant to be worn. But as a child, we use our imagination. A stack of book can look like skyscraper, grapes can be hot air-balloons, a bunch of broccoli can be a forest, and clothes can look like a vast prairie. Through the eyes of these two artists, we different ways of perceiving ordinary objects in life. As long as our perspective changes, we can still find that childlike heart we had long forgotten.

-Rosy Chen

Refugee exhibition

“Is this voyeurism?” the artists, ask writing on the walls of a recreated bedroom of Calais’s ‘Jungle’ “Yes”, the same artists reply, questioning the ethics of their form of activism - but it’s necessary. In fact, the whole exhibition was a recreation of the camp’s reality, which was even more moving and overwhelming with whistling wind, banging and moving doors. Set up in the Norwich Cathedral’s cloister, three wooden boxes became rooms and makeshift shelters in which art and truth merged, covering its walls to ensure we don’t forget about what is still far from being over. Images: Mireia Molina

The exhibiion includes paintings by people in the Jungle, children’s drawings, poems of refugees screaming “truth”, book extracts, films, music, photographs… all developed by “Jungle” residents, and being brought together with surveys, statistics and endless lists of hundreds of names and causes for migrants’ deaths. They all surround you, fighting against the silenced humanity and individuality of the people that we so often call a “crisis”. The exhibition, part of the national Being Human festival, is a project by the charity Imagine which, based in Calais, aims to make use of artwork created in the camp as a form of political activism. The purpose of the exhibition is to shine a light on the situation of the refugee camps in Calais, which we don’t hear about much anymore according to Harri, who set it up after spending six months in Calais with Imagine, Accompanying her project, the film Calais Children also aims to shine a light on the silenced stories of children’s experiences in the Jungle and after being denied the access to the UK.

Using ‘artivism’ to individualise migration and conflict, and remind its audience of the pain, suffering, and most importantly, humanity of the Jungle residents, the exhibition succeeded in engaging with its audience and giving voice to those without it. The artwork in the recreated rooms shouted, wishing to be heard beyond its four walls, reviving the inhumanely forgotten daily reality of many - what is art, after all, if not human?

-Mireia Molina

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Arts

UEA celebrates women through theatre certain pride in that. This is something we’ve all collectively worked on,” Toby explains. “It’s quite sentimental, to do this last massive project together. It’s almost a last hurrah.” There’s a lot at stake here for these students; constantly in the back of their minds is the fact that this production will be given a grade. Despite this, they tell me, the focus has become the show.

Roaring Women: American Writers opens on 4 December after months of preparation by the third-year students on Drama courses at UEA. The festival consists of two main plays, and three curtain raisers written by oft-overlooked female playwrights of the early 20th century. Two weeks before the opening, I sit down with assistant directors Toby Skelton, Ben Purkiss and Phoebe Wood, and publicist Amy Bonar, to talk about the work that has gone into the festival; from the plays being chosen by their tutors back in May, through auditions and role allocations, a complete renovation of the drama studio, shooting trailers and designing posters, to the last push before opening night. The two main plays featured are Machinal, written in 1928 by Sophie Treadwell, and The Children’s Hour, written in 1934 by Lillian Hellman. Machinal follows a young woman through her life as she enters an unwanted marriage, while The Children’s Hour explores the consequences of one girl’s actions against her two headmistresses. Although set almost ninety years ago, the students assure me that the plays aren’t out of touch with today’s world. “You can put them on stage and you don’t need to modernise them. The audience

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Image: UEA Drama Production

will watch this and go ‘wow, this literally could have been written yesterday’,” Ben explains. “With Machinal, it’s a play about a woman who is trapped within society and she has no out. We want the audience to watch the play and say, ‘I don’t know, if I was in that position, what I would have done differently.’” “Although the plays are all very different stylistically, there is a running theme of womanhood through them. They challenge the establishment, but in different ways,” Amy tells me. “We branded it ‘Roaring Women’ with the idea of women trying to find a way to express themselves – even though society is trying to silence them, they’re still roaring. It’s also a play on the idea of the roaring twenties in America,” Amy explains, “we look on the twenties with a lot of nostalgia. These plays offer a fresh perspective on it.”

“We want to tell these stories well. They’re great plays and we want to bring them to life in the best way possible. We want to bring about a positive change in theatre and the arts because there is still a lack of women and diversity in general,” Amy explains. “We want to celebrate these women and do them proud,” Phoebe adds. Machinal, paired with Trifles, is on the 5th, 7 and 9 December at 7:30pm in the UEA Drama Studio, and The Children’s Hour, preceded by The Italian Lesson or A Class in Greek Poise on alternating nights, is on 4-8 December, with the exception of 7 December, at the same time and place. Tickets are £7 for the general public and £5 for students.

-Isabelle Siddle

What’s on in Norwich Home decor and plants pop up show 9th Dec - The Playhouse UEA Burlesque Soc: Season Teasings! 12th Dec - Be At One Norwich

There’s a lot of pride behind this festival; every student has both an acting and a production role, meaning every student has been instrumental in making sure this festival is the best it can be.

Sleeping Beauty 13h Dec-14th Jan - Theatre Royal

“It’s great to go in and see the studio and the set and the costumes. There is a

Fresh Artisan Xmas Market 15-17th Dec - The Shoe Factory

Volta! Poetry open mic 14th Dec - Aroma cafe-bar


From satire to ceramics at the Sainsbury Centre Since time immemorial, the world has been overwhelmed by politics, and the perceived inability of the masses to effectively change anything. Voting, of course, is the ultimate weapon in our collective arsenal, but democracy is a flawed system that cannot solve every issue we have with government. So we look for other means of feeling empowered in times of political crisis – and what could be a better way of achieving this than through satire? The artist Roger Law has an exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre, on until next April, which I would thoroughly encourage you to visit. Not one to take anybody seriously – including himself – Law has parodied public figures from important political leaders (Thatcher, Nixon) to pop-culture celebrities (Michael Jackson, Kermit the Frog) over his long and varied career. His work, often controversial (see, for example, the Osama Bin Laden model) is as relevant today as it was when he began his career in the 1960s, that glorious new era of protest and change. Law masterfully employs satire to attack the power of authority, focusing specifically on the political climates of Britain and North America. There’s also a nod, however, to 1940s-50s Sicily’s Robin Hood, Salvatore Giuliano.

‘…from the start he was interested in humour as a tool to communicate and comment on the world,’ the introductory text to the exhibition proclaims. This is plain as day in all of Law’s work; his pieces appear in books, adverts, newspapers and magazines (including the political publication Private Eye), as well as the well-known comedy puppet series Spitting Image (1983-1996), a program which, with the presidency of Donald Trump, is set to be revived. Reaching audiences of 15 million people, the show’s popularity gave Law and his professional partner Peter Fluck plenty of opportunities to create comedic consumer goods, including dog chews (“throw a politician to your dog,” the accompanying text reads) Law attracted a range of humorous and talented people, leading to creative collaborations with the likes of Peter Cook, William Sargent and Peter Fluck. In 1975, Law and Fluck created the partnership Luck and Flaw (try saying that sentence really fast!) and as a result, Law’s career went from strength to strength. No politician was immune from Law and Fluck’s unique brand of sharply-observed, metatextual wit, their principle target being Margaret Thatcher, wonderfully depicted in one particular portrait as ‘an iron maiden in the style of Don Quixote’. Of course, Thatcher’s reign as longest serving Prime Minister (1979-1990)

would have provided plenty of material for a satirist at the height of his career, however Law is still going strong today; the most recent American Presidential election of Trump is, it seems, too enticing an opportunity to pass up, as Law’s collaboration with Chris Watson and Nick Newman, called ‘The Trump Atlas of the World’, reveals. This was perhaps my favourite piece in the whole exhibition; being a child of the late 1990s, I cannot connect personally with the other pieces, though they are highly comedic and well-crafted. But politics has moved on, (despite it often feeling like it’s going backwards), and I feel like we need Roger Law’s political parodies today more than ever, along with and the next generation’s perspective. Politicians will always be there, making us feel small and powerless, therefore it’s crucial that there’s always someone to mock them back, whether that takes the form of a satirical puppet show, comic strip, or ceramic jug, à la Law. Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

- Chloe Crowther Images (L-R): Wikimedia Commons, Chris Collins Wikimedia; Flickr, Eva Rinaldi; Wikimedia Commons

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Image: Wikimedia Commons, mattbuck


Film

The Florida Project: as magical as Disneyland See The Florida Project to lose yourself in the moreish candy colour schemes, Google The Florida Project to read more reviews praising those exact schemes. From the very first opening shot, the visual expectations are set high but with Sean Baker’s direction, Alexis Zabe’s cinematography, and the crew’s dedication, every minute of the film’s 1h51m running time includes composition worthy of framing. On green grass, in front of lilac walls and orange storefronts, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her charmingly mischievous crew (Christopher Revera, Valeria Cotto) scam strangers for free ice cream, commit arson, spit from balconies and drool over extra servings of maple syrup. With everything Halley (Bria Vinaite) is doing to keep her daughter happy, it seems they are living the childhood fantasy of dreams and rebellion. Moonee lives with her mum in the Magic Castle, a motel owned by the judiciously cool Bobby (Willem Dafoe). The motel sits on the dysfunctional outskirts of Disneyland, where the woman who ‘thinks she’s married to Jesus’ and the man who ‘gets arrested a lot’ also live. Characterisation doesn’t falter.

Although the film is set in the hue of summer, heartbreak and youthful misunderstandings bring the story back to reality. It’s impossible not to watch and fall in love with the incredible improve between Vinaite and Prince, just as it’s impossible not to watch and cry with Moonee when the probing childcare officers come knocking.

the ‘paradise’ that is Disneyland. We are let in, we are shown around and when the romance of innocence ends, so does our tour of the Magic Castle.

Moonee and her gang all appear oblivious to the poverty line their parents are cornered by, and we wish for them to remain so. The film watches as you hope for their innocence to stay far from experience but, with the film’s ending lending itself to Baker’s impromptu iPhone filming style (similar to Tangerine), something goes awry, and our hope for the ignorance of adventurous innocence begins to dwindle. Baker knows what he wants to achieve and executes it faultlessly. On any screen, The Florida Project’s vitality and vibrancy is sure to transfix and inspire. In her first acting role, Vinaite plays her character with charm, attitude and plenty of badassery. The uncensored family and social dynamics explored in the film is what makes so much of it so special, especially with regards to the geographical irony of it being so close to

-Anisha Jackson

The Snowman: nostalgia at Christmas Christmas is a time portal. It is our annual pit stop for catching up on, and unearthing, memories. We return home from university and see family we’ve neglected for the past term. When we become embroiled in our own lives we forget about what we left with our parents and siblings. Life at university is fast moving. Nothing beats arriving home to see that the cat is still fat and your clothes are still on your bedroom floor, where you dropped them in September before leaving for university. Tying together the hours reminiscing over wine and walks in the park are

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the nostalgic films. The one that can never be missed is original version of The Snowman. There are a few different versions of the short film - however, most poignant today is the version in which David Bowie narrates the introduction. The frosty, faded illustrations, inspired by the Raymond Briggs’ book, are a reminder of story time as a child. The simplicity of vast, white scenery encourages us to fill in the blanks. Here, a child learns through play and embraces all the fun that is to be had outside. He is intrigued and lonely, but ultimately, discovers what he is capable of.

It teaches us to be proud of our own creations, but also to be prepared for change. Howard Blake’s soundtrack captivates. It mimics the whimsical idea of a snowman coming to life, but also echoes the boy’s experience of loss that we all feel once Christmas is over. The lack of dialogue, along with eerie images and music, provide space for reflection. After watching the film repeatedly, we begin to see ourselves in the boy and, with our parents watching the film beside us, we can be thankful for our family just as he is.

-Bethany Bacon

Image: Image.net, courtesy of BFI and the BFI LFF


Film

The Disaster Artist: “Franco’s love letter”

The Disaster Artist gives audiences a new insight into the friendship between struggling actors Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, and the events that led to the two making the now cult-favourite albeit terrible - The Room. When Greg (Dave Franco) meets Tommy ( James Franco) at an acting class, they form an unusual friendship and decide to make their dreams of becoming Hollywood actors come true. Tommy writes The Room, his self-proclaimed “masterpiece”, and he and Greg set about making it. If you know anything about The Room, you’ll know it’s widely loved, but not for being a great movie. Perhaps the best thing about The Disaster Artist is actor/director James Franco. His standout depiction of the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau is absolutely captivating and so realistic that it’s often easy to forget that it’s Franco on screen and not Wiseau

himself. But his performance is not just for the cameras, as Franco would also direct as Wiseau, making life on set highly bizarre; but this only helps to bolster his near-perfect character study. It’s in the scenes that document what happened from shooting day 1 of 40 to day 58 of 40 that the audience is treated to the full extent of Franco’s excellent performance; his portrayal of how Tommy directs the cast and crew and some of his maddening directorial decisions provides some truly laugh-out-loud moments.

It’s apparent throughout The Disaster Artist that this is not only a labour of love for James Franco but also the rest of the cast and crew. With an all-star cast including cameos from Zac Efron, Sharon Stone, and Judd Apatow (to name only a few!), it’s clear that there is a universal adoration for The Room that has stood the test of time. This also

becomes apparent when we see some of the immortal scenes from the original film remade: we see the flower shop, “you’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”, and, most enjoyable, the infamous rooftop scene, bottle throw and all. For anyone who hasn’t seen The Room before, know that there is absolutely no need for context to these scenes. They’re simply hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The Disaster Artist comes out in UK cinemas on 6 December. If you’re a fan of The Room, this film is absolutely essential viewing. If you’re not already, James Franco’s love letter will make you want to go and watch immediately. In the words of Tommy Wiseau himself, “what a story Mark!”

Justice League is super-average

Justice League: an introduction, a revival, and a wave of attractiveness. The clichés of self-narration by the hero and ever-soconvenient flashbacks are ones that you won’t find in this film. The backstories of The Flash, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Aquaman are seen rather than told. Ezra Miller as The Flash brings wit and a nerdy charm that shines through in his comedic responses and rookie role as part of the Justice League. The pull and tug that Wonder Woman has with Cyborg in an effort to persuade him to join the force brings to light the extent of her powers. Aquaman, however, does not have much impact on the plot, and does little to maintain his relevance. There are moments where you do wonder, “Why is Aquaman here?” It seems that the writers (Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon) plotted to make sure that in those moments Jason

Momoa as Aquaman would have his shirt off, both to distract and to please. Watching these films in 3D IMAX, it becomes clear that the cinematography is vibrant. The slow-motion effects are not excessive but rather artistic, giving you time to absorb the subjects on screen and admire the vast plains, and the world that they are saving. The hard rock rendition of Come Together, originally by The Beatles, successfully embodies the vibe of the film. In terms of the plot, story writers Terrio and Zack Snyder could have furthered the story past the expectancy of “we all

-Jack Mansfield

get along and we’ll all win the war.” They dangle such a possibility with Superman but swiftly pull you back to shore. Batman is still the same rich guy, wallet at the ready to purchase whatever they need to make things go smoother. In their effort to save the world a few things get blown up, so he’s good insurance. All in all, Justice League is worth seeing. Aesthetically you’ll be swept away, and your imagination can ponder the remaining what if ’s.

- Elodie Mayo

Image: Vimeo

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Film

7 turkeys of 2017 Our writers share their worst films of the year, just in time for Christmas! The Snowman

Transformers: The Last Knight

The most disappointing thing about The Snowman is how much potential it had. A film adapted from the master of crime, Jo Nesbø, starring one of the hottest actors working today, Michael Fassbender, and directed by BAFTA award-winning Tomas Alfredson. But, what did we get? A convoluted plot, two-dimensional characters and two hours of our life we’ll never get back.’ - Dan Struthers

Whilst Michael Bay’s Transformer’s films have never been considered to be one of the most ground-breaking cinematic franchises of all time, they have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. However, this summer’s Transformers: The Last Knight was the first one that even I couldn’t bear to watch. For once, the massive sci-fi battles really couldn’t make up for its awful narrative cohesion. - James Mortishire

Playing out first as a rom-com so sickly sweet it’ll make your teeth fall out, and then as an unintentional comedy that depicts war as a bloody and bloody-fun playground (fit with baffling jump scares), Mel Gibson’s inconceivably lauded war film strands its tone in No Man’s Land. It’s not mud these men are wading through - it’s treacle. - Gus Edgar

Sequel to 2014’s boisterous Bond pastiche, ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ came out all guns blazing, but missed its target. A starry cast and peppy violence didn’t compensate for humour which became downright disgusting (vagina-cam, anyone?). Add to that a truly criminal waste of Channing Tatum. Kingsman: We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed. - Nina Duncan

“The Mummy” demonstrates that not all films are destined to start cinematic universes. Tom Cruise is woeful in a role he should never have been cast in, the film is not scary in the slightest and any attempts the film makes at injecting humour are aggressively unfunny. A big shame. - Oscar Huckle

‘Nuns that act like crazy millennials’ is an interesting concept for a film, but Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours instead uses it as a quick joke and exhausts itself straight away. Afterwards it turns into a standard, and even boring, rom-com. - Tom Bedford

Hacksaw Ridge

The Mummy

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The Little Hours

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Last Halloween I got chatting to a guy dressed in a Captain Jack Sparrow costume. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean is such a classic’ he enthused. I replied, ‘You know they released a new one?’ ‘I didn’t.’ ‘Will you go see it?’ ‘...probably not’. And that’s all you need to know. - Helen Drumm

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60%

Venue’s office opinion: Elf or Home Alone?

10 print); pixabay, create219 Public Domain Pictures, Petr Kratochvil (Turkeys); modified by Gus Edgar; stephantom (Santa hat)

Images: Wikimedia Commons (Elf ); Flickr, S_herman (Home Alone); pixabay, Osckar (Snowflake); Wikimedia Commons (Foot-


Fashion

Christmas horoscopes Aries March 21 – April 19

You’re known for your ability to pull off the craziest trends and daring pieces. Christmas is the perfect time for you to go all out, and you’re in luck as this season’s colour is red, one of the boldest colours out there!

Taurus April 20 – May 20

As a practical sign, your style reflects classic and effortless pieces. Investing in essentials and following a neutral colour scheme will set you up for the long term.

Gemini May 21 – June 20

Vintage pieces are a fun way to express your curiosity. Although you may be drawn to the most unusual pieces, don’t forget the essential basics to pair your unique finds with!

Cancer June 21 – July 22

This year has seen the rise of unique cut-outs and slits in all sorts of pieces of clothing. Both can be used to create a romantic outfit or something more alterative, so choose a style and go with it for the season.

Leo July 23 – August 22

It’s time to splurge on the luxury pieces this Christmas. You’ll have no problems seeking out exclusive items. Animal print should be on your wish list and could even be a component of your Christmas outfit.

Sagittarius November 22 – December 21

Comfort and versatility will be on your mind when deciding what to wear on Christmas day. Who says the day can’t be spent relaxing in your pyjamas?!

Virgo Capricorn August 23 – September 22 December 22 – January 19 You focus on the details. Your outfits will undoubtedly be put-together. It’s easy to fall into the same old outfit, but with your toned-down style, you’ll have the most classic looks.

Libra September 23 – October 22

It’s no secret that you’re balanced and this trait reflects in your style. Your ability to incorporate bold and muted colours in different silhouettes ensures you’re always trying a variety of looks.

Scorpio October 23 – November 21

You know exactly what you like, which makes it easier to decide what you’ll be wearing on Christmas day, and there’s no doubt you’ll be making the most of the sales.

It might pay off helping others with their clothes shopping. Why not help a friend and give them some tips on what to wear for Christmas?

Aquarius January 20 – February 18

Your best pieces are always found online, so keep an eye out for discounts and sales. Your statement piece is waiting for you!

Pisces February 19 – March 20

Your artistic side shines through your fashion, there’s no time like now to just go out and buy that item you’ve been wishing for forever! Christmas is also a good excuse to make the most out of your wishlist.

- Leah Marriott

Image by Pixabay, @geralt

11


Fashion

Highlights of 2017 Fashion

In fashion, we have seen the return of big sleeves - bell sleeves, flared sleeves, whatever you want to call them- which have been everywhere this year, and offer an easy way to inject some 70s flair into your everyday wardrobe. (That is, if you can look past how impractical they are for doing your washing up!)

sacrificing on style, think again. In the past year, the growing trend for statement coats has opened up an array of options to consider for your annual winter coat splurge. Be brave and go for bright colours, faux fur, or try out an undeniably cosy teddy bear coat.

Beauty

Another trend that has landed on the highstreet everywhere from Topshop to Primark, is embroidery. Embroidered flowers and patches can make for the perfect statement piece when paired with neutral basics. For embroidered shirts, nowhere does them better than Zara and for adorable embroidered ankle boots and floral skirts try Topshop or Primark, depending on your price range. If you think dressing practically means

2017 has also been a big year for beauty, with major progress being made towards greater inclusivity in beauty. This is led by brands like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, who offer an impressive 40 foundation shades to suit all skin tones, a move which has been a long time coming, and looks set to continue into 2018 and beyond. As for brows, it comes as no surprise that brands like Benefit and Glossier have focused on brow products, tapping into the trend for bold, immaculate browsbrow mascaras and gels like Glossier’s ‘Boy Brow’ have made this look much easier to achieve for those of us who can only dream of owning the illustrious Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade.

Skincare

In keeping with this move towards a more simplified beauty regime, trends have emphasized minimal skin care routines that aim to create a dewy, healthy glow. Brands like Pixi have gained a cult following for products like their Glow Tonic and The Ordinary have gained attention for offering, alongside their bestselling budget foundations, moisturisers, serums and oils in minimal packaging without any fuss or added ingredients.

Let’s hope this move towards timesaving beauty regimes and practical products continues into 2018, as it goes without saying that we could all do with gaining a few extra minutes in bed!

12 Images: (left to right) Unsplash, @Pete Bellis, Flicker, @celebrityabc, Pexels, freestocks.org

- Rosie Burgoyne


Fashion

Fashion gifts for under fifteen If you’re trying not to look at the date because you’re scared of deadlines fast approaching (like me), then you may not have realised we’ve less than a month until Christmas! To save you time, and hopefully a bit of money, I have comprised a student friendly gift guide (all under £15), with my top picks in fashion, beauty and lifestyle to make your job of buying housemates and friends presents a bit easier; or maybe instead to treat yo’self!

a perfect way to go beauty mad!

Primark

If it’s warmth you’re looking for, then Primark do some extremely cosy fleece pyjama sets for £8 that will keep you warm

Obviously, we can’t mention pampering without looking at Lush. Their ‘Sleepy’ body lotion (£7.95 for 95g) has been raved about this year as many have sworn that moisturising with it before bed has made their nights sleep a whole lot better. It’s not hard to see how, as it’s filled with natural and calming ingredients such as lavender oil and its completely vegan.

Leading up to Christmas, it’s getting colder, and sometimes all you want is some products to give you an excuse to pamper and have a nice long bath. Soap and Glory have some fantastic solutions to this. As with every year, they’ve got some great value gift sets that are sure to fulfil all your pampering needs.

Boots

Boots return with their life-saving 3 for 2 on all Christmas gifts, so this also could be

This Works’ ‘The Big Bang set’ (Asos, £12) is the perfect aid to help you sleep. It includes a sleeping mask and a pillow spray, designed to help you sleep. The best thing about it is that it’s in the shape of a cracker so you don’t even need to do any wrapping!

Lush

Soap and Glory

One of my favourites that they have on offer is ‘The Lime of Your Life’ gift tin (Boots, £10) which includes a few different Soap and Glory minis with their famous Sugar Crush scent.

This Works

but won’t break the bank. Especially good if you’re not in halls anymore and your house is a bit chilly!

Images (left to right): Pixabay by rawpixel.com, Lip photos: silverscreenbeautyblog.com, Wikimedia (Brammers), Baubles: Vecteezy.

As always, Lush have a great Christmas range, including the ‘Magic Wand’ (£5.95) reusable Bubble Bar with their signature Snow Fairy scent, which they say has up to 10 uses, as well as a new product for 2017, the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ lip scrub, with an orange scent, this will help prep your lips to perfection before a night out!

- Charlotte Manning

13


Over ten days, Norwich became a hub of creativity, passion and incredible films as we hailed the return of the... The shorts

NORWICH

FILM FES T

Our writers give us the lowdown of the best events

The main draw of the Norwich Film Festival is, of course, the incredible and diverse selection of short film events. With a huge range of competitions there is something for all audiences. The first showcase was for films funded by Creative England, and included gems including Belle & Bamber and Trigga. Local film makers also featured, with highlights including the fantastic Edmund the Magnificent and The Birch. Shorts also came from outside England in the Global Shorts

section, which featured What We Lose from Denmark and I Love New York from America. Not all shorts screenings were themed, and many aimed simply to showcase new and amazing short films. With four different events dedicated to showing films like these, there were many treats for people who attended the screenings. These include Edith and Black Road, both pictured.

Industry day

Aspiring film makers were in for a treat on Friday 17 November, as the Forum hosted a series of industry events and panels led by some of the best in the business. The first event, about sound in films, was hosted by sound editor Eddy Joseph. With film credits from Harry Potter to James Bond, Joseph imparted some expert advice, and gave some very practical tit-bits for those with a creative flair for making big noises from small objects.

The second event, about writing for the screen, was a panel with a host of talent. Including the writers of Twins, Swallows and Amazons and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, writers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences talked through how they got into the industry, their best advice for writing, and how to handle tricky film subjects, amongst other topics. Event number three dealt with how to transition from being a successful short creator into a great feature film maker. A panel-style event led by a selection of BIFA and BAFTA award-winners, the topics covered included financing your first film, and how to make the herculean step up creatively from shorts to features.

14

Unfortunately, the final event about effective publicity for your film was cancelled, but the night was complete with a fantastic collection of short films and the festival social at the Mash Tun pub. The sight of many serious and successful filmmakers in a pub we all frequent was a bizzare sight, but a much-needed reminder that our favourite filmmakers are all real people - and that we can achieve the same as them with hard work

- Tom Bedford

All images on both pages courtesy of the Norwich Film Festival


Feature films

Special guests

Double Date A prestigious event like the Norwich Film

A double date goes terribly and hilariously wrong for an innocent man in this horror-comedy film from director Benjamin Barfoot. The first feature of the festival, it kicked off a week of great films with plenty of laughs from a captive audience. The film was followed by a Q&A from writer Danny Morgan and producer Matt Wilkinson.

Festival wouldn’t be complete without a star-studded guest line-up, and in this regard the festival absolutely delivered. Kicking off the event was a conversation with Michael Palin, of Monty Python (and many other films), following a viewing of A Private Function, in which he stars. Check out our interview with him on page 10 of Concrete Issue 344.

Following an unfortunate cancellation from Tim McInnery, the second guest was the iconic British actress Jane Horrocks. Known from sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, as well as a number of other roles in films like Chicken Run and Sunshine on Leith, it was a pleasure to hear such an experienced industry veteran talk about her work and the film and television industries.

The Warrior

A film released over 15 years ago, The Warrior was the debut feature from Asif Kapadia, now an Academy Award recipient for 2015’s Amy. It tells the tale of a warrior in feudal India, who must survive being hunted across the Himalayas.

Butterfly Kisses

Norwich Film Fest welcomed a film that has already won awards and critical ac acclaim at other festivals. Directed by Rafael Kapelinski, this dramatic piece follows a young boy and his two closest friends, and the demons that haunt them as they struggle with sex, loss and deep, dark secrets.

Brakes

Women in film

Wednesday saw a showcase of short films by women in the film-making industry.

comedy short about a seemingly unfunny idea.

The first short, entitled The Wyrd, is a bleak tale of a 7th century pagan community and one woman’s choice whether to sacrifice her new born child for the greater good. Wellacted and with attention to detail, this is an unapologetic look at a Sophie’s Choice type decision which is heart wrenching and scarring in equal measure. The BackSeat may have been one of the weaker shorts but it still entertained as we follow Shelby, a girl who spends her days trying to talk to people on the back seat of the bus. While she may seem rather intimidating, she is actually fragile and in search of someone who will listen to her, teaching us not to judge a book by its cover.

The heart of the evening’s shorts, however, may be found in Kin, which tells the story of one boy trying to take his brother out of foster care and look after him instead. Beautifully told and merged with old home video footage of the two growing up, this pulls relentlessly at the heart strings. Homecoming is an intimate look into the complex relationship between a man who returned home and a woman who he clearly still has feelings for. Capturing the beauty of the Irish scenery too, Homecoming is about what isn’t said as much as what is.

The last feature film was the regional premier of Brakes, directed by Mercedes Grower and starring big names, such as Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and Paul McGann. Following the relationships of several couples including, their first meetings and brutal break-ups, each audience member could relate to at least one of the couples and their series of endings and beginnings. Curing Albrecht is a complete change in tone for the evening, focusing on a man who can’t stop dancing. Although it sounds ludicrous, the choreography is fantastic with a chorus of dancers all trying to cure Albrecht and the Wes Anderson style direction perfectly complimenting its bizarreness. The Beast Underneath, an entry from Switzerland, is a mockumentary style account of a fisherman and his quest to discover the largest halibut ever. This is a welcome, if at times slightly laboured,

The short that really stole the evening though was the final one of the night, and the only animated feature, called Catherine (pictured), which told the story of a girl who loves cats. Catherine manages to accidently kill all her childhood pets in hilarious ways, until she falls in love with an adorable cat only then to part with that too. Sweet, heart-warming and unexpectedly emotional, this won the hearts of the captivated audience. A beautiful end to a night of brilliant shorts.

- Dan Struthers

15


Music

Christmas Merry Christmas mum, I got time (don’t let you a NOW CD the tunes end) NOW that’s what I call Compilation CDs are

In the Concrete office, we love Christmas. Well, we can tolerate it at least. Our writers give us a run down of their favourite Christmas songs.

Evlyn Forsyth-Muris The Chieftains and Elvis Costello: The St Stephen’s Murders Musically its warmingly Christmassy but the unique gruesome lyrics are truly reflective of wanting to strangle your relatives as you are forced to spend far to much time with them over the season.

Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews: Baby It’s Cold Outside The ultimate version of an absolute Christmas classic. Snuggle inside in the warmth ignoring some of the more concerning lines in this fabulous song done best by the Welsh.

Wizzard: I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday We all know we don’t want Christmas everyday, but it’s nice to indulge in the fantasy that being off work and eating far too much could be all year around.

love

insults, not gifts

It’s December 23rd. Dad’s got a lovely ruby port waiting for him, Sis has a book on astrophysics that I’ll regret getting her when I have to hear about everything she’s learned. But Mum, what does Mum have? That’s the problem, you see. Suddenly, a warm pink glow catches the corner of my eye. Its pseudo-neon aura invites me in. What happens in HMV, it says, stays in HMV.

A few years ago, I ran out of ideas for a Christmas present for my family members. In my defence, it’s not my fault that they’re hard to buy for. It is my fault, however, that I could not find something to show that I truly loved my mother. I committed the hideous sin of buying her the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, which I believed she very much enjoyed in the cinema. The problem is, that after a very short space of time, I do not believe she listened to it again.

2 for £10. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but find me a beholder not enticed by this phrase. NOW That’s What I Call 29472 sits there. Touché Amore’s Stage Four is in the same section, would it be bad if I get it for myself ? Would it be worse to get two copies of NOW and give one to Nan? I pick up Stage Four, Nan can have Bailey’s. The cashier judges me. I ignore her. The compilation album gives your mum a curated selection of the finest Christmas and/or pop hits, you see. She’ll play it over the festive period, and then never play it again. It’ll be forgotten about. Unlike every other bad gift you could have bought in the haze of a last-minute panic, there will never be any resentment or regret. It isn’t a good gift, but it isn’t a bad gift. It is precisely what is needed.

-Nick Mason

16

I, therefore, recently realised compilation albums are a cop-out gift. If you cannot find an artist that your family member will enjoy, then you don’t know them very well. Music is possibly the most intimate form of artistic expression, and if you don’t know an actual artist your family member enjoys you must question if you even know them, let alone love them? In my opinion this is even worse if it’s a NOW album, which is so basic you will get whiplash from the speed your mother will put it into a drawer never to be seen again.

-Dominic Clarke


Music

Gigging ain’t dead Scouting for Girls returned to the LCR for their 10th anniversary show. Excitement was palpable, with the show selling out at lightning speed. The crowd was remarkably diverse, with plenty of long-term fans mingling with the younger fans. The band’s frontman, Roy Stride, discussed his love of the LCR as a venue and compared the crowd’s enthusiasm to some of their larger London venues, a huge testament to the LCR ‘regulars’. The hits-filled setlist was well exquisitely set out and finished on She’s So Lovely, sending the crowd into ecstasy with the first few notes. Other notable songs such as Heartbeat, Elvis Ain’t Dead, and I Wish I Was James Bond received an equally excited response from the crowd. Despite this being a tenth anniversary show for the first album, it was good to

hear a mixture of their old ‘classic’ songs mixed amongst their newer songs. Deeper cuts were dusted off for the show, such as Airplane, a song with a much sadder tone than their up-beat hits, providing a refreshing juxtaposition in the setlist. This Ain’t A Love Song was another welcome oldie, invoking tidal waves of nostalgia. There was even a wonderfully cheesy cover of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer. If you thought you’d heard a loud LCR, you haven’t heard a crowd of people singing Living on a Prayer with Scouting For Girls. The show gave me all too many warm memories of watching ‘Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging’ as a teenager and school discos. From the response of those around me when the choruses to Heartbeat, Elvis Ain’t Dead and She’s So Lovely kicked in, it seems I was far from alone.

-Gabriela Williams

Obituary: the Christmas No. 1

Recently, it has seemed as if no lessons have been learned since Killing in the Name by Rage Against The Machine became the 2009 Christmas No.1. Initially just a bit of a laugh, the campaign to get this track to No.1 carried with it a message of resistance to the cynical omnipotent music industry, directed at its key representative, the X Factor. Even though the X Factor’s Matt Cardle got Christmas No.1 the year after, Killing in the Name’s success showed that everyone was getting bored of X Factor’s annual churning out of homogenous singles, engineered to be Christmas No.1 in a manner so mechanical and soulless that their produce should be labelled ‘Made in China’. Since 2009, theX Factor’s influence has subsided. Now, we are blessed with charity singles and other factory-made pop songs. An important question to ask at this point is, does it matter? Does whichever song that tops the chart at Christmas have any impact on what people actually

listen to at Christmas? No one will usurp Mariah Carey’s all-time classic as the true Christmas No.1, which may not win the charts but wins our hearts year after year. Additionally, does anyone care about the charts anyway? Modern day music platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud have undercut the industry’s authority on popular music; recent surges in popularity amongst underground genres like Grime and DnB reflects the public’s disillusionment with mainstream music; the astonishing diversity of musical styles in this era of music makes chart music appear limited and boring. All things considered, paying attention to Christmas No.1 is a mugs game. Do yourself a festive favour by listening to a Crooner’s Christmas album, accompanied by a warm mug of eggnog. The Christmas No.1 is dead, long live Frank Sinatra.

-Charlie Walker

Kate Romain Wham!: Last Christmas What two things go better together than bitter failed relationships and Christmas? Last Christmas has both of these things, a catchy melody, and is performed by the late great George Michael. Perfect.

Tom Bedford The Pogues: Fairytale of New York Fairytale of New York is the ultimate Christmas anthem for people that don’t buy into that annoying festive spirit. Heartbreak, anger and drunkenness don’t wait for this one ‘special’ day!

Nick Mason The Darkness: Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) What do you mean glam rock isn’t festive? Justin Hawkins proves that widdly guitar solos and falsetto vocals are as festive as mulled wine, Christmas trees and falling out with your family. Plus, your nan can’t sing along to it, so no crooning can ruin your Christmas Day.

Dan Struthers Shakin’ Stevens: Merry Christmas Everyone With a name as cool as Shakin’ Stevens (note the apostrophe), how can you go wrong? Merry Christmas Everyone has everything you need: an infectious melody, heart-warming lyrics and singalongability.

17


Music

We catch up with Wolf Alice This week, indie-rock band Wolf Alice performed at our very own LCR. Jacob Chamberlain caught up with them after the show, to see how they are getting on. So, how are you guys? How’s the tour going? Joel Amey (drums): It’s been really nice actually. This is a beautiful campus, isn’t it? I went for a nice walk. Did you see any rabbits? Theo Ellis (bass): We saw mole holes. J: We thought we saw some mice in the water, but it was a reflection. (laughs) How does it compare to the August tour? J: The small venues tour? Very different. Those venues are really fun, they’re venues we played when we were starting off and we went back and filled them to capacity which we didn’t do the first time round. It’s great to have small sweaty shows but we do love playing these kinds of venues, like Manchester and Glasgow. Those kinds of venues have been some of our other favourite places in the country so it’s a real privilege. You last played UEA in 2016, and it seems like so much stuff has happened since then – like On the Road [2017 film starring Wolf Alice] J: Yeah, that was cool. There was some stuff filmed here. T: It was filmed all over the UK. It’s not our thing, so it was quite weird for us. It’s nice for us to have it as a memory of all the things we did in that period. How did it come about? T: Michael Winterbottom [director] wanted a band that was touring a lot. What attracted us to it was the fictional narrative intertwined with what was essentially a tour documentary. He spoke to our manager and we spoke to him and it kind of went from there. Where can people see it? T: Fuck knows (laughs). Probably nowhere, it’s an independent film.

18

Fucking torrent it. J: A very famous scene in On the Road is me singing Swallowtail, and it was recorded here. T: Well it’s not that famous because you can’t watch it. J: Michael was really good though, he was lovely. He was really respectful, and it’s beautifully shot. There’s so much stuff to do with the crowd, that’s what I really like, you get to see them reacting and hugging each other after gigs. It’s really special for us. With Visions of a Life, how did the creative process differ to My Love is Cool? T: We had loads more time than we did for My Love is Cool. It was an amazing experience, the actual recording of it. We were in L.A. It was the first time we’ve been afforded time to experiment and be properly explorative. We had no boundaries. It was a real privilege and a very enjoyable process.

“The Chuckle Brothers are literally living legends”

Do you have a favourite song from it? T: No… but Visions of a Life. J: It’s more like there’s bits I like in all of the songs rather than one song more than all the others. I really like everything for different reasons. I don’t dislike any of them. T: That’s good. What was the thinking behind sending out postcards? T: We wanted to do something that was more tangible in a very non-tangible age where everything is announced on the internet and you never feel anything or touch anything or interact with anything physically. To make a relationship with something, being given a gift from a band unannounced, we thought was just a cool fun thing to do. People slowly pieced it together. It was just a bit of fun really, a gimmick if you will. Though that sounds quite derogatory. Images: Francis Butler

J: We know, as music fans, how much it would have meant to us to receive something cool like that in the post. It actually worked quite well. People liked them. How was Coachella? J: Alright. T: Not for me. (laughs) Is it a lot ‘nicer’ than UK festivals? J: Yeah, much nicer. T: A lot less gurning and a lot less mud. J: I physically bumped into Leo DiCaprio like three times. Like ‘fucking hell, it’s you again. Take your sunglasses off, it’s night time’. The first weekend is bonkers. The second weekend is a bit more music oriented. It was still a privilege to play there. It’s Coachella, it’s sick. Have you guys had time to do any cool Norwich things? J: I went to the uni gym. It was rammed. There are some bodybuilders in Norwich. I couldn’t even get on the weights. I should have run around the campus because it’s so beautiful. I was like “fuck this” then I came back and had some soup. You watched Countdown. T: I watched Countdown. I got a 5. Tunnel or something, is that 5? J: No. (laughs) Have you guys watched Big Cook Little Cook? J: Yeah. Why, were they playing our music on there? No, they’re on after you. J: (Gasps). We played Bestival and before us was the Chuckle Brothers and… to be fair, literally living legends in my eyes. It was crazy. Us, the Chuckle Brothers and Craig David. Wolf Alice’s sophomore album Visions of a Life is out now on Dirty Hit records.

-Jacob Chamberlain


ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SOUNDCLASH RECORDS, ST. BENEDICTS ST

DECEMBER NELLY

+ SIR THE BAPTIST Fri 1st • 18.30 • LCR £27.50

80’S NIGHT FT. ORIGINAL WATERFRONT DJ + BRITPOPPIN’ IN ROOM 2

Fri 1st • 22.30 • LCR £6.00/£4.00 Student (!8+)

WILLIE J HEALEY

+ THE MEEKS + GLADBOY Tue 12th • 19.30 • WFS £7.00

DIRTY THRILLS

+ RENEGADE 12 + BLUE NATION + SITTIN PRETTY Wed 13th • 19.00 • WFS £10.00

UK SUBS

+ LONDON CALLING (CLASH TRIBUTE) Fri 15th • 18.30 • WFS £16.00

T’PAU “CHINA IN YOUR HAND - 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR” POUT OF THE DEVIL + SCARLET Fri 1st • 18.30 • WF £27.00

BAD TOUCH

+ MOLLIE MARRIOTT Fri 1st • 18.30 • WFS £14.00

THE DIVINE COMEDY

CHOP SUEY (SOAD TRIBUTE) + MACHINE HEAD U.K. + DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS Sat 16th • 18.30 • WFS £14.00

SANTA CRUZ + SKARLETT RIOT NIRVANA TRIBUTE NERVANA Sun 17th • 19.00 • WFS £12.00 VS OUTRAGE AGAINST THE MOSTLY AUTUMN MACHINE UK FOO FIGHTERS

Mon 21st • 19.30 • WF £15.00 GENERAL, £13 CONCESSIONS

10TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR Sat 2nd • 18.30 • WF £14.50

THE VISITORS

COURTESANS

THE QUIREBOYS - “TIME FOR THE XMAS PARTY”

+ BULLET HEIGHT Sun 3rd • 19.00 • WFS £9.00

JW JONES

Tue 5th • 19.30 • WFS £10.00

ROLAND GIFT OF FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS

Wed 6th • 19.30 • WF £22.50

FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES

+ BASEMENT + ECCA VANDAL Thu 7th • 19.30 • LCR £16.50

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT

PERFORMING ‘SUBSTANCE’ BY JOY DIVISION & NEW ORDER Thu 7th • 19.30 • WF £22.50

KAVES

+ CLOWN SMASH EVERYTHING + SUCKING GRUNTS + RATS PACKING GRENADES Thu 7th • 19.30 • WFS £6.00

SUB FOCUS

THE SOUNDS OF BLACK UHURU PERFORMED BY MYKAL ROSE

+ SKIPYARD ROCKERS + REBEL LION DJS Thu 1st • 19.30 • WF £17.50

THE SHERLOCKS

Fri 2nd • 18.30 • WF £13.50

DEMENTED ARE GO - “25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR” +

+ BLIND TIGER + SCREAM SERENITY RAMPTON DISCO + STAGE FRITE + THE DRIVE IN’S Sat 16th • 18.30 • WF £7.00 Fri 2nd • 18.30 • WFS £18.00

Sat 2nd • 18.30 • LCR £30.00

Sat 2nd • 18.30 • WFS £14.00

FEBRUARY

Fri 22nd • 18.30 • WFS £5.00

Sat 23rd • 18.30 • WFS £18.50

COLOR - NYE:UEA

Sun 31st • 20.00 • LCR £25.00/ £20.00 Student (18+)

THE WATERFRONT NEW YEARS EVE PARTY 2017

Sun 31st • 21.00 • WF £10.00/ £8.00 Student (18+)

JANUARY MELTDOWN LIVE PRESENTS FINN DOHERTY + WE’LL BE DETECTIVES + VAUDEVUE + KULK Sat 13th • 18.30 • WFS £6.00

SKIDS

40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR Fri 19th • 18.30 • WF £25.00

RAVENEYE

MOTLEY CRUDE + POIZON Sat 3rd • 18.30 • WFS £14.00

SPRING KING

Tue 6th • 19.30 • WFS £10.00

JESS AND THE BANDITS + SAM COE AND THE LONG SHADOWS Wed 7th • 19.30 • WFS £15.00

HENRY ROLLINS TRAVEL SLIDESHOW Thu 8th • 19.30 • LCR £20.00

CASH

Fri 9th • 18.30 • WFS £12.00

ALIEN ANT FARM

+ SOIL + LOCAL H Sat 10th • 18.00 • WF £20.00

DON BROCO

Mon 12th • 19.30 • LCR £20.00

FREE THROW

Mon 12th • 19.30 • WFS £9.00

HAYSEED DIXIE

+ EMMA MCGRATH Tue 13th • 19.30 • WF £18.50

BOWLING FOR SOUP

+ THE AQUABATS + ARMY OF FRESHMEN Wed 14th • 19.30 • LCR £25.00

KING 810

Wed 14th • 19.30 • WFS £12.00

BLACK MOTH

+ GRAVE LINES Thu 15th • 19.30 • WFS £9.00

THE FRONT BOTTOMS

+ THE SMITH STREET BAND + BRICK AND MORTAR Sun 25th • 19.00 • WF £17.00

MARCH REJJIE SNOW

Thu 1st • 19.30 • WF £20.00

EVERYTHING EVERYTHING Fri 2nd • 18.30 • LCR £19.50

THE BRITPOP REBOOT FT. OASIS, BLUR & PULP TRIBUTES Fri 2nd • 18.30 • WF £12.50

THE OVERTONES

Sat 3rd • 18.30 • LCR £25.00 STANDARD / £50.00 VIP

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK: LIVEWIRE AC/DC VS LIMEHOUSE LIZZY Sat 3rd • 18.30 • WF £20.00

PAUL DRAPER

PLAYING MANSUN’S ATTACK OF THE GREY LANTERN IN FULL, AS WELL AS SOLO MATERIAL Tue 6th • 19.30 • WF £17.50

FEEDER ‘THE BEST OF TOUR’ Thu 8th • 19.30 • LCR £27.50

SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX Sat 10th • 18.30 • LCR £26.50 STANDARD / £101.50 VIP

HELLS BELLS (AC/DC TRIBUTE) 2 HOUR SET + GUEST

Sat 10th • 18.30 • WFS £14.00

THE WAILERS PERFORMING THE ALBUM ‘LEGEND’ IN ITS ENTIRETY PLUS OTHER GREATEST HITS Sun 11th • 19.00 • LCR £23.50

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS + RUTS DC Sun 11th • 19.00 • WF £20.00

CANNIBAL CORPSE

+ BREAKAGE + KIDEKO + WILL MOMENTUM Fri 8th • 22.00 • LCR £17.50 (18+)

Sat 20th • 18.30 • WFS £10.00

TO KILL A KING

SPACE

Fri 16th • 18.30 • WFS £16.00

+ BLACK DAHLIA MURDER + IN ARKADIA Tue 13th • 19.30 • WF £17.50

EDDIE & THE HOT RODS

(HED)P.E.

REBECCA FERGUSON

BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT

+ DEPARTMENT S Fri 8th • 18.30 • WFS £17.50

THIS IS MANCHESTER FEATURING THE CLONE ROSES, THE SMITHS LTD AND TRANSMISSION (JOY DIVISION TRIBUTE) Sat 9th • 18.00 • WF £15.00

SLADE

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CONCRETE

003


Gaming

A look back At L.A. Noire The idea of law and order in Rockstar games is rarely treated with much deference; In Red Dead Redemption;,FBI agents manipulate a man looking for redemption, the teachers of Bully are generally incompetent and GTA: San Andreas’ Officer Tenpenny is an utterly brutal psychopath. Therefore, the very concept of L.A. Noire seems to be at odds with the Rockstar staples. While the LAPD still have their share of shady characters, L.A.’s Finest are decidedly the game’s heroes. Changing perspective to have the protagonist be one of the characters usually chasing the player around the city may have served to confuse consumers. Although Team Bondi may have actually developed the game, Rockstar’s logo was all over the marketing, creating expectations of a chaotic romp through an impressive open world. While the digital City of Angels is often breath-taking, its main purpose is to serve as a backdrop between cases with relatively little happening to distract the player between missions. Killing civilians and even breaking traffic laws without reason is heavily discouraged, a concept

20

completely at odds with Rockstar’s previous hits. While receiving immense critical praise for incorporating new facial animation technology so well into gameplay, L.A. Noire has failed to reach the heights of other Rockstar titles, with talk of a sequel dying down after a few years.

may owe a great deal to Team Bondi in terms of how narrative experiences have become so popular in recent years. L.A. Noire was released almost a year before Telltale’s The Walking Dead and emphasises a strong narrative experience with elements from one specific genre in much the same way.

L.A. Noire has a strong sense of identity with a fairly gritty world that still retains the ability to parody the glamorous excesses of its titular city. The most memorable feature of the game would absolutely have to be the MotionScan technology, utilised to allow the player to deduce a suspect’s truthfulness based on their facial expressions. In turn, this helped to emulate the noir movies that served as the game’s inspirations. The game fully commits to film noir as a style, even featuring the option to complete the experience in classic Black and White. While the Grand Theft Auto series cites influences from gangster movies to spy thrillers, L.A. Noire stays remarkably focused on recreating a tone similar to that of Chinatown or The Untouchables. In this regard, the gaming industry

L.A. Noire may have paved the way for seemingly niche concepts such as Until Dawn and Life is Strange to become mainstream successes. While it may not have the largest of fanbases in 2017, L.A. Noire was a commercial success in 2011, encouraging other publishers to take a risk on genre focused narrative games. Ultimately, even if the influence that the game has had on the industry as a whole is set aside, L.A. Noire deserves far more attention for being a high-quality detective game with strong characters, excellent writing and facial animations that still holds up after seven years. One can only hope that with the recently releasedremasters, Cole Phelps will finally get his fair turn.

-Harry Routley

Image: Flickr, The GameWays


Gaming

Honourable mentions of 2017 Super Mario Odyssey

The initial derision that accompanied the reveal of Super Mario Odyssey seems several kingdoms away now. Far more than ‘Mario plays in traffic’, Mario’s global romp turned out to be one of the most fulfilling games of 2017. Aside from having more moons to collect than EA has loot boxes to hate, its chirpy themed soundtrack and breadth of diverse characters evokes the happiest of ball pit visits, all while allowing you to play as the kooky foes you stomp, as opposed to staring longingly at their (let’s face it) superior character design.

Dream Daddy

Every now and then, I get those moments. Those moments I realise I’ve excellent taste in cartoon plasters, or when I laugh a little too hard at my own jokes. “I’d make a kickass Dad.” I say to myself, vowing never to venture further into that area of life, for fear my baby phobia may complicate things some. Thankfully, Dream Daddy offers all the lighthearted, goofy, and moving moments associated with dad-liness, allowing you to reinvent yourself as a father, and go about dating other Dads. Funny, straightforward and refreshingly LGBT+ inclusive, Dream Daddy warms both heart and beard so much so that it had me re-evaluate my dislike of dating sims.

Pokémon Duel

While Pokémon GO fulfils our portable creature-collecting desires, Pokémon Duel is the equivalent for battling. It’s a small but well-designed strategy game that combines board-game tactics and individual Pokémon’s talents. While competitive players will realise that certain Pokémon are clearly superior for the game, it’s sttill endlessly fun and free.

A Hat in Time

“Wherever I hang my hat, that’s my home.” While Mario Odyssey gave that phrase an unnerving new meaning, A Hat in Time injects it with Psychonautsstyle levels, nostalgic PS1-era references and genuinely challenging platforming, while somehow managing to avoid feeling stuck in some technical Dark Age. Its collectathon nature is validated by ‘Hat Girl’ and her proclivity for crafting magical headwear, all of which effuse various superpowers that (wait for it) actually prove useful as the difficulty gradually climbs. If one were to pit Yooka-Laylee, Knack 2 and Sonic Forces against the likes of Sonic Mania, Cuphead and Wonder Boy, it’s easy to see why the 32-bit revamp isn’t as loved as its 2D counterpart, which makes games as balanced and personable as a Hat in Time all the more important to remember.

Monster Hunter Stories

What could have been a generic turnbased strategy romp is in Monster Hunter Stories upgraded due to association with the popular franchise. You explore the world collecting eggs to hatch new monsters, and battling increasingly terrifying foes. The game also becomes challenging towards the end, a surprise for a kids’ game. -Tom Bedford

Hollow Knight

Amidst the resurgence of the stocky, toon hero and the lurid SNES colour scheme, Hollow Knight marks something of a change in current. The alter-skulled knight you play as feels a dead-take on Shovel Knight, while its part Rayman, part Isaac, part Metroid style of play assures this platformer feels anything but lifeless. Its world of misty portals, formidable golems and ashen blue palette is recognisably Dark Souls-esque, and as a platformer-advocate invested in fantasy settings, Hollow Knight was the Metroidvania I’d been longing for.

Rain World

Image: Pokeball:Pixabay, 2funki4wheelz, Rain World: Wikimedia Commons, Videocult

If you’re a fan of Abe’s Odyssey or Limbo, Rain World’s cute-yet-cruel setup is certainly worth a look. The combination of simple 2D platforming and one-hit kill system had me all too addicted to the many ways my pathetic slug-cat could meet his slimy end. Sure, he isn’t the most appealing protagonist, but the further I trekked in lands of acid rain in search of my lost kin, the more afraid I became of seeing him decapitated.

-Charlie Nicholson

21


Gaming

Indie-penchant: The Mammoth Even looking at its thumbnail in Google Play Store, there’s a connection to be made between The Mammoth: A Cave Painting and that lovely scene in Ice Age. The entire game takes place on the wall of a cave, as you control a female Mammoth, in search of her lost calf. Settings are somewhat bare, never comprising more than a few trees or rocks as you lead your baby across the planes detailed on the cave walls.

you’ll need to protect your baby from the hunters that continue to ambush you throughout your journey; with often painful results as you attempt to shield little mammoth from showers of arrows. Sound is by no means elaborate, but hearing the mother’s strained cries against a straightforward bongo track is nevertheless effective in effecting the brutality of the hunt, at the expense of a compassionate, reciprocal herd. Your journey throughout the uncertain wilds is accompanied by a well-voiced narrator, which is the only thing I felt may have been better left out. The power of The

Mammoth lay in its visual storytelling; the scant animal effects and cave drawings already worked to develop a meaningful narrative around family, and vocal clarification feels somewhat unnecessary in a story that uses the form of cave painting.

Whilst this is a good idea in theory, and rigorous policing sounds good on paper, this is not the case in practice. Some people may argue that this could stop problems that may arise due to a lack of monitoring, yet this ignores the potentially dangerous realities of implementing such a programme.

of togetherness these forums provide, for several reasons. Whilst many people may nod their head at the idea of this proposal, take a minute and think about the implications behind it. Increased moderation sets a dangerous precedent; it may start off well, but it has the very real possibility to go too far. If you hand people the powers of policing people’s stated thoughts and ideas, things are going to get very bad, very quickly. If you start censoring people because they said something offensive online people will desert the community in their droves. Gaming is about enjoyment for all, and whilst this is something that should be adhered to, thought-policing is not the way to do that.

away some claims and at the heart of it lies an accusation. Nothing more. If we start banning people based purely on accusations, we are essentially going to destroy everything that makes gaming fun. No-one wants to game online, in fear of saying the wrong thing because someone might get offended and they subsequently get banned. If you attempt to monitor video games and their communities too much, the market will go downhill at a speed that would make terminal velocity jealous.

If more moderation was enforced on gaming forums, it would kill the sense

Then there is the problem of the basis behind gamers’ current arguments. Strip

Given, it doesn’t take much to lay on a claim in the internet age, but it’s just as worrying to think that some people could continue to be involved with the gaming community despite potentially having a track history of harassment or abuse.

threads remain active on a forum (and which are taken down). It must be asked how positive any sense of togetherness preserved by this actually is.

Needless to say everything is hand drawn, and with the delightfully minimalist scratchiness that surfaced in Ice Age. As you walk the forests using the touchscreen,

The Mammoth is one of the better narrative-driven games on mobile systems, and makes an engrossing time if you’re a fan of family themes, or if (like me) you were quite taken with Manny’s handdrawn backstory.

-Charlie Nicholson

Should gaming forums be moderated more ?

No!

NeoGAF was briefly taken down after a tweet accused its founder, Tyler Malka, of assault. Mr Malka recovered control of his site and denies the allegations. Some users have started to separate themselves from the community. Some people are using this as a chance to further their case that community websites should have more rigorous regulating systems.

Yes!

We do not want a situation where abusers are the ones deciding which

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This is an issue which impacts many gaming communities, and is not just confined to one forum. Some users of one website allege they have had their

Video games are meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience played in the spirit of fun, not an Orwellian reality where free speech is restricted in case it may offend.

- Patrick Wiseman content sold without permission, and on one forum a moderator scrutinized a child abuse survivor for criticising threads encouraging peadophilia. If lack of moderation is leading to the encouragement of harmful lifestyles and the appropriation of others’ property, surely this is as much a threat to togetherness as rigorous policing systems?

-Charlie Nicholson

Image: Flickr, Carla216


Television

Christmas adverts Amidst the slew of adverts that have bombarded our small screen in the build up to Christmas, Roo Pitt and Emma Kurton have taken it among themselves to review them and give us a rundown of their all time favourites...

John Lewis

John Lewis is well known for its beautiful and heartwarming Christmas television adverts, but is this year’s up to scratch? It takes time before this advert starts to feel Christmassy, this could easily be an advert for any time of the year. That wonderful John Lewis Christmas feeling is somehow not present in this advert. This year it feels much more like the marketing campaign for a toy than an advert with a message. As for the message, it is arguably difficult to make out what the meaning is behind this year’s advert. Usually these adverts tackle real issues, like the elderly being lonely at Christmas, but this year John Lewis seems to have missed the mark.

Heathrow

This year we are introduced to two bears, Edward and Doris, who meet on a flight that lands at Heathrow in 1967. As we move forward through the next fifty years to the present day, we see Edward and Doris’s relationship grow and develop, along with their family getting gradually larger each time we see them. This replicates the journey Heathrow has been on over the last fifty years beautifully, with its key message at the core of every scene as well as written clearly at the end: Closer This Christmas. It’s reminiscent of those traditional scenes in Christmas movies where families, friends and loved ones are reunited in time for the holidays. A truly magical and heartwarming advert that pulls on every heartstring.

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Stengaard

M&S

This year’s M&S Christmas advert features the well-loved and well-know bear, Paddington. We see Paddington mistaking a burglar for Santa and then helping him to deliver the presents back to the people they were stolen from. In doing this, he saves Christmas and helps to change the ways of the criminal. This advert has a wonderful Christmas atmosphere, with a snowcovered London, festive colourful lights, Christmassy music and a wonderful story of change for the good. Having Paddington as the main character adds a wonderful sense of nostalgia that works well at this time of year.

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has taken a different approach this year, and it has definitely paid off. This year’s advert simply consists of a singa-long featuring members of the public, Sainsbury’s staff and a few special guests. The song is sung by an array of different people, all singing about the same things, showing that Christmas is something that brings us all together. There is no need for fancy cinematography, and apart from some animations of Christmas food, it is all shot at an amateur level, making it feel like a cheesy Christmas home movie, and reminding us what Christmas is all about.

message about waste at this time of year and its impact on the world around us.

Our all-time favourites Emma: Personally, the 2014 Sainsbury’s Christmas advert is my favourite. This advert was created with the Royal British Legion, and features the story of the Christmas football game in the noman’s land of WWII. The hauntingly beautiful rendition of silent night, sung by both English and German soldiers as the two sides walk over to each other, is breathtaking. The happiness shown throughout the football game is bittersweet as you know they will have to go back to fighting the following day. The overall message of sharing is beautifully put across, in a memorable and heartwarming way. Roo: For me, the original ‘Holidays are Coming’ Coca-Cola advert is my favourite, as it encompasses everything that is magical about Christmas! The excitement builds throughout the advert with snow covered houses and fairy-lights galore. As for most people, I’m sure, the advert rekindles memories of being an excitable child at Christmas and truly signals the start of the year’s festivities.

Greenpeace

This year Greenpeace have sought to use Coca-Cola’s gravitas against them by producing an alternative Christmas advert. Instead of the Coca-Cola Truck, a large red refuse truck is driving down the road, full of waste plastic and Coke bottles. Finally, it pulls up on the beach and dumps the recyclables into the sea, whilst the driver sips a cola himself, belching loudly. It is an important

- Roo Pitt & Emma Kurton

23


Television

2017 in television

Post-Brexit and post-Trump, more than ever we needed a good year of TV to escape into and, looking back, 2017 was a rather brilliant year for the small screen. Sherlock kicked off 2017 on New Year’s Day with a shocking finale in the first episode, Toby Jones’ delightful villain and the revelation of a third Holmes sibling. While it was a fairly mixed bag, a ‘mixed bag’ for Sherlock is still great in comparison to many other TV series. From one Steven Moffat BBC TV series to another, the end of January came with an announcement from Peter Capaldi that the upcoming series of Doctor Who would be his last. Over half a year of speculation later, it was confirmed that Jodie Whittaker would be the first female Time Lord which saw the rise of plenty of close-minded internet commentators but also a wave of positivity and well-wishing towards Whittaker for such a historic moment in TV. Before this announcement though, Whittaker was enjoying success alongside former Doctor, David Tennant, and Olivia Colman in the third and final series of Broadchurch. While the series has lumbered on past its sell-by date the final series was entertaining and featured some powerful performances, as well as a sensitively

handled series-long story arc about rape. While it feels almost impossible to mention House of Cards now and not mention the recent Kevin Spacey allegations, the big talking point of this Netflix season five TV show was the Trump commentary. A controversial election, allegations of corruption and daily battles with the press; it became hard to tell fiction from truth and House of Cards thrived on this political climate even if it was a series of hits and misses. During the usually uneventful summer we were treated to two enormously popular TV series: Game of Thrones and Rick & Morty. Game of Thrones, squeezed down to just seven episodes, was forced to cut out the flab leaving us with so much globetrotting that characters seemingly moved from one continent to another in a matter of minutes. Having said that, and despite a surprisingly low main character death toll, it was welcomed back onto the screen, with the dragon sequences being stand out points among the usual sex and dialogue-heavy episodes. Rick & Morty was as cynical, heartwarming and hilarious as usual, with the Ricklantis Mixup being a deeper and more unconventional episode among the usual shenanigans. And who

could have foreseen the impact the first episode would have on McDonald’s and its much talked about Szechuan Sauce which prompted an announcement of its return for one day only. As autumn came, we were treated to the relaunch of Bake Off on Channel 4, which seemed to satisfy the devoted fans while remaining true to its BBC roots. Gunpowder became the Ofcom controversy story this year with its disembowelling and torture scenes seemingly overshadowing all three episodes. Halloween also saw the return of everyone’s new favourite show Stranger Things which, for better or for worse, seemed to deliver the same as its first break out series last year. And currently there is Blue Planet II, a beautiful way to lead into Christmas as it continues to win over viewers with its breath-taking visuals and the reliable presence of Sir David Attenborough. With less than a month left of TV, and arguably its finest season still to come, Christmas, there’s still plenty to look forward to. We’ve been spoiled in a magnificent year of the small screen.

- Dan Struthers

24 Image: (left to right) Flickr by Leileiha, Flickr by Doctor Who Spoilers, Pixabay by Hosthyponk, Wikimedia by Garm420


Television

Christmas TV: our favourite moments Batman: The Animated Series S1 E38 Christmas with the Joker In many ways, Christmas with the Joker isn’t one of the more inventive episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. The main plotline features a fairly standard adventure, with the Joker escaping from Arkham and taking a number of hostages before putting the Dynamic Duo through some holiday themed trials in order to rescue them. The real holiday magic comes with the secondary plot of Robin trying to convince Batman that he can set aside his general cynicism for one day a year. While the Joker’s holiday-themed escapades and death-traps are certainly entertaining to watch, the idea of the Dark Knight trying to embrace good will and joy is where the episode becomes truly heart-warming. By the end, our usually stony and solemn protagonist admits that Christmas “has its moments”, showing that it is truly a holiday for everyone to come together and enjoy.

- Harry Routley Gavin & Stacey S2 E8 Christmas Special For all you Gavin and Stacey fans out there, few episodes beat the brilliance that was the Christmas special. After the emotional series 2 finale in which Nessa went into labour, and seemingly ended Gavin and Stacey’s complications, we meet the cast back in Essex for a Christmas bonanza which doesn’t disappoint. With Mick preoccupied with the new love of his life, the Christmas turkey, the celebrations are well under way, and Smithy can’t wait to celebrate his first Christmas with Neil (the baby). Of course, things never run that smoothly; although the Christmas special is full of drama and bombshells, it still manages to deliver some heartfelt comedic moments, such as Smithy singing to Gavin ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas’ down the phone, and Nessa

insisting that Gavin pay to sit on her knee while she’s working as Santa in the grotto with Dave makes for one of the most awkward-but-genius scenes in the series

- Charlotte Manning Gossip Girl S1 E11 Roman Holiday Gossip Girl is remembered as the show laced in sex, scandal, and Blair Waldfor’s impeccable style. However, behind all the bejeweled façade it was really a show about a group of young people growing up and finding their place in the world beyond the Upper East side. One of the best episodes, which happens to be a Christmas episode, is “Roman Holiday” which sees Blair trying to navigate Christmas with her dad after he left for Paris with his new partner. The episode gives us a greater understanding of the acid-tongued socialite, and the beauty is that her perfect gift doesn’t break the bank, but instead is simply quality time with her dad. When I think of my favorite holiday memory, like Blair, I must say it was the first break home after my first semester of college. Coming home, and spending the day with my family and reminscing about past Christmases together.

- William Samayoa Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow S2 E7 Christmas Special From the frustrating nature of sellotape and scissors (one ‘winds itself up when you’re not looking, while the other goes missing), to Gino’s accent as he talks of the piles of presents he has in his household, Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow perfectly embodies the spirit of Christmas. Among his star studded guests is one particular highlight: the angriest man in Wales, Rhod Gilbert, and his spiel about his

girlfriend’s gift: an electric toothbrush… You cannot go wrong with a Christmas singalong, but you would think that when it comes to Michael McIntyre imitating Shane MacGowan and Pixie Lott taking Kirsty MacColl’s place when giving their rendition of ‘Fairytale of New York’, you can in fact go very wrong. But the impersonation is priceless, and Pixie does Kirsty proud. Add to it some Irish river dancing, and Michael trying his hand at joining in, and you have some priceless television. Second place goes to McIntyre acting as cupid between Miranda Hart and Smithy from Gavin and Stacey, and what happens when they attempt the Dirty Dancing lift…

- Tom Cascarini Modern Family S3 E10 Express Christmas Modern Family focuses on a dysfunctional American family living in California, with each episode being fuelled by silly jokes and great life lessons. They go through what any other family might go through, weddings, funerals and plenty of turbulent Christmasses. Express Christmas is one of the most touching episodes, when the family finds out they will not be together for Christmas and decide to have an early one. Of course it all goes horribly wrong, with the Christmas tree being run over and the turkey being traded for a baseball card. The silver lining, however, is Jay, father of Claire and Mitchel, deciding to surprise the family with a snow machine, creating the perfect white Express Christmas in the California heat. This great Christmas episode ends with the whole family playing together in the snow, a lovely end to the festive episode. We can only hope that the next Christmas episode, coming out this December, is as good as this one.

- Daniela Ponjuan Sanabria

25


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C. writing

The case of the Christmas pudding ‘‘But, Padlock, I simply cannot fathom how you figured it out!’’ Removing his pipe from his mouth, Padlock Combes smiles at his friend. ‘‘Can you not, Dr. Dobson?’’ The good doctor shakes his head. The table of his dining room is laden with the remains of the festive banquet; the goose is only halfcarved, the butter on the vegetables running cold. The brandy on the Christmas pudding is un-lit. Napkins have been left on the tablecloth, their linen rumpled, and the wax from the tall candles is in danger of dripping down the brass candlesticks. It is hard to believe, surveying the luxurious scene, that mere hours before a thief had been apprehended at the very same table. ‘‘Not for the life of me, my dear Padlock. I don’t suppose you would care to enlighten me?’’ ‘‘But of course, Dobson.’’ Padlock sets his pipe down on a nearby napkin, taking care that the ash would not fall onto the tablecloth. ‘‘You will recall, I suppose, the incident of the Christmas pudding thefts at the confectioner’s on Regents Street?’’ Across the table, Dobson sits up a little straighter. ‘‘Indeed I do. Dolly was there just the other day, collecting our sugared almonds. A terrible business.’’ ‘‘Indeed. But after a little investigation, my dear Dobson, I discovered that similar puddings had been stolen from similar shops right across London this week. Thefts as far as Kingston, if you’d believe.’’

His body lay among the winter heliotropes on a mountainside,

‘‘No!’’ Dobson leans forward, abject horror on his face. ‘‘But who would do such a thing? And the week before Christmas!’’ Padlock shakes his head, and reaches forwards for a piece of shortbread biscuit. Really, Dolly Dobson had truly outdone herself this year with her sweetmeats. ‘‘Who would? Now, that was the question of the hour, Dobson. The thief had left no clue but the slightest smudge of ink on the doorframe of each shop. Barely anything for the police to go on, God bless them.’’ ‘‘Yes, yes.’’ Dobson waves his hand, making the flames of the candles flicker. ‘‘But how did you decipher the mystery?’’ Padlock reclines in his chair, a certain smugness passing over his face. ‘‘You see, Dobson, on visiting each crime scene I was able to identify that the ink from each smudge was the same ink, and that each smudge was in the same place on each doorframe. With a little – ahem – experimentation, I was able to deduce that to make such a smudge, the rogue would have had to force the door open with his left hand.’’ ‘‘I see.’’ Dobson, who did not see, nods knowingly. ‘‘And?’’ Padlock smiles and reaches for a toffee. ‘‘And, once I had identified the patent of the ink and traced it to the auction house, all that remained was to catch the guilty clerk in a trap of my own making. The luck was with me, for I found only one at the auction house.’’ ‘‘And invited him at once to my festivities

Fallen

but from above he saw his disturbance on the earth

Image: Pixabay, Clker-Free-Vector-Images

tonight,’’ Dobson concludes. With a gracious inclination of his head, Padlock continues his tale. The toffee has stuck to his teeth, making speech a little difficult. ‘‘I had Scotland Yard on standby, and when he made a move on Dolly’s pudding, as I knew he would, I gave them the signal.’’ He grins, having finally swallowed the sweet. ‘‘And so you see, my dear Dobson, that was how I came to save your Christmas dinner.’’ Pushing back his chair, Dr. Dobson makes his way to the window. Out in the street, children are playing in the snow. Candlelight frames fir trees in bay windows, and a carriage with gift-wrapped bundles drives down the road, on its way to another party. It makes him smile to know that their pudding too will be safe this year. ‘‘I see it now, Combes, I see it very clear. Genius of you, really.’’ He turns back to the table, and then frowns. ‘‘However, there is one thing I do not understand.’’ ‘‘Oh?’’ His friend’s brow furrows with concern. ‘‘And what might that be?’’ Dr. Dobson points to the empty plate in front of him. ‘‘Dolly promised me she would leave me a mince pie. I saw it myself, just a moment ago. I wonder where it could have gone?’’ Padlock Combes brushes at his moustache imperturbably; a few crumbs fall into his lap. ‘‘My dear Dobson, I am sure I don’t know what you mean.’’

and patted his tear and stroked his cold cheek with whispers,

- Isabelle Harrison

and so sent away the waters to the hollows of our eyes.

- C. E. Matthews

27


A letter

A letter to the future me, And the past version too. You’re doing so well; Great in fact. A month ago, Maybe even yesterday, things probably seemed pretty damn tough, to say the least. But you made it through, head held high. So please smile and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Give yourself some credit, And please cut yourself some slack. We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad months, but without them we would never notice the really good days, the almost perfect ones. Dry your eyes, you’ll laugh at those tears in the following years to come. Trust me. You’re so much stronger than you realise. So much stronger than this. Stop settling, for bad times, and the bad people that cause them. You’ll learn so much about yourself by letting them go. You’re above it all. And if you, the aged older me, are going round and round in circles, back to chapter one, I guess that’s okay too. But be careful though, you may feel wiser, and older, experienced beyond your years. But they say that love makes us all young again. Nobody can predict the future, that’s for sure. You never know what may be around the next corner; nor what surprises may come your way. But you can know That you’re so brave and bold and beautiful and that the mountains that you climb each day will be worth the view.

28

-Ella Tilford

C. writing

I could never spell Christmas I could never spell Christmas. I would think too much about the t in the between the s and m and then I’d start doubting that I’d spelt Grandma, Uncle, Auntie right, And then the whole card was ruined. Dotted with bright white tipex on green and red card as if it had somehow snowed above me. And then the Thank you cards that came after Birthdays with the too many names that I had to remember to spell right: ‘Thank you F-oebe for my bratz doll, I really, really like it!’ as i sat in the hard dining room chairs. And for so long I was convinced I was spelling your name right too. A running joke that bounded along besides us that only ever held a smile to my face just as it did you. An eye squinted teeth bare kind of smile . I show my teeth more now because of you. So this is my thank you card to you. And I’ll try and spell your name right and not overthink the ‘s’, but I’m making no promises. First of all I want you to thank you for something that you probably never knew you did,

or rather still do. My tongue is freed from its enamel guard when I am around you. I can share my disgusting, weird and overly complex thoughts with you and it will only be met with this face that I think I love. I want to thank you for loving my ribs and the way that they immediately meet my hips and for noticing that without me telling you. Thank you for wearing my love bites proudly, For being an excited child the first time you came round, loitering around me not knowing where to sit or what to do in my small bedroom. Thank you for laughing at the way I say finger, For cradling me as we talked for time on end about anything and everything, our bodies moulding around each other like hot glue. Thank you for the sarcasm in return to mine, for telling when I’m wrong, despite my demanding that I’m right. For making me miss my train that time and spending another hour with you Though I will admit I thought it annoying at the time. Thank you for coming to my ridiculous poetry things, for loving my orange playsuit. Thank you for holding my hand when I cried over someone who wasn’t you, someone that should have

been you. And so far in my life I have never had to write a card that said sorry instead of thank you so it is probably time I did. I’m sorry for the melted chocolate orange because we got distracted and your laptop seemed like the perfect place to put it. I’m sorry for glances in sunglasses that I think you can’t see, but you’ve told that you can I’m sorry for doubting halluomi. For calling you handsome in the same voice talk to my rabbit however I still think you are. I’m sorry for the amount of times that you’ve felt like you’d had to say sorry. I’m sorry for complications I put in front of you. I’m sorry for my inability to leave nothing unsaid, for leaving you in an limbo and maybes and let me thinks. I’m sorry for not loving you when doubted that I should I’m really sorry for realising too late that I do. And despite its aberrant reoccurrence I am sorry that I continue to spell your name wrong. One day I will get it right, I hope its one day soon.

- Bryony Barker

Image: Pixabay, Chukovskaya


C. writing

The Christmas my uncle came back On Christmas morning I awoke, and emptied my stocking. Out poured the Horrible Histories annual, the gifts from Hawkins Bazaar, the Beano, the Toblerone, the mini Lego kit, the Maltesers box, the fruit pastilles, and then the satsuma at the very bottom. I ate that orange ball of vitamins first.

“So are we ready?” Max asked. Josie still wouldn’t budge, so I handed her her presents. She put on a grin at the sight of a Queen Elsa rucksack, then put it on the floor and wrapped her arms around her knees.

Two hours later, at 8am, I galloped downstairs. I could hear strange breathing. My uncle Max was sat on the white sofa, lean and wiry as always, wearing his leather jacket. What was he doing here? I smiled anyway; he was still family. I looked to my left, and saw my little sister, Josie, sat wearing her pink PJs, hunched up in the corner of the grey sofa with her arms around her legs.

“Sure you’re okay?” I asked. She squeezed her knees tighter. Maybe she was cold? I got to my feet and shuffled into the hallway to check the thermostat. It was fine.

“Hey, Josie,” I said. “Are you okay?”

I nodded.

“She’s just tired. Aren’t you, sweetie?” Max said. Josie nodded. Then she pressed her face against her knees, and brushed a veil of hair over her eyes.

“Come on, let’s go up to your room.” I nodded again. I didn’t think to tell him: ‘No. You have no right to be in there.’

“What are you doing here?” I asked Max.

He stomped upstairs in his heavy boots, and I followed.

“Your Mum invited me. Stayed the night here.’”He stared at me with wide eyes. “You got a problem with that?”

He sat on my bed, and I perched on the edge of my desk. The house was unusually quiet, except for the laboured sound of Max breathing. It was as if the air turned to sand every time it went up his nostrils.

I shook my head. Following a minute of silence, I heard the familiar creaking of floorboards, then Mum’s slippers shuffle-clopping down the stairs. She gave a weary smile as she trailed through the doorway, and said, “Merry Christmas!” “Happy Christmas,” Max replied, standing up. He walked over to her with his arms out, but Mum took a step back. He raised his eyebrows. Then we heard more creaking, and Max spread his arms out wide and cried, ‘Ryan!’, and Dad cheered as he walked in. They hugged, and the two of them put their arms over each other’s shoulders.

Image: Pixabay, inspiredbythemuse

I headed back to the living room, when Max walked through the doorway straight towards me. I felt a cold shiver down my arms. ‘Tim,’ he said. ‘You got a second?’

“I must say I’m disappointed in you, Patrick,” Max said. My mind went blank, and I looked down at my feet. Anywhere but his eyes. “You seem to be making everyone miserable.” I didn’t think to say: “I’ve done nothing wrong. You have with what you said to Mum. I overheard.” “What you’re doing to your sister. You’ve not asked if she’s okay, when her mother is letting everyone down. She needs her older brother; not some small boy who only cares about himself.’”

Mum must have followed me upstairs, for I heard from the landing, ‘You okay, Patrick?’ “We’re fine!” Max shouted. “Go away!” I looked up. This was the Max I remembered. Shouting the last time he was here. Shouting every Christmas before. I stood up. Forget reconciliation. This guy is a dickwad. “Get out.” I said. Max whirled, his face broiling with anger. “Excuse me?” “You’re not welcome here. Get out.” “Who are you to tell me that?” I did think to say: “Someone who’s not a child anymore.” “I never even invited you,” Mum added, opening the door. “Well of course you didn’t. My brother did. Isn’t that right, Ryan!” Light feet galloped up the stairs, and Dad walked over to Mum’s side. He looked at her. Then at Max. And the face he pulled, he seemed to have made a decision. “I think it’s best you leave,” Dad said. Max’s jaw dropped. Then snapped shut. He stormed past them without looking back. No more shouting. No more drama. And though he was still family, that Christmas Day, our first without Uncle Max, soon became the best Christmas ever.

- Tom Cascarini

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Jump(er) into Christmas One of the biggest controversies, one that can tear apart families and friendship groups like a particularly ferocious game of Monopoly, is the issue of Christmas jumpers. Some people love tacky collages of snowflakes and Stormtroopers, others demand bare colours and patterns, and these people rarely see eye-to-eye. To help you decide what kind of jumper is appropriate for the season, here is a handy guide of what to and not to wear.

The Good

The best part of good Christmas jumpers is that you don’t need to particularly like Christmas to be proud of them. They can be genuinely artistic and subtle without drowning in Christmas iconography. This jumper from an independent clothing retailer showcases a beautiful level of restraint, with small repeating patterns and colours that go together well. Generally, independent clothes shops can be best for classy jumpers like this. Strips of patterns let you substitute huge pictures of snowmen or Santa for silhouettes of winter figures, and the woven style adds to the snowysnug feel of the garment. Also, it’s not trying to experiment with the preestablished notions of what a jumper is. It has sleeves, no buttons and no fluff adorning the edges. You know a Christmas jumper is good if you can alternate between snuggling up in its well-made fibers and wearing it in public with a unironic pride.

30

Pictures (L-R): Tom Bedford, Flickr (UglySweaterShop.com), Dan Struthers

The Bad

The internet, along with many retail stores, is awash with terrible Christmas jumpers. Some are bad through lack of artistic vision, others through trying too hard to depict everything vaguely Christmassy on one tummy. Some make it seem as though the designer sicked up various festive icons, others try to push the boat out by not actually being jumpers. This horrible waistcoat found on Flickr, awash in Christmas pictures rammed together with no style or tact, is representative of all the worst aspects of Christmas clothing. It’s from a shop called ‘Uglysweatershop. com’, so it’s OK to expect the worst, but this still hurts to see. It’s too full of bright colours and generic imagery, and the lack of arms will prove a huge problem during winter when you might actually want some skin covered. Maybe you could wear a nicer jumper underneath? While some people wear these as they think it’s funny, or that they’re being ironic and smug, we all know those people aren’t on our card lists.

The Weird

As well as being a time to put up with your uncle’s weird political views and your boy/girlfriend’s inability to understand a £30 present budget, Christmas is a time to embrace your inner weirdness and express it on your jumper. This can range from pop culture icons that your parents don’t understand, to annoying characters that everyone is bored of because of your obsession with them. Pokemon fanatic? Get a jumper full of leaping Pikachus. Still care about the American political situation? Get Trump dressed up as Santa. Or, if you’re caught up in the recent Rick and Morty craze, buy a jumper of it, like our TV Editor Dan, with a quote adapted from one of Rick’s classics. Embrace the kind of jumper you have to order off weird internet sites, that makes your out-of-touch dad ask ‘what’s that yellow mouse on your jumper?’ Funnily enough, most of these jumpers are actually on the lower end of the tackiness spectrum, which makes wearing them a pleasure.

-Tom Bedford


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